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Android Phone Fans

Android Phone Fans

Instagram says Hyperlapse for Android isn’t possible until Google makes changes to camera APIs

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 06:00 PM PDT

Hyperlapse for Android

Early this afternoon, the world became enamored with Instagram’s latest mobile app since launching Bolt a few weeks ago. It’s called Hyperlapse and the app essentially allows users to create beautiful time lapse videos using nothing but their smartphones. Sure, there are a few apps that already do something similar, but it’s nothing close to the way Hyperlapse handles time lapse video.

Instead of taking photos and later converting them into a video, Hyperlapse simply records video (doesn’t snap photos), showing the real-world time passed and time of the outputted sped up video. Once finished, Hyperlapse is able to stitch together snaps shots into a single, incredibly stabilized video. Really, it’s pretty remarkable and results speak for themselves.

Hyperlapse Baraka-sample

Hyperlapse video in action (click to view)

The only problem is the app, like many others, is only available on iOS, leaving Android users out in the cold. Because we’re sure, like us, many of you are wondering when an Android version will be available you probably shouldn’t hold your breath. Before you get upset, this has less to do with any sort of exclusivity deals or platform favoritism.

In a statement given to Wired earlier today, Instagram says Google will have to make some changes to the camera and gyroscope APIs on Android before Hyperlapse could ever become compatible with our devices. Bummer. The good news (if any) is that Instagram is ready and willing, so the future of Hyperlapse for Android isn’t entirely bleak.

For more info on Hyperlapse, check out the trailer down below and if you want to try it on your iPad, you can find it on iTunes here.

If you’re seeing a picture of a car accident in Google Image Search, it’s not just you

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 04:37 PM PDT


After cruising through Google Image Search looking for usual assortment of pies (the apple kind) and unicorn art, Reddit users began noticing a reoccurring image of a car accident appearing in their search results (also, the occasional appearance of Kevin Durant). Reports ranged everywhere from Canada to the US, so it didn’t seem like it was an isolated incident.

Sure enough, Google responded saying it was, in fact, a problem on their end and that they’re hard at work on getting your usual Google Image Search results — no matter how dirty — up and running again. Just wanted to let you guys know in case you noticed something similar and started wiping your phones or flashing new ROMs. Ha.

[Reddit via The Verge]

Bog Racer disappears from Google Play after dev claims Swing Copters blatantly copied their title

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 03:11 PM PDT

Bog Racer banner

It’s a story you’ve heard before. A game is published into X mobile app store, becomes popular, and without fail — dozens of copy-cat games begin flooding said market. Sometimes they’re blatant rip-offs, other times they’re a bit more subtle, copying core gameplay elements but changing up the style with different visuals and/or improved graphics.

A few days ago we saw Dong Nguyen’s latest masterpiece, Swing Copters, hit the Google Play Store and sure enough, a flood of copy-cat games followed suit. So many, in fact, it didn’t take Google long to pull out the ban hammer, removing copy-cats as quickly as they went up. But what if, in some crazy alternate reality, it was actually Swing Copters that was the copycat all along?

We know what you’re thinking: “Easy there, Keanu.” But this is exactly what landed on our desk after an email from indie game studio Open Name. The email claimed that Swing Copters stole their idea from a title, Bog Racer. The evidence? Other than launching first (back in July) — not much. And without picking sides, we will admit there are some definite similarities between the 2 titles.


In Bog Racer, the player taps on the screen to change the direction of their race car as it auto advances down a track — eerily similar to Dong’s Swing Copters. But given that the gameplay is so simple to begin with, it also possible this could merely be a coincidence (and we’re sure there are other titles pre-dating Bog Racer that feature similar gameplay). Check out the Bog Racer trailer down below to for yourself what we’re talking about.

So, exactly what is Open Name looking to accomplish from all this? Well, more than just bragging rights, that’s for sure. They’re so positive that Swing Copters stole their game idea they’re looking to take Swing Copters down completely, having it removed from all app stores for infringing their original IP. Here’s the statement we received from Open Name:

“We will use all of our modest means to restore justice, and we intend to apply a request that Swing Copters be removed from the app stores. We are well aware that our chances are very slim, which is why we ask for the support of everyone who is partial to our cause.”

