- Man responsible for Moto G now oversees all Motorola products in latest management shuffle
- Deal: get a refurbished Nexus 7 2013 for $140 today only
- Rumor: Samsung Gear 3 launches this fall; design patents show it could have circular design
- T-Mobile’s Samsung Galaxy Avant brings capable smartphone to your pocket for just over $200
- Sprint sees best profit in 7 years in Q2 2014
- Verizon LG G Vista and its specs leak ahead of supposed launch tomorrow
- Google Search knows when and where you’re traveling, can help you find stuff to do around your hotel
- Link Bubble 1.3.0 update brings Android Wear support, Pro version now 50% off
- Instagram launches Snapchat-like Bolt in select countries
- 5 hilarious Android phone pranks that are completely harmless [VIDEO]
- Android Deals: Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 for $279, super savings on super hero movies, and more
- Google issues patch for Android’s Fake ID vulnerability to AOSP and OEMs
- Blackberry no longer wants to force their awful UI down our throats
- SwiftKey update fixes bugs, introduces new themes, discount on theme packs, and more
- Dead Zebra’s Heroes and Villains 2 Android collectibles now available for $40
To say Motorola is in one of the longest transitional periods we've ever seen is an understatement. That's what happens when ownership of the company changes hands twice within two years, we suppose. With that, it's not surprising to see Moto continuing to make strategy adjustments and management changes, and another big round of them have been announced today. The biggest thing to take away from today's moves is that the guy responsible for the Moto E and Moto G -- Charlie Tritschler -- is now in charge of all of Motorola's products. His new title of Senior Vice President of Product Management gives him reign over Motorola's product development, product marketing and ecommerce. It was a role once held by Rick Osterloh, though that gentleman relinquished it when he became Motorola Mobility's new president. This no doubt spawns from the success of said products in not only developing markets, but also in North America and Europe -- hard for any consumer to turn down a pretty decent smartphone for as little as $100. They performed so well that they quickly became some of Motorola's best selling products of all time. Motorola's also steering hard on a new strategy that sees them placing more emphasis on the global market (whereas the Google-owned Motorola was content with the American pride route). With that, a few regional sales leads have gone into corporate vice president roles: * Jeff Miller, Corporate Vice President, North America and Global GTM Operations * Sergio Buniac, CVP, Latin America * Magnus Ahlqvist, CVP, EMEA and APAC Finally, Adrienne Hayes has been named senior vice president of Marketing and Communications for her part in the Moto X, Moto E and Moto G campaigns. Change is often uncertain, but no less exciting. Can't wait to see how things shape up for Big M moving forward (hopefully beginning with what we've been calling the Moto X+1, as well as the highly anticiapated launch of the Moto 360). [via Motorola]
The Nexus 7 2013 is still one fine tablet despite it being outclassed by more juicy options in recent weeks. If you don't mind having one that may have been owned by someone else at one point in the past Woot is giving you a chance to get it on the cheap. For the next 12 hours you can grab a 2013 Nexus 7 for just $140. It's refurbished, sure, but my experience with refurbished units has always been painless (and there's a 90 day standard warranty directly through ASUS if you have you have any doubts). The 7-inch tablet features 1920 x 1200 resolution, Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core chipset clocked at 1.2GHz, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, NFC, 5 megapixel rear camera with a 1.2 megapixel front camera, Bluetooth 4.0 and more. And while Woot's listing shows it as having Android 4.3 out of the box, we're sure it won't take much for you to hook it up to WiFi and accept an upgrade to KitKat over-the-air. Not a bad deal if you're in the market for a tablet, but you'll want to act soon as it's only guaranteed to be in stock until the end of the day or until stock runs out, whichever comes first.
