- The Misfit Flash is a $50 fitness and sleep tracker with Android support
- Protip: Swiping away recent apps is killing your device’s performance
- Did you pre-order the new Moto X (2nd Gen) today? [POLL]
- This is the Google Play Store’s Material Design update
- Android Deals: Stickr Trackr, Galaxy S5 protection, Gamer Bundle, and more!
- Moto G (2nd gen) Review
- Microsoft creates a great keyboard for Android devices
- The rugged Samsung Galaxy S5 Active is coming to Canada
- Andy’s Threads brings awesome Android apparel to the masses
- Mid-range LG G3 Vigor coming to AT&T and Sprint on the cheap
- Moto X (2nd Gen) goes up for pre-order from AT&T in black, leather, and bamboo
- Google begins testing answers in auto-complete suggestions
- Moto Voice update adds features for Moto 360 users
- This is the Nexus 9 keyboard case
- Get your wallet ready, Moto 360 to be back in stock tomorrow
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.
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.
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! Take Our Poll
_(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?
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! HARDWARE 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 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] APPS * Color Splash Effect Pro for $.99 * Stock Market Screener Pro for free * AlertsPro – Severe Weather for $0.99 * Human Anatomy Atlas for $24.99 GAMES Humble Bundle for Android 7 * Tiny Bang Story * Heroes of Loot * Color Zen Premium * Kingdom Rush Frontiers * Sorcery MEDIA MOVIES * 300 * Pacific Rim * Wrath of the Titans * I Am Legend * The Matrix TV SHOWS * Scandal S1 * New Girl S1 * Big Bang Theory S7 * Once Upon a Time S1 * Brooklyn Nine-Nine S1 MUSIC * Native - OneRepublic * Waking Up - OneRepublic * I'm Different - 2 Chainz * The Language - Drake * …and then you shoot your cousin - The Roots * Come Around Sundown - Kings of Leon
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. DISPLAY 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. HARDWARE 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. SOFTWARE 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. CAMERA 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. 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. BATTERY 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 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?
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]
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. 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!
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&T, Sprint]
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? AT&T
There was a time when Google didn't try to guess what you were searching, or show your results instantly as you type. It's hard to believe that Google hasn't always had these important features. They've become so essential to what people expect from a Google Search. A new feature is being tested by Google that takes auto-complete and instant results to the next level. You can type certain questions in to Google and get a pretty little answer on top of the search results. Unlike the results that show up while you type, answers only show once you press enter. With this new feature enabled you can see answers to questions while you're typing too. So if you type "Weather in New York" it will start showing before you complete the search. Here's how to enable this. * Open Chrome for Android * Go to chrome://flags in a new tab * Find the ‘Answers in Suggest’ flag * Tap on the drop down box * Set it to ‘Enabled’ Now when you do a search in the omnibar you will see answers included in the suggested results. This feature further cuts down on the amount of time it takes to get an answer from Google. Getting your answers accurately and quickly is what makes people come back to Google every day. Are you going to enable this feature? [via omgchrome]
One of the best reasons to own a Motorola device is the excellent Moto Voice capability. Simply put, it's like Google Now on steroids. You can talk to your phone when it's in your pocket, create your own personalized "OK Google" command, get a readout of all your missed notifications, and much more. It's pretty cool. Moto Voice was just updated with some interesting additions for Moto 360 users. After you get this update you will notice that Moto Voice knows if you have a Moto 360 connected, and it will adjust its behavior accordingly. Saying "OK Google" won't wake up your phone _and_ watch. The Moto 360 becomes your main device for voice commands. You will even see a toast notification on your phone if you try talking to it with your watch connected. This is obviously a very nice feature. As we get more devices that are always listening we will need features like this. Download the Moto Voice update below if you have a Moto X (1st & 2nd gen), Droid Maxx, Droid Mini, and Droid Ultra.
Last week NVIDIA spilled the beans on the upcoming HTC-made Nexus 9 tablet. The leaked document stated the Nexus 9 will be released in the third quarter of 2014, which we are currently in. One of the exciting features of the Nexus 9 is the rumored Microsoft Surface-like keyboard case. We've heard rumblings of this accessory in the past, but now we can see it in the flesh. It's an interesting keyboard to say the least. At first glance it appears to be upside down. The area where a trackpad would normally be is above the keys. The reason for this is the tablet will fold out and cover that empty space. The benefit of a built-in kickstand, like the one on Microsoft Surface, is that space can be used for a trackpad. You can also notice some special keys for Android functions, such as a voice command button in place of Caps Lock. That way you can scream instead of SCREAM. One thing we can't see in these photos is the charging mechanism. Are you excited about the 9-inch Nexus 9 tablet? Will you buy this accessory to go along with it? _Thanks everyone!_ [via Chinese VR-Zone]
Earlier today Motorola announced pre-order availability for the new Moto X. They also sneaked in word that the Moto 360 will be back in stock. When the 360 went up for sale just over a week ago it quickly went out of stock. In 30 minutes time it was back-ordered on Google Play, Best Buy, and Motorola.com. We're not sure if this was more due to popularity or stocking problems, but Motorola is hoping to have enough this time around. The pre-orders for the new Moto X start at 11am Central. Motorola did not give a specific time for when the Moto 360 will be back in time, but we're guessing 11am is a good starting point. We'll keep you posted on availability. If you're looking to buy the watch from Google Play or Best Buy you'll have to wait a little longer. Who is ready to buy this device in round 2? Or have the battery and performance reports scared you off?