- Samsung Galaxy Alpha leak shows smaller 4.7-inch display, aluminum frame
- Watch Conan O’brien poke fun at the iPhone 6, says what Android users have been screaming for years [VIDEO]
- Google acquires drawElements to help them tackle Android fragmentation
- Best Android apps for guitar players
- You can now buy LG G Pad 10.1 in the US via Best Buy
- Modern Combat 5: Blackout now (officially) available for Android
- ‘Timberman’ is the next super addictive 8-bit Android game [VIDEO]
- Foursquare shows off all new logo, completely redesigned app
- Verizon announces the HTC One Remix, releases July 24th
- Terraria drops to its cheapest price yet on Google Play
- You can now unlock your Moto X using “digital tattoos” [VIDEO]
- Fleksy Keyboard 3.0 update brings new look, a store with premium themes, and 17 new languages
- Phandroid News app update brings layout tweaks, performance enhancements and more
Posted: 23 Jul 2014 03:25 PM PDT
And here we were thinking the long rumored Samsung Galaxy Alpha would be nothing more than an ultra premium, Samsung Galaxy S5 with a 2K display and aluminum build. Turns out, we may have been wrong in our assumptions.
The folks at SamMobile published a few very clear leaked images of the device. Sure the rumored aluminum frame makes an appearance, but when compared side-by-side against the Samsung Galaxy S5, you’ll notice a much smaller all around size. Said to feature a Galaxy S3-sized 4.7-inch display, this could be more of an iPhone 6 challenger than anything.
According to the tipster, the Galaxy Alpha features 32GB of internal storage and the absence of the usual SD card slot. You’ll also notice Samsung’s trademark faux leather battery cover, only this time with much smaller perforated holes (possibly addressing concerns the Galaxy S5′s looked like a Band-Aid).
Because Samsung already offers a smaller Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini with sub par specs, we’re hoping they’ll go with more higher-performance hardware for the Galaxy Alpha, but nothing has been confirmed at this point.
We expect we’ll learn more about the device as we near it’s rumored August limited release, in the meantime you can check out the leaked pics below.
Posted: 23 Jul 2014 02:01 PM PDT
It’s never too early to share a laugh at Apple’s expense, especially when it comes to their “next big thing” looming around the corner. Addressing countless leaks of a new and improved Apple iPhone 6 said to be carrying an incredibly large 4.7-inch display is TV funnyman Conan O’brien.
During last night’s monologue, Conan O’brien jokes about rumors of the bigger iPhone 6, stating what Android fans have been saying for years now: the iPhone 6 will simply offer last year’s Android hardware.
Okay. More specifically he mentions the “Samsung Galaxy” line (arguably Android’s biggest mainstream success) which he’s also been known to throw a jab or 2 towards in monologue’s past. The fun starts at 1:32 if you’re pressed for time although we recommend watching the whole video for a good time. Cheers.
Posted: 23 Jul 2014 01:40 PM PDT
Adding to Google’s ongoing business ventures comes the acquisition of drawElements, a 3D graphics firm based out of Finland that provides graphics analytics across various hardware. Google’s Android department has long been looking for new ways at combating the still very real “fragmentation issue” — the cold reality that comes with dealing with such a wide variation of hardware — so the taking of drawElements under its wing sounds like a match made in heaven.
While it’s true there are a variety of software benchmarks to help test performance, but drawElements work goes beyond that. drawElements’ Quality Program software (dEPQ) is able to product quality, providing developers with detailed comparisons across hardware to find out exactly what about the hardware was causing incompatibility. With this information, it doesn’t seem too far fetched to see how Google could later set basic hardware guidelines OEMs can adhere to in order to ensure everything works properly with the latest or future versions of Android.
Of course, drawElements sounded more than excited about the move, announcing on their site:
Although specific terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, expect the dollar amount to hit somewhere around the 8 figure mark.
Posted: 23 Jul 2014 12:27 PM PDT
Do you dream of becoming a rock star, plying your virtuosic guitar skills into fame and fortune? Before that happens you need some practice, and luckily there is no shortage of Android apps that can help. From getting tuned up and in time to shredding through scales, here are the apps that should be in every guitar players toolkit, from pro to hobbyist.
Guitar tuner apps for Android
Tuning your instrument should be an easy and straightforward task, and iStroboSoft provides such functionality in spades with several visual indicators of intonation. The primary feedback comes from the app's strobe visualizer, which pulses based on how close a particular string or note is to its mark. This alone makes iStroboSoft one of the better tuner apps out there, but it goes beyond the call of duty with several more features, including the ability to change keys, a noise filter (for better accuracy when in noisy environs), and an input boost. It comes at a cost though. iStroboSoft is easily one of the priciest tuner apps available at $9.99.
