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30
Dec

Franco Kernel makes its way to the Nexus 6


Franco Kernel

A well-known Android programmer and kernel hacker, Francisco Franco has updated his Material Designed Franco Kernel to support the Nexus 6.

Before using the app, you must root your device. Franco notes that he does not accept refunds if you fail to do this, which probably means the device will brick if it is not rooted.

The only devices that are currently supported are the Galaxy Nexus, the Nexus 4, the Nexus 5, the Nexus 6, the Nexus 7 2012, the Nexus 7 2013, the Nexus 10, and the One Plus One. The Franco Kernel will work as long as these devices are running at least JellyBean 4.1.

The kernel hack includes such functions as auto flashing kernels, an interface to change CPU clocks, governor parameters, and other interfaces, color and sound control, and a System Monitor designed by developer Christian Göllner.

The Franco Kernel is easy to use in that the user can “Backup & Restore Kernels on the fly without any “geek” knowledge.” If you have one of the supported devices rooted, then it should be worth checking out, especially since it’s 30% off in the Play Store.

Source: Google Play


The post Franco Kernel makes its way to the Nexus 6 appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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30
Dec

Sony might just launch a VAIO Android smartphone at CES 2015


vaio

With CES 2015 rapidly approaching, the speculation inevitably begins, and first up is Sony who may just be set to launch an Android powered VAIO branded smartphone.

There’s no word as to the exact specifics of what a VAIO device may entail, but with the success of Sony’s Xperia lineup, you can bet it’ll be one heck of a device. The VAIO Android device is expected, however, to not be a high-end smartphone, and instead be reasonably priced.

It seems that only time will tell with this one, but keep your eyes peeled on our CES 2015 hub for the latest news.


The post Sony might just launch a VAIO Android smartphone at CES 2015 appeared first on AndroidGuys.

30
Dec

Microsoft offers some encouraging stats about 2014’s Windows Store downloads and sales


Even as Microsoft gets ready to launch Windows 10 in 2015, the company is taking a quick look back at the improvements it has seen on its Windows Store in the past year.

30
Dec

Alleged images of Galaxy S6 surface, poses next to the S4 and S5


S6-leaks

The beginning of each year usually presents a slew of new device announcements, and 2015 will be no exception. Following our coverage of CES 2015, we should begin to start seeing new flagship devices from all of the top device manufacturers. In the past, Samsung has grown accustomed to releasing their flagship device towards the start of the new year, given the Galaxy S5 launched in February 2014 and the S4 launched in March 2013. We’re expecting a similar timeframe for the launch of the Galaxy S6, so it’s normal to see leaked photos a few months ahead of time.

Earlier today, Iranian tech site Toranji leaked alleged photos of the upcoming Galaxy S6. Though the photos aren’t the best quality, we see the alleged Samsung flagship posing next to S4 and S5, as well as shots of the back and front of the device.

S6-leaks-2 (1)

Taking a look at the photos, we see the supposed Galaxy S6 with the screen turned on next to both the Galaxy S4 and S5, which gives us a pretty good look at the device’s potential size. Additionally, though the photos aren’t the most clear, the S6 looks to be sporting an aluminum or metal chassis, as well as multiple different color options. We’ve heard rumors of the company bringing a metallic design to the phone, so these images seem to fit right in with previous claims. It also looks to be slightly bigger, but to be honest, this device is very similar to both other flagships in the photos.

The fact that the devices look so similar to one another warrants question, though. Not too long ago, we heard reports of Samsung supposedly “starting over” with the Galaxy S6 due to poor sales of the S5. So if these photos are legitimate, it seems as though the company isn’t really starting over with their newest handset — they are just adding a metal jacket and a few other refinements to the mix.

Of course we can’t vouch for the legitimacy of these images, so be sure to take these photos with a grain of salt. We’ll be on the lookout for more information regarding the Galaxy S6, and we’ll keep you updated if we hear anything. Are you looking for more Galaxy S6 rumors? Take a look at our big Galaxy S6 rumor roundup.

What are your thoughts on the alleged S6 photos? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.



