Phandroid http://phandroid.com Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Mon, 03 Aug 2015 15:40:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.3 OnePlus 2 lacks NFC because “very few people” use it; second device to launch later this year http://phandroid.com/2015/08/03/oneplus-2-no-nfc/ http://phandroid.com/2015/08/03/oneplus-2-no-nfc/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 15:40:50 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169517 OnePlus 2 DSC09834

OnePlus’s Carl Pei had a sit-down with USA Today, and as we have come to expect from the founder’s interviews he dropped some pretty interesting nuggets. The first is confirmation that the company will look to launch another smartphone later this year, with the word “Christmas” casually sprinkled in there.

He didn’t go into much detail, but he says the phone looked good enough that he would make it his daily driver when it launches. That’s a given — he should want to use his own company’s latest phones. Unfortunately he didn’t say why he felt that way, and said it “may or may not be” specced higher than the OnePlus 2 was.

OnePlus 2 kevlar carbon fiber DSC09835

We’d hope it was higher, because — despite it being a fine phone in many respects (see our hands-on here) — folks are of the opinion that the OnePlus 2 lacks in a couple of important areas. One of those areas is NFC, a feature we’d expect a so-called “2016 flagship killer” to auto-include. Speaking of which, Carl Pei continued to defend the company’s move to pass on it for their 2015 option:

I think the entire issue of NFC is overblown. Very few people are using NFC, so we cut it. It’s as simple as that.

I know that Android Pay is coming but all that is in the future. It (NFC) is going to gain widespread adoption in stores 12-18 months from now. By that time people will have moved on to the next device.

Ultimately, Pei just admitted the OnePlus 2 is akin to a band-aid. It’s a temporary stop gap that didn’t need all these advanced features because people are just going to upgrade again when the tech is more widespread. The motto is Never Settle, but they have, in fact, settled, and they’re asking us to do the same.

OnePlus site header

While Pei might have a point in noting that a lot of people don’t use or need NFC, there’s no excuse to yank it away from the many folks who do. NFC chips are even starting to appear inside mid-range smartphones, and we wouldn’t be surprised if entry level options started using them given how cheap the component is to produce.

Android-Pay-Step-5-Confirm-Details

We find it necessary to think of all possibilities, though. What if Android Pay doesn’t take 12 to 18 months to mature? What if I don’t want to upgrade for another two years? What if someone is quietly working on the killer app that would make NFC a must have, and it launches tomorrow?

What if I wanted a smartphone that could make every last one of the previous questions irrelevant because it’d be future proofed for anything I need? In that case, the OnePlus 2 is not the answer. Guess we’ll have to wait until Christmas to see if they have anything more in store, otherwise Motorola’s 2015 offerings are really starting to sound nice.

]]>
http://phandroid.com/2015/08/03/oneplus-2-no-nfc/feed/ 0 http://phandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/OnePlus-2-DSC09860-150x150.jpg
Sony schedules September 2nd event at IFA, new Xperia flagship in tow? http://phandroid.com/2015/08/03/sony-september-2nd-invite/ http://phandroid.com/2015/08/03/sony-september-2nd-invite/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 15:03:05 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169514 Sony Logo DSC08921

Sony got their mid-range announcements out of the way this morning, but it seems they were holding back on other happenings. The company has just confirmed that they will be holding a September 2nd event in Berlin. This falls in line with IFA, their usual launchpad for their biggest smartphone flagships.

sony event

Unfortunately it’s not yet clear what to expect. The company recently launched the Xperia Z4, though it was a very incremental step from the Z3 — so much so that they decided to market it as the Xperia Z3+ in certain territories. Will we get a proper sequel with an Xperia Z5? A new smart watch? Maybe an updated Xperia Z Tablet? That’s what we’ll have to wait another month to find out as their invitation was littered with devices of all kinds.

