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30
Apr

Lego Star Wars: the Complete Saga arrives to Google Play, KotOR slashed to $3


lego-star-wars-complete

The unofficial Star Wars holiday “May the Fourth” is almost here, and you can bet that means plenty Star Wars-related sales, app promos, and more in the near future. As far as Android is concerned, so far we are happy to report that Lego Star Wars: the Complete Saga has now landed on Google Play. Additionally, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic has received a price cut!

Starting with KotOR, the Bioware classic first arrived to Android at a price of $10, a little pricey considering the game was over a decade old. For those of you that have held off because of the price tag, you might be a bit more interested now that the price has dropped down to just $3!

Get it now on Google Play!

Moving on to the Lego Star Wars, the game is now available in the Play store for $7. While that’s more expensive than the typical $1 to $2 games that run wild on the Play store, it’s still a pretty fair price for all the content you get. As most of you are probably aware, the Lego Star Wars series takes you through the events of all six movies but with some Lego-inspired twists and changes along the way.

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Arriving first in 2007, the series is a must have for Lego and Star Wars fans alike, featuring 36 story mode levels, over 120 characters, and support for both touchscreen and “classic” controls.

Get it now on Google Play!

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30
Apr

TextNow Wireless launches unlimited plan, adds Nexus 5 & Moto X


Mobile provider TextNow Wireless has announced today that all new no-contract plans come included with unlimited talk, text, and 2G data.  That’s right, all you’ll need to be concerned with is how much 3G/4G you need. With plans as low as $18.99/month, TextNow is positioning themselves as an attractive alternative to the “big” providers with lengthy commitments.

Piggybacking on the Sprint network means you’re covered by the footprint of a larger carrier when outside of WiFi. If the inexpensive rate plans weren’t enough to earn your attention, TextNow Wireless has announced the addition of the Moto X and Nexus 5 to their lineup of devices. Top-tier handsets and unlimited rate plans have certainly caused us at AndroidGuys to take notice.

Read more about TextNow Wireless’ new plans and devices here. Full press release, below.

Press Release

TextNow Wireless Launches $19 Monthly Unlimited Plans for All and Welcomes the Nexus 5 and the Moto X to its Feature-Rich Offering

Unlimited Talk, Text and Data – No Contracts!

Waterloo, Ontario & Los Angeles – April 30, 2015 – TextNow Wireless, the world’s first no contract, cloud based mobile phone service, today announced that every TextNow Wireless plan now comes with unlimited talk, text and 2G data – a money-saving benefit that will be automatically applied to both new and existing TextNow Wireless customers. Savings-friendly 3G and 4G data plans start at just $18.99 for 500MB of data. TextNow is also announcing the addition of the Nexus 5 for $249.99 and the Moto X for $149.99 (16GB) or $174.99 (32GB) to its suite of devices.

The average U.S. family spends well over $1,500 a year on phone service*, but with the new TextNow Wireless plans, families now have access to premium quality voice, text and data service plans for under $20 per month, per line.

“At TextNow Wireless, our goal has always been to provide the best and most affordable wireless experience for everyone,” said Derek Ting, CEO and co-founder of TextNow Wireless. “ We’re making our new unlimited plans available not only to new customers, but also existing ones as a reflection of our commitment to increase and enhance services, while simultaneously saving money for our customers.”

Offering a supersized suite of features combined with serious savings, TextNow Wireless delivers quality and value in several unique and creative ways. TextNow Wireless piggybacks on Sprint’s network for a wireless connection in the absence of WiFi, so you can use a TextNow-powered phone wherever Sprint has coverage. One standout feature is its ability to seamlessly switch between WiFi and the traditional carrier network, maximizing savings while ensuring quality coverage.

The cloud based phone service also empowers users to take their numbers from their phones, to their computers, to their tablets through its app. One number can be used across all platforms, while still maintaining crystal clear quality. Additionally, TextNow Wireless offers unprecedented value with a no-contract commitment and delivers visual voicemail, picture messages, web calling, and unlimited calls for no extra cost.

Staying true to its reputation of providing top quality service without the cost or restrictions associated with overpriced wireless contracts, TextNow will be grandfathering in all current customers so they will automatically gain access to these new unlimited plans: no changes or updates necessary.

