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4 years ago

Moto X review

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Motorola is back with one of the best designed and built phones we've seen in a while — and it's customizable. (Eventually with wood!) But it's got one seriously disappointing feature, too.

Once a year or so you get one of those smartphones that’s supposed to change everything. Maybe it’s so full of features it’s hard to know where to start. Maybe it beats the price of every other phone available, but it’s just not a mainstream device. Maybe it does one or two things extremely well but lacks in other areas.

For many, Moto X is supposed to be that phone in 2013. The rebirth of Motorola, under Google’s umbrage. Android for everyone. Pick your platitude, attach the “Moto X” name to it and watch the excitement build.

Thing is, it’s just a phone, folks. Moto X is a damn good phone, too. It’s comfortable. Familiar. Beautifully designed. And deceivingly simple. It alleviates some concerns we’ve had with other devices — battery life, namely — while falling short in other areas. But at the end of the day, does it really represent some sort of paradigm shift in the Android smartphone space?

We’ve spent three solid weeks with Moto X as the only phone in our pocket. Will it ride out the rest of the year there until the Next Big Thing?

Let’s dive into it — this is the Android Central Moto X review.

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4 years ago

New Nexus 7 getting update with fix for touchscreen issues

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Build JSS15Q has begun rolling out for Google's latest tablet

Following yesterday's updates for the Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus, which are still in the process of reaching all users, Google is today pushing out its first post-release update for the 2013 Nexus 7.

Google's Paul Wilcox confirmed on the company's product forums that new firmware is indeed rolling out to fix touchscreen sensitivity issues reported by some Nexus 7 owners —

"As a couple of you have mentioned, there's a new system update that's started rolling out for your Nexus 7s. This update does address the touchscreen issues discussed in this thread. If you're one of the people experiencing touchscreen issues, please let us know how it's going after you've received and installed the update."

There's no word as to whether the patch includes any other changes, but it's possible it might also include whatever security fixes were rolled out to Nexus phones yesterday.

If you're not seeing anything on your Nexus 7 just yet, you're not alone — our devices aren't showing any updates available just yet either. As is always the case with Google updates, you might need to wait a few days before it's rolled out to your tablet.

Source: Google Product forums; via: ​XDA

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4 years ago

BBM for Android user guide appears online

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The "late summer" launch window for BlackBerry Messenger on Android is fast approaching, if not already here. And with beta builds already creeping out into the wild, it should come as no surprise to see support documentation also showing up online ahead of the anticipated release.

Designed to instruct new Android users on the ways of BBM, the docs cover the basics of getting your account set up, viewing friends' profiles and trolling CrackBerry Kevin. (OK, maybe not that last part.)

In any case, there're a lot of instructional bulleted lists and no screenshots to be found, so if you're after a peek at what BBM will look like on Android you'll have to make do with leaked screenshots for now.

Similar documents have also appeared for the upcoming iOS version of BBM. Hit the source link down below to grab both manuals, courtesy of our pals at CrackBerry.

Source: CrackBerry

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4 years ago

Android 101: Managing 'favorite' contacts

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Keep those people you contact most in a single list

Everyone likes to keep a robust contacts list as a centralized store of information, which is especially the case in the age of smart phones. Although it seems like this list randomly grows and grows (few people regularly "audit" their contacts list), we usually end up contacting the same handful of people over and over again.

This is where the simple idea of a "favorites" list comes in — a quick and useful tool in Android's contact manager that separates your most-contacted people from the rest. Hang with us after the break for a very brief tutorial about Google Contacts and marking individuals as "favorites".

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4 years ago

Mophie Juice Pack for the Samsung Galaxy S4

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The premier name in battery cases brings an extra 2,300 mAh to your GS4 with a new Juice Pack

Behold, the Mophie Juice Pack for the Samsung Galaxy S4. This guy brings an extra 2,300 mAh to the GS4 in a big but stylish case. That's the gist of the Juice Pack, of course. Protect the phone while offering up more battery life. Specifically, this model adds about 80 percent more battery to the stock GS4. 

Obviously it adds a good bit of bulk, too. Specifically, it more than doubles the thickness of the GS4. It's more than a half-inch taller, too, and adds nearly a quarter-inch to the waistline.

The Juice Pack will run $99.99 direct from Mophie and will be available in black, white, pink and red.

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4 years ago

Asphalt 8: Airborne launches on Android

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Gravity-defying racer available today on Google Play

As promised, Gameloft's latest racing title Asphalt 8: Airborne is now available to download on Google Play, priced at $0.99. The game was one of a few titles shown off at Google's Android 4.3 event, where it was used to showcase the new graphical effects made possible by the new OS's OpenGL ES 3.0 support.

