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Android Phone Fans

Amazon Fire Phone now shipping, arrives on doorsteps this Thursday July 24th

Posted: 22 Jul 2014 06:06 PM PDT

Amazon Fire Phone shipping confirmation

After years of countless rumors and speculation, Amazon finally did the tech world a favor and made their upcoming smartphone — the Amazon Fire Phone — officially official. Launching this Thursday, July 24th on AT&T, the phone appears to be shipping right on schedule.

Our own Rob Jackson received his confirmation email from Amazon, showing the phone scheduled to arrive before 8PM Thursday evening. Accompanying the shopping confirmation was an email notifying him that, as promised, his Amazon Prime membership had been extended for another year (a $100 value).

Amazon Fire Phone shipping schedule


Amazon has also posted a user guide for new Fire Phone owners, although the single page PDF has only 1 quick suggestion at the moment: plug in the phone. We assume additional pages will be added as the phone nears its official release. In the meantime, you, your friends or family members can check out the handy Amazon Fire Phone FAQ on Android Forums for help on getting started with their shiny new investment.


[Android Forums 1, 2]

Google Play Store 4.9.13 begins its roll out, features fresh new Material-ish design

Posted: 22 Jul 2014 05:01 PM PDT

Google Play Store 4.9.13 1

A few moments ago Googler Kirill Grouchnikov announced via his Google+ profile that an all new version of the Google Play Store is currently rolling out to Android devices. Still in the first phase of its rollout, Google Play 4.9.13 brings a whole new fresh can of paint to the former Android market.

Featuring Google’s recently unveiled Material Design, app, game, and other listings have been revamped enough that you’re going to want this. Now. You’ll notice huge featured banners are once again making their return with embedded video trailers where available.

Other changes include Google+ recommendations from friends and buttons for reviews or similar apps/games all lumped into the same section. Wordy text for listings has also been cleaned up, hidden behind an additional button press in order to view full app or game descriptions (once installed, only the changelog will be displayed).

Google Play Store 4.9.13 2

For those that simply can’t wait for it to roll out to their device, a 3rd party download link has been provided below for manual installation. Enjoy!

Download Google Play 4.9.13: MediaFire

Thanks, Tito_01!

Here’s a sneak peek at The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land coming soon to mobile devices [VIDEO]

Posted: 22 Jul 2014 04:47 PM PDT

The Walking Dead No Mans Land mobile game

AMC’s The Walking Dead is preparing for its 5th season this October. For Android users who are fans of the show, today we’re being treated to a mini-trailer for the upcoming mobile game titled, “The Waking Dead: No Man’s Land.” Developed by new Finnish game studio Next Games, the mobile game will feature the same post-apocalyptic drama of the show, only it will offer an interactive experience made especially for smartphones and tablets.

The trailer doesn’t show much in terms of gameplay, but it does offer a sneak peek at the more graphically intensive visual style Next Games will be using for their title. You may remember Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead which recently launched on Android featuring a cell-shaded look that more closely resembled the look of Robert Kirkman’s comic book series. Next Games says their title will also be based around making difficult choices, while looking for safety, but it’s unclear the type of action (FPS, strategy, quick time events) we’ll be looking forward to.

The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land will be debuting on mobile around the same time the mid-season premier of season 5 hits airwaves. Next Games will be offering another never-before-seen trailer during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con at the Walking Dead booth during the event. Until then, take a look at what Next Games has in store for our mobile devices next year.

RedLaser now available for Google Glass, aims to be the perfect shopping assistant

Posted: 22 Jul 2014 02:33 PM PDT

RedLaser header

Barcode scanning ‘RedLaser’ is seeing a Google Glass port of its popular mobile app. The shopping assistant, which is owned by eBay, allows users to scan and compare prices of products in the real world but it isn’t tied down to only searching through eBay. Quite the contrary.