]]>
http://phandroid.com/2015/08/03/sony-september-2nd-invite/feed/ 0 http://phandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Sony-Logo-DSC08921-150x150.jpg
Deal: Get a $100 Visa pre-paid card when buying the Verizon LG G4 http://phandroid.com/2015/08/03/verizon-lg-g4-visa-deal/ http://phandroid.com/2015/08/03/verizon-lg-g4-visa-deal/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 14:35:03 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169511 LG-G4-back-buttons

Verizon and LG are putting on a nice deal for the LG G4. They’ll give you $100 back on a Visa prepaid card with purchase of the device between August 1st and August 12th. You don’t even have to go through snail mail to submit your rebate.

Simply head here before August 31st and submit your receipt and details. The offer is good whether you bought your LG G4 from a physical Verizon store or online, so there’s no need to worry about where you’re buying it.

Oh, and if you needed the lowdown on the phone’s worth be sure to read our LG G4 review to see how it stacks up against other 2015 options.

]]>
http://phandroid.com/2015/08/03/verizon-lg-g4-visa-deal/feed/ 0 http://phandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/LG-G4-back-buttons-150x150.png
Sony calls their new Xperia C5 Ultra and Xperia M5 “super mid-range” smartphones http://phandroid.com/2015/08/03/sony-xperia-c5-ultra-m5/ http://phandroid.com/2015/08/03/sony-xperia-c5-ultra-m5/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 14:02:24 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169500 sony xperia m5 waterproof

Sony’s latest smartphones have been announced this morning, and while they won’t blow the socks off top-end smartphones, they do seem to offer a decent package for their expected price ranges. It’s the Sony Xperia C5 Ultra and Xperia M5, and Sony’s calling these things “super mid-range.”

So, how does that label translate specs wise? Let’s take a look:

sony xperia c5 ultra collection

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra Specs

  • 6-inch Full HD display
  • 13.0MP camera on the front and rear
  • 64-bit 1.7GHz octa-core MediaTek chipset
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of storage + microSD (up to 200GB)
  • 2,930mAh battery
  • Bluetooth 4.1, WiFi, NFC, GPS and 4G LTE
  • 164.2 x 79.6 x 8.2 mm, 187g

sony xperia m5 collection

And the Sony Xperia M5’s Specs:

  • 5-inch Full HD display
  • 21.5MP rear camera, 13.0MP front camera
  • 64-bit 2.0GHz MediaTek Helio X10 Octa-Core chipset
  • 2,600mAh battery
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 16GB of internal storage + microSD (up to 200GB)
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, NFC and 4G LTE
  • 145 x 72 x 7.6 mm, 142 g
  • Waterproof

If the expectations for these things are to be priced a few hundred bucks lesser than typical flagship offerings then they certainly don’t look bad at all. Both phones will rock Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box, and that, of course, comes with Sony’s Xperia user experience sitting on top. There will also be both single and dual-SIM options for both devices.

sony xperia m5 gold

Unfortunately Sony hasn’t let loose word on price expectations, but considering their launch will happen in certain markets starting in the middle of this month it won’t be long before we hear something solid.

[via Sony]

]]>
http://phandroid.com/2015/08/03/sony-xperia-c5-ultra-m5/feed/ 0 http://phandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/sony-xperia-m5-waterproof-150x150.jpg
Leaked Samsung Galaxy Note 5 specs include 4GB of RAM, Quad HD display and 16 megapixel camera http://phandroid.com/2015/08/03/samsung-galaxy-note-5-specs/ http://phandroid.com/2015/08/03/samsung-galaxy-note-5-specs/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 13:04:20 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169494 Samsung Galaxy Note 5 S6 Edge Plus

We’re expecting to hear some official details about the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (and S6 Edge Plus) in a mere 10 days, but in case you’re a bit impatient @evleaks has gone ahead and released a pretty lengthy spec sheet ahead of time. So what can we expect?

Well, it’s a top-line smartphone, something the Note line has always made sure to be. Its internals are a bit similar to the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, although it’s rocking a comfortable 4GB of RAM. Here’s how it lists out:

  • SM-N920
  • Exynos 7420 SoC (4×2.1GHz+4×1.5GHz)
  • 5.66″ 2560×1440 Display
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB of Storage(presumably base model)
  • 16MP rear-facing camera
  • 5MP front-facing camera
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • No SD Card Slot

Again, we never expected much less. As we know, that all-important S-Pen will be making a return, and we should also expect design cues similar to that of the Galaxy S6 line (something which a recent render leak confirmed with little doubt). We’ll be hitting the ground in New York August 13th to see it for ourselves so be sure to mark the date on your calendar!

