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2 years ago

Apps of the Week: Shadow Blade, QuizUp, Karma and more!

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All of the best apps that have made their way onto our devices this week

After a brief hiccup because of MWC at the end of February we're now back to our normal pace with the second regularly-scheduled Apps of the Week column in March. That means we're also right back on schedule offering up a handful of apps each weekend that the Android Central writers are actually using day in and day out.

They may be games, tools, weird utilities or quick one-use apps, but if they're installed on our phones or tablets, then the apps are worth talking about. You'll find our list of apps after the break — you may just find a few that fit your own needs as well.

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2 years ago

AT&T cutting price on 2GB Mobile Share Value plans

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A $45 data fee and $25 per line fee gets 2GB of shared data, unlimited talk and text, 50GB of AT&T cloud, and unlimited international messaging

Starting Sunday, March 9 — that'd be tomorrow if you're reading this when it was written — AT&T is knocking $15 off of their Mobile Share Value plan data buckets. If you have one phone, that means you'll be paying a total of $65 per month for: 2GB of data, unlimited calls, unlimited texts, 50GB of cloud storage, and free international messaging. Add a second line, and that total goes up to $90. I don't want to step on any toes here, but you'll basically be getting AT&T proper — as in customer service and billing, and full LTE speeds — for a price comparable to a service like Straight Talk or AIO. And that's nothing to sneeze at.

AT&T tells us that these changes are for both new and existing customers. It doesn't matter how you got your phone if you're an exiting customer — AT&T Next, BYOD, and even under-contract phones are eligible — and new customers can get the $40 data buckets if they choose to use AT&T Next (for an additional equipment fee) or sign a contract to get that subsidy (for an extra $40 per month).

CEO shenanigans and grandstanding aside, we love seeing this new trend of competition and back-and-forth from the major U.S. carriers. Each is forcing the others to cut prices or offer more services, and in the end it's you and me who are the winner. And winning feels good.

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2 years ago

Testing T-Mobile's free roaming data — and how $50 gets you so much more

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The 'uncarrier' serves up free 2G data overseas, but it's worth splurging on a full data pass for proper roaming

Every year before heading to Spain for Mobile World Congress you can find journalists asking each other "what are you doing for data this year?" Finding a local SIM card is always an option, of course, provided you've got a SIM-unlocked device. But I've usually found that to be a waste of time versus the money you save, at least in Spain.

And the hassle of tracking down a local SIM card (not every country sells them out of airport vending machines and kiosks) became even less attractive in the fall of 2013 when T-Mobile introduced free roaming data along with its Simple Choice plans.

But, as always, there's a catch. 

We keep a pretty good eye on the best options for international roaming if you're on a U.S. carrier. I took T-Mobile for a spin through an airport in France, and later in Barcelona. What follows are a few anecdotal thoughts.

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2 years ago

Spigen Slim Armor case for the Galaxy Note 3

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The Spigen Slim Armor case is soft on the inside and hard on the outside, just like your favorite blogger

 

We all try to be careful with our expensive Androids. But sometimes, stuff happens and they escape our clutches — usually when we're on a hard surface that guaranteed to break things that fall on it. Like the rocks of Mordor, or the parking lot at Winn-Dixie. It's those times that a good case can save your bacon. The Spigen Slim Armor case for the Note 3 is that good case.

It's a two part case, where a supple rubber inner lining meets a hard plastic candy coated shell. It looks nice on the Galaxy Note 3 — I'm digging the "Crimson Red" version — and it adds very little bulk for the amount of protection if gives. For those who aren't into bright red, the Slim Armor case also comes in Soul Black, Dodger Blue, Metal Slate, and Infinity White.

All the holes and buttons and slots are precision cut, and the case fits like a glove. It was designed so you're able to mix and match the outer shells, but the case is a bit too difficult to separate the two pieces while installed to make that practical. Too much flexing and bending of the Note 3 for me to feel comfortable, so I have to advise against it. Just take the whole case off if you want to switch colors. It fits snug and won't fall off, but it comes off with little squeezing and prying.

