Phandroid http://phandroid.com Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Thu, 29 Jan 2015 02:46:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Although the Galaxy Note 4 helped, Samsung’s Q4 2014 earnings still showing slowing smartphone sales http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/samsung-q4-2014-earnings/ http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/samsung-q4-2014-earnings/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 02:45:42 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=158279 Samsung Galaxy A5 DSC07901

They may have the biggest slice of Android market share, but that doesn’t mean everything is coming up roses for Samsung’s mobile business. Although they officially raked in $4.87 billion in operating profit and $48.6 billion in revenue for Q4 2014, Samsung saw a 36% and 11% decline when compared to the previous year.

Faced with waning Galaxy sales, Samsung had to turn to its semiconductor business to pick up the slack from its ever slowing mobile division which has officially been on a downward spiral for 4 straight quarters now. Samsung mobile’s operating profit is officially down 64% year-on-year, although they note that strong Samsung Galaxy Note 4 sales managed to keep that number from dipping further.

Despite last year’s slumping smartphone sales, Samsung sees it as going nowhere but up in 2015. They’re hoping emerging markets like India and China will turn things around, along with new products they say will use “new materials” and feature “innovative design.” Samsung also mentions they’re planning to introduce even more “diversified” new wearables this year because we could all use another smartwatch.

There are also rumors — which may have just been confirmed — that Sammy could be opting for their own in-house Exynos processor for the Samsung Galaxy S6, expected to be unveiled during this year’s Mobile World Congress. We know we can be a little hard on Samsung at times, but that’s just because we have such high expectations. Make no mistake, we’re definitely excited to see what Samsung has in store for 2015.

[Samsung]

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Qualcomm may have confirmed rumors that the Galaxy S6 wont be using a Snapdragon 810 http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/qualcomm-large-customers-device-wont-have-snapdragon-810/ http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/qualcomm-large-customers-device-wont-have-snapdragon-810/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 00:44:28 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=158276 qualcomm-snapdragon

Although Samsung has never primarily relied on Qualcomm to supply the processor for their flagship devices in all regions — instead using their own Exynos SoC for a large number of international models — early reports suggested Samsung could be passing on Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 810 processor entirely for the Samsung Galaxy S6 due to “overheating” issues.

In Qualcomm’s Q1 fiscal 2015 report, it appears that Qualcomm may have just confirmed these rumors after stating that a “large customer’s flagship device” would not be using their processor. Now, although they didn’t specifically mention any manufacturer’s name, they were apparently large enough for Qualcomm to lower its 2015 outlook. Here’s what they told investors:

“…our lowered outlook for our semiconductor business for the second half of the fiscal year and our lowered EPS expectations, largely driven by the effects of a shift in share among OEMs at the premium tier, expectations that our Snapdragon 810 processor will not be in the upcoming design cycle of a large customer’s flagship device and heightened competition in China…”

Qualcomm didn’t address the Snapdragon 810’s overheating rumors, but if LG is to be believed, the issue never existed in the first place. If all this is true, does this influence your decision at all to pick up a Samsung Galaxy S6?

[Qualcomm]

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Sony is killing off Music Unlimited, partners up with Spotify to launch PlayStation Music http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/sony-replacing-music-unlimted-with-spotify-on-ps-music/ http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/sony-replacing-music-unlimted-with-spotify-on-ps-music/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 23:32:10 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=158270 Sony Spoitfy PlayStation Music

After a report that Sony Mobile could be preparing to layoff another 1,000 workers, it’s clear Sony is doing a little restructuring. Most of that revolves around the company’s renewed effort to focus on their profitable PlayStation brand, with today’s latest development echoing just that.

To just about no one’s dismay, Sony has announced that they will officially shut down their Music Unlimited service in all 19 countries on March 29th, 2015 (apparently nobody told the Sony Xperia Twitter account). Music Unlimited — which, let’s be real, was lacking compared to rival music streaming services like Rdio, Google Play Music, or Beats — will instead be replaced this spring by Spotify on PlayStation Music, Sony’s latest partnership that expands music listening to 41 markets around the world.

Spotify on PS Music will allow PlayStation network members to sign up using their PSN IDs, and will not only give allow PS4 owners to stream all their Spotify music onto their consoles, but add a soundtrack to music clips using Spotify music. As for Video Unlimited, that’s simply being re-branded into PlayStation Video and will continue to offer Sony’s wide catalog of video on demand content across PlayStation, Sony devices in 11 countries/regions.

