Headlines

2 weeks ago

All Nexus 6s on Project Fi are due to receive Android 5.1.1 'over the next few days'

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Google will soon give the folks invited to join its Project Fi MVNO service a new version of Lollipop on their smartphones. The company has revealed it will begin offering Android 5.1.1 (it currently has just 5.1) to all of the Nexus 6 phones on Project Fi "over the next few days".

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2 weeks ago

Droid Turbo owners, how are you liking Lollipop?

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Droid Turbo Lollipop

The Droid Turbo finally sees the Android 5.1 update, and here's where you tell us how it's working for you.

We know the folks using the Motorola Droid Turbo have waited patiently (mostly) for the Lollipop update, and when it finally arrived last week there was a bit of excitement. While not the very latest version of Android — that'd be 5.1.1 — you have the security features and support for all new APIs the platform update brings along. That's nothing to sneeze at. You also have Lollipop-only enhancements from Google Play Services available, so things like Android Wear should have better support.

I'm not going to say much about the lack of multi-user profiles or Guest Mode. I have a feeling that plenty of others will in the comments, though.

Enough of what I think. What about you fine folks who use and love your Droid Turbo every day? We want to hear real talk from the people who know the most about the Droid Turbo, and that's you guys and gals. Are you still loving it? Do you notice anything done better? Worse? Let everyone know your thoughts and opinions in the comments.

For more on the Droid Turbo's Lollipopiness, be sure to join the discussion in the forums!

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2 weeks ago

LG G4 quick tip: Extra menu items are just a long-press away

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For the most part, the old Android "menu" button has (thankfully) been consigned to history, with the vast majority of current phones and tablets. Most of the stuff that was hidden behind the menu key now lives in overflow menus — the three dots you'll often see in the top-right corner of an app. But you can still find remnants of the old "menu" functionality in the LG G4, and there's a simple trick that'll let you access some menus more easily as a result.

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2 weeks ago

Amazon Fire Phone is now just $159 in the US, but that's still too much

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One year after it was launched, Amazon Fire Phone remains one of the biggest smartphone flops in recent memory. Now Amazon has cut the price of the unlocked 32GB Android-based smartphone down to just $159 in the US, but it's still too expensive compared to other phones.

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2 weeks ago

Verizon may begin carrying the Sony Xperia Z4v on August 13 [Updated]

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Update: The information that appeared on the microsite was not correct. At this time the launch date is still unknown.

Original story: According to a new advertisement, it appears as though Verizon may be launching the Sony Xperia Z4v on August 13. When the device was first announced back in June, all Sony said was that it was due out this summer, but made no mention of a time frame.

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2 weeks ago

Android 5.1 now rolling out to the Moto X (2013) on AT&T

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Those who are still holding true to the 2013 Moto X, and are using AT&T as their carrier of choice, will be excited to hear that Android 5.1 is now rolling out. The update, which has been in the making for quite some time, brings along with it a number of enhancements to the device.

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2 weeks ago

Chinese manufacturer Elephone makes its debut in India with the 5.5mm thick G7

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Elephone is making its foray into the Indian market with the launch of the G7, an entry-level handset that will be sold exclusively on e-retailer Snapdeal. Available in black, white and gold, the device is listed for ₹8,888 ($140). The G7 is designed to be sleek, featuring a metal frame around the sides and a thickness of just 5.5mm.

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2 weeks ago

Galaxy Note 5 details emerge, GS6 edge Plus could replace the Note Edge

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The first rumoured details of the upcoming Galaxy Note 5 are starting to trickle out online. According to SamMobile, which has a pretty good track record on Samsung leaks, the device will feature a 5.67-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440. Unlike last year, where Samsung launched the standard Galaxy Note 4 and the curved display Note Edge, it looks like the manufacturer will stick to a flat variant in the Note series this time around. That said, Samsung may unveil the Galaxy S6 edge Plus alongside the Note 5, with the device expected to feature a dual-curve screen with the same dimensions as that of the Note 5.

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2 weeks ago

Samsung's ultra-thin Galaxy A8 reportedly launching in China on July 17

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Samsung is reportedly getting ready to launch the Galaxy A8 in China on July 17. Leaked photos of the device from yesterday revealed a thin-bezeled display, which ties in with the device's svelte 5.94mm body.