Once it is on, your Note 3 is going to be able to take a little accidental punishment. Add a good screen protector, and you'll be set for just about any mishap that doesn't involve liquids or explosives. Or both. The corners wrap nicely, the buttons and ports are easy to to work, and the S Pen slides in and out like designed because of the generous cut out. I really like the Spigen Slim Armor case, and I'm not a fan of using a case, as my scratched phones will attest.

You spent over $500 on the Note 3. Spending $27 more for a case this nice makes sense.

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2 years ago

CyanogenMod 11 M4 now pushing to download servers

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Milestone builds more stable than nightlies, but not yet ready for prime time

M4 builds of CM 11 are getting pushed to servers tonight, according to a blog post from the folks over at CyanogenMod. The change log looks a little bit like this —

  • Immersive Mode – prevent accidental clicks on swipe gesture (EdgeGesture service)
  • Bluetooth LE – Wipower SDK apis, various fixes
  • System NavBar – Left Hand mode (landscape only – not available on tablets)
  • Motion Accelerometer support (device dependant)
  • Volume Panel – transparency support
  • Translations – new language additions, localization and long-string fixes
  • MediaPlayer – new apis for Suspend/Resume
  • CM Easter Egg
  • QuickSettings – volume Tile sync fix, Quick Config, Alarm tile shows alarms, User Profile fix
  • Recent Apps Panel – low-end device tweaks
  • Theme Engine – Fix crashes
  • Performance – Speed up booting on multi-core devices, add option to force high-end graphics option on low-end devices
  • Trebuchet – decouple icon mask and background (should fix some icon packs)
  • Settings – multiple hands-free device support
  • Privacy Guard – confirm on permission reset
  • Profiles – add expanded desktop support

The files are populating the download servers right now, and will continue through the night. You'll be able to find yours at CyanogenMod's download page when it's uploaded.

Source: CyanogenMod

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2 years ago

Android Central 173: Hung up on Hangouts

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Audio-only stream below

We survived Mobile World Congress and have lived to podcast another day — only to nearly be derailed by some specious YouTube issues. But soldier on, we shall! Up this week, we recap the best of MWC, see what's up with Pebble 2.0, the latest HTC leaks — and of course we tackle plenty of your questions. All while playing a few rounds of QuizUp. Join us!

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2 years ago

T-Mobile 'doubling down' on Simple Choice, increases data allotments but not prices

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Unlimited texting to any Simple Global country from the U.S. now free, even for prepaid accounts

It's hard to deny that T-Mobile is enjoying the positive effects of introducing and iterating on its Simple Choice no-contract plans. This is going to be another interesting month for the carrier, as on March 23rd T-Mobile is increasing data allowances for all of its customers automatically without increasing prices on any but the highest tier plan.

T-Mobile's basic Simple Choice plan at $50 per month will give you 1GB of high-speed data (unlimited at 2G speeds, of course), double what is currently offered. Additional lines still cost just $30 for the second line and $10 for additional lines thereafter, each having the same 1GB of high-speed data. Any line can spend another $10 monthly and get 3GB of high-speed data, up from 2.5GB previously. A new option will give data-hungry customers 5GB of high-speed data for a $20 upgrade instead (that's $70 monthly now instead of $50).

But of course the truly unlimited plan isn't going away. T-Mobile will still let you use as much high-speed data as you'd like, along with 5GB of tethering (up from 2.5GB) for $30 additional each month per line — this being the one slip-up as it's actually $10 more expensive than its predecessor. Just as before, all plans give you access to all of your high-speed data for tethering or hotspot as well.

