- 11 best new Android apps and Android games released in February 2015
- Mad Catz announces the S.U.R.F.R. and L.Y.N.X. 3 game controllers ahead of MWC 2015
- AT&T will offer open enrollment for mobile insurance until March 31st
- Woolet aims to be the wallet you’ll never lose
- Google reveals cutting edge plans to revamp its headquarters in Mountain View
- Sony’s mobile business doesn’t jibe with its quest for profits
- Sony teases waterproof device, possibly the M4 Aqua?
- Android Wear support coming to Google’s Ingress game
- MWC 2015: What are you most looking forward to?
- Pebble SDK 3.0 now available with Pebble Time support
We're nearing the end of February and it's been quite the month for Android apps and Android games. We saw some flops but we also saw some pretty impressive software. Let's take a look at the best Android apps and Android games of February 2015. ------------------------- DO BUTTON BY IFTTT [Price: Free] Do Button by IFTTT is a software button that allows you to customize your Android experience. You set up a button with a task to do something and that task gets done when you press the Do Button. Fans of IFTTT should definitely check this out and it's a pretty nifty tool for just about everyone. ------------------------- DRAW SLASHER [Price: $2.99] Draw Slasher is a hack-and-slash game where you use your finger to gesture your attacks. This was once a popular game on the PS Vita and the Android release is a pretty decent recreation. It features a fast pace, plenty of swiping, and ninjas. There are also no in app purchases. ------------------------- HEAVENSTRIKE RIVALS [Price: Free with in app purchases] Square Enix has released a new RPG called Heavenstrike Rivals. This is a tactical RPG similar in game play mechanics to Final Fantasy Tactics. The graphics are pretty decent and it is free to play with plenty of stuff to do. Beware, though, as the title is suffering from some launch day issues. ------------------------- LIMBO [Price: $4.99] Limbo is a monochrome horror game where you play as a kid who is looking for his lost sister. The game has already received praise for its interesting graphics and creepy, misty atmosphere. At its heart, it's a 2D side-scrolling platform and puzzle game and it doesn't have any in app purchases. ------------------------- PICTURESQUE [Price: Free] Picturesque is a free lock screen app that came out of Microsoft's Garage project. It grabs beautiful wallpapers from Bing frequently to keep things fresh and also shows things like weather, news, notifications, calendar events, and more. They're still working out some issues but it's still pretty solid. ------------------------- SCREENPOP LOCKSCREEN MESSENGER [Price: Free] ScreenPop Lockscreen Messenger is a picture sharing service similar to Snapchat and others. The catch is that instead of opening an app, ScreenPop puts the photos right on your lock screen so you can view and respond without ever unlocking your phone. The app is going through some release day issues but it can be fun for people who are into that. ------------------------- SLINGTV [Price: Free app / $20/month subscription] SlingTV turned a lot of heads in February by allowing people to get some decent TV channels streamed over the Internet for only $20/month. The app is having a few issues here and there but nothing too serious. It's a great deal for cord cutters even if the channel lineup is rather limited. ------------------------- SMART WEATHER WALLPAPER [Price: $1.99] Smart Weather Wallpaper is a live wallpaper that changes based on the weather. So if it's rainy, you'll have a rainy wallpaper. It also changes based on seasons and the time of day. Overall, it's an attractive option even though there are some bugs to work out. ------------------------- SOUNDHUD [Price: Free with in app purchases] SoundHUD is a customizable volume panel where you can control things like your system volume, ringtone volume, etc and one of the few that doesn't require root access. Its claim to fame is the ability to put Lollipop devices into silent mode which is something that is tedious and confusing to do without it. It also has a few other nifty and unique features. ------------------------- THESCORE ESPORTS [Price: Free] theScore eSports app is a sports app that covers predominately eSports, such as DOTA 2 and other video games. It represents a monumental shift in mainstream sports coverage because this was the first major sports media company to officially cover eSports. The app itself is actually very good too. ------------------------- YOUTUBE KIDS [Price: Free] YouTube Kids was released late in February and it's a YouTube experience that caters to young minds. It's full of playlists that show kids educational and entertaining content that caters specifically to their age range. Every parent should have this app without a shadow of a doubt. ------------------------- WRAP UP If we missed any awesome Android apps or Android games that were released in February 2015, let us know in the comments! Also, don't forget to subscribe to the Android Apps Weekly newsletter for more new releases and Android apps news!