DaTuner is another excellent choice when it comes to getting your guitar up to pitch. The free version provides an accurate, easy-to-read display of a strings current pitch in relation to the note you are going for. You can even "lock on" to a note to make tuning up even easier should the current pitch be outside of the ideal range. A paid version of the app ($2.93) offers transposition, a strobe display, and built-in pitch pipe.
Learn to play guitar chords & tabs with Android
Ultimate Guitar is the web's go-to repository of guitar tabs for hundreds of thousands of popular tunes, classics, and standards. Ultimate Guitar Tabs & Chords brings those tabs (and a bountiful library of chord charts) to your mobile device, adding in features you won't find on the web version. Many tabs include playback functionality so you can hear how a song is supposed to sound then slow it down and pick it out one note at a time. Tabs can be saved for offline viewing or you can share and export via email or Dropbox. These features would be well worth the $2.99 price tag, but Ultimate Guitar went ahead and threw in a basic tuner and metronome to make this app an essential part of any guitarists tool kit.
If you run across an unknown chord in a chart, you'll be glad you have the aptly-named Chord! reference app. On the surface, Chord! is a simple tool for figuring out how to finger a specific chord at any position on the neck. Digging deeper, the app is a robust tool that relies on computation and analysis rather than a simple database to help users learn the concepts and theories behind chord composition. Chord! also offers an array of scales for practice to further enhance understanding of music theory. The free version is limited five scales and eight tunings, but a paid version ($3.99) opens up custom tunings and reverse chord and scale search.
For the new player, it's great to have a knowledgeable instructor to help you along. Unfortunately, paying a guitar teacher isn't always in the budget. Then there is Jamstar, a free instructional app that not only provides over 100 free lessons that will have you playing songs from popular artists like The Beatles, Foo Fighters, and more, but it actually listens as you play and provides real time feedback. Jamstar offers chords, scales, and even a tuner to help you on your path to becoming a guitar hero.
Gibson Learn and Master Guitar is an all-in-one app for the budding guitarist. It has the bases covered with a chromatic tuner, metronome, chord charts, and a selection of lessons from one of the best-known names in the guitar biz. This free set of tools will get you rocking in no time.
Android app to practice and jam along with
One of the most fun and enriching experiences a guitar player can have is to jam with a band. That's not always an option for those of us with limited time, practice space, and musician friends of the same skill level. Guitar Jam Tracks remedies this by providing a bluesy backing track to practice your leads over. The paid version ($4.99) offers additional backing tracks in other styles including jazz, rock, and reggae.
If pre-made backing tracks don't suit your particular musical tastes, PocketBand is the perfect application for whipping up your own original tunes to jam along with. Combining a drum machine, programmable synthesizer, and sound recorder, you can easily plot out a backbeat and rhythm track to jam along with. PocketBand Pro adds more sound options, recording space, and enhanced looping capabilities, making the app an equally useful tool for the aspiring songwriter.
Metronome apps for Android
Time Guru is your standard metronome and it isn't. While it provides a steady tempo-adjustable beat for instrumentalists to play along with, it also offers the unique ability to mute individual tempo clicks randomly or as part of a preset pattern. The result is a metronome that keeps time but also challenges users to develop their own internal sense of rhythm in order to keep the beat steady when the clicks drop out. A good metronome is a tool any guitar player should not be without, and this just might be the best.
Mobile Metronome provides players with an advanced set of tools to aid in the study and mastery of tempo. Fully adjustable and featuring several time signature selections and variable beats, Mobile Metronome is perfect for practicing complex rhythms while keeping in time.
Android apps for recording guitar and other instruments
Android devices are capable of some pretty amazing things, and the includes operating as a digital audio workstation (DAW) thanks to Audio Evolution Mobile. This complete multitrack audio recording solution offers many features (MIDI sequencing, virtual instruments) you might only expect from expensive, desktop-based software packages at only a fraction of the price ($7.85). This is the perfect app for the songwriter on the go looking to capture that moment of inspiration before it's gone forever.
For the guitarist looking for a more straightforward and simple approach to recording a few licks or even a whole tune, TapeMachine is a great option. This light-on-its-feet recording interface lets users quickly record a take before manipulating with helpful postproduction tools like time stretch, loops, and fades.
Android apps for adding effects and shaping your guitar tone
Unlike iOS, there is a shortage of sound manipulation, effects, and amp modeling apps for Android. Of the few options, the best is perhaps usbEffects, an app that lets users plug into their phones via a guitar-to-USB cable. The app features a handful of popular stombox effects including delay, reverb, distortion, a flanger, wah wah, and looper, to name a few. Each effect is individually configurable and can be chained together along with a basic amp simulator to produce some very interesting tones. USB audio isn't perfect with every Android device, so it is recommended you try the free version before investing $4.99 in the more feature-laden Pro edition.