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2 weeks ago

Sprint may start selling the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime on July 10 [Update: It's official]

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Update: Sprint has now officially confirmed it will indeed begin selling the Samsung Galaxy Prime on July 10. The no-contract price will still be $240, but the carrier will also offer the phone for $29.99 with a two-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate.

Original story: Sprint looks like it will be the second US wireless carrier to sell the mid-range Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime. Android Central received a tip, including the above image, from one of our readers that seems to show a sales flyer for the Sprint version, with a launch date of July 10.

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2 weeks ago

Choosing a kid-friendly Android phone or tablet

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YouTube Kids

Wander into any store with an electronics section nowadays and you'll find at least one "kid" tablet. It's usually a brightly-colored rubber block with a low-end touch display running an ancient version of Android, with a custom UI featuring giant buttons and a handful of apps for a handful of basic age groups. Choosing something smaller than a tablet is even worse, especially since the concept of a phone-shaped Android-powered Wifi-only handheld never really took off.

There's not much to these cheap, rubbery slabs, but they sell because it's not always clear there are reasonable alternatives out there. Choosing hardware for a little one should be just as much about software as it is hardware, and while price should absolutely be a factor in a gadget for a kid there's some basics you should be looking at along the way. To help narrow down the options out there today, we've put together this quick buyers guide to break down the important parts.

READ MORE: Choosing a kid-friendly Android device

Choosing the right hardware

Asus ZenPad 8

This may come as a shock, but wrapping a tablet in rubber and painting it with a primary color does not immediately make it invulnerable to harm and perfect for children. In fact, the added expense of something like that probably means the hardware responsible for delivering the experiences you and your child want probably takes a hit. By all means, grab a durable case for your investment to increase its chances of survival, but if you see an $80 tablet with a big red rubber thing wrapped around it keep in mind you're almost certainly not getting a quality device.

Choosing an unlocked phone means there's no carrier-specific software to cause trouble.

Looking for a tablet you want to give a child is relatively easy, as you're essentially looking for the same qualities you'd look for in a tablet for an adult. Screen quality, a reasonably capable processor, and at least 32GB of storage should make up a short list of qualifications for a kid-friendly tablet. There's no reason to look at a tablet with less than 1920 x 1080 resolution display, and the name of the processor manufacturer or how many GHz are in each core isn't nearly as important as how smooth the OS feels when you use it.

If you must dip below 32GB of onboard storage due to the price, you might consider looking at a device with expandable storage. If the tablet is going to be connected to the Internet most of the time that may not be necessary, but games and movies soak up storage fast on these devices.

ZenFone 2

Something smaller than a tablet requires a little more work. There's never been an Android version of the iPod Touch that was worth purchasing, but there are a couple of inexpensive smartphones out there that can be modified to behave like one. If you're willing to put in the work, there are unlocked Android phones in the $200-$300 price range that can do the job. Choosing an unlocked phone means there's no carrier-specific software to cause trouble, which will make setting up the device a little easier. Going this route is especially useful if you've got a kid who is starting to need to make phone calls, as you can insert and pull the SIM card when you feel it is appropriate.

Knowing what software is important

Google Play

It's can't be stressed enough how important software is when making a purchase like this, for several reasons. Google makes Android, but it's not a requirement to make things look the way Google thinks it should. As an open source operating system, Android can be adjusted to what the manufacturer thinks is appropriate before being loaded onto a phone or tablet. This presents some great opportunities for companies that want to include a child-friendly user interface that removes unnecessary or inappropriate items from the primary interface.

Not every parent wants their child to have unfettered access to services like YouTube, for example, and in many cases monitoring apps get pre-loaded that help parents see what their kids are doing on their tablets. These changes are made with the best of intentions, but come with their own unfortunate side-effects.

Kids are smart, there's no reason to rely on simple, bright interfaces.

