Phandroid http://phandroid.com Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:53:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 T-Mobile announces new value-packed family plan, but only for a limited time http://phandroid.com/2014/07/28/t-mobile-family-simple-choice-plan/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/28/t-mobile-family-simple-choice-plan/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:53:45 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145703 If T-Mobile didn’t already show the other guys they know sheer value, perhaps today’s move will make it hard to miss. Magenta has announced a new Simple Choice family plan that gives considerable savings over the competition. A family of four can get unlimited talk, text and data (10GB of which are 4G LTE) for just $100 per month. To give an idea of how that stacks up to similar offerings from the other guys T-Mobile put together a handy little chart:

t-mobile-family-vs-others

Not too bad, right? Now for the catch: the offer is only available between July 30th and September 30th 2014, and the plan will only afford you 10GB of data until July 2nd 2016. After that, the plan reverts to 4GB of 4G LTE data (1GB per line) at the same $100 per month, but you’re obviously free to add more where needed.

We’re not sure whether to be happy that T-Mobile is continuing to shake things up with huge moves like this or sad that other carriers can’t follow suit. Either way, this is the type of stuff that breeds limitless competition, and it only results in what’s best for consumers.

[via T-Mobile]

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Samsung’s Tizen plans suffer another setback with delayed smartphone http://phandroid.com/2014/07/28/samsungs-tizen-plans-suffer-another-setback-with-delayed-smartphone/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/28/samsungs-tizen-plans-suffer-another-setback-with-delayed-smartphone/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:54:20 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145698 samsung-z1

We have no doubt that Samsung hopes to eventually free themselves from the chains binding them to Android (the chains being money, because they make a crap ton as the top OEM by far), but it seems to have been a lot more difficult than they anticipated. Samsung has announced the delay of the launch of the Samsung Z, their first Tizen smartphone, in Russia. The delay is seemingly indefinite as Samsung had no new release date details to provide.

Samsung didn’t give any reasons for the delay, but their indefinite holdout leads us to believe either one of two things happened:

  • Presales weren’t as strong as they’d hoped. It wouldn’t be the first time Samsung has pulled out on a Tizen launch due to sales — the company was originally forced to ix-nay on the Izen-tay last year when Japanese carrier partners decided they didn’t want anything to do with the phone.
  • They encountered some production issues or experience-breaking bugs. It’s still a relatively new platform and we’re sure if has its fair share of growing pains to deal with. It wouldn’t be out of the question to suggest Samsung delayed the phone to address some things that could harm their brand.

Tizen is a smartphone operating system based on Meego (which was once being developed by Nokia and Intel), but it didn’t quite catch on in its early going and Android took a considerable lead for open source Linux-based operating systems. With much of the world leaving it for dead, Samsung seemed determine to turn one man’s trash into another’s treasure.

They’ve taken a few key steps to introducing Tizen to the market, the biggest of which being the shift from Android to Tizen on their Gear lineup of smart watches (the Android Wear-based Samsung Gear Live not included, mind you). Despite resistance from hardcore Android fans, the smartwatch experience with Tizen seems to provide considerable benefits compared to Android — better battery life and performance are two areas where Tizen is said to outshine Samsung’s bite-sized customization of Android.

The issue with Tizen comes from a lack of a real ecosystem and a platform unfamiliar to developers. This means apps and custom ROMs become more difficult to load up. That said, the out-of-box experience Samsung intended for you to have works just as well with Tizen, if not better, if that’s the route you prefer to go.

That could be just one of many reasons why Samsung has found it so difficult to get their phone onto the market. Whether that’s the cause of today’s delay is for them to know and for us to find out, but either way it isn’t looking too good if they hope to ween off the Android and move all their business over to Tizen in the near future.

[via GigaOM]

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Unlucky Samsung Galaxy S4 user whose phone burned up gets free One M8 from HTC http://phandroid.com/2014/07/28/galaxy-s4-burn-free-m8/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/28/galaxy-s4-burn-free-m8/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:05:12 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145693 galaxy s4 burnt 1

Too often have we heard stories of users from Samsung’s camp experiencing phones that spontaneously combust or overheat to the point where it looks like someone took a match to it. Here, here and here are just a handful of stories that we’ve covered in the past. But one particular case seems to have caught the interest of an HTC product manager who wants to help convert the user to #TeamHTC (their words).  User JetLeigh on Reddit responded to one poster’s story with the following comment:

galaxy s4 burnt 2

Looks like you’re in luck, buddy. I happen to be the HTC Product Manager on the AT&T account. I appreciate the feedback and civil discussion you’ve generated on reddit while avoiding the ‘bashing’. I think any OEM or company would appreciate that!

