• Electronic Kid
  • Useful-news
  • Forum
  • Fellowship
  • E-Library
  • All

Android Phone Fans

Android Phone Fans

Is Comcast planning “Studio Xfinity” retail stores to cure customer woes?

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 06:52 PM PDT

We’ve all heard the Comcast horror stories and too many of us – especially Netflix customers – have lived the nightmare while listening to the company blather on about net neutrality. The company is now looking to acquire Time Warner Cable, a move of unparalleled proportions that could give the new super company a monopolistic competitive advantage in two key areas : internet connectivity and terrible customer service.

Have Comcast execs been intently listening and carefully plotting a solution to improve customer service and customer satisfaction in the form of retail stores? If the September 11th trademark filing for “Studio Xfinity” is any indication, it seems possible. Here’s how Comcast describes their new trademark:

Retail store services featuring telecommunications goods and services; retail store services featuring entertainment services, namely, providing television programs, films, movies and other audio-video content via cable, fiber optics, the Internet, mobile networks and other electronic communications networks; retail store services featuring goods and services for home and business automation, control, monitoring, and security; retail store services featuring the demonstration of said goods and services

Comcast Studio Xfinity

Careful attention should be paid to the full term repeatedly used by Comcast: retail store services. Rather than building a nation-wide network of retail stores for a company that sells no physical products, Studio Xfinity would more likely incorporate a number of popup stores found in retail partners such as Best Buy to either feature a holiday push (a la Samsung) or facilitate better, permanent customer service solutions (think Comcast Geek Squad).

That raises another interesting question, though: what if Comcast did have physical products to sell to customers? Comcast would be in a unique position to leverage their existing customer relationships in an emerging market that has yet to fully take shape: the connected home.

If you’re currently a Comcast customer, I know what you’re probably thinking: the last thing you want is a connected home powered by Comcast. Your garage stops functioning, refrigerator starts spouting out water, TV is stuck on QVC channel, and after 4 hours of sitting on hold with Comcast customer service, they schedule you an appointment for next week between the convenient hours of 6AM and 10PM.


But the idea of physical Comcast retail locations, especially as store-within-stores in already popular shopping locations and outlets, could be great for customers if approached modestly and not only as a cash grab for selling new products and services. Current Comcast office locations are nothing short of horrendous, and to be honest, the opportunity to browse new technology while waiting in line would be a welcome addition.

Unless Comcast has some huge unforeseen announcement waiting in the wings, we’re going to predict they don’t jump head first into the retail space. But this holiday season could prove to be a fruitful test with a small sample size of featured “Studio Xfinity” store-within-stores concept.

As we’ve discussed regarding Google in years past, retail stores are risky but tempting. Struggling companies like Radio Shack and Office Depot are facing increasing competitive pressure from online juggernauts like Amazon. On the flip side, prominent brands with loyal customers and premium brands (read: Apple) continue to make a killing. Where on the retail store spectrum would Comcast belong, what could they offer customers to make the experience worthwhile, and would they ultimately be successful/profitable?

This editorial is speculative, based on Comcast’s trademark filing for “Studio Xfinity”

Motorola Moto 360 review

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 03:23 PM PDT

Moto 360 DSC06937

When it comes to new tech, wearables like smartwatches have landed themselves in a unique position. While everyone agrees that an aesthetically pleasing smartphone or tablet can be seen as a bonus, it’s not mandatory. These devices spend the majority of their day tucked away out of view inside our pockets, backpacks, or hidden behind protective cases. But because smartwatches are actually worn, they’re just as much a fashion accessory as they are a piece of tech. This could be why Google Glass (at least in its current form) may never hit the mainstream and why tech heads were chomping at the bit over the newest kid on the smartwatch block: the Motorola Moto 360.

Like a girl at a Justin Bieber concert, it seemed like the tech community was eager to award the Moto 360 the distinguished honor of taking their Android Wear virginity based on looks alone. But underneath the chamfered glass and aluminum, is there more to the 360? Or is its primary success merely as an expensive piece of eye candy? We’ll answer all these questions and more in our Motorola Moto 360 review.

Design / Build quality

Moto 360 DSC06958

After visiting Motorola’s all new HQ in Chicago, we literally got a full tour of the facilities as Motorola employees showed us every step that went into making the Moto 360, from design, to early prototypes, manufacturing, and the final gorgeous product you see today. Having seen all the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears that went into making the 360, we have to admit, we appreciate the watch a little more than we would have otherwise.

So by now, we get it: the Moto 360 is round. It’s the most defining characteristic of the smartwatch and one that — at least when pitted against the current crop of Android Wear devices — sets it apart from the pack. You’ll notice Motorola has been careful to avoid calling the 360 a “smartwatch.” Instead, Motorola chooses the term “modern timepiece,” a fancy way of saying it’s the traditional round watch you’re all used to, only smarter (you know, a smartwatch).

At first glance it appears as if the Moto 360 is floating on the watch strap and, like any other fashion accessory (smart or not), reactions to hockey puck-design have proven to be somewhat polarizing. Some will say it’s the sexiest smartwatch they’ve ever laid eyes on, while others will say it’s something better suited for the ice rink. Whatever your opinion, there’s no denying the Moto 360 at least looks expensive.