30
Dec

Update to media organizing app Mizuu brings Material Design and a free price tag


movie-library-tablet

Mizuu has been a solid media content manager on Android for quite some time. It helps manage movies and TV shows, all while offering you useful information about the video content you’re currently watching. Fans of the app are getting some good news today, as Mizuu is receiving a huge update rolling out now. The update includes a slew of Material Design UI enhancements and a drop in price.

The update to version 3.0 brings an entirely redesigned interface. They’ve removed the drop-down menu from the top and added a pull-out menu from the left side, as well as more filter options, a new layout for movie and TV show details, and a ton of under-the-hood improvements. There is still no Android TV support, but the developer explains that he hopes to get support for the platform out sometime soon. If you’re interested in hearing about more changes to the app, the full changelog can be found over on the Mizuu Blog.

Additionally, the developer has decided to make the app completely free with this update. Mizuu used to be offered for $2.99, but now everyone has a chance to experience the great multimedia manager for no cost. The update is rolling out now, so head to the Play Store link below to grab your update!



30
Dec

Samsung releases Milk VR in hopes to bring more content to the Gear VR


samsung gear vr first look aa (5 of 9)

The Gear VR is Samsung’s recent foray into the virtual reality world, bringing an immersive digital content experience to anybody who is an early adopter of the new technology. The device launched a few weeks ago as an Innovator Edition, and up until now has only delivered a minimal amount of content to its users. The company hopes to get more content up and running on the VR headset with their release of Milk VR, a media content store build specifically for the headset.

The content included in the marketplace will cover music and videos, all available for download or streaming directly from the Milk VR app. The content store is launching as a technical preview, and Samsung promises to update content on a regular basis, giving early adopters enough music and videos to spend ample time with the device. So far, all content on the service is free to download and watch, though most of the offerings are only 1-10 minutes in length. Milk VR aims to be the central marketplace for all video content that comes to the Gear VR. Though the selection is pretty limited thus far, if you’re an owner of the headset, you’ll likely be missing out if you pass on downloading it.

Milk VR is available starting today for anyone who has the headset. Remember, you need a Galaxy Note 4 to run the Gear VR, so keep that in mind before you make any big purchases.

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30
Dec

Talk Android Staff Picks: Best Android Phone for 2014


TalkAndroid_Staff_Picks_Best_Phone_2014

2014 was an amazing year for Android phones. We not only saw some of the best high-end phones ever, budget phones found their groove as well. The Talk Android staff might not agree on what the best phone is, but one thing we do agree on is that you really can’t go wrong with the majority of flagships that launched in 2014. Hit the break to see what our picks are for the best Android phone from 2014.

Robert Nazarian

This was no easy task because there were so many good phones in 2014. What can be a great phone for one person might not be for someone else because of several factors. For some people, it’s the display, while others might prefer better battery life or camera quality. For me, the phone of the year is the one that was able to achieve high marks in the majority of categories. Both the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the LG 3 are two phones that meet this criteria. They both have solid displays, fantastic processors, great battery life, top of the line cameras, and quality builds.

So how do I pick one to be the best? It comes down to what I am willing to put in my pocket on a daily basis, as well as recommend to my friends and family. Sure it’s priced a little higher and it might be a tad too big for some people, but the Note 4 is one hell of a phone. It’s actually the first Samsung phone that I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing. The only negative is TouchWiz and that can be (mostly) eliminated with a 3rd party launcher. It might have been a tough year for Samsung in terms of sales, but the Note 4 out shined every other Android phone, at least in this reviewer’s opinion.

Jeff Causey

When asked to make a decision about the best smartphone of 2014, I found myself struggling to come up with anything. The obvious choice for me would be the LG G3, since that is what I ended up getting for myself mid way through the year. The G3 has proven to be everything I hoped for in my latest smartphone purchase. It is fast, the screen is stunning, the UI is less intrusive than the Touchwiz UI I had on the Samsung Note 2 it replaced, the battery life is excellent, and the camera is good enough to occasionally replace my DSLR in some situations. The Knock On feature has spoiled me as I find myself trying to tap on other devices, forgetting they don’t have that feature, and now the placement of the buttons in the middle of the back of the device seems normal to me.