I would like to offer you a brand new HTC One M8. What do you say?

The deal is if Samsung does eventually figure out how to get you a new device or offers that you please donate that to charity or sell it and please donate the funds to an organization of your choice. Honors system here, and no way I can really know but just leaving that simple request here as these devices don’t grow on trees and are worth a good chunk of money even to the OEM who makes them!

Bottom line we want to move you over to #TeamHTC

It’s important to know the fully story. The original Reddit post from a month ago can be read here, but here’s the gist of it: the phone burned up, and Samsung said they’d be sending the user a new smartphone in a box. He would then ship the damaged smartphone back to them.

The issue is they never sent the phone in the first place and instead shipped him an empty box (according to his claims, anyway), and countless attempts to get in contact with Samsung about the lack of a replacement have gone largely ignored. Surely Samsung would have sent a replacement had he shipped his off, but for some people it’s not easy finding a replacement smartphone at a moment’s notice, and going without a smartphone for who knows how long could be pretty miserable (note: the smartphone still functioned fine so long as he could find a way to fit a USB cable into the deformed charging port).

And that nightmare of an experience is probably what moved this sympathetic HTC representative to reach out and offer a route of recourse. It’s a pretty noble move, though no doubt a play for positive press without having to spend much more than a dime. Also worth noting is the suggestion to donate a possible replacement phone from Samsung to charity. That ought to satisfy the army of folks who don’t fancy throwing away a perfectly good smartphone.

PS: Yes, claims of burnt smartphones have seen an uptick on Reddit since this episode. Whether they’re legit or not is up to you to decide, but we’d advise our lovely readership to steer clear of using false claims and reports or intentional damage to try and get a free smartphone. It’s not just dishonest, it’s stupid — there’s a good chance no one will give an owl’s hoot.

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Rumor: Motorola, Google working on 5.9-inch Nexus http://phandroid.com/2014/07/28/motorola-nexus-rumor/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/28/motorola-nexus-rumor/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:27:14 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145690 Motorola Logo

Lots of breakups tend to go pretty bad, but Google and Motorola’s relationship has stayed strong following their brief period of engagement. Ties could become even tighter if this latest rumor is to be believed: the pair are working on a Nexus phone that could come clocked in at 5.9 inches, with the target month for launching it being November.

There’s no real concrete information to be had outside of that, though murmurings of a fingerprint scanner being featured on the device raises ears. The device is said to be codenamed “shamu,” the name of SeaWorld’s charming killer whale show that brings people from all over to their water park. Fitting name, that, considering a 5.9-inch phone is quite the “whale” of a form factor compared to previous Nexus phones, a line that has yet to extend beyond the 5-inch mark (excluding tablets, obviously).

The device’s codename has shown up in Google Code bug reports before, with this particular report from three days ago referencing the device in the build number. For what it’s worth, the bug report comes from a testing firm that specializes in testing hardware and software in the cellular world — sounds exactly like the type of firm who’d be able to get their hands on a prototype well ahead of it seeing the light of day.

motorola-logo-building

And that’s about the length of all the known information. Without much else to go on, it does give us an opportunity to ponder a few things. Here are just a few thoughts that immediately come to mind (should the rumor turn out to be true):

  • The Nexus line might not be dead after all. If you don’t remember, early rumors suggested Google would be dropping their Nexus program in favor of Android Silver. Android Silver is rumored to be a new device initiative for OEMs and carriers to provide high quality smartphones, but without carrier or OEM customization, and with a commitment to timely updates. We thought we’d be hearing something about Android Silver at Google IO, but alas nothing came of the rumor (and at this point, we’re not sure if anything ever will).
  • Motorola didn’t stick to its guns. Remember when Moto said they didn’t care for big phones? Could be that they’ve had a change of heart, or it could be that Google wants to introduce the first phablet in the Nexus series. Either way, it certainly doesn’t fit Motorola’s original vision.
  • Who better to use a fingerprint scanner than Motorola? Because whether you want to give them credit or not, they were the first company to use a fingerprint scanner in a mainstream smartphone. It’s only fitting that they reclaim their throne and let people know who the true originator is.

