Phandroid Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:58:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 T-Mobile adds 14 new music services to Music Freedom (including Google Play Music) Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:58:24 +0000 T-Mobile Music Freedom 1

T-Mobile made nice on their promise to greatly increase the list of services compatible with Music Freedom by the end of the holiday season. In case you aren’t aware, Music Freedom allows T-Mobile customers to listen to music while using network data without having it count toward data usage. It’s a great perk for being part of the Uncarrier movement, and now it’s getting even bigger — 14 new services have been added to the list.

The biggest name is Google Play Music, one which everyone’s been waiting for since Music Freedom was announced. Other notables include SoundCloud and Xbox Music, but that’s just scratching the surface. Here’s the full list of new additions:

  • Google Play Music
  • Xbox Music
  • SoundCloud
  • RadioTunes
  • Digitally Imported
  • Fit Radio
  • Fresca Radio
  • Live365
  • Mad Genius Radio
  • radioPup
  • Saavn

That brings the full list to a whopping 27 services. Here are the other 13 that were added in previous updates:

  • Rhapsody
  • Pandora
  • AccuRadio
  • Black Planet
  • Grooveshark
  • iHeartRadio
  • iTunes Radio
  • Samsung Milk Music
  • Radio Paradise
  • Rdio
  • Slacker
  • Songza
  • Spotify

Not too shabby, T-Mobile. Still not seeing your favorite music service? T-Mobile regularly holds polls to see which services are most requested, and they also ask for the creators of these services to submit a request to be included. Their lofty dream of having every music service imaginable available on Music Freedom means it’s not impossible to see even the most niche apps get added over time, as well, so contact the developers of your favorite apps and sit tight if they haven’t already been added.

[via T-Mobile]

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7 things I love (and hate) and about the Nexus Player Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:27:39 +0000 nexus-player-puck

If you read our Nexus Player review, you already know how we feel about the new media streaming device from Google. With a little more time to stew on things, our opinions have only solidified. Here are 7 things we loved (and hated) about Google’s appealing-but-flawed Android TV flagship.

Love: Simplified user interface


For a media box, the Nexus Player is as it should be: a super clean and straightforward interface makes it easy to quickly jump into your favorite movie, TV show, or game; find new content in the Google Play store; or discover recommended media from sources including YouTube. Initial setup, which takes about five minutes, is about as complicated as the Nexus Player and its Android TV interface gets.

Hate: No TV passthrough


We get that this isn’t Google TV. We get that the Nexus Player is designed as a standalone media player operating independently of your television service provider. But there is something frustrating about a lack of an HDMI passthrough. It’s a tiny step to change the input on your TV from your cable box to your Nexus Player, but it’s one step that we wish wasn’t there. Seamless jumping from cable content to internet-streamed media is the sort of integration that should have been a killer feature for the now-dead Google TV platform. If only Google hadn’t abandoned the functionality with Android TV and the Nexus Player.

Love: Gaming experience

We’re just going to say it: gaming on the Nexus Player is better than it should be. That’s not meant as a slight to Android TV at all. Many devices have attempted to bring the Android gaming experience to bigger screens and done so without much success. The Nexus Player achieves perhaps the best version of Android gaming in the living room without even trying that hard. This has a lot to do with Google’s decision to keep a handle on the apps and games that are being approved for Android TV — developers have so far brought their ‘A’ game. There are plenty of quality games that take advantage of only the included remote in addition to a strong selection utilizing the optional gamepad.

Hate: Lack of native apps


The gaming selection at launch is strong if a bit limited, but the Nexus Player simply lacks a number of must-have native apps for content streaming. Standards like Netflix and Hulu Plus are present, but HBO Go is a no-go and Amazon content might never find its way to the Fire TV competitor. Popular music streaming services like Pandora and iHeartRadio are there, but big dog Spotify is notably not. Hopefully the situation will improve as the Android TV ecosystem matures, but its a major shortcoming out of the gate.

Love: Google Cast support

Google Cast is the Nexus Player’s saving grace. Many of the aforementioned missing apps and services can still find their way to Android TV via casting from a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Once Google Cast (the same technology as used in the popular, inexpensive Chromecast) is setup, pushing content to your TV is as easy as tapping a button. Users of the Chrome browser can even share the content of individual tabs, allowing for web-only streaming services not available on Android TV to find their way to bigger screens.

Love: Voice search


Entering search queries via the click pad of the Nexus Player’s included remote can quickly become annoying — good thing Google has baked voice search right into Android TV. Tap the microphone button on the remote, speak your query or command, and skip the hassle of tedious manual text entry. This is the same accurate and responsive voice input we have come to love on Android devices, though it’s especially well-suited for this device.