With these apps you should be just about covered when it comes to the essentials, and you'll even save some money over buying expensive hardware tuners, stompboxes, recording gear, and other accessories. Have any of your own favorite apps for guitarists or other musicians alike? Feel free to share them in the comments below.
Posted: 23 Jul 2014 12:08 PM PDT
Tablet shoppers who wouldn’t mind toting LG’s latest 10-inch offering might want to plan a trip to Best Buy. The LG G Pad 10.1 is now available from the big box retailer in 16GB flavoring for as little as $250. That’ll get you a 1280 x 800 resolution, a 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM, a 5 megapixel rear camera and more.
The software features Android 4.4 KitKat and some of the features you’ve seen on LG’s phones like Knock Code, Q Pair 2.0 and QuickRemote. The tablet isn’t amazing, but for its inexpensive asking price and solid features it could be a nice option for anyone in the market. Best Buy has the goods right here.
Posted: 23 Jul 2014 11:29 AM PDT
Gameloft may have hit a few snags along the way (as in a contest winner leaking a cracked version of the game ahead of its launch), but more honest Android gamers looking for the official version of Modern Combat 5: Blackout can now download it straight from the Google Play Store.
Priced at $7 upfront, you wont find a single in-app purchase needed to finish the game to completion, or even engage in multiplayer. It’s a more traditional business model, like games of yore and we like that.
Choose your favorite class
Intense solo campaign
Unified game progression
This is the game many of you asked for and with Gameloft being so accommodating, I guess it’s time to finally put your money where your mouth is. Get to downloading via the Play Store link below.
Posted: 23 Jul 2014 11:13 AM PDT
We live in a strange time where the past plays a huge part in the world around us. Old TV shows gets turned into movies, old movies get rebooted, people dress like it’s 1985, and 8-bit design is making a comeback in gaming. Indie developers especially love to use 8-bit design, and we have to say we love it too. Timberman is the latest game to capture us with retro graphics, and keep us playing with insanely fun gameplay.
First of all, this game looks great. The 8-bit design is deployed perfectly in the way it looks and sounds. It’s retro and modern at the same time. You play as a burly lumberjack (or Jill) at the bottom of a massively tall tree. The goal is to chop down as much tree as possible while avoiding branches and keeping your energy bar filled. Simple the left or right side of the tree to chop. It’s very easy, but just difficult enough to be addictive.
Beyond the actual gameplay there are different characters you can unlock. They are unlocked by reaching certain checkpoints in the game. In my testing I didn’t notice any difference between the characters other than their clothing. Timberman has Google Play integration so you can earn achievements and compare scores with friends. The game is free to download with banner ads and random pop-ups, but they can be removed for $0.99. If you’re looking for a new addictive game to play, Timberman is an excellent choice.
Posted: 23 Jul 2014 10:30 AM PDT
Foursquare threw everyone for a loop when they announced back in May that they’d be breaking off their social checkins feature of their app into a completely separate app called Swarm. We have to admit, it didn’t make much sense to us. Apps that give users the ability to search through business listings all feature a check-in service in some form — so, just exactly what was Foursquare planning?
Today, Foursquare has given us a sneak peek at their all new identity, ushered in by what else, but a whole new logo. In an attempt at further distancing themselves from rival services like Yelp (which can be seen as nothing more than “yellow pages” on your phone), Foursquare aims to finally make local search personal. By finding out exactly what you like and are interested in, Foursquare believes they can bring you a local search results unlike any other, one that’s custom tailored to you.
Because no two people are alike, for their upcoming app redesign, Foursquare is promising that no two people will have the exact same experience. How they plan on finding out this information is still a little foggy, although Foursquare did mention previous check-in history will play a role for returning customers, while newcomers can “add tastes, follow experts, or even just walk around for a few days.” We’re assuming rating businesses will also play a key role to receiving tailored local search results, but we’ll have to wait and see.
No word on a specific launch date, only that — like winter — the all new Foursquare is indeed coming.
Posted: 23 Jul 2014 09:58 AM PDT
You’ve seen that phone above — dubbed the HTC One Remix by Verizon — before. That’s because it’s just an HTC One Mini 2 with a new name. We’re not surprised Verizon felt the need to get this phone out with their own name. It’s just what they do.
It’s pretty much the same phone HTC introduced a while back, including its 4.5-inch 720p display, Boomsound speakers, 13 megapixel rear camera, 5 megapixel front camera, 16GB of internal storage and more. It’ll have KitKat with Sense 6 on top, giving you access to BlinkFeed and Zoe camera features.
