World domination in the palm of your hands
Lux DLX by Sillysoft Games is a play-and-pass strategy board game of troop movements and world domination. The app has been around since 2008, it's the mobile version of Lux Delux. Behind it is an enthusiastic community of players, creating custom maps and providing strategy tips with an in-app accessible wiki.
Windows Phone holds steady at one percent; BlackBerry not counted in survey
The latest Good Technology Mobility Index Report on the mobile enterprise space, based on a survey of Good's customer base for its own enterprise-level email services, shows iOS gaining ground by taking away share from Android in calendar Q4 2014, with the former growing by four percentage points to hit 73 percent share of global enterprise activations. Android fell by the same amount to 25 percent, while Windows Phone held steady at one percent.
Android Pay rumor comes as Softcard pulls support for Windows Phone
Google will be launching a new payments API at its Google I/O developer conference in May, a report claims, potentially giving Apple Pay some stiff competition. Android Pay will allow developers to not only add mobile payments to their apps, but to also facilitate in-store purchases via smartphone over NFC. The news comes as Softcard reveals it is starting to pull support for its apps, following the purchase of its intellectual property by the search company.
Work, personal data kept separate, Google Play for Work to help with IT management
Google is attempting to make Android more relevant to enterprise and business users, by launching Android for Work. The initiative centers around allowing employees to use the same device for business purposes as well as personal, with Android for Work keeping the profiles and data completely separate, theoretically improving security on mobile devices.
Smartphones joined by trio of Kazam Windows tablets
British smartphone producer Kazam has introduced a number of new devices ahead of next week's Mobile World Congress. The Trooper range of Android smartphones has been bolstered with six new models, with the company also preparing to show off three Windows tablets and two Windows Phone devices at the Barcelona-based tradeshow.
A game that feels silly at first but becomes surprisingly challenging
On The Line by Kevin Choteau is a scrolling not-quite-a-maze game where you hold a finger down on the screen and try to stay ... (wait for it) ... on the line. We were pleasantly surprised by how compelling it was. We were dubious that we would find it very interesting to play at first, because it just seemed too easy. You can't get any easier for instructions than: keep your finger on the line, don't touch the sides, take your finger off the screen to pause the game. That being said, we were amused by how fun it was to play, and the fact that we can't stop grinning when we played it.
Mazes without walls
Lyne, by Thomas Bowker, is 250 levels of puzzles, where the player connects shapes on a grid with lines that may not intersect (mostly). It's by no means a new game -- the game got its last update about a year ago -- but it's still a pretty good diversion for anybody looking to unwind with a puzzler while waiting in line (see what we did there?) or while traveling.
Google adds more editing options to Google Docs for Android
Google Docs for Android has been updated to provide more from its Office Compatibility Mode. The latest version allows for the cutting, copying, and pasting of text, images, tables, and charts in the mode, according to the Google Apps Updates blog, with the app also introducing the ability to insert links into Google documents. The updated app is available to download now from Google Play.
Large proportion of dating apps on Google Play contain vulnerabilities
Users of dating services may be leaving themselves and their employers at risk, by using mobile apps, according to research performed by IBM Security. Researchers claim that a high proportion of dating apps on Android are vulnerable to attack, with 26 out of 41 apps analyzed on Google Play having medium or high severity vulnerabilities, opening the user up to attack.
Engaging puzzler equally good for binging or playing in spurts
The game Portal brought two things to the attention of a wider audience more so than any other puzzle game: firstly, just how satisfying it is to feel so clever after solving a puzzle; and secondly, just how easily a normally rational human being can become emotionally invested in a box. Odd Bot Out is a side-scrolling puzzler for iOS and Android, providing equal parts "I'm a big dang genius" and "totes adorbs" moments throughout.
Avast discovers Android app malware that triggers days after initial installation
Millions of Android users are at risk from malicious apps offered for download on Google Play, an antivirus firm has revealed. A card game called Durak downloaded between 5 million and 10 million times, an IQ test, and a history app are all said by an Avast researcher to include malware which can trick users into paying for services or buying apps they do not need.