Moto 360 DSC06955

On the face, you’ll find Gorilla Glass 3 raised ever so slightly from its brushed aluminum frame. The glass uses chamfered edges that cleverly reflect the light as to hide the side pixels of the LCD display when viewing the watch directly. All the distinct layers and pieces really give the watch some character, especially when looking at the lifeless design of rival devices like the LG G Watch. Even the single physical button on the side has a gold layer surrounding it, once again playing into that layered design aesthetic.

It’s these small details that help the watch appear less like it was slapped together in some Chinese factory and more like it was carefully assembled by a master craftsman. The watch looks premium and is further extended by Motorola’s choice in offering Chicago-sourced 100% genuine Horween leather wrist straps out of the box. There is no lower-end, rubber strapped sport “edition” or anything like that. This is the plate Motorola serves you and it’s delicious.

If leather doesn’t particularly suit your tastes, Motorola’s stock bands can be swapped for most standard 22mm bands, you’ll just have to make sure they’re thin enough to slide into the 360′s undercarriage. Motorola’s own official stainless steel link straps will be available later this year for an added $75.

Moto 360 Horween Leather strap DSC06984

Upon picking it up, the first thing you’ll notice is how absurdly light the Moto 360 is. For a second we actually thought there was some sort of mixup at the plant and we ended up with a dummy unit by mistake. After strapping the 360 on, the watch sat perfectly in the middle of our wrist and the leather was light and comfy. There’s was no chaffing or pulling of our vast abundance of arm hair when adjusting the strap. It was easy to forget the watch was even on our wrist.

The Moto 360 is IP67 rated and means you wont have to worry about getting the watch wet while vigorously washing your hands everyday, but if you plan on jumping in the pool or hitting some waves at the beach, it’s best to leave it somewhere dry.



Moto 360 DSC06981

There’s no denying the Moto 360′s body is a full 360-degrees round, but the same can’t be said for its display. At 320×290 (205ppi) resolution, the watch is almost perfectly round save for a small black bezel along the bottom which houses the ambient light sensor and the watch’s “display drivers.” Although the circular display can sometimes cutoff UI elements along the sides, the added screen real estate actually allows the 360 to display more words per line when compared to the LG G Watch.

Out of all the Android Wear devices, the Moto 360′s display is definitely the brightest, acting as a small flash light if for some reason you aren’t using the auto adjusting brightness setting. Speaking of which, the 360 is currently the only Android Wear device to come with an ambient light sensor, something that takes away the hassle of having to manually adjust the display. This is especially convenient when traveling from a dimly lit room out into daylight where the 360 was still tough to read (like most LCD devices), but at least it auto adjusted the brightness accordingly.

Moto 360 direct sunlight DSC06956

Something we should note, the review unit we were provided with actually came with 2-dead pixels. Although we’d normally dismiss it as a fluke, we’ve been hearing reports from other 360 owners experiencing similar on their units, even after getting it replaced. You might want to check yours out of the box (it’s easier to see with an all black background) and make sure you purchase from a reputable retailer with a convenient return policy. You know, just to be safe.

Like on our LG G Watch, we also found the display on the Moto 360 wasn’t always the most responsive. Often times, you’ll find selecting UI elements on the display requires multiple taps because the first tap didn’t register. It’s annoying and interesting that we can now confirm it happening on two separate Android Wear devices, so this isn’t necessarily a Moto 360 thing.

Power button

Power button DSC06983

The Moto 360 is actually one of the few Android Wear devices to come equipped with an actual physical button. Located on its side, we thought it odd how it primarily acts as yet another way of waking the display on the watch if for some reason tapping the display was just too easy. We originally thought this was a conscious decision by Motorola simply to keep the device looking traditional but we soon learned the button serves a another purpose: long pressing the button actually acts as a shortcut to the device’s settings. This normally requires a ridiculous amount of effort (tap to wake, tap to voice search, scroll down to settings, tap again to select).

Another bonus is when turned off, you can even — brace yourself — power the device on. I know, your mind is blown, right? Although this might not sound like such a big deal, the LG G Watch has no buttons and once powered down, requires you to dock and connect the device to its charger (or use a paperclip to press the tiny button on its back) before it can be booted up again. Let me tell you, there has been more than a few occasions where I was rushing out the door, only to realize I forgot to boot up the G Watch, forcing me to go about my day with a watch I couldn’t power on. For having the foresight to see the convenience in something as simply as an easily accessible power button… for that, I tip my hat to you, Motorola.

Heart rate monitor

Moto 360 back heart rate sensor DSC06964

The 360 isn’t just a pretty face. The watch also packs a few tricks up its sleeve that you can’t find in competing smartwatches (like the LG G Watch). For all you fitness types, Motorola threw in a tiny heart rate monitor located on the bottom of the device with a glowing green LED (see above pic).

This hardware feature is supported by Motorola’s own specialty apps and while great for tracking your daily fitness goals, is actually quite finicky when trying to get an accurate reading on the go. We found that you have to remain almost completely still to check your heart rate, so you’ll need to jump off the treadmill to get an update on your progress. We’ll go over both Heart Rate and Heart Activity apps more during our software portion of the review.

