- Spellcrafter is a new RPG that lets you cast spells with gestures
- Best Android Watches
- Oppo confirms its upcoming R7 handset will have a full metal unibody
- T-mobile kicks off ‘Never Settle for Verizon’ campaign, free trial and more
- Teardown: take a better look inside the LG Watch Urbane
- Deal: Moto X (2014) on sale for as low as $350 (Update: live now)
- While everyone else moves towards 5.1.1, Nexus 9 finally gets an update to Android 5.0.2
- LG G4 trial program coming to the US, lucky participants will receive a free LG G4
- Report: Google will let devs A/B test Play Store listings, I/O announcement likely
- Google Hangouts Chrome app could be in line for a redesign
Spellcrafter, a new strategic RPG from developer Jujubee, has just made its way to Google Play. The game features a similar gameplay style that we see in many modern RPGs, though it incorporates a unique spell casting system that makes the whole experience much more fluent. In the game, you'll get to wander around the magical world while collecting gold, interacting with NPCs, taking on new quests and making decisions that could ultimately benefit or make your quest very difficult. The most unique aspect of this game is the spell casting system. Each spell has a gesture assigned to it, allowing you to draw the gesture on the screen of the spell you'd like to cast. Not only is this much easier than digging through a spell book every time you make a move, but the faster you cast your spell, the more powerful it ends up being.
A number of new Android Wear watches have been hitting the market lately, which means it might be difficult to tell which one is right for you. So, to help you make that decision, we've rounded up the best Android Wear smartwatches you can buy. Here’s what you need to know about the best Android Wear watches available right now. _EDITOR’S NOTE__ – this post will be updated periodically, as new devices hit the market._ ------------------------- LG WATCH URBANE LG Watch Urbane first look
Buy from the Google Store
Huawei Watch first look
* Huawei Watch officially launched
* Huawei Watch price unveiled by several different online retailers
MOTOROLA MOTO 360
Buy from Amazon
LG G WATCH R
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon
SONY SMARTWATCH 3
Buy from Amazon
There you go – our look at the best Android smartwatches available right now. Missed anything? Tell us in the comments.
It’s hip, it’s stylish, and it’s customizable. The Moto 360 was one of the first Android Wear smartwatches announced, and, while it took Motorola more than half a year to release it, the sleek circular device has been well received. Featuring a large circular screen (albeit with the infamous “flat tire” cutout at the bottom), a sleek brushed metal build, and several replaceable bands, the Moto 360 will look good in just about any occasion. On the inside, the processor is older than the competitors’, while the battery is on the small side – still, the Moto 360 will last a day of usage for all but the most active users, and you get wireless charging. With a variety of cool watchfaces taking advantage of the round screen and more launching constantly, the Moto 360 is a great choice if style is your biggest priority. SPECS * Display: 1.56-in IPS LCD 320 x 290 pixels * Processor: Texas Instruments OMAP 3 * RAM: 512MB * Storage: 4GB * Battery: 320 mAh * Water protection: IP67 * Weight and size: 49g, 46mm diameter READ MORE * My first 30 days with the Moto 360 * Moto 360 review: probably the best Android Wear smartwatch yet * Moto 360 unboxing and initial setup
The other circular smartwatch on our list is the G Watch R, and, as LG likes to point out, there’s no cutout here. The full circle screen is beautiful, and everything will look nicer on it thanks to the 245 ppi (higher than the Moto 360’s). While the Moto 360 has a minimalist flair, the G Watch R will appeal more to fans of sport watches, with its beveled engraved ring and aggressively sculpted body. The G Watch R impresses through its large battery and the Snapdragon processor inside ensures steady performance. The device ships with a nice leather strap, but if you don’t like it, you can easily swap it with any standard 22 mm strap. SPECS * Display: 1.3-in P-OLED 320 x 320 pixels * Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz * RAM: 512MB * Storage: 4GB * Battery: 410 mAh * Water protection: IP67 * Weight and size: 62g, 46.4 x 53.6 x 9.7 mm READ MORE * LG G Watch R review * LG G Watch R first look * Stunning LG G Watch R announced ahead of IFA
Asus’ ZenWatch has been one of the nicest surprises in the Android Wear ecosystem so far, thanks to its good specs and stylish design, proving you can make a rectangular smartwatch that doesn’t look geeky. With a smoothly rounded two-tone metallic body and a standard-sized stitched leather strap, the ZenWatch looks sophisticated and timeless. There aren’t any bells and whistles on the hardware side, but Asus makes it up with the software stack, including some nice watch faces and several interesting Asus features (available through an app) like the ability to double tap the screen to launch a feature. All and all, if you don’t want a round watch, but still want style, this looks like your best option. SPECS * Display: 1.63-in OLED 320 x 320 pixels * Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz * RAM: 512MB * Storage: 4GB * Battery: 370 mAh * Water protection: IP55 * Weight and size: 75g, 51 x 39.9 x 7.6 ~ 9.4 mm READ MORE * Asus ZenWatch review * Asus ZenWatch first look
Runners, hikers, and cyclists, stop looking, this is the Android Wear watch you need. Sony used its own OS for the previous generations, but embraced Android for SmartWatch 3, and we couldn’t be happier. The Sony SmartWatch 3 stands out through its onboard GPS module, which lets you track your activities without needing a smartphone that weighs you down. Just as easily, you can connect a pair of Bluetooth sports headphones and enjoy your music straight from the watch. Available in black, white, pink, and lime, SmartWatch 3 looks as sporty as it acts. The rubber strap is non-standard, but at least you can swap it in a few seconds without any tools. The watch is IP68 water resistant and the screen is transflective LCD, which means you can read it more easily in the sun. All in all, a great choice for active use. SPECS * Display: 1.6-in Transflective LCD 320 x 320 pixels * Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz * RAM: 512MB * Storage: 4GB * Battery: 420 mAh * Water protection: IP68 * GPS, NFC, IR * Weight: 45g (core unit) READ MORE * Sony SmartWatch 3 review * Sony SmartWatch 3 first look
