- Crystal edition Samsung Galaxy S5 coming in May
- Galaxy Note 2 Android 4.4.2 KitKat update begins rolling out
- Ahead of the OnePlus ‘Smash the Past’ contest, people are already murdering innocent smartphones
- PlayOn Android app updated, brings hundreds of new ‘channels’ to the Chromecast
- Rumor: Motorola preparing 5.2-inch Snapdragon 800 handset, possible Droid successor?
- HTC One M8 press render leaked, reportedly destined for Verizon
- Vic Gundotra, the Father of Google+, announces his departure from the company
- IFTTT automation app arrives to Google Play (updated)
- Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 KitKat update arriving to the U.S.
- Samsung Gear 2 review
With little more than a 13 second video, Samsung has announced that the Galaxy S5 will be available covered in crystals next month. Similar to the crystal plastered Galaxy S4 and the super-sparkly Note 3 back cover, Swarovski is providing the bling for Samsung's latest flagship device. The Crystal Collection will be available in South Korea at first launch some time in May. There is no current word on further availability, but we expect Samsung will give the rest of the world a chance to buy the crystal covered device at some point down the road. We'll have to await an official announcement from Samsung to get all the details, but the teaser video should get us dreaming. The Galaxy S5 is one of the best phones on the market today, with a 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB of RAM, a powerful 16MP ISOCELL camera and more, there is little better Samsung device worthy of the royal treatment. Measuring in at 142mm x 72.5mm, that's a fair bit of crystals required to go the distance, best to start saving your pennies now. As a reference point, the crystal encrusted Galaxy S4 came in at a little over $600 and the Note 3 back cover ran for around $300. With this fancy new offering, we find ourselves with a difficult decision to determine the 'best' Galaxy S5 version - perhaps it will be personal taste that determines if the gold Galaxy S5 is better than the crystal Galaxy S5. With what little we know now, which version of the Galaxy S5 would you buy - crystal, 24K gold (if it becomes publicly available), or just plain old plastic in one of the four default colors?
Good news, folks. Samsung has begun pushing out the Android 4.4.2 KitKat update for the Galaxy Note 2 (GT-N7100). For now, the update is only available in France (XEF) through the Kies PC companion software. No information on an OTA rollout just yet, but knowing Samsung, it shouldn’t be too far behind. Other countries should follow over the coming days, with priority given to unlocked versions of the Note 2. Carrier-branded models are subject to more approvals and testing, so they tend to lag when it comes to system updates. According to the folks at _Sam Mobile_, who put the update through its paces, the Android 4.4.2 update for the Galaxy Note 2 brings all the KitKat-specific features found on other Samsung devices, including support for cloud printing, NFC tap-to-pay support, all white icons in the status bar, full-screen album art, and the ability to put a camera shortcut on the lockscreen. The phone’s performance and general smoothness seems to have been improved, and we expect that a number of bug fixes and tweaks have been applied under the hood. In terms of Samsung features, the most visible are the Knox security suite and Wallet, Samsung’s own mobile payments app. This is an official build bearing the N7100XXUFND3 version number. To check for your update, go to _Settings > About phone > Software update_ on your phone, though it’s also worth trying plugging your Note 2 in Kies for a manual check.
For a company that didn't exist a half-year ago, OnePlus has done a phenomenal job of generating hype for its recently unveiled OnePlus One handset. Now that the dust has settled, we recently managed to get some hands-on time with the device and are rather impressed by what we've seen so far. The only major downside to the OnePlus One is that you can’t just pre-order it and have it ship when it’s ready. Instead, the Cyanogenmod-powered device is only available through an invite system, and OnePlus hasn't really disclosed much about how this process will work.
While the Smash the Past contest has generated a lot of attention from a marketing stand-point, it’s also raised some concernsAt least for the moment, the only ‘official’ way to get your hands on the phone is through an upcoming “Smash the Past” competition. The rules for the Smash the Past competition will be formally unveiled tomorrow, April 25th, where 100 lucky folks will be given the opportunity to get a OnePlus One for just $1, provided they are willing to smash their existing handset. While the Smash the Past contest has generated a lot of attention from a marketing stand-point, it’s also raised some concerns from folks that feel the idea is environmentally irresponsible. Additionally, the vague level of details about the event have led some people to smash their devices ahead of the competition's official start! The way the competition is supposed to work is you are to enter your email address (starting 4/25) and OnePlus will choose 100 folks from the list. These lucky individuals will then smash their phones and will get the OnePlus One for $1. Want to know what happens when you jump the gun on a contest and start smashing away without knowing the rules? Check out the many videos below, and weep for all the poor handsets that were destroyed in vain. SMASH THE PAST GONE WRONG.. Now to be fair, some of these phones may not have been 100% functioning even _before _they were smashed. On the other hand, the second video shows a perfectly working HTC One M7, and in the last video the person doing the smashing thinks the contest is for an HTC One. Probably the saddest part is that this is just a sampling, as there are several more videos out there. The big takeaway here is that you should always fully understand the rules of any competition before jumping in, especially when your phone's life is at stake. Perhaps OnePlus will turn this into a positive PR experience and invite some of these folks to 'buy' a OnePlus One for a $1 anyhow? We'll see, but for now, put down that hammer and walk away slowly.