Wireless Charging

Moto 360 charging dock DSC06925

Because manufacturers want to keep their smartwatches looking as svelte as possible, just about every Android Wear device — with the exception of the Moto 360 — feature their own proprietary methods of charging. This can make it difficult in the event you forget to pack a charger or, heaven forbid, lose your charger and have to pay through the nose for a first-party replacement.

The Moto 360 on the other hand features wireless charging. Since this is using the Qi wireless charging standard, it’s the same kind of wireless charging found on many popular Android handsets. This means if you or someone else already has a wireless charger for their phone, you also have another means of charging your Moto 360.

Moto 360 wireless charging DSC06797

When it comes to Motorola’s supplied wireless charging dock, it’s actually quite small and features a smooth, soft touch finish. Since the dock faces outward, it’s meant to act as a bedside clock when charging the Moto 360 overnight. Because the Moto 360′s battery is so small, it won’t take more than an hour to reach a full charge, giving you plenty of time to charge while performing your normal morning ritual.

Moto 360 portable wireless charger  DSC06851

For those instances when you happen to be away from a wall outlet, don’t forget it’s possible to power the charger using one of the many portable battery chargers on the market. We paired our Moto X with Motorola’s tiny Power Pack Micro for a quick charging solution on-the-go. Surprisingly, it made for a nice mini charging station without all the wires or bulky battery packs.


Moto 360 DSC06951

Inside the Moto 360, you’ll find an aging single-core TI OMAP3630 running the show. It’s by no means a powerhouse (not that it needs to be), just an odd choice by Motorola given the fact that rival OEMs all went with the more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 400.

While actions are executed relatively quick, it’s the smoothness of the UI that suffers from the former Motorola DROID X SoC. That may not sound like a huge deal — and things have gotten smoother since the latest 4.4W.1 update — we have a feeling that over time, the OMAP will ultimately hold the smartwatch back and in some cases, it already does. Check out our battery life results below.

Battery life

Moto 360 Battery DSC06823

By now you may have noticed that battery life reports are all over the place. Since the latest software update, I’ve been able to consistently hit 20+ hours with the Moto 360 and its tiny 320mAh battery, but that wasn’t always the case.

Elsewhere, I’m still seeing reports of 12-15 hours and all we can do is scratch our heads, wondering why the experience differs so greatly person to person. It could have something to do with half-baked software, poor internal components, or even a shoddy Bluetooth connection with the paired handset. But the bottom line: I consistently got a full waking day, which passes the minimum expectations for these first generation smartwatches.

Unlike its Android Wear rivals, the Moto 360 comes with “Ambient screen” mode turned off right out of the box. Ambient mode is a fancy way of saying the display is always on, so you can quickly glance at the time without having to lift your hand and face the watch towards you (or press the physical button). While it only makes sense that battery life would suffer as a result, it’s nowhere near as big of a problem on other Android Wear devices as it is on the Moto 360.

With ambient mode on, you’re looking at barely 10 to 12 hours of battery life, a stark contrast to the 20+ hours with other devices like the LG G Watch. Again, we have a feeling the culprit is the Old-Man Jenkins OMAP which isn’t anywhere near optimized to run in a low power state like the Snapdragon 400. Simply put, it’s a shame and probably the only thing keeping the Moto 360 from unfettered greatness.


Moto 360 disconnected DSC06929

I’ve seen more than a few reports of Bluetooth connections dropping in and out, and where I’ve only experienced this once or twice since my 2 weeks with the device, it could be due to any number of causes. Outside interference, the connected phone, the OS, the Android Wear app — who the heck knows. The bright side is it only takes a simple disconnecting/reconnecting of my watch using the Android Wear app to fix the problem.

I was hesitant to mention this in our review because I’ve had similar experiences with Google Glass and other Bluetooth devices. Again, it’s tough to figure out exactly what is to blame — the Moto 360, smartphone, or something else entirely — but thankfully it seems this was largely remedied in the latest 4.4W.1 update.

What’s missing

Because the Moto 360 is a first generation device, of course there are going to be some things Motorola left out whether to add for its inevitable sequel, or because they simply aren’t supported. We’re not going to hold it against them — especially given battery life is already at the bare minimum of what we would deem acceptable — but the Sony SmartWatch 3 has a GPS sensor, while the upcoming Apple Watch features NFC for quick mobile payments.

And although it’s never been discussed, we also wouldn’t mind seeing an IR blaster for quick universal remote functionality. Just file this under Motorola Moto 360 (2015) features we would like to see.


Android Wear

Android Wear reservation

As one of Google’s flagship Android Wear devices (it was announced back during Google I/O alongside the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live), we’re sure by now you know everything there is to know about the modified Android OS that powers the watch. One of its main functions is simply quick access to Google Voice Search and if you’re curious to see all the information it can deliver, check out our video of 40+ voice commands you can do with Android Wear.