More importantly, it looks like a lot of fun. The developer promises 180 events, 47 vehicles, including licensed cars, and "gravity-defying" tricks and jumps. Reviewing the iOS version recently, iMore's Simon Sage said —

"If there’s one thing the Asphalt series had going for it, it was a ridiculous, over-the-top gameplay style, and it very much stays true to that spirit. Asphalt 8 is built for adrenaline junkies in a bunch of ways. For one, boosting now has a mini-game element built into it. When you tap once, you initiate your boost, and when you tap again, you go into a faster, second-phase boost. After the first tap, your nitro meter starts going down, and if you tap a second time when it reaches a small target zone, then your secondary boost will be even, uh, boostier."

If you're a racing fan — particularly a racing fan with a new Nexus 7 — you're going to want to check this one out. Hit the Google Play link above to get started.

More: Asphalt 8 review

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Mega (6.3) review

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Is there space in the market, or your pocket, for a 6.3-inch smartphone​?

Think of a screen size between 3 inches and 10 inches, and chances are Samsung has a matching mobile device. The Korean manufacturer has come to dominate the Android space with a diverse portfolio of phones, tablets and everything in between.

And “in between” is where we find the Samsung Galaxy Mega — the 6.3-inch version, in this case, not to be confused with the slightly smaller 5.8-inch variant. With such a large display, it’s not quite a phone or a tablet, but one of a class of hybrid devices that also includes handsets like the Galaxy Note and LG Optimus G Pro.

We’ll say right off the bat that this kind of device isn’t going to enjoy the mass appeal of a traditional smartphone like the Galaxy S4. But after a week with the Galaxy Mega, we’ve come away convinced that there’s a place in the world for freakishly large smartphones like this. Join us after break to find out why, in our full review of the Samsung Galaxy Mega.

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4 years ago

Verizon HTC One now available

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$199.99 on-contract or $599.99 outright, running Android 4.2

After what seems like an eternity in pre-release limbo, Verizon Wireless has officially launched its version of the HTC One, and you can actually go out today and buy it. Pick up an HTC One on a standard two-year plan and you'll pay $199.99, buy it outright and you're looking at a $599.99 fee.

Besides the extra branding on the back, and Verizon 4G LTE support lurking within, it's essentially the same HTC One we've been talking about since the announcement back in February — a phone with exceptional build quality, speedy software and a gorgeous 1080p SuperLCD3 screen. Verizon's HTC One comes in the "glacial silver" color with 32GB of storage.

Verizon's version also has the advantage that it launches with Android 4.2 and a slightly updated version of HTC's Sense 5 software, compared to the Android 4.1-based firmware on most U.S. HTC Ones. For what it's worth, HTC has said it hopes to get the newer Android 4.3 release onto all U.S. versions of the phone by the end of September.

If you need a quick refresher, check out our full review of the HTC One. If you're already sold, hit the Verizon link down below to visit the carrier's online store.

More: HTC One review

Source: Verizon Wireless

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4 years ago

Verizon LG Enact launched with slide-out QWERTY keyboard

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Leaked just a day ago, Verizon has today launched the LG Enact, which we're pretty sure is the first Android-powered QWERTY slider to land on a major U.S. carrier this year. The Enact is a budget handset, selling for $20 (after a $50 mail-in rebate) on a two-year contract or $349.99 outright.

That'll get you a device with a 4-inch WVGA (800x480) display, a dual-core Snapdragon S4 Plus CPU at 1.2GHz, 8GB of internal storage and microSD expandability. There's also a 5-megapixel rear camera. The software suite is powered by Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, on top of which sits LG's own custom interface.

So it's not the most advanced handset, but it looks like something that'll handle the smartphone basics without too much trouble. Anyone still in the market for a QWERTY slider? Check the source link for more details.

Source: Verizon Wireless

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4 years ago

Contra: Evolution now available for Android

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Scroll sideways. Shoot aliens.

Retro run-and-gun platformer Contra: Evolution has landed on Android this morning, bringing Konami's classic shooter franchise to the platform for the first time. If you're not familiar with the series, which dates back to the 1987 arcade cabinet original, it's all about finding the biggest gun you can, and shooting aliens in the South American jungle.

