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Review: Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G LTE

Android and Me - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 8:00am

The Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G LTE is the newest device to be released by Huawei, and the first to be directly released in the US market. And with this device, Huawei went big… literally. Did you think that devices like the Galaxy Note 3 are pushing the limit at 5.7-inches? The Ascend Mate2 goes much further with a massive 6.1-inch display.

Huawei also claims amazing battery life thanks to the 3,900 mAh battery pack, something we know many of us want. But can it really provide a satisfactory experience, especially with a $300 price tag?

Hardware

Huawei Ascend Mate2 01

The Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G LTE is obviously a huge phone. But with thin bezels and a lack of physical buttons, it manages to be smaller than expected. The front is a simple slab of glass with black edges, featuring a 79 to 21 screen-to-bezel ratio, with just a neat cutout for the speaker, a front facing camera, and a Huawei logo.

The top of the phone has the 3.5mm audio jack, as expected, and a microphone used for noise cancelling and video recording.

Huawei Ascend Mate2 04

The bottom features the micro USB port and microphone, offset to the left.

Huawei Ascend Mate2 05

The right side of the phone is the busiest, with a volume rocker and a power button in the middle. This is done so the power button is easily reachable, but you’ll often be pressing a volume button accidentally. With my Moto X having the opposite configuration, it got a little confusing at times.

Huawei Ascend Mate2 03

The back is a textured plastic panel akin to what Samsung used on the Galaxy Nexus. All there is to it is a speaker grille, camera, flash, and a Huawei logo. It’s minimalistic, but fits the device well.

Specs and performance

Huawei Ascend Mate2 10

  • 6.1-inch 1280×720 UPS display
  • 1.6GHz quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB storage with microSD slot
  • 13MP BSI camera
  • 5MP front facing wide angle camera
  • 3,900 mAh LiPo battery
  • Dual mics
  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
  • Dimensions: 161mm x 84.7mm x 9.5mm
  • Weight: 202g

You may look at the Ascend Mate2 and scoff. The specs really aren’t impressive by any means. But we can assure you that the phone is greater than the sum of its parts. However, the drawbacks of the low price are obvious. With a 720p display at such a large size, pixels are fairly easily seen. The device doesn’t perform quite as fast as many high end phones. And of course, the camera could be better.

The display really is quite beautiful, ignoring the resolution. It’s bright, vibrant, easily seen outdoors and just produces a very pleasing image. And with it a considerable distance from your face due to the large display, the resolution isn’t bad at all. You won’t be seeing pixels in normal use unless you have “special eyes” like a certain fine-haired individual. Look closely, and you’ll easily see pixels. The display is by no means amazing, but it’s definitely usable and even good looking for those who aren’t very nitpicky.

The device includes Category 4 4G LTE support, with LTE working for both AT&T and T-Mobile. This is a very important spec for a budget device, as far too many budget devices do not come with LTE at all. Having LTE is extremely important to a lot of us, especially here in the US, so we’re very happy Huawei didn’t make this omission. This was a fantastic thing to add.

In terms of performance, it definitely outclasses most midrange devices. You might not even know there is a Snapdragon 400 under the hood. With Huawei’s seemingly light skin, at least bloat-wise, the phone flies in most cases and lag isn’t common. It’s considerably faster than many Snapdragon 600 devices. Put it up against a Snapdragon 800 device, even a bloated Samsung device, and you’ll see a difference. However, daily use has been enjoyable and without significant delays.

It plays games just fine, being a Qualcomm processor. While it’s no powerhouse, it easily gets the job done. And with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of memory, it’s by no means skimping. It may not be amazing to a tech enthusiast, but we think it’ll surprise people.

The Android version is pretty disappointing. The device ships with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Though it doesn’t make much of a difference, KitKat would have improved performance and battery life, something that would be perfect for this device. Huawei has said that a KitKat update is in the works, but there is no ETA and we don’t know if it’ll be coming anytime soon.

Build quality

Huawei Ascend Mate2 11

Holding the device in your hand, you’ll be pretty impressed by the build quality. Though it’s made entirely of plastic, and the back is removable (much like Samsung devices, it has a thin plastic back that snaps in place), the device is very solid. The bigger the device, the harder it is to get rid of creaks, but Huawei managed to do it pretty well.

The entirety of the plastic has no strong give to it, and just feels solid in the hand. It wasn’t carelessly designed, and fakes a lot better than other devices in its price range.

We’d give it a good rating for build quality, but there is a glaring problem we’ve experienced that drops the rating down to average. The front is made entirely out of Gorilla glass, but pushing on the glass triggers discoloration and artifacts, like poking an unprotected LCD monitor. That give in the glass isn’t encouraging and makes us feel like prolonged pressure will damage the screen.

