- Android Wallpaper: Field Day
- Android 5.0.2 Lollipop is rolling out to Moto G 2nd Gen in the US, 1st and 2nd Gen in India
- Spotify playback no longer interrupted by audio notifications, update brings quicker startup too
- Say cheese: HTC employee accidentally photographs HTC One M9 (Hima) during test shot
- LG G3’s Android 5.0 Lollipop update for the United States is right around the corner
- Sprint wants to steal customers back from T-Mobile with $200 trade-in guarantee
- Mobile Roar 77: HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6 leaks, HoloLens, and more!
- Nexus Player will soon be available outside of Google Play
- Study claims you’re dumb if you don’t use iPhone
- Amazon celebrates first successful series by making Prime $72 Saturday only
- These photos were taken with the HTC One M9 (Hima) [UPDATE]
- Here’s a clear look at the back of the HTC One M9 (Hima), no Duo Camera to be found
- Google has reportedly reached a deal with Sprint to sell wireless service later this year
- Survival 101: Blackberry wants to make it illegal to not use Blackberry
- T-Mobile CEO lays out another dirty industry secret (and how they plan to change it) #SmartphoneEquality
_See past editions of Android Wallpaper_ Welcome back to another edition of Android Wallpaper! This week our theme is fields. A field is basically just an expanse of open ground, but when you hear the word "field" you probably think of a cornfield or a football field. There used to be a lot more fields on this planet, but buildings have slowly taken over. Use these wallpapers to go out into the field. This week we have 6 HD wallpapers that feature fields. Some are luscious pastures, others have had better days. To get one of these wallpapers on your phone, tablet, or even PC, simply tap or click on the image to see it at full resolution. Let us know which one is your favorite, and be sure to share a screenshot if you use one of these wallpapers! _Push new Android Wallpaper to your Android device with our Pushbullet channel._
While Motorola has a pretty good history with pushing out major firmware updates to their Moto phones (even those on Verizon), Android 5.0 Lollipop kinda messed the whole thing up. The initial release was plagued with some serious bugs that delayed the release and a short time after Android 5.0 hit the Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen) Pure Edition, we started seeing 5.01, and more recently 5.0.2, making the rounds. Now that most of the kinks have been worked out, Motorola and other OEMs can resume getting Lollipop updates out for their devices. Just last night, Motorola announced that Android 5.0.2 would be rolling out to the Motorola Moto G 2nd Gen in the US, and both 1st and 2nd Gen models in India. If this is sounding like dejavu, back in December Lollipop _soak tests_ began hitting the Moto G 2013, followed by the Moto G 2014 in January. It took a few weeks, but now that testing has concluded, you can expect Lollipop -- which is now rolling out in phases -- to hit your devices in the coming days. Let's hope they don't find anymore bugs and delay the rollout further (knocks on wood).
Despite Spotify's refusal to support Google Cast (but not the Chromecast oddly enough), it's still one of the best streaming music services on the market. Today, the app is getting a nice little update in the Google Play Store, one that should make those fond of group chats quite happy. One of the most annoying parts about engaging in a group chat is the fact that notifications are constantly coming through to your phone. When making that long commute back home and attempting to drown out the sounds of the highway with some tunes, this can be a problem with notifications constantly interrupting your music listening. In their latest update, Spotify has somehow found a way to mute audio notifications while playing music through their app. It sounds small, but for frequent texters, this is a godsend. Spotify has also fixed the sluggish startup time in the app, meaning the app takes you to your music much quicker than before, even with a poor internet connection. The update is now available on the Google Play Store and after recently flip flopping around from Spotify, to Rdio, to Google Play Music, it might be time to give Spotify another spin.