But I digress, because it could be just as likely that none of this is true or that the smartphone will never see the light of day. Rumors are always to be taken with grains of salt, so don’t go making major purchase decisions based on this particular one because you could end up waiting for nothing at all. Knowing that, though, let us know in the comments if you’ve been waiting for an oversized Nexus phone like this one.

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Android Wallpaper: Low Poly Art http://phandroid.com/2014/07/26/low-poly-wallpaper/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/26/low-poly-wallpaper/#comments Sat, 26 Jul 2014 16:00:34 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145610 walls low poly

See past editions of Android Wallpaper

Happy weekend! It’s time for another edition of Android Wallpaper. This week we are taking a look into the world of low poly art. Every computer generated thing you see in a TV show or movie is made up of polygons. The more polygons the model has the more realistic it will look. This is an example of what a 3D model looks like when you can see the polygons.

A recent trend in art is to take 3D modeling in the complete opposite direction. Instead of using millions of polygons to get a realistic effect they use much less. The result is abstract models or patterns with clearly visible polygons. The images almost look pixelated, but in a much different way than we’re used to. We think low poly art makes perfect wallpapers, and to prove it we have selected 7 beautiful examples. To get one of these on your phone, tablet, or even PC simply tap or click the download link underneath each image. Let us know which one is your favorite!

Push new Android Wallpaper to your Android device with this IFTTT recipe.

The Batman

Batman_comics_superheroes_iPad_low_poly_2560x1600

(Download 2560 x 1600)

Jagged Mountains

by JamesDoakesGhost

red mounts

(Download 2560 x 1600)

Poly Landscape

Lowpoly_Landscape

(Download 2560 x 1600)

Sharp Blob

by De Simone

sharp blob

(Download 2560 x 1600)

Icy Polygons

by De Simone

Icy Polygons

(Download 2560 x 1600)

Island Tower

mount tower

(Download 2560 x 1600)

Low Poly Planet

by Sicaida

low_poly_planet_by_sicaida

(Download 3413 × 1920)

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New Google patent shows contact lens with built-in iris sensor and capacitive detection, could finally make your eyeball your next password http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/contact-lens-iris-scanner-password/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/contact-lens-iris-scanner-password/#comments Sat, 26 Jul 2014 01:34:50 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145671 Hollywood loves dreaming up future technologies in movie scripts, and although we may not (yet) have the beloved hovercrafts and flying cars from the Back to the Future trilogy, other flicks have proved more accurate. Remember the iris scanning seen in Minority Report starring Tom Cruise? If a new Google patent comes to fruition, that might become a reality sooner than you think.

The idea is nothing new: ever since the inception of Android people have lusted for apps that leverage iris scanning unlock, and more recently, developments to use your face and your fingerprint to unlock your phone have hit the mass market. But these solutions have average performance and can be circumvented, making them more of a gimmick than anything else.

Two Google patents hot off the presses imagine a world where special contact lenses essentially turn your eye into a fingerprint, with each person having a unique, snowflake like signature. Built in capacitive sensors would be used to ensure it’s an actual eyeball, not a fake replica, that is being scanned.

The process has three steps:

  1. Receiving light on an iris of an eye
  2. Detecting, at one or more light sensors disposed on or within a transparent lens covering at least a portion of the eye, light reflected from the light incident on the iris of the eye, wherein the light reflected comprises image data indicative of a pattern associated with the iris.
  3. Outputting an iris fingerprint based in part on the image data

google-iris-scanner

This would make iris scanning much more predictable because it normalizes the output into a predictable set of data. Think of it as a contact lens with an invisible QR code; when light reflects off your eye and back out of the contact lens, you’re able to scan the balance of returning light which would form a unique pattern based on the person wearing the contact.

What if someone ripped your eye out and tried to use it to unlock whatever was being protected? What if you tried to simulate the iris fingerprint with fake light output? That could be prevented with a second patent titled “facilitation of contact lenses with capacitive sensors”.

When we think of contact lenses, we think of touch screens. No, Google isn’t expecting you’ll have pattern unlock on this contact lens (ouch!), but they do anticipate it will sense the liquids in your eye and other materials rolling atop your eyelid- most notably your eyelids.