About Text Now Wireless

TextNow Wireless uses a hybrid model of WiFi and traditional phone service to offer premium quality mobile service at affordable prices. With TextNow Wireless, customers receive all of the benefits of a traditional mobile   carrier without the contracts, high costs or hidden fees. Plans begin at under $20/month including unlimited voice, text and 2G data services with no contracts. TextNow first made a name for itself with the TextNow texting and calling app, which launched in 2009 and has since amassed more than 58M downloads globally.  For more information, visit www.textnow.com.

*U.S. families spend an average of $139 a month on cell phones — $1,668 a year (2013) – J.D. Power and Associates

The post TextNow Wireless launches unlimited plan, adds Nexus 5 & Moto X appeared first on AndroidGuys.

30
Apr

These surrealist games melt more than clocks


These surrealist games melt more than clocksSome say surrealism was the most influential art movement of the past century and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s had an effect on video game developers too. The games you’ll find below weren’t made by Salvador Dalí or M.C. Escher, but the influence those mind-bending artists had is unmistakable. And it’s not just limited to endless staircases or clocks melting off the side of a ledge (although those make appearances) in indie games, either. Dream-like visuals and landscapes have dotted the world of blockbuster games too — not even God of War 3 was immune when it released in 2010. Let’s take a mind-bending trip together in the gallery below, shall we?

Filed under: Gaming, Software, HD

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30
Apr

JXE Streams: Acid Nerve teaches us how to topple ‘Titan Souls’


Welcome to the new masochism! For a decade now, games have held our hands and walked us patiently through their soft hallways. Playing BioShock Infinite? Try easy mode, darling. Rollicking your way through New Super Mario Bros. U? Fail too many times and the game will play itself. No more! The new breed of punishers like Bloodborne have brought out the gleeful self-flagellator in everyone. Acid Nerve’s Titan Souls is another banner carrier for the new masochism. Don’t let its old-school adventure, Zelda-meets-Shadow of the Colossus facade fool you; this is one tough cookie. That’s why we’re having Acid Nerve, its creators, come on to JXE Streams to teach us how to play.

Titan Souls designer and programmer Mark Foster as well as composer David Fenn will join us live on today’s stream! Tune in to Twitch.tv/Joystiq, Engadget.com/gaming or right here in this post starting at 3:30PM ET to chat with the developers and check out the PS4 game.

Dig the stream? Follow us on Twitch and bookmark Engadget.com/gaming to keep track of upcoming shows.

[We’re playing Titan Souls on PlayStation 4 streamed through an Elgato Capture HD via OBS at 720p.]

Filed under: Gaming, HD, Sony

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30
Apr

Department of Energy 3D prints an all-electric Shelba Cobra


Carroll Shelby’s iconic Cobra roadster has been making jaws drop for half a century now. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cobra’s debut the US Department of Energy built one of its own. The new Cobra’s entire chassis and bodywork–from the passenger monocoque to the grille and headrests–were 3D printed from carbon fiber reinforced ABS using the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. And while the exterior of the new Cobra is nearly indistinguishable from its predecessor, they look nothing alike under the hood. The DoE’s Cobra is, in fact, completely electric.

It’s outfitted with a 100-kilowatt electric motor that hits 60 mph from a standstill in under five seconds. This “laboratory-on-wheels,” as the DoE describes it, is actually built to accommodate a number of new technologies like motors motor propelled by wide bandgap power electronics, using a simple “plug-n-play” design. In all, the vehicle took a team of six engineers just six weeks to design and print. The DoE’s replica made its debut at the Detroit Auto Show back in January. It currently resides at the Department of Energy headquarters in Washington DC.

Filed under: Transportation

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Source: US Department of Energy

30
Apr

Asus ZenFone 2 launching in North America on May 18th


zenfone-2-launch-event

When the original ZenFone series launched at CES 2014, I personally was excited to see more competition in the low-end segment, believing Asus had what it took to compete with devices like the Moto G. Unfortunately, the original ZenFone lineup never made its way to the states. Thankfully, this isn’t the case for the ZenFone 2.

Asus has formally started sending out invites for a ZenFone 2 North American launch event which takes place in New York City on May 18th. While we had already heard talk about how the ZenFone 2 would make it stateside, official confirmation is always nice.