Now that the Oppo R7's name and release month have been officially confirmed by the company, it looks like we're now getting some more information on what materials the handset will made from. Keeping in line with the metal-clad R5, Oppo's new R7 handset will feature a full metal unibody. As explained by the company:
Besides further increasing the metallic ratio, the OPPO R7 sports a metal unibody undergoing 48 polishing processes to retain the original metallic flavor as well as a curvy and lustrous charm, thus delivering a peerless feel in the hand.In addition to the metallic unibody, the R7 will come with a 2.5D glass touchscreen, extremely narrow bezels, and will feature a super slim design - something we've now come to expect from the company's 'R' line. The super-thin Oppo R5 had a camera sensor that protruded visibly out of the chassis. This was ultimately a tradeoff that Oppo had to make to shave off millimeters without affecting image quality. And looking at the press image above, we can now see that the R7 will follow suit. Obviously we won't be able to tell exactly how much the camera sensor sticks out until we get some hands-on time with the device, so we'll need to hold off any judgement until the phone is announced sometime later this month.
Show Press Release
OPPO’S R7 WILL HAVE A FULL METAL UNIBODY Having been frequently exposed on major media and social sites, the excitement surrounding OPPO’s much-anticipated new phone, the R7, has become increasingly clear. With an ultra-thin body, super-narrow bezels and an officially confirmed 2.5D touch screen, the OPPO R7combines the most fashionable elements of the smartphone world. As a leader of smartphone design and innovation, OPPO has been known for its classy product design and state-of-the-art manufacturing expertise. From the world’s first motorized rotating camera phone, the OPPO N3, to the world’s thinnest smartphone less than 5mm thick, the OPPO R5, and the OPPO R1C with its stunning sapphire glass back cover, OPPO has proven its strong all-round innovative strength.
As the successor to the OPPO R5, which boasts silk-like metallic texture, a strong body and a unique stainless steel micro-arc frame and back, the OPPO R7 has even more to offer. In addition to the 2.5D touch screen, it continues the metallic design of the premium R series to provide a luxurious feel as well as a high-quality visual experience. Besides further increasing the metallic ratio, the OPPO R7 sports a metal unibody undergoing 48 polishing processes to retain the original metallic flavor as well as a curvy and lustrous charm, thus delivering a peerless feel in the hand.
On the basis of the micro-arc frame of the R5, the R7 has even more thoughtful features in its body curves to fit the hand perfectly. Though the R7 adopts a metal unibody, it’s forged in a way which provides more curves to ensure optimum handling comfort. As the time of release approaches, the OPPO R7 will soon reveal itself in all its glamor. Even with its other high specs aside,
OPPO is a global electronics and technology service provider that provides customers with the latest and most exquisite electronic devices and mobile internet service in over 20 countries such as the United States, China, Australia and many other countries in Europe, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. OPPO is dedicated to delivering customers with the most delightful electronic experience that is full of surprises through meticulous designs and smart technology. For moreinformation,pleasevisithttp://global.oppo.com.
One thing T-Mobile is known for is speaking up about the competition -- loudly. This tends to go doubly for CEO John Legere. With that in mind, the Uncarrier is once again calling out Verizon with a new campaign that essentially makes fun of Verizon’s current “never settle” advertising campaign. In a set of eight new ads, T-Mobile points out the many advantages the company says it holds over Big Red. Each ad ends with “never settle for Verizon”. Moving beyond the ads, T-Mobile is also holding a special “Never Settle” promotion that will be ran from May 13th until May 31st. If you are a Verizon customer, the new promo gives you the chance to sign up for two weeks of T-Mobile service and will be able to walk away without any further obligation to the Uncarrier if you don’t like what you see. Obviously you’ll need to return any phones T-Mobile gave you, but that’s it. Of course, it is important to note that the trial requires you to first cancel your Verizon service. That means if you don’t stick with T-Mobile, you’ll either have to start back up with Verizon or move on to another carrier. If you canceled a Verizon contract, you’ll also owe Big Red any associated early termination fees. T-Mobile will cover your re-activation fees if you decide to go back to Verizon, however. For those that stick with uncarrier past the trial period, T-Mobile will cover any early termination fees charged by Verizon. Of course, you will be required to hand in your old Verizon phone as part of the deal. What do you think of this trial? Is it worth switching from Big Red? Let us know what you think in the comments. Here's all the "Never Settle" ads, for those that want to check them out:
The LG Watch Urbane is one of the best looking smartwatches on the market, so wouldn't it be great to see what exactly goes into building a device like this? The folks over at _iFixit_ recently gave the Watch Urbane the teardown treatment, giving us a better look at the watch's internals. Unlike the LG G Watch, removing the back panel of the Watch Urbane required some heat. This means that since it's not secured by screws, you'll need to replace the adhesive before re-sealing the back plate to maintain the IP67 water resistant rating. Once the adhesive is removed, the back plate is surprisingly easy to take off. Moving forward, the Urbane's motherboard and battery are also easy to remove, meaning that with a bit of elbow grease, it's entirely possible to replace these parts on your own.