All that said, I have a friend who went with a Samsung Galaxy S 5 this year and he enjoys many of the same benefits. From the little bit I’ve seen him using his device, I think maybe the Samsung camera app has a few more features available. Overall though, there seems to be little to distinguish the devices other than subjective preferences. The same seems to be true for the other flagship devices that came to market this year like the HTC One (M8), the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, or even devices like the OnePlus One, the Sony Xperia Z3, or even the Nexus 6.

I also had a thought to go in an entirely different direction and declare the new iPhone the best smartphone of the year. That would not be because I think anyone should go out and buy an iPhone. Rather, I think Apple’s release earlier this year demonstrated just how dominant Google’s Android operating system has become as well as the choice that Android device manufacturers have brought to market. Android fans no doubt are aware that Apple has been “inspired” by features found in Android for years now. However, Apple’s changes this year, especially in terms of changes to their hardware specs, seem to have exposed Apple as trailing far behind in the design of devices for consumers. It also seems that general consumers may no longer automatically look to iPhones as the “standard” for a smartphone with the device’s appeal becoming more and more limited to Apple fans. Nevertheless, this choice would not really help the consumer hoping to buy a smartphone.

At the end of the day, I am still drawing a blank. There are lots of new and unique devices that came to market in 2014, like new flagships from HTC, Samsung and LG, all of which are excellent devices. Likewise, there is a nice tier of new companies and devices entering the market like the OnePlus One. Even Google’s Nexus 6 helps the company get back into the top end of the market. It seems like perhaps the manufacturers and their devices have matured to the point where you cannot go wrong no matter what you pick. Even though it means I’ll have to abstain from selecting a smartphone of the year for 2014, which I find disappointing, I think it is a win for consumers and that is a very good thing.

Jared Peters

Picking the best phone of 2014 has been tough, since there haven’t been any devices that drastically changed from the previous versions in their lineup. Samsung’s Galaxy S 5 stuck to Samsung’s typical design, LG’s G3 smoothed out the rough edges from the G2, and the latest Moto X didn’t stray too far from what the original was made to do. Out of all of the phones released this year, though, nobody made refinements better than HTC.

The HTC One (M8) improved on last year’s HTC One in almost every way, including an improved design, moving to on-screen navigation buttons instead of the M7′s off center capacative buttons, and bringing back a microSD card slot. The M8 still has room for improvement, but for the most part, it offered one of the most compelling Android packages without too many unnecessary features and bloat. Plus, HTC has taken Android updates more seriously than most other OEMs, and with programs like HTC Advantage, the M8 really solidified what HTC wants to be in the Android market.

Everyone knows HTC has been dealing with some extremely tough competition from other Android manufacturers, but the M8 has put HTC back on track to have a great year in 2015.

Jack Holt

The Galaxy Note 4 – Honestly, it was a toss up between the 2014 Moto X and the Galaxy Note 4. I’ve used both extensively and I’d say the Note 4 comes in an edge over the Moto X.

For me, I can’t get over the camera of the Note 4. The OIS helps a lot with noise, and I’ve found the camera to be consistent in taking good shots where the Moto X takes OK shots at best.

Even with the Moto X 2014 having Android 5.0 already, I found myself missing a lot of things about the Note 4. Plus, with the Note 4′s new metal construction, I found the phablet pretty solid to hold despite being bigger. The dimple in the Moto X is nice for hand placement, but I found it awkward for my fingers while holding it. While I miss the water-resistance of the S5 and the Moto X, the Note 4′s camera, screen and battery life make up for it.

As far as premium phones go, the Note 4 is where it’s at for 2014.

Justin Herrick

It seems that every hardware manufacturer made tremendous progress with their phones this year. Samsung expanded beyond using solely plastic and finally took on metal. Motorola realized that specifications do matter, and gave consumers what they expect of a flagship. And LG harnessed cutting edge technology encased in a slim and light body. What about HTC? The Taiwanese company proved a lot by doing little with the One (M8).