[via PS4Daily]

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With little competition, Facebook officially pulled in $12 billion last year http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/facebook-q4-2014-earnings-report/ http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/facebook-q4-2014-earnings-report/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 23:10:17 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=158241 facebook-tablet-event

After Apple reported oil-company-like earnings numbers this morning, Mark Zuckerberg and the boys at Facebook are chiming in with their latest quarterly earnings. As expected, the Menlo Park, CA-based social network beat estimates, reporting $3.85 billion in revenue (up from $2.59 billion the previous year) and earnings of $0.54 a share (up from $0.31 previous year) for Q4 2014. With little-to-no competition in the social network space (well, there’s Google+ kind of), that means they officially pulled in $12 billion for 2014.

Facebook says their daily monthly active users totaled around 890 million, with a monthly average of about 1.39 billion users. Since Facebook’s initial public offering in May of 2012, their value has nearly doubled to about $215 billion. But they still have their work cut out for them lest they end up another Myspace.

Facebook has lost around 3.3. million teens (ages 13-17) since 2011, and another 3.4 million in the 18-24 range. Ironically, they’ve seen an 80% growth of the 55+ group over that same time, with grandparents flocking to the social network to keep up with friends and family, which could be a reason all the youngsters are leaving in favor of hipper social networks like Instagram or Snapchat.

Facebook’s mobile business is where they’re making the most money, accounting for nearly 69% of their profits. This includes now monetized Instagram with 300 million+ active users, and the 600 million on WhatsApp. Facebook’s gross margins took a hit, down 15% compared to the previous year thanks to “big bet” acquisitions like their 19 billion dollar WhatsApp purchase last February, or Oculus VR back in March.

Looking ahead, Facebook says their goal for the next decade is to continue to evolve by focusing on serving and growing the community for people and businesses. They plan on doing this by making WhatsApp and Messenger “indispensable” services, continuing to developing Facebook Search, making Facebook a truly “cross platform platform” for developers, and finally connecting the world to the internet (and Facebook in the process) via their Internet.org efforts.

[Facebook]

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FTC fines TracFone $40 million for throttling their so called ‘unlimited’ data http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/ftc-fines-tracfone-40-million-dollars-for-throttling-data/ http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/ftc-fines-tracfone-40-million-dollars-for-throttling-data/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:18:46 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=158251 TracFone StraightTalk

Take past any carrier store and you’ll see posters or banners advertising xGB of “unlimited data.” For those up to speed on tech, you know this means you get X amount of high-speed data, only to have your internet speeds slowed down (throttled) after that.

It’s not a bad idea, and much better than data caps of yesteryear where you’d be charged extra for any data you consumed above your cap. But, when it comes to a carrier advertising “unlimited data,” the FTC is now stepping in, saying unlimited data doesn’t include throttling… unless fully disclosed, of course.

The Federal Trade Commission ordered mobile virtual network operator TracFone to pay up $40 million for falsely advertising unlimited data, only to throttle customers once they reached a certain amount and in some cases, cut off data services completely. FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection director Jessica Rich said in a statement to Re/code:

“This case is about false advertising. It’s not about throttling. We’re not challenging throttling in and of itself. The issue here is simple: When you promise consumers ‘unlimited,’ that means unlimited.”

Let’s be clear. The FTC’s issue with TracFone wasn’t that they were throttling their customers, it’s that they failed to advertise their data cap in the same way carriers like T-Mobile do. Even worse was throttling wasn’t a tool to manage network traffic which would be fine, but a way to cut the costs TracFone was incurring for operating on other carriers’ networks.

For years, customers under TracFone and Walmart’s Straight Talk brand had no clue when their “unlimited data” would be throttled, leading to a lot of guess work and countless forum posts. Couple this with the way Straight Talk would completely cut off you service without warning if you used too much data. Yeah. Not exactly unlimited, was it? Eventually, they finally came clean.

While the “Big Four” carriers in the US are safe for now, they are seemingly put on notice. It was only back in October that the FTC announced that they were suing AT&T for throttling grandfathered customers still on their unlimited plan.

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Samsung Gear VR arrives at Best Buy for $200 with in-store pickup option http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/samsung-gear-vr-best-buy/ http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/samsung-gear-vr-best-buy/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 20:11:40 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=158253 gear-vr-hero

Quick heads-up for potential Samsung Gear VR buyers: Best Buy now has Samsung’s virtual reality headset, and they have it in-store. That makes it eligible for in-store pickup if your local Best Buy has them in stock.

They cost the same $199.99 that you’d get buying from Samsung so this is a very nice route to take to avoid long shipping times, backorders, RMA headaches and other hassles.