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The ZenFone 2 is more than just a mid-range device, it’s a high-end flagship-like offering at a mid-range price. In our review with the 4GB RAM variant of the ZenFone 2, we couldn’t help but be impressed by how well the device performed despite a few drawbacks like some battery drain issues. Now keep in mind that while we know the 2GB variant of the ZenFone 2 is sold somewhere in the $200 to $300 price range, you can likely expect the 4GB model to cost somewhere between $300 and $400 when it arrives in North America. Of course, pricing in the US isn’t official just yet.

What do you think, anyone planning on picking up this mid-ranger with a high-end flagship punch?



30
Apr

HTC Camera update brings RAW image support to the One M9


htc one m9 review aa (27 of 34)

We’ve know that RAW image support was coming to the HTC One M9 from day one, but it had yet to make it way into the final software. Thankfully, a new update to the HTC Camera app is finally bringing Raw capture to the One M9, where it will be found as a photo mode in the camera app.

One of the star features for the HTC One M9 is supposed to be its rear camera, which finally moves away from the UltraPixel setup of the M7 and M8. Unfortunately, poor post processing and other issues have led to an arguably somewhat lackluster experience. With access to RAW images, however, third party programs and just everyday photo enthusiasts might be able to edit the files themselves with the aim of creating better images.

Raw image support is obviously the biggest change here, but there’s also some minor changes effecting some other HTC devices as well. Here’s the changelog, for those interested:

  • Raw Camera mode, only available on the HTC One M9
  • Crop-Me-In mode, only available on the HTC One (M8 EYE) running Android 5.0 Lollipop and the HTC Desire EYE
  • Adjustable divider in Split Capture mode
  • Add and remove camera modes

To grab the latest version of the HTC Camera app, you’ll want to head on over to Google Play.

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30
Apr

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 review: The best budget phone of 2015


Alcatel OneTouch has been creating some pretty nice budget handsets recently, and after seeing their new Idol 3 at MWC, I knew I had to give it a try. So I took the SIM card out of my Nexus 6 and fully switched over to the Idol 3 for the last week. I put it through its paces to see just what this budget smartphone could handle.

The unit I used to conduct this review was running on pre-release software. Please keep in mind that any problems I faced may be fixed by the phone’s release or by a future software update.

 

Design

IMG_20150427_191548The first thing that I noticed about the Idol 3 was that it looked pretty nice for a $250 phone. Sure, there was no metal chassis or leather back, but the phone felt extremely solid. It did not bend or creak and the build quality was great. The chrome accents along the top and bottom on the edge of the phone give it a little something so that it stands out against the crowd of black slate phones. Since they are plastic, they might pick up some scratches and dings, but I have not seen any on my unit so far. Also, the back is made of a brushed plastic that looks more premium and feels better than normal glossy plastic. One of my favorite design features on the Idol 3 is the recessed front facing speakers on the top and bottom of the phone. This helps to break up the otherwise flat device and give it some dimension. On the right side at the very top of the phone is the volume rocker. Interestingly, the power button is at the very top of the left side. This placement is extremely inconvenient for me, but thankfully the phone features double-tap to wake and sleep so the power button did not need to be used much. The SIM card slot is placed under the power button, and removing it you will also find a place for a Micro-SD card. If the 16GB of storage is not enough for you, it supported Micro-SD cards up to 128GB. One on the most notable things about the Idol 3’s look is that it is perfectly symmetrical. If you turned the phone completely upside down, you would almost have no idea if it wasn’t for the front-facing camera switching places. Also, the Idol 3 only weighs in at 140 grams, which makes this phone feel extremely light. This helps with their Reversible UI feature that I will get to soon. For $250, you are getting a well made device that feels and looks great.

Display

IMG_20150427_191329The Idol 3 comes with a 5.5″ full-HD display at a pixel density of 401 ppi. Alcatel touts that this display is enhanced by Technicolor and the colors are supposed to appear more real. I have to say that this screen was enjoyable to look at. Everything looked amazing on the display and colors looked great. I was not expecting a display this nice on a $250 phone, and I am glad Alcatel proved me wrong. This is one of the brightest phone displays I have ever used. I ended up keeping the brightness around 25-30% and it was plenty bright for me. You will definitely have no trouble viewing this screen in direct sunlight. The Idol 3 uses an IPS display, and even though I prefer AMOLED, I like the way this screen looks. Blacks looks dark, whites were bright, and colors were natural without being overpowering. Also, viewing angels are amazing. Even at extreme angels, I saw no lack of detail or color.

