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2
Feb

Motorola tries to capture your heart with deals through Valentine’s Day


Motorola is no stranger to running deals for some of its inventory over holidays. Valentine’s Day is still a couple weeks away, but the manufacturer isn’t wasting any time. Let’s check out what offers Motorola is using to show you its love.

Moto 360

This is probably the first deal that we’ve seen for the 2nd Gen. Moto 360. It’s not a discount off of the asking price, but rather, an incentive. If you purchase the Moto 360 right now, you can throw on a metal band and get a leather band for free.

Moto_360_bands_deal

This is pretty sweet if you like changing up your look from time to time. The 2nd Gen. Moto 360 makes it easy is switch out bands (it’s just a latch on the band that pops it off). The free band is a savings of $40.

Moto G

The Moto G offer is a similar deal. You won’t get a discount on the asking price, but you’ll get an accessory for free. Actually, in this case, two free accessories: two extra back covers to change up the phone’s look.

Moto_G_deal

Recall that the Moto G allows the user to pop off the back cover and switch out with another from a multitude of colors.

Moto_G_colors

Each shell runs $15, so you’re looking at a $30 savings if changing up your phone’s appearance on a whim tickles your fancy.

Moto X Pure Edition

Lastly, the Moto X Pure Edition is getting some love as well. Motorola recently teamed up with a renowned designer, Jonathan Adler, for three unique back cover looks. The limited edition phones normally run at a premium ($475), but right now they’re at the same price of a normal Moto X Pure Edition ($400).

Moto_X_deal_2

Moto_X_limited_Adler

Bear in mind that these offers run through Feb. 16th at 10:59a.m. CT. Hit up the source link below to get to the deal’s launch page.

Source: Motorola

The post Motorola tries to capture your heart with deals through Valentine’s Day appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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2
Feb

My Mount Rushmore of Android smartphones


With more than seven years of Android smartphones under our belt, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the more important releases. There are dozens of manufacturers around the globe, having produced hundreds of models over time.

Ask anyone who has followed the Android space for some time and you’ll find that, invariably, there are certain devices that have higher levels of credibility, or those that resonate more loudly. There are a select number of handsets that are looked upon much more favorably than others.

Some phones are known for changing the way other manufacturers approach their designs. Some have unique designs that introduce new materials or boast record-setting benchmarks. In an industry that is constantly evolving, we find there are a lot of phones that tread into new and interesting places. But, what makes up the best Android phones of all time?

Let’s take a look at what I’ll term the “Mount Rushmore” of Android smartphones. Before going any further, I would like to point out that this is a totally personal list in that it is not indicative of what the other writers at AndroidGuys may think. The goal is to have other staff create their own list of phones with respective reasons for selecting them.

To qualify this list, I am not looking for the most popular Android smartphones. Rather, I am looking for areas such as innovation, design choices, sales strategy, impact on consumers, and other variables.

Suffice it to say, it was not easy trimming this list down to four models. I returned to my selections a few times before publishing this article and found myself wanting to swap stuff in and out. But, for the sake of having fun and creating a “time capsule”, this is what I’ve come up with – today.

T-Mobile G1

HTC | 2008

The granddaddy of them all, this was the first device ever to run Google’s Android operating system. It landed not long after the Apple iPhone, and it was a completely different approach to the new era of smartphones. Whereas Apple’s choice was to take touch screen experience and tie it into its own ecosystem, this one involved a variety of players. Moreover, its “open source” nature meant that it would play nicely with just about anything and anyone willing to put in some effort.

Key hardware specs:

  • 3.2-inch 320×480 pixel display
  • 528MHz processor
  • 256MB ROM
  • 192MB RAM
  • 3.2-megapixel rear camera
  • 1150mAh battery

In addition to being a collaborative effort on the partner front (HTC, T-Mobile, and Google),  the G1 was also somewhat of a hodgepodge of hardware. Indeed, there was the touch screen display which measured in at 3.2-inches and featured a 480×320 pixel display. But, slide open the unit and you’ll find a QWERTY keyboard with five rows of physical buttons underneath. And, as if that weren’t enough, this phone also featured a trackball for navigation. It wasn’t the prettiest of phones, and it was everything the iPhone wasn’t. In short, the nerds had something new to rally around.