Once a barcode is scanned, RedLaser will show results from various big name retailers like Best Buy, Amazon, Nordstrom, or Foot Locker. For those times when a barcode isn’t available to scan, the Glassware also allows users to search for a product by voice, pulling up the product and even providing navigation and directions to where you can buy it locally. RedLaser says they have “thousands” of retailers at their disposal, and with the app now available on Google Glass, shopping will never be the same. Here’s the description from their Glassware listing:

“The leading shopping and price comparison app that helps +30 million users to shop smarter is now available on Glass – turning you into the ultimate shopper! With RedLaser for Glass you will be able to easily compare prices of thousands of online and local retailers just by scanning a product’s barcode right from your Glass. Ask Glass to find a product to quickly locate available stores, navigate to a nearby local store or even purchase online by sending yourself an email notification to complete the transaction on any mobile device or PC you own.”

RedLaser Google Glass

While the usefulness of Google Glass is still under careful consideration for some, the obvious benefit is, because it’s always strapped to your face, information is never more than a few voice actions away. Being able to scan barcodes and compare prices while shopping is exactly why the wearable was made and anyone lucky enough to own a pair during this beta period owes it to themselves to give this app a shot.

To enable RedLaser on your Google Glass headset, simply jump on over to the Glass store via the link below.

Install from the Glass store: RedLaser

7 sneaky ways pickpockets steal your phone (and what you can do about it)

Posted: 22 Jul 2014 12:45 PM PDT


Even the most complicated lockscreen pattern, pass code, or even Face Unlock, can’t protect against someone physically stealing your phone. We’ve written about what to do about lost or stolen phones in the past, but sometimes even the best anti-theft software is no use. What do you do if someone is smart enough to steal your phone and know how to stop you from tracking them?

Pickpocketing is a common way for petty thieves to steal valuable items. Most people nowadays are carrying something that is worth more than the contents of your wallet or purse: a smartphone. The best way to protect your phone is to know the techniques being used against you. These are the seven most common tricks pickpocketers use to swipe your phone or wallet.

The Tricks


The Diversion

The most common technique for pickpockets is The Diversion. As the name implies, this technique is all about distracting you, and it usually requires a tag team. Thief 1 will drop something in front of you in hopes that you help them pick it up, then Thief 2 will come from behind and swipe your phone as they walk by. With all of your attention on Thief 1′s diversion you have no idea what just happened.

The Stall

This technique is similar to The Diversion. Thief 1 will try to stall you by asking for help or telling you there is something on your coat or shirt. While this is happening Thief 2 will walk by and swipe your phone. This technique works because it is usually used on people in a hurry. Your mind is on the place you need to be and the annoying stranger who is slowing you down.

Concealed Hand

The Concealed Hand is a popular pickpocketing technique to show on TV. The thief will use something like a newspaper or magazine to hide their hand movement. This technique is commonly used in congested areas of people standing still, such as subway cars and bus stops. The thief is trying to hide their actions from other people so as to not alert the victim.


This technique is probably the laziest. The thieves using this trick are not worried about being discrete or undiscovered. It’s all about getting the goods and making a break for it. The thief will simply ask to use your phone to make a call or look something up. It seems harmless, but after they get their hands on your device they bolt. Gone forever with your phone, unless you happen to be Usain Bolt.

The Bump

Another technique that is commonly used in congested areas is The Bump. We’ve all been walking around and been bumped into by passing strangers. It happens a lot. Thieves will use this to their advantage by purposefully bumping into you so they can snag your phone. The act of being bumped puts all of your attention on the stranger and the area of your body that was hit. You don’t feel the phone being lifted from your pocket or bag.

The Fake-out

This technique is one of the more complex on this list. Thief 1 will purposefully let you catch them “pickpocketing” you. What they are really doing is trying to be caught so your attention is on them and not Thief 2 who is actually pickpocketing you for real. This is a risky technique because it can draw attention to you, which makes it harder for a thief to be sneaky. When it works it works really well because you leave the encounter thinking you stopped a pickpocket.

The Sleeper

Do you often sleep on public transportation? If so, you are susceptible to this technique. It’s very simple, really. The thief waits until you fall asleep, then they will swipe your phone or your entire bag. This technique is particularly successful if you keep all of your valuables in a bag under your seat. Thieves are not picky. They will take the entire bag because it’s much easier to do quickly.

What can you do?


Now that we know the tricks used by pickpocketers we can think about how to prevent them from being used on you. For the purpose of this article we are talking about phones being stolen, but these techniques can obviously be used to steal any number of valuable objects. There are a few simple things you can do to avoid being pickpocketed.