Software

Huawei Ascend Mate2 06

The Ascend Mate2 features Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with Huawei’s Emotion UI 2.0 Lite on top. While the skin is seemingly heavy, with its own launcher, replacement apps, and significant change in user interface design, it’s surprisingly light on performance. However, the software itself isn’t particularly great.

The phone has on-screen software buttons, something we usually like. But the back button is nigh unreachable with one hand use, even with my large hands. Swapping the back and multitask key would have been a perfect solution, but no dice. Still, on screen buttons is a plus in our book.

Huawei Ascend Mate2 12

The notification shade has quick toggles that can be moved around, much like Samsung’s implementation. The multitasking menu has a big clear button on the bottom to help keep the phone running efficiently, though knowing the false effectiveness of task killers, we’re unsure how well this actually works. It also causes the animation of the app shrinking to bug out a bit, but it’s a very minor problem.

Huawei Ascend Mate2 07

The stock launcher is very much like an iPhone, or MIUI if you were modding your Android device back in the day. It has no app drawer, opting to throw all of your apps on the home screens. We dislike this design decision, as many people do. The settings app is pretty well organized with a tab for all settings and one for the most commonly used settings. It works pretty well. The SMS app, dialer, camera, and all replacement apps are generally decent. There’s nothing wrong with them, but the design aesthetic could be better.

Luckily, the apps we didn’t much like can be replaced with Nova Launcher and Hangouts. The dialer app is pretty nice and the camera app works pretty well. And of course, you’re left with a speedy phone with the original apps not bogging it down constantly.

Emotion UI has some interesting features. A One Hand UI feature lets you use the stock keyboard and dialer with one hand by pushing it to the side, though this feature is extremely limited. There is a simple UI for older people, which is particularly useful on a budget off contract device. And W.O.W. features floating apps. Though these apps can be useful occasionally, they’re incredibly limited in function and show a permanent notification that W.O.W. is on. We weren’t big fans.

Having Android 4.3, the software version is by no means old. So you’ll understand my surprise when I plugged the device into my computer and noticed the ancient USB mounting option. Yeah, it’ll mount the storage to the computer and make it unusable on the device, bringing back bittersweet memories of Gingerbread devices. Not a big deal, but very strange.

Lastly, there is a built in theme engine with some themes. They don’t do all that much, but they do change the icons, the built in widget style, the lockscreen design, and the general color scheme of the device. Definitely a nice feature to have.

Overall, the software is by no means bad. In fact, with a few downloaded apps from the Play Store, it’s a nice experience due to the nice settings menu and the lack of serious bloat. We’re sure it’ll be even nicer whenever KitKat launches, though it might be quite a ways away.

Screenshot_2014-06-08-23-39-52 Screenshot_2014-07-16-01-03-59 Screenshot_2014-07-16-01-07-24 2014-07-16 08.09.58 2014-07-16 08.10.10 2014-07-16 08.10.45 Screenshot_2014-07-16-01-00-42 Screenshot_2014-07-16-01-01-30 Camera

And of course, there’s the camera. It’s a 13MP BSI sensor with no optical image stabilization. It’s surprisingly a pretty decent camera. Daylight shots come out looking pretty good. Colors are often off, but the photos end up pretty sharp and don’t display overuse of post processing, like some companies do with other devices.

When light levels go down, so does quality. In dimmer light, blur rears its ugly head. In low light, the camera is nigh on unusable. Compared to the Galaxy Note 3, a device not known for its excellent low light abilities, it produces some poor images. However, almost all devices suffer this fate and few manage to escape it.

Huawei includes a few modes, one being a smart mode like many manufacturers offer. It automates every possible setting, and often produces good images. It’s a rare case when we needed to switch modes, unless it was for HDR. The camera app itself loads very fast and is easily accessible from the lockscreen.

The front facing camera is something Huawei is pretty proud of. It’s a 5MP sensor, even beating out many flagships out on the market today. This high res camera, paired with some nice software, takes pretty dang good photos even in low light. Since most front facing cameras suck, this was a pleasant surprise. There’s a “Groufie” mode, which is a panorama stitching mode to get more people into your group selfie shot. And yes, feel free to chuckle at the name.

Overall, the camera is pretty acceptable even for a device higher in price. However, it won’t stand up to the current flagships in most cases. We think it’s plenty acceptable for most people, and pretty good for a $300 off contract device.