Although there was a retail-ready product, at launch Google still had a long road ahead of itself in terms of Android and the software ecosystem. Even early adopters would ultimately relent that it felt unfinished and lacking. Hell, it even felt to some like we were beta testing in the wild. Despite the shortcomings the phone proved that people would consider the platform as a viable alternative to the other players of the day. In short, this one paved the way for all other Android products. For that very reason, this is the George Washington on my Mount Rushmore.

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Droid

Motorola| 2009

The device that still frames conversations today, the Droid was the first Android smartphone that people recognized by name. Think about it, there are still people who lump together all Android phones under a “Droid” umbrella.

“Is that your new Droid?”

Thanks to an incredibly ambitious marketing campaign, we learned early on that this was everything that the iPhone wasn’t. Ah yes, back in the days when Android phones were quickly evolving with groundbreaking hardware and software capabilities. A removable battery? Widgets? Open software development? A camera with a flash? YES PLEASE.

Key hardware specs:

  • 3.7-inch 480×854 pixel display
  • 512MB ROM
  • 256MB RAM
  • 5.0-megapixel rear camera
  • 1390mAh battery

Remember the commercial that started out with the indie pop sounding music that quickly morphed into an almost scary wake-up call? It shook us and put the world on notice. We didn’t even need to see it to be intrigued.

Another key reason that the Droid fascinated us was that it would be Verizon’s first foray into Android.  Oh, and it was Motorola’s entry into the Android space, too. New efforts from big named, established mobile players? Count us in.

Although the Droid family would go on to include smartphones from Samsung and HTC, it was this singular model that remains ingrained in our memory. None of the Droid phones since this one were as memorable or likely as popular.

In terms of hardware, the Droid offered users a physical QWERTY keyboard and a really cool navigational pad. It wasn’t necessarily that much more powerful than other Androids at the time, but it certainly looked the part. It was angular, black, and looked all business. That didn’t stop women from picking one up, though.

Perhaps just as important as the hardware for the Droid was its software. This was among the first phones to launch with Android 2.0 Eclair and quickly updated to 2.1. Chief among the reasons to want this particular build of Android was that it came with Google Maps Navigation (beta). Yes, for the first time, Google would give users a cloud-based turn-by-turn navigation app at no cost; it’s built into the operating system! Other noteworthy features in Android at the time were interactive wallpapers, voice controls, more home screens, and support for more than one Google email account.


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We’ve seen a lot of product names and lines over the last seven years, many of which have gone away. One that has stuck around, however, is the Droid brand. The name still calls for attention in 2016. And, while it’s still an exclusive partnership between Motorola and Verizon, the family of phones commands respect. Had the original Motorola Droid faltered, it’s hard to imagine where we would be today.

Nexus One

HTC | 2010

Although it arrived some sixteen months after the G1, the Nexus One was nothing like its HTC-made counterpart. It was sleek, polished, and running a much smarter software system in Android 2.1 Eclair. The Nexus One also offered up some substantial improvements in hardware as compared to the first-ever Android.

In short, the Nexus One was created to accelerate the innovation in the smartphone space. It was Google’s way of saying, “this is the benchmark for where we think phones should be today”. Once it was introduced, other phones were quick to keep pace and buyers got more bang for their buck.

Key hardware specs:

  • 3.7-inch 480×800 pixel display
  • 1GHz Snapdragon processor
  • 512MB ROM
  • 512MB RAM
  • 5.0-megapixel rear camera
  • 1400mAh battery

What made the Nexus One so interesting, to me at least, was that it wasn’t sold via a traditional wireless carrier at first. Indeed, the phone was offered direct from a Google website with support handled via forums. To average smartphone buyers, this model barely registered on their radar. For fanboys and enthusiasts, however, it was a very cool concept.