Reddit users allegedly find voice calling function in WhatsApp early
WhatsApp may have started to roll out voice calls to some of its user base, according to reports by users. Screenshots surfacing on Reddit suggest the vocal addition to the Facebook-owned messaging service could be making its way to devices, one feature the company has previously advised will be heading to the app early this year.
Apple might be late to the party, but delivers a much better phablet experience
The Nexus 6 is the latest flagship Android smartphone from Google that is designed for developers and Android fans who prefer Google's stock iteration of its popular Android operating system. The massive six-inch device is meant to stand as a testament to the Android platform, its capabilities, and where the technology is currently heading. In the other corner, we have Apple's iPhone 6 Plus, the first "phablet" from Apple, which has famously resisted pushing into this segment in the recent past. Like the Nexus 6, the iPhone 6 Plus represents all that is currently state-of-the-art when it comes to iOS-powered smartphones. The two devices are undoubtedly two of the leading heavyweights in this segment, but which stands tall over the other in a head-to-head fight?
Largest switch rate in company's record-keeping happened for iPhone 6
During its conference call with analysts on Tuesday, CEO Tim Cook noted that "the current iPhone lineup experienced the highest Android switcher rate in any of the last three launches," which he later clarified was how long the company has been measuring the metric rather than that switching rates were higher in 2011. Further analysis by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners suggests that most of the switching is happening overseas rather in the US.
Cyanogen investment may be ploy to weaken Google control of Android
Microsoft may be planning to make an investment in an Android-related startup, a report claims. According to sources of the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft will allegedly take part in a funding round as a "minority investor" of Cyanogen, creators of the CyanogenMod Android ROM, with rumors that the round will bring in a total of $70 million to the ROM maker.
Outlook preview edition for iOS, Android rebrands existing Acompli app
Microsoft has made its Office apps available to all Android users, following the limited preview release and the iOS version. The apps, including Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, are accompanied by a new preview of another Office app, with a rebranded version of email app Acompli as Outlook downloadable from both Google Play and the iTunes App Store.
EVGA launches Torq X5L, X5, X3 gaming mice
EVGA has revealed the Torq X5, X5L, and X3 gaming mice to their range, alongside its existing Torq X10. Featuring customizable RGB LEDs, onboard storage for five profiles, and eight programmable buttons using Omron switches, the mice ship in four different models, with the standard X5 and X3 having 6,400 dpi and 4,000 dpi optical sensors respectively, while the X5L uses 8,200 dpi laser sensor. The new collection starts from $40, rising up to $60.
HP Pro Slate 12, 8 include ultrasound-based Duet Pen stylus input
HP added a large number of tablets to its arsenal, running on Android and Windows. The main launches from the collection are two Android tablets, with the Pro Slate 12 and the Pro Slate 8 both equipped with the Duet Pen, an accessory using Qualcomm's ultrasound technology that lets the user write anywhere nearby and have the text appearing on the tablet automatically.
Nexus 9 struggles to deliver a knockout blow against iPad Air 2
Ever since the day that I scored a world exclusive for Electronista by spotting the original Samsung Galaxy Tab in the wild ahead of its release, I have taken a keen interest in watching Android tablets continue to take on the iPad and fail. Google's success with Android has been largely dominated by smartphones, with no single Android tablet competitor getting anywhere near the sales numbers of Apple's iPad. With the continued rise of "phablets," which effectively do double duty as a smartphone and a tablet, it seems that the chance for Android tablets to truly challenge the success of the iPad may have passed. Despite this, Google is persisting with Android tablets of its own, with the Nexus 9 its latest hope. Does the Nexus 9 stand a chance against the undisputed champion of tablets, the Apple iPad Air 2?
Google Maps for Android updated with route-sharing option
Google has made some changes to Google Maps for Android, with some new features mirroring similar additions in the iOS update. Version 9.3 for Android introduces filtering restaurants by cuisine, as well as permanently dismissing the location settings pop-up. More importantly, Android Police notes the app has a Share Directions option, allowing the user to send an email to a contact containing instructions for following a specific route.
OnePlus still developing its own custom Lollipop-based ROM
Late last month, smartphone maker OnePlus asked their users for feedback on naming the custom ROM for the OnePlus One. An alpha release of the ROM, based on Android v5.0 "Lollipop," has been available at the OnePlus forums since just before the New Year. Today, an interview with Cyanogen founder Steve Kondik confirmed that Cyanogen plans to ship its own Lollipop/CyanogenMod 12 for the OnePlus One next month.
