On the fifth day of Christmas AC and Sprint gave to me ... A Samsung Galaxy Tab 3
The good people at Sprint have partnered with us to do something awesome for the holidays, and we're giving away a great Samsung phone or tablet every day for the next 12 days.
We've got a pile of great stuff, including the Galaxy Tab 3, the Note 3, the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy S4 mini. Winning one is easy, but you'll need to follow the rules.
Leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win today's prize. Only one comment.
We'll close the comments after 24 hours and pick a winner at random.
Make sure the contact details you have entered when you signed up at AC are good, because that is how I will get in touch with you.
Today's prize is a Sprint Samsung Galaxy Tab 3.0 7-inch. It's an excellent light-weight Android tablet, and chock full of the features that make Samsung devices a favorite. Be sure to get your name in the hat for this one!
The 12 days of Christmas giveaway is brought to you by Sprint, and their truly unlimited plans.
The white Nexus 7 is upon us, having been announced just yesterday alongside the two new Google Play edition devices. Today we've got our hands on the freshened-up version of Google and ASUS' 7-inch slate, which on the inside is the same tablet we've been using since the summer — a 1920x1200 display, 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage on this particular model. And yes, it's still running pure, unadulterated Android 4.4 KitKat.
On the outside things are just a little different. It's white, not black, with a slightly glossier, more reflective finish — most likely to prevent the device from picking up scuffs and marks. The difference is similar to the contrast between the white and black Nexus 5s — a different look and glossier texture on the white model. (And like that device, the front bezel around the screen remains black.)
We've got a hands-on photo gallery waiting after the break.
With an update to its app, Spotify has dropped the paid subscription requirement for using its music service on mobile. Although a free component was previously available to desktop users, a subset of features is now available on mobile as well. What you'll find in the free version of Spotify is what it calls "shuffle play."
That basically just means "radio," and with shuffle play you'll have the option to listen to your own (and shared) playlists, or a specific artist, in random order. This brings the free offering down to parity with something like Pandora, which offers effectively endless radio for free on mobile and the desktop.
Make no mistake, the free version of Spotify is clearly set up to upsell you to the paid version of the service — and we're okay with that, if you see the value in the app and service and want more, you can expect to pay.
The Sony Z Ultra loses the Xperia tag, but gains the 'Google experience'
A big phone or a small tablet? Neither? Both? It's the same Z Ultra we've seen before, with a little more Google in it. Big, bold, and waterproof, it's one we all were surprised to see when Google announced it.
For fans of big phones — or small tablets with a phone on board — there is a lot to like here. As we saw with previous Google Play experience devices, you have Google's version of Android, with a few essential OEM customizations added on top. Additions like the X-Reality display software are great additions, and the combination makes for the best experience.
You've got everything Google as well. The Google applications we're used to seeing — minus the AOSP Gallery app, which has been fully replaced with Photos — including things like Google Earth and Google Currents are on board. The same goes for Google Wallet and the tap and pay function. The back of the Z Ultra says Sony, but you'll know you're holding a Google device in your hands.
Do you have the need for speed, but would rather not dole out the cash to get it? We get it - cars are expensive, and why pay for a game when you don’t have to? We’ve combed through Google Play for some of the best-looking white-knuckled racing games on Android that are completely free, barring the odd prompt for in-app purchases. These freemium racing games are all really good and offer a little something for everyone.
Pull on up to the starting line, and check out these outstanding free racing games for Android.
Like the web interface, the new app lets you remotely track and lock down your other Android devices
Google has launched a new Android app allowing users of the Android Device Manager feature to remotely track, ring, lock down or wipe their other devices. Not to be confused with the Google Play Services feature that launched a few months ago, the ADM app duplicates the functionality of the web interface, meaning you can track or control one phone or tablet using another — provided you've first enabled this feature in the Google Settings app.
If you've not yet set up remote locate or remote wipe on your target handset, you can send a notification to it through the Android Device Manager app on the second device. (Fun fact: select the device you're using the app on and it marks its location as "in your hand.")
To get started, grab the new Android Device Manager app from Google Play at the link above.
GPe Sony Z Ultra and LG G Pad 8.3 ditch 'Gallery' in favor of G+ 'Photos' app
We suspected it was coming ever since we powered on the Nexus 5 to find both "Gallery" and "Photos" occupying the app drawer. And now the inevitable has come to pass — the stock Android "Gallery" app has been phased out in the new Google Play edition Sony Z Ultra and LG G Pad 8.3, having been completely replaced by the new Google+-based Photos app.
It's a curious move given that the Nexus 5 shipped with a new Gallery app just over a month ago, and that Google highlighted a bunch of new editing features in that app as part of the 4.4 release. That said, the writing was clearly on the wall when Nexus Camera app was integrated with "Photos," not "Gallery" in the recent Android 4.4.1 update. The move also raises the possibility that future Nexus devices will follow this lead, though precedent suggests that "Gallery" will remain on devices that currently have it.
The elimination of "Gallery" means the new Google Play edition devices will have to make do without the comprehensive photo editing features found in the app. "Photos" offers some editing options, such as filters and frames, but nothing as full-featured as its rival. We're willing to bet these capabilities — including exposure, contrast and curves sliders, among many others — will be patched into "Photos" at some point in the near future, completing the transition from Gallery to Photos.
In any case, it's another example of the expanding reach of Google+ across all the various Google properties. And that could be seen as a good or a bad thing depending on your opinion of Google's social network.
Alongside that new white Nexus 7, UK buyers can today pick up the official Nexus wireless charger, priced at £34.99 and shipping in 1-2 business days. It operates using the Qi (pronounced "chee") wireless charging standard and is designed to work with the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 (2013) and Nexus 5 — though if you've got other Qi-supporting gadgets they should work too.
Here's what our own Phil Nickinson had to say after a brief time with the inductive charging plate —
If you've got an Amazon gift card burning a hole in your virtual pocket, now might be a good time to take a look at the Qualcomm Toq smartwatch. It's now available on Amazon for the same price as you'll get it from Qualcomm — $349.
Still no sign of the white model, but if you've just got to have the black version, Amazon Prime can have it at your door as soon as tomorrow.