Unfortunately, this sales method would prove to be ahead of its time as customers were not ready to buy a phone they couldn’t physically touch. Google would ultimately sell the Nexus One through select carriers, but it was slow to happen and mostly toward the latter half of its life cycle. In fact, Google would eventually scrap its online store — for a few years — for Nexus phones and work closer with service providers.

It would take another 3-4 years before US customers were cool with the concept of buying a phone outright and then pairing it with a carrier. We still have a long way to go here as customers still like to purchase their handsets through a service provider, but, Google had/has the right thing in mind.

The Nexus One represented everything an Android lover would look for: pure, unadulterated software on top of cutting-edge hardware. Reviews were almost universally positive for the phone, but it still fell short of some end of year lists. Nevertheless, Google would be undeterred and release a new “Nexus” model almost annually, ushering in the latest version of Android at the same time.

Whether or not we might term the Nexus One a success is debatable; even today’s successors aren’t runaway sales champions. It’s more about what the phone represents, however, as to why it’s on my list. It was ambitious and unheard of, especially in the United States. It would be another five years before average consumers would be hip to the idea of purchasing a phone outright and picking the carrier later. Were it not for the Nexus One we might not have ever seen phones like the Moto X or heard of companies like Blu or Nuu Mobile.

Galaxy S3

Samsung | 2012

The first few years of Android were an incredibly frustrating time for smartphone buyers. Why? In a word, exclusives. It seemed that every single phone that came along was tied to a specific carrier. This meant that you had to consider switching service providers if you were interested in a particular phone. And, guess what – they weren’t all that competitive against each other.

Even the first two generations of Samsung Galaxy S phones were not exempt from the stranglehold. Here, in the United States, the original model was offered across the four major carriers with four distinct names: Captivate, Vibrant, Epic 4G, and Stratosphere. To make matters worse, each was slightly different in configuration and none of them had the exact same dimensions. Sprint’s version, for instance, featured a QWERTY keyboard while everyone else went touchscreen-only.

The successor would be no better as it came with a dozen variations globally, with a host of them coming stateside. Raise your hand if you remember code names and models like Hercules, Attain, Within, Skyrocket, Captivate Glide, and Epic 4G Touch. Oh, and don’t get me started on the fact that not all models were launched at the same time.

Imagine the pain in the butt it was to find a case for your phone. Imagine being a case maker and trying to forecast which models were worth backing.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 changed the game for smartphones here in the US. For the first time, we would see one design spread across all versions. For the first time, we had four major carriers ready to offer the same phone, at the same time. For the first time, we had this “choice” we kept hearing about when it comes to Android. Choose the phone and choose the carrier.

  • 4.8-inch 720×1280 pixel display
  • 1.4GHz quad-core processor
  • 16/32MB ROM
  • 2GB RAM
  • 8.0-megapixel rear camera
  • 2100mAh battery

Samsung would go huge with the launch of the Galaxy S3, dropping in some 100+ markets within a matter of weeks of each other. Not only that, but Samsung took the fight directly to Apple with its ads and marketing strategies. Does it really feel like almost four years have passed since that first commercial that had iPhone users waiting in line for the “next big thing”?

It didn’t hurt that the Galaxy S3 was a pretty significant step forward in hardware. Although configuration differed across countries and carriers, we were now talking about readily accessible phones with quad-core processors, 32GB storage and 2GB RAM. The 4.8-inch screen was sizable for the time and users generally loved the 8-megapixel rear camera. In addition to a couple of storage options, it was also possible to select from a number of colors, too. Did the polycarbonate shell feel cheap? Sure. Did it stop people from buying it? Hardly.

Android purists and fanboys would have plenty of criticism over the custom software experience TouchWiz, but average users didn’t seem to mind. Samsung baked in a host of custom apps and services, many of which doubled up the stuff that came with Android. Key features introduced in the S3 include Smart Stay, S Voice, and Pop-Up Play. All of this stuff, of course, was an obvious play to pull consumers into its own ecosystem and away from reliance on Google. Did it matter? Not really. Sales for the Galaxy S3 were through the roof and the phone landed on many “best of” lists.

Samsung didn’t push the envelope for the next few successors, but it did overhaul the line for 2015. Samsung continues with its Galaxy S line of phone today; we’re looking at the S7 launching in the next few weeks.