Hate: No microphone on Gamepad


The optional Nexus Player gamepad doubles as a great means to navigate Android TV’s menus and content. If only it included the same built-in microphone support as the standard Nexus Player remote. We can’t say it’s a major oversight, but we can say it would have been a nice touch to bring all available controls together into one package.


The Nexus Player does what it does really well. It’s what it doesn’t do that makes evaluating the device more troublesome. As is apparent above, however, there is slightly more to love about the Android TV box than there is to hate (at least in our opinion). Remember to check out the full Nexus Player review for even more and be sure to check out our Nexus Player and Android TV watering holes over at the all-new Android Forums.

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South Korea gets Android Lollipop on the LG G3 this week Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:21:32 +0000 lg g3 lollipop

LG has announced that they’re bringing Android 5.0 Lollipop on the LG G3 to more people. After a limited rollout in Poland (likely to test the upgrade in a smaller setting), the company has confirmed that folks with the LG G3 on all three major carriers in South Korea would be receiving the upgrade by the end of this week.

While this doesn’t do much for anyone not within those borders, a South Korean rollout likely means LG feels everything is ready for prime time. Just as with LG smartphone launches in the region, you can think of South Korea as the unofficial kickstart to widespread rollouts in other areas as the weeks and months move on.

Unfortunately there’s no telling how long, exactly, it will take for LG to reach more people. First dibs outside of Korea will likely be awarded to owners of unlocked versions. Carrier rollouts throughout Europe and North America will be sure to follow, though as you know the timeline for that is always iffy. Best not to look too far ahead, we’d say (otherwise the wait becomes a tad bit unbearable). We’ll be reaching out to LG to see if they have anything to share on rollout plans for other regions.

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Motorola sending Soak Test invites to Verizon Moto X 2014 users; Android Lollipop in tow? Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:02:38 +0000 Moto_X_2014_Lollipop_Phandroid

Heads up if you’re a Motorola Moto X (2014) owner on Verizon Wireless. Motorola is sending out notifications about an incoming soak test to get a forthcoming update ready for the masses. While Motorola obviously didn’t give any meaningful details on the upgrade, we’re assuming this is the big Android Lollipop rollout that Motorola began for owners of the unlocked version of the device.

In the event that it is Lollipop, you shouldn’t expect Motorola to stray from its course — it’ll be in the most pure form you can get without a Nexus device, though not without a couple of Motorola’s treats (read: apps) thrown in. The changelog for the Pure edition should mostly apply to Verizon’s variant, though there might be a few Verizon-specific changes to expect. We’ll be sure to track the upgrade down once testing begins so stay tuned for any further developments!

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Nexus 6 teardown reveals it’s been bolted down tight Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:52:49 +0000 nexus 6 teardown

Teardown time! This morning we get a look at the innards of the Nexus 6, Google and Motorola’s flagship developer and enthusiast smartphone for 2014. The teardown reveals a chassis that’s been bolted down with an overwhelming amount of screws, though a steady hand and patience are enough to eradicate that situation.

The Nexus 6 scored a 7/10 on merits of repairability (10 being easiest to repair), with the only negative knocks being a few components hard-soldered to the motherboard and a display with a digitizer infused (making it a bit more expensive to replace a display should you crack it). Otherwise, it looks like Motorola used the same clean and tight assembly that they’ve become known for and you shouldn’t have any worries about the quality of this thing beneath the surface.

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Report: Samsung missed Galaxy S5 sales expectations by 40%, looking to relieve JK Shin of duties Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:32:03 +0000 Samsung Galaxy S5 DSC05785

The news for Samsung just keeps getting worse and worse. The South Korean company found itself on a bit of a skid in 2014, missing revenue and profit estimates left and right. Much of that was due to a couple of miscues in mobile that led to executive JK Shin getting a hefty pay cut and Samsung making a major change to their production strategy for 2015.

But things may be worse than we originally imagined. According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung sold just 12 million units of the Samsung Galaxy S5 in its first four months on sale, which is around 4 million units shy of where the Galaxy S4 was within the same time frame. That may sound like a lot by any other company’s standards, but Samsung is the top dog in the smartphone game and they assumed they’d be able to sell a lot more.

samsung logo phan

The company reportedly missed estimates by a whopping 40%, which means they spent a ton of money producing a ton of units that will just sit inside warehouses. The report suggests Samsung missed expectations in all markets aside from the United States, with the biggest drop coming in China — sales were down an alarming 50% in that corner of the globe.