Android and UI

Screenshot_2015-04-21-15-58-23If you could not tell from the fact I own a Nexus 6, I love stock Android. When I first powered on the Idol 3, I was worried because what I saw looked like a pretty heavily skinned version of Android. Thankfully, I was completely wrong. The Idol 3 is running on Android 5.0.2, and while it may not look extremely stock, few things are actually changed. Alcatel OneTouch skinned the icons and replaced some of the stock apps, but most of Android was left completely untouched. And the apps that were replaced performed just as well as stock Google apps. Since the tweaks were light, the Idol 3 is able to run Android Lollipop very well. There are also a few software tweaks that actually added to the experience. Double-tap to sleep and wake is a welcome addition because of that terrible power button placement. It works extremely well, and I rarely found myself having to double-tap more than one. My favorite change is the Reversible UI feature. What this features does is orient the UI to whatever direction you are holding the phone. It allows the screen to rotate completely around so you are never actually holding the phone upside down. I thought this was the biggest gimmick until I actually tried it. Turns out I tend to take my phone out of my pocked upside down about half of the time, but I never noticed it on the Idol 3. I would just double-tap the screen and Android would be rotated around. Since there is a speaker and microphone at both ends of the device, you can answer phone calls with the device upside down, too. Also, the animation that happens with you flip the phone around is pretty sweet. The Reversible UI is a feature that I hope other OEMs include on their phones in the future.

Camera

The Idol 3 comes with a 13 MP main camera with a Sony sensor and an 8 MP front-facing camera. The camera software has most of the features a normal user is looking for plus some extras. There is an HDR mode, a panorama mode, a manual mode, a time-lapse mode, a bar-code scanner, and one called “Face beauty” which basically smooths out your skin and may make selfies look a little better. The phone took pictures extremely fast, with close to no shutter lag. Of course, the real test of a phone’s camera is the kind of pictures it can take. I found that the Idol 3’s camera was okay. Pictures taken outside were pretty good, although they are not going to be blowing anyone away. In pictues with bright colors, detail is sometimes lost in the colors. Pictures taken inside turned out about the same. Low light pictures is where the Idol 3 struggled a bit. They lost some details and had a little extra noise. That being said, if you are just looking for a phone to take pictures to post on social media or share with friends, the Idol 3’s camera will suit you just fine.

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Speakers

IMG_20150427_191458One of the big features of the Idol 3 is the dual front-facing speakers powered by JBL audio. After listening to music daily on this phone, I have to say that I am impressed. The speakers can get loud, but do not seem to suffer from much distortion at the high volumes. Most importantly, the sound is amazing, even through headphones. The bass is not as strong or deep as you will find in something like Boomsound on the HTC One, but mids and highs are nice and clear. Alcatel touted that the sound quality was very good, and I imagine that anyone who listens to music from the Idol 3 will agree.

Performance

The Idol 3 is running on a 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 615, with four cores clocked at 1 GHz and four clocked at 1.5 GHz,  coupled with 2GB of RAM. I found that, for the most part, performance was smooth. I could scroll through apps, recents, and web pages with minimal slowdowns. However, there were a few times when the Idol 3 would just seem to randomly slow down. It was still usable, but animations and scrolling seemed more choppy and less fluid. Unfortunately, I do not know what caused these dips in performance. You should not expect to play any graphically intense games on the Idol 3, but it should handle most casual games pretty well. I tried it out with Limbo and suffered no slowdowns at all. This phone will not be winning any speed tests or benchmark scores, but the performance was better than I expected and fluid most of the time.

Battery

The Idol 3 is powered by a 2910 mAh battery. I am what you would consider a “power user” when it comes to my phone. It is rare for me to finish a day with less than 4 hours of screen on time for my phone. If a phone can survive my days, it should be able to survive anyones. I have three email accounts that pull down every five minutes. I also watch around an hour of YouTube over WiFi and stream at least a hour of music over LTE. The Idol 3 took my daily activities just fine and I had no worries about running out of battery before I got home. If you are a light to moderate user, you will definitely be pleased with the Idol 3’s battery life as it will easily last you through the day with battery to spare. If you are a heavier user like me, then I would wager the Idol 3 could handle your lifestyle just as well, maybe with less battery left over though. If you want to see the daily breakdown for battery life, you can check out all five days in the tabs below.