Aside from its handy Google Search functions, the primary goal for Android Wear is not to act like a tiny smartphone, but more of an extension of the notifications already found on your Android-powered smartphone. We don’t have statistics, but in our own experiences we’d say that anywhere between 80 to 90% of notifications you receive throughout the day don’t require an actual response, or perhaps just a quick one.

This is why Android Wear exists. Instead of pulling out your phone every 5 seconds to view a notification — which can add up, slowly diminishing your smartphone’s battery life — you can briefly check your watch instead. If something needs addressing, you can perform quick actions like a voice reply, delete, or “open on phone” and quickly get back to whatever it was you were doing.

Android Wear voice reply action

This also applies to apps that run on Android Wear, which are meant to have low attention costs and, in most cases, are installed simply by downloading its full Android counterpart from the Google Play Store. There aren’t too many Android Wear apps at the moment, but the list is definitely growing. As the platform continues to grow and evolve, expect these mini apps to become more helpful in the future (our favorite is Google Maps which shows turn-by-turn directions on your watch). For those worried about the here and now, outside of quick notifications, Android Wear’s usefulness is limited.

There are some that feel like Android Wear isn’t quite ready for prime time and in some ways, we’d have to agree. The UI isn’t all that intuitive (we like Google Glass’ timeline UI much better) and it’s clear Google still has their work cut out for them. But in terms of overall philosophy, Google is definitely on the right track by using Android Wear as a way to alleviate the heavy attention costs associated with using a smartphone OS (a stark contrast to Apple’s approach with their smartwatch).


Android Wear app

Setting up the Moto 360 is a snap and involves downloading the Android Wear companion app from the Google Play Store. After that, you simply pair up your watch upon first boot with your smartphone and you’re ready to go. Because, chances are, you have a few apps on your phone that have the same general function — multiple note apps for instance — you can specify which apps you’d like to launch by default when feeding your watch with voice commands.

If fiddling around in your watches settings is too difficult, you can also adjust these inside the Android Wear app by pressing the cog icon at the top.

Motorola apps and watch faces

Moto 360 heart activity app DSC06969

It’s true Google forbids Android Wear manufacturers from adding their own UI skins, but that doesn’t mean they can’t add their own specialty apps. In the case of the Moto 360, Motorola has added their own apps, watch faces, and even a bedside clock mode that displays while the watch is charging.

Motorola Connect

Using the Motorola Connect app (yes, you’ll need to download another app), you can customize the look of the Moto 360′s round watch faces, update your wellness profile, or view the last known location of the connected device (in this case, our Moto 360). The app actually works for a variety of Motorola’s Bluetooth connected devices like the Power Pack Micro and we’re guessing the Moto Hint will soon be added as well.

Although the app is now available for a variety of Android devices, the Motorola Connect PC Extension (which allows you to send receive/send SMS from your computer) is still a Moto-only affair.

The Moto 360′s Heart Activity app monitors your heart rate throughout the day, letting you know once you’ve hit 30 minutes of light exercise. Of course, fitness buffs likely wont bother with this and that’s fine. The app is more or less geared to couch potatoes like myself who want to live a little healthier, but need something to help track it.


Moto 360 DSC06941

After its initial unveiling, most everyone was ready to declare the 360 the undisputed king of Android Wear based purely on design. Turns out, there’s more to a device that just its looks. By now you know the the Moto 360 isn’t the “perfect smartwatch” and as a first generation device, we never really expected it to be.

Thankfully, reports of dismal battery life weren’t as terrible as some made it out to be, the the Moto 360 has proven it has the chops to be a successful contender in the smartwatch device segment. Now we have round watch faced competition from LG and Samsung looming around the corner, there’s no question Motorola’s window of opportunity is closing fast.

There’s all these other little things that make up a pleasant experience in consumers devices, hardware features you don’t really think about at first. The convenience of wireless charging, a simple power button — sure the Moto 360 has its share of short comings, but in life and tech you always make a trade off. The Moto 360 is no different, but whether it was for the better or worse is ultimately up to you to decide.

The Moto 360 nails it in the looks and comfort department, while offering premium build materials and hardware features like ambient light sensor and heart rate monitor the other guys aren’t offering. Add this to the fact it supports wireless charging — a common standard amongst Android devices — and you have all the makings of a winner.

At $250 for the leather strapped models, we can’t help but feel the Moto 360 is offered at a reasonable price. With features and a design that bests other Android Wear offerings, it’s not a bad deal. Especially when you consider the Apple Watch is retailing for $350 just for the base model in contrast to the Moto 360 which, we feel, has superior design and functionality. You can buy the Motorola Moto 360 from Best Buy, Google Play Store, or direct from Motorola.

Looking ahead

We have a feeling the mad push for Android Wear devices aren’t about to slow down, with bigger and badder smartwatches are just around the corner. Now that the Apple Watch has a general launch date, expect sequels for all these watches to arrive around then (or earlier) with more features and better internals than today’s models.

While we won’t fault anyone for passing up the current crop of wearables, tech addicts like myself have grown accustomed to the growing pains associated with first generation devices. Nobody ever said living on the bleeding edge of tech was easy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.