The Chromecast has come a long way since it was first announced in July of last year. Originally the low-cost streaming dongle only supported a select few apps such as Hulu, Netflix and Google’s own media content. Recently, however, the number of Chromecast-compatible apps have increased dramatically in light of the official release of the Chromecast SDK. Of course, there’s still a large number of multimedia services that have held off from jumping onto the Chromecast bandwagon. Thankfully, the Chromecast is about to get access to hundreds of new channels, courtesy of a new update to the PlayOn Android app.
the Chromecast is about to get access to hundreds of new channels, courtesy of a new update to PlayOnFor those that have never heard of PlayOn, it is a mobile and web app that works in conjunction with a PC client to beam channels like NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, ABC, and Hulu (free version) over to your Android device. With today’s PlayOne app update, the Android app can now take this same content and ‘cast’ it over to the big screen. Aside from requiring you to have a PC running in order to use PlayOn, you’ll also need a subscription which will set you back $30 per year or $60 for a lifetime membership. In addition to supporting the Chromecast, PlayOn also works with the Xbox 360, PS3, Roku and many other multimedia/gaming devices. For more details on PlayOn’s supported channels, you’ll want to head on over to their official website. For those looking for the updated app, you can find it on Google Play.
Certain aspects of Motorola’s future might be up in the air thanks to the upcoming Lenovo buyout, but that doesn't mean the company isn't working hard to bring us “what’s next”. Recently we've not only heard early official details about the Moto 360 smartwatch, but there’s also been rumors of the Moto X+1 and an upcoming budget handset that could be priced below even the Moto G. Apparently that’s not all that’s coming our way from the Moto Maker, however, as a GFXBench test has now turned up yet another device, the XT912A. If the XT912A model number rings any bells at all, that’s because we've seen the XT912 before. In fact, we saw it way back in 2011. That’s right, that's the model number of the original Droid Razr on Verizon’s network.
If the XT912A model number rings any bells at all, that’s because we’ve seen the XT912 before.Now, it’s important to note that these benchmark results don’t by any means ‘prove’ the existence of a new handset, as these kinds of listings can be easily faked. It also seems odd that Motorola would re-use the base model number from the OG Droid Razr. If the benchmark result and model number are in fact legit? The XT912A may very well be an upcoming Droid device, perhaps even a direct successor to the current Droid line-up. According to the benchmarks, the device in question features a 5.2-inch display with a 1080×1920 resolution. It also has a quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2GB RAM, 32GB storage, a 2MP front cam, a 12MP rear cam and runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Depending on when in the year Motorola releases the device, these specs aren't exactly high-end, but then again -- neither were the specs found in the Moto X and current Droid line up. The boost to a 5.2-inch display also seems like a curious choice, as it means that the XT912A won’t be much smaller than devices in the “phablet category”. That said, it really depends on how big the bezels are. What do you think, like the idea of a 5.2-inch Motorola handset? Are these specs too modest for mid-to-late 2014? Let us know what you think in the comments.
When the HTC One M8 was officially unveiled last month, it debuted in three colors: Gunmetal Gray, Glacial Silver, Amber Gold. Of course, it was only a matter of time before we saw even more colors, just like with the original HTC One. With this in mind, yesterday_ @evleak_s tweeted the above photo, giving us a look at the red version of the HTC One M8. The upcoming red model is reportedly going to be an exclusive color choice for Verizon, at least in the United States. Aside from bringing a new color, the red HTC One M8 should provide an identical experience to other models, though at least it should stand out from the crowd. So when will the red model debut? Unfortunately, _@evleaks_ doesn't give us any details on this, though we wouldn't be too surprised if an announcement is made within the next few weeks -- though that’s really just speculation on our part. For more details on what to expect for the HTC One M8, be sure to check out our full review. What do you think, any Verizon subscribers interested in getting their hands on a red version of the HTC One M8? Conversely, do you prefer the existing color choices over the flashier red variant?
After eight incredibly successful years with Google, Vic Gundotra, the father of Google+, has announced he’s leaving the company. The news of the SVP of Engineering’s departure first broke via Re/Code, after Gundotra took to Google+ to formally announce the news. “Today I'm announcing my departure from Google after almost 8 years,” announces Gundotra in his ‘goodbye’ post. He continues, “I'm also forever in debt to the Google+ team. This is a group of people who built social at Google against the skepticism of so many. The growth of active users is staggering, and speaks to the work of this team.”