]]>
http://phandroid.com/2015/08/03/samsung-galaxy-note-5-specs/feed/ 0 http://phandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Samsung-Galaxy-Note-5-S6-Edge-Plus-150x150.png
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge Plus exposed in leaked press renders, not concepts http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/samsung-galaxy-note-5-s6-edge-plus-press-renders-leaked/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/samsung-galaxy-note-5-s6-edge-plus-press-renders-leaked/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 01:41:23 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169483 Samsung Galaxy Note 5 S6 Edge Plus

We’ve seen quite a few device renders floating around the internet of the soon-to-be-announced Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus. And while these certainly look real, they’ve proven to be little more than fan renders made by talented designer Ivo Marić. That’s not to say he’s far off, device schematics of the phone have been available to case makers for quite some time.

But for those looking for something a little more authentic, @evleaks has come out of retirement once again to reveal some officially unofficial press renders of the phones before they’re rumored to be officially unveiled in a few more weeks. We’re sure this is just the first of many, so let us know what you think.

]]>
http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/samsung-galaxy-note-5-s6-edge-plus-press-renders-leaked/feed/ 0 http://phandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Samsung-Galaxy-Note-5-S6-Edge-Plus-150x150.png
People are actually lining up to play with the OnePlus 2 at popup tents around the world http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/oneplus-2-popup-experience-tent/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/oneplus-2-popup-experience-tent/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 00:49:16 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169479 OnePlus experience Time Square New York City

After officially unveiling their latest flagship — the OnePlus 2 — only a few days ago, we watched as the the phone’s pre-invite waiting list hit 1 million+ signups. We have to admit, it was a little surprising. While less trusting individuals might assume those numbers were artificially inflated to keep up appearances of high demand and further push the hype train, it looks like there are a good number of people legitimately interested in the phone. At least interested in looking at it.

OnePlus is hosting a handful of “popup experiences” in major cities around the world — New York City, San Francisco, London, Paris, Berlin, Milan, New Delhi, Bangalore, Jakarta — giving fans an early look at the device and giving away a few invites in the process. They somehow managed to erect a tent in the middle of Time Square where they’re sure to get the most traffic, with OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei on hand to talk to press and attendees. It’s not often we see OnePlus’ grass roots marketing in the real world, with most of their press releases and adverts happening online like their social media accounts.

While criticism over OnePlus’ use of the “2016 flagship killer” tagline could seen as overly ambitious to say the least, it does appears that there could be some some real-world buzz over this phone. At least initially. But in a world where we’re used to only seeing people line up for the latest iPhone, that could be saying something.

[Twitter | Image credit: The Verge]

]]>
http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/oneplus-2-popup-experience-tent/feed/ 0 http://phandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/OnePlus-experience-Time-Square-New-York-City-150x150.png
Sony Xperia C5 Ultra and Xperia M5 leak ahead of official announcement with interesting hardware http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/sony-xperia-c5-ultra-m5-leaked-photos/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/sony-xperia-c5-ultra-m5-leaked-photos/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 23:36:19 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169462 Sony-Xperia-C5-Ultra-and-M5

With Sony’s mobile division up against the ropes, you’d think they’d dial back launching new devices every few weeks. With a new announcement planned for next week, we really weren’t quite sure what they’d announce but they seem to be teasing some kind of new camera tech. And that’s good. It’s arguably the most important hardware spec in this year’s smartphone arms race, something any smartphone needs to excel at in order to be crowned king.

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra front back

 

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra

Now, we didn’t think they’d be announcing a new flagship, not with the Sony Xperia Z4 launching only a few weeks back. But if Russian site Hi-Tech.Mail.ru‘s new leak is what Sony has up their sleeves, it appears they could be taking a stab at the affordable device market with a pair of new Xperias that seemingly target camera quality over performance.