Huawei Ascend Mate2 camera sample 01 Huawei Ascend Mate2 camera sample 02 Huawei Ascend Mate2 camera sample 03 Huawei Ascend Mate2 camera sample 04 Huawei Ascend Mate2 camera sample 05 Huawei Ascend Mate2 camera sample 06 Huawei Ascend Mate2 camera sample 07 Huawei Ascend Mate2 camera sample 08 Huawei Ascend Mate2 camera sample 09 Huawei Ascend Mate2 camera sample 10 Huawei Ascend Mate2 camera sample 11 Huawei Ascend Mate2 camera sample 12 Huawei Ascend Mate2 camera sample 13 Huawei Ascend Mate2 camera sample 14 Huawei Ascend Mate2 camera sample 15 Huawei Ascend Mate2 camera sample 16 Battery

Here is where the phone absolutely shines. With a 3,900 mAh battery, a display that isn’t too power hungry, and some clever software, the battery life blows everything we’ve ever used away. We thought the Galaxy Note 3 had good battery life, but not anymore. Most of the time, I used the Ascend Mate2 as heavily as I could. Tons of music streaming, a lot of photo taking, constant screen on time browsing Reddit or some car forums, and much more. And surprisingly, I made it two days every single time.

Yes, this is a device with which I could go two full days without charging (not just two work days, but 48 hours) with over 8 hours of screen on time and a lot of data use. And I’m sure if you were more conservative with your usage than I was (and I was doing a LOT on it), you could make it three days. That’s why Huawei calls it the “weekend battery.”

It also charges quite fast. Though it’s USB 2.0, the device estimates around 4 hours to fully charge that large battery. Huawei is so confident about the battery life, the company included backcharging functionality. Using a special cable, you’ll be able to charge other smartphones using the huge Ascend Mate2 battery. Cocky, but I like it!

Unfortunately, the battery is not removable and can’t be hot swapped. But seriously, if you’re looking for a road warrior smartphone, this is it.

Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G LTE7 / 10

The Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G LTE is a very solid device, especially for the $300 price tag. With a nice display lacking in resolution, good performance, a decent camera, and some incredibly battery life, this device will definitely suit a lot of people. Hell, it suited me for the time I used it aside from the camera quality (something I’m pretty anal about).

The device launches on the new Get Huawei site, Huawei’s newest distribution method for the US. It offers unlocked devices, premium and local customer support, and a community forum for discussion. Future Huawei devices should also launch on this site. Definitely check it out if you’re interested, as this is Huawei’s full blown venture into the US market.

You can get the device off contract and unlocked for any GSM carrier, LTE and all, for only $300 right now. It’s a pretty sweet deal on a pretty solid device, though hardcore tech enthusiasts probably shouldn’t get this as their only device. Still, we surprisingly enjoyed our time with the Ascend Mate2. The specs put us off at first, but the experience definitely exceeds expectations.

Interested in buying? Click here.

Fleksy Keyboard 3.0 update brings new look, a store with premium themes, and 17 new languages

Phandroid - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 7:58am

fleksy

Fleksy is quickly making waves in the Android world as one of the best keyboards you can download for your phone (and eventually your smartwatch). Today’s update pushes them another big step forward to becoming a serious keyboard contender. For starters, 17 new languages have been added to the list (some of which are just different versions of languages already included). Here’s the full list of additions:

  • Albanian
  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • Catalan
  • Croatian
  • English (AU)
  • English (CA)
  • French (CA)
  • Estonian
  • Hebrew
  • Latvian
  • Lithuanian
  • Norwegian
  • Serbian
  • Spanish (US)
  • Spanish (LA)
  • Slovenian
  • Tagalog

Even more exciting is a redesign that embodies the flat, elegant look and feel that today’s mobile apps have come to be known for. With that comes the addition of a new store where you’ll be able to buy premium themes for the keyboard.

You’ll get about 6 options that all add some nice flavor to what’s typically a very muted experience. Folks who bought the premium version of the keyboard are entitled to one of these themes for free, a nice added bonus if you’ve supported Fleksy by dropping some coin into their pocket for the full version.

The rest of the changes include an improved dictionary, a fix for some typing lag issues and fixes to sizes of emojis and lag when scrolling through emojis. All of it is waiting for you at Google Play so get over there for the download as soon as possible. Not sure if Fleksy has what it takes to be your daily driver? A free option exists for you try out so be sure to go that route first if you prefer not to go all in.

Fleksy Keyboard Free + Emoji (Playboard) | Fleksy Keyboard Free + Emoji (Play Store)

Fleksy Keyboard + Emoji (Playboard) | Fleksy Keyboard + Emoji (Play Store)

Amazon adds ‘hundreds of thousands of songs’ to Prime Music

Android Guys - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 7:57am
amazon_prime_music

Amazon on Wednesday announced the recent addition of “hundreds of thousands of songs” and hundreds of playlists to its Prime Music service. Included as part of an Amazon Prime account, the experience allows for access to over one million songs at no additional cost. Members can listen via their Android, iOS, PC, Mac, and via their website. Oh, and let’s not forget Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD and Fire HDX tablets, too!

“The response we’ve had to Prime Music has far exceeded our expectations and we’re excited to make Prime Music even more valuable for Prime members,” said Steve Boom, VP of Digital Music for Amazon.

It’s not immediately clear what sort of success Amazon is actually having with the Prime Music though we suspect it’s doing well for itself. For those interested there’s a giant list of recently added playlists with brief descriptions at the link below.