Wrapping Up

You have no idea how hard it was to put this list together. I struggled with my own personal faves such as the HTC EVO 4G or Galaxy Note 2 not finding one of the spots on this list. We had internal discussions at AndroidGuys about which phones we’d come up with; every writer had a different combination. Some of us changed each time we thought of the concept.

I would love to hear about your Mount Rushmore of Android phones. Leave me a comment below with one or more picks and why it deserves to be etched in rock for all time.

The post My Mount Rushmore of Android smartphones appeared first on AndroidGuys.

2
Feb

Samsung confirms new edge features on Galaxy S7 Edge


samsung_galaxy_s6_edge_plus_top_left_corner_TA

We all knew this would happen, but Samsung has confirmed there will be a Galaxy S7 Edge. A leaked image on Samsung’s website confirms the S7 Edge and its edge functionality.

samsung-galaxy-s7-edge-features-1

As you can see from the image, the S7 Edge was added to the list of available devices to feature an edge screen style. This is directly on Samsung’s own developer site.

There has already been tons of S7 Edge leaks in the past few weeks, but this confirms the name, and also confirms what edge features it will have. However, the features seem basically the same as before. Features like People Edge, App Edge, and any new ones added during the S6 Marshmallow update. Things like “Edge Single Plus” that allow for a larger side panel view for apps and some widgets. This new feature should allow for a lot more functional value to the edge than ever before.

Source: Samsung
Via: SamMobile

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2
Feb

February 2016 Android distribution has been released


android-distribution-february-2016

Google has updated their Android distribution for the month of February, and it looks like Marshmallow is slowly coming to more phones. Last month it was at 0.7% and jumped to 1.2% this month.

It’s always good to see the latest Android version coming to more devices, but pretty sad that it is only on 1.2% of devices. Especially since it was released roughly four months ago. Not even flagship devices like my Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge has Android 6.0 yet.

However, the other Android versions out there have pretty much stayed the same as before. The only other noticeable change is on Lollipop, which was at 32.6% and is now at 34.1%.

Source: Android

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2
Feb

New Android distribution figures show Marshmallow cresting 1%


android-distribution-february-2016

Android just released the new distribution numbers for February 2016, and Marshmallow has finally crossed the 1% threshold. January saw a .5% increase from the close of 2015, bringing Marshmallow’s usage to 1.2%. This figure looks miniscule, but when you think about it, moving from .7% to 1.2% is a pretty big leap. You know. For Marshmallow.

I mean, it’s not like iOS is able to roll out updates that much faster. A quick look at their distribution numbers and you’ll immediately see… Oh, yikes. 77.3% of all iPhones are running the latest version, iOS 9. 13.3% are running iOS 8, and a slim 8.4% are running iOS 7. Once you go back three versions of Apple’s mobile operating system, the distributions drop below 1%.


nexus 6p vs iphone 6s plus aa (12 of 26)See also: Google in control: Does Android need to be more like iOS?99

Compare this to the Android ecosystem: three versions back is Jelly Bean, and our old friend JB is still being used by 23.9% of devices. Lollipop is sitting pretty at 34.1%, but the biggest piece of the pie goes to KitKat with 35.5% of the distribution. As it stands, more than twice as many people are currently running Gingerbread (2.7%) than are running Marshmallow.

The fragmentation of the Android ecosystem is something that is becoming an increased concern for the operating system’s owner Google. Where Apple has the edge in this battle is total conformism. The company has complete control over the way their devices are designed, so updates to the operating system only have to be tweaked to match a relative handful of specs. The Android ecosystem, however, is an incredibly diverse world with few strictures and limits. This makes rolling out updates exceedingly tedious and drawn-out. This is just one reason why Google has elected to make the Nexus line very ‘Apple-like.’


nexus 6p vs nexus 5x aa (3 of 25)See also: Report: Google plans to take an ‘Apple-like’ approach to the Nexus line85

In full disclosure, the figures used here for iOS distribution rates are not officially provided by Apple, but are the work of a developer tracking the versions being used for his popular audiobook apps. However, these percentages are generally regarded as being more or less representative of iOS usership as a whole.