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Mad Catz, the creators of the M.O.J.O. micro-console, have just announced two new gaming controllers ahead of Mobile World Congress 2015. First up on the list is the S.U.R.F.R., and it's a bit toned-down from other controllers we've seen from the company in the past. Slated as the "ultimate multimedia surfer and gaming controller", the S.U.R.F.R. aims to make your life easier thanks to its full QWERTY keyboard and mouse pointer input. It'll connect to any Android device, including smartphones, Android TV devices, PCs and a handful of others. The controller features dual analog sticks, shoulder buttons, action buttons and a d-pad. If you're playing a game that's particularly difficult, the controller even has extendable grips on either side to help you hold on. Like I said earlier, the S.U.R.F.R. features a more toned-down design than we're used to seeing from the company. The S.U.R.F.R. seems comfortable and functional, and that's all we could as for in a controller. It will be available in White, Red and Black for $79.99. There's no exact date for the controller's release, but the company estimates it will launch sometime around May. Next up on the list is the L.Y.N.X. 3 gaming controller, the "L.Y.N.X.9's lil' bro." Remember the crazy, futuristic-looking controller announced by the company back at CES 2015? That was the L.Y.N.X. 9, and the L.Y.N.X. 3 aims to be the more affordable version of that. Just like the other gaming controllers, this one can connect to a slew of different Android-powered devices. It has a fold-out design, two joy sticks, a d-pad, ABXY buttons and two shoulder buttons. But unlike the L.Y.N.X. 9, this new model gets rid of the keyboard and tablet dock in the middle, allowing for a more compact, lighter experience. It will be available for $69.99 and will launch in May. Both of these gaming controllers will be shown off at MWC 2015. Are you interested in either the S.U.R.F.R. or the L.Y.N.X. 3?
Did you neglect to sign up for insurance when you bought your AT&T smartphone? Usually customers only have a 30-day window from the time the phone is purchased to sign up for their mobile phone insurance plan. If you're looking to sign up for insurance, even after your 30 days are up, AT&T might have a promotion for you. From now until March 31st, AT&T is offering open enrollment outside of the regular eligibility window of 30 days. So, if you bought your device 6 months ago, you can now sign up for insurance. AT&T is offering a few different pricing tiers for mobile insurance with this new promotion: * AT&T Mobile Insurance: $6.99 a month per device. The insurance includes coverage for loss, theft, accidental damage and out-of-warranty malfunctions for an eligible phone or tablet. * AT&T Mobile Protection Pack (MPP): $9.99 a month for an eligible phone or tablet. MPP includes AT&T Mobile Insurance plus access to technical assistance with enhanced support. The Mobile Locate app is also included and lets you lock and erase a lost device, secure content and more. * AT&T Multi-Device Protection Pack (MDPP): $29.99 a month. This program provides protection and support for up to three eligible devices, including smartphones, tablets (Wi-Fi and cellular), and laptops. So, $6.99 per month will get you the baseline mobile insurance and will allow you two claims per consecutive 12-month period. For $9.99 per month, you'll have all of the features available in the first tier, access to the carrier's Mobile Locate app, plus access to AT&T's tech support. For $29.99 per month, you can protect up to three devices (smartphones, tablets and laptops) and share six claims between the devices per consecutive 12-month period. As long as one of the devices is connected to AT&T's network, the other two devices can be your own, even if they have no tie to the carrier whatsoever. This promotion ends March 31st, so if you're thinking about signing up, you can head to AT&T's website to do so. What do you think? Are AT&T's insurance prices good enough to sign up?
Wouldn't it be nice if you never lost your wallet ever again? There might just be a way to make that happen. The Woolet is a smart wallet that attaches to your mobile device via Bluetooth, and will send you a notification if you move too far away from it. You can manage your wallet connection by downloading the free Woolet app. Your phone will ring the moment you lose Bluetooth connection, and you can even specify any distance between 20-85 feet to get automatic alerts. At just 9.9mm thin, the self-charging wallet looks like any wallet you can find anywhere else. That's right, the Woolet charges itself using a low-powered ARM Cortex-M0 processor, and the company is actually working on batteries that will charge from your body heat and movement. The Woolet has four credit card slots, one large slot for an ID card and even a hidden pocket. Take a look at the promotional video below for more information.The Woolet is currently in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. At the time of writing this, Woolet has surpassed its $15 thousand goal by $10 thousand, with 33 days to go. If you'd like to back the project you can pledge $99 to get a black Woolet. If you'd like to support the campaign but don't want to pay $99, you can snag an RFID blocking sleeve, a Woolet Phone Cover or a Woolet Key Finder by pledging less. $99 may seem like a lot for a wallet, but it seems pretty high quality and offers up something most other wallets can't provide. If you're interested, head to the link below to back Woolet.
