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Android Phone Fans

Google Search now sets a timer with voice command, NOT an alarm

Posted: 21 May 2014 06:37 PM PDT

Google Search Now Voice actions timer update

Praise be to the Android gods. In what appears to be a background update to Google Search for Android, speaking the voice command “Ok Google, set timer for _” will now actually set a timer — not an alarm.

It sounds small, but for the longest time Google Search would open up the Clock app, and set an alarm rather than the timer already built in. We’re not sure how long this has been in effect, but we’re happy it’s finally been addressed before Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Thanks, Tito!

New Galaxy S5 Active details reveal exclusive OIS camera, barometer, apps, and more [VIDEOS]

Posted: 21 May 2014 05:58 PM PDT

Guess a rugged outer shell wasn’t the only exclusive feature Samsung was planning for their still unannounced Galaxy S5 Active. As shown off by TK Tech News in their latest hands-on video, Samsung has added a few device specific hardware and software features, the first being a barometer — not found in the regular Samsung Galaxy S5.

The barometer can be read via the S5 Active’s new “Activity Zone” app, a swiss army knife for active individuals that features not only S Health, but a flashlight and compass as well. Definitely handy if you’re lost in the woods and trying to get home. We wonder if Samsung wont soon make this app available via their in-house Samsung app store in the coming weeks.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Active Key settings

Also new for the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active is a handy little physical button that dubbed the “Active Key.” This button can be configured in the Settings app to launch any app you’d like with a tap and another with a long press. Pretty neat considering it’s been awhile since we saw a dedicated camera button.

Probably the most noteworthy feature that is sure to piss off a few Galaxy S5 owners: the inclusion of what appears to be an OIS (optical image stabilization) camera. Keep in mind that this is still unconfirmed, but after TK Tech News noticed some rattling in the camera, he took both the S5 and S5 Active out for a camera face-off.

Now it’s not certain, but after comparing the video from both cameras, it really does appear that Samsung went with an OIS camera in the Galaxy S5 Active. See for yourself in the video below.

Perhaps the reasoning was that “active types” are more likely to take pictures and videos while running/biking. Who knows. Of course this could also mean Samsung forfeited their ISOCELL camera in the Active, so regular S5 users shouldn’t be too peeved.

All in all, the Samsung Galaxy S5 Active is looking like a pretty slick Android. And not just for the outdoorsy types, but for anyone looking for something different than offered from the current Galaxy S5. Someone slap me, I kinda like what I’m seeing so far…

LG G3 preview event confirms a handful of specs, reveals a few surprises too

Posted: 21 May 2014 04:14 PM PDT


We’re barely six days until LG officially takes the wraps off the LG G3 and the phone has already all but been revealed. Aside from the recent string of leaks showing off the phone in every angle thanks to leaked press images, the only real question is exactly how big the phone will be, and its expected launch date.

At least one of those questions is being answered in — you guessed it — another leak, this time from LG themselves who held a special preview event in their homeland of South Korea.


Leave it to someone (hopefully not an employee) to capture images of the slides being shown during the event, spoiling nearly every detail we expect to see during LG’s official May 27th reveal. The most noteworthy slide showed the phone’s actual dimensions, which helps the phone measure in just a hair taller and wider than the Samsung Galaxy S5. Here are the specs confirmed in the leaked slide:


  • 146.3mm x 74.6mm x 8.9mm
  • Android KitKat 4.4
  • LTE, LTE-A
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
  • 32GB internal storage, 3GB DDR3 RAM
  • 5.5-inch Quad HD (2560 x 1440) IPS
  • 13MP OIS (optical image stabilization) camera / 2.1MP front-facing camera
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • USB 2.0 / Bluetooth 4.0 LE / NFC


Also discussed was a powerful new 1W speaker for a volume boost — an area sorely lacking from the previous generation LG G2. In a later slide we find mention of the LG G3′s mysterious black sensor which, according to recent leaks, suggested could be some sort of laser sensor to help with auto focusing. According to the slide, that sounds about right, but the exact technology involved wasn’t made clear.

Of course, we’ll keep an eye out for any other leaks as they come in. Now that we know the exact size of the LG G3 — almost the same height as the HTC One M8 — has that changed anyone’s opinion about the phone?

[via GforGames]

Samsung reveals golden Samsung Galaxy S5

Posted: 21 May 2014 12:04 PM PDT

galaxy s5 gold 2

Samsung has revealed a golden color option for their 2014 smartphone. It’s the Samsung Galaxy S5 in gold. Not real gold, mind you, but perhaps it’ll be enough to make you feel like a bit more of a baller.