What are your thoughts regarding these new distribution figures and Google’s concerns over fragmentation? What solutions are at the company’s disposal? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Next: Android 6.0 Marshmallow updates roundup – January 19, 2016

2
Feb

Twitter conversations now have their own pop-up window


If you participate in Twitter conversations with multiple accounts, you know that once you get past seven replies it can be difficult to keep track of the chat and your dynamic timeline. Today Twitter introduced pop-out conversations. Click on “view conversation” on a tweet on Twitter.com and the thread will appear in its entirety floating above the timeline.

After you’re done catching up with the conversation, just click on the “x” or background to get back to your timeline.

The social network also announced that it was rolling out instant access to the Twitter timeline on mobile devices for folks without an account to 23 countries. Previously, you could see a the individual tweet that got you to the service, but getting to the timeline or conversation that lead to that status update was difficult.

Source: Twitter

2
Feb

SoundCloud adds stations, may have Spotify, Apple Music in sights


SoundCloud App Update Material Design Android apps

SoundCloud has long been the bastion of obscure tunes and under-appreciated gems, but it’s always lacked the kind of discovery tools that make services like Pandora and Google Play Music so addicting. SoundCloud has big plans for 2016 after closing licensing deals with both Universal and Warner Music. The company intends to launch a full-scale subscription-based music streaming service this year, perhaps to become competitive with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, and they’re kicking it all off with a new radio station feature.

It’s nothing too fancy, but the radio station function has already made its way over to the Android and iOS apps. Once your app is updated, just tap the three-dot menu next to a track and then choose “start track station.” These stations seem to work adaptively, much like Pandora, with the playlist growing and changing based on which songs you like and which you don’t.


how-to-transfer-music-itunes-android-aa-0276See also: How to transfer music from iTunes to Android80

No telling yet if this will be the boost SoundCloud needs to really break into the mobile streaming arena, but it’s definitely a bold step forward. The current market is dominated by four brawling titans, but maybe this scrappy indie player can find a niche to call its own.

What are your thoughts on SoundCloud’s new radio service? If you want to give it a whirl for yourself, you’ll have to grab the app by clicking the button below, because the feature hasn’t been rolled out to the web browser version yet. See how it strikes you, then report back and tell us what you thought in the comments!

Next: 10 best music player apps for Android

Get it in the Play Store

2
Feb

Turing Phone drops Android for Sailfish OS… for some reason


turing phone first look aa (2 of 23)

TRI’s Turing Phone has had our attention ever since last April, when the security-focused company promised to bring consumers a strong and secure smartphone in an incredibly sleek package. The phone was originally supposed to ship in December, but after a series of delays and refunds to early backers, the handset’s ship date ended up being pushed back until March 2016. Even though most of TRI’s promises with the Turing Phone sounded like a pipe dream, we remained hopeful.

But after hearing this news today, it’s a little difficult to keep hope alive. Why, you ask? Not only is the phone going to miss its Q1 2016 deadline, the “super-secure” device will also take a drastic turn with its software.

TRI just sent out a statement to backers explaining that the Turing Phone will be delivered sometime in April 2016. Now, this is hardly the worst news in this announcement, as the phone’s ship date is only being pushed back one month. The interesting part is when we start talking about software… TRI is ditching Android for Sailfish OS.

That’s right, the Turing Phone will no longer run Android. It’d be one thing if the company was offering two versions of the handset, one with Android for early backers and one with Sailfish OS for other consumers, but that’s not the case here. In the announcement letter to backers, TRI tries to lessen the blow by reassuring users that Sailfish OS is able to run Android apps. Which, it does, but that doesn’t matter.


turing phone first look aa (9 of 23)See also: Turing Phone first look: a focus on security, inside and out20

“Sailfish OS runs exceptionally fast on the Turing”, says TRI. “You will not have to worry about performance issues with Turing’s Snapdragon 801 because Sailfish OS has been optimized to run fast on your Turing Phone.” This is supposed to make users okay with the fact that it’s no longer shipping with Android. TRI goes on to say that Sailfish OS is the world’s fastest operating system, and the Turing Phone, with its Snapdragon 801 processor, is the world’s fastest mobile device. Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up.