Back Woolet on Kickstarter
Google has just announced its plans to revamp their headquarters in Mountain View into a futuristic wonderland. The company has just submitted their plans to the Mountain View City Council in hopes to significantly increase the overall square footage of the company's offices. Google built these plans with Bjarke Ingels, architect and founder of BIG, and Thomas Heatherwick, architect and founder of Heatherwick Studios. The company plans to create lightweight block-like structures that can be moved around easily in order to utilize space more efficiently. Here's a few more details on what will go into the new headquarters:
The idea is simple. Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas. (Our self-driving car team, for example, has very different needs when it comes to office space from our Search engineers.) Large translucent canopies will cover each site, controlling the climate inside yet letting in light and air. With trees, landscaping, cafes, and bike paths weaving through these structures, we aim to blur the distinction between our buildings and nature.Google is taking this opportunity to work with the community by integrating bike paths and retail opportunities, like restaurants for the local community. The company also plans to save as much energy and work with the environment as much as possible by widening creek beds and even enhancing burrowing owl habitats. Since these plans are still under approval, there is no slated timeframe for when building the new headquarters will start. But for now, take a look at the video below, which explains the new design in greater detail. What do you think of the new plans?
No matter what part of the world you live in, Sony is likely a household name. For the past several decades, the Japanese mega-corporation has dabbled in a variety of talking points ranging from consumer electronics to healthcare and biotechnology. Recently, however, the company has fallen on hard times and in the past few years its leadership has made some radical changes. In 2014, Sony made an exit from the PC business, selling off its well-known VAIO brand to a Japanese investment fund called Japan Industrial Partners. After pulling the plug on its PC efforts, Sony stated that it would shift its focus towards smartphones and tablets. Here we are a little over 12 months later and the company’s CEO Kazuo Hirai is making even more drastic moves, recently announcing that the company will no longer pursue profits in smartphone sales. A far cry from Sony’s declaration last February, its frontman also said that he’s not ruling out the thought of a possible exit strategy from the mobile phone business.
After pulling the plug on its PC efforts, Sony stated that it would shift its focus towards smartphones and tablets.So how did this happen? How did one of the most popular companies in the world end up in such a compromising position? Let’s talk about this for bit. THINGS HAVEN’T BEEN EASY Hirai didn’t just come up with this “everything must go” idea from out of nowhere. Sony has been against the ropes for quite a while now. The outfit currently expects to report a loss of around $2.1 billion for its fiscal year ending March 31, 2015. And despite making some rather exceptional handsets, Sony’s ailing mobile division has been a major contributor to the company’s recent decline. Back in September, the firm noted that it would be taking an “impairment charge” of 180 billion yen (around $1.5 billion) due to its mobile sales being lower than anticipated. Sony then vowed to make some changes by revising its Mobile Communications segment’s mid-range plan. This meant adjustments in select geographical areas, a renewed focus on its premium product lineup, and a reduction to its mid-range offerings. But despite such practical provisions, the firm is still treading water, resulting in its brass entertaining the thought of completely backing out of longtime staples like TV and mobile. SO WHAT’S THE PROBLEM? Arguably the biggest cause of Sony’s recent struggles is stern competition in just about every major market. In 2009, the popular electronics maker was recognized as the fourth largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world. However, by 2010, the company dropped down to sixth place. With the exception of Apple, Sony’s smartphone efforts have taken a back seat to other Asia-based competitors like Samsung, Xiaomi, Lenovo and LG.