After eight incredibly successful years with Google, Vic Gundotra, the father of Google+, has announced he’s leaving the company.As is often the case with the departure of major execs, there’s not a lot of details on why he is choosing to leave the company. Gundotra does state, however, that it is “time for a new journey. A continuation.” Gundotra says he’s excited for what’s next, and honored by all he’s accomplished at Google. Shortly after Gundotra announced his departure, Larry Page also took to Google+ to honor the man with some kind words:
You cut your teeth on our mobile apps and developer relations, turning our disparate efforts into something great. When I first used turn-by-turn navigation, it blew me away. And, walking onto the stage at I/O last year, it was amazing to see developers so excited about Google. These were vintage Vic projects. Then you built Google+ from nothing. There are few people with the courage and ability to start something like that and I am very grateful for all your hard work and passion. I really enjoy using Google+ on a daily basis, especially the auto awesome movies which I really love sharing with my family and friends. Good luck with your next project after Google. In the meantime we'll continue working hard to build great new experiences for the ever increasing number of Google+ fans.SO WHAT’S NEXT FOR GOOGLE AND GOOGLE+? That’s a great question, though obviously one we don’t have any immediate answer to. In his G+ response, Larry Page made it clear that they will continue working as a company to expand Google+, but there’s no denying that Gundotra’s departure will affect the future direction of the growing social network. Thankfully, Google+ has come a long way since its founding, in large part thanks to Gundotra's efforts. These days there are many loyal Google+ fans and its pretty obvious that the service is a priority for Google. Still, it's sad to see Vic go. Gundotra’s resignation goes into effect immediately, so who’s taking his place? While Google has yet to formally announce their plans,_ Re/Code_ claims that sources suggest Google VP of engineering David Besbris may likely be taking the role. Another possible candidate is Google+ product head Bradley Horowitz. We’ll be sure to keep you informed as we learn more about Gundotra’s departure and Google’s plans to replace him, so be sure to stay tuned to _Android Authority._
IFTTT (If This Then That) is a web-based automation service that essentially works to bridge together various web services to make our lives just a little bit easier. While the service has existed for a while now, the official mobile app has only been available for iOS users -- until now. The IFTTT team has announced the Android version of the app is on its way, and is expected to land on Google Play sometime later today. So what exactly is IFTTT all about? For those that have never heard of it, basically the service allows you to create “recipes” that consist of triggers and actions in order to automate certain tasks. In total there are 98 channels that allow for certain actions and triggers including Email, Dropbox and many more. As you can imagine, these many channels allow for infinite automation possibilities. One example of how IFTTT can make life easier is that you can set it to automatically download photos to Dropbox each time you’re tagged on your favorite social network.
IFTTT is a web-based automation service that essentially works to bridge together various web services to make our lives just a little bit easier.With the official Android app, you’ll have the ability to set up and manage your recipes from your Android device, instead of having to rely on a web app to set things up. The addition of a native Android app also gives you access to Android-specific channels such as device settings, location, SMS, phone calls, notifications and photos and allows you to tie automated tasks directly to your handset. So is this a Tasker killer? Not a chance, especially since its current Android-specific functions are rather limited. That said, IFTTT has a lot of potential and seems to be a bit easier to use for those not willing to dive deep and learn the ins and outs of automation programs like Tasker. To learn more about IFTTT and its impending Android launch, you’ll want to head on over to their official website. What do you think, like the idea of IFTTT or will you stick to an existing Android automation tool like Tasker? UPDATE: The app has now officially arrived, you can download it from Google Play.
Last week we learned that Android 4.4 KitKat had begun rolling out to the Wi-Fi variant of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition. At the time, the update was only available in select countries such as Columbia. For those that have been waiting patiently to get their hands on KitKat, you’ll be happy to know that the update is reportedly starting to make its way to more regions, including the United States. Keep in mind that this is only for the Wi-Fi model, though hopefully the 3G/4G variants aren't too far behind. Like we've seen from other Samsung devices that upgraded to KitKat, there aren't a whole lot of changes here except for the new features you’d expect from Android 4.4 such as immersive mode, cloud printing, white status bar icons and other performance improvements. The change-log for the 550MB update is fairly vague, but we imagine that there are at least a few Samsung-specific changes and bug fixes as well. If you've yet to receive a notification on your Note 10.1 2014 (Wi-Fi), you can always check manually for the update by heading to _settings > general > about phone > software updates_. Has the update reached you yet? If so, what country are you in?
FINAL THOUGHTS The Samsung Gear 2 is a worthy upgrade to the Galaxy Gear. It looks and feels more refined than its predecessor, with more polished hardware and extra software functionalities. Your only concern at this point might be the use of Samsung's proprietary Tizen operating system, which means the Gear 2 may not offer as much customizability as other smartwatches that run Android. However, if you currently own a Samsung device, like the Galaxy S5 or Note 3, and you plan to stay loyal to Samsung's device ecosystem for the foreseeable future, then the Gear 2 is one of your best options.