When Google releases a new version of Android, manufacturers with devices sporting heavily modified versions of the operating system can't just push an update. Those changes need to be adjusted to support the next version, which means additional software development hours need to be spent in order to make that happen. If a manufacturer determines a device isn't worth updating, that company can simply choose to never update your device to the most recent version of Android. Whats worse, when your child finally graduates to their own piece of hardware, the learning curve starts all over again. Kids are smart, there's no reason to rely on simple, bright interfaces when you can disable the stuff you don't want your kids to use and let them experience a proper, modern operating system from day one.

YouTube Kids

Perhaps more important than version updates and software familiarity is access to the Google Play Store and Google Play Services. Google's suite of apps — Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, etc. — are designed primarily for adults, but Google's recent push for ratings across the Play Store and child-friendly apps without offensive ads is a big deal. It means kids can take part in the ever-growing ecosystem of apps out there, educational and otherwise, and parents have the power to moderate and make decisions based on their rules.

It also means you can share music, movies, and TV shows from whatever services you want, from Play Movies and Disney Movies Anywhere to Plex and Netflix. Having controlled access to a larger environment is good for everyone involved, but it means you have to have the Google Play Store on the device in the first place.

Our top picks

Nexus 9

You've got the tools you need to get a quality device for your child, but if you're looking for something a little more specific there are a couple of options for both phones and tablets we can point you to.

Nabi DreamTab HD8

Nabi DreamTab

Nabi's 8-inch Android tablet is the exception that proves the rule when it comes to brightly-color kid-tablets. While it's sporting a "child-friendly" UI and is loaded with Nabi apps, these tools are optional and you have access to the Google Play Store. For the price, you're unlikely to find a better 1080p Android tablet for kids.

BUY: Nabi DreamTab HD8 ($140)

Asus ZenPad 8-inch

ZenPad 8

The folks at ASUS have a long history of making decent, inexpensive Android tablets that fly under the radar, and the latest ZenPad is a perfect example. It's a Intel-powered Android tablet running the latest version of the OS, and the 2048 x 1536 resolution display makes everything look fantastic. For $200, you're unlikely to find something better.

BUY: ASUS ZenPad 8-inch ($200)

HTC Nexus 9

Nexus 9

Google's current Nexus tablet is typically something we'd recommend as the best tablet for grownups, but with its front-facing speakers and killer 2048 x 1536 resolution display it's great for everyone. You just have to swallow that price tag associated with a higher quality device with instant access to the latest software from Google.

BUY: HTC Nexus 9 ($420)

Motorola Moto G

Moto G

Few companies have worked over the last two years to bring a quality experience to the budget phone market as Motorola, and the end result is a device that could just as easily be a starter phone as it could a portable Wifi device for a child. It's fast, looks nice, and Motorola has worked hard to ensure the device is regularly updated.

BUY: Motorola Moto G ($175)

Asus ZenFone 2

ZenFone2

Intel and ASUS have worked some magic on this 5.5-inch phone, and as a result it greatly exceeds expectations. There's a ton of extra, unnecessary software on this device for you to pare down if you're giving it to a child as a Wifi device, but the end result is a fun, capable gadget with 64GB of storage.

BUY: ASUS ZenFone 2 ($300)

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2 weeks ago

OnePlus 2 will have 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM inside

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The upcoming OnePlus 2 will contain 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM inside, the company has revealed. With LPDDR4 being the latest and greatest type of RAM on the market, the OnePlus has decided to utilize it for a number of reasons.

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2 weeks ago

Samsung offers a $200 online rebate for the Galaxy Note 4 until July 26

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 may be getting close to its first birthday, but it's still one of the best Android smartphones on the market. Today, Samsung launched a new promotion in the US where people who buy the Galaxy Note 4 at full price can get $200 back in an online rebate offer.

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2 weeks ago

Sony Xperia Z3+ video walkthrough

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We've just wrapped up our Sony Xperia Z3+ review — your definitive guide to the ups and downs of Sony's new high-end Android phone. In some areas it's a solid improvement on last year's Z3. In others, not so much. If you're after a quick primer on what's new, what's good and what's not so good, our Z3+ video walkthrough is a great place to start. And you'll find it right after the break.

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2 weeks ago

Minor update hitting the Samsung Galaxy S5 on Verizon

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Verizon is currently pushing out a small update to Samsung Galaxy S5 owners on its network. The update brings along two minor changes to the device, according to the changelog.

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