We'd be fools to think Samsung wasn't working on another iteration of their Gear smartwatch, but it's always nice to get confirmation (even if it is unofficial). A trusted source familiar with the matter revealed to Phandroid that Samsung is currently cooking up the Samsung Gear 3. The device is said to be running Tizen, though that's not much of a surprise considering all but the Samsung Gear Live (an Android Wear smartwatch) are up and running on Samsung's infant operating system. According to our source, Samsung is planning to launch this thing in the fall. There's no exact timing to be had, but we hear they want to get it out before their developer conference kicks off November 11th. Unfortunately that's about all we know in terms of launch and hardware details, but recent developments could shed some light on the direction Samsung may be looking to go with this thing. For starters, recently filed design patents (here and here) show Samsung could be looking to follow in Motorola's footsteps and introduce a circular watch design ala the Moto 360. The patents show typical Samsung design in other areas of the smart watch, including cameras mounted on the wrist straps. There's no guarantee any of these designs will end up being applied to the Gear 3, but it's the most we have to go on at this point. It'll be interesting to see what Samsung does to transform Tizen in order to fit this form factor if this is, in fact, the design they'll be going with. On the functional side of things our source mentions they'll be borrowing a couple of cues from Android Wear, namely in the notifications department. Each app will have its own rich notification where it makes sense (an email notification might have a special button for a voice reply while the music app might present controls for pausing, skipping and playing, for instance). It all makes you wonder why Samsung doesn't just swallow their pride and embrace Android Wear for what it is and what it may become. Perhaps they just need some way to keep Tizen relevant considering they're having trouble bringing it to market in smartphone form. We hope to hear more leading up to their first worldwide developers' conference later this year.
Not everyone needs a super phone with all the latest high-tech gizmos stuffed inside. As nice as those phones are, they often come with hefty price tags that aren't fit for every budget (or that are simply overkill for some folks' needs). T-Mobile's Samsung Galaxy Avant launches today to serve those who fit into those categories. The device comes in at $209 off-contract, and can be had for $0 down and $9 per month on T-Mobile's Simple Choice payment plans. For that money, you're getting a 4.5-inch display with 960 x 540 resolution, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 16GB of internal storage, 1.5GB of RAM, a 5 megapixel camera, GPS, NFC, 4G LTE, Bluetooth, WiFi N and more. Carriers are beginning to see the benefit of entry-level and mid-range smartphones again, a renaissance of sorts that seems to have come thanks to the success of phones like the super-cheap Moto G. It seemed most carriers and OEMs settled with the "high-end or nothing" approach for the past couple of years, but that obviously isn't the case at this point. You can order the Galaxy Avant from T-Mobile's site right now, and we'd love to hear from you if you decide to do that!
Sprint has turned a modest profit this quarter, and when we say modest boy do we mean it. Sprint's Q2 2014 numbers show that the company was able to rake in $23 million in net profit this quarter on the back of income of $519 million. That's Sprint's best revenue in more than seven full years, and their best net profit in almost 7 years (when excluding non-cash transactions). Whether that's more of a testament to how bad they've done over the years or how well they're doing lately is another story. Regardless, it's important that Sprint finds itself turning even the tiniest of profits as that's what separates a good business from a bad one. Sprint attributes their performance to the near-complete work done on upgrading their 3G and 4G network. That work included strengthening the former by decongesting the network thanks to getting more people onto the latter, as well as more reliable and stable signals on Sprint's tri-band Spark spectrum upgrades. Sprint's 4G LTE now 254 million people, and Sprint expects to reach close to the entirety of their current 3G network by the end of the year. There will be some key things to watch as we head into the second half of this year. Reports that Sprint is ready to gobble up T-Mobile are running more rampant than ever, and that's certainly something that could change the identity of the US wireless scene in a big way. Should that not come to pass, Sprint will have to work that much harder to compete as T-Mobile will no doubt continue to shake up the wireless industry with groundbreaking moves and force the other big three carriers to keep up in a race to the finish.