These contact lenses could sense when you blink. They could sense the thickness of your eyelids. They could sense the density of liquid in your eyes to ensure its a human eye with familiar traits using the contact lens. They could, if it all works out, ensure that the person using the contact lens is the right person before proceeding to the much higher confidence check of cross referencing the iris signature.

contact-lens-capacitive-sensor

This is mostly conjecture: I don’t have any inside knowledge of Google’s plans for these patents or if they plan to leverage them at all, but they exist and this implementation makes the most logical sense.

If we wanted to get wacky with hypotheses we could suggest that Google contact lenses will be the next Google Glass. Instead of looking up to the right, nodding your head and swiping the side of your noggin, users could be composing text messages with disturbing combinations of eye blinking a la morse code, making everyone look like a maniacal uber dork.

Let’s hope not, but even that wouldn’t be a new idea: some might recall Jeremiah Denton, the former senator and Vietnam War POW who blinked T-O-R-T-U-R-E in morse code in a televised interview from 1966. Denton’s spectacular story came to an end earlier this year as he passed away at the age of 89.

Privacy buffs will most certainly rebuff the notion that anyone would want such invasive technology. I can understand that based on principle, but think of the possibilities beyond the consumer market. Think how this could be used in government facilities or corporations to protect access to high clearance areas or sensitive information. Unlocking your phone by looking at it is cool, but let’s pretend our motivational pool is a little less shallow, shall we?

So what do you think? Will these contact lenses ever come to market, and if so, how long will it take? Would you buy them? If your employer required them, would you wear them? And what do you see as being the most useful integration of this technology?

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The House unanimously passes cellphone unlocking bill, Obama need only to sign it into law http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/house-of-representatives-passes-cellphone-unlocking-bill/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/house-of-representatives-passes-cellphone-unlocking-bill/#comments Sat, 26 Jul 2014 00:03:25 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145668 samsung galaxy s5 vs htc one m8 camera

It’s happening… Soon it will once again be legal to unlock your smartphone (or have someone else do it for you) in the US. After the Senate passed the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act nearly 2 weeks ago, The House of Representatives is now following suit. The cellphone unlocking bill was passed unanimously by the HoR this afternoon, leaving only President Obama as the only thing keeping this bill from becoming law. But don’t worry — Obama has already come out in support of the bill, saying in a statement:

“The bill Congress passed today is another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cell phone carrier that meets their needs and their budget. I commend Chairmen Leahy and Goodlatte, and Ranking Members Grassley and Conyers for their leadership on this important consumer issue and look forward to signing this bill into law.”

While this is a huge step in the right direction, keep in mind the new bill isn’t permanent, merely a 3-year exemption that will need to be examined by the Library of Congress again in 2015. You can thank 1998′s Digital Millennium Copyright Act for that (as well as a boatload of other headaches surrounding copyright claims around the net).

Once signed into law, expect to find mom n’ pop shops popping up around your city offering cellphone unlocking services, or even a few who can do everything online. With telecoms gradually making the transition to LTE services — both data and voice — the days of universal cross network compatible devices could soon be upon us.

[Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy]

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HTC Desire 610 now available on AT&T for $200 straight up http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/htc-desire-610-now-available-on-att-only-200-straight-up/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/htc-desire-610-now-available-on-att-only-200-straight-up/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 22:28:07 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145634 htc-desire-610-att-01

We recently featured an article on smartphone theft and often times when your smartphone is lost of stolen, you gotta consider a cheap replacement. For Android users on a budget, there aren’t too many choices when it comes to finding a nicely equipped sub $200 Android phone.

More times than not, you’ll find yourself stuck with a phone with little to no software support and bottom of the barrel spec sheet. But starting today, you can pick up the all new HTC Desire 610 from AT&T, a phone designed to give you the most bang for your buck. The Desire 610 is being offered off-contract for a more than reasonable $200 straight up, or a measly $8 a month with AT&T Next (18 month).