The One (M8) is gorgeous, especially in its true Gunmetal Grey color. It has a unibody that is 90% metal. The phone does not feel like a piece of cold, hollow metal. The One (M8) has a curved rear that allows it to sit comfortably in the hand with an adequate amount of weight. It is neither a feather nor a brick. And the phone ditched its predecessor’s two-button layout in favor of on-screen buttons. So the front of the One (M8) is smooth, complimented by the powerful BoomSound speakers.

Turn on the crisp 5-inch Super LCD 3 display and you will find that the software is modern with an appropriate amount of color. Sense is not an overbearing miniature circus like what Samsung and LG have going on (albeit both companies have eased-up on that). HTC included useful features and not to be different. BlinkFeed, Motion Gestures, and the Duo Camera are all assets.

Now, there are bound to be haters regarding the Duo Camera setup. However, I found the One (M8)’s camera to be perfectly able of producing clean shots. Sure, it does struggle in dark settings even with the dual-LED flash. Are there any phones that don’t? I hung a canvas in my living room that is comprised of photos taken only by the One (M8).

There is no indication that HTC tossed around ideas and hoped it would all come together. The takeaway from the HTC One (M8) is that it feels complete.

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So that’s our picks. We love to hear yours. Let us know in the comments.

Come comment on this article: Talk Android Staff Picks: Best Android Phone for 2014

30
Dec

Samsung announces a curved-screen all-in-one and its thinnest laptop yet


Samsung announces a curved-screen all-in-one and its thinnest laptop yet

We hope you like super skinny laptops, because you’re going to be seeing a hell of a lot more of them in 2015. Samsung just took the veil off its new ATIV Book 9 Ultrabook, which comes in at just 0.45 inch thick and 2.09 pounds. That’s insanely compact for a 12.2-inch machine and indeed, it’s the thinnest and lightest notebook Samsung has released yet. (Given Sammy’s history with razor-thin laptops, that’s saying a lot.) Like so many other slim machines that have come out lately, the Book 9 uses one of Intel’s new Core M processors, which were designed specifically to allow for skinnier designs.

Even more than its svelte profile, though, the real star of the show might actually be the display. Not only is the 2,560 x 1,440 resolution high for a machine this size, but Samsung also included an “outdoor mode” that takes the brightness from an already-impressive 350 nits all the way up to 700. The only concession seems to be that it’s a non-touch panel — kind of a necessity, though, if you wanna build a machine this thin.

Assuming you do in fact keep the brightness at a more moderate level most of the time, the battery life should be pretty long — up to 10.5 hours, according to Samsung. In addition, the Book 9 has an Ultra Power Saving Mode similar to Samsung’s smartphones, which allows desperate users to squeeze out an extra hour of runtime by automatically shutting down all non-essential services running on the machine. Also, like many other Core M laptops, the Book 9 is fanless, which should mean it runs pretty quietly. Does that also mean it runs cool? We’ll see, but if our early impressions of Core M are any indication, it’s unlikely to overheat. The Book 9 will go on sale sometime in Q1 of 2015, and will be available in two configurations: a $1,200 model with 4GB of memory and a 128GB solid-state drive, and a $1,400 unit with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.

Additionally, Samsung unveiled the ATIV One 7, the company’s first curved-screen all-in-one. Heck, and as far as we know, it’s the first curved all-in-one, period. Despite being somewhat of an oddity, though, it actually looks quite a bit like Samsung’s monitor and TV range, just with enough heft around the body to accommodate all the computer components that lie within. Those include an Core i5-processor, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB 5,400RPM hard drive. As for the screen itself, it’s actually of fairly middling quality, that impressive curvature aside. What we have here is a 27-inch display, with full HD resolution (not quad HD or some such). It’s also a TN panel, which means the viewing angles might not be quite as wide as competing machines with IPS screens. Then again, one of the purported advantages of a curved display is that viewing angles from the side are inherently better, so perhaps we’re taking an overly pessimistic tone here. In any case, if this is just the sort of thing you’ve been waiting for, you can scoop one up later this quarter, to the tune of $1,300.