  • Looks and feels great
  • Wireless charging
  • Auto dim display
  • Power button
  • Leather out of the box


  • Small battery
  • Underpowered, non-energy efficient processor
  • There’s an ambient mode, but you don’t wanna use it
  • Most expensive Android Wear smartwatch

Final Score: 4 out of 5

The Misfit Flash is a $50 fitness and sleep tracker with Android support

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 02:10 PM PDT

misfit flash

The world of fitness trackers is getting more crowded by the day. Every company from Apple to ZTE is getting in on the game. A lot of the new devices put fitness tracking in the background, but there are still some that focus 100% on your activity. The newly announced Misfit Flash is one such device. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a smartwatch, but what it can do it does really well.

On the surface the Misifit Flash looks like some sort of space-age communicator. It has a smooth round “face” with no screen or dials, just a ring of dots that light up. The dots can show your progress throughout the day, and even give you a rough estimate on what time it is. It comes with a band to wear around your wrist or you can use the magnetic clip that can be put almost anywhere. The battery lasts up to 6 months and you never need to charge it (just buy a new battery).

But what does it do? The Flash tracks your steps, calories, burned, distance walked, and sleep quality. Misfit also claims the Flash can track things like biking and swimming, which other devices struggle with. All of this data can be accessed through Misfit’s well-designed Android app. Plus, we haven’t even mentioned the best part. The Flash comes in 7 great colors and is available for just $49.99. That’s a great price for a great device. You can pre-order right now from Misfit’s website, or wait for it to arrive at Best Buy, Target, and Walmart next month.

Protip: Swiping away recent apps is killing your device’s performance

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 01:45 PM PDT

recent apps

At this point in Android’s history it has been well established that task killers are a bad thing. Android is built to manage tasks for you. If you constantly kill them you can negatively impact performance. Nowadays we’re too smart to use task killers, but could we be harming performance in a different way?

The developer of Greenify, an app that auto-hibernates rarely used apps, has dropped some knowledge about the recent apps switcher. He says constantly swiping away apps from the recent apps screen is not good practice. “it reduces the efficiency of process cache mechanism in Android, thus impact the performance of your device.”

He says clearing recent apps does free up a lot of memory, but at the expense of later performance and battery consumption. A lot of people like to keep the recent apps switcher clean and tidy by swiping away apps they are done using. This is not a good idea if you plan on using those apps again soon. When the recent apps switcher was new there was debate about what exactly swiping away an app was doing. Now we know it kills the task, just like those task killers of old.


Did you pre-order the new Moto X (2nd Gen) today? [POLL]

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 01:09 PM PDT

Phandroid Moto X

Earlier today the new Moto X went up for pre-order from Motorola and AT&T. If you bought it from AT&T you had your choice of black soft-touch, black leather, or bamboo. Over on Moto Maker you had a wide variety of color and material choices, plus the option to buy the “Pure Edition” model with zero carrier branding and bone stock Android. It was a good day for personalization.

The launch was not without its hiccups. We heard widespread reports of people having issues with Moto Maker while trying to purchase the device. The same thing happened with the original Moto X. Everything seems to be working fine now if you’re still waiting.

We want to know how many of you pre-ordered this new phone. The original Moto X was a mild success, but has very loyal and loving fans. Are you getting on the bandwagon? We also want to know what choices you made when customizing the device. What colors, materials, and engravings did you choose? Let us know in the poll and comments below!

This is the Google Play Store’s Material Design update

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 12:31 PM PDT

google play 5(top: old, bottom: new)

Android’s new Material Design language has been slowly rolling out to Google services and 3rd-party apps. We’re still waiting on the release of Android L to see Material Design in all its glory. One app that has changed a lot over the years is the Play Store, and you can bet it will be changed once again for #Materiyolo. The good folks over at Android Police got their hands on some leaked screenshots of the update.

First and foremost you can notice some slight changes to the section colors and top bar. The gray has been replaces with a dark grayish teal. The colors for apps, games, and music have been adjusted slightly darker. Movies & TV, books, and newsstand are a bit brighter. You can see the color comparisons below (top is the current Play Store).


These new colors are even more present in the new UI. The section colors have migrated down to the navigation tabs. This creates a really nice clean and unified look. And yes, the Material Design animations are present as well, as seen below. All in all it’s a very nice update. Not a huge difference from the current version, but just enough refinement to look fresh. How do you like this new look? Are you ready for Material Design yet?


Android Deals: Stickr Trackr, Galaxy S5 protection, Gamer Bundle, and more!

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 12:04 PM PDT


A new week means it’s time for some new deals. Once again we have deals on everything from hardware to software to media. If you’re looking for some new gadgets, accessories, apps, games, or music you’ve come to the right place. We’ve scoured the web and put together this list of deals just for you. We hope you find something you like, and be sure to share any deals you’ve found!