Much has been made about the recent uptick of competition in China, with companies like Xiaomi and Meizu coming to market with impressive devices with equally impressive price tags. Samsung’s name alone might have been enough to help them edge the competition just a couple of short years ago, but this emergence of quality, affordable products seems to be putting a bigger dent in their bottom line than even they may have imagined.

So what else is Samsung looking to do to help overcome these deficits? Well, the same report goes on to suggest that head of mobile JK Shin might be handing his keys over to co-CEO Yoon Boo-keun. The duo were appointed joint CEOs (the former of mobile and the latter of consumer electronics) back in 2013 following pleasing results in their respective areas of business. This move would look to consolidate consumer electronics and mobile into one division, with just a lone CEO overseeing everything.

More than just disappointing performance, though, this shift could spawn from Samsung’s recent surge in the smart home area. With every appliance and TV looking to become “smart” it only makes sense that mobile and consumer electronics become one in the same.

It’s not that the current dual-pronged setup is holding Samsung back (we imagine their divisions all work quite well together as is), but there’s no reason they can’t use this opportunity to adopt a new look as they attempt to climb back atop the mountain they’ve been on all these years.

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Luxury watch makers beginning to wage war on “pirated” smartwatch faces Mon, 24 Nov 2014 12:17:02 +0000 Phandroid Facer

Growing pains are likely to come with any emerging product category. While Android Wear can’t claim credit for starting the smart watch category, it can take credit for its skyrocketing popularity. The platform’s potential grows day by day in many different areas, though there’s one big area they nailed early on: customization.

Custom watch faces are awesome and allows users to have the watch they want with little ease, and the flexibility to change how said watch looks at the simple click of a button. Unfortunately that great power comes with some great responsibility. Luxury watch designers don’t like the fact that folks are making digital renditions of their timepieces and they’re not hesitant to let anyone know about it.

According to TorrentFreak, the legal hounds from IWC, Panerai, Omega, Fossil, Armani, Michael Kors, Tissot, Certina, Swatch, Flik Flak and Mondaine have been issuing cease and desist orders and takedown notices for sites hosting smartwatch faces that copy their watch designs.

One such site is FaceRepo, a great one-stop shop for Android Wear watch faces that we’ve covered here in the past. The website allows users to upload their watch faces for others to download. Many of the uploads are great, unique and original creations, though some look to do nothing but emulate existing mechanical watch faces through the advent of digital design.

rolex watch face android wear

Moto 360 with a Rolex face

The owner of FaceRepo understands the sort of trouble that can come from hosting watch faces like these, and he’s no less respectful of the plight of the aforementioned watch designers:

Although some of the replica faces we’ve received take downs for are very cool looking and represent significant artistic talent on the part of the designer, we believe that owners of copyrights or trademarks have the right to defend their brand.

Thankfully he responds to all valid takedown requests with compliance so his site won’t be under legal scrutiny and pressure. While there aren’t many other popular destinations for finding custom watch faces (Google Play being the obvious first stop for many), these companies aren’t shy in protecting their work in the early going and have seemingly issued a warning shot for anyone who might look to step on their toes in the future.

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T-Mobile proudly announces their Nexus 6 won’t have logos, bloatware Mon, 24 Nov 2014 11:45:04 +0000 Nexus_6_Midnight_Blue-3

AT&T dwellers got their hands on the Nexus 6 and immediately noticed a few things that didn’t sit well. Carrier logos, boot animations and network restrictions — while not all that horrifying — annoyed enough people that a big stink was made about it. Fortunately for those folks AT&T’s Nexus 6 isn’t that hard to “fix,” though T-Mobile’s proud of the fact that you won’t have to “fix” their variant at all.

Company man Des Smith, a senior product manager who launched the T-Mobile G1 for the company way back when, took to Google+ to speak directly to the followers of their Uncarrier movement and told them they won’t have to worry about any big bad carrier stuff being shipped off with their Nexus 6 units:

No Corporate Logo, No Bloatware, no crap you don’t want on the #Nexus6 from+T-Mobile​:

That’s Un-carrier – listening to our customers and giving them what they want, not sticking a stupid corporate logo and a bunch of crap software I know you guys don’t want on your #Nexus device.

We know you guys buy a #Nexus6 to avoid that kind of thing!

Google did want to highlight the Virtual Preload (VPL) capabilities on Lollipop, so we made MyAccount available if you want it… But you can totally delete it. That’s what we do.

Hope you like what we’ve chosen to do there (or more importantly, what we’ve chosen not to do).

And the little stuff like that is the reason T-Mobile has gained a lot of momentum this past year. Let’s hope they keep this up (even if only to keep everyone else on their toes and the edge of their seats).