With the exception of Apple, Sony’s smartphone efforts have taken a back seat to other Asia-based competitors like Samsung, Xiaomi, Lenovo and LG.Additionally, Sony doesn’t really have a large presence in important markets. China and the US to be specific. The former is dominated by native companies like Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE and high-profile outsiders like Samsung and Apple, but the key point here is that Sony is practically nowhere to be found. Not only coming up short in the far east, if you take a look at America’s four major wireless carriers, there’s really not much available from Sony. Meanwhile, flagship devices from Samsung, Apple, HTC and LG can regularly be found across Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. If Sony plans to stay in the smartphone business, it will need to establish itself in these two pivotal markets, as well as other developing territories. Definitely aware of his company's tense position, Kazuo Hirai has publicly acknowledged that rival equipment manufacturers have been effectively producing products that bring down costs and drive up innovation. These trends, along with a minuscule market share, are likely a major part of what’s caused Sony to lose faith in its mobile division. LET IT TANK Sony has reputation for making some of the best smartphones on the market, but as a whole the company is in a very challenging situation. Projected to take its sixth net loss in seven years, the firm’s new recovery strategy bets big on three sectors: video games (PlayStation), movies and camera sensors. You’ll want to dogear that last item. Despite a less than flattering security breach at the end of 2014, Sony Pictures still manages to churn out profitable films. Also, the studio recently inked a potentially lucrative deal with Marvel Studios that will see the iconic superhero Spider-Man appearing in movies from Sony and the Disney-owned company. As for the world of video games, Sony’s new PlayStation 4 game console (which actually plays nicely with select Android devices) is currently dominating its immediate competitors in terms of global sales. While the PS4 has only been available to consumers for a little over a year, some analysts predict that it will outsell Microsoft’s new Xbox One by up to 40 percent over the next four years. This brings us back to image sensors. Sony makes an impressive assortment of cameras, but there’s a _bigger picture_ here. Apple uses the Japanese electronics maker’s hardware in its iPhones. In addition to a deal with the California-based tech giant, Samsung’s forthcoming flagship Galaxy S6 will reportedly feature a Sony-made image sensor. By partnering with the world’s top two smartphone makers, the struggling firm has the potential to earn a lot of cash.
Sony’s grand plan is to return to being profitable in three years.Sony’s grand plan is to return to being profitable in three years. This leaves very little room for dead weight. While it may not be an easy decision, I’d say the company should look to unload its mobile division and sell it off to the highest bidder. This approach will help the firm focus on more profitable opportunities, such as the previously mentioned cash-heavy platforms. If Sony does try to maintain its mobile business, the company will be fighting an expensive uphill battle that could possibly put its recovery strategy in jeopardy. While smartphones might be a lost cause for the once dominant electronics maker, it still has time to take a shot at wearables whenever they officially catch on. WRAP-UP Make no mistake about it; Sony is at a turning point. The company that used to have its hands in just about everything imaginable, now only has its fingertips on a few key ideas. It’s clear the firm’s management is thinking about mobile and there could very well be an internal debate going on regarding the platform’s future. Whatever the case, when Sony finally decides what to do with its smartphone business, it needs to commit to it and not waffle from one idea to another. It’s a simple idea for sure, but the company definitely appears to be having trouble making a definitive decision. But if you ask me, Sony needs to ease up on its smartphone development and start focusing on putting together its best sales pitch. What are your thoughts? Should Sony bow out for now, or would simply scaling back the number of phones produced (ie, less models and less frequent release schedules) be enough to help Sony's ailing mobile division heal its wounds?
Sony has just sent out another teaser for MWC 2015, this time featuring a water-centric vibe. The tweet reads "Get ready to make a splash… All will be revealed 02.03.2015." The attached image shows a screen covered in water droplets, obviously eluding to some sort of IPxx rating, or even the recently-rumored Xperia M4 Aqua handset.
Get ready to make a splash… All will be revealed 02.03.2015. #Xperia#SonyMWCpic.twitter.com/t1wyegG0bq — Sony Xperia (@sonyxperia) February 27, 2015Just yesterday, a new leak showed us pictures of Sony's upcoming devices, including the Xperia Z4 Tablet and the Xperia M4 Aqua. Both of these devices are rumored to feature IP68 certification for water resistance, which would fit right in line with this new tease from the company. Furthermore, the M4 Aqua is rumored to feature a 5.2-inch 720p display, a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 610 backed by 2GB of RAM. It's also rumored to have a 13MP rear-facing camera, a 5MP front-facing camera and will run Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box. Of course, none of these specifications are confirmed yet, so we'll have to wait and see what the company unveils on March 2nd. A few days ago we saw another leak of the Xperia Z4 Tablet, which unfortunately didn't tell us too much about the new device. From what we've gathered so far, the new tablet will come with a 2K display, and will feature “the latest ultra fast processor” and “industry leading battery performance”. Android Authority has a team on the floor at MWC 2015, so we'll be sure to bring you the best coverage of any product announcements from Sony or any other OEMs that will be at the trade show.