StickrTrackr_MF2_0914 (1)

Save 25% on a 2-pack of Stickr Trackrs. You know how in Sci-Fi movies they will use homing beacons to track things? Stickr Trackr is a coin-sized device that can be attached onto or stuck to any item. Use the companion Android app to track the items when they get lost. [AndroidArea]

Save 58% on Wireless Feather Buds. One of the best things about earbuds is they are very discreet. You can easily sneak them into your ears and not be noticed, but what if you didn’t notice them either? The Wireless Feather Buds are super lightweight, and they sound great too. [AndroidArea]

Get Tech Armor for your Samsung Galaxy S5 for just $5. Tech Armor is the #1 trusted screen protection for mobile devices. Protect your Galaxy S5 from scratches, dust, and daily wear. Applying the protection is easy and bubble-proof guaranteed. [Amazon]

Save big on wide selection of SanDisk SD cards. Everyone needs more storage in their digital life. Whether you need a SD card for your phone, tablet, camera, or PC, Amazon has several sizes and capacities on sale. [Amazon]

Get a Nexus 7 (2013) for just $229. The 2013 Nexus 7 is still one of the best Android tablets on the market. If you’re looking for a tablet on the cheap it’s a nice option. This is the 32GB model with Android 4.3 on board and a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro. [Newegg]

Apps & Games

android bundle

Name your own price on the Handheld Hero Android Gamer Bundle. This awesome bundle includes 7 games: Bad Hotel, Zombie Gunship, Waking Mars, Rebuild, Syder Arcade HD, Incredipede, and Savant -Ascent. You can pay anything you want and donate a portion to a charity of your choice. [AndroidArea]



Humble Bundle for Android 7

  • Tiny Bang Story
  • Heroes of Loot
  • Color Zen Premium
  • Kingdom Rush Frontiers
  • Sorcery




TV Shows



Moto G (2nd gen) Review

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 11:35 AM PDT


The Moto G is a rare beast: a budget-priced phone from one of the most respected players in the mobile industry. Motorola doesn't just stamp their name on any old handset, and it's more apparent than ever with the 2014 refresh to the company's best selling smartphone of all time. While the Moto G makes some sacrifices to reach its $179 retail price, it more than makes up for them with its combination of pure Android and attractive design.

Build & Design


Little has changed year-over-year in the design of the Moto G. At a glance, it features the same rounded edges and curved back that imbue the handset with a subtle classiness you might expect from a phone twice its price. The design language is borrowed from the Moto X (both the 2013 and 2014 iterations), though the build differs. Where the second generation Moto X introduces aluminum construction and accents, the Moto G retains its plastic frame. Still, the phone feels solid in a way that we've come to expect from Motorola device, regardless of the materials used.

The Moto G has increased in size and weight ever so slightly. The phone is a hair over 4mm wider at 70.7mm and grows by 11mm in height to 141.5mm. Weight sees a barely noticeable increase from 143g to 149g. What hasn't changed is the handset's thickness, which remains 6.0mm at its thinnest edge increasing to 11mm at the peak of its curved back.

That curve, by the way, serves a dual purpose. It not only give Moto some flashier thickness figures to throw around, but it also creates an inviting feeling to the hand. It adds an ergonomic shape that keeps the Moto G from feeling big or unwieldy. Bezel snobs will also be happy to know that Motorola has once again done their best to increase the overall screen-to-body-size ratio.


Buyers are given two finish options when buying the Moto G (white or black), but Motorola has extended a touch of the personalization available for their pricier Moto X to its cheaper counterpart. This includes a replaceable back that can be swapped out for a variety of colored Motorola Shells. New to the 2014 edition are Motorola Flip Shells, which provide a folio-style screen cover for added protection.



As for that screen? The Moto G's display has increased in size — quite literally the biggest change from first generation devices — but not resolution. The result is a display with a lower pixel density but more real estate for enjoying apps, games, movies, and more. At 5 inches (half an inch larger than the previous models's 4.5-inch display) and 1280×720 pixels, the Moto G lacks the flashy resolution other devices of a similar size employ, but it's hard to argue with what you get for the price (a recurring theme when reviewing the handset).


While top-tier Android devices move into the realm of Quad HD, let's not forget that the Moto G's resolution is on par with that of Apple's iPhone 6, a phone with a top-of-the-line price and marketed as such. 720p might seem like old hat for Android users. It might even seem like a cop out. It still looks sharp and clear, however, and leaves little room for complaint.



As a low-priced handset aiming for a premium experience, the Moto G's hardware is a bit of a mixed bag. Whereas Motorola went bigger with the display, the Snapdragon 400 processor within the handset remains identical to the previous generation. This is almost unheard of in the world of Android devices where we might at least expect a bump in clock speed or other performance factors. Instead we see the same 1.2GHz quad-core processor and Adreno 305 GPU as last year.

That's not necessarily a knock on performance. The Snapdragon 400 gets the job done efficiently and effectively (a stock build of Android 4.4 helps), but as the latest handsets move toward Snapdragon 801 and 805 platforms, it would seem logical to at least see a jump to Snapdragon 600. We digress, though.

Motorola instead chose to focus on feature-focused hardware updates for the Moto G, the big two being the addition of front-facing stereo speakers and a MicroSD card slot. The latter allows users to expand on the 8GB or 16GB of internal storage the Moto G carries with up to an additional 32GB of removable storage.