We reckon it’s the same device under the hood, which you can read about in our Samsung Galaxy S5 review right here. It looks like Samsung has applied the gold styling to both the back cover and the faux-chrome strip that stretches around the edge of the device. Neato. So where can you buy it? Samsung says it’s headed to all major carriers here in the United States, though Verizon customers will have to get it through indirect retail channels (whatever that’s supposed to mean). Look for it starting May 30th.

galaxy s5 gold 1

[via Samsung]

Motorola says Moto 360 has “$250 approximate retail value” in contest fine print [UPDATE]

Posted: 21 May 2014 10:47 AM PDT

moto 360 watch face psd

Motorola’s kicking off a design contest for users to create Moto 360 watch faces. That’s the skinny of it. Winners will have their designs considered for use on the Moto 360, naturally, and they’ll also be entitled to some pretty nice prizes. One of those prizes — the granddaddy of the lot — is a Moto 360 itself. The story isn’t that Motorola is giving the watch away, though.

The story is that they may have leaked their own pricing for the smartwatch without the intention of doing so. The document lists the Moto 360 as having a “$250 ARV,” which stands for “approximate retail value.” This is by no means concrete proof that Motorola will price the Moto 360 at $250 at launch (things could always change by the time it reaches store shelves), though we can’t think of any other reason they’d set that as the ARV.

What we still don’t know is when we’ll be able to buy one, but we’re hoping Motorola will tag alongside Google at IO late next month to unleash those details for our lonely wrists. In the meantime, if you want to take a crack at this contest (they provide some PSD files for you to toy around with) be sure to visit Motorola’s Google+ page right here.


In a reply to a separate Google+ post, Motorola mentions the pricing in the contest rules is for tax purposes only, and is not the suggested retail price for the upcoming Motorola Moto 360. Here’s their statement:

“Thanks for your excitement around our Moto 360 Design Face-Off contest! We want to make clear that the “Approximate Retail Value” (ARV) indicated in our rules is included for tax purposes only and should not be interpreted as the suggested retail price of the Moto 360 when it becomes available for purchase.”

HBO content starts trickling into Amazon Instant Video

Posted: 21 May 2014 09:54 AM PDT


Inb4WheresTheInstantVideoAndroidApp. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s move forward with today’s story — HBO content has arrived in Amazon Instant Video. All episodes of some classic HBO series, and select episodes of newer series are being offered up to those opting to pay $99 per year for Amazon Prime. Here’s the full slate of shows being made available:

  • All seasons of revered classics such as The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood, Rome and Six Feet Under, and of recent favorites such as Eastbound & Down, Enlightened and Flight of the Conchords
  • Select seasons of current series such as True Blood, Boardwalk Empire and Treme
  • Epic miniseries, including Band of Brothers, The Pacific, John Adams, Parade's End and Angels in America
  • Hit original movies like Mary and Martha, Temple Grandin and You Don't Know Jack
  • Hilarious original comedy specials from Louis CK, Ellen DeGeneres, Lewis Black and Bill Maher
  • Pedigreed documentaries including When the Levees Broke, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib and the Autopsy and Iceman series

And the buck won’t stop there. More series and episodes are bound to become available in the future (remember, Amazon can only get content three years after its original air date) so dig in for now, and stay tuned for the rest. Kindle Fire, iPad, Amazon Fire TV and web users definitely have reason to celebrate. Everyone else? Well, there’s always HBO Go.

[via Amazon]

Google says they could probably put ads on everything under the sun

Posted: 21 May 2014 08:59 AM PDT

dollar signs

In “not so surprising” news, it was recently revealed that Google — in remarks to the SEC regarding mobile revenue disclosure — explained that they could see advertising on, well, everything. Billboards erect into the sky and posters are plastered onto buses, trucks, and even personal vehicles. Television programming, mobile apps, your email, and even your shirts — all have advertising.

So why not your thermostat (Nest, anyone?)? Your washing machine? Your smart glasses? Your car dashboard? Your smartwatch? Your refrigerator? That’s the future Google says is very plausible.

Now, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean Google is certainly going to do that. This just opens the possibility that they could, and lets us know that they’ve been thinking about it.

I personally don’t get too miffed over seeing ads where they make sense, as long as they aren’t obtrusive or distracting. That said, I think I’d be really upset if I couldn’t walk around my house without seeing a big “BUY” sign being flashed at me around every corner. How would you feel about ads being put on all these things?

[via WSJ]

Secret launches for Android, brings exclusive features for exploring anonymous posts

Posted: 21 May 2014 08:41 AM PDT

Secret, which has been an iOS exclusive for the past 4 months, is now available for Android. Secret allows you to “speak freely” by sharing your thoughts with friends while being anonymous. The idea behind Secret came about so that people could share moments, like posts, and reshare other’s posts without the need to be embarrassed, raise controversy, and most importantly: to just be themselves without filter.

With the launch of Secret on Google Play, Android users will have exclusive access to features that iOS users have been asking for since the beginning: two separate streams. First, a "Friend" stream and second, an "Explore" stream, where you can browse and share popular secrets from around the world. In addition to Android exclusive features, Secret’s update today brings about ways to make posts more engaging by including questions you can ask and respond to and view how many of your friends are using Secret.


Secret is all about sharing secretly. When you post on Secret, at first only your contacts with the app installed will see your anonymous post. Then, if your contacts heart or like your post, their contacts can now see the post. Then, those people can heart the post and their contacts will see it, etc. As you can see, your posts have a chance to go viral, spreading around from person to person, helping add more anonymity as additional people see and heart the secret.

