- New app lets you bring one of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge’s best features to any phone (sort of)
- Hands-on: HTC One M9’s new Dot View and stylish interchangeable stand cases
- Report: Google’s wireless service will require a Nexus 6 to start
- Use Appeer to get Android apps from Google Play based on custom tailored personal social recommendations
- Google starts showing auto insurance comparisons in search results
- The next device from OnePlus may be made out of more premium materials
- Deal: The first Transformers movie is free to watch on Google Play right now
- Pro Mode: Galaxy S6 gives full manual controls for camera enthusiasts [VIDEO]
- The Nokia N1 might be the best-looking Android tablet ever made [VIDEO]
- Galaxy S6’s improved fingerprint scanner lets you log into websites with one touch [VIDEO]
- Take a look at the entire Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge user manuals ahead of launch day
- Google Search will now show you cocktail recipes when searching for them
- Lollipop update arriving on the Sprint Galaxy Note 4 and T-Mobile Galaxy Note 3
- The Oppo R1x is officially launching worldwide in April
- HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6 retail prices leaked in contest rules
The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge won't be along until March 10th, but if you're finding it hard to wait that long you can get a small taste of what it's like to use one of its coolest feature ahead of actually getting one. A new app called Edge Color Notifications has hit the Google Play Store, and its function is as you'd imagine: it'll illuminate the sides of your display in different colors depending on who's calling. You'll be able to choose from the entire set of colors available on a standard color wheel, and you'll have control over whether the right side, left side or both sides of the screen illuminate during a call. Before you rush to go download it, there are a couple of things you should note. For starters, this doesn't come with any of the cool features that the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge provides like being able to pull on a contact's color to gain access to messaging and other contact options. Something else to note is that the "cool" factor of this feature on the S6 Edge mostly has to do with the fact that its curved display makes it easy for the display to illuminate the surface it's sitting on when face down. Kind of hard to replicate that if you're using a phone without a curved display (of which there aren't many). Perhaps a _bit_ of light can shine through, but it won't be nearly as profound of an effect as it is on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Still, it's pretty cool that someone was able to make something like this just days after they got the inspiration. Give it a download for free right here if you're interested.
During our Mobile World Congress coverage, we spent a quick minute checking out HTC's all new and updated cases for the HTC One M9. The Taiwanese manufacturer has made quite a name for themselves thanks to its aluminum flagships, they also happen to be a master of polycarbonate, doing a fantastic job at crafting stylish plastic cases and accessories. Without question, last year's Dot View cases were probably one of the coolest accessories we'd ever seen on a smartphone. Similar to flip cases, the Dot View cases had perforated cover flaps that display time and notifications in brilliantly animated 8-bit like designs. Our only complaint was while they looked pretty, they didn't exactly behave themselves in real world use. The cover flap often times wouldn't sit properly on the One M8 and was extremely awkward to use when flipped behind the device. For 2015, HTC has improved upon this design with their Dot View 2 case for the HTC One M9. The new case -- which will come in a variety of colors -- has been engineered to function more properly and fold back behind the device much easier. HTC spent a great deal of time fine tuning the design of the One M9, polishing up its aluminum exterior and what not. So why hide that beautiful finish with a case? The Dot View 2 also comes in a variant with a clear backside, ensuring the phone's shimmery exterior can still shine through. What's more, the companion app for the Dot View case has also been updated. HTC is adding the ability to _draw_ 8-bit like visuals (like a heart, or bird or something) adding a bit of a unique and personal touch. There's also a new scrolling marquee feature, although its usefulness is for you to decide (hailing a taxi for instance, or yelling at someone in the car next to you). Arguably the best part about the updated app is the new ability to play simple video games straight from the cover. Unfortunately, there's only one at the moment, HTC's take on the classic Brick Breaker. The game controls are simply, requiring the user to tilt the device to control the paddle and that's about. Really, the game was was more interesting than it was fun, reminding us a lot of those calculator games we used to play in our algebra class. You're more likely to use this as an ice breaker at parties than really trying to pass the time and while that was the only game available, we can't wait to see what else HTC comes up with. Finally, HTC's regular 'ol plastic cases have been spruced up and are now more stylish and functional than ever. Besides offering a light amount of protection (these aren't Otterboxes, you know), their new Stand Case features pop-out replaceable back plates so you can change the design and colors. Each box comes with 2 color choices that can be swapped out quickly and easily to suit your mood/outfit. They look pretty flashy, but the coolest feature is their ability to open up on one side (they have tiny rubber hinges). This will prop up the One M9 for a more optimal viewing angle should you want to watch a quick YouTube or Netflix video during lunch. It's flippin' amazing (get it?). Check out our gallery below for a better look with more angles. This is just a small serving of the cases and accessories HTC has meticulously designed for the HTC One M9. We also spied a more rugged water proof case, and a Clear Shield case, but those were behind glass. What do you guys think of the new cases we got our hands on? Sexy, or silly?