Lighter TouchWiz could increase usable space in Samsung smartphones
The next iteration of Samsung's Android overlay may include smaller changes to the mobile operating system's appearance and functionality than previous versions, according to rumors. Keeping the TouchWiz user interface closer to stock, and without adding Samsung's extra software features, could help users by taking up less of the internal storage space, granting more user-accessible free space in its future flagship devices.
Security analysts warn of security problems for 60 percent of current users
There comes a time in any piece of software or hardware's life when the company that produced it decides that it's no longer worth providing updates or support for it. That time has apparently come for the version of WebView used by Android Jelly Bean and earlier, which is still installed in roughly 60 percent of Android devices: Google has made the surprising announcement that it will no longer update the default browser technology, opening older devices up to vastly increased security issues.
Former Google engineers borrow heavily from the Microsoft aesthetic
Last year, three ex-Google engineers from the Search and Maps divisions got together and formed Jide Technology. Now, Jeremy Zhou, David Ko, and Ben Luk have debuted the Remix, a combination tablet and laptop, or what the company calls an "ultra-tablet." While it runs on a modified version of Android, the look and feel is very reminiscent of the Microsoft Surface -- giving the new product's title an ironic extra layer of meaning.
We go hands on with Blu's 5.1mm unlocked Vivo Air smartphone
Electronista just had to check out the Blu booth at CES, as we had heard rumors of an unlocked, $200 Android smartphone that sits in a 5.1mm aluminum/magnesium alloy chassis, runs on an eight-core 1.7GHz CPU, and has a 4.8-inch AMOLED touchscreen. First impressions of the Vivo Air didn't disappoint, and the device will launch next week, we're told, so we expect it to sell plenty of units.
Saygus to get 21MP camera, world band support, Harman Kardon sound
While cruising the show floor at CES, Electronista stumbled upon the Saygus booth, with the company's V2 Android-based smartphone on display. To be fair, it was more of an engineering sample rushed to be ready in time for the CES show, so the hardware felt a little flimsily glued together. While the phone may not yet be ready for the customer, its promised specs are relatively impressive, and include some exclusives in the business.
Drivers can now use their watch for remote start
Hyundai is among the first automakers to bring its connected-car features to wearable devices, introducing a Blue Link app for Android Wear. Electronista checked out the new service at CES, where Hyundai brought a connected Sonata and a few Android-powered watches to demonstrate the capabilities. Owners of select vehicles can already access the full range of Blue Link features via their smartphone, and the Android Wear implementation simply serves as the watch-based extension of the service.
New edition compatible with iOS and Android with simultaneous analog connection
Unlike its predecessor -- which only recently added support for Android devices (and then just the Galaxy Note 4) -- the iRig 2 guitar-to-phone interface, announced today, will support both iOS and Android right out of the gate, developer IK Multimedia says. Outputs on the device have been improved and added -- not only provide studio-quality sound from a smartphone, but to allow musicians to additionally plug into a traditional amplifier without an adapter.
Super Slim TV measures only half an inch thick
While the main focus of Sharp's morning keynote was the new Beyond 4K Ultra HD TV, some time was also spent showing off an upcoming Super Slim 4K set. While most details are still unknown, the TV will become available towards the end of 2015 in a 70-inch model. The Super Slim model will very closely mirror the features found in the also-announced UE30 and UH30 TVs, but in a form factor that measures only half an inch thick (excluding the set mount). Beyond Sharp's own SmartCentral 4.0 platform, the Super Slim TV will also include Google's Android TV.
Exceptional algorithms improve nearly any picture with little assistance
Unless you are a supremely-gifted photographer with a bucketful of top camera gear, you may often find yourself wishing a shot you had taken could be sharper, clearer, or otherwise "better," and are always looking for an app that can deliver this magic to your pictures consistently. Honest to gosh, we think we've found it -- or at least, pretty darn close. The program is called Perfectly Clear by Athentech, it's available as a mobile app or a plug-in for Photoshop or Lightroom, and -- we kid you not -- it's like Windex for most photos.