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Android Wallpaper: Winter Wonderland Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:00:08 +0000 snow wallpaper

See past editions of Android Wallpaper

I don’t want to believe we’re already 3 weeks into November, but Mother Nature is making a compelling argument. The snow has already started piling up in many places. Winter is here, weather we like it or not. A lot of nasty stuff comes with winter: icy roads, delayed flights, cold toes, and sore throats. But winter is not all bad.

Winter can be one of the most beautiful times of the year…if you’re warm and don’t have anywhere to go. Enjoy the these 6 HD wintry wallpapers. To get one of these wallpapers on your phone, tablet, or even PC, simply tap or click on the image to see it at full resolution. Then long press or right-click to save the image. Let us know which one is your favorite, and be sure to share a screenshot if you use one of these wallpapers! Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

Push new Android Wallpaper to your Android device with our Pushbullet channel.

close snow

frozen creek

purple snow

tall trees


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Nexus 6 is hiding an RGB LED, can be used for notifications if you’re willing to root Sat, 22 Nov 2014 02:50:05 +0000 Nexus 6 LED notification light

Seems the more we learn about the Nexus 6, the more it’s sounding like it was quickly hurried out the door. Another piece of evidence? The smartphone’s dormant (hidden) RGB LED light as discovered by some folks over on XDA. Yes, it’s there. Right smack dab in the center of the top speaker. Like most things, you’ll need root if you’re looking to activate it and an app like Light Flow to configure it.

Nexus 6 Red Blue LED light

If you need more help, check out the thread over on XDA. In the meantime, gawk over these pictures imagine what life would be like if you had the option to choose ambient display mode, LED notifications, or both on your Nexus 6.

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Pushbullet’s Universal Copy & Paste now works on Mac and Linux Sat, 22 Nov 2014 00:47:25 +0000 Pushbullet

Back in August, the folks at Pushbullet unveiled their latest feature to blow our socks off: Universal Copy & Paste. A feature that allowed users to share the clipboard function on their PCs with their Android smartphones, it worked seamlessly and with very little setup. The problem? Universal Copy & Paste was only available via the Pushbullet Windows app, leaving Mac and Linux users out in the cold (at least for time being).

As promised, Pushbullet is back with an update to their Chrome and Firefox extensions, finally bringing universal copy/paste to Mac and Linux computers. Once enabled (in both the extension and Android app), you’ll be able to copy text from your computer and paste it on your Android device (or vice versa). It may not sound like much, but it’s yet another feather in the hat of one of the best Android apps on the market. Pushbullet is also promising iOS support in the near future so be on the lookout for that if you’re a multi-platform user.

If don’t have Pushbullet installed on your device, stop wasting time and grab it via the link below.

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Google offering 1TB of free Drive storage when buying a new Chromebook for a limited time Fri, 21 Nov 2014 23:12:12 +0000 Google Chromebook

Looking for an affordable laptop for the holidays? Google is making their popular Chromebook line a lot more enticing by upping their previous 100GB of free Google Drive storage to a whopping 1TB (that’s 1,000GB) for 2 years. The offer is good for any new Chromebook user buying a laptop either in-store, online, or through the Google Play Store.

It’s not a bad deal by any means. A 1TB Google Drive plan runs about $10 a month and over the course of 2 years, that’s a $240 in savings. By comparison, the cheapest Chromebook is barely $200 meaning you even get to save a little bit of dough in the process (if you were planning on getting the storage anyway). Don’t forget, Google Drive storage is all encompassing spanning across Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and even includes your Gmail storage.

Typically, internal hardware storage on Chromebooks are lacking compared to “full fledged” PCs, but with 1TB of Drive storage, it should take some of the sting out of moving all your pictures, music, and other media to the cloud. The deal is only good until January 1st, so get a move on.


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AT&T’s Nexus 6 stock is being returned to Motorola because of faulty software [UPDATE] Fri, 21 Nov 2014 21:18:38 +0000 Nexus 6 IMG_6216

It’s no secret the Nexus 6 for AT&T had a fair amount of the carrier’s influence as far as software is concerned. In fact, earlier today we even showed you the necessary steps you can take to remove much of this, bringing back a “pure” Nexus the way the Android gods intended. Now, a software bug that’s apparently unique to the AT&T model of the Nexus 6 could make it hard to find the device at your local store.

According to an internal memo sent to AT&T stores, they are to return all stock of the Nexus 6 back to Motorola thanks to “incorrect software” being shipped on initial units. While only these initial shipments seem to be affected, rather than sift through all their stock, all of it is going back to the mother ship.