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30
Dec

The Interview has become 2014’s top selling movie on Google Play and YouTube


Less than a week after Sony’s much-talked about movie The Interview became available to purchase or rent on the Google Play Store and YouTube, Google has now confirmed that the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy has become the top selling movie of 2014 for both sites.

30
Dec

Android 2014: A year in review


Android Lollipop with Google logo Peace

In two days time we’ll be celebrating the new year. 2015 is full of possibility, but before we turn our attentions to the future, let’s cast an eye back at the year that was.

Android had a great 2014, full of twists and turns, new releases, new markets, new device categories, and new directions. How did the news play out? What were the biggest stories of the year? Find yourself a comfy armchair, put your feet up, and let’s take a look.

January 2014 – Google and Samsung kiss and make up

There’s little doubt that 2013 was Android’s year as the platform claimed a 79% share of the worldwide market, according to Strategy Analytics. The majority of analysts agreed, but they also pointed to signs of saturation, talking up the importance of emerging markets beyond the US, Europe, Japan, and Korea. China, India and other new markets would be the new battleground for Android smartphones. Google would also have to look at new product categories in order to expand Android’s prospects in its existing strongholds.

CES logo

As ever CES provided the first big event of the year. It was light on big name smartphones, but there were plenty of wearables and Samsung’s new tablets made headlines for the Magazine UX, which appeared to be a major departure from Google’s Android. You can check out what made our best of CES 2014.

We were still talking about a perceived spat between Google and Samsung, but as the month unfurled the two signed a decade-long cross-license deal and apparently came to some sort of agreement that Samsung would scale back its Android customizations. It looked as though the hatchet was buried.

The persistent rumors about the death of the Nexus line would not go away and there was speculation that it may have formed part of Google and Samsung’s behind the scenes agreement. There was no confirmation of this, but a Google move that definitely was going ahead was the offloading of Motorola, apparently at a big loss.

The Moto G had been a big hit, but Motorola still wasn’t profitable.

We were left to guess about the true motivation behind Google’s sale of Motorola. The Moto G had been a big hit, but Motorola still wasn’t profitable. It felt a little as though Google was giving up just as the partnership was beginning to work, but it may have been under pressure from the other Android OEMs, especially Samsung.

Google’s sale of Motorola to Lenovo was made official for around $3 billion, a bit shy of the amount that Google paid to acquire Nest Labs offering a route into the home automation market.

February 2014 – Flappy Bird frustrates millions

Flappy Bird alternatives

One of the biggest stories of February was about Dong Nguyen’s difficult and unaccountably popular Flappy Bird which was reportedly pulling down $50k per day from an audience of 50 million. The developer would later pull the game and the Play Store was quickly flooded with clones and tributes.

The biggest mobile show of the year, MWC 2014, saw the unveiling of the Sony Xperia Z2, the Samsung Galaxy S5, and the horribly disappointing, ill-fated Nokia Android smartphones. Most of the chatter was focussed on the S5 which got a mixed response. New features like the fingerprint and heart rate sensors were well recieved, the specs looked solid with a much improved camera and water proofing, but there were plenty of jokes about the perforated pattern on the back resembling a sticking plaster.

We heard a rumor about a Nexus tablet from HTC which definitely generated some excitement. Google launched Project Tango which opens up some interesting 3D sensing possibilities. There was also the $19 billion WhatsApp acquistion by Facebook and we heard Google had offered $10 billion and missed out.

March 2014 – Google makes a play for the wrist with Android Wear

moto 360 unboxing initial setup (11 of 13)

The big news in March was the announcement of Android Wear and the release of an SDK, enabling developers to extend their apps to smartwatch devices paired with Android smartphones or tablets. Various OEMs were named as partners and we saw the LG G Watch, but it was the round-faced Moto 360 that won all the plaudits.

It was a good month for Motorola because we also heard that the Moto G had become the biggest selling smartphone in the company’s history.