  • A pickpocket can’t steal what you don’t have. Limit the amount of things that you carry on your person.
  • Be aware of the situation. Many of the techniques listed above only work in congested areas. If you find yourself in these situations pay extra attention to the contents of your pockets and bags.
  • Don’t be a target. This may sound impossible, but it’s not. Thieves will target people that they think look susceptible. Walk like you know where you’re going, keep your bag properly closed, and don’t have things hanging out of your pockets.
  • Pay attention to distractions. We don’t want you to stop helping people with directions or dropped items, but just pay closer attention in these situations. Is your phone peeking out of your pocket when you bend over? Did you set your bag on the ground to help?
  • Last but not least is to use anti-pickpocketing devices. If you’re super worried about these techniques you can put your phone or wallet on a chain connected to your pants or use a lock on your bag.

Have you or anyone you know been a victim of pickpocketing? Is this something you worry about, or do you not care? If you do care, what are you doing to prevent it from happening?

HTC puts their Sense keyboard up on Google Play, update now available

Posted: 22 Jul 2014 12:36 PM PDT

HTC Sense Input DSC06268

Google did it. Motorola did it. Heck, even Sony started doing it. The latest trend in Android seems to be the decoupling of many system apps offered by OEMs in their specific flavors of Android. By putting apps like the stock keyboard or launchers on Google Play, manufacturers finally have the ability to update their apps without issuing a full system update, something those of in Android circles will tell you, can take a very long time (depending on the OEM and/or carrier). By circumventing this process, OEMs can continually make their phones better by giving users access to new latest features outside of major firmware releases. Best. Idea. Ever.

Today, HTC has silently added their Sense keyboard to the Google Play Store. Listed as HTC Sense Input, the keyboard is only made available to the HTC One M7, HTC One M8, and HTC Desire series handsets, although we expect availability to open up as newer devices are released. Updated just today, the keyboard adds a few new features and fixes. Here’s the changelog:

1. Support Google extract view in landscape mode.
2. Add the prompt when adding none word into personal dictionary.
3. Show .ru/.ro/.nl on Russian/Romanian/Dutch URL keyboard.
4. Enable Handwriting manual submit mode.
5. Fix Zhuyin "ㄦ" cannot be typed issue.

To update, simply visit the Google Play Store on your HTC One or Desire device and you’ll find it waiting for you. With Android’s vast amount of solid keyboards in the Play Store, we’re not sure how many of you are still using the one that came with your phone. In any case, this is still good for the soccer mom’s that never figured out how to change their Language and Input settings.

Android Deals: $100 off Kindle Fire HDX, discounted KEMCO RPGs, west coast hip hop sale, and more

Posted: 22 Jul 2014 12:23 PM PDT


Plenty of great hardware deals abound this week as quite a few outlets are offering sweet savings on devices like the Kindle Fire HDX, Google Play Edition phones, and more. Also going at clearance rates are a few of KEMCO's RPG titles as well as a solid collection of west coast hip hop albums at Google Play. Act quick — these deals are fleeting. All prices represented below were active and accurate as of the time of publishing.

Hardware & Accessories

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX

$100 off Kindle Fire HDX 4G LTE tablet at Amazon with prices starting at $229 for a 16GB model with special offers. The discount puts the LTE edition of the tablet at the same price point as its WiFi-only counterpart, making the purchase a no-brainer for those in the market. The 7-inch tablet features a hi-res HDX display,  quad-core processing, and access to Amazon's full library of digital content. [Amazon]

Save up to $125 on the purchase of a Moto X smartphone when using coupon code MBXISMOT at checkout. Buyers can save $100 on a 16GB model (final price of $299.99) or $125 on a 32GB (final price of $324.99) or 64GB (final price of $374.99) edition. Act fast, though, as this deal will expire tomorrow, the 23rd of July. [MotoMaker]

Steep discounts on older Galaxy Play Edition phones at Expansys USA while supplies last. Those in the market for a sweet deal on these stock Google Experience phones can snag an HTC One M7 or Samsung Galaxy S4 for $399.99 each or a Sony Xperia Z Ultra for $349.99. The LG G Pad 8.3 GPE is also on sale for an easy $224.99. eBay is getting in on the savings as well, offering the Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition for $425 with free shipping. [Expansys (One M7, GS4, G Pad 8.3, Z Ultra), eBay]

Get these Mpow Muse wireless noise canceling headphones for $69 at Amazon. Featuring Bluetooth 4.0 and active noise cancellation, these headphones pair perfectly with your smartphone and eliminate annoying cord tangles by doing away with the wire altogether. [Amazon]

Apps & Games


Today's app and games deals couldn't be much better. Get great utilities like Today Calendar Pro and gps4cam at discounted rates or lose a few hours to one of several KEMCO RPG titles now experiencing steep summer savings.