Sony-Xperia-M5 white black front

Sony Xperia M5

The newly leaked 6-inch Sony Xperia C5 Ultra and 5-inch Sony Xperia M5 both feature relatively modest specs on paper, but have their standout features (like Sony’s new IMX230 image sensor on the M5 which is also found on the Moto X Style/Pure Edition). As for looks, the M5 is the usual Xperia fare while the C5 Ultra has the most striking design thanks to razor thin side bezels and its huge overall size. Let’s take a look at the rest of the specs:

Sony Xperia C5 Ultra

  • 6-inch 1080p edge-to-edge display (0.8mm thin)
  • MediaTek MT6752 chipset (1.7GHz octa-core)
  • 16GB internal storage
  • 2GB RAM
  • Micro SD card slot
  • 13MP rear / 13MP rear camera with front facing flash
  • 2,930mAh battery
  • Around $343 – $359

Sony Xperia M5

  • 5-inch 1080p display
  • MediaTek Helio X10 chipset (2GHz octa-core)
  • 16GB internal storage
  • 3GB RAM
  • Micro SD card slot
  • 21.5MP camera hybrid auto focus, 5x lossless zoom / 13MP front facing camera
  • 2,600mAh battery
  • IP65/IP68 dust/water resistance
  • Around $390 – $406

Really, it’s not all that bad, especially for those looking for an affordable mid-range device that doesn’t compromise on camera quality (something that typically doesn’t go hand-in-hand). No word on availability quite yet, but we expect we’ll learn more on August 3rd when Sony makes everything official.

Sony-Xperia-C5-Ultra-thumb Sony-Xperia-C5-Ultra-iPhone-6-Plus Sony-Xperia-M5-black front Sony-Xperia-M5-white back

[via XperiaBlog]

]]>
http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/sony-xperia-c5-ultra-m5-leaked-photos/feed/ 0 http://phandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Sony-Xperia-C5-Ultra-thumb-150x150.jpg
Samsung teams up with MasterCard to bring Samsung Pay to Europe http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/samsung-pay-trials-begin-in-europe/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/samsung-pay-trials-begin-in-europe/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 20:53:49 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169458 samsung pay 1

Anyone can do contactless NFC-based mobile payments (with the exception of the OnePlus 2), but after offering compatibility with traditional magstripe terminals, Samsung Pay was gearing up to be one of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge’s must-have killer features.

We know about Samsung’s plans to bring their contactless mobile payments to both the US and South Korea “this summer” (it’s already begun testing in Korea), but Europe was sort of up in the air. It seems Samsung Pay could be arriving in Europe sooner rather than later with Samsung announcing today that they’ve officially teamed up with MasterCard to also bring the service across the pond.

They’re still not committing to any sort of launch timing, but we imagine it won’t be long after it officially rolls out in the US and Korea where it is said to coincide with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus in September. We’ll let you know if we hear more.

[Samsung Tomorrow]

]]>
http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/samsung-pay-trials-begin-in-europe/feed/ 0 http://phandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/samsung-pay-3-150x150.jpg
25 Best Android Games from July 2015 http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/best-android-games-july-2015/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/best-android-games-july-2015/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 20:25:43 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169420 Best Android Games

See new games from previous months

This weekend marks the beginning of August, which means July is officially over. Shed a tear. We are now entering the “dog days of summer.” When the heat gets unbearable you will need to seek refuge in the air conditioning. You’ll also need some new games to keep you entertained. Luckily July brought us a plethora of awesome new Android titles. In case you missed some of them we have this handy list. Here are the best games from July.

12 Grapes

12grapes

12 Grapes is an indie game that arrived this month for Android. The goal is to pilot the Alien UFO in Christmax town and eat all the humans with positive thoughts. 12 to be exact. There are enemies to avoid and eating humans with negative thoughts or memories might hurt you, use the mind-reading equipment.

A Day in the Woods

dayinwoods

A Day in the Woods is a stylish re-imagining of the traditional sliding puzzle game. You play as Little Red Riding Hood’s wispy winged sprite friend. By moving tiles around each board you’ll help Little Miss Red avoid scary woodland creatures while collecting flowers and berries along the way. There’ll be some friends to help you too, including bunny rabbits, beehives and the local woodcutter.