For all of you die-hard Ingress fans out there, your missions are about to get much easier. Android Wear support is coming to Ingress, and will be rolled out sometime next month. Just like any other Android Wear app, you'll still need to use your phone to run the application, but you'll soon be able to glance down at your wrist for important Ingress updates while you're playing. For those who need clarification, Ingress is an augmented reality app developed by Google's Niantic Labs back in 2012. Players can create and perform missions, allowing users to attack, reinforce or defend "portals" based on local landmarks. The game puts players either on the "enlightened" side or the "resistance" side, allowing them to battle against one another in hopes to gain a win. A big problem with this game, however, is that users would have to use their smartphones to find different landmarks around their towns, making them keep their smartphones out while playing. With Android Wear support, players will get to keep their smartphones in their pockets while only using their smartwatches for guidance. Notifications will show up in the form of a Google Now-like card, telling you if a portal is in range or if it's under attack. Here's a preview of what the game will look like on a Wear device: Android Wear support will be extremely convenient for users who play the game while out on a run or running errands. You can look for the update to hit the Play Store sometime next month. If you have yet to play Ingress, head to the Google Play Store link below to download it for free.
Mobile World Congress officially starts this coming Monday, though much of the excitement actually unfolds this Sunday, as the HTC One M9 and Galaxy S6 are expected to be formally announced at their respective press events. There's certainly a lot to be excited for this year, with HTC and Samsung's upcoming flagships getting a good share of the media attention so far. So, let's get right to it, shall we? What are you most looking forward to at MWC? Are you excited by the leaked devices you've seen so far? Following the tradition we started in late 2014, we'll begin by sharing a few responses from the AA community. For those that would like to participate in next week's debate and get a chance to possibly be featured in our weekly post, remember that we post up our Friday Debate topic in our forums one to two days ahead of publishing. As you can imagine, this week's topic saw a lot of interest, but we'll feature two of them here and you can read the rest on our forums. _NOTE: For those that watch the weekly podcast, a special episode recorded on scene in Barcelona should go live sometime this weekend -- providing all goes well. It will not be ready today, however._ What The AA Community Has To Say MASTERMUFFIN I'm certain that most people are looking forward to the HTC M9 and Galaxy S6 and, surprise surprise, so am I. Leaks can either make the device less appealing before any real info is even out or they can build massive hype, and in this case M9's leaks have done the former, while S6's have done the latter and intrigued me a lot. The conspiracy theorists can say whatever they want, but I believe that the leaked promo material of M9 isn't some clever fake info fed to us by HTC so that they could surprise us on March 1st. They're simply doing the Apple/Sony/Samsung aka not updating their flagship's design. It's still interesting to see the things we don't yet know of, like perhaps some neat software feature(s). Now the S6 is something or rather hopefully will be. First of all I must say that even the leaked pictures of the S6 Edge look extremely good! It may just be a more expensive version of the S6 with limited availability and nothing really significant to add in terms of usage, but the design looks extremely good. Do I need to add "in my opinion" to this? Well IMO, there you go. But there's more to the S6 than just the Edge; it might just be Samsung's all-or-nothing flagship. That means that Samsung should have put all they have into it, and judging by the leaks, they mostly have. The arguably overrated metal will make its appearance for the first time in an S phone, the display will be top-of-the-line, the processor will beat the competition at least on paper and there will be a miniscule amount of bloatware, if you don't count Touchwiz as one (I don't). So finally a phone from Samsung that's one of the best no matter how you look at it. There's a catch though, and it's a big one for some: expandable storage and removable battery will most likely be gone. Can't have it all eh? Anyways this isn't an S6 pre-review, moving on. Finally, I'm also waiting for the surprises. If I remember correctly, LG will skip MWC and announce the G4 a little later, so it would be a pleasant surprise to see it make an appearance. Also the completely unpredictable devices are always nice, especially when they're good. So to sum up what I'm waiting for: M9, S6, surprises! DOLYAK As much as all the hype and rumors are on the newest flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9, those devices really don't interest me all that much. The reason being is that