_UPDATE: The deal is now live! Jump on it while you can._ The Motorola Moto X (2014) is now well over a half year old and is no doubt starting to struggle for attention from new consumers, especially as 2015 flagships begin to flood the market, namely the LG G4, Samsung Galaxy S6/edge, and HTC One M9. We’ve seen Motorola put its current flagship on sale more than once, in hopes of luring new customers looking for a bargain. With that in mind, Motorola is slashing prices once again, bringing down the price by $225, tomorrow only.
Considering it’s the latest Nexus tablet on the market, one would expect the Nexus 9 to be treated as a high priority when it comes to rolling out new software updates. Unfortunately, that’s far from the case. The Nexus 9 is the only current member of the Nexus family that doesn’t have factory images for at least Android 5.1, and the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 even recently received updates to Android 5.1.1. So when will the Nexus 9 finally move past Android 5.0.1? The answer is today, as a new OTA update is arriving that bumps the software up to… Android 5.0.2. That’s right, while everyone else is preparing for a move to Android 5.1.1, the Nexus 9 is getting a very minor bug fix (a meager 23.3MB file). So what’s going on here? We can’t say for sure why Google is being so slow to upgrade the Nexus 9 to the latest version of Android, we can only speculate that something with the hardware maybe causing trouble and Google doesn’t want to push out an update until they get everything running smoothly. Here’s to hoping that Android 5.0.2 update was a necessary one in order to push out 5.1.x, and that it won’t be long before the Nexus 9 catches up with its Nexus brethren. Nexus 9 owners, are you okay with being stuck on 5.0.x for now, or is this unacceptable? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
A few days ago we reported on the new LG G4 trial for the UK market, where LG would give 200 testers the chance get their hands on the device ahead of its formal launch. Now LG is bringing a similar promotion to the United States.
*LG G4 Camera Manual Mode - Feature Focus *LG G4 Color Comparison *LG G4 First Look! *LG G4 vs Samsung Galaxy S6/edge - Qui...Unlike the UK trial, LG isn’t specifying exactly how many folks will be given an LG G4, only stating that “ Spots are limited, so don’t wait”. Another difference is that the UK trial lasted for just six weeks, with users asked to buy or return the phone after that. However, with the US promotion it sounds like the unlocked GSM-compatible phones given out will be for keeps. If you excited to try out the LG G4 ahead of its formal retail launch, you’ll want to head on over to the trial’s pre-registration page. There’s no word on exactly when LG will start handing out the devices, all we know is it will happen sometime before the phone hits retailers in June.
Google is reportedly working on improving the Play Store experience, for users and developers alike. An A/B testing feature for Play Store listings could be announced at Google I/O, according to _The Information_, citing developers who were briefed about the new feature. Developers will be able to create different versions of screenshots, videos, icons, and app description copy and run them in parallel to see which variant yields the best results. This isn’t a user-facing change, but it may ultimately improve the user experience by giving developers better insight into user preferences and habits. Google is expected to showcase this feature at the I/O developer conference at the end of this month, according to _The Information_. The report also hints to potential announcements related to app indexing, which is the ability to search through and go to specific “location” inside an app, as well as a way for users to try out certain features of an app without actually installing the full application. Unfortunately, there’s no hard info on these developments. Android design guru Matias Duarte has hinted in the past that Google is thinking about unbundling apps into their basic features and making them available to users on demand. It remains to be seen if Google has anything to announce on this front at its developer conference. Google I/O is set to take place in San Francisco on May 28-29.
Google’s Hangouts app for Chrome, aka Ultraviolet, has been out for a little while now, but its little floating user interface hasn’t been a hit with everyone. According to an image spotted in Google’s issue tracker and reported by _Caschy's Blog_, Google may be testing out a new interface for the app, see the image above. The issue report has since been deleted, but the screenshot gives us a look at what we might expect in a future update. Although the color scheme remains traditional, there’s now two distinct panes. One for the current conversion and one for previous messages, as well as the now customary material design FAB for starting a new conversation. The “chat heads” style looks to be completely replaced by a more standard windowed interface. The redesign looks much more like its Android counterpart, although the call and message options have been moved to the bottom left of the screen. Of course, we have no way of knowing if or when Google is planning to release an update for its Chrome Hangouts app. We might learn more at Google I/O, which is taking place at the end of the month. Thoughts?