Some potential buyers will be disappointed to learn that Motorola did not introduce an LTE-ready Moto G out of the gate, nor is the phone compatible with CDMA networks like Verizon and Sprint. With the original Moto G, Motorola eventually released versions of the device that addressed both of these shortcomings. We might expect them to do the same here.

As is, the handset is outfitted with GSM radios capable of HSPA+ speeds on AT&T and T-Mobile's network. Globally, a dual SIM version of the device is compatible with a broad range of GSM networks and service providers.



One aspect of the Moto G Android enthusiasts are sure to find appealing is the decision to go with a "pure" infall of Google's KitKat operating system. Officially Android 4.4.4 out of the box, the Moto G benefits from the same software capabilities available to owners of higher-end Nexus and Google Play Edition handsets.

Motorola has included a few helpful software benefits, however, for Moto G users. These include Motorola Migrate, a service that makes transitioning from anything from a feature phone to an iPhone extremely easy. Just a few taps will transfer contacts, photos, and other stored data. Motorola Assist puts a filter on incoming calls and alerts when you are sleeping or in an important meeting. Motorola Alert helps notify friends and family of your whereabouts, whether you are arranging a meet up or experiencing an emergency.

One awesome feature we don't see enough in smartphones is the inclusion of FM radio software (to go along with a built-in FM tuner). Using wired headphones as an antenna, the Moto G can pick up and playback local FM feeds without the need for a WiFi or cellular connection. A little more old school than Spotify, but nifty nonetheless.


Another software/hardware combination feature that comes in handy is Trusted Devices, which allows the Moto G to operate without password protection provided it is in range of a "trusted" Bluetooth device. This could be a headset, a computer, or even a Bluetooth speaker. When the Moto G is paired to the device, waking the phone skips the lock screen and gets you right into the action.

Beyond these additions, the Moto G has access to Google services like Gmail, Maps, Hangouts, Chrome, and more. With a stock Android implementation, there is no confusion between these apps and competing services that manufacturers and carriers typically include. It also enables the handset to take full advantage of Google Now's predictive info cards and helpful voice actions.

While on the subject of stock Android, Motorola is guaranteeing at least one version upgrade beyond what comes installed on the phone. This means when Google has Android L ready to ship, Moto G owners will be on the short list to receive it. And while they are only promising one update, we wouldn't be surprised to see Motorola support the phone for at least a few more.  It really doesn't get much better than what Motorola is doing here.



The Moto G sees an improved 8MP camera as part of its updates as well as the introduction of a few software features (and one more hardware goody). The camera itself has improved with an f2.0 aperture and also includes LED flash and 4X digital zoom. Shooting modes include slow motion video, burst shot, HDR, and panorama.

moto-g-photo-sample-2 moto-g-photo-sample-1 moto-g-photo-sample-4 moto-g-photo-sample-5

Users have options when it comes to actually capturing a photo. By default, tapping the screen will focus the image on the area of interest. A flip of a setting enables One-Tap Capture, which will focus and snap a shot at the touch of a finger. The Moto G can also take advantage of a hardware shutter button (a secondary function of the phone's volume rocker).

Image quality is solid, and 720p video is smooth. We've seen better on other smartphones, but the full package is impressive for a device of this class.


Motorola promises "all day battery life" for the Moto G, and the phone's 2070mAh battery certainly has the qualifications on paper. This is where a sub-1080p display, Snapdragon 400 processor, and a lack of LTE come in handy, as their power draw is theoretically reduced.

The battery itself is the same size as the power cell of the first generation handset, and it did well enough in our testing. It is reasonable to expect the phone to get similar performance in this spec compared to last year's model, but mileage will vary by usage. “All day battery life" really depends on how you define "all day." A single charge will certainly get you from sun up to sun down, but cracking the 24-hour mark might be a rare occurrence.

The Bottom Line


It would be easy to recommend the Moto G as the phone to buy for those on a budget. Saying that, however, sells the handset a little short. The Moto G is a perfectly respectable phone to buy for almost anyone who was already planning on spending $200 up front for a phone with a required two-year contract. In fact, at $180 said shopper will save money and be free of any sort of carrier obligations or restrictions on when he or she can upgrade their phone.

The Moto G most certainly is not a phone designed for folks seeking a powerhouse along the lines of the Galaxy S5 or LG G3, but for users who can avoid falling prey to the hype of octa-core processors and Quad HD displays, it does everything you need and more. The decision to stick with a stock install of Android 4.4 adds even more appeal to the Moto G, making it a great choice for fans of the pure “Google Experience.”

Wrap the solid specs and powerful software in a quality build that not only looks great but offers room for personalization via its replaceable back cover and the Moto G is even harder to deny. Did we mention all of this comes at a price of only $180?

The Good

  • Stock Android 4.4 with guaranteed upgrade
  • Solid, attractive build with customizable back
  • $179 off-contract

The Bad

  • No LTE version or CDMA support
  • No upgrade from first generation's Snapdragon 400 SoC

The Bottom Line: 4/5

Microsoft creates a great keyboard for Android devices

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 09:54 AM PDT

Universal Keyboard

Microsoft and Google are not the best of friends, but Microsoft has shown willingness to play nice with Google’s OS. Several of their services are available as Android apps, and now they’ve created a very nice-looking Bluetooth keyboard. They call it the Universal Mobile Keyboard, and it can work with almost any device you own with just the flip of a switch.