Amazon

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YouTube's Music Project Manager Christopher LaRosa Leaves For A Startup Job, Striking Another Discord For The Upcoming Music Service

Android Police - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 7:54am

nexusae0_playtubetiny_thumb_thumbIt seems like the only thing we hear about the upcoming YouTube music service as of late is how many problems it's having. Case in point: the Wall Street Journal reports that YouTube's product manager in charge of music, Christopher LaRosa, is leaving the company in favor of an as-yet unnamed startup. LaRosa's LinkedIn profile says he's worked at YouTube for over four years, and at Google for two years before that.

YouTube's Music Project Manager Christopher LaRosa Leaves For A Startup Job, Striking Another Discord For The Upcoming Music Service was written by the awesome team at Android Police.



Fleksy Keyboard 3.0: New themes, customizations, and the all new Fleksy Store

Android Guys - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 7:30am
Fleksy 3.0 - Surface Design Looking for a new keyboard to spice up your typing style? Now is probably a good time to try “the world’s fastest keyboard.”

Just announced is Fleksy 3.0 – a new look, theme store, and new customizations to the popular keyboard. The theme store is put in place for premium users to enjoy new themes such as “Deep Blue” and “Liquid Sky.” Other customizations will be available to users that have already subscribed to the premium price tag.

One interesting point to make is the decision for staying with the company’s premium business model, rather than switching to a “free with paid themes” model like the popular Swiftkey Keyboard. Many people are still buying the premium version, with downloads reaching more than 30% growth every month since December.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Also available with the update is support for 17 new languages. The company previously announced that the languages were available in beta, but now they’re here for everyone to enjoy.

If you’d like to give Fleksy a try, head to the download link below. Do it!

Fleksy Keyboard Free + Emoji (Playboard) | Fleksy Keyboard Free + Emoji (Play Store)

Fleksy 3.0 launches on Android, introduces major redesign and premium features.

Doubling down on premium business model

SAN FRANCISCO — July 23, 2014 — Fleksy, the fastest keyboard in the world, has launched version 3.0 today, featuring an update on the keyboard’s award-winning design and the introduction of premium themes and content.

Introduced with today’s update, Fleksy Store will offer the ability to download premium content such as themes and customizations. Six new premium themes are available, including “Deep Blue” and “Liquid Sky”, and all Fleksy premium users can choose a free bonus theme. The update also introduces an evolution of the iconic, minimal look of Fleksy, using brand new colors and animations.

“The average Fleksy user uses our product 180 times a day, and spends 1.5 hours looking at the keyboard each and every day. We believe this exposure gives us a fantastic platform to offer premium content and customizations for the keyboard” said Ioannis Verdelis, Founder and COO of Fleksy. “By introducing Fleksy Store, we have an unbounded opportunity to expand with premium product features, while maintaining the clean and simple Fleksy experience which appeals to first time users”.

Fleksy confirmed it will double down on its premium business model, with Fleksy Store only available to premium customers on Android as well as iOS this coming fall.

“Fleksy has built its recognition as the best keyboard title in Google Play – we are now the fastest, most accurate, and best designed keyboard out there. Even in the presence of free alternatives, people are willing to pay a premium when it comes to world-class design and next-gen features for their keyboard, and for good reason, given just how much time you spend on it every day. Downloads have been growing 30% monthly since launching last December, and our conversions to paid users have been increasing dramatically as well. It’s great testament to the quality of our product and shows that the keyboard is a huge part of the overall phone experience, for both Android and iOS” said Kosta Eleftheriou, Founder and CEO of Fleksy.

Also included are 17 new languages, which were only available in beta until today, bringing blazing-fast typing to a whole new group of users all over the world. The extensive list of new languages includes Hebrew, Croatian, Lithuanian, Albanian, Norwegian, Tagalog, Catalan and much more. Based on billions of words typed so far, Fleksy has also significantly improved accuracy for all 40 supported languages so far.

Fleksy is available on Google Play and at http://android.fleksy.com/

About Fleksy

Fleksy is a revolutionary keyboard powered by patent-pending technology that makes typing on any device fast, accurate and so easy you can type without looking. Its unique language algorithm founded on Geometric Intelligence moves beyond text prediction and autocorrect to give a much more accurate and easier typing experience than other keyboards.

Winner of the 2013 CES Innovations Design and Engineering Award, Fleksy is the first keyboard app to be shipped on a SmartWatch, the first to arrive on iOS, the first to work on 3D gesture systems (Leap Motion) and the first app developer to integrate with the Samsung Gear 2.

Most impressively, Fleksy recently broke the Guinness World Record for fastest typing on a touchscreen keyboard.

Fleksy’s award-winning design and technology is backed by venture capital including Highland Capital Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. To learn more about Fleksy, visit http://www.fleksy.com.