Agar.io

agario screens

In Agar.io you play as a simple cell. In order for your cell to grow you must absorb smaller cells, but be wary of the cells bigger than you who are trying to do the same thing. This type of game is certainly not new, but Agar.io has some unique mechanics. You can split yourself in order to gobble up cells, and use your mass to shoot virus’ at others.

Alphabear

In Alphabear, you spell words by selecting letters on a grid. When you use letters that are adjacent to each other, bears appear. The more letters you use, the bigger the bear gets, and the more points you earn. When your score is high enough, you’ll also win a bear for your permanent collection. These bears can be used as powerups in future games.

Angry Birds 2

angry birds 2

There have been a ton of Angry Birds titles released since the original, but curiously enough we’ve never gotten a proper sequel. Unfortunately, Angry Birds 2 doesn’t turn the series on its head like we thought it would, but the release does introduce some interesting new gameplay mechanics and features that we’re happy to have.

Captain Sabertooth

capsabertooth

Join Captain Sabertooth and his most trusted men in sea battles and treasure hunts, in storms and hurricanes, with fun and games. Go on fishing trips, play tic-tac-toe and help feed hungry pirates in Tully’s galley. The main goal is to fill Captain Sabertooth’s treasure room with gold and treasure.

Deadlock: Online

deadlock

Deadlock is a competitive multiplayer online dual stick shooter. Up to 8 player online cross-platform multiplayer action. Over 30 weapons including assault rifles, sub-machine guns, grenades and more. Robust loadout system including multiple weapon attachments, and armor.

Democracy vs Freedom

demfree

Take part in truly massive tank battles in Democracy vs Freedom. Vote for orders along with thousands of players, achieve highest military awards and ranks in an everlasting war between forces of democracy and comrades of freedom. Who’s going to win?

Five Nights at Freddy’s 4

freddy4

In this last chapter of the Five Nights at Freddy’s you must once again defend yourself against Freddy, Chica, Bonnie, Foxy, and even worse things that lurk in the shadows. Playing as a child you must safeguard yourself until 6am by watching the doors, as well as warding off unwanted creatures that may venture into your closet or onto the bed behind you.

FootLOL

footlol

FootLOL lets you use mines, shields, aliens, cows, guns and many more cheats to win soccer games. As a manager, you’ll take your team through a few training matches, before being unleashed on new planets. As you go, you’ll unlock new gadgets, improve your players’ performance, and unlock new kits and hats for them to wear.

Gabriel Knight: Sins Of The Fathers

As struggling author and bookstore owner Gabriel Knight, investigate a series of savage ritual killings in New Orleans and their connection to voodoo’s sinister mysteries. The deeper he dives into master storyteller Jane Jensen’s tale of terror and suspense, the closer he’ll come to discovering the secrets of his own family history and unfolding his destiny.

Game of Thrones Episode 5

Game of Thrones Episode 5 A Nest of Vipers

Telltale’s Game of Thrones is a six part game series set in the very same world as the hit HBO show’s. More of a side story, the Game of Thrones game has players following the House Forrester who is one of the few loyal to the unlucky Starks. Episode 5 is now available via an in-app purchase.

Outpost Command

outpost

This completely free strategy game has pure and simple rules with deep gameplay, inspired by computer games such as Moonbase Commander and board games like checkers and Go. Use your node network for both attack and defence to outmaneuver your opponent and cut off their main base while protecting your own.

Piloteer

piloteer

In Piloteer, a renowned inventor is determined to overcome the stigma associated with flying a jetpack and convince the world that jetpacks should be revered by all. Blending elements of both physics and trick-based games, players will need to maneuver their state-of-the-art jetpack through the skies while completing a myriad of increasingly difficult missions to change public perceptions.

Prismatica

prismatica

Prismatica is a puzzle game with a brand new twist, inspired by Rubik’s Cubes, Sudoku, and Dodecahedrons. The goal is to unscramble a series of puzzle boards by rotating multicolored pieces to match a logical pattern. It’s easy to learn and simple to play but surprisingly deep and difficult to master at later levels, presenting even the most veteran of puzzle enthusiasts with brain-tickling challenge.