This past week at Mobile World Congress, Google executive Sundar Pichai confirmed that the company was working on a wireless service that would look to leverage WiFi and new technology that could seamlessly transfer you between different carriers' networks to ensure quality service. There aren't many early official details at this time, though rumors have suggested Sprint and T-Mobile will be on board in the early going. The Wall Street Journal says they've heard word that there will be one big caveat for wanting to try this service out, though: you'll need to own a Nexus 6 if you want to play ball. That may seem like a foul stipulation at first, but it makes total sense. Google isn't simply becoming an MVNO ala the likes of Republic Wireless or Straight Talk. They're creating and testing an entirely new cellular technology that simultaneously leverages WiFi and any number of network signals between any number of carriers to help deliver the best call and data experiences. It's an ambitious project, but the only way they're going to be able to accurately judge results is by keeping variables at an absolute minimum. It'll be important for Google to be able to control the usage environment as tightly as they can in order to ensure everything works as it should. If that means they can only approve one phone for this experiment then that's what we'll have to accept. We're almost 100% certain we'll hear more about this venture at Google IO, with the Wall Street Journal suggesting it'll be ready to go "in the coming weeks."
Appeer from Austin, Texas, launched their Android app recommendation platform today. Appeer aims to create a personalized app discovery experience for it's users, by utilizing an algorithm for app recommendations versus your typical methods found on Google Play, such as browsing through popular app categories (which can sometimes be worthless crap). Appeer prides themselves on providing organic app recommendations instead of sponsored recommendations found on similar platforms. So, how does it work? Let's find out. Appeer looks and feels much like a cross between a social networking app and your average app store. You'll find your own personal recommendations, which are custom tailored for you, based on who you're following, and the apps that you currently have installed. If 3 or more people have an app that you don't have, the app gets recommended to you. You can find people to follow on your own for recommendations, though Appeer will automatically follow users that _appear_ to be similar to you based on the apps and games that you have installed. While it's nice to have the app automatically find new followers for you, I'd prefer being able to follow friends that I already follow across other social networks like Google+, Twitter, or Facebook. Sure, you can tell all of your friends to follow you by providing them your username or sharing your profile URL, but it would be nice if this feature was built in and done automatically for you as part of the profile building and social discovery process. The developers did mention that this was the ultimate goal and may be coming in a future update. Your timeline is your social app stream, which gets populated by recommendations through your social circle. Once you find an app you'd like, you can tap on the app to read more, and then continue on to the Play Store for installation. If you'd like to save the app for later, you can tap the bookmark icon, and the app will be moved to that section for safe keeping. Additionally, you'll receive push notifications that appear in the status bar that allows for easy bookmarking. Finding new apps can sometimes be difficult given the sheer size of the Google Play Store along with the amount of new applications hitting the store on a daily basis. Is Appeer something that I'll continue to use in the long run? I'm not sure, but for now, it's an interesting idea and the whole swarm notification feature is pretty cool too. To get started, head on over to the Google Play Store to install Appeer. Good luck!
At its core Google has always been about putting people in touch with information. It started with searching the web, and has since ballooned to many other things. The latest is a handy tool for comparing auto insurance. If you live in California you should start seeing comparison tools when searching for auto insurance. They've also made the tools accessible on a new website. All you have to do is enter your zip code, car details, and some other information to get results. You'll see a list of quotes from a variety of insurance companies. From there you can head to the provider's website and finish your purchase. Right now the service is only available in California, but it will be rolling out to other states soon. With all the different commercials and ads from auto insurance companies it's nice to have a place to compare them all. [via Google]
We're coming up on nearly one year since the OnePlus One was announced, and the phone has held up well. The company has made a lot of mistakes, but you can't deny the device is one of the best. According to recent rumors the next phone from OnePlus is shaping up to be even better. The latest rumor about the " OnePlus Two" is about the build materials. OnePlus chose polycarbonate for the original device, but they may be going with something more premium in the next model. Reports suggest that OnePlus wants the next device to come off as higher-end, of course we're talking about metal. The only problem with a metal OnePlus Two would be the potential higher price. Many people loved the OnePlus One for its affordable $350 price point. Metal does make sense if OnePlus is still trying to provide the #neversettle experience. HTC and Samsung are now using metal in their flagship devices. OnePlus is all about competing with the big boys, and this move would certainly do that.