Murmurings of Verizon's LG G Vista have crept back into the rumor mill. This time, the device has gotten leaked in crystal clear detail, and we even get a healthy list of specs to take in while we await its supposed revelation and launch tomorrow. The device undoubtedly fits itself square into the phablet category with a 5.7-inch 1280 x 720 display. Here are other internals that you probably care about: * 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 * 1.5GB of RAM * 3,200mAh battery * 8 megapixel rear camera with LED flash and laser-assisted autofocus * 8GB of internal storage w/ microSD * Android 4.4 KitKat That's about as mid-range as mid-range can get. The device borrows LG's coined rear-facing buttons arrangement, and will no doubt come with LG's custom user experiencing that features KnockOn and KnockCode, an extreme battery saving mode and a lot more. The LG G Vista supposedly comes in at an off-contract price of $499.99, or $99 on a new two-year contract. No idea on what the Verizon Edge price is looking like just yet, but if we go by the standard off-contract price spread over the course of 24 months it brings us to about $20.83 per month. All that's left to do now is to wait until tomorrow to see if Verizon hasn't suddenly changed their mind about launching it. Let us know if you have your eye on this one. [via Droid-Life]
It's not too far a stretch to say that Google -- and by extension, every one of their services -- is getting smarter everyday. With all the information Google has at their disposal, whether it be what we're searching for online, or what we +1 on Google+, this latest update shouldn't be all that surprising (but helpful none the less). Like the eye of Sauron, Google is now leverage their vast knowledge of everything in our Gmail inbox to help better serve us while traveling. In a new update to Google Search, the app will now know when and where you're staying based on hotel confirmations sent to your Gmail inbox. Speaking commands like "show me restaurants around my hotel" or "give me directions to my hotel from here" can pull up relevant results without ever having to enter the physical address of where you're staying. It's this kind of power that makes Google Play Services absolutely indispensable on our Android devices. Because this appears to have been a backend update, there wont be any need to update the Google Search app from the Play Store. Too bad, we know how much you love those staged rollouts. ;)
Link Bubble is one of the best apps to happen to Android in a _long_ time and today, a new update is adding some fun new functionality to the app. Android Wear users (or future ones) will be happy to find the popup web browser now supports Android Wear in version 1.3.0 -- but not exactly how you'd think. Link Bubble has no intention of offering a full web browsing experience on wearables. Instead -- once it's been enabled in the app's settings -- Link Bubble will merely skim out the necessary text found in a webpage, displaying it as a handy little card on your smartwatch. It's much the same way Android Wear handles lengthy emails. Link Bubble Android Wear cards only offer 2 actions with the ability to close the bubble (tab) on your phone, or open it. There are other improvements found in the update as well, items like enhanced notification controls (hide or collapse bubbles), better support for Android L Developer Preview, a weird new animation (we don't like it), and an improved incognito mode. If this sounds like another great app you'd like to throw on your LG G Watch or Samsung Gear Live, you have yet another reason to buy: Link Bubble Pro is now 50% off for a limited time. Download links provided below. Link Bubble (Playboard) | Link Bubble (Play Store)
After leaking out ahead of time via an in-app banner ad, Facebook-owned Instagram is finally ready to reveal their latest project: Bolt. Joining the current trend in the plethora of mobile messaging apps already available, Bolt looks to take on heavy weights like Snapchat, while stealing the best ideas from apps like Taptalk. The app looks to offer a way for quickly messaging friends with photos without the down time. In fact, things are handled so quickly, the app effectively replaces the shutter button with the face of your friends you'd like to share a photo with. There's no way to share the same photo with multiple people, meaning you'd have to snap a whole new picture using the in-app camera (no gallery uploads allowed). Video is done by simply holding on your friend's face/shutter button. Once a received photo is viewed, it's gone forever. One particularly neat feature is the ability to "undo" a sent photo by quickly shaking your phone after a photo has been taken. This should help avoid any embarrassment should you have accidentally tapped the wrong person's face with your junk exposed. Also interesting is accounts use your actual phone number -- not your Instagram or Facebook account -- meaning you should be able to quickly access everyone in your contacts. The app is seeing an official soft launch today and where we'd like to offer you guys a hands on or images, unfortunately this release is only available to Singapore, South Africa, and New Zealand. Instagram says they want to make sure they can scale things accordingly in other parts of the globe first, where 65% of their user base currently resides. A few weeks back, we saw a survery showing only a very small percentage of Instagram users taking advantage of their newly rolled out Direct Messaging feature. We're not sure how well everyone will take to Bolt (some companies are peeved about the name), but in the search for that next best thing, you can't really fault them for trying.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY: BOLT[TechCrunch]
