It's the season for reviews — you might have noticed that we've gone through a bunch in the last few weeks — and today our pals at iMore are dropping their yearly opuses. And they're even more of interest to us this year with Samsung's recent shift to metal. (To say nothing of the metal phones we've had before it.)
So pour yourself a drink, kick up your feet and give 'em a gander.
The new Moto X is now available for customers of U.S. Cellular. The phone, which is pretty much our new favorite launched last month on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, as well as unlocked direct from Motorola. The launch on U.S. Cellular follows the same pricing — $99.99 for the black model on a two-year contract.
Facebook has received approval from the European Union for its $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp. The main concern over the deal in Europe was that the deal would harm communication in the telecom market. The European Commission said that the acquisition would not impede competition, according to Re/code:
We've dug up some solid deals on apps, accessories, smartphones, and tablets. If there's something you've been wanting to get your hands on, check out the list below. As always, if you find any sales out out there that aren't listed, let us know in the comments!
Samsung and the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) have today announced that the new Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge both support MirrorLink. Much like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, MirrorLink pairs a smartphone with compatible vehicles, enabling owners to utilize neat connected features.
Honeywell has launched its connected Single Zone Thermostat in the UK to compete against the likes of British Gas' Hive and Google's Nest, making the option available for those who require a more affordable solution. The unit makes it possible to control and schedule heating wirelessly, whether you're located inside the house or out and about.
Apple and Samsung have already published videos showing views just how their latest products are tested against wear and tear. Now it's the turn of OnePlus who have also uploaded a video to show how the "flagship killer" has its durability tested. The best part? You don't require an invite to watch.
HTC has announced its unaudited financial results for the third quarter of 2014, revealing that the company stayed in the black in Q3 after its return to profitability in Q2. While HTC managed to avoid another loss-making quarter, the struggling smartphone maker saw further declines in both revenue and profits: Unaudited quarterly revenue was NT$41.86 billion compared to NT$65.1 billion in Q2, while net profits were down from NT$2.3 billion to NT$0.64 billion.
Smartphones with upgraded front-facing shooters are becoming more popular as the demand for high quality "selfie" shots increases. HTC could address this demand with a new entrant to its Desire family, if the latest leaks are to be believed. The HTC "Desire Eye" purportedly includes a dual 13-megapixel camera configuration, and a Desire 820-like plastic body, according to specs and images leaked by upleaks
FreedomPop, which has offered US residents free monthly voice and data plans for smartphones and most recently tablets for a year now, has started selling its own branded devices, beginning with an 7-inch Android tablet for just $89.
Huawei has today announced the affordable Ascend Y550 will be heading to the UK later this month for under £100. The smartphone is powered by Android KitKat 4.4 and comes with 4G connectivity, perfect for 2014 in the UK. It's a sleek looking device, equipped with some advanced components to ensure the user experience isn't hindered by the affordable price point.
Tesco has launched the second generation of its Hudl tablet. The UK retailer has even put plans for a branded smartphone on hold just so everything can be focused on getting Hudl 2 out the doors and into the hands of consumers. The company has kept most of what made the Hudl unique, but has made some notable improvements.
Coming in a day after Google posted the latest Android 4.4.4 factory image, the Nexus 7 LTE is now seeing a small OTA update to bring the latest software as well. The update, which comes in at just 2.4MB, brings your tablet from 4.4.3 to 4.4.4 with very minor under-the-hood fixes.
Google still has work to do, but you couldn't pay me to go back to the way things were before
I'm just finishing a two week experiment where I've gone "all in" on Google Hangouts for my calling and texting. After dabbling around with things and watching bugs get fixed for a week after Hangouts and Google Voice began integrating with one another, I decided to see if Google's new VoIP calling and Voice SMS integration was the real deal.
Being someone who already was a full-time Google Voice user and heavy Hangouts user the transition was supposed to be theoretically simple — Google controls the whole stack, so why wouldn't it be? Well as you might expect there's still a good bit of tweaking to be done in this process. But much to my surprise, this experiment has turned into the only way I'll be doing calls and texts going forward.
Harman-Kardon audio is the big-ticket feature, but retractable earbuds may be the best improvement to LG's wraparound headset
The best part about the LG Tone Infinim (HBS-900) Bluetooth headset ($149 from AT&T, varies at Amazon) has nothing to do with its top bullet point, the inclusion of Harman-Kardon sound. No, the most important part of this neck-wraparound device is much more simple than wave form algorithms or any other sort of audio jargon. It's not even the slick integration of notifications, so you can hear what folks are pinging you for without having to look at your phone. It's not even the redesigned buttons.
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