Quadrush

Quadrush is a game paying tribute to arcade classics with its own twist. Test your skills of speed and perception. It’s like playing Tetris with TNT. Challenge your friends to see who can survive longer in the gravity madness.

REDDEN

redden

In REDDEN you control a sort of flying bullet. You become a tool and should shoot the targets as riding the wind, avoiding and breaking obstacles in the moment. Drag the screen or lean the device to control characters intuitively. Take out the enemies and avoid obstacles.

SPACECOM

spacecom

Spacecom pushes your ability to strategize with a focus on real-time tactics and planning. Use proven maneuvers learned from military legends or devise your own plans. Test your wits in single player campaign, go head-to-head with up to 5 opponents in multiplayer or experiment with new strategies in AI skirmish mode.

Sparkle 3 Genesis

sparkle3

Sparkle 2 is a visually stunning game. Control the fate of a single dreamlike organism through the course of it’s life. Explore the vast ocean in search of micro-elements that will help you evolve from a tiny speck of life into a magnificent Sparkle. You can choose whether your Sparkle will become a quick and relentless hunter, a peaceful plant-eater or a creature whose feature lie in between.

Spin Commander

Spin Commander is a great simple game that uses your phone’s accelorometer for controls. Your avatar stays at the center of the screen. To change directions you have to spin your phone. Tap the screen to shot at other objects to push them away. Stay alive as long as you can.

Sword Of Xolan

xolan

Sword of Xolan is an action platformer game that includes the juice of pixel art style. Xolan is a young and brave man who fights for justice no matter what the cost. Help him on his adventure to stand against darkness and bring back the peace and serenity that once was.

The WUUUUUUUUUUUU

The WUUUUUUUUUUUU (that’s 12 U’s) is one of the most unique games we’ve ever seen. To control the WUUUUUUUUUUUU you have to literally say “WUUUUUUUUUUUU” to your phone. Your voice controls the movements of the WUUUUUUUUUUUU. Raise your voice to raise him, or stay silent to let him drop.

This War of Mine

warmine

In This War Of Mine you do not play as an elite soldier, rather a group of civilians trying to survive in a besieged city; struggling with lack of food, medicine and constant danger from snipers and hostile scavengers. The game provides an experience of war seen from an entirely new angle.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf

warhammer

Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf is the first Warhammer game for Android that’s actually a board game. Lead the Sons of Russ into battle and slash your way through hordes of ferocious enemies with Boltgun fire and Chainsword teeth. Write your own saga in the annals of the Space Wolves Chapter as you hunt your sworn enemies.

Zero Punctuation: Hatfall

hatfall

Hatfall is a high-energy game of skill and hat-wearing. When Yahtzee finds that his hat has gone missing there’s only one option: collect as many hats as you possibly can. Luckily, hats are literally falling, ready to be caught by your head. Just make sure you avoid the anvils and refrigerators that are also falling from the sky.

***

How many of these games have you played? Did we miss any other great games from July?

]]>
http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/best-android-games-july-2015/feed/ 0 http://phandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Best-Android-Games-150x150.png
Textra and ChompSMS claim to have “solved” Stagefright with latest updates, but did they really? http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/stagefright-protection-feature/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/stagefright-protection-feature/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:12:21 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169430 textra stagefright protection

Those who use Textra and ChompSMS for their messaging needs will soon be treated to new updates today. We’re looking at version 3.1  for the former, and version 7.1 for the latter. These updates will carry with them a feature that’ll make those who’ve heard of the Stagefright vulnerability (read up in case you haven’t, it’s important) take notice: their claim is that “Stagefright Protection” is now built-in, calling it a “rock solid solution.”

So what exactly does this mean? Reading the company’s online knowledgebase turns up the following explanation:

The stagefright exploit can occur when any SMS / MMS app creates the MMS video thumbnail that it shows in the conversation bubble or notification or if a user presses the play button on the video or saves to Gallery. We have provided a solution for ‘StageFright’ in Release 3.1 of Textra out now.