If you're like me you find great joy in pulling pranks on your friends. When a perfectly planned and executed prank comes together it is a thing of beauty. Nowadays everyone is carrying a device that is chock full of pranking potential. Of course I'm talking about smartphones, in particular those running Android. The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination, but here are 5 of my favorites to get you started. Your friends and loved ones are now targets. The first step to any good phone prank is to find an unattended phone without a security lock. Let the pranking begin. CONTACTS SWITCHEROO One of the oldest phone tricks in the book is a prank that I call Contacts Switcheroo. In this prank you will trick your target into calling or texting the wrong person. All you're going to do is change the phone number of your target's most used contact to someone they might not want to call or text. Here is one mischievous example that could prove to be very embarrassing to your target. * Open the PEOPLE or CONTACTS app * Copy the phone number for their most contacted friend * Now find their mom or dad * Change their parents phone number to the number you copied * Make sure to save! Now when your target goes to call or text their parents they will instead be talking to a friend. The real embarrassing results of this prank will come if your target does a lot of texting. They could accidentally send an embarrassing text to their friend, like "can you pick up some Pepto, I have diarrhea." This is just one example of how you can use this prank. TALKBACK AND BIG TEXT This prank will drive your target crazy, and is hilarious for you to watch as it happens. Android has some very handy options for people with disabilities in the Accessibility settings. For the purpose of this prank we will be using these options to annoy your target. Every time your target touches something on the screen, or they get a notification, a voice will narrate it. On top of that we will also make all of the text gigantic. This is going to be great. * Go to SETTINGS > ACCESSIBILITY * Scroll down and check the box next to "Large text" * Scroll back up and tap on "TalkBalk." Flip the switch in the upper right to "on" * Tap "OK" on the pop-up screen (a tutorial may show you how to use TalkBack mode) * Back out of the Settings so your target has no idea how to turn this off* Now sit back and watch as your target tries to figure out how the heck to use their phone. Every single tap they make will be politely narrated for your enjoyment. _*In order to navigate in TalkBack mode you will need to tap once to highlight and then double-tap to actually select something. To scroll you need to use two fingers._ CRACKED SCREEN Nothing is worse than cracking the screen on your smartphone. We can use the tragedy of a cracked screen to make an awesome prank. Next time your target so much as touches their device it will look like a nasty crack has ruined it. The best part about this prank is a simple app will do all the work for us. * Open the Play Store and search for "cracked screen" * Download "Crack Your Screen Prank" * Open the app and go into the settings * Check the box next to "Touch to Crack" * Tap "Back" and then "Ready!" * Go back to the homescreen and lock the device Next time your target picks up their phone the screen will crack when they touch the screen. Explain to them that sometimes screens just randomly crack. There isn't much they can do, but try shaking the phone. FAKE BATTERY CHARGING APPS The last two pranks work if you know someone who is extremely gullible or a young child. These two apps will make your target think they can charge their phone by simply setting it in the sun or shaking vigorously. Of course neither of these things will work, and your target will eventually realize that. With egg on their face. This prank is all about the set up and your ability to act. It works best if your target is already low on battery and they are complaining. Here's what to do: * Tell them about this cool new app that can charge a phone with the sun or by shaking it * Once you sell them on the idea, or they want proof, ask for their phone and download one of the apps below Google Play: Android Solar Charger | Shake to Charge The Android Solar Charger app will actually use the light sensor to show if the phone is in sunlight. After you install the app hand it back to your target and tell them to hold it up to the sun or a window. Watch as they see the bar go up and they begin to believe it is working. Try to stifle your laughter. The Shake to Charge app will show how much battery is currently available. Hand the phone back to your target so they can shake it. Once they start shaking the battery will animate to show that the device is charging. Sit back and watch them tire out and then check the real battery level to see it has not changed at all. Tell them to try harder. *** There is nothing better than a good prank. Hopefully this list will create an outbreak of Android pranking in your group of friends. Be sure to let us know if you successfully pull off one of these pranks. But remember, every good prank comes with retaliation. Watch your back. What is your favorite prank to use when someone leaves their phone unattended? Have _you_ ever been pranked? Let us know!