Don’t forget that you need a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to use the thing, but if you already have one or plan to buy one then go nuts. Our Samsung Gear VR review and our Gear VR section at AndroidForums.com are good places to start if you’re looking to see whether it’s worth two Benjamins so be sure to check those out before making a hasty decision.

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Sony’s mobile struggles continue as division will reportedly lay off another 1,000 workers http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/sony-layoffs-2015/ http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/sony-layoffs-2015/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:52:14 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=158244 Sony Booth MWC 2013

The news keeps getting worse and worse for Sony (and its employees). A report from Japanese institute Nikkei (via Forbes) suggests Sony will announce the layoff of another 1,000 workers from their mobile division in an upcoming financial report scheduled for February 4th. This would be the second layoff in recent months, with the previous round coming back in October where another 1,000 workers from the same division were given walking papers.

It’s always sad to think of good people suddenly and unexpectedly losing their jobs, but that’s the harsh cost of a highly competitive industry. Sony’s plans to lick its wounds and try to right the ship are noble, though it remains to be seen if they can do enough to stop the bleeding before they’re forced to sell off the mobile division.

Just this past Tuesday Sony talked about the need to streamline their mobile product portfolio and focus on fewer flagships every year, a tactic HTC successfully executed on their respective route from losing millions back to making money every quarter.

The alternative to all these changes and tough business decisions? Having to fire everyone because they haven’t responded appropriately to the breakneck pace at which the consumer electronics industry can change.

Knowing that, it’s important to remember that these might not be the most joyful solutions, but things could always be worse and Sony’s willing to do whatever they can to improve the situation. Let’s hope it doesn’t get too bad by the time they’re ready to unleash their full numbers.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Tips & Tricks http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/samsung-galaxy-note-4-tips-tricks/ http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/samsung-galaxy-note-4-tips-tricks/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:24:34 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=158091 galaxy-note-4-screen-phandroid

Whether your new to the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or a seasoned veteran, there are so many features packed into Samsung’s latest flagship that there are bound to be a few you haven’t heard of. We’ve compiled some of our favorites in the following list, including everything from shortcuts and gestures to voice commands and controlling your TV.

Check out our full Galaxy Note 4 review!

First things every new owner should do

note-4-back

If you are brand new to your Galaxy, we suggest you check out our list of the first 13 things every Note 4 owner should do before moving on to the rest of this list. In the article, we cover everything from setting up your device to customizing it to fir your needs. Then come back here for a few of the finer points in more detail.

Galaxy Note 4 shortcuts & gestures

The Galaxy Note 4 contains a number of shortcuts and settings to make use easy. The following lists compile some of our favorites.

Shortcuts:

  • Take a screenshot — Simultaneously press and hold the power and home buttons
  • Access recently opened apps — Tap the recents/multitasking soft key located to the left of the home button
  • Launch Multi Window mode — Long-press the back soft key located to the right of the home button
  • Quick launch app menus — Long-press the recent/multitasking soft key while in an app to quickly launch its menu
  • Change sound settings — Press volume up or down then tap gear icon on display
  • Change to airplane mode — Hold power button then choose airplane mode from the list of options

Gestures:

To enable and disable specific gestures, navigate to Settings > Motions and gestures.

  • Take a screenshot — With the side of your palm, swipe from one edge of the screen to the other
  • Direct Call — Lift the phone to your face to call the currently selected contact
  • Mute/Pause — Place your palm over the screen/flip the phone over to mute incoming notifications or pause music
  • Smart Alert — With missed notifications, phone will vibrate when you pick it up

S Pen tips & shortcuts

note-4-android-robots-phandroid

The Note 4’s included S Pen is what sets it apart from most other Android devices. The stylus can be used to perform a number of shortcuts, gestures, and other functions that add greatly to the Note 4’s usability.

Air View

Air View allows you to hover your S Pen over images or text to preview, scroll, and more. To enable Air View, navigate to Settings > Motions and Controls > S Pen > Air View.

S Pen Air Command

Press the button on the S Pen while hovering over the homescreen to launch the Air Command popup, which provides access to several features unique to the Note 4 (Air Command can be enabled similarly to Air View by navigating to Settings > Motions and Controls > S Pen > Air Command):

  • Action Memo — Provides a list of common actions after jotting down a note, including quick access to finding a location, saving a contact, placing a call, and more
  • Image Clip — Draw a circle around the area of an image you wish to select and copy it to the clipboard
  • Smart Select — Select multiple items with the S Pen to share or copy to a scrapbook
  • Screen Write — Takes a screenshot and allows easy annotation

Use the writing keyboard

With the default Samsung keyboard enabled, you can switch to a handwriting recognition mode to respond to texts and emails with the S Pen. Long-press the microphone icon and a small popup will launch. Tap the icon that looks like a T with a pen next to it to open the writing keyboard. Then write as you would normally and the Note 4 will convert it to type text.