If that sounds harsh, we should note that in the light of Google removing Swing Copters copycats from the Play Store, Bog Racer is now nowhere to be found. While we wait for an official statement, it’s entirely possible Bog Racer was seen as just another Swing Copters copycat title and is ironically enough, what could have gotten them removed from Google Play. Ouch.

As for final judgement, we’ll leave that in your hands. What do you guys think? Given the swift removal of Swing Copters “clones” from app stores, should Swing Copters itself be removed for copying Bog Racer? You can vote in our poll down below.

Moto G2 appears in leaked photos, shows off removable back cover, dual-SIM slots, and more

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 12:29 PM PDT

Moto G2 leak front back

We’ve heard enough of the Motorola Moto G2 in recent weeks to know that it’s a thing. Whether it was in Motorola’s official promo materials for their Sept. 4th event, or the front housing now available for sale in China — the next generation Moto G is coming whether you’re ready or not. Providing our very first good look at the upcoming phone (well the side profile and back, anyway) is HelloMotoHK, the same Facebook page we’ve seen spill the deets in leaks past.


The phone looks pretty much exactly as you’d expect. Motorola doesn’t seem to be venturing too far from their current design language with their upcoming 2014 handsets and we’re totally cool with that. The photos of this particular handset show the back cover removed, exposing the dual-SIM and a micro SD expansion slots. Really, not many surprises here, but once again we’re seeing that now familiar front facing speaker setup (likely mono audio from the bottom speaker).

Motorola Moto G2 side view leak

We will note how extremely large the phone appears in one of the shots, but without a banana for scale or anything like that, it’s entirely possible the photographer could merely have extremely small phalanges. With myself and Rob Jackson attending the Motorola event next week, we wont have to wait too much longer before we get our grubby hands on the device. Stay tuned.

Android Deals: $50 off Gear Fit, Name Your Own Price gamer bundle, and more

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 12:03 PM PDT


As labor day nears on the calendar it can only mean one thing. OK, two things: summer is nearing an end and it's time for all of the customary end-of-summer sales that come with the territory. Android users are not left out this year, and we've got the deals to prove it. This week save big on the Gear Fit, LG G2, and some great charging accessories as well as a choose-your-price gaming bundle and Google Play's nod to Emmy-winning TV.

Hardware & Accessories


Pay $25 for the portable ChargeKey charging cable and never be without a way to quickly juice up your smartphone. As small as a key, this durable charging cable fits on your keychain, allowing you to easily charge your Android device from almost any USB port. [AndroidArea]

Take awesome photos with the iStabilizer flexible tripod mount for $14.99, universally compatible with a variety of smartphones. The mini tripod is easy to position and holds your phone securely, providing steady focus for photos and videos shot with your Android handset. It's a cheap and effective way to improve your shots instantly. [AndroidArea]

Save $50 on a Samsung Gear Fit and take your fitness game the the next level. The Samsung Galaxy-compatible smartwatch and fitness tracker offers the most basic feature set of Samsung's Gear line, but it does plenty for $149.99 if you buy now from Newegg. If you're thinking about taking the plunge, check out our full review first. [Newegg]

Get a 64GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC memory card for $24.99 and expand your smartphone storage on the cheap. This Class 10 microSDXC memory card comes with an adapter for devices supporting standard SD card sizes, allowing for easy data transferability between phone and computer. [Woot]

Snag an LG G2 for $239.99 as part of eBay's Daily Deals. While the followup LG G3 is all the rage these days, the G2 remains a solid Android handset, and a $240 off-contract price is nothing to turn your nose up at. [eBay]

Use code 'ANKERFTW' at checkout to get an Astro Mini portable battery pack for $13.99 as part of Anker's Off to College sales event. This 3000mAh extended battery would pair great with the above listed ChargeKey, creating the perfect on-the-go charging kit for smartphone users. [Anker]

Apps & Games


Name your own price for the Handheld Hero Android Gamer Bundle and snag seven great Android games at steep savings. Combined these games would cost you close to $20, but as part of this great bundle you can score titles like Icredipede, Bad Hotel, and Waking Mars for whatever price you feel is far. The current average is just north of $4. [AndroidArea]

Knock 75% off Jump Desktop for Android and take control of your desktop from anywhere. This easy-to-use remote desktop application for Android devices helps keep you connected with the software and files on your home computer and is compatible with a variety of Bluetooth accessories to enhance productivity even further. [AndroidArea]



Music & Media


Whether you want a feel-good flick or some new tunes for the back-to-school season, or if you want to relive (or catch up on) the shows the stole the show at this week's Emmys, we've got you covered. Find great deals below on True Detective, Breaking Bad, and more.