Connected bindings shows 'boarders lean angles, more
Just in time for the snow season, Japanese company Cerevo has introduced the XON Snow-1, a set of connected snowboard bindings that records data and lets users analyze their run, much like a data analyzer for race car drivers. Each binding has a pair of load sensors to measure lean angle, and a flex sensor to gauge weight distribution, along with LED lights that appear to serve no other function apart from just looking cool.
Parrot's latest has CarPlay integration, OBDII, more
France-based Parrot's latest unveiling at this year's Consumer Electronics Show was the RNB6 double-DIN automotive head unit. The new RNB6 supports both Apple CarPlay and Google's Android Auto. The seven-inch capacitive touchscreen unit also offers many other features to prospective buyers, such as an included dashcam, navigation, and Bluetooth 4.0.
China-manufactured device echoes Apple design clues, brings Bay Trail
Knockoffs of popular products aren't uncommon in overseas markets, but its not often that a knockoff has altered functionality in a way that looks good, at least on paper. Chinese company Onda has released the V919 3G Air -- a clear iPad Air design clone, but one that runs both Android and full Windows 8.1 on a single device rather than iOS -- an ability that was promised at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show by many Android or Windows tablet manufacturers, but which never materialized.
New 10.1-inch tablet will be introduced at CES 2015
Arbor Solution will be introducing its new ruggedized Gladius 10 Android-based tablet for applications such as warehousing, transportation, medical, and mobile point of sale (mPOS) at CES this week. The ruggedized device will be available in the US and Canada beginning in May, with base models starting at $1,030. The unit meets MIL-STD-810G and IP-65 certifications, and offers four-foot drop resistance, a raised bezel for LCD impact protection, and hinged rubber covers over the I/O ports.
Pixi 3 smartphone runs Windows Phone, Firefox OS, and Android
Alcatel OneTouch is preparing to show off two different types of mobile device at CES next week. The Pixi 3 are said to be a collection of smartphones capable of running three different mobile operating systems on the same hardware, while the Watch is said to be an "affordable" round-faced smartwatch at a "fraction of the cost of competitors."
Custom ROM created following CyanogenMod issues in India
OnePlus has released the first iteration of its own custom Android Fork to OnePlus One users, as it starts to move away from CyanogenMod. The official custom ROM, which will be named by the users via a competition, effectively offers just the stock features of AOSP Android Lollipop at the moment, but the company is planning to improve the mobile operating system in future releases.
Second-gen Moto X is one of Motorola's best ever smartphones
The second-generation Motorola Moto X has been eagerly anticipated among Android fans, who see it as fulfilling the promise offer by the first-generation model. The original Moto X once went by the mysterious code name of the "X Phone," and was pitched as the first device fully developed under the ownership of Google, with much expected of it. Although we found a lot to like about the original Moto X, it failed to live up to sales expectations. Has Motorola - now under the stewardship of Lenovo - managed to keep what was great about the original Moto X, but address what its potential customer base saw as its weaknesses with the second-generation model?
Slim margins, heavy advertising impact profits for otherwise-popular devices
In a blog post of all the notable developments in the mobile market for 2014, industry analyst Chetan Sharma includes a number of observations about Android hardware and its profit margins. The primary one is that the Android device manufacturer community suffered its "most significant ever" drop in profits during 2014, with earnings having dropped 50 percent from expected levels across 2014.
Server issue prevented logged-out users from signing back into Twitter
Users of Twitter found they were logged out of their account and unable to log back in, for a few hours earlier today. Primarily affecting users of the Twitter app on Android as well as the mobile site, the fault has since been rectified by the microblogging service, and though there has yet to be any official explanation for the outage, at least one Twitter user claims it to be a date-based issue.
Free apps for your Android phones and tablets
You've no doubt seen some of our picks for discounted iOS apps, and our "beyond-the-last-minute" Gift Guide, but we've been poking around the Android side of things as well. The biggest deal going for Android users is a special offer from Amazon's app store currently has $220 worth of normally for-pay apps available for free. Read on to discover just a sampling of what Santa-zon has in store for you.