Yesterday was a big day for the 'ol Hima. We received photos of the purported device in the wilds, giving you guys the clearest look yet at the phone as it currently stands. No too long after, we uncovered some test shots from the phone, directly from an HTC employee in his cozy office. These shots weren't meant to showcase the camera capabilities, mind you. They were more than likely tests used to show the hardware was operational. While it was difficult to say with certainty that the model number -- 0PJA10/0PJA13 -- was in fact, the HTC One M9, the most recent photo we found all but confirms it. Here's that same HTC employee taking a shot of a Sony Xperia Z2 laying on his desk and if you look really closely, you can see what appears to be the reflection of the recently leaked HTC One M9 (Hima). We've gone ahead and edited the contrast of the photo to make it easier pick out. The phone in the reflection -- going by the model number 0PJA10 -- lines up almost perfectly with the One M9 we showed you guys yesterday, only with one tiny difference. Those with a sharp eye will notice some sort of circle shape on the upper right hand corner of the phone. It's tough to say if this is some sort of marking used to tag the phone, the presence of a Duo Camera, or merely a smudge on the person's Xperia Z2. In either case, we wouldn't look too much into it. For now, we have our sights turned to HTC's March 1st event in Barcelona where they will finally take the wraps off their latest flagship device. Let's hope they still have some surprise left.
The LG G3 has received Android 5.0 Lollipop in South Korea, but to this point it hasn't traveled far outside of LG's home turf (Poland has also received the upgrade). That could be changing soon, though, as the company has taken to Twitter to tease that it's coming "soon." To be specific, the Tweet was sent out by the LG Mobile US Twitter account, which would indicate that they're speaking directly about variants sold in that particular country (though that doesn't mean it won't apply to others). That's all the information we have to go on for now as LG didn't leave anything else aside from the tasty image shown above. From what we know of the LG G3's Lollipop update it won't be too exciting. There haven't been any sweeping changes, so you're pretty much in-store for what you've already become accustomed to with Android 4.4 KitKat. That said it's always nice to be on the absolute latest version of Android no matter how it looks, so we're sure there won't be any complaints from the LG faithful.
T-Mobile might have stolen a lot of customers from the big three with their crazy Uncarrier announcements over the past couple of years, but Sprint isn't going to hold back. After promising to get T-Mobile customers out of their contracts fee-free (or give you a bill credit up to $350 if you are on T-Mobile's latest no-contract post-paid plans), they're now guaranteeing at least $200 for any T-Mobile smartphone traded in when you switch. For what it's worth, many recent phones (any from 2014, at least) in good condition will easily net you over $200 so this promotion probably won't have any added value for a good deal of potential switchers. Still, if you have an old smartphone that is no longer useful and you want to give Sprint a shot then this is a good way to lower the starting costs. The deal is going on through April 9th, 2015 so you have a bit of time to consider what they're offering and to do proper research to determine whether Sprint is right for you. [via Sprint]
It's leaking season here on the Mobile Roar Podcast. The HTC One M9 (Hima) has been leaked nearly a dozen times already, and the Samsung Galaxy S6 is starting to pick up steam. What will this year's flagship devices look like? Microsoft showed off Windows 10 and a crazy device called HoloLens. Is it better than Google Glass? All of that, and much more, in this episode! BIG NEWS * HTC Hima (One M9) leak of back and front * Galaxy S6 to finally get rid of removable battery QUICK HITS * Microsoft HoloLens * Google Wireless service rumors pick up again * Verizon says they won’t do rollover data * Apple Watch rumored to have terrible battery life WINS/FAILS * Kevin: new Chrome iOS update / BlackBerry CEO thinks net neutrality should cover apps and services, too * Joe: Super Bowl will be streamed online / popular passwords of 2014 * Chris: Facebook trying to end hoaxes / Google Play Edition program is dead APP PICKS * Kevin: Be My Eyes * Joe: Fresh SMS scheduler * Chris: Evil Apples FOLLOW US * Joe Fedewa (@tallshmo) * Chris Chavez (@gamercore) * Kevin Krause (@youdontknowkev)
If, for whatever reason, you have something against Google Play and didn't fancy buying a Nexus Player there you'll be happy to know that it's headed to more retail destinations. A couple of reports of users being able to buy the device from Walmart stores as early as yesterday have come out, and Newegg is now listing the device on their website for a January 25th release date (that's just two days from now). One user on Google+ even snapped a quick pic of it on display: Talk about rollback prices. That clearance sale is a huuuuge deal taking a whopping $.02 off of its retail price. The Nexus Player is the first Android TV set-top box to launch, giving us an inexpensive vehicle for using Google's new vision for smart TVs. If you don't anticipate getting a forthcoming Android TV by Sony or Sharp and want something that can work with any HDTV you have, it's not a bad buy. It doesn't have HDMI pass-through (as noted in our Nexus Player review and our love and hate relationship feature on the thing), but if that's not an issue for you then be sure to order one if you need something to spruce up your home entertainment center. We'll be on the lookout to see if it'll find its way to more popular stores in the days to come.