The gameplay is both familiar and easy. It's a virtual joystick game, where the left stick controls your direction, and the right is the jump and inventory virtual buttons. Your toon never stops shooting, and whatever direction you turn is also the direction your weapon fires. Work your way through this side-scroller, where of course there are plenty of enemies shooting back, landscape items and scenery that will trip you up, and a boss fight at the end of each level. If you've played any of the Contra series on your old console, you know what to expect here. The Android version seems very true to form, and is just as fun to play as the originals.

Contra: Evolution is available from Google Play now for $0.99 in the U.S., or £0.63 in the UK. Grab it at the link above, or head past the break for our first-look video.

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4 years ago

Orbitz redesigns entire app, adds Google Now integration

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Speeding up the process of booking travel plans, and looking good doing it

Making a big leap in design and quality from the previous version, Orbitz has redesigned its entire app in the latest update to make searching and booking travel plans easier. Realizing the massive number of Android handsets being sold, Orbitz has undergone a complete redesign to be Android native, and the performance increases are notable. Navigation is extremely smooth and easy, with a simple interface that takes fewer taps to get where you need to be — whether it's finding a hotel, booking a flight or buying a rental car.

Under-the-hood changes also include the ability to stay signed in even when you exit the app for a long period of time, offline access for booked flights and changes to flight search listings. Orbitz is also now integrated with Google Now, so Gmail users that receive Orbitz notification emails will see their relevant travel information displayed as a card in Google Now the day of their travel.

You can grab a download or update of the latest Orbitz app at the Play Store link above.

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4 years ago

Google Now adds cards for car rentals, tickets, NCAA football scores and more

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New or improved cards for both work and play

An update to Google Now is in the process of rolling out to devices, and while most of us are still waiting the official Android Google+ account has detailed the update's new features. The update brings several new "card" types across a wide variety of topics, including car rentals, concert tickets, commute sharing and NCAA football scores. Each of these is pretty self-explanatory, but just shows how much Google is working towards getting all types of relevant information in your life into Google Now.

Along with the grouping of new cards, the update also improves public transit cards which will now show times for the last bus or train for you to get home so you'll never be stranded without a way back. The general search card has been updated to include a reminder function when you search for media content, such as setting a reminder to watch a TV show that you searched for. Also related is an updated TV card, which can now show you information about music playing or news being displayed in addition to current programming information.

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4 years ago

Chromecast gets another OTA update and a new version of the SDK to go with it

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Your Chromecast is getting bumped to version 12940, and the SDK gets a new point release bringing it to 1.0.1

Google is pushing out another silent OTA for the Chromecast, bringing the streamer-on-a-stick to version 12940. You wont have to do anything to get it, and probably would never know it came. But for those who are worried about things like hacking the Chromecast, we want to get the word out. 

The change log is short but sweet. "Better discovery of Chromecast devices" and "Improved Google Play Movies stability." Both sound like something we all want. 

In other Chromecast news, the Google Cast SDK developer preview also got a little bump to version 1.0.1, fixing a bug some iOS developers were seeing where a naming convention interfered with Objective-C++ development. 

The quick pace of changes and updates doesn't surprise us at all, as we think Google has big plans not just for the Chromecast but the the Google Cast protocol as a whole.

Source: Chrome Releases Blog

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4 years ago

Hangouts app gets updated in Google Play

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The Hangouts app gets a speed boost on some phones

The Hangouts app has been updated, and though we don't have a change log as of yet, long-time reader Ben has the update and can tell us a little about what to expect.

On his Galaxy Nexus, he notices a big improvement in speed, and there are more emojis for the folks who like to add a little flair to their messages. Other than that, there seems to be no user-facing changes, but we'll wager a guess that there are bug fixes and stability improvements in there, too.

The new version is 1.1.2.778356, and is doing the usual gradual rollout thing. Keep an eye on your Google Play notifications to know when it's your turn. In the meantime, you can constantly spam-click the Google play link above like we are and see when Google gets around to updating the change log.

Thanks, Ben!

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4 years ago

Motorola puts Touchless Control app in Google Play, availability not expanding

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No new features being added in this initial Play Store release

One of the new headline features of Motorola's latest Droid line and the Moto X, Touchless Control, is hitting the Play Store today. Before you get too excited tough, the app is still restricted to just those four handsets — Droid Mini, Droid Ultra, Droid MAXX and Moto X — at least at this point.

The app is showing up as an update for users of these devices, but there doesn't seem to be any change in functionality or features at this point. Moving this Touchless Control over to the Play Store does enable swift updating when new features are available though, much like we've seen with Google moving apps like its keyboard into the Play Store.

If you have your hands on one of the new Droids, be sure to grab the update on your device.

Via: Droid-Life

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