  • On the first day, I took the phone off the charger at 9 AM.Day 1 SOTDay 1 Battery
  • With this being the first day I had the phone, I used it quite a bit
  • I watched an hour of YouTube videos over WiFi
  • I played an hour of games
  • I listened to an hour of music streaming over LTE
  • By 10 PM, I had to put the phone back on the charger at 7%
  • That may seem early, but I got 4 hours and 42 minutes of Screen On Time
  • On day two, I took the phone off the charger at 8 AM Day 2 Battery
  • I received a software update during the day, which is where you see the phone power off
  • After it updated, I recharged the battery to where it previously was to continue the test
  • I watched another hour or so of YouTube videos over WiFi
  • I listened to an hour of music streaming over LTE
  • At midnight, I had reached 4 hours and 30 minutes of Screen On Time with 11% battery left
  • On day three, I took the phone off the charger at 9 AMDay 3 SOTDay 3 Battery
  • I did the usual hour of YouTube and hour of streaming music
  • Today was a lighter day and I only reached 3 hours and 43 minutes of Screen On Time by 1 AM
  • I finished the day with 15% battery left
  • On day four, I took the Idol 3 off the charger around 9 AMDay 4 BatteryDay 4 SOT
  • I usually spend Saturdays with friends so I spend less time on my phone
  • I listened to about 2 hours of music streaming over LTE
  • I reached 3 hours and 20 minutes of Screen On Time by 1:30 AM
  • I finished the day with 21% left
  • On day five, I took the phone off the charger around 10 AMDay 5 SOTDay 5 Battery
  • On Sundays, I get an extra hour or so of Screen On Time that I do not usually get
  • Because of that, I had to put the Idol 3 back on the charger at 9:20
  • However, I got over 5 hours of Screen On Time for day 5

The biggest test I have for a phone is will I miss it when I stop using it? The answer for the Idol 3 is undoubtedly “Yes!” It is definitely not a powerhouse, but the experience of using it is great. I will miss some of the features like the Reversible UI and double-tap to wake immediately. Of course, it is not perfect. Performance suffered from time to time and the camera is okay at best, but for $250, I would put the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 as the best budget flagship of 2015. If you are in the market for an affordable phone that will still provide a great experience, the Idol 3 should be at the top of your list.

 

The post Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 review: The best budget phone of 2015 appeared first on AndroidGuys.

30
Apr

T-Mobile offers its customers a free season pass to MLB At Bat 15


The past couple of years, T-Mobile has offered its customers free access to MLB At Bat subscriptions a few weeks into the regular season. Well this year is no different, as T-Mobile is again offering its customers a free season pass to MLB At Bat 15.

Beginning May 1, T-Mobile customers can download the MLB At Bat 15 app on T-Mobile’s netowrk and get At Bat premium features for the regulars season, a value of $19.99. This includes:

At Bat Premium brings you every game:

  • Stream the MLB.TV Game of the Day (blackout restrictions apply)
  • Track every pitch
  • Watch in-game highlights
  • Access live look-ins on key plays

In order to have access to this offer, you must download and then open the app while you’re on T-Mobile’s network. If you are roaming or on Wi-Fi it will not work. Now, go grab a hot dog and enjoy the ball game!

Source: T-Mobile

The post T-Mobile offers its customers a free season pass to MLB At Bat 15 appeared first on AndroidGuys.

30
Apr

ASUS starts sending out press invites for a ZenFone 2 event it’s holding in NYC on May 18


ASUS_Zenfone_2_Official_76

ASUS has just announced that it will host a ZenFone 2 event in New York City on Monday, May 18. Invites are in the process being sent out to all major technology conglomerates, requesting that they be present to witness the launch of the company’s flagship smartphone in the United States.

Just in case you need a refresher on its specifications, the ZenFone 2 packs a 5.5-inch IPS capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, a 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 processor, a Power VR G6430 GPU, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable internal storage and a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera.

Unfortunately, we have no information with regards to pricing for the handset, although ASUS did previously state that it would be an affordable smartphone that will start at just $199, but we have no confirmation of this, as of yet.  It shouldn’t be too much longer though until we find out — so be sure to check back.

Come comment on this article: ASUS starts sending out press invites for a ZenFone 2 event it’s holding in NYC on May 18

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