Here’s the letter TRI sent out to its backers:

Dear Turing Fans,

You will be pleased to know that we have ironed out the final development tasks before we deliver the Turing Phone to your hands. We fully expect the Turing Phone to be delivered in the month of April 2016.

Many of you have asked numerous times through our Facebook fan page as well as emailed us about our OS development. We can now confirm that TRI has chosen to drop Android and use Jolla’s Sailfish OS. Sailfish OS is now running perfectly on the Turing Phone and we have started the final OS software testing phase.

Sailfish OS runs exceptionally fast on the Turing. You will not have to worry about performance issues with Turing’s Snapdragon 801 because Sailfish OS has been optimized to run fast on your Turing Phone. The Turing Phone will still be able to run Android Apps on the Sailfish OS without issue. An Android application store will be available for you to download your favorite apps.

The Sailfish OS is an evolved continuation of the Linux MeeGo OS previously developed by an alliance of Nokia and Intel. MeeGo mobile software platform was created through the merging of Moblin and the Maemo OS originally developed by Nokia.

This essentially means you have one of the world’s fastest mobile device running the fastest mobile OS with the capability of running your favorite apps in a secure environment.

TRI will also be hosting its first Turing Developers Conference (TDC) during Q2 2016.

We can’t wait to get the phones out to your hands. Thank you so much for your continued patience and support for the Turing Project.

Turing Phone Team | Turing Robotic Industries

I want to be clear on something – Sailfish OS is a cool operating system and has tons of potential. But the fact that TRI dropped Android in favor of Sailfish OS for no viable reason is beyond a bad decision, for both marketing and PR purposes.

Again, if you aren’t planning on canceling your pre-order for some reason, TRI says the device will ship out by April 2016. What are your thoughts? Is this whole bait-and-switch business an okay move for the company, or is it just as farfetched as I’m imagining? Let us know what you think in the comments.

2
Feb

Google OnHub routers are finally getting guest WiFi


As clever as Google’s OnHub routers are, they’ve had a few glaring omissions… like, say, a guest mode to accommodate your friends. However, the company is making amends for at least one of its rookie mistakes. It’s readying an update that enables guest WiFi, which lets visitors hop online without giving them access to absolutely everything on your local network. You also have fine-grained control over the devices you do want them to see. You can open up your Chromecast, for example, while keeping your networked storage off-limits.

The update doesn’t appear to be available yet, so don’t be worried if you’re still stuck with an all-or-nothing setup for a little while. When it does hit, however, it’ll help make a more convincing case for the OnHub if you’re sitting on the fence — you don’t have to take a step backwards in software features just to embrace Google’s simpler, prettier vision of home networking.

Via: Android Central

Source: Google

2
Feb

HTC launches two new colorways of the One A9 in Canada


HTC-One-A9-Colors

If you think back to November of last year, you may remember that HTC quietly launched its iPhone-like mid-range smartphone, the One A9, in Canada with no carrier support. At the time, the device was only available to purchase from the manufacturer’s online store in either gray or silver. However, the Taiwanese company has today introduced two new colorways. Both hues look great in pictures, but look even better in the flesh due to their matte finish.

The latest gold and red variants of the One A9 pack exactly the same internals as the gray and white models, which means they continue to sport a 5-inch Full HD display, a Qualcomm MSM8952 Snapdragon 617 octal-core processor, an Adreno 405 GPU, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable internal storage, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), a 4-megapixel front-facing shooter, a biometric scanner and a 2,150mAh non-removable battery.

The handsets still carry the same price tag of $649 CAD, which we think is pretty steep for a mid-range device. For an extra $100, you could pick up Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S7 in the region. However, by selling the handset direct to consumers, HTC can ensure timely software updates — something its competitors won’t be able to do as their firmware will have to pass through carrier authentication.

What do you think of the new colorways? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

Source: HTC

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