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6 days ago

Nexus Player now available from Best Buy and Newegg

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The Nexus Player is now available outside of the Google Play Store, notably at Best Buy, as well as online retailer Newegg. The device is available from both outlets for $99.99, with the game controller also available from both at a price of $39.99.

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1 week ago

From the Editor's Desk: Narrowing our focus

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Let's keep things a little light for this week's column, shall we? Probably the biggest news of note is that we're going to start doing more series work. That is, we'll take a specific topic and do more cohesive coverage of it, instead of shotgunning stories here and there throughout the year. It's the right way to do it, and so that's how we're going to do things going forward, especially when it comes to non-device content.

That said, we're starting with a device this week, though not in the traditional phone-or-tablet sense. Any guesses as to what it might be?

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. It's great to see that folks are enjoying Shen Ye's Futurology series. (Check out Part 1 on batteries and Part 2 on displays.) We're hoping to have Part 3 ready later this week. (Anyone still want to complain that we only focus on the folks new to Android?) We've got some more cool series on the way as well. Stay tuned.

And, of course, we're going to get way in deep on all the new phones that are about to hit. Nothing's going to get in the way of that.

So with that, a few other thoughts on the week that was.

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1 week ago

Ask AC: What's that star in my notification area?

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Android Lollipop priority star

Welcome to the wonderful, confusing world of Android 5.0 notifications

This question still hits our inbox from time to time, and it's worth a quick reminder. Android 5.0 Lollipop — at least in its current, unadulterated form — changes the way notifications work. Or, more specifically, there are now three ways they'll be presented to you. The firehose is simply called "All." That is, you'll see every notification there is to see in your notification area. You'll get a buzz, or hear the notification tone.

Then there's "Priority," which brings us back to the question at hand. You can designate specific apps as being "Priority," and then you'll get only "Priority" notifications.

So what's a "Priority" notification? And what's it have to do with that star up there? Glad you asked.

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1 week ago

These are Samsung's Qi charging backs for the Galaxy Note 4

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Galaxy Note 4 Qi charging backs

Qi doesn't come free on the Note 4 — get ready for a couple of compromises

Samsung put a big 'ol battery in the Note 4, and didn't even cover up the USB port with a flap like the Galaxy S5 — but that doesn't mean many of us aren't still wishing that the phone came with wireless charging capabilities out of the box. Just as it's done for the past few flagships, Samsung instead sells replacement back covers for the Note 4 that add Qi charging capabilities.

Both a standard back and S-View Flip Cover style are available — coming in at $30 and $60, respectively — that each add a little extra bulk but get your Note 4 charged up without any wires involved. There's a trade-off to be had here in either case, but for most folks it'll be worth it to forego plugging in every night — read along for a review of these two replacement charging backs.

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1 week ago

Amazon Prime annual membership discounted to $72 for one day only

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If you're looking to become an Amazon Prime member, now is the time to do it as the retailer is offering the annual membership for just $72, down from its usual price of $99. In addition to the discount on the membership, Amazon is streaming all ten episodes of its original series Transparent for free to non-Prime members on January 24.

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1 week ago

HTC Eye Experience, VoLTE coming to AT&T One M8 early next week

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While AT&T may have jumped the gun on posting the changelog earlier this week, it looks like the Android 4.4.4 KitKat update containing VoLTE and the Eye software experience for its HTC One M8 will be rolling out sometime early next week.

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1 week ago

YotaPhone 2 review

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YotaPhone 2 e-ink display

Niche Android phones have a history of doing that one _really cool thing_, but more often than not fail at being a great regular phone. It's cool if you're one of the 100 people in the world who could honestly benefit from having a projector baked into your phone, or have a mighty need for the ability to charge someone else's phone with the massive battery built into your device. But when these features end up being the sole thing that makes your phone special, it's clear that the phone isn't ever going to escape that niche market.

When I was first able to spend time with the original YotaPhone, I immediately felt that the phone was forever doomed to niche markets. It was huge, the software wasn't great, and while the ePaper screen was neat it didn't really do much. There's a really good chance that very few people have ever touched the original YotaPhone — mostly a Russian endeavor anyway — as a result.