If you need something to watch this weekend and have yet to see the Transformers series launched in recent years, Google is giving you a good reason to start. The company is offering Transformers for free in their latest promo. To be specific this is the 2007 film that kicked off the live action rendition of one of history's greatest and most popular intellectual properties. In case you don't know what Transformers is about, two alien races of robots -- the autobots (good guys) and decepticons (bad guys) -- are fighting each other for ultimate dominance. The fight is brought to earth, and the autobots soon find out that they'll need to call on the courage of the human race to help fend off their foes. If not for nostalgia, then you owe it to yourself to watch it for the cool factor alone. Oh, and this _is_ a Michael Bay affair, so get ready for explosions. Lots and lots of explosions. Grab it from Google Play right here.
Over the years Samsung has put a lot of work into the camera app found on their Android phones. Maybe a little too much work, considering how overwhelming the various features and filters and photo modes started to get with the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Note 4. With the Samsung Galaxy S6, the Korean phone manufacturer felt a different approach was in order: a more simple, streamlined camera experience. But simple and streamlined do not mean lacking in capability, and here Samsung has done us the favor of including a Pro mode for those that wish to have more manual control over shooting parameters. Tapping “Mode” within the camera and switching from Auto to Pro enables users to adjust things like white balance, ISO, metering, and even focus. Long-pressing an area of the screen will focus on that point, just like in Auto mode, but in Pro mode you can alternatively choose to focus on one area of the photo while base the exposure off a separate area. This is a feature we have seen in several third-party camera apps, and one we are glad to have in the Galaxy S6’s default camera. If you checked out our comparison shots between the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6, you probably noticed the drastic difference in white balance between the two. In Auto mode the GS6 had the tendency to lend a yellow hue to the scene. Manual white balance adjustment means we can dial that yellow out of the photo, and in hindsight would probably have us thinking differently about the results of our comparison. Of course, the Galaxy S6’s new camera retains most of the features we have come to expect. Real-time filters, slow motion video, panorama, and more are all there at your disposal. The camera is also super fast to load and features killer optical image stabilization. Pro mode is just one more addition to your virtual photographer’s bag that could mean the difference between a typical smartphone photo and a true work of art.
It wasn't that long ago that Mobile World Congress was flooded with Android tablets. Everyone from Alcatel to ZTE had to get in on the post-iPad tablet boom. Nowadays tablet releases are few and far between. We haven't seen many new tablets at MWC this year, but one from an unlikely source really grabbed our attention. Back in November you may remember hearing about the Nokia N1. It came out of nowhere, but looked really nice. Nokia is showing off the N1 at Mobile World Congress, and we couldn't pass up the chance to check it out. The first thing you'll notice about the N1 is the design that mimics the iPad more than a Lumia device. Nokia says the design is made to fade away and not distract from the contents of the display. iPad-esque or not, the Nokia N1 is a very attractive device, and that's not the only thing to love about it. The N1 runs stock Android Lollipop out of the box. Nokia only pre-loads one app, which happens to be the app you the most. Z-Launcher is Nokia's own home launcher replacement that uses contextual information to show apps you might need at the moment. It also has a handy handwriting search for apps, contacts, and bookmarks. The good news is you can simply use a different launcher if you don't like it. The display is 7.9-inches at 2048×1536 resolution. It's powered by an 2.3GHz Intel 64-bit processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and a 5300mAh battery. On the back is a 8MP camera, with a 5MP camera on the front. One really cool spec is the USB Type-C reversible charging cable. This is the newest standard that allows the USB cable to be plugged in at any orientation. The Nokia N1 has one big flaw: availability. If you live in China you can buy one for the equivalent of $250, but here in North America it's nearly impossible to get. That's a real shame because we like the N1 a lot. It has a great design, excellent build quality, top-notch specs, and stock Lollipop. If it ever does come to the U.S. for $250 it should be an easy sell.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 features improved finger scanning hardware that gives us something functionally identical to Apple’s highly-touted Touch ID, but its software-side enhancements build a case for the S6 as the benchmark for fingerprint authentication. Take for example the newly added ability to login to your favorite websites with just the touch of your finger. While not a full-fledged password manager, Samsung’s finger scanner now sports the ability to securely store login credentials for use in the phone’s web browser. Find the site you want to login to, scan your finger, and the phone’s software will autofill the form. No more typing in usernames or fumbling over your super secure passwords (they are super secure, right?). The first time you log into a site, the Galaxy S6 will ask you if you want to store the credentials and use the finger scanner to authenticate website sign ins in the future (provided you have already set up the fingerprint reader). You’ll have to do this individually at first for each login, so you can choose which sites require authentication. While Apple has done a lot to improve the Touch ID experience and open it up to third-party developers, it has been slow to roll out core functionality in the same way that Samsung has with their Galaxy line. Before, we could say Samsung’s hardware lagged behind, but now it seems Apple may be the one with some catching up to do.