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2 years ago

Friday Freebie: Win a Seidio Innocell extended battery for the Galaxy Note 3

You need juice, this provides that juice

I recently had a look at the Seidio Innocell 4800mAh extended battery for the Note 3. While I can't say exactly how much it extends the life of a charge, I can tell you it makes a notable difference. If you need moar juice, you'll love it. It's a little bulky, and the cover loses the faux leather, but you get a good bit more oompf in the battery department.

We sell it on ShopAndroid, but here's your chance to get one for free.

  • Make sure the email you used to register at AC is valid. I need to get in touch with the winner, and will use that address to do so.
  • You need to be in the U.S. Sorry, but this one is U.S. only. Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico are good, too.
  • Leave one comment below saying you want to win it. Just one.

I'll close things down at midnight PT, and we'll contact the winner. Good luck!

Edit: Letting this one run until Saturday March 8 at 11:59PM PT, because we had some site hiccups.

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2 years ago

Plague Inc. Mutation 8 update coming next month

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Update promises a plethora of new features and has something for everyone

Plague, Inc. has grown to over 25 million players, and a big reason why is the updates. By the time you have the current version mastered, the folks at Ndemic have a new update ready to go that not only enhances the gameplay, but brings along new content. Gamers just love new content. The "Mutation 8" update will be no different, and brings plenty to the table.

  • “Mega-Brutal” difficulty – for players who thought Brutal was Casual! Experience Plague Inc.’s toughest challenge yet and try to infect a world with random medical checks, genetic drift and research tech improvements. Adapt or die…
  • Mega new Cheat Modes – 3 new cheat modes are added – the Shuffle Plague, Turbo Plague and Lucky Dip Plague which will all give you very different Plague Inc. experiences.
  • Mega evolved Cheat functionality – the thing that everyone has been waiting for! You can now use cheats on any plague type (and even combine different cheat modes)
  • Mega new Scenarios – 4 new scenarios give players brand new challenges from infecting the world with a 30,000 year old virus through to surviving in a world with hyper advanced healthcare

Ndemic says we'll be seeing the update hit this April, which gives us just enough time to beat Brutal mode so we can prepare for Mega Brutal. Bring it!

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2 years ago

ASUS Chromebox hits online retailers for $179, shipping out Mar. 14

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Simple specs and great connectivity options at a near impulse purchase price

Keeping to its word, ASUS has just put its first Chromebox effort up for order from three online retailers today. Amazon, Newegg and TigerDirect all have the ASUS Chromebox up for order at the nice, low price of $179 to be shipped out on March 14th.

That price gets you a 1.4GHz Intel Celeron 2955U Processor (what we see in many Chromebooks), 2GB of RAM, 16GB SSD, 802.11n Wifi and a whole bunch of ports — HDMI, DisplayPort, ethernet and four USB 3.0 ports are spread across this small device. AnandTech also points out that there will also be Intel Core i3 and Core i7 variants with higher specs, but that the Core i3 model won't go up for pre-order and the Core i7 version simply won't be available in North America.

Many of us are still scratching our heads on the reasons to pick up a Chromebox, but there are plenty of proven use-cases — especially in education and business — where Chromeboxes have shown their strength. If you're so inclined to give one a try at $179, you can drop your cash at one of the three retailers below.

Via: AnandTech

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2 years ago

Nyko launching line of NVIDIA Shield accessories

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Keep your Shield charged and looking good at a solid price with new accessories

Nyko is getting in on a not-so-crowded accessory market for the NVIDIA Shield today with a handful of new products that make your portable gaming machine a little more manageable. First up is a $12.99 Shell Case — similar to the first-party one, the hard case wraps around the Shield perfectly to provide protection when you travel with the device. It even has a detachable accessory bag for your power adapter and cables, which Nyko is also selling.

The first cable accessories are in the $19.99 Power Kit, which includes various cables and adapters to keep your Shield charged such as an AC adapter, car adapter and an extra-long Micro USB cable. The other available accessory is the $9.99 Shield Link, a six-foot Mini HDMI cable that links up your Shield to an HDTV to mirror your gameplay to a larger screen.