those handsets see a new version year after year and with all the publicity surrounding them they're going to get the most coverage and make all the headlines for articles, that's just the very nature of the top tier flagships. What I'm interested in seeing is all the innovations from the lesser known and upstart companies. The "lower tier" manufacturers are the ones that really put pressure to change and shake up the market. Take for example during CES earlier this year, BLU was out there pushing it's 5000mAh battery Studio Energy and the 5.1mm thin Vivo Air. Last year OnePlus One took the Nexus spotlight for being affordable with future-proof specs. I'm interested in the devices that actually address our day to day concerns like battery life, durability, network compatibility, and then I want to see the devices that make us say "how" or "why" like the very first Note from Samsung that paved the way for our current generation of large screens. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying the top tier flagships are bad in any way (I've owned the Galaxy S line from the Vibrant(S1) to the S4) but I don't feel like they push the boundaries. Some friends of mine actually even go as far as saying every phone taking shelf space in retail stores all look the same. I personally don't agree but that does reinforce that the most known phones only push the envelope in specs that only the heaviest gamer or multitasker utilizes, not innovations that make us think. Not to mention that devices from lesser known brands don't break the bank, and we're all looking to save money to buy the next device as it is, especially since swapping phones often has become commonplace in this world of developing technology.
What Team AA Has To Say
In terms of mobile phones there was only really two interesting announcements at CES 2015: The LG G Flex 2 and the Zenfone 2. The lack of new products at CES means that the expectations, and to some extent the hype, for MWC 2015 is high. However I fear we could be in for some disappointments. First the obvious stuff. Samsung will unveil the Galaxy S6 and HTC will launch the HTC One M9. These are two very big announcements and they will in some part shape the smartphone landscape for the next 12 months. However, these two companies have a track record of producing “more of the same” when it comes to their flagship devices. All the rumours point to the M9 being just a revision of the M8, and Samsung has fooled us too many times when it comes to “the next big thing.” I hope I am wrong. Sony isn’t holding any official press events at this year’s show, and LG and Asus have already made their big announcements at CES. This means that besides Samsung and HTC, any other big surprises will have to come from companies like Huawei, Lenovo (including Motorola), and ZTE. I am also looking forward to see what OnePlus and Meizu have to say. Besides smartphones, we can expect the biggest announcements to be about wearables. The killer wearable device hasn’t yet been invented and I doubt we will see it at MWC 2015, but who knows, maybe we will! As for non-Android related products, it will be interesting to have a ringside seat as Microsoft manages to destroy any good-will and customer loyalty it had after it bought Nokia’s consumer base. Likewise it will be fascinating to see what Blackberry will try next, to stop itself from sinking completely. Too harsh? Maybe, we will see. ROBERT TRIGGS
Do I need to say it? Ok I’ll say it – the Samsung Galaxy S6. Perhaps I have fallen prey to the hype this year, but I’m genuinely interested to see if Samsung can pull something interesting out of the bag. Oddly, I’m not really too bothered what the features are, but I really want to see something a bit different from the company, something to demonstrate that Samsung still has what it takes to be a leader in this industry. I could say the same for the HTC One M9 too, but there’s little indication that HTC wants to change its forumula. I hope Samsung hasn’t fooled me again. There are also plenty of interesting and unique announcement that I’m equally excited about. Kyocera’s solar charging smartphone prototype is a novel potential solution to mediocre battery life, Meizu’s Ubuntu powered MX4 will give us a glimpse at what a high-end smartphone can do with the fledgling rival OS, and the prospect of an Nvidia Tegra X1 powered tablet or renewed SHIELD controller is even more compelling. Oh, LG’s Watch Urbane looks absolutely stunning too. It might actually tempt me with to pick up smartwatch, if the features are right. MWC 2015 is definitely going to be a memorable one. JIMMY WESTENBERG