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Phandroid News app update brings layout tweaks, performance enhancements and more

Phandroid - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 7:08am

IMG_2800

If you enjoy using our Android app to stay abreast of all the latest Android news you’ll want to pay attention to this particular story: the Phandroid app has gotten an upgrade!

What you’ll be treated to once you take the download won’t be sweeping changes or an awesome new redesign that you’ll immediately notice, but the changes that have been made all go toward providing a much more solid experience overall. Here’s the full list in case you’re curious:

  • Added new UI effects and tweaks
  • Replaced DataDroid (deprecated) with Retrofit
  • Updated about and open source licenses
  • Improved speed of endless listView
  • Improved comment layout stability and speed
  • Fixed tablet layout for portrait mode
  • Fixed Disqus token bug, now will warn of expiring token
  • Fixed notification showing with app in foreground
  • Fixed inline YouTube url bug
  • Fixed all other reported bugs

You’ll definitely want to update your app as soon as possible if you’ve been annoyed by any of these bugs. While you’re at it, why not consider joining the Phandroid App beta community right here?

You’ll get all these updates sooner and it goes a long way toward helping our awesome developer Steve Albright create the best app possible (it helps that you’re reporting bugs without even having to submit a bug report). Be sure to let us know how the new changes are treating you in the comments below!

Phandroid (Playboard) | Phandroid (Play Store)

Fleksy Keyboard Updated To Version 3.0 With Premium Themes And 17 New Supported Languages

Android Police - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 7:00am

unnamed (2)Auto-correcting keyboard Fleksy made headlines last month with its interesting support for Samsung's Gear 2 smartwatches, but don't let it be said that they're neglecting the standard Android app. Today the company is updating its unconventional keyboard to version 3.0, notably adding the "Fleksy Store" to the premium version. This store will offer themes for users to buy via in-app purchase. At launch (sometime this morning, US time) there will be six themes available, and anyone who's purchased the keyboard gets a free bonus theme.

Fleksy Keyboard Updated To Version 3.0 With Premium Themes And 17 New Supported Languages was written by the awesome team at Android Police.



iBOLT car dock – a complete NFC driving experience [Review]

Android Guys - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 5:37am
sPro-360

I had the opportunity of reviewing the iBOLT car windshield/dash dock kit and it couldn’t have come at a better time, since the unusually hot weather we’re having in the UK had resulted in my previous dock losing it’s ability to actually support the weight of my device.

First impressions of the iBOLT are very positive, with the dock itself feeling extremely well made in hand. The kit comes with either an arm to stick to the windshield or a pad for attaching it to the dash. I opted for the windshield and had it attached within minutes. The iBolt is extremely easy to assemble out of the box and is secured to the windscreen using a very secure suction cup.

20140722_195245

There are three toothed supports which are adjustable on the iBOLT; two on the bottom and one on the top. The arm on the top slides up and down with a springback in order to insert your phone into the holder. This is then secured using a little switch on the rear of the holder to provide the downforce needed on the device to keep it secure. It’s this switch which can be often hard to access, especially with the holder attached to the windscreen as you can’t see it and can’t look behind it without banging your head.

20140722_195256

 

When it comes to the way it holds the device, the iBOLT is second to none, keeping my phone absolutely still when driving; often docks can hold your phone but it’ll vibrate up and down as you drive along.

Capture

The iBOLT also takes advantage of NFC enabled devices by including a dongle that can be swiped against the device to launch a dedicated driving app. The iBOLT Dock’n Drive app turns your Android device into a driving assistant, providing a variety of utilities including a speedometer and compass. In addition, the app uses something called ‘ItCanWait’ functionality to suppress your incoming SMS alerts to avoid distraction.

Not only is the iBOLT a fantastic dock to securely hold your device, but it also comes with a great companion app that finishes off the package, offering the perfect tools for your device that can improve your driving experience.

com.ibolt.carhome (Playboard) | com.ibolt.carhome (Play Store)

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Twitch for Android gets updated with a brand new interface

Android Guys - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 3:17am
twitch-tv-2

The popular live streaming service Twitch has just updated its Android app, and with it brings a beautiful new interface as well as some other notable changes to the functionality of the app itself.

The Android app allows users on phones and tablets to watch live streams of people playing games, and if you’ve never tried out Twitch before I’d definitely recommend it – it’s strangely addictive.

The new features for Twitch version 3.0 are as follows:

  • A beautiful new interface.
  • Follow your favorite channels.
  • Brand new broadcaster profiles.
  • Chat on a channel, even when the broadcaster is offline.
  • Expanded search that is by channels, people and games.

And here’s a video demoing the new version.

Twitch (Playboard) | Twitch (Play Store)

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Final Fantasy III and IV now 50% off on Google Play

Android Guys - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 7:36pm
finalfantasy

Two great classic JRPGs, Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV, are usually fairly expensive on the Google Play Store, but for a limited time you can get them for half off the normal price.