ATT Nexus 6 software bug

It’s not clear exactly what the bug is, although we’re seeing reports of some devices randomly powering off, or not booting up properly. Yeah, not a fun time, especially for a phone that should just work. A Motorola spokesperson confirmed the bug in a statement:

“We delivered a small number of Nexus 6 smartphones with incorrect software to AT&T customers who pre-ordered. The incorrect software prevents the phone from starting up properly. We will provide replacements for consumers whose phones are affected. The problem has been corrected and the phones currently shipping are fine.”

UPDATE: Turns out we may have another idea what the “software” problem is. A user on Reddit  posted the following images which, like AT&T said, wouldn’t allow his phone to boot properly. In fact, he was stuck in bootloader mode for a good while. Once he was able to get everything up and running, turns out his Nexus 6 was running some kind of Android 4.4.4 KitKat test build — not 5.0 Lollipop. L.O.L.

Nexus 6 att software bug


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Sprint’s Black Friday 2014: $200 off Samsung Galaxy S5, up to $300 off JBL and Harmon-Kardon audio equipment Fri, 21 Nov 2014 21:03:45 +0000 Check out the top Black Friday 2014 Deals and Cyber Monday 2014 Deals!


Sprint has announced their Black Friday deals for 2014. The effort by the Now Network this year is quite moderate, though if you’re in the market for a Samsung Galaxy S5 or some new audio accessories you’ll want to see what they have to offer.

For starters, the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Samsung Galaxy S5 Sport can both be had for $200 less than they typically go for. The catch? This price only applies to those who opt to buy the phone for full price through Easy Pay or Sprint’s leasing program. The former will get you the device for $0 down and 24 installments of $18.75.

The leasing program, while a tad similar in nature, has its differences. You’ll pay $20 over the course of 24 months, though you’ll receive an $8.34 “Black Friday credit” every month, effectively bringing  payments down to $11.66. And that’s about it for cellular hardware. Sprint’s also holding some pretty nice promos for those who want to get the most out of their audio experience.

The biggest deal will come with the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio, a $400 piece of kit that promises to deliver superior Bluetooth audio. You can get a massive $300 off, but not without buying something else. If you buy three or more accessories, or any JBL or Harmon-Kardon product, you can get the wireless speakers for just $99.

The cheapest product listed on their website that fits that bill goes for $60, though considering you’re getting $300 off a pretty nice set of speakers we wouldn’t complain too much (and there’s also a chance they have more to choose from inside their actual storefront).

Finally, with any purchase you make you’ll get 50% off the purchase of JBL’s Synchro Slate Headphones or Harman Kardon’s SOHO II NC earbuds for $139 and $99, respectively. Sprint was quick to note that the deals for audio accessories will only be available in-store, so you’ll want to be quick to the punch on the morning of November 27th when their doors swing open.

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Google shuts the doors on its Glass stores, Basecamps no longer accepting appointments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:48:54 +0000 Google Glass Headquarters

There’s no question Google Glass — a moonshot project birthed from the creative minds of Google’s X Labs — has faced its share of uphill battles. From public outcry over privacy concerns to hardware constraints, it hasn’t been easy trying to change the world with a face-mounted computer doohickey. While Google and Glass supporters can deny reports of doom and gloom surrounding the program, the sudden closure of Google Glass Basecamps definitely isn’t going to help their PR department at all.

Aimed at providing personal, face-to-face communication with Glass Explorers, the makeshift stores were a great way for new customers to, not only browse and try on all the various colors and accessories available, but receive technical support/exchanges as well. Upon first receiving an invite to purchase Glass, Explorers were strongly urged to visit a Google Glass “Basecamp” at one of their 3 locations: San Francisco, New York, or Los Angeles. We gave you guys our experience with the Google Glass Basecamp last year in our “day in the life with Google Glass” series.

Although we never once thought them to be permanent, it now seems the short lived Google Glass Basecamps are coming to an end with Google no longer accepting appointments at any of their campuses. Does this mean Google Glass is finally kaput? Not so fast.

Google Glass Basecamp appoinments

With Google Glass recently and its wide range of shades, frames, and accessories recently becoming available on the Google Play Store, this is merely a logical transition into Google’s tried-and-true online store front as the product (we hope) is still preparing for a wider consumer launch. Google admits the wearables market hasn’t been easy to break into, thanks in part to pricing where Glass costs a small fortune just to beta test.

Google Glass fitting room

It’s still a shame. Basecamps were also a great way for ordinary folk build relationships with not only other Glass Explorers via community events, but some of the people that helped shape Glass as well. Google Glass Basecamps were an experience look none other and we’re grateful to have been apart of it. We’ll always have the memories.

Thanks, Andrew!

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