Pro Tip: Look for the writing input icon in other text fields such as those in a web browser and tap it to enable S Pen writing input.

Control your TV

The Note 4 has a built-in IR blaster on the top of the device, a feature you don’t see in all too many Android smartphones. What does this mean? You can use the Note 4 as the most powerful remote control you have ever owned.

All you need to do is launch Samsung’s Watch On app and go through some onscreen prompts to setup the Note 4 to control TV and sync to your local channel guide. After that, all you need to do is point your Note 4 at your television and start the channel surfing.

Keep your screen on while reading

SmartStay[0]

Enabling Smart Stay on the Note 4 will utilize the phone’s sensors to determine when you are actively engaged in reading the display, keeping it from going dark in the middle of a riveting book or fascinating article.

To enable Smart Stay, navigate to Settings > Sound and Display > Display and check the box next to “Smart Stay.”

Use the Note 4 with one hand…

If the think Note 4 is a bit much to handle with one hand, you’re not alone. Samsung even thought ahead and included several options for making the super-sized smartphone more functional during one-handed operation.

Navigate to Settings > System > One-handed operation to access options that will allow you to shrink the overall screen size by swiping from the edge of the Note 4’s display (Reduce screen size), access a keyboard tailored for thumb typing (One-handed input), and side-oriented navigation keys ( Side key panel).

…or with gloves on

Enable Touch Sensitivity (found in the Quick Settings menu in the notifications pane) to increase the sensitivity of your Note 4’s touchscreen. While this is a solution if you feel your device is not responsive enough, it’s true usefulness comes when using gloves with the Note 4.

Be warned that without gloves sensitivity remains heightened, increasing the possibility for accidental inputs and pocket dolls.

Turn on blocking mode to cut out distractions (or catch some Zs)

Though not labeled as such, the Galaxy Note 4 offers a Do Not Disturb mode dubbed Blocking mode. To enable Blocking mode, navigate to Settings > Personal > Blocking mode. You can choose to turn on Blocking manually or set a schedule to block calls and other incoming notifications during work or while you are sleeping.

note-4-block-a-number

You can setup exceptions to allow certain contacts to still ring your device even with Blocking mode enabled. If you would like to do the opposite and allow all calls while blocking only specific numbers, the Note 4 allows this as well. You can access these settings by navigating to Settings > Applications > Call > Call rejection.

Get the most out of your Note 4 battery life…

power-saving-mode-galaxy-note-4

The Galaxy Note 4 contains not one, but two special battery saving modes to help squeeze the most life out of a nearly repleted power cell. Power Saving mode and Ultra Power Saving mode both operate in slightly different ways, but the end result could mean as much as two additional day of use on only 10% of a charge.

note-4-save-battery

When in Power Saving mode, screen brightness will be dimmed and other non-esential but often battery intensive functions will be disabled (this includes some wireless connectivity). Ultra Power Saving mode goes to the extreme, replacing the standard TouchWiz launcher with a simplified greyscale interface that offers only the bare necessities for using your phone. Yes, functionality will be limited in either mode, but if you are nowhere near an outlet for charging you will be glad you have the option.

To access either power saving mode, navigate to “Power saving” under the “System” header in the Settings menu.

…And fast charge when you run out of juice

samsung-fast-charging

When you do find an outlet for charging, you will be happy to know you won’t be tethered to your power source for too long. Thanks to adaptive fast charging technology built into the Note 4, you can gain about 50% battery capacity in as little as 30 minutes. How do you do it? It’s simple: use the wall charger included in the box with the Note 4.

The wall charger itself contains a special chip that pairs with a similar bit of hardware inside the Note 4 to provide turbo charging capabilities. You’ll know the wall charger is compatible because it is stamped with Samsung’s “Adaptive Fast Charging” logo.

[Note: You might need to turn on adaptive fast charging from the Settings menu (Settings > System > Battery > Fast charging). It should be enabled by default, however.]

Protect your personal info with Private mode

If you often lend your device to friends or family to make calls, play games, or access the internet, it might be smart to set up Private Mode on your Galaxy Note 4. Private Mode allows full access to your phone while password (or fingerprint) protecting the sensitive files you choose to keep off limits.