As for security and privacy, contacts are hashed, so no raw phone numbers or personally identifiable information is sent to Secret to match friends to other friends. The metadata for each secret posted is also stored without referencing any a user. For a full breakdown of Secret’s privacy and security practices, head on over to their official blog post, which explains everything in great detail.

Secret for Android Secret for Android Secret for Android Secret for Android

To start posting your inner most thoughts, head on over to the Google Play Store to install Secret. You’ll need a device rockin’ Android 4.1 and higher.

Loads more Sony phones and tablets receive KitKat starting today

Posted: 21 May 2014 07:53 AM PDT


Folks with Sony-crafted phones and tablets will be happy to learn that another batch of devices are being added to the Android 4.4 KitKat club starting today for the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR and Xperia Tablet. Of course, these are only going out in “select” markets to start, with exact timing to be determined by carrier. Sony says it shouldn’t be more than a few weeks before more regions are added, though.

So what’s changing? A whole lot. Here are the highlights on Sony’s side:

  • Google's Android 4.4; KitKat as standard – bringing improved performance & user interface (UI) optimisation…
  • Revamped Status Bar and Quick Settings, and PS4-inspired UI tweaks
  • Updates to messaging, email, Smart Social Camera and Battery STAMINA Mode
    • Messaging – a few UI adjustments here & there, including a slicker "send" animation, and deeper Emoji support for some expressive fun… also worth noting, you'll find smileys wherever there's an app with a keyboard
    • Email – you'll be able to both load and see more mails… but don't fret, navigation of said load is easier with a more responsive viewing pane – split screen modes divide info for easy digest… especially useful / works a treat on Xperia Tablet Z
    • Smart Social Camera – social imaging experience makes its debut on first Z Series devices; a selection of Xperia Camera apps directly accessible from your viewfinder… including personal favourite "Creative Effect", and more for download to boot!
    • Battery STAMINA Mode - level-upping our unique power management feature, bringing smarter data management & more for prolonging your juice
  • A more converged, integrated experience for all of Sony’s entertainment apps

Sony’s also committing to bringing KitKat to the Xperia T2 Ultra, Xperia E1 and Xperia M2 (and all their Dual-SIM variants) in the next round of updates, so it won’t be long before pretty much everyone is in on the fun (unless, of course, you don’t have a Sony device that launched within the past year and change). Find more details at the source link.

[via Sony]

Google Chrome update brings undo tab close feature, better support for multi-window

Posted: 21 May 2014 06:57 AM PDT

google chrome

Google Chrome for Android has received a pretty decent upgrade. The latest version brings an undo close tab feature, so now you can quickly and easily restore a tab that you may or may not have meant to close (something that happens to yours truly quite often).

Other changes include better support for devices that use multi-window user interfaces, such as Samsung’s phones and tablets. Finally, the update brings us support for subtitles and HTML 5-based controls when viewing videos in full screen. Sounds like a decent enough list of changes to get excited over, so get over to Google Play for the download as soon as you can!

[via Google Chrome]

Law Enforcement Evolved: police using Google Glass and Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanners to fight crime

Posted: 21 May 2014 05:50 AM PDT

police officer with glass

With Google Glass finding a home in many different professional fields each and everyday, it was only a matter of time before law enforcement started to see its potential. Gulf News is reporting that traffic police in Dubai are starting to be issued Google Glass units to test a new system that allows them to take photos of speedsters and easily capture their license plates to run through a database.

The system is being trickled in as a trial for now, but Dubai Police Colonel Khalid Nasser Al Razooqi says they will seriously look to roll this system out on a wider, more official basis should things go well. "We at Dubai Police always try to adopt what is new in the market and we like to stay up-to-date," said Col Al Razooqi, who acts as their general of smart services.

Glass obviously won’t be ideal for all law enforcement situations — trying to look at a tiny monitor while chasing down a suspect on foot or in the car is highly dangerous — but it sounds like it could have enough of an impact on their operations to be a valuable tool.

Galaxy S5 Fingerprint Reader

Then we spin the globe all the way over to Holland, where Dutch police are rumored to be teaming up with Samsung to provide officers with Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphones that can scan and identify fingerprints using its built-in fingerprint scanner.

This functionality obviously isn’t built into the Samsung Galaxy S5 by default, so they’re said to be cooking up custom applications for the task using Samsung’s SDK. The devices will also reportedly be loaded with apps that will allow the officers to scan badges, documents and licenses, as well as issue a ticket digitally.

All of this is to say one thing: if mobile tech wasn’t already identified as being important in recent years, then you can bet it is now. It’s important enough that it’s finding its way into a number of unrelated professions, and being used to make the lives of the professionals working them even easier, and important enough that countries are looking to use it in military to defend their nations. Not many other sects of personal electronics can boast that, and it sounds like all of it is here to stay (even if much of the world is having a difficult time accepting it).