Welp, that does it. We're all dumb. Well, that's according to two loosely-related studies, anyway. Chitika recently released their report of mobile operating system usage by state for the United States. On its own it doesn't say much -- iPhone is used more in some area than others. You can checkout the chart below to see where it's most popular (seems to be the bee's knees out on the east coast). But the side story here is that the result of this study correlates to another study that measured levels of education by state. Comparing the two side-by-side shows that places with the highest levels of education are also the places where iPhones are used the most. Here's a map illustrating the results (dark green is smartest): Coincidence? Any iPhone apologetic wouldn't want to believe that much, but that's exactly what it is. The truth is these studies don't often give us the most accurate picture, and they're just like any other ridiculous stereotype: one "outlier" from the bunch makes it a useless statistic to cling to, and last time I checked there are a hell of a lot of smart people who use Android phones (and just as many dumb ones using iPhones). Take from it what you will, but it most certainly isn't to be taken as gospel.
Looking for a reason to give Amazon Prime another try after the company decided to hike prices? Well, if our top 5 reasons why you need Amazon Prime feature wasn't enough, then perhaps the latest deal is: you can get the service for $72 -- down from its usual $99 -- Saturday only (you can sign up for it right here). The deal is commemorating Amazon's accomplishment of winning two Golden Globe awards for their original series Transparent (one for best television comedy or musical, and one for Jeffrey Tambor's performance in a TV musical or comedy). With that they're also making the entire first season of the show free for anyone -- not just Prime customers -- Saturday only. If nothing else then it's a good chance to check out Amazon's first legit television series in the absence of anything better to do this weekend. Let us know if you'll be taking advantage.
_Taken with HTC 0PJA10_ It's been a busy day. This morning we gave you guys our best look yet at the HTC One M9 (Hima), showing off both the front and back of the device in stunning clarity. While the verdict is still out on whether this was pre-production hardware (M9 inside a M8 shell), one hardware spec that's been all but confirmed is the device's new square shaped 20MP camera. Ditching the previous Duo Camera setup of its predecessor (4MP UltraPixel + depth sensing camera), HTC is finally giving critics what they want and packing the phone with a high-resolution 20MP sensor this time around. While megapixels alone does not a good camera make, we fully expect the photo quality to trump the previous year's model (that is how technology typically works, isn't it?). _Taken with HTC 0PJA10_ After digging around the net, we came across some images uploaded to _Flickr_ by an HTC employee. Seems the photos were taken by a pair of mysterious devices, one going by the model number "0PJA10″ and the other, "0PJA13." While a quick Google search couldn't pin either model number on any specific device the output resolution is a hint that they could belong to the upcoming HTC One M9 (or some kind of regional variants). While 3,024 x 5,376 resolution only translates to around 16MP, the images are clearly cropped to a 16:9 aspect ratio (the HTC One M8 came out of the box shooting in 16:9, by the way). If the HTC One M9 is, in fact, using the 20.7MP Sony Exmor RS IMX220 camera sensor, this photo resolution seems to line up with a 16:9 cropped image (give or take). You can find camera samples taken with the 0PJA13 back in December down below. _Taken with 0PJA13_ Back in December, _@upleaks_ seemingly confirmed via Twitter that Hima would fall under the "0PJA series," while the Hima Ultra/Plus would go by "0PK7." Although those tweets have since been deleted, you can find reference to them on the Japanese blog HTCSoku. There's still no way we can say definitively that these images were snapped by the HTC One M9. But then again, how many HTC phones do you know come equipped with 20MP sensors? That being said, the most recent photos were snapped January 21st of this year and while we're only a little over a month away from the official HTC One (M9) unveiling, there's plenty of time for HTC to fine tune the camera software up by then. According to our sources, test models are receiving software updates nearly everyday to get everything fine tuned and ready before the big day. UPDATE: Today's latest photo has confirmed that the 0PJA10 -- used to photo graph the above images -- is, in fact, the HTC One M9 as we know it. Here's the latest photo uploaded to Flickr showing the same phone we leaked earlier in the reflection.