Music Singles

Music Albums


TV Shows

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

New Game: Madden NFL Mobile launches for Android just in time for Madden Season

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 12:00 PM PDT

madden mobile

In case you haven’t heard, Madden Season has officially begun. EA Sports has just dropped this year’s edition of the football game that sends folks in a tizzy, and they’re looking to provide a mobile option for those who want to get some action on the go. Madden NFL Mobile is basically a mini, simplified version of Madden Ultimate Team, a mode where you collect player cards from packs and use them to build a team of superstars.

This game lets you take that team into quick head-to-head matches, use them for challenges and games against friends, or play a full 16-game season where you try to make it to the Super Bowl. Madden NFL Mobile features a simplified control scheme with a long analog stick alongside a single “skill move” button that lets you perform the jukes and spins you need to take the ball down the field.

madden nfl mobile controls

The game features in-app purchases for those who don’t want to deal with the grind for gold coins, though there’s plenty of ways to earn players and packs without having to spend a dime. The app clocks in at an initial download of 167MB, so be sure to give it a go from Google Play right here if you’re anxious to hit the gridiron.

Google News and Weather update finally brings the app out of the stone ages

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 11:15 AM PDT

Google has just updated their News and Weather app in the Google Play Store after a rather long period of dormancy. The app has finally been brought into modern times as it has gotten a full redesign that’s akin to the Material Design language Google showed off at IO earlier this year. It takes full advantage of Google’s cards layout that has gotten so popular as of late.

Overall functionality is still quite similar to before. News is different depending on which country you select, you can easily switch between different topics, and the weather (which is one of the first things you’ll see when opening the app) can be set manually or by location. News is directly mirrored from Google News on the web so if you are a fan of that service then this is basically a much better way to access it on the go.

Screenshot_2014-08-26-12-30-21 Screenshot_2014-08-26-12-30-27 Screenshot_2014-08-26-12-30-33 Screenshot_2014-08-26-13-24-19 Screenshot_2014-08-26-13-25-03 Screenshot_2014-08-26-13-26-10 Screenshot_2014-08-26-13-26-35 Screenshot_2014-08-26-13-27-10

I’m having a bit of difficulty determining whether there’s still a place for this app. We have Newsstand now, and Google Now helps fill in the gaps and provide automatic weather updates right to your notification bar. But if for whatever reason you don’t fancy those alternatives and prefer a no-frills way to get a quick dosage of news then rejoice and head to Google Play for the download.


T-Mobile now doubles your data when adding a tablet (sort of); announces up to 10 lines for families

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 09:38 AM PDT


T-Mobile has announced some new plan changes that is going to please folks who find themselves adding tablets to their lines often. The company will now give you “double the data” when adding a tablet. That doesn’t come without a caveat, of course: that extra data only applies for that tablet.

What does this mean? A smartphone plan with 5GB of data can add a tablet for $10 more per month, and that tablet will have the same amount of data available as the smartphone. You can’t mix and match data usage how you want though, so there’s no way to use 8GB on the smartphone and just 2GB on the tablet or vice versa. It’s a hard, set 5GB each.

That’s still not a bad deal considering most other tablet plans require adding data plans that are just as expensive as the smartphone. The offer won’t be available until September 3rd, though that shouldn’t be too long of a wait for those of you looking at add a tablet within the next week or so.

To top that off, T-Mobile has announced family plans that can now have up to 10 lines, with each line past the second one costing just $10 more per month. All the other same perks still apply, such as each line getting their own pool of data. This particular change goes live as soon as tomorrow so be sure to rope up more friends and family members if they’ve been looking to join a family plan.

[via T-Mobile 1, 2]

Did Amazon really only sell 35,000 Fire Phones?