Very Important: In other SMS / MMS apps, turning off auto-retrieve is **NOT** enough as once you tap ‘download’ the exploit becomes active. Additionally you would not get any MMS pics or group messages. Not a good solution.

Sounds good, right? Not exactly.

We take issue with a couple of things in regards to that statement and release. For starters, the whole “Stagefright exploit” thing is a bit misleading. Stagefright on its own is not an exploit. Stagefright is a multimedia library built into the Android framework. That particular library has a vulnerability, which a malicious application (which is not yet known to exist) can use to exploit it. It’s important to make that distinction if for nothing more than to be clear about what, exactly, we’re facing here.

Getting that out of the way, the next thing to note is that it’s unlikely a simple app update can “solve” the Stagefright issue. They can take steps to help better protect users, though, and to Textra and ChompSMS’s credit that’s what we believe is going on here.

From what we can tell, this “Stagefright Protection” feature is a simple “disable automatic MMS downloads” function that exists in nearly every competent messaging app out there, including Hangouts, Android’s built in messenger and other third-party options. The difference with Textra’s feature is a neat new name, and a few warnings about Stagefright before allowing the user to download the video.

Here’s what happens when you receive an MMS in TextraSMS with Stagefright Protection enabled:

stagefright 1

As you can see, the message was not downloaded and the thumbnail hasn’t been resolved, so if this video has an exploit targeting Stagefright then it will not yet be able to execute its code. The message has a nice “Stagefright Protection” label beneath it.

stagefright 2

This is what turns up when you hit the Play button on the MMS message: an even bigger box, with an even bigger play button, and an even bigger “Stagefright” label.

stagefright 3

Finally, clicking the Play button one last time will bring up a nice warning message reminding you that downloaded videos may contain an exploit called Stagefright (remember, there is no known exploit, and if there were its name wouldn’t be Stagefright as Stagefright is simply the name of the multimedia library that is vulnerable to being exploited).

Pressing the OKAY button will then bring up whichever video you were going to view, and that’s it. If said video actually did contain an exploit that targets Stagefright then it would, in fact, execute at this moment.

And that’s that. This is as much “protection” as seeing a yield sign on the road. It’s not actually stopping you from going ahead and playing the video, but you should know that there’s a chance (albeit, in this case, a very very small chance) that the video could contain code which could harm your device.

Granted, this is more than other apps are doing against so-called Stagefright exploits at this point. It’s good that they’re being communicative and letting the user know that there’s a potentially dangerous flaw that may put their device at risk. We just wish they didn’t have to do it in a way that looks like little more than a tacky marketing ploy to win a few more downloads.

We’ve reached out to Delicious Inc., who owns both Textra and ChompSMS, for comment and clarification on this feature, and we’ll be sure to report back with a follow-up story once we’ve heard from them.

[Thanks to the folks at AndroidForums.com for bringing it to our attention!]

]]>
http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/stagefright-protection-feature/feed/ 0 http://phandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/textra-stagefright-protection-150x150.png
YotaPhone 2 will not be launching in the US, will refund money from successful Indiegogo campaign http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/yotaphone-2-will-not-be-launching-in-the-us-will-refund-money-from-successful-indiegogo-campaign/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/yotaphone-2-will-not-be-launching-in-the-us-will-refund-money-from-successful-indiegogo-campaign/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:12:21 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169429 YotaPhone 2 DSC07837

Despite a successful Indiegogo campaign to bring the world’s first dual-sided E-Ink smartphone to the US, the YotaPhone 2’s stateside release has officially been  cancelled. YotaPhone sent out emails to backers this morning letting them know of they wouldn’t be receiving their devices as planned, citing “unforeseen delays” in production, a crux for any smartphone startup.

To make amends, YotaPhone is offering these early backers either an international model — which isn’t compatible with US LTE bands (but HSPA+ will work just fine) — or a full refund. According to YotaPhone, sticking a US-compatible modem in their phone was more difficult than expected. The company — who says claims they were blindsided by the development — placed full blame on their supplier who wasn’t able to meet their commitments.