Music & Media


Kick back with Google Play's great selection of discounted west coast hip hop albums or take the opportunity to own the classic martial arts flick Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as just a couple of the many deals going on this week from Google and Amazon. Plenty of options here to beat the heat or kick up the party to the next level.

Music Albums

Music Singles


TV Shows

[Find any great deals not included here? Be sure to send them our way or share in the comments below!]

Amazon’s new Wallet app wants to store all your loyalty cards

Posted: 22 Jul 2014 11:57 AM PDT

amazon wallet app

When you look at this shiny new entry for Amazon Wallet in the Google Play Store you might be wondering if they’re making a play for mobile payments. Not exactly. Amazon Wallet is an app that will help you store your loyalty cards in digital form. Nothing more, and nothing less.

You can scan or type your gift and loyalty cards in and get quick access to them whenever you head to whichever store you fancy. All of it is protected with a PIN number if you are a bit paranoid.

All of it is stored to the cloud so your cards will be synced between multiple devices, and you can manage it all on the web at Amazon’s Wallet website if clunky is too mobile for you (note that this is the same site where you manage all your payment options linked to Amazon). It’s not the game changer some would expect out of Amazon, but it could be a good first step toward something more. You can find the download over at Google Play.

LG G3 Cat 6 is now official, comes equipped with a Snapdragon 805 processor

Posted: 22 Jul 2014 11:02 AM PDT

LG G3 Cat 6 official

Yesterday, rumors that LG would officially announce the long rumored Snapdragon 805 toting version of their flagship later this week may have had some truth behind them. In a smartphone arms race for market share dominance, the Korean manufacturer has officially unveiled the LG G3 Cat 6, a phone nearly identical to their original flagship that launched only a few short weeks ago.

Before you get too upset, it appears this model is only meant for the device’s homeland of South Korea and the few networks therein who have deployed LTE-A services. With Category 6 LTE, the phone is faster than your average run of the mill LTE device, capable of 225Mbps data speeds — faster than what you’re paying for back home. Cat 6 is made possible thanks to the very latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor and the Qualcomm Gobi 9×35 embedded modem.

Other than that, it’s the same LG G3 that launched a few short weeks ago so don’t feel too left out (although we admit, the prospect of a Snap 805 has us drooling). Maybe things will change once our networks get up to speed with South Korea.

Verizon records highest revenue growth in the past six quarters

Posted: 22 Jul 2014 10:10 AM PDT


Verizon’s Q2 numbers are ready for the world to see, and we’re sure they couldn’t be more happy with the results. On the wireless side of things, the company managed to add 1.4 million net postpaid retail connections, bringing their total number to 98.6 million. That puts Verizon’s overall connection base at around 106 million which is a lot more than any other carrier can say right now. We’re sure they couldn’t be happier with their position atop the ladder.

Interestingly enough, tablets accounted for way more connections than phones: 1.15 million for the former and just 304,000 for the latter. Smartphones accounted for 75% of the phone side of things, while this is Verizon’s third consecutive record breaking quarter for tablet additions.

On the money side of things Verizon raked in $31.5 billion, a 5.7% increase over the same quarter a year ago, and their highest revenue growth in the past six quarter. Their wireless business was responsible for a majority of that at $21.5 billion in revenue.

Verizon has had to move to keep people interested in their services thanks to pressure put on by T-Mobile and the rest of their competitors. While they haven’t yet made any changes as drastic as Magenta, they’ve given folks easy enough ways to continue to upgrade their phones on a yearly basis without having to break the bank. Their solution doesn’t quite bring you the same savings as T-Mobile’s, but I guess a strong network always makes up for any of the few weaknesses Verizon still has.