KitKat began to roll out for a string of devices, but official distribution figures revealed it had only hit 2.5% of devices, with 62% still running a version of Jelly Bean.

Near the end of the month there was the HTC One M8. It was another gorgeous, premium design from HTC building on the success of the M7 with decent specs, though the camera came in for some criticism.

April 2014 – OnePlus One’s flagship killer

oneplus one aa (33 of 34)

Making big waves on the Android scene, newcomer OnePlus finally launched the One starting at an impossibly low price of $299. With highly impressive, cutting edge specs, the OnePlus One claimed a spot on many wishlists, but the competition and invite-only system for prospective buyers prevented a rush of sales. The controversial “Smash the Past” contest, encouraging people to smash up their old smartphones, turned into a PR disaster.

Making big waves on the Android scene, newcomer OnePlus finally launched the One starting at an impossibly low price of $299.

Beyond OnePlus we also took note of rising Chinese stars Xiaomi and OPPO.

The death of Nexus rumor took form with talk of Android Silver, but there was still no confirmation from Google or any other major player.

There was also news of an agreement on an anti-theft remote kill-switch for future smartphones.

May 2014 – LG G3 final flagship

LG G3 Vs HTC One M8-88

The last shot of the early 2014 flagship round fell to the ascendant LG. The LG G3 was officially announced and it looked set to help LG maintain its upward momentum. With a 2K display, unusual design with buttons on the back, and cutting edge specs across the board — we were blown away. It would be a serious contender for Android phone of the year.

The $1,500 price tag sapped some of the excitement out of the open availability of Google Glass in the U.S. and it was beginning to look like a wider consumer release with reasonable prices would never happen.

May also saw some evidence that the destructive patent war might be winding down with the end of court cases between Apple and Motorola and a jury decision that Samsung would have to pay Apple $120 million, but Apple would have to pay $160k to Samsung. But then there was also an Oracle win over Google.

June 2014 – Android I/O reveals L, Wear, Auto, and TV

The month kicked off with Android’s biggest competitor unveiling iOS 8 and we asked what was new and what was borrowed? It looked pretty good and pressure began building as everyone wondered aloud what Google would show off at the annual I/O event at the end of the month.

Before that happened, we got the long awaited Amazon smartphone and we were quick to explain why the Fire Phone will fail. Long story short – too expensive, locked into Amazon, gimmicky features.

android-wear-faces

Google didn’t tell us what dessert L was named after, but the new platform was shown off on stage at I/O and we were impressed with the new aestethic, Material Design. There was the promise of improved mutlitasking and notifications, better performance and longer battery life. There was also the Android One initiative aimed squarely at capturing emerging markets with budget handsets.

Beyond smartphones and tablets, we also saw Android Wear in action, the potential seamless sync of our smartphones with our cars via Android Auto, and the long expected Google TV rebrand – to Android TV with voice search and gaming. There was also the welcome news that Chromecast would support Android device mirroring.

July 2014 – Dust settles after I/O

The month began with confirmation about Project Volta and how Android L would extend battery life. We were still digesting the news from I/O and wondering about the importance of Android One and the potential of Android Auto.

There was good news for Americans as Sony quietly launched the Xperia Z2 stateside and the Senate passed a bill to legalize cellphone unlocking which the House approved.

No one was very surprised (or upset) when Microsoft, having fully acquired Nokia, announced an end to Nokia X devices on Android.

The big rumor of the month was about a Motorola-built Nexus 6 smartphone.

August 2014 – All eyes on the horizon

There were plenty of rumors and leaks in August as excitement began to build for the Note 4 release in September. The Nexus rumors continued to swirl. Everyone was also keen to get a real hands-on with the Moto 360, also expected it in September alongside updated versions of the Moto X and the Moto G.

We were surprised to see HTC releasing a Windows Phone version of the gorgeous HTC One M8. We also got our hands on the latest Xiaomi flagship, the Mi4, and it made a good first impression.

Towards the end of the month we took a closer look at Android’s new design guidelines.