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 08:18 AM PDT

fire phone software

We’ve spent the past few years wondering how Amazon would look to take their first stab at the smartphone market after a successful outing in the tablets scene. That question was answered with the launch of the Amazon Fire Phone (review), a device that they hoped would pack enough “innovative” features to rope folks in. (And, really, we all assume their true end goal is to get more eyes on their content ecosystem.)

So how has it fared in terms of sales? The official numbers haven’t been made public, but recent web traffic data from Chitika could shed a fair bit of light on the Fire Phone’s performance. Hint: it isn’t great. According to them, Amazon Fire Phone accounted for just 0.02% of web traffic since the 20 days of its launch. That puts it just ahead of the Motorola DROID Ultra, a phone that launched around this same time a full year ago.

The Guardian took the liberty of finding the amount of smartphones currently swimming around the United States (about 175 million) and crunched some numbers to determine that Amazon probably hasn’t sold more than 35,000 units. This takes into account indexing figures that would inflate or deflate web usage for a particular phone (such as a situation where there are more Galaxy users than iPhone users, but iPhone users make up more traffic). It’s sad to say that 35,000 appears to be a very generous estimation for Amazon.


Amazon’s best selling list would have you believe their phone is selling like hot cakes compared to Samsung and LG devices, however it doesn’t take into account that you can only find the Fire Phone at one of two places  – AT&T or Amazon’s own site — while the others are available at a multitude of retailers and carriers. It also doesn’t hurt that Amazon can push the Fire Phone as their featured phone however much they want. And trust us, they do.

We don’t want to take these numbers as total gospel just yet, but it wouldn’t be hard to believe Amazon has had trouble selling their smartphone. Their launch was marred by a couple of big blunders that would be enough to stamp the “dead-on-arrival” label onto any smartphone:

  1. It launched at a whopping $200 with a two-year contract. The price isn’t that bad for what you’re getting — Snapdragon 800, 2GB of RAM, 13 megapixel camera and more — but it’s kind of tough to sell people on it when you can get more powerful and feature-filled smartphones for the same price.
  2. It was made available on just one carrier. Long story short: this isn’t the iPhone. The Amazon Fire Phone can’t get away with launching as a carrier exclusive when it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. The iPhone did. And the iPhone was available in more countries than just the United States.

Of course, there are many more variables that factor in (such as a limited apps ecosystem and an operating system that is designed to get you to spend money more than providing a quality smartphone experience), but these seem to be the biggest and most obvious.

Amazon did their best to load the Fire Phone up with features that could justify its bloated price tag, but those features turned out to be little more than gimmicks that don’t add much to the overall experience. We contend Amazon might have been much more successful by looking to undercut the big dogs with a more reasonable price tag as they do on their current crop of tablets.

fire phone display

Amazon also had to sell people on buying into an ecosystem with limited support. The Amazon Appstore has grown quite well since its launch, but developers have made it clear that the Google Play Store is going to be their top priority.

The prospect of an Amazon phone was rather exciting back in 2011 when rumors first began, but in this day and age it seems out of place. The veteran manufacturers of the smartphone industry continue to take steps forward which capture our interests and convince us to want to spend hundreds of dollars to upgrade to new smartphones each year, but Amazon seems to be lagging behind like a startup that hasn’t gotten their feet onto solid ground. Perhaps that’ll change with future iterations and better decisions in how they launch and market the device, but the ship may have already sailed for their first attempt.

Verizon rolling out VoLTE HD Voice and Video Calling 1.0 “in the coming weeks”

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 06:56 AM PDT

VoLTE N000024_1024-x-640

As long as Verizon has been talking about the HD Voice and VoLTE network enhancements we have yet to see any of it launch in any official capacity. Thankfully it appears to be right around the corner as the carrier has just announced that they will begin rolling the service out within weeks.

What’s VoLTE, you ask? Simple: voice calling over LTE. It’s a more reliable way to transmit audio data and affords more bandwidth for the call. This means call quality is improved thanks to higher bitrate and other factors. Most in the industry have taken a liking to the term “HD Voice” for these enhancements. Unfortunately this won’t kick in unless both you and the person you’re calling are on a Verizon VoLTE phone and are both within LTE coverage. Otherwise, it reverts back to Verizon’s legacy network.