To set up Private Mode, navigate to Settings > Private Mode and toggle to on. If this is your first time using Private Mode, you will be prompted to choose a password method. If you have the Note 4’s fingerprint scanner enabled, you may choose this as your password.

With Private Mode enabled, you can select the files you wish to hide and, tapping the three dots in the upper right-hand corner, select ‘Move to Private.’

Get help in an emergency

Hopefully you will never need it, but the Note 4 offers an emergency mode that will quickly send a message to chosen contacts to alert them to your status. This mode will even snap photos and share your location to further aid emergency responders in getting you to safety.

Navigate to Settings > Safety assistance > Send help messages, and turn the feature on. You can now choose whether to send pictures and location.Backing up a screen to the “Safety assistance” you can manage your emergency contacts.

When you are in need, quickly press the power key three times to transmit your emergency alert to those listed as emergency contacts.

Expand your storage with a MicroSD card

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You can up your storage by installing a MicroSD card. First you will need to access the SD card slot by removing the back cover of the device. The SD slot is located above and to the right of the battery. Insert an SD card (the Note 4 will accept cards with storage ratings of up to 128GB) and you are good to go.

Depending on how much info is already installed on the SD card, the Note 4 might take some time to read the card. You will see a notification while this process is occurring. To access info and data on the SD card, use the preinstalled My Files app and navigate to “SD card.”

Use your SD card to store photos, videos, and other files and easily transfer them between devices. You can even move bulky apps to your MicroSD storage to free up precious internal storage space.

Use the camera flash as a notification LED

The Note 4 contains a number of features intended for users with vision or hearing impairments that can also be useful for the average user. These features are found under the accessibility menu, and include the ability to enable the Note 4’s LED camera flash as a notification indicator. It’s a bit less subtle than the notification LEDs that some Android phones feature as a standard option, but there is virtually no way you will miss a call or other alert again.

To enable, navigate to Settings > Accessibility > Hearing, and check the box next to “Flash notification.”

Get alerts for a ringing doorbell or crying baby

Another accessibility option that some might find a use for is the Note 4’s ability to listen for the sound of a doorbell or crying baby and proceed to send a notification via the handset. Pair it with the notification flash you will never miss a delivery or ignore a hungry baby again.

Navigate to Settings > Accessibility > Hearing > Sound detectors, and check the boxes next to the options you wish to enable.

Disable Flipboard Briefing

The Galaxy Note 4’s Flipboard briefing is by no means a bad news aggregator, but it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. It also affects the way you interact with your home screens. If you want to get rid of the daily briefing and bring the ability to swipe through home screens in a never-ending carousel, you can do that.

note-4-disable-flipboard

Simply long-press on an empty area of your homescreen, tap “Home screen settings,” and uncheck the box next to Flipboard Briefing.

Use S Voice to control your Note 4 with vocal commands

Samsung has included a proprietary voice assistant in the same style as Apple’ Siri and Google Now. Dubbed S Voice, the service is accessed by double-pressing the Note 4’s home button. When first using S Voice, you can even choose to have your Galaxy constantly listen for voice input, responding when you speak the words “Hi, Galaxy.”

S Voice can perform system functions such as music playback or be used to compose a text message or perform a search. For a list of voice commands, ask S Voice for “help.”

Access the Note 4’s emoji keyboard

Emojis: you either love them or hate them. Regardless, you can access the emoji keyboard on the Note 4 by long-pressing the microphone icon found on the standard Samsung keyboard and tap the smiley face icon. The emoji keyboard will now open.

You can scroll through available emojis and switch categories by tapping the icons at the bottom of the keyboard. To return to typing input, tap the ‘ABC’ icon.

Get Google everywhere with Google Now

Note-4-Okay-Google

While S Voice is Samsung’s preferred personal assistant for the Note 4, Google Now is in many respects superior. It not only will respond to voice commands, but it intelligently incorporates information learned about you into its predictive results.

To access Google Now, long-press the home button. The first time using Google Now will require a short setup process. Once done, you can simply ask Google a question and receive an answer almost instantly. For a full rundown of Google Now voice commands, tips, and tricks, click here.

Visit Android Forums for more!

If you are itching to learn even more about your Galaxy Note 4, head on over to our dedicated forum at AndroidForums.com. A cohort of Note users resides there ready to answer any questions and offer advice on everything from accessories to apps. You might even have a tip or trick of your own to add to the discussion!