Of course I’m excited for the Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge and the HTC One M9. Who wouldn’t be? These are made by some of the most popular smartphone manufacturers in the world, so obviously all eyes are going to be on them this week. In terms of other mobile phones, the one I’m most excited about came out of left field the other day. Apparently Meizu will show off the MX4 Ubuntu Edition at the trade show. We’ve known Meizu has teamed up with Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, for quite some time now. But the first actual Ubuntu phone that made its way to market was a repurposed Aquaris E4.5, the low-budget BQ-made handset. I was admittedly upset when I heard the first Ubuntu-powered phone would be made by BQ. But now, it looks like we’re getting yet another Ubuntu phone, this time with better hardware, and I couldn’t be happier. Straying away from mobile phones, I’m really interested in what Sony will bring to MWC. We already know Sony isn’t planning on bringing a ton of new devices, but the ones we know about so far are pretty attractive devices. Specifically, I’m looking forward to the new Xperia Z4 Tablet. It’s the company’s first full-sized tablet refresh in a while, and to me, it’s long overdue. Even if it will be offered at an expensive price point, I don’t think Sony will disappoint with this one. MATTHEW BENSON
For me, the question of MWC isn't really what I am expecting, but what I'm not. It feels like with each passing year, the "core" of the convention is in the days/weeks preceding the event, especially given the massive number of leaks or press events that come beforehand (see LG's four new budget phones). Still, let me break it down: _SAMSUNG:_ We all know what's going to be on display here, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Nothing really exciting at this point given that in the past 24 hours, we've literally seen both. What I'm more interested in is the potential of the Galaxy Tab S2, especially with the rumored 4:3 aspect ratio. The Nexus 9 was a surprisingly refreshing experience given the "unusual" proportions, and I'd love to see Samsung spin out something with a SAMOLED display. I suppose the smartphones will have to do, however, though I am holding out for tablets. _LG:_ Considering that LG already released the G Flex 2 (which I have spent time with only to be sorely disappointed) and has gone on-record to state the G4 won't be present, it would seem as if there is nothing much to see. But how freaking awesome would it be if the company had a brand new product on display which made use of the dual edge concept it showcased during CES last month? Man that would really irk Samsung, given how much money and marketing has inevitably been spent on the Galaxy S6 Edge. _HTC:_ I really, really hope the company is doing an unprecedented level of trolling and is going to wow the pants off all of us. The "rehashed" M8 is just a potential disaster waiting to happen: why would any casual customer buy the "new" product at $199+ on contract when the "old" model is sitting right next to it, looks the same (save for the camera) and will inevitably be reduced to $0 for a 2-year commitment? It just doesn't make sense at all. Maybe if HTC hadn't churned out the M8 in Windows Phone clothing last Fall it would be less egregious, but at this point? Give us something that looks original. The company is promising some major surprises for MWC? As others have said, who cares about accessories? Or is the HTC M9 Max supposed to be a surprise when it's already been leaked? How about that Nexus 9-type tablet that was rumored? _MOTOROLA: _I'd love to see the Moto X Pro at MWC; who wouldn't love a Nexus 9 with the enhancements Motorola has baked into the X? It might be only for China, but I'm all over it! _SONY:_ At this point, nothing much from Sony is going to impress me sadly, unless there is a major redesign with both the hardware and software. If I had to pick one product though, I'd say I'm most excited about the Galaxy S6 Edge. Let's just hope there are some surprises left in store for us. Now It's Your Turn You've heard from our community members and Team AA, now it's your turn. What are you most anticipating when it comes to MWC 2015?
Pebble has just announced that the developer preview for the Pebble SDK 3.0 is now available. Developers can now begin crafting their new apps for the Pebble Time with support for new hardware features like a color screen and a built-in microphone. The resolution for the Time hasn't changed (144×168), though the available app memory has been increased to 64kB in the new SDK. Here are some additional features Pebble has laid out for us: * Support for 64 colors which all have a name! * A brand new animation framework * PNG and Animated PNG support in the SDK * Detecting which platforms you are building for at compile time * Much more to come! The Pebble team has also announced that all current Pebble apps will work on the Time, with only a few minor changes needed. If you're just hearing about the Pebble Time for the first time, it's a new color-screened watch from the makers of the original Pebble that just launched on Kickstarter the other day. At the time of writing this, the Pebble Time has racked up over $11 million with over 50 thousand backers with 28 days to go in their Kickstarter campaign. The Pebble Time features a new color e-paper display, a new version of the Pebble OS, and boasts up to seven days of battery life. For more information on the Kickstarter, head to their official campaign page here. For those of you who want to take advantage of the new Pebble SDK 3.0, head to the source links below for more information.