Verizon’s VoLTE won’t only bring improved voice calls, though — the carrier also anticipates video calls between two VoLTE customers. They haven’t gone into grave detail about the functionality just yet, though we’re crossing our fingers in hopes that video calls won’t count toward your monthly data allotment. We’ll be reaching out to Verizon to see if they can shed any light on that ahead of launch.

Thankfully Verizon already has a sizable roster of LTE phones that should be compatible with VoLTE, though the carrier says you’ll need to standby for a software upgrade to get in on the fun. Let’s hope it doesn’t take Verizon too long to announce the full details ahead of next month’s rollout. Any Big Red customers out there excited for its arrival?

[via Verizon]

Best Android apps for writers

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 06:44 AM PDT

Whether you're writing your next college essay or the next Great American Novel, a work memo or a graduate thesis, you won't have to look much farther than your Android smartphone or tablet for help. From inspiration to reference materials, apps for composing a draft and more, we've got you covered. You'll never want to write again without these great Android apps at hand.

Apps to Inspire



Every writer starts as a reader, and every reader needs a few good books to keep them on their toes at all times. Goodreads makes it easy to find your next read, crowdsourcing a social network of fellow book lovers to offer recommendations, reviews, and more. Rate your favorite books and share your own sources of inspiration as you discover authors and stories for the first (or second) time.

Writing Prompts


Even the best writers can suffer from the occasional bout of writer's block. Writing Prompts helps get things kickstarted by offering up a wide range of prompts providing interesting situations from which a story could be born. This straightforward application, which is geared toward fiction writers, can help get the juices flowing with fun writing exercises that could develop into much more.

Story Plot Generator


Where Writing Prompts provides a basic premise from which to start your next great work of art, Story Plot Generator takes things a step further. This app lets you choose the genre, situation, and other details pertaining to plot structure to provide a guiding hand while crafting a new story. Think of it as a writing prompt on steroids packaged in an easy-to-use application.

Apps to Capture Your Great Ideas



Evernote is the notepad for the everyman, providing all the tools a writer might need to quickly jot down an inspired line or paragraph, plot out story structure, save research notes and more. Sync features allow your notes and thoughts to be accessed from any connected device, meaning you can take your ideas to a desktop or tablet to turn mobile musing to finished product.



If you don't need flashy features in your text editors JotterPad is probably for you. This plain text editor allows writers to draft and revise their work on the go, saving in the portable .txt document format, which can be opened in just about any word processing software. With a clean, approachable interface, built-in dictionary, and word and character count, this app cuts back on distractions and puts the focus on the written word itself.



Another plain text editor, but one that provides a slightly more robust feature set including homescreen widgets and more. You can quickly write, organize, and share all of your greatest bits of writing, but Draft is equally at home for gathering notes and research with its built-in search and folders. Dropbox integration puts your work in the cloud where it is easily accessible from anywhere or any device.

Apps to Proofread, Edit, and Revise



Not an Android app per se, this web resource might just be the most useful on our list. Using HTML5 and an interface geared toward mobile devices, Hemingway, which takes its name from the author renown for his simple yet masterful deployment of the English language, helps writers revise their work for readability. The app points out when a sentence is overly complicated and helps reduce reliance on adverbs and the passive voice.

Oxford Grammar & Punctuation


When it comes time to proofread, you need a handy resource on the rules of grammar and punctuation. Why not go with one of the oldest and most trusted names in the study of the English language? Oxford's free Grammar & Punctuation app provides a searchable reference as well as learning tool for those looking to hone a rough draft into the finished product.

Webster's Dictionary & Thesaurus 


When you can't find the right word or if your language sounds a bit dry and repetitive, the instinct is to reach for a dictionary or thesaurus. Now you can toss out the heavy text and go straight to mobile with Webster's Dictionary & Thesaurus. Another free reference material, it puts an essential database of words and definitions right in your pocket.

Just for Fun

7 Little Words


There's no denying that writers love word games. When you need a break from the work, 7 Little Words provides a great escape. Use the clues to determine the seven words in this crossword/word find/anagram mashup. As a bonus, you might stumble upon a word or two that could come in handy in your writing down the road.