This is not that phone. This is the YotaPhone 2, and it is clear that the creators of this device have done everything they could to take this phone out of that extreme niche category to make something that could legitimately appeal to everyone. Like its predecessor, the most interesting part of the YotaPhone 2 is the second screen on the _back_ of the phone. Unlike its predecessor, the rest of the YotaPhone 2 is a decent phone. A combination of thoughtful software development, careful hardware optimization, and the potential for a limited U.S. release for those who don't want to import have created a unique option that would work well for users of all types.

Here's our full review.

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1 week ago

Android Central 219: Master Clean

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Audio-only stream below

Welcome back to the Greatest Android Podcast in the World! Coming up today we'll have the latest on these supposed HTC One M9 leaks, the Google MVNO rumor that refuses to die, a little site-specific inside baseball, and we answer your questions live on air!

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1 week ago

Watch the Google Cardboard presentation for Sundance in your living room

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VR experiences are making a big splash at the Sundance Film Festival this year, and Google is among the names showing up to deliver a visual thrill to attendees. Rather than leave those of us who aren't attending in suspense, you can install and watch two of the experiences being shown off inside of Google Cardboard right now. Kaiju Fury is a cinematic short that Oculus Rift users may already be familiar with, which lets you sit in the middle of a city being ravaged by giant monsters, while VRSE should be new for just about everyone. The VRSE app is actually a collection of VR experiences, with the all new Evolution of Verse headlining. Both are well worth checking out if you've got your Cardboard handy, but Evolution of Verse in particular will leave your jaw on the floor.

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1 week ago

The Best Boost Mobile Phones

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If you’re considering going prepaid on Boost Mobile, we’re here to help break down some of the best Boost Mobile phones you can buy. Boost Mobile is a prepaid mobile carrier with service across the United States.

As an alternative to bigger contract carriers, Boost Mobile offers unlimited prepaid plans as a subsidiary of Sprint in the U.S., running on its 3G and LTE networks. You can get Boost Mobile service for as little as $35/month with some great devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 or Apple iPhone 6.

So if Boost Mobile sounds like the way you want to go, check out our full list of the top Boost Mobile phones you can get right now.

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1 week ago

LG says U.S. G3 getting Lollipop update 'soon'

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If you live in the U.S. and you've been eager to get your hands on some sweet, sweet Android 5.0 Lollipop for your LG G3, your wait may be almost over. The smartphone maker recently took to its U.S. social media channels to tease the update, saying it's "coming soon."

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1 week ago

MakerBot Mobile for Android brings 3D printing to your phone

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MakerBot has released its official app for Android on Google Play. MakerBot Mobile adds convenience to the 3D printing process. You'll be able to access designs from your MakerBot Cloud library, or download designs from the MakerBot Thingiverse and print them wirelessly from the app.

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1 week ago

We're podcasting live at 4 p.m. EST!

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Friday already. And that means it's time for the Greatest Android Podcast in the World! Coming up today we'll have the latest on these supposed HTC One M9 leaks and what we think of all of Microsoft's Windows 10 announcements (and what they mean for Android), the Three/O2 Euro Mega Merger™, and whatever else you guys manage to come up with. (Let us know in the comments here if there's something you want us to cover.) Plus, we'll answer your questions live on air!

So join us at this link at 4 p.m. EST — that's 9 p.m. in London — as we get this thing done!

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1 week ago

The six best podcast apps for Android

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Podcast apps

Get the very best podcast experience with these 6 great apps

While we usually think of our mobile devices as great for music listening of all kinds, increasingly our Android phones and tablets are being used for listening to podcasts. We produce a bunch of them here at Mobile Nations, and the popularity and scale of the podcast continues to grow. But just as is the case with music player apps, not all podcast players are created equally.

Thankfully Android is blessed with a strong selection of podcast apps to choose from, but there are some more worth your time – and money – than others. So, head on past the break to see the top podcast apps for Android. And once you've chosen, why not subscribe to the Android Central podcast and join us each week for a listen!

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1 week ago

Republic Wireless Moto X 2013 and Moto G getting Android 4.4.4

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Upstart Wi-Fi-centric carrier Republic Wireless is updating their last-generation Moto X and Moto G smartphones to Android 4.4.4 KitKat, as well as pushing a new security update for the even-more-budget-conscious Moto E. The update for the Moto G is pushing out now, while the Moto X update will roll out in February.

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