If you’re in the market for a new tablet, today’s deals might be for you. The savings start with the Galaxy Tab Pro but they don’t end there. Deals abound on plenty of apps and games as well as music and movies to help round out the month of July. Speaking of rounding out the month, you’ll want to check back Friday as we’ve got some big news and even bigger deals coming your way in the very near future. For now, all deals below were active as of the time of posting. Act quickly, they won’t last forever. HARDWARE & ACCESSORIES GET THE SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB PRO 8.4 FOR $279.99 at Best Buy, though you will have to make it all the way to checkout to reveal this deep discount. Normally priced around $329 for the 16GB WiFi-only model, this deal sees $50 knocked off the standard price. [Best Buy] SNAG A REFURBISHED ASUS MEMO PAD FOR $64.99 at Newegg. Not the most amazing tablet by any means, but it’s a killer deal for this aging 7-inch Android slate. A savings of over 50%. [Newegg] SAVE $80 ON BEATS BY DRE WIRELESS ON-EAR HEADPHONES as part of eBay’s Daily Deals. These headphones normally go for an asking price closer to $300, but now you can keep some cash in the wallet and still snag a pair of great sounding Bluetooth wireless headphones that pair perfectly with your Android smartphone. [eBay] APPS & GAMES The folks at Runtastic have knocked down the pricing on several of their fitness-oriented apps. If you are feeling a bit more sedentary, perhaps you can take advantage of great savings on KING OF FIGHTERS as wells as Sprinkle Islands. APPS * Cameringo - $0.99 * Hi-Q MP3 Voice Recorder - $1.99 (was $3.99) * Math Formula Wizard - Amazon Free App of the Day * Runtastic Heart Rate PRO - $0.99 (was $1.99) * Runtastic Sit-Ups PRO - $1.19 (was $2.99) GAMES * Dr. Panda’s Restaurant 2 - $0.99 (was $2.99) * House of 1000 Doors - $0.99 (was $2.99) * KING OF FIGHTERS ’97 - $1.99 (was $3.99) * RPG Record of Agarest War - $7.40 (was $14.99) * Sprinkle Islands - $0.99 (was $1.99) MUSIC & MEDIA Google has a solid selection of super hero flicks to help ease us out of ComicCon weekend. Also, there are some great deals to be had on classic albums at both Amazon and Google Play. MUSIC SINGLES * Black Widow - Iggy Azalea ($0.69) * Forerunner Foray - Lese Majesty (Google Play Free Song of the Week) * To The Side - Sir Michael Rocks (Free) * Wasted - Tiesto ($0.69) MUSIC ALBUMS * 16 Biggest Hits - Willie Nelson ($5.00) * Corazon - Santana ($6.99) * Diploid Love - Brody Dalle ($6.99) * Madonna - Madonna ($3.99) * Stockholm - Chrissy Hynde ($6.99) * Thriller - Michael Jackson ($5.00) MOVIES * Man of Steel ($6.99) * The Amazing Spider-Man ($7.99) * The Dark Knight Rises ($6.99) TV SHOWS * 24 (Season 8, $13.99) * Manhattan (S1E1, Free) * Rush (S1E1, Free) * The Dead Files (S5E1, Free) [Find any great deals not included here? Be sure to send them our way or share in the comments below!]
Another day, another Android security scare so it seems. The latest comes by way of what researchers are calling the "Fake ID" exploit. The vulnerability -- found in all Android devices since 2.1 -- allows for malicious applications to bypass normal Android security by faking their secure IDs, giving them access to potentially sensitive data like user credentials, emails, payment history or anything else you'd like to keep away from prying eyes. How is this possible? It's simply because Android fails to verify the validity of an app's cryptographic signature, something the OS uses when deciding which special privileges to grant an app (like access to NFC or act as a plugin) allowing it to bypass normal Android sandboxing. Apparently KitKat has helped curb some of what this exploit allows, but it's still left somewhat vulnerable. Upon hearing the news, Google was quick to respond to the issue and even though there hasn't been any recorded incidences of the malicious apps actually attacking anyone's devices, they thanked the folks at Bluebox Security for their findings. The good news? A patch has already been pushed to AOSP and sent to OEMs for them to apply as they deem fit. The bad news? There's no telling how long something like that can take before it hits your T-Mobile G2X. Here's the statement Google gave _ArsTechnica_:
_"We appreciate Bluebox responsibly reporting this vulnerability to us; third-party research is one of the ways Android is made stronger for users. After receiving word of this vulnerability, we quickly issued a patch that was distributed to Android partners, as well as to AOSP. Google Play and Verify Apps have also been enhanced to protect users from this issue. At this time, we have scanned all applications submitted to Google Play as well as those Google has reviewed from outside of Google Play, and we have seen no evidence of attempted exploitation of this vulnerability."_In the meantime, you may want to exercise a little caution when downloading any "special" apps not found on the Google Play Store.