OnePlus announces Bamboo StyleSwap Cover and a 5,000 invite giveaway

Posted: 22 Jul 2014 08:59 AM PDT

oneplus one styleswap bamboo

Some pretty big news has rolled out of the OnePlus camp this morning. For starters, they’ve unveiled their new Bamboo StyleSwap Cover. If you don’t remember, StyleSwap allows you to customize the backplate of your phone and they aren’t just for show. Bamboo, for instance, will feature a nice smooth surface and a woody design. They’ll also have kevlar backings made out of actual kevlar, and a denim option has been confirmed, as well.

The Bamboo option will be here by the end of August says OnePlus, and you’ll need to pay $50 if you want one. That’s pretty steep for half a case, but they have to make money somehow because they are certainly taking a loss on the phones themselves. And if you didn’t get the color you wanted at launch, you’ll be happy to know that the Sandstone Black and Silk White covers will be available for $30 each.

The second bit of news is even more exciting — more invites! If you haven’t already grown tired of the OnePlus One invite circus show, you’ll be happy to know that they have over 5,000 on tap in the coming days. Here’s what you need to do to enter for one:

  1. Go to the contest page: http://oneplus.net/blizzard-of-invites
  2. Log in with your email or Facebook account.
  3. Perform at least one of the listed actions before the deadline.

The contest closes tomorrow, July 23rd, at 9:15PM CST/3:15PM CET/9:15AM EDT/6:15AM PDT, so you should have plenty of time to enter if you’re interested in one. We’re not sure how large demand still is for these things, but 5,000 seems to give you way better odds than the 100 invite contests they were doing before. Let us know if you’ll be trying for one of your own.

[via OnePlus 1|2]

Twitch 3.0 for Android brings much needed redesign

Posted: 22 Jul 2014 07:58 AM PDT

For Twitch (the video game streaming website that allows folks to watch live streams of their favorite games) to be exploding in popularity in the last few years, their Android app sure did suck. Not anymore, though, because they’ve finally introduced the redesign we’ve all been waiting for. Twitch 3.0 Makes the app feel more at home on modern versions of Android, whereas the old app was ugly even for Android 2.3 Gingerbread’s standards.

Launching the new update will present a user interface that should feel familiar to most folks — you access all the different sections of Twitch using a sliding drawer from the left. This is where you get to all your channels and games listings for easy access to your favorite Twitch streams. You’ll also log in here so you’ll always have access to everyone you follow.

twitch tablet 1

The main pane will list all the live channels and games you can check out. And yes, this finally does include offline broadcasts in case you aren’t interested in anything live that’s going on. Jumping a Twitch stream will present the usual interface: portrait mode gives you the video on top and a chat box below, while going landscape will offer up full-screen goodness. The chat interface in particular is a lot cleaner than it used to be, though it still isn’t quite as flexible as the iOS version’s.

You’ll finally get options for changing broadcast quality on mobile, whether you want to watch a high quality HD stream or tone it down to a rougher bitrate in case you’re on a weak mobile connection. You could also head into chat-only or audio-only mode if you’re not interested in the broadcast itself. Search functions remain standard, with the app letting you sort by username, games or by the channel’s name. Especially nice is the tablet-specific user interface, with Twitch making use of all the screen real estate that they can instead of the over-sized phone UI we had before.

twitch tablet 2

Twitch still has a long way to go if they want this app to be on par with the iOS version. For starters, a glaring bug that made Twitch chat freeze when exiting and reentering the app still exists, though the developer has said that they know of the long-standing bug and hope to finally get it right soon. Users are still clamoring for Chromecast support, but we’re sure this isn’t at the top of their list of priorities up against other needs. And there are still no push notifications like our iOS brethren enjoy.

Regardless of all that, though, this is still an experience that is ten times better than the garbage we had before, and for that we commend them. You can give it a shot for yourself by updating the app in the Google Play Store.


NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet with SHIELD Wireless Controller goes official [VIDEO]

Posted: 22 Jul 2014 06:30 AM PDT

We weren’t sure how long it would take the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet to make its way out of the rumor mill and into the official news bin, but that question was answered this morning. NVIDIA has announced the device in all its glory, and all the official details are waiting for you ahead.