September 2014 – Battle of the big smartphones

samsung galaxy note edge review aa (23 of 26)

August may have been the calm before the storm, because September was positively action-packed. We saw some major releases around IFA 2014. There was the Sony Xperia Z3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. More excitingly there was the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, an obvious attempt to innovate by the leading Android OEM.

We saw some major releases around IFA 2014.

As expected we also got a new Moto X, updated Moto G, and the Moto 360 went on sale.

A few days later the new iPhones landed. The iPhone 6 was expected, but the 6 Plus marked an even bigger departure for Apple. Samsung’s strategy and the general trend towards larger phones was vindicated and there was a lot of gloating. When claims emerged about how easily the 6 Plus bends, the Android OEMs couldn’t resist poking fun at Apple.

Apple Watch

Apple Watch

We also saw the Apple Watch, set to go head-to-head with Andriod Wear devices, and there was the announcement of Apple Pay, which could work in Android’s favor by breathing new life and interest into the slow-moving, horribly competitive and fragmented mobile payments industry.

Towards the end of the month we learned that Intel, still sore from missing the smartphone bandwagon, was investing $1.5 billion in China. There was also a lot of interest in the Intel wireless charging bowl, a concept it had first shown off at CES back in January, which was now set for a commercial release before year end.

October 2014 – Suck on this, Android Lollipop and the new Nexus devices

nexus 6 review aa (11 of 14)

The first new device to hit the market in October was the HTC Desire Eye, the logical hardware result of the selfie trend, boasting 13MP cameras front and rear. It failed to generate a major buzz.

The big news came on October 15 with the official release of Android 5.0 Lollipop. This was the biggest change to Android in years, with a new user interface designed to tie the Android and Google experience together. It also offered a host of improvements and baked more popular features into the platform.

Reaction to the new additions to the Nexus family was more mixed.

Reaction to the new additions to the Nexus family was more mixed. As expected the Nexus 6 was manufactured by Motorola, and the Nexus 9 was manufactured by HTC. There was some disappointment that Google wasn’t continuing the low-priced trend it established with the Nexus 4 and continued with the Nexus 5. We asked is the Nexus 6 really too expensive?

Towards the end of the month Motorola officially became a Lenovo company. LG announced record-breaking sales, we learned that Xiaomi was the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, and we wondered what was happening at Samsung in the wake of some disappointing results.

We were also reminded that Verizon’s Droid brand is not done yet as the Motorola Droid Turbo was unveiled. If the Moto X update was a disappointment, then the Droid Turbo made up for it with cutting edge specs, a big battery, and a super-fast charger (8 hours from 15 minutes).

November 2014 – Lollipop rolls out

Android Lollipop with Google logo

The existing Nexus devices were among the first to get Android 5.0 Lollipop as it began to roll out in November. Owners of other OEM flagships awaited the news about update schedules hopefully.

Hot on the heels of taking over Motorola, Lenovo was quick to point out that it was now the third-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, overtaking Xiaomi before it had a chance to get comfortable.

There was a mid-month surprise when Nokia announced the N1 Android tablet. With the smartphone division under Microsoft’s control few expected the leaner Nokia to come out with an Android tablet. It remains to be seen whether it could be the first step towards some kind of comeback, but it won’t be making any new smartphones in the forseeable future.

December 2014

Androidify Christmas Lollipop

As the year draws to a close it looks as though Android has extended its commanding lead slightly compared to 2013. Strategy Analytics put it at 84% for the third quarter.

The new iPhones look like they’ve been a hit, but Apple isn’t competing at the budget end of the market at all and Android is cleaning up as Windows Phone struggles to make any impact in emerging markets.

It’s been a year to remember for LG, Lenovo, and Xiaomi, but the jury’s still out for HTC, and Samsung and Sony have not done as well as expected.

Rumors and speculation surrounding the HTC One M9 are already grabbing attention. Here’s our list of the best Android smartphones right now, it will be interesting to see how many new entries we have by the time MWC comes round in March.

Whatever 2015 has in store for Android you can be sure to find it here at Android Authority.



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