The games usually sell for $15.99 and are currently $7.99. This may still be slightly expensive for a game, but think about the quality you’re getting, especially since they’re remakes of the classic Nintendo games from Square Enix.

According to Google Play, Final Fantasy III was first released in 1990 and was the first title in the Final Fantasy series to become a million-seller. A full 3D remake was released in 2006. The story is about darkness falling over the land, robbing it of light, and four children being chosen by the crystals to set forth on a journey to save the world.

Final Fantasy IV, which was originally released in 1991, it was the fourth installment in the Final Fantasy series. It was the first game to introduce the Active Time Battle (ATB) system, “which has become synonymous with the series,” plus it introduced the Augment system, “which enabled the transfer of abilities from other characters and gave players an edge in battles.” The game follows dark knight Cecil who tries to prevent the sorcerer Golbez from seizing powerful crystals and destroying the world.

Either game is worth the price and a worthy addition to your Android game collection.

FINAL FANTASY III (Playboard) | FINAL FANTASY III (Play Store) FINAL FANTASY IV (Playboard) | FINAL FANTASY IV (Play Store)

 

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Download and install Google Play Store 4.9.13 aka Material Design update [APK]

Android Guys - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 7:30pm
google play store 4.9.13

It was just a matter of time before we’d see Google releasing the update of the Google Play Store which brought it in-line with the Material Design of Android L. We’ve seen it leak recently and the rollout started today. Google+ received the Material Design overhaul first and is now followed by the Play Store, which reached version 4.9.13.

Even though certain parts of the app did get the Material Design overhaul, this is definitely not the final update to that design element as most of it is still intact. Google will definitely tinker with the app’s design more in the near future. That being said, you’ll see the changes made if you visit the content pages, in other words visit a certain app, movie, book or music content. You’ll notice new animations and header along with the new badges. The design looks completely different compared to previous versions. They’ve also changed the content description which is now displayed in full screen, no additional clicking necessary. As we said, this part of the app looks completely different and we like it a lot.

If you’re not willing to wait for your turn and want to sideload the app right away, you can download it HERE.

Source: Kirill Grouchnikov (Google+)

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New Google Play version rolls out with elements of material design

Android and Me - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 7:20pm

A new version of the Google Play Store is rolling out with a dash of Material Design added in. While the main page of the store hasn’t changed, individual content listings have improved greatly with a new layout inspired by Material Design. The new look features larger images, fluid new animations and a design that fits right in line with Android L. While the old Google Play layout wasn’t bad by any means, this new look is fresh and breathes new life into the older, more cluttered design.

Material Design and Android L aren’t quite ready for the mainstream yet, but it’s heartening to see that Google isn’t slacking in preparing its apps for the fall release. The Play Store update should be rolling out to all users within the next few days, but if you’re itching to get your hands on it, simply hit the source link below to download. Then come back and give us a shout as to what you think of the new design.

Amazon Fire Phone now shipping, arrives on doorsteps this Thursday July 24th

Phandroid - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 7:06pm

Amazon Fire Phone shipping confirmation

After years of countless rumors and speculation, Amazon finally did the tech world a favor and made their upcoming smartphone — the Amazon Fire Phone — officially official. Launching this Thursday, July 24th on AT&T, the phone appears to be shipping right on schedule.

Our own Rob Jackson received his confirmation email from Amazon, showing the phone scheduled to arrive before 8PM Thursday evening. Accompanying the shopping confirmation was an email notifying him that, as promised, his Amazon Prime membership had been extended for another year (a $100 value).

Amazon Fire Phone shipping schedule

 

Amazon has also posted a user guide for new Fire Phone owners, although the single page PDF has only 1 quick suggestion at the moment: plug in the phone. We assume additional pages will be added as the phone nears its official release. In the meantime, you, your friends or family members can check out the handy Amazon Fire Phone FAQ on Android Forums for help on getting started with their shiny new investment.

amazon-fire-phone-prime

[Android Forums 1, 2]

LG G Pad 10.1 hits US market via Best Buy

Android and Me - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 6:35pm

LG’s recently-launched G Pad 10.1 tablet is coming to the US market through Best Buy. The LG G Pad 10.1 is now available both online and in-stores from Best Buy for $249.99. While LG’s G Pad 8.3 is aimed at the higher end of the market, the G Pad 10.1 features more mid-range specs to keep it at a very acceptable price of just $249. The large size and low price makes it a great tablet for the family.

As a recap, the G Pad 10.1 features a 10.1-inch 1280×800 display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB storage and Android 4.4.2 KitKat. It may not be the most impressive tablet on the block but at just $250, it’s exceptionally well-priced. Let us know in the comments if you decide to pick one up!