Some helpful threads to start:

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Want to backup and copy the home screen layout for your Android Phone? Samsung patented a solution http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/samsung-home-screen-patent/ http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/samsung-home-screen-patent/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:57:55 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=158234 Samsung Galaxy S5 hand DSC05788

No major smartphone manufacturer has yet to create a solution for copying home screen setups from one device to another. It’s a feature we’ve been hoping to see in Android from Google’s own ingenuity for quite some time, but someone seems to have beaten them to the punch.

samsung home screen patent

Samsung’s latest patent details a software solution that would allow a user to configure a home-screen and copy it to another remote device. The details in the patent are very specific about the process, but an abstract look at the thing reveals a few different possible scenarios:

  • Upgrading from one Samsung phone to another? The software could ask you if you want all your same apps downloaded and the same home-screen to be setup upon logging in with your Google or Samsung account.
  • Have a different phone in your possession and simply want the same setup? You could do that, too.
  • Need more fine-tune control than a simple copy/paste job? You could set the home-screen up differently than what’s on your current device and push it over to the new device.

Even better is that such a feature is perfect for consumers and businesses alike. Consumers have an easier time moving their preferred home-screen from device to device, while businesses can set their employees up with the most optimal home-screen to help them perform their jobs easier. It’d be a nice edge for Samsung to command in a sector where they want badly to be top dog.

samsung home screen patent flow chart

It’s important we take a step back and recognize that this has been done by independent developers to some degree. Many of the best home-screen replacement apps in Google Play — such as Nova launcher, Apex launcher and more — offer some form of home-screen backup / restore or cloud syncing to appease the crowd that might go through frequent changes (such as those who flash custom ROMs or just like to switch between different home-screen setups on the fly). We’re not sure what it would mean for the future of those apps now that Samsung owns a cold, hard patent.

Even more uncertain is how this might affect the possibility of Google implementing such a feature at the core of Android in the future. Samsung and Google have a wide-ranged patent licensing agreement that lasts 10 years, but it’s possible that this particular patent could be left out of the deal — all the better to give Samsung the competitive edge they need in today’s aggressive mobile battlegrounds.

All that aside, it’s just a really cool idea and we’d love to see how well Samsung could implement it should they look to add this as a standard feature of TouchWiz in one of their future Galaxy smartphones.

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Is this our first look at the REAL HTC One M9 (and its bigger brother with a fingerprint scanner)? http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/real-htc-one-m9-pictures/ http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/real-htc-one-m9-pictures/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:12:25 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=158223 Talk about it at AndroidForums: M9 | M9 Plus

htc one m9 render

After it was revealed that HTC slyly used decoy prototypes of the HTC One M9 to throw the blogosphere through a loop, we’d heard details of a new design for the upcoming flagship smartphone. Those details have finally been illustrated in a purported leak of the device’s official renders.

As the latest report suggested, HTC has taken a new design approach for the HTC One M9 instead of recycling last year’s model. The front facing camera is more profound and gets prominent placement in the middle of the frame, while the dual BoomSound speakers are presented as small slits at the top and bottom of the device.

Oh, and what you’re seeing isn’t a mirage — there are two different devices there, and one of them is bigger than the other. The device on the right is apparently the HTC One M9 Plus, and it has a pretty awkward button-like slab placed on the bottom. It’s possible this could double as a home button, but its main function is believed to be for fingerprint scanning.

HTC is likely to continue using a metal unibody form factor, though unlike their previous two models this one looks to have a sheet of glass draped over the entirety of the front.

Also of note is that HTC opted to put their logo on the bottom lip of the device instead of adding unnecessary bezel for it (this is likely thanks to the new design for BoomSound speakers). Unfortunately the bezel still does exist on the Plus version of it thanks to the likely fingerprint scanner occupying that spot.

And that’s about all we can gleam from these new photos alone. We still don’t get a good idea of how the rear of this thing is going to look — rumor has it the M9 Plus will have the same dual camera setup as the HTC One M8 — but as often as these leaks have rolled out we wouldn’t be surprised to get a full look soon.

Oh, and if last week’s events taught us anything it’s that everything is to be taken with a grain of salt until HTC dishes out the details themselves. We’ll be trotting to Mobile World Congress in March to see this thing unveiled, but let us know how you’re feeling about this possible design in the meantime.