These accessories join up with the $34.99 Shield Dock (shown above) that charges and cradles your Shield for display, while also providing video output to hook up to a TV as well. You can find the Shield Dock, as well as the above accessories, from Nyko's online store today.

More: Nyko

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2 years ago

You can now have a Nest delivered same-day with Google Shopping Express (if you live in San Francisco)

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If you live in the right area you can have your $249 thermostat delivered in a matter of hours.

Just a handful of weeks after Google's acquisition of Nest was made official, Google Shopping Express will now deliver the home automation products right to your door the same day you order them. That is, if you live in San Francisco or San Jose. If you'll recall, Google Shopping Express is the search giant's local delivery service that lets you order a very specific set of items and have them delivered free of charge — at least for now — the same day if you live in a specific area.

Now the service is really useful for things like household goods and grocery items, but Google has also branched out to offer things like the Nexus 5 and now Nest products as well. You can pick up a Nest Thermostat for a cool $249 or a Nest Protect smoke alarm (or three, if you can afford it) for $129, and depending on when you order you'll have a nice person knocking on your door with a Shopping Express bag in no time at all.

Google Shopping Express is free at the moment, and you'll be agreeing to a six-month "free trial" in order to get the free shipping, but if you want to give it a try and live in the right place, this could be a fun way to do so if you've been eyeing a Nest. It sure as heck beats putting on pants and driving to the store.

Source: Google Shopping Express; (2)

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2 years ago

Pebble 2.0 finally available for Android

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New app is still a bit rough around the edges but includes the all-important Pebble appstore

Pebble today has finally updated its Android application to version 2.0.

Most important, perhaps, is that the updated app and firmware — which is v2.0.1., actually — means apps built with the Pebble SDK 2.0 will now work on your watch. And just slightly behind that is the Pebble appstore, which brings things under one roof — apps and watchfaces are all in one place now. 

Here's the full, official changelog:

  • Browse, find, and install watchapps and watchfaces for Pebble. 
  • Discover new and most popular watchapps by category: notifications, fitness, daily use, tools & utilities, remotes, and games. 
  • Watchapp locker: conveniently store your favorite Pebble watchapps when not in use. 
  • Receive notifications when software updates for Pebble are ready to install. 
  • Supports Pebble watchapps built with SDK 2.0, including the new JavaScript API. 
  • Troubleshoot issues and make suggestions right from the app.

In addition, Pebble today announced three new partner apps — eBay, Evernote and Time Warner Cable

And if you haven't visited yet, be sure to hit up our newly-launched sibling site SmartwatchFans.com, where they're covering the Pebble and Pebble Steel in full force.​

More: Pebble blog; Thanks, Harrison!

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2 years ago

Samsung releases Slacker-powered Milk Music free for high-end Galaxy phones

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A premium ad-free radio service that doesn't cost a dime

In case you can't find what you need from other free Internet Radio services, Samsung has released Milk Music for the Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Mega and Galaxy S4 Mini.

Powered by Slacker, Milk Music features over 200 genre-based and curated stations, with 13 million songs. There is a strong ocus on discovery, including a "Spotlight" feature that offers a continus curated stream of hand-picked content by music influencers. Of course, you can also create your own station based on your favorite tracks and albums.

We'll dive in for a closer look with Milk Music, for now you can grab it from the Google Play link above if you have a compatible phone.

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2 years ago

Coming up at 4 p.m. EST — it's the Android Central Podcast

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The Greatest Android Podcast in the World makes yet another triumphant return this week, and we've got a lot to catch up on. We'll recap our favorite stuff from Mobile World Congress — the Galaxy S5, Gear 2 and Gear Fit, Sony Xperia Z2, Nokia X and more — look ahead to HTC's event on March 25, and of course we'll answer a bunch of your questions in the live Q&A.

So join us in a few hours — hit up this link to watch live — and we'll see you there!

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