Claims not yet verified by authorities, LG; Reddit user offers photo evidence
A Reddit user's younger sister had her LG G3 battery explode as it sat charging on her bed, according to photos and a report from Reddit Android group contributor "s-blade." The heat from the explosion appears to have been so intense that it caused the phone to melt through the mattress, only lightly scorching the sheets as it sank into the bed. The report mentions that the battery and charger involved were original equipment, and not cheap knock-offs or counterfeit low-cost replacements that have a track record of serious problems.
Google pushes the boundaries of smartphone size with Nexus 6
The Google Nexus 6 is the latest Android flagship smartphone from Google and, like each one before it, it is designed to showcase the latest developments on its Android platform. Indisputably and unapologetically a "phablet," the device centers on a gargantuan 5.96-inch QHD AMOLED display, and comes pre-installed with Android 5.0 "Lollipop." It truly challenges the boundaries of what users are prepared to carry around with them as an everyday all-purpose device. That, of course, makes it a very interesting proposition.
Leaked screenshot suggests LG G2 to gain Android Lollipop soon
The Android Lollipop upgrade may reach the LG G2, if a leaked screenshot is to be believed. According to TuttoAndroid, the screenshot is said to show the G2 as running Android 5.0.1, with part of the screenshot showing a new, flatter user interface in line with Material Design principles. No date for the update has been provided -- but if the image is genuine, it could start reaching phones as early as January next year.
Platforms include iOS, Apple TV, Android, Windows
DirecTV has announced a partnership with Fox Networks, giving subscribers to the satellite-based TV service access to all the content in the Fox Now, FXNow, and Nat Geo TV apps on multiple platforms. This includes iOS, Apple TV, Android, and Windows devices. In effect, the change means that the apps have simply added DirecTV as a service authentication option, joining other TV providers such as cable operators.
Judge concerned about 'speculative nature of the damages'
US District Judge Beth L. Freeman ruled on Thursday that she requires the plaintiffs, Gary Feitelson and Daniel McKee, in a lawsuit against Google to submit more details. The two consumers allege that Android-based smartphone prices are being negatively impacted because manufacturers must agree to pre-load apps like the Google search app by default, instead of making deals with, for instance, Bing. The judge has said she would most likely dismiss the lawsuit as it stands, but is giving the plaintiffs a chance to revise it with additional evidence.
Version 5.1 expected to be available by February, sources say
The latest version of Android, 5.0 Lollipop, has been experiencing a bit of a rocky road since its release, with version 5.0.1 already having been pushed out to address some of the issues. Rumors are surfacing that Lollipop 5.1 will be released in early 2015 -- however, some users may not be able to update until July, if ever.
Instagram adds five new filter options, filter management
Instagram has updated its famous photo filters, for the first time in two years. The Slumber, Crema, Ludwig, Aden, and Perpetua effects have been added to both the Android and iOS versions of the app, each shifting and softening the photograph's colors in varying ways. The app has also updated how the various effects are displayed, providing a blurred preview of filters, while a "Manage" button will allow users to hide the rarely-used filters from view.
Baidu agrees to use Here maps for location services outside of China
Here, Nokia's mapping service, is going to provide content for the Android and iOS Baidu Maps app, as well as desktop maps. The agreement will allow Baidu to offer its Chinese travelers access to maps for areas outside of China for the first time, with Taiwan set to be the first country covered and others set to follow. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
LTE-equipped Nexus 9 priced $120 more than Wi-Fi equivalent
A variant of the Google Nexus 9 tablet with cellular connectivity is now on sale in the United States, two months after it was first unveiled. The Nexus 9 LTE, being sold first through T-Mobile before other carriers and Google Play, is identical to the already-available 32GB Wi-Fi model, but includes the requisite cellular radios to connect to T-Mobile's network.
Works with iOS, Android, Windows Phone: crash reporting, analytics, beta distribution to be unified
Microsoft has announced through a blog post that it has acquired HockeyApp, a mobile analytics and app-distribution service similar to Apple's Testflight. Originally launched as a web-only service in 2011 that allowed iOS, OS X, and Android developers to collect crash reports and manage beta distribution, the app now offers such services for Android, iOS and Windows Phone developers, and will continue to operate as Microsoft works on integrating HockeyApp into the Applications Insights service in Visual Studio Online.