[via Twitter]

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Apple’s insane earnings already breaks record with Apple Watch vs Android Wear battle looming http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/apple-q1-2015-results/ http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/apple-q1-2015-results/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:12:34 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=158215 AppleStore_Shinsaibashi,_Osaka

We ridiculed Apple for finally breaking out of their shell and delivering the types of devices people have wanted, but as much fun as that was there’s no doubt it did good things for them as a company. Confirmation of that fact arrived ahead of today’s stock market opening as Apple has reported record-breaking revenue and sales numbers. And when we say record-breaking, we mean there’s possibly no other company that could sell this many smartphones in one quarter.

Apple reported a ridiculous $74.6 billion in revenue for their fiscal Q1 2015, an increase of 30% year-over-year, thanks to the sale of 21.4 million iPad tablets, 5.5 million Mac computers and — you may want to sit down for this — 74.5 million iPhone devices. Most companies would be ecstatic to make that over the course of a year or two, so for Apple to rake all that in within just one quarter speaks volumes about the company’s new direction.

To put that all into perspective, Apple’s big quarter joins an exclusive list of the top 5 quarterly results of all time. The other four? Oil companies. Just think about that for a second. There is no bigger business than oil, and Apple — a consumer electronics company — has found its way into that territory. In fact, Apple now owns the honor of having the biggest quarter ever in the history of business.

Shareholders in Apple’s camp are sure to be waking up quite happy this morning. The stock sits at $117.82 per share — a jump of nearly 8% — as of the time of this writing, and there’s a chance it could grow even more as the day moves on. That’s the highest Apple’s stock has been since the months immediately following the launches of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (it peaked at around $119 on November 26th, 2014).

apple stock snapshot

It has to be a frightening sight for other smartphone manufacturers, especially in a time where the top companies not named Apple are already struggling to maintain solid footing.

Samsung is the one that stands to lose the most out of them all as they’re atop the totem pole in most parts of the world. The South Korean company, which once soared to new heights on the back of a highly competitive anti-iPhone ad campaign, now has to watch on as the company they halfway owe their growth in the mobile realm to could just as easily dismantle them.

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And if all of that isn’t enough, Apple hasn’t even set foot into the smart watch arena yet. The company reaffirmed plans to make that happen this April with its first consumer launch — the Apple Watch — and it’s only then that we’ll be able to see the impact they will have on one of the most exciting new wearable product categories to spawn in the past few years.

In the meantime, Apple is expecting things to calm down in the next quarter as holiday promotions and advertising wind down and as demand decreases. They’re still expecting revenue between $52 and $55 billion, so their idea of a “down quarter” isn’t quite the same as everyone else’s.

Samsung? Sony? HTC? Moto? The balls are in your courts to respond with the sort of innovation to make sure Apple’s renaissance has more of a temporary effect than a lasting one.

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HTC One M8 now receiving Android 5.0 Lollipop update in Europe http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/htc-one-m8-android-lollipop/ http://phandroid.com/2015/01/28/htc-one-m8-android-lollipop/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:05:17 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=158212 htc one m8 lollipop

European owners of the HTC One M8 will wake up to a nice new software upgrade today. This one is bringing the big Kahuna — Android 5.0 Lollipop — so you’ll officially be on the latest and greatest version of Android with no chains binding you to the horrors of inferiority.

As we’ve seen in earlier previews, HTC’s take on Lollipop is pretty standard. They’ve updated many of their course Sense apps with Material Design and have incorporated some Lollipop-specific features such as the new recent apps switcher and an updated notification pane.

As with any initial software upgrade we reckon this one is only guaranteed to be going out to developer or unlocked editions, while carrier-specific models may have to wait until proper testing and certification is done.

Fret not, though, because carriers in Europe seem to be a lot more timely with these processes compared to their North American counterparts. If you have an HTC One M8 then head to the settings menu to check for it as soon as possible, and let us know how it’s treating you once you’ve fully pulled it down.

[via Twitter]

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You can save up to $140 on a Motorola.com purchase February 2nd http://phandroid.com/2015/01/27/motorola-valentines-day-deal/ http://phandroid.com/2015/01/27/motorola-valentines-day-deal/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 20:07:28 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=158209 valentines day promo

Motorola’s celebrating Valentine’s Day, strangely enough, and they’re doing it with a sweet deal. The first part of the deal is limited to the first 200,000 people. You can submit your information here for a chance to receive a coupon code that will take either $50 off a $249.99 or more purchase, or $140 off $499.99 or more (both before taxes).

Registration will only be open between 11am 11:50pm Central time on February 2nd, or until all 200,000 vouchers have been distributed — whichever comes first. The vouchers are valid through Valentine’s day so you won’t have to redeem them immediately after receiving one.