First thing’s first: the specs

nvidia shield tablet

The SHIELD Tablet is about as powerful as you’d expect from NVIDIA with the Santa Clara company stuffing their latest Tegra K1 inside. The Tegra K1 is a 2.2GHz quad-core SoC that features a 192-core GeForce GPU. That ought to be enough to handle all the high quality Tegra games you’ll be able to play on it. Here’s what else to expect:

  • 8-inch 1920 x 1200 display
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of internal storage for WiFi-only, 32GB for LTE
  • microSD up to 128GB
  • 5MP front and rear cameras
  • WiFi N with MIMI 2×2, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS w/ GLONASS
  • HDMI for video out
  • NVIDIA DirectStylus 2
  • 221 x 126 x 9.2 mm
  • 390 g
  • Full-on Android

So the rest of it isn’t quite as mind-blowing as the chipset, but it’s still top-line stuff that should be enough to do anything you’d need a tablet to do.

nvidia shield tablet guts


NVIDIA’s put together a pretty compelling package here, with a few different things setting their offering apart from the competition. For starters, you’ll get the usual collection of over 400 games that are optimized for Tegra with better graphics and physics. NVIDIA’s also touting the ability to stream supported PC games from your GeForce PC to the SHIELD Tablet for an even more robust gaming experience.

shield shadowplay twitch

If that’s not enough, this is being billed as the first tablet with Twitch streaming built into its core. We knew Twitch was working on mobile games streaming a while ago, but this is the first time we’ve actually seen anything concrete implemented. It’s a great step in the daunting quest of legitimizing mobile gaming.

SHIELD Controller

Also being offered is a controller that can pair with the tablet via direct WiFi connection. NVIDIA says a Direct WiFi connection has more bandwidth than typical Bluetooth-based solutions, and it also provides lower latency so your inputs are pretty much immediate. We’re not sure you’ll need such good performance for mobile gaming, but it definitely can’t hurt.

Pricing and Availability

Wondering when you’ll be able to get one, and for how much? They start at a pretty remarkable $299 for the WiFi-only 16GB version, while the 32GB LTE option will run you $100 more.

That’s a small price to pay for the hardware you’re getting, though we’re sure those costs are being recuperated from the accessories being offered up. The controller will come with its own cost of $60, while a cover that doubles as a tablet stand is also coming for $40. Pre-orders begin today (we’ll have the link in this post as soon as we get it) and will begin shipping in North America starting this month, Europe next month, and the autumn season for everyone else.

Xiaomi officially announces the Mi 4

Posted: 22 Jul 2014 05:42 AM PDT

xiaomi mi 4 6

Xiaomi has been drumming up to the release of their latest flagship for quite some time, but it’s time for the full wraps to come off: the Xiaomi Mi 4 has been officially unveiled. This device is quite the looker for the low price points of $320 and $400 for 16GB and 32GB respectively. Here’s why:

  • Stainless steel frame with “unbelievable craftsmanship & polish”
  • Snapdragon 801 chipset and 3GB RAM
  • 16/64GB internal storage
  • 5-inch 1080p IPS display
  • - 13MP rear camera f1.8 with real-time HDR and 4K video recording
  • - 8MP front camera f1.8
  • - 3080mAh internal battery
  • - UMTS & TDD-LTE support (international FDD-LTE availability TBA)

Whew. The device will also feature swappable backplate options for those who want to show off their sense of style. You’ll be getting the standard black backplate by default, but options will range from wooden and fur patterns to exotic reptilian skins. Don’t expect Moto X-like quality (otherwise we’re sure Hugo Barra would have made a bigger deal about these swappable backplates) but they sure do look nice.

xiaomi mi 4 backplates

If you are someone who doesn’t mind importing goods that likely won’t see widespread availability then this certainly sounds like one to look out for. Unfortunately we get no early details on software and features, but it would be a bad bet to suggest it’s running the latest version of MIUI atop some version of Android 4.4 KitKat. We’ll have to fish for more information in the moments to come, but there it all is laid out on the table. Thinking about grabbing one?

xiaomi mi 4 1 xiaomi mi 4 xiaomi mi 4 5 xiaomi mi 4 3