The HTC Desire 610 is very much like a tiny version of the HTC Desire 816 we took a look at back during Mobile World Congress. You’ll find the same polycarbonate body (shiny back, matte front) as well as HTC’s trademark front facing stereo speakers complete with built-in amp. Here is the full spec sheet for those interested:

HTC Desire 610

  • 4.7-inch 854×480 SLCD display
  • 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor
  • 8MP / 1.3MP cameras
  • 8GB internal storage with support for micro SD cards
  • 1GB RAM
  • 2,040mAh battery
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat with Sense 6

You can pick up the HTC Desire 610 either online or in-store from AT&T where, as we mentioned before, it’ll only run you $200. The phone is even available under AT&T’s GoPhone prepaid service, making it one of the better devices to choose from. Unfortunately, the AT&T model doesn’t have access to wide range of colors offered in other regions, with “Dark Grey” being the only option. Hit up the links below to see the phone for yourself.

HTC Desire 610 on AT&T

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Unlocked HTC One M8 now receiving Android 4.4.3 update, carries same security fixes as 4.4.4 http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/unlocked-htc-one-m8-android-443-ota-update/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/unlocked-htc-one-m8-android-443-ota-update/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 20:45:01 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145655 Unlocked HTC One M8 2.22.1540.3 update

It was last week HTC product manager Mo Versi revealed via his Twitter profile that — after hitting the HTC One M8 Developer Edition — owners of the unlocked HTC One M8 should be expecting an update to Android 4.4.3 late this week.

Right on schedule, owners of the region-free unlocked HTC One M8 are now reportedly receiving the update that, while it may not be the 4.4.4 update as found on Nexus/Google Play/Motorola devices, includes the same SSL security fixes that 4.4.4 addresses in the first place.

The update brings the software build to 2.22.1540.3 and is actually quite large, tipping the scales at a little over 592MB. That being said, if you want to make the process as speedy as possible, connect to WiFi and jump into your Settings > About > Software updates > Check now.

[Twitter]

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From the Forums: Dropped phone in the toilet, personal finance apps, and more http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/from-the-forums-july-25/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/from-the-forums-july-25/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:13:26 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145627 fromtheforums

This week’s edition of From the Forums comes with a lesson about properly handling your phone when handling your business in the bathroom. While you wait for the rice to dry out your beloved digital companion, take a few minutes to catch up on everything else that has been going on over at the internet’s largest gathering of like-minded Android enthusiasts. We call it Android Forums. Let’s do this!

Your worst phone disaster stories (and how to deal with a dead device)

rice

It’s a familiar story: user brings home new phone and treats it with kid gloves only to accidentally drop said new phone into [insert body of water]. In this case DungeonMistress managed to lose her beloved Samsung Galaxy Mega to the depths of the toilet bowl. Rice to the rescue? The water damaged device is now on life support and she is hoping some Android Forums user might have some helpful advice. This got us thinking, what are your worst phone disaster stories? Sharing might not do much to resurrect DungeonMistress’ phone, but perhaps your experiences can provide a few tips on coping with early device loss.

Taking better lowlight pictures with the Galaxy S5

lowlight-pics

Taking photos in lowlight conditions is one of the biggest challenges for the average smartphone camera, and the same applies to powerhouse Android devices like the Galaxy S5. Unsatisfied with nighttime performance and grainy image quality, pasqo83 is wondering how this could be the case for such a highly-praised device. Our suggestion? Check out our guide on how to take better photos with your Android device. He welcomes any thoughts you may have on capturing better photos in poor lighting conditions, as well.

Best personal finance app for Android

money roll

We’re always searching for the best apps around, and so are Android Forums members. This week personal finance is on the mind, and alternatives to Pocket Money are being sought. What are you favorites? Be sure to hop over the thread at Android Forums and share your thoughts.

Is your display draining more battery than normal?

Nexus 5 battery life

How much battery drain is too much battery drain when taking your phone’s display into account? That’s the question andre_scb asks after noticing what appears to be anomalous power drain attributed to his phone’s display even with brightness set at a minimum. The response so far has been quite the opposite, with fellow users instead congratulating him on what looks like pretty good overall battery life. Funny how these things work.

And more…

You learn something new everyday is an understatement when considering the trove of knowledge we call Android Forums. If you haven’t already signed up for an account, we implore you to do so. Who knows, you might even see yourself in next week’s From the Forums.