“This despite spending months finalizing and securing the deal to bring to life the North American variant of YotaPhone 2, and when we launched this campaign we were confident our supplier would be able to follow through with their commitment. This was a shock to everyone at Yota Devices, and our leadership team, including our CEO, met with the manufacturer last week in a last-ditch effort to find a solution but the logistics were insurmountable and the device would simply arrive too late.”

So, why not just email backers about delays and send them the phone later than originally planned (like other crowd funding campaigns often do)? YotaPhone says the delays would have interfered with their 2016 roadmap, which is when they plan to launch a new YotaPhone at a more affordable price than the originals.

Where does YotaPhone go from here? The good news is that they’ve brought on a new manufacturing partner to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again and that they can bring a new YotaPhone — with updated hardware specs — to the US quickly and without any issue. For real this time.

 

]]>
http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/yotaphone-2-will-not-be-launching-in-the-us-will-refund-money-from-successful-indiegogo-campaign/feed/ 0 http://phandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/yotaphone-phan-150x150.jpg
NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet’s Android 5.1.1 update fixes audio issues http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/shield-tablet-audio-update/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/shield-tablet-audio-update/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 17:13:56 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169426 nvidia shield tablet

The NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet may have been recalled for a scary battery issue, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other perfectly functional units out there which need ongoing treatment. NVIDIA has released Android 5.1.1 for the tablet.

As we know, Android 5.1.1 didn’t change much over the base Android 5.1 update the tablet already had, with Google using the release to clean up some longstanding and annoying bugs. As such, NVIDIA hasn’t done much either, though they did note they provided optimizations and fixes for some audio issues the tablet suffered.

Beyond that, it’s your typical stability improvement, and sometimes that’s all we need. You should be able to find the new goods by heading to Settings > About Tablet. Be sure your battery is charged a good bit before attempting to pull it down.

[via NVIDIA]

]]>
http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/shield-tablet-audio-update/feed/ 0 http://phandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/half-life-2-eposode-one-shield-tablet-150x150.png
Android M Developer Preview 3 was supposed to be out by today, but it probably won’t http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/android-m-developer-preview-3-delay/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/android-m-developer-preview-3-delay/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 16:44:14 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169424 Android-M-Nexus-6

When Google first opened the floodgates to the Android M Developer preview, we were told the 3rd revision would be out by the end of July. Welp, it’s the 31st, and unless Google has a solid base of code ready to come out of the oven right this moment they probably won’t be able to keep that promise.

Googler Wojtek Kalicinski chimed in about the closing window, and while he never expressly confirmed the update won’t be here by the end of the day, the tone of his statement doesn’t sound good:

We want this to be a near final release to test your apps on, but we need a little more time to get it out to you.

Google did, in fact, suggest they wanted Preview 3 to be a near-final release. That means they have to break one of 2 promises, and we’re sure you wouldn’t want them to break the promise that this release will be near final and stable for the sake of getting it out a bit sooner.

All that said, Google was quite swift and deliberate about getting the first two Android M preview builds out on time, so there’s no reason not to give them some wiggle room on perhaps the 2nd most important release, with the most important obviously being the final shebang set to arrive in Q3.

]]>
http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/android-m-developer-preview-3-delay/feed/ 0 http://phandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Android-M-Nexus-6-150x150.png
Hangouts is getting more refined contact invitation settings http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/hangouts-invitation-settings/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/hangouts-invitation-settings/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 14:23:15 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169419 Google Hangouts banner

Heads-up: some new chat invitation settings are inbound to Hangouts. The change was detailed by a Googler who mentioned users will now be able to easily allow friends and family with your phone number or email address to contact you without needing to first invite them. You can also specify whether certain people will be able to send you an invitation at all.

hangouts invitations

The change is first rolling out on the web, though there’s no indication when it’ll arrive to mobile app versions. We imagine it’d be here whenever Hangouts version 4 launches, but considering Android users are still without that kit of software we’re completely left in the dark. All we can do is cross our fingers hope it’s sometime soon.

]]>
http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/hangouts-invitation-settings/feed/ 0 http://phandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Google-Hangouts-banner-150x150.png