We take user manuals for granted these days. Most devices come with small tutorials to show you the basics, and then leave you off to explore your new toy with glee. But if you're the type who likes the informative literature that'll show you the ins and outs of your device before using it, then you'll be happy to know that the manual accompanying some of 2015's most anticipated phones -- the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge -- is already available for your viewing pleasure. We've already given you an in-depth look at all the exciting new stuff the Galaxy S6 devices have to offer such as an improved fingerprint scanner, an awesome camera, and -- in the case of the Edge variant -- some great new display features. You've even already gotten a full unboxing experience. Now it's time to get the rest and take your pre-launch hype experience full circle. AndroidForums.com has the guides -- Samsung Galaxy S6 user manual is here, while the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge user manual is right here -- as well as all the great discussion you can handle to get yourself prepared for the device's launch this April.
Google wants their search engine to become a resource for nearly everything, from health information to song lyrics. And now they're adding another element we didn't think we'd need (but probably will appreciate): cocktail recipes. So the next time you decide on the perfect drink you want to feature at a social gathering you can simply search "how to make a dark and stormy" on Google, and the quick recipe will be smack dab at the top of the page for you to take a look at. We should note it's a very barebones implementation for a recipe, so specific measurements for different serving sizes, mixing instructions and more are absent. That still gives you plenty of reason to explore the other dozens of recipe sites that will show up in your search results. Have at it, and try not to have too many before you have to go back to work today! [via Google]
Android Lollipop might only be on 3.3% of devices, but that number should be increasing every day. Earlier today we told you about Lollipop rolling out to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in India. Now we're seeing some more Samsung + Lollipop love here in the U.S. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 for Sprint and Note 3 for T-Mobile are receiving Lollipop right now. This information comes straight from Samsung and Sprint themselves. Over on the FAQ for the Tmo Note 3 on Samsung's site you can see "Android 5.0″ started rolling out on March 4th. On Sprint's website you can see the same update started rolling out on March 5th. Samsung also lists "Wi-Fi calling experience, Resolved Wi-Fi calling one way audi, and Resolved IPv6 email setup" in the changelog. The update should be rolling out now, but don't expect every device to get it today. Check out what TouchWiz looks like on Android 5.0 in our hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy S6. Welcome to Lollipop Land!
You may remember an attractive device from Oppo back in January called the Oppo R1C. It had a gorgeous sapphire glass back and nice mid-range specs, but it was only available in China. Today Oppo has announced the device will be available to the rest of the world in April, but it will be called the Oppo R1x. The R1C and R1x are essentially identical. They feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 615 chipset, which is a 64-bit octa-core configuration clocked at 1.5GHz. You’ll also find a 5-inch 720p display, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage with microSD expansion up to 128GB, a 13 megapixel Sony camera sensor coupled with a 5 megapixel front sensor and a 2,420mAh battery. The big selling point of this device is the aforementioned sapphire glass back and slim profile. Sapphire glass is an extremely durable material. Oppo says you can see your reflection in the back from nearly all angles. The R1x also comes in at only 6.5mm thick, making it a very slick-looking device. You'll be able to buy one in April for around $400 in white and blue.
Samsung, HTC and the carriers likely won't be ready to announce pricing details for their latest smartphones until they're nearly ready to be sold, but a couple of early contests have given us an idea of their suggested retail costs ahead of time. HTC's contest rules for the HTC One M9 reveals that the device's estimated retail value is $599.99. This is $50 less than what Best Buy was listing the device for ahead of its official unveiling, but Best Buy has been known to mark prices up in order to promote customers to buy on-contract or financing instead. __ T-Mobile's contest rules for the Samsung Galaxy S6 reveals similar information, with Sammy's latest handset said to cost $699.99 once it's made available. It's important to remember that estimated retail values and minimum suggested retail prices are only baseline figures, and that actual price tags will most certainly vary from carrier to carrier and retailer to retailer. Still, it's nice to get an accurate idea of how much you'll need to save ahead of time in case you're planning to buy one of these things at full cost. Do these prices look fair to you? [via BGR]