The headlining feature is a tiny switch in the upper right corner of the keyboard. You can switch it to Windows, Android, or iPhone/iPad. This allows you take advantage of special function keys on every device. Some of those keys include Home, Search, volume keys, lock, and play/pause. The other cool feature of this keyboard is the integrated tablet stand/case. You can easily set any size tablet on the stand and use it like a laptop. When the stand isn’t being used it can be closed to protect the keyboard.

The keyboard lasts 6-months on one charge, and can be recharged for a full day of use in just 10 minutes. Microsoft will be selling the Universal Mobile Keyboard in October for $79.95 in black and white.. What do you think about this keyboard? Will you be buying it for your Android tablet?

Universal Keyboard 3 Universal Keyboard 2

The rugged Samsung Galaxy S5 Active is coming to Canada

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 09:02 AM PDT


If you’ve been wanting a super durable version of the Samsung Galaxy S5 you have been stuck with AT&T. The Galaxy S5 Active is finally leaving the US and heading to Canada. Bell, Rogers, and TELUS are all offering the Active for around CA$280 with a two-year contract and CA$700 outright. You can buy right now from Bell and Rogers, next week from TELUS.

Samsung tried to keep a sleek and slim profile for the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, and make it as stylish as any phone could look. They went all out with the rugged look and feel for this one. A nice, protector bumper around the edges protects the device from drops, and its tight design gives IP67 and military-spec 810G ratings for dustproof, waterproof and shock resistant qualities. It even comes in camo.

The S5 Active still has the same 5.1-inch 1080p display, Snapdragon 801 processor, 16 megapixel camera, and even the heart rate monitor. One thing it doesn't seem to have is a fingerprint scanner, so if you care about that particular feature you may want to steer clear.

[via Mobile Syrup]

Andy’s Threads brings awesome Android apparel to the masses

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 08:22 AM PDT

Andys threads

Back in the day you may remember a popular series of Android t-shirts that took the geek world by storm. There was Exploded Andy, Unstoppable Andy, Mountain View Mashers, and more. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen some creative Android apparel like those t-shirts, but Andy’s Threads is trying to fix that.

Andy’s Threads is a start-up clothing company that has been designing gear since 2011. Due to an increase in production costs they had to take a break, but now they are back, and they need our help. They are currently trying to raise $8,000 on Kickstarter to boost their new operations. Their goal is to bring down costs, build up inventory, and roll out more awesome designs. But enough about the logistics, let’s take a look at some of the shirts they offer.

1c12e805c4187bb84917cf75d344ccc4_large 1421d32c1d67e3674adc5afa795c3574_large 6ada4a5cac4188f2ff2a0c3cd9014e3e_large c3a1700ff54c4c306e06d5d6f4a51870_large dbf530aad7560aef24f5cf2fe9d67cee_large ffb8c46f5e28d3532359e71cb28a2dca_large

For $25 you can back the campaign and pick out a t-shirt. For $150 you can join the Droid Shirt Club and get a free Android shirt every month for a year. Head on over to Kickstarter to show your support. You can also buy some shirts right now from andysthreads.com. Show that Android pride loud and proud!

Mid-range LG G3 Vigor coming to AT&T and Sprint on the cheap

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 07:42 AM PDT


The LG G3 family is getting a little bigger. Today, LG has announced a new mid-range device for the G3 series, and it’s coming to U.S. carriers. The LG G3 Vigor will be available on AT&T and Sprint later this year. The Sprint variant will be available in Burgundy Red and Metallic Black for just $299 off contract, or 24 payments of $12.50. AT&T will have pricing and availability later this year.

The Vigor has a 5-inch 720p IPS display, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 8MP camera, 2540mAh battery, and Android 4.4.2. LG has designed the Vigor with “selfies in mind,” yet they gave it only a 1.3MP front-facing camera. We’ll save our judgement for when we can use this device ourselves, but it seems like a pretty standard LG phone. One that you might find on Verizon for $50 with a crazy name, but this time they slapped the “G3″ title on it. Hopefully it’s worthy.

[via AT&TSprint]

Moto X (2nd Gen) goes up for pre-order from AT&T in black, leather, and bamboo

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 06:35 AM PDT

Moto X 2014 DSC06845

Yesterday we told you about the new Moto X going up for pre-order today. We were expecting pre-orders to go live at 11am Central, but AT&T has jumped the gun. They are offering the 16GB version of the new Moto X in black soft-touch, black leather, and bamboo. It’s available for $99 with a new two-year contract and $526 off-contract (Motorola asks $499 for the Pure Edition).

Motorola will have the new Moto X available later today with all the Moto Maker customizations, and the aforementioned Pure Edition. If you opt to buy the Moto X from Motorola you can get $50 off with an .edu email address. Buying it from AT&T will get the device on your front porch a day or two after September 23rd. Will you be buying the Moto X from AT&T, or are you waiting on Moto Maker? What color are you getting?