 

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New app lets you control Tesla Model S functions using an Android Wear smartwatch [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/tesla-command-for-android-wear-lg-g-watch-samsung-gear-live-model-s/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/tesla-command-for-android-wear-lg-g-watch-samsung-gear-live-model-s/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 19:08:28 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145636 Tesla Command for Android Wear

We’re not sure how many of our readers have a brand new Tesla Model S sitting comfortably in their garage (if you do, we hate you), but we’re sure just about everyone will own this modern marvel of engineering (or a similar model) at some point in the near future. For those already saving up, you can now look forward to your Tesla being compatible with the latest Android Wear smartwatches thanks to a brand new app.

Tesla Command for Android Wear is the latest app from Harth Labs Inc., makers of popular apps like the “Naughty by Nature” ebook, and games like “Say What?” on Google Play. Shown off in a video by Android developer Matthew Patience, the app simply taps into the Tesla Model S to enable control of basic car functions via voice commands. While there are only 5 commands currently available — lock/unlock doors, honk horn, and open/close sunroof — the developer does promise more features will be added in the future.

Now, we don’t know about you guys, but we’ve been dreaming about controlling our car by voice since since Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman flick hit theaters. Now if only the developer can find a way to activate the Model S’ shields, we’d be all set for some late night crime fighting.

Download on Google Play: Tesla Command for Android Wear

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Mobile Roar Podcast 55: Dude, Where’s My Phone? http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/mobile-roar-podcast-55/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/mobile-roar-podcast-55/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 18:54:22 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145638

“Dude. where’s my phone?” We’ve all muttered a similar phrase at one time or another. Losing or having your phone stolen is a big fear these days. We share some of our stories of phone theft, and what we do about it. Other topics include the Xiaomi Mi4 having a very difficult name, the Fire Phone and soccer moms, Samsung marketing, Windows Phone campers, and much more! Thanks for watching/listening!

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MR show 55

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Grab the Amazon Fire Phone from Amazon and AT&T starting today http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/buy-amazon-fire-phone/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/buy-amazon-fire-phone/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:58:17 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145606 amazon-fire-phone-books

If you haven’t already pre-ordered your Amazon Fire Phone from Amazon and had it shipped to your doorstep, you can grab yours from a couple of different places as soon as today. You’ll be able to stop into AT&T retail locations nationwide if you’re the type to need to feel a smartphone before you walk away with it.

Like any smartphone by Ma Bell, you’ll be able to grab it for $0 down through AT&T Next so long as you don’t mind paying a monthly balance until you’ve paid the full off-contract price of the phone. The 32GB version can be had for $27.09 per month for 18 months, while the 64GB version steps up to about $31.25. Each option is available under a two-year contract structure, of course, costing $200 and $300, respectively.

Amazon Fire Phone firefly

Amazon wants to change the way you find information about all the products you come into contact with using the Amazon Fire Phone’s Firefly feature. Whether you want to check prices for a book or CD you come across or you just want to learn more information about a painting or landmark you come across in your travels, Firefly’s expansive database is likely to have all the information you need. Of course, their end goal is to get you to buy as many of those products as you can… with them.

The most interesting thing about Firefly, though, is how developers can hook into it. For instance, if you snap a photo of a poster of Orange is the new Black, Firefly could potentially tap the Amazon app to bring the series up for you to begin watching immediately. It’s pretty interesting stuff that we’re going to get down and dirty with in our full review in the days to come.

Other unique features of the Fire Phone include Dynamic Perspective, an experience powered by four cameras that lets you manipulate your phone by tilting your phone and your head. For instance, scrolling through a web page can be done by simply tilting the phone up or down. The maps app could reveal a different angle of a street depending on which way you tilt your phone. There’s also the usual Amazon goods such as X Ray, Second Screen and that all important Mayday button should you ever need help with the device.

Don’t forget that you’ll be entitled to a free year of Amazon Prime (movies, TV shows, music, book rentals and discounted shipping) and $10 in Amazon Coins to use on apps and games should you buy one. Quite a bit of value if I do say so myself. You can order one from Amazon or AT&T, or just stop into your AT&T store to do your shopping in person. Let us know if you’ll be picking one up!

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So if I die or disappear, what happens to my Gmail and Google account? http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/inactive-account-manager/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/inactive-account-manager/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:11:40 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145593 I hate to sour the mood, but one day you’re going to die. It might be easier to ignore that fact, but all too often that’s exactly what we do, and in our wake we leave a mountain of complications that cause interfamily conflict, legal battles, and obnoxious amounts of wasted time.

gmail-gone

We take day-to-day things, like E-Mail, for granted- but what if something were to happen to you? Would your entire account including your pictures, movies, and documents, collect dust and eventually disappear without someone who knows or who can recover your password?