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ Review

Android Guys - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 6:32pm
IMG_20140722_181852

Lenovo is back again with another addition to the Yoga tablet line. It’s safe to say that Lenovo’s top-of-the-line Android tablet is better than ever. As we mentioned with our review of the Yoga Tablet 10, Lenovo is pushing the envelope on design, which could be good or bad depending on which way you look at it. The new Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ has some nice upgrades from the previous model, but still falls short in some of the same places.

Hardware

As with the previous 10-inch Yoga tablet, the build quality in the HD+ is excellent. The device features a 10-inch 1920×1080 display, a 1.6 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 8 MP rear-facing camera and 1.6 MP front-facing camera. Yoga Tablet 10HD+_Hero_01 The display is sharp and bright, but one thing that could be annoying to some is its glossiness. I didn’t find it a problem though when using it inside or in shaded area. It also has some decent viewing angles, which is always a plus.

One of the best features, which also could be considered its worst, is the tablet’s design and like the previous model, it’s extremely thin at its thinnest point and up to about 3/4-inches at its thickest. The thickest part of the device is sort of a cylinder with the power button on one end and the 3.5 mm headphone jack at the other. This part is also a handle for the device and is a good idea theoretically in my opinion, coming in handy especially when transporting it, but it’s slightly awkward feeling if you’re holding the device and using it in portrait mode.

The thick side also houses the built-in kickstand that is still a bit hard to engage, as with the previous model. If you are using the device on a table or are sitting it up on your lap, it’s perfect, but if you wanted to have it in a position that you could type on it, it’s a bit too tall in my opinion with the kickstand out. If you were using it the same way but without the kickstand engaged, it’s seems to be too small of an angle. To give you an idea of how these angles differ, think of an iPad with its Smart Cover as a happy medium just about in-between both of these angles which seem either slightly too large or small for completely comfortable typing.

angle The tablet comes with 32 GB of built-in storage that is more than enough, plus hidden behind the stand is a compartment where you can add additional storage with up to a 64 GB MicroSD card.

I mentioned above that the HD+ has a Snapdragon 400 processor and 2 GB RAM, which should satisfy the standard user. Just about any app I used on the device ran with no issues, including games like The Dark Knight Rises. Comparing TDKR running on this with it running on my OnePlus One with a Snapdragon 801 processor, it’s clear which is the winner, so as you can imagine, the graphics on high-end games are reduced and it’s just slightly choppy. Games that aren’t as graphics intense like Leo’s Fortune and even Horn ran beautifully.

The cameras on the device are fairly decent for tablet cameras. I didn’t test them extensively, but the photos I took turned out pretty clear and were decent in lower light. You should have no problems video chatting with the front-facing camera either. IMG_20140626_162525The last things I want to mention about the hardware is about the 9,000 mAh battery that’s fantastic, and the fact that it has front-facing speakers. In use, the tablet gets about 18 hours of battery life, but I’ve seen the tablet display that it had about 38 hours of battery life remaining when I didn’t use it a lot. There were times when I didn’t use it for a week or more and barely any power was lost, so it works great in standby mode. The speakers on the device are loud and were great for tablet speakers, especially when I tested it out watching Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon.

Software

On the software side of things, the device is running Android 4.4.2. For most of the review, it was running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean then right when I was finishing writing this up, it got updated to KitKat. Lenovo mentioned that the device would be receiving the KitKat update at the end July and was about an 866 MB update.

One nice thing about the software on the tablet, although not the absolute latest version of Android KitKat, is that it’s pretty close to a stock experience, Before the update, it had tablet style menus in Settings, but the upgrade brought a Nexus experience to the Settings, only with a slightly different color scheme. The desktop and even on-screen navigation buttons are also Nexus-style as well, so you’ll be right at home. The only downfall is that the launcher is still not that not great if you have a ton of apps or aren’t very good at organizing them since there is no app drawer, much like on the iPad or MIUI. Don’t forget, you can always install a third-party launcher so it’s not the end of the world.

Some nice additions that Lenovo added to the software is the Smart Side Bar that can be accessed by swiping from the bezel onto the screen on either side as well as the Dolby app that allows you to adjust sound settings for numerous modes such as for movies, music, games and voice, plus you can make custom configurations. The Smart Side Bar gives quick access to your videos, photos and books, recently used apps and sound and visual modes. The KitKat update appears to have made the sidebar work much better than previously as there were times when I couldn’t get it to come out when it was running Jelly Bean. Also, before the update you could double tap while on your homescreen and recent apps would appear, but that appears to have been taken out of the software, unless there is a setting somewhere that I couldn’t find to turn it back on. Screenshot_2014-07-22-17-10-51 Another thing that Lenovo added to the software is the ability to run multiple apps at once. I had no trouble watching a movie and surfing a webpage a the same time. IMG_20140722_171829~2

Accessories

Along with the tablet for review, I also received a green and grey sleeve. While it won’t really protect the tablet from huge falls, it will protect it from scratches. The HD+ fits in the sleeve nicely, even with its “unique” design and it closes magnetically so you don’t have to worry about the flap opening. IMG_20140722_175416

Overall

Looking at both the hardware and software together, it’s not a bad tablet for $369. The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ is a worthy upgrade from the previous model. It still has some of the same shortcomings with the stand and software, but at least it’s running Android 4.4 KitKat. As we said with the Yoga Tablet 10 review, if you favor battery life over raw power, then this is worth considering. There also aren’t many tablets with an included stand and front-facing speakers.