Never mind the notion that the Blackberry Messenger ship has failed -- let's talk about the fact that Blackberry tried so hard to force a user interface on us that didn't feel like it belonged in the first place. Even if you still value BBM as a respectable messaging service, you probably have reservations about its UI. Their goal was to build an identity and brand with their BBOS user interface. Thankfully Blackberry seems to be taking a 360-degree turn and changing their ways. The company discussed the app at the Blackberry Security Summit this week, and when asked why Windows Phone received a "homely" UI compared to the BBOS-like clones on iOS and Android they responded by saying the latest changes in their vision prompted the need to create user interfaces native to each respective platform. "You can expect to see that manifest itself in our Android and iPhone BBM apps," said president John Sims. It's certainly a long time coming, and we can't wait to see what they come up with. Unfortunately Blackberry didn't give a time frame as to when these updates would be available, but we can tell you it can't come soon enough. [via N4BB]
SwiftKey has long been our go-to keyboard for Android and ever since going free a few weeks back, it's probably now yours too. Unfortunately, it seems something in the coding was causing SwiftKey to misbehave recently, with the app taking unusually long to load, occasional lag when typing, and/or causing excessive battery drain on some of our devices. Thankfully, the folks at SwiftKey are back today with an update that looks to address many of these issues, while bringing a few extra goodies along for the ride. SWIFTKEY KEYBOARD 188.8.131.52 UPDATE: * Improved typing performance * Improved some translations * Improved keyboard loading time * Improved Flow performance * Fix for the bottom row being hidden in some devices * Fixed Yahoo! personalization * Fixed background disappearing issue in some themes * Fixed some other force closes and crashes * New languages: Kyrgyz, Tajik and Turkmen * New languages for emoji prediction: Arabic, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Polish and Russian Users will find 5 new themes available in the SwiftKey theme store: Spotlight Purple, Edge Green, Pulse Yellow, Pulse Pink and Hazy Pink. Each are 99 cents each, but are included in various themes packs -- all of which have been discounted to only $2 for a limited time (normally $3). Anyone looking to visit the Theme Store only need to long press the "123″ key on the keyboard and select "Themes." SwiftKey promises that moving forward, performance will be their core focus and will continue improving speed and reliability for other devices in the future. If you recently stopped using the app because it wasn't acting up on you, now would be a good time to revisit and take SwiftKey for another test run. It's not like it'll cost you anything. You can get SwiftKey 184.108.40.206 by visiting the link below to the Google Play Store.
For many of the folks unlucky enough to miss the San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend -- where you had a chance to buy figurines from Dead Zebra's Heroes and Villains 2 collection -- not all hope is lost. The company has put the figurines up for sale on their website. You'll get 4 figurines -- two villains and two heroes -- for $40, each coming with its own window box so collectors won't have to break that precious seal. Of course, these things are bound to fly off their warehouse shelves so they're limiting purchases to 2 units per household. Featured in the set are four cheekily-themed characters: * BotMan (Hero), made to look like Batman. Hehe. * Super User (Hero), Superman, duh. * A/B Tester (Villain), Two Face. He really does have two faces. * Professor Eval() (Villain) -- welp, that's the extent of my comic book knowledge. No idea who this is supposed to be. Coders, rooters and Android geeks alike ought to get a kick out of those names and the villains they take their "inspiration" from. You can order a set from Dead Zebra's site now if you're interested, though we're not sure how long stock will last so don't wait too long.