Or perhaps just the opposite. Maybe you’ve got a lot of private facets of your life that you wish to remain private: could family or friends legally gain access to your account, uncovering some secrets that are so embarrassing that you blush in the afterlife?

Not if you use Google’s Inactive Account Manager, a feature I accidentally stumbled upon yesterday.

add-trusted-contact

Here’s how it works:

  • Set a time period after which, if you haven’t logged in for that duration, you’re considered inactive
  • When that time approaches, Google will warn you via TXT and E-mail alerts
  • Once officially deemed “inactive”, Google will notify up to 10 pre-selected contacts that you’re inactive
  • These contacts will gain limited access to your account, based on settings you select
  • You can set an auto-response for incoming e-mail, warning them of your inactivity

It’s a pretty brilliant solution if you’ve got the gusto to set it up- and you should. This tool could be especially valuable if you’ve disappeared without a trace, perhaps giving law enforcement additional information that leads to a resolution. I know, I know… this is a depressingly sinister topic, but a little preparation can go a long way.

You can even customize what Google services each separate contact can access (see above) and have a custom message prepared for each one (see below):

send-message-to-contact

Almost got a little teary eyed typing that… and hopefully it never gets sent, but if it does, could be fun to leave a little custom goodbye to your loved ones. And honestly, having to write them in the first place provides a nice little sense of reflection on your life and what’s important.

The service isn’t perfect and there are two things I’d specifically like to see changed:

  1. The minimum length before you’re considered “inactive” is 3 months. If I haven’t used Google services for 24 hours someone should probably start a search party. I can appreciate the reasons why the longer durations should be the default, but even a 1 month or 2 month option would make a lot of sense.
  2. Certain services should have more fine grained access options. Perhaps I have some private e-mails in my account but they’re relegated to a certain tag or folder, why not allow users to selectively provide or deny access to these specific areas? Access to everything or nothing makes for some tough decision making.

Alternatively, if instead of being worried about giving people access you want to make sure nobody gets access, you can delete your entire account on the spot the moment you’re considered inactive.

optionally-delete-account

Privacy paranoia people, weird fetish folks, cheating-on-your-spouse crapheads, and others take note: you’ll probably want to set this up right now. Or maybe you just don’t want family and friends dragging out the grieving process by hanging on every little word you’ve written, picture you’ve taken, etc…

Now that I’ve thoroughly depressed you, take a few minutes to reflect on the people most important to you, what you’d want to say to them in your absence, and if giving them access to your online identify would help them in any way.

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Deal: Best Buy offering $100 gift card on $0 down LG G3 from Sprint, AT&T or Verizon http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/best-buy-lg-g3-deal/ http://phandroid.com/2014/07/25/best-buy-lg-g3-deal/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:48:09 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145599 LG-G3-Hero

Best Buy has one of the best deals we’ve seen yet for the LG G3 if you’re in the market for one. You can get the phone for $0 down on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint through each company’s respective payment programs (AT&T Next, Verizon Edge and Sprint Easy Pay). That’s nothing special by itself, but perhaps the $100 Best Buy gift card that’ll come with the phone will get you to consider buying through the big box retailer.

Best Buy makes sure to emphasize that this offer will only apply to “well-qualified buyers,” which means you’ll probably need a decent line of credit to be able to take advantage. The other caveat is that these retailers usually tie you to the account for six months unless you’re willing to eat a hefty early cancellation fee, though that shouldn’t be much of an issue if you plan to stick with the LG G3 for quite some time.

While yesteryear’s LG flagship was a huge first step in turning public opinion about LG’s smartphone prowess, the LG G3 was the definitive stake in the heart of any naysayer. The phone impressed the hair off Kevin Krause with him noting in our LG G3 review that it is perhaps the best phone they’ve ever created, and that it certainly can stand up to the stiff competition by HTC and Samsung. Be sure to read that review if you need a solid opinion before jumping into this deal. You can head into your local Best Buy store to take advantage if you eventually decide to take the plunge.

[via Best Buy]

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