The post Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ Review appeared first on AndroidGuys.

Google Play Store 4.9.13 begins its roll out, features fresh new Material-ish design

Phandroid - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 6:01pm

Google Play Store 4.9.13 1

A few moments ago Googler Kirill Grouchnikov announced via his Google+ profile that an all new version of the Google Play Store is currently rolling out to Android devices. Still in the first phase of its rollout, Google Play 4.9.13 brings a whole new fresh can of paint to the former Android market.

Featuring Google’s recently unveiled Material Design, app, game, and other listings have been revamped enough that you’re going to want this. Now. You’ll notice huge featured banners are once again making their return with embedded video trailers where available.

Other changes include Google+ recommendations from friends and buttons for reviews or similar apps/games all lumped into the same section. Wordy text for listings has also been cleaned up, hidden behind an additional button press in order to view full app or game descriptions (once installed, only the changelog will be displayed).

Google Play Store 4.9.13 2

For those that simply can’t wait for it to roll out to their device, a 3rd party download link has been provided below for manual installation. Enjoy!

Download Google Play 4.9.13: MediaFire

Thanks, Tito_01!

Here’s a sneak peek at The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land coming soon to mobile devices [VIDEO]

Phandroid - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 5:47pm

The Walking Dead No Mans Land mobile game

AMC’s The Walking Dead is preparing for its 5th season this October. For Android users who are fans of the show, today we’re being treated to a mini-trailer for the upcoming mobile game titled, “The Waking Dead: No Man’s Land.” Developed by new Finnish game studio Next Games, the mobile game will feature the same post-apocalyptic drama of the show, only it will offer an interactive experience made especially for smartphones and tablets.

The trailer doesn’t show much in terms of gameplay, but it does offer a sneak peek at the more graphically intensive visual style Next Games will be using for their title. You may remember Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead which recently launched on Android featuring a cell-shaded look that more closely resembled the look of Robert Kirkman’s comic book series. Next Games says their title will also be based around making difficult choices, while looking for safety, but it’s unclear the type of action (FPS, strategy, quick time events) we’ll be looking forward to.

The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land will be debuting on mobile around the same time the mid-season premier of season 5 hits airwaves. Next Games will be offering another never-before-seen trailer during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con at the Walking Dead booth during the event. Until then, take a look at what Next Games has in store for our mobile devices next year.

Google Play Store Update 4.9.13 Adds Material Design App And Content Pages [APK Download]

Android Police - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 5:34pm

nexusae0_Untitled-7_thumb

Google teased an upcoming release of the Play Store with Material Design element at I/O last month, and we actually got a pretty good look at the new version ourselves last week. Starting today, that new version, 4.9.13, is rolling out, and we've got the APK for you, as always. Take a look at this quick visual overview of the changes (we've got more images down below as well), and be sure to read Liam's post on the update for all the details.

Google Play Store Update 4.9.13 Adds Material Design App And Content Pages [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.



[ಠ_ಠ] There Is Now A File Manager For Android Wear – Next Stop, Photoshop?

Android Police - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 5:18pm

fAndroid Wear is a cool platform that Google designed to have a more limited feature set. After all, it's running on a tiny screen strapped to your wrist. We need to remember, though, that it's still Android and that means people are allowed to run pretty much any insane pile of code on it. Case in point – File Manager for Android Wear. The name tells you what it is, and I'm telling you you should not spend $3.99 on a file manager for your smart watch.

[ಠ_ಠ] There Is Now A File Manager For Android Wear – Next Stop, Photoshop? was written by the awesome team at Android Police.



“Save Once, View Anywhere” with Facebook’s new feature

Android Guys - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 4:43pm
Save

Facebook is introducing a new ‘Save’ feature which, like many other apps and services, allows you to save articles or posts you see in your News Feed and view them at another time.

This feature can be perfect for quickly getting caught up on your News Feed without viewing every post or article at once, then doing so when you have a quiet chance.

Save will allow you to swipe right and tap the ‘Saved’ button to view them all, or if you forget, you will see reminders of your saves periodically in your News Feed.

We will start to see the Save feature in the next few days as the update rolls out to Android, iOS and web browsers.

 

source: Newsroom 

The post “Save Once, View Anywhere” with Facebook’s new feature appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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