_Check out the HTC One M9 section at AndroidForums.com_ Earlier this morning we gave you guys the clearest look yet at the _front_ of the HTC One M9 (Hima) and now we're finally ready to show you _the back_.
DISCLAIMER: we had to Photoshop some identifying marks out of the image to protect our sources. Any artifacts around the camera lens or elsewhere on the device were done by us after receiving a raw image of the phone without any edits.Really, there's isn't too much different here from the HTC One M8 you're already familiar with. Once again, we're seeing that square camera hole, and the absence of the Duo Camera system found on the original One M8. That's kind of a bummer. Although a bit rough, we really thought the Duo Camera had some potential but was never fully realized. It's a shame. Addressing concerns that this could be a "Fake ID" device -- One M9 internals inside a One M8 body -- anything is possible, but our source is confident that this is the final design that will be unveiled during HTC's March 1st event at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
It's probably not the news many of you wanted to hear, but after a report yesterday claimed Google was in talks with both T-Mobile and Sprint on becoming the latest MVNO on the block, _Bloomberg_ is now reporting that Google may have already struck a deal with Sprint on selling wireless service via their network. Sources didn't go into detail on specifics, but apparently SoftBank president Masayoshi Son was the one who facilitated talks between the two companies. SoftBank, as you know, announced a merger with Sprint back in 2012, where it was later made official in July of the following year. Operating as an MVNO, Google would be buying Sprint's network capacity at wholesale, in turn selling it directly to consumers sometime later this year. But why is Google just now getting into the wireless market? That part is still a little unclear, but it seems it could be yet another way for Google to get even more people online and viewing their mobile ads. Let's hope their wireless plans are low enough that -- even with the prospect of running on Sprint's network -- those on a budget simply can't resist. No word on what Google's plans are with T-Mobile, but hopefully it wont be too much longer before everything is official.
Think about that title for a moment. Take it in. John Chen -- CEO of Blackberry -- went on a little rant on the company's blog this morning, and by the end of it all we'd learned that he essentially wants to make it illegal not to use Blackberry. That's how crazy it sounds when you think about it, anyway. What he actually said is that he wants Congress to extend the discussions going on about "net neutrality" into the world of software, noting that he believes the problem of enforcing an "open highway" for internet traffic can't stop at the carrier level alone. One example he gave was a big company like Netflix who makes apps for iOS and Android, but have yet to extend their wares to Blackberry (or other platforms). Netflix might not necessarily be creating a "fast lane" for their service, but to hear Chen tell it Netflix effectively "discriminates" against users of certain platforms from using their service because they haven't made an app for it:
NETFLIX, which has forcefully advocated for carrier neutrality, has discriminated against BlackBerry customers by refusing to make its streaming movie service available to them. Many other applications providers similarly offer service only to iPhone and Android users. This dynamic has created a TWO-TIERED WIRELESS BROADBAND ECOSYSTEM, in which iPhone and Android users are able to access far more content and applications than customers using devices running other operating systems. These are precisely the sort of discriminatory practices that neutrality advocates have criticized at the carrier level.His ultimate suggestion is that any mandates made to support open internet traffic should also apply to the services and goods that are delivered over that network. It's not enough to say everyone deserves equal internet -- he believes everyone deserves access to the same apps. As nice as that would be (and as much as we would love to see that happen), it's downright ridiculous to suggest to go as far as making laws and legislation to force developers to support your platform. You could liken that to a soda company making deliveries to a grocery store and using a city freeway as a route: the city mandates where and how you can access and drive on the freeway, but they can't force you to sell your soda at every grocery store available on that route, or force grocery stores to play the opposite role and buy all the soda coming off the exit. The beauty of an open market is that consumers vote with their wallets, and everyone is free to make their own decisions. Developers not making their apps available on Blackberry? Find