4 Pics 1 Word


Can you figure out the word based on the four pictures provided? That about sums up 4 Pics 1 Word, but don't let the simple premise fool you. This one can be quite addicting as it tests your knowledge of words and their meanings.

These apps cover the basics for writers across all genres. For those writing as part of their studies, we also suggest you check out our best apps for college students. Professional writers working on the web will also want to scope our best apps for bloggers. Have a favorite app for writing that we neglected to mentions? Share it in the comments below.

Samsung reminds us their Gear apps ecosystem is pretty big with over 1,000 apps available

Posted: 26 Aug 2014 06:29 AM PDT

samsung gear apps

Samsung’s Tizen-based Gear smart watches may not run the exciting new Android Wear platform made by Google, but they still get the job done. Samsung seems intent on busting any misconceptions that their smart watches don’t have any apps as they’ve posted a pretty convincing infographic to show just how big their ecosystem has gotten.

Samsung says over 1,000 apps made specifically for their Gear watches have been made available, from fitness aids like Drink Water and Runtastic to other miscellaneous needs such as babysitting (and, of course, all the other geeky stuff you can dream of in between). Increasing awareness of their ecosystem is quite important for the growth of their platform, especially now that they have the might of the Google Play Store to contend with.

Samsung’s benefited from a pretty big head start in that regard, but it won’t be long before Android Wear catches up and developers are building functionality into the apps we already use. Of course, Samsung wouldn’t mind considering they have an Android Wear product of their own on the market, but whether they’ll make any others remains to be seen. Be sure to head through to the source link for the full infographic if you’re interested.

[via Samsung Tomorrow]

LG G3 Stylus is an Android phone, not an accessory, coming next week

Posted: 25 Aug 2014 08:23 PM PDT


LG has been busy: over the weekend they let the world know that the Moto 360 wouldn’t be the only circular Android Wear watch for long and they’ve just now announced the LG G3 Stylus, a variation of their flagship phone that offers an affordable alternative to the up-and-coming Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

Some key LG G3 Stylus specs:

  • 1.3 GHz Quad-Core processor
  • 5.5-inch qHD IPS screen with 960 x 540 pixel resolution
  • 8 GB  internal memory with MicroSD slot
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 13MP camera with 1.3MP front camera
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat

LG G3 vs LG G3 Stylus

The G3 Stylus is a variation of the G3 that shares many of the same specs, however, to fit the stylus and offer a competitive price LG toned down some of the most aggressive specs. The screen is still 5.5-inches qHD IPS but has lower resolution, internal memory is cut to 8GB (from 16GB or 32GB), RAM is halved, and the front camera is dropped a megapixel.

These compromises likely have as much to do with pricing as engineering. The LG G3 Stylus is set to launch in Brazil with Asia, the Middle East, and Africa to follow. These are emerging markets where price is a higher priority and where having the most powerful specs may not be such a pressing issue. Furthermore, stylus are in higher demand in these locations, especially Asia.

lg-g3-stylus-2The Stylus

I find the “Stylus” naming convention confusing and unfortunate: when I first read the related press release, I assumed LG was launching an official Stylus to work with their existing LG G3 Android Phone. The “LG G3 Stylus” as an actual name of a device confused me and I’m wondering if it will confuse others. I prefer Samsung’s “Note” name which now suggests Stylus support without outright saying it.

You can of course expect the G3 Stylus software to come with some features that make great use of the pen input, including QuickMemo+ for note taking and Dual Window to view two activities on one screen. Expect LG (and carriers) to preload the device with apps that make further use of the stylus.

Price and availability

The G3 Stylus should be affordably priced considering the knock it takes on specs, not to mention company CEO Dr. Jong-Seok Park’s tease that  it has an “exceptional price that can’t be beat.” We’d expect him to say that regardless of the price, but in this case, we think the price will indeed be aggressive. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until IFA for LG to make a formal announcement regarding these details.

Don’t expect the LG G3 Stylus to come to the states any time soon or at all, And if it does, remember that this is no Galaxy Note 4 competitor, but rather a Galaxy Note 4 alternative for folks who want a big screen and stylus but don’t need the high power and high price of a flagship Android device.