Not all hope is lost if you find yourself so unfortunate enough to miss out on a voucher. Through February 14th — again, that’s Valentine’s Day — the company is taking $35 and $100 off purchases of $249.99 and $499.99, respectively, without the use of a voucher. Not quite as sweet, but it’s better than absolutely nothing at all.

There are some limitations to note:

This offer excludes Nexus 6, Moto X (2nd Gen.) on Republic Wireless, and the Extended Service Plan. Limit two devices among Moto X (2nd Gen.), Moto G (2nd Gen.), Moto G 4G LTE (1st Gen.), Moto E, and Moto 360.

And it goes without saying that you can’t combine the voucher deal with the site-wide offering. Knowing all that, be sure to circle back once February 2nd rolls around to make sure you don’t miss out (we’ll be putting out a friendly reminder, too). Anyone looking to grab something from the big Moto and save a few bucks in the process?

[via Motorola]

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LG G2 for $209, Kemco RPGs on sale, Interstellar pre-order offer, and more [Android Deals] http://phandroid.com/2015/01/27/lg-g2-for-209-kemco-rpgs-on-sale-interstellar-pre-order-offer-and-more-android-deals/ http://phandroid.com/2015/01/27/lg-g2-for-209-kemco-rpgs-on-sale-interstellar-pre-order-offer-and-more-android-deals/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 19:30:01 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=158200 deals

Looking for a cheap smartphone? Some new entertainment options (including a discounted Amazon Fire TV)? The best deals on apps and games? You’ve come to the right place. We’re freeing you of the grunt work and rounding up the best Android-related deals out there. All you have to do is buy.

Hardware & Accessories

LG-G2-1

Get the LG G2 for $209.99 Get an unlock LG G2 for only $209.99 from eBay. Includes free shipping. [eBay]

Save $50 on the Jawbone UP Jawbone’s wearable fitness tracker is only $29.99 as part of Best Buy’s daily deals. [Best Buy]

Amazon Fire TV discounted to $84 For a limited time, Amazon is offering their Android-based Fire TV for $15 off the regular price. [Amazon]

34% off the Samsung Galaxy S5 + free shipping Save big on Samsung’s 2014 flagship. Factory unlocked Galaxy S5 is only $429.99 today. [eBay]

PNY flash drives on sale for as low as $3.99 Boost your portable storage with discounted flash drives from PNY. 8GB is retailing now for as low as $3.99. [Best Buy]

Apps & Games

Machine-Knight

Apps

Games

Music & Media

interstellar

Singles

Albums

Movies

Pre-order Interstellar and get a free movie ticket

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Snapchat becomes a news discovery platform in today’s big update, & here’s a quick preview [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2015/01/27/snapchat-discover-update-video/ http://phandroid.com/2015/01/27/snapchat-discover-update-video/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 19:26:50 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=158201

Snapchat started off as a simple social network for sharing one-off photos and video between friends and family, but like any successful social platform they want it to grow into something much bigger. That’s why they’ve introduced a new Discover tab in today’s big update.

The Discover tab will be a gateway to news-driven “Snapchat stories.” In typical Snapchat fashion each story is represented by a telling photo, and swiping up on that photo will take you to a video or a text article to get deeper into it. Stories are gathered from a sizable list of popular sources such as CNN, ESPN and the National Geographic, or you can dive into Snapchat’s own channel for random stories that they think will interest the masses.

snapchat update 2

This is the first big move Snapchat has made to grow its platform from a simple photo sharing tool into something people can use as a daily resource. It’d be natural for anyone to feel overwhelmed with such a big addition, but that shouldn’t be an issue as the Discover tab is tucked a couple of swipes away from your friends’ feeds and stories and never to be seen if you don’t want to use it.

What people will and do have a problem with (as evidenced by a heap of negative reviews over at Google Play) is the sweeping change that was made to your friends’ list. You no longer get a traditional list of every buddy you’ve added by swiping to the right. Instead, Snapchat will only list any new stories from those buddies.

You do still get a typical friends’ list view if you tap the Snapchat icon while on the camera view and select “My Contacts” so it’s not nearly as bad as people are making it out to be, it’s just not as convenient as it used to be.

snapchat update 1

Oh, and you see that yellow Snapchat icon at the top of Joe’s profile information there? Other people can scan that using Snapchat on their own phones and it will add Joe to their friends’ list. Neat, huh?

There will always be a heavy negative response to changes from the norm, but like everything else we will likely come to tolerate them and get used to them the more we use the app. You can find a quick video demo of the app in action above, and download it from the Google Play Store to give the new features a spin for yourself. Let us know how you feel about it in the comments below.

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