a way to attract more users. Can't attract more users? Make a platform that users actually want to use and improve your market share. Ironic about all of this is that Blackberry is effectively throwing the towel in on an initiative they began a while ago, that initiative being to make an Android runtime for their platform. Their goal was to make it easy for developers to port their existing apps, which would in turn help bolster up their apps store (which worked quite well, actually) to attract more users. Those users would, in turn, flock to the platform, and that might entice some of those developers to make apps native to Blackberry instead of porting over sloppy seconds. Sounded solid, but it didn't quite work out that way. It's natural for the Waterloo-planted CEO to feel slighted by developers wanting no part of his company's wares -- especially since they've made some of their stuff available for competing platforms - but this is not the way to go about changing that. It's _his_ job to make people want to use and develop for Blackberry, not lawmakers'. It's _his_ job to improve Blackberry's market share to make it a financially viable platform to support, not lawmakers'. Take Nokia, for example. They didn't run to the government when no one wanted to use Symbian or Meego: they sucked it up and decided to mingle with Windows (and even eventually went as far as using the very platform they swore they'd never use). That's somewhat of a different scenario considering Nokia wasn't solely responsible for making the platforms they chose to use, but you get the point. Quite frankly even if Blackberry were to somehow find success in this endeavor and manage to get their case in front of Canadian and American lawmakers and it resulted in a golden age of apps for Blackberry, I wouldn't want anything to do with them. It does nothing but show me that they don't have a solid plan for thrusting themselves back into the spotlight of the smartphone world and are content with begging for a government bailout. Would it suck to lose another competitor in the already tight mobile scene? Yes, but I'd sleep a lot better at night supporting companies which I know strive to create the best platform that their users want than one which rests its fate on a shameless handout.
T-Mobile was one of the first carriers to come clean about carrier subsidization practices which resulted in the launch of their game-changing Simple Choice plans, and now they're out to expose another dirty industry secret. CEO John Legere took to Twitter with a three minute video to call everyone out on the "well-qualified" shenanigans we often have to deal with. To be specific, carriers advertise amazing deals on service and phones, but often times than not the cost of doing business with the carriers can be more expensive than they let on. They'll put "for well-qualified buyers" in _very_ fine print to note that the deals are subject to standard credit checks. The most common example of this is when signing up for new service with a company -- if you don't have good credit, they'll probably ask you for an expensive refundable deposit up-front to ensure you'll make nice on making on-time payments. Another common example is when you try to sign up for one of the latest $0 down upgrade plans -- some will make you pay a hefty down payment, and sometimes they will outright refuse to offer you that particular upgrade plan altogether. To Legere's credit, he admitted T-Mobile has done the same for most of their existence, but that he wanted to take this opportunity to begin changing that. His proposal? After 12 consecutive months of on-time payments, all customers are treated as if they have the best credit. For new customers the clock will start ticking the day you sign up for service. Those already with T-Mobile will qualify immediately for this "Smartphone Equality" if they already have those 12 consecutive months under their belt. That's not a very radical change -- T-Mobile will clearly still factor credit into their decision if you haven't yet met those conditions -- but it's a good-will showing that let's the customer know they will eventually be treated like they should with the trust that they've earned from Magenta. We should point out that T-Mobile is not the only carrier who makes goodwill decisions based on customer history. I've had plenty of perks with Verizon, Sprint and AT&T solely thanks to my history of on time payments with all three those carriers. I have never had to get a credit check outside of the day I first signed up for service. The difference, though, is that those guys do it on a case-by-case basis, while T-Mobile's promising it to anyone who can hold up their own end of the bargain for 12 months at a time. We're still digging for the fine print on this new policy change so we'll be updating with more details if they happen to roll in. [via T-Mobile]