All of it is set to launch July 24th (that’s tomorrow) for just $100 on a new two-year contract, though you’ll be able to get it for $0 down and a low monthly payment via Verizon Edge if you prefer to go that route. If you can’t quite dip into your pocket book for an HTC One M8 or aren’t patient enough to wait for a sale, this certainly wouldn’t be a bad alternative.
Posted: 23 Jul 2014 08:42 AM PDT
Terraria is one of my favorite independent games. Many people describe it as a 2D minecraft, and they might not be far off the mark. But don’t let that fool you into thinking this is a shameless ripoff devoid of quality, and said quality can now be had for just $2 on Google Play (down from the $5 it typically goes for).
Terraria has you taking a set of tools into a world that’s ripe for the picking, allowing you to mine deep into the earth for valuables and materials that will go toward building, well, pretty much whatever you want. The game doesn’t really have an “end goal,” so to speak, but you do encounter over 70 monsters and 5 different bosses to overcome as you work to achieve whatever it is you set your mind to (and there’s a lot to keep you busy with over 200 craftable items). You can also interact with 10 different NPCs and invite them to your home to help you out.
One of the best things about Terraria is that the world is different each time you start a new game, so there’s no telling what to expect whenever you are plopped down into the world. The Android version also includes multiplayer, Google Play Games support with Achievements, and you’ll be able to find a pet that’s exclusive to Android. We’re not sure how long this sale will last so if you’ve been looking for something a little different to play then consider foregoing that morning Starbucks fix to pay for it.
Posted: 23 Jul 2014 08:01 AM PDT
Ever wanted to unlock your smartphone by pressing it up against your body? Me neither, but Motorola felt the need to introduce new “digital tattoos” that stick to your skin and can unlock your Moto X via a simple tap. The tattoo is a super thin adhesive that shimmers on your wrist and can last for up to five days showering, swimming and other “vigorous activities.”
The stickers are made by VivaLink, a company that specializes in miniaturizing RF technology and making it flexible enough to use in scenarios like these. They say it’s so thin and light that you won’t even notice you’re wearing it from day to day.
Their motive? They say they want people to start taking smartphone security seriously. Motorola found that it takes most people around 2.3 seconds to unlock their smartphone using traditional methods, and that they tend to do it around 40 times a day. That’s so inconvenient that most people don’t even bother setting up lock-screen security.
We’re not sure how accurate that statement is, but I can tell you I’m one of those people (though I guess it doesn’t hurt that I’m mostly at home anyway). So how can you get some of your own?
VivaLnk sells them in packs of 10 at their website. They cost $10 per pack, though, which just might be too expensive when considering they don’t last for more than a few days. But if you’re OK with that price and wouldn’t mind a new way to unlock your Moto X this is one interesting option. Head here to purchase a pack.
Posted: 23 Jul 2014 06:58 AM PDT
Fleksy is quickly making waves in the Android world as one of the best keyboards you can download for your phone (and eventually your smartwatch). Today’s update pushes them another big step forward to becoming a serious keyboard contender. For starters, 17 new languages have been added to the list (some of which are just different versions of languages already included). Here’s the full list of additions:
Even more exciting is a redesign that embodies the flat, elegant look and feel that today’s mobile apps have come to be known for. With that comes the addition of a new store where you’ll be able to buy premium themes for the keyboard.
You’ll get about 6 options that all add some nice flavor to what’s typically a very muted experience. Folks who bought the premium version of the keyboard are entitled to one of these themes for free, a nice added bonus if you’ve supported Fleksy by dropping some coin into their pocket for the full version.
The rest of the changes include an improved dictionary, a fix for some typing lag issues and fixes to sizes of emojis and lag when scrolling through emojis. All of it is waiting for you at Google Play so get over there for the download as soon as possible. Not sure if Fleksy has what it takes to be your daily driver? A free option exists for you try out so be sure to go that route first if you prefer not to go all in.
Posted: 23 Jul 2014 06:08 AM PDT
If you enjoy using our Android app to stay abreast of all the latest Android news you’ll want to pay attention to this particular story: the Phandroid app has gotten an upgrade!
What you’ll be treated to once you take the download won’t be sweeping changes or an awesome new redesign that you’ll immediately notice, but the changes that have been made all go toward providing a much more solid experience overall. Here’s the full list in case you’re curious:
You’ll definitely want to update your app as soon as possible if you’ve been annoyed by any of these bugs. While you’re at it, why not consider joining the Phandroid App beta community right here?
You’ll get all these updates sooner and it goes a long way toward helping our awesome developer Steve Albright create the best app possible (it helps that you’re reporting bugs without even having to submit a bug report). Be sure to let us know how the new changes are treating you in the comments below!
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