Google, Android manufacturers agree to participate in “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” program

 

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Google has agreed to back a new initiative along with a host of Android manufacturers and all of the major U.S. cellular carriers that would require all smartphones manufactured after July 2015 to come with specific anti-theft features. The program is the latest attempt to prevent theft of smartphones, which some have blamed for increasing crime rates.

To this end, Google introduced the Android Device Manager application last year, allowing users to locate or wipe lost or stolen devices. Today’s agreement between the carriers and handset manufacturers essentially states that all parties will ship this type of system on new phones.

Specifically, the required anti-theft measures are broken into four kinds:
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More details leak on leather back plate option for rumored Moto X+1

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The biggest differentiator for the Moto X was the ability to customize it to your liking via Motorola’s Moto Maker website. With its next flagship, it looks as if Motorola is planning to further expand the customization options available. According to information obtained by @evleaks, Motorola plans to keep many of the original backplate options with the Moto X+1, but also introduce a new leather option, as teased before.

The company will reportedly offer 25 back panel options, including a new leather option in grey, blue, red, and black.

  • Leather: Black, Red, Grey, Blue
  • Cool: Navy, Turquoise, Olive, Royal Blue, Dark Teal
  • Wood: Teak, Bamboo, Rosewood, Ebony
  • Neutral: Slate, Purple, Smoke, Black, Chalk
  • Warm: Red, Orange, Lemon Lime, Violet, Crimson, Raspberry, Cabernet
  • Wood: Teak, Bamboo, Rosewood, Ebony

Motorola itself has said that itself that a Moto X successor is planned for this summer. The device is rumored to be called the Moto X+1, but other details are sparse at this point. But a new leather backing option would certainly be a differentiator.

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Android shows significant growth in last three months, led by success of Moto G and LG G2

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Kantar Worldpanel has released its latest report on smartphone marketshare for the last three months. Android share is up significantly compared to a year ago, with Kantar calling out two devices in particular for their contributions to this increase: the Moto G and the LG G2.

In the US, Kantar says that Android has a 55% share of smartphone OS sales share, up from 51.1% in February 2013, an increase of 3.9 percentage points. This compares favourably to iOS’ performance, which fell 4.9 points year-on-year to a 38.7% share. Incidentally, Windows Phone was the only other platform to grow in the US, rising from 4.1% in 2013 to 5.3%.

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Review: HTC One (M8): Excellent hardware improves, confusing software worsens

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If hardware quality was the only factor in buying a phone, you could stop reading right here and go out and buy the HTC One M8 – it is the best looking, best built (AFAICT after 3 days) phone out there, bar none.

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The front will look familiar, if elongated, to current One owners. It still has separated stereo speakers which incidentally are again the best you’ll hear in a phone by a long shot, but the screen is bigger and unfortunately so is the bezel around the screens.

That extra length tallies to a centimeter taller than its predecessor making an already big phone now almost phablet-like in stature. Add to that HTC’s insistence of putting a power button on top of the phone which you must shimmy up and down to reach and you’ve got yourself some usability experience issues before you even turn on the phone.

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The back of my gray “stainless steel” unit matches up nicely with my fridge in the kitchen. I mean that in the nicest possible way. It looks gorgeous, though I’m not sure I’d say the same for other color variations offered, particularly the gold model. The improved curves are super nice in the hand and also look the part. You’d almost forgive how long this thing is…almost.

The M8 may not be terribly repairable by iFixit standards, but HTC has your back with a pretty impressive repair plan called HTC Customer Advantage. In it, you get a free screen repair within 6 months, a somewhat vague promise to keep Android updated to the most recent version (the website says “We are committed to keeping you current” but at the show they said 2 years of upgrades), and 25-50GB of extra Google Drive space.

Besides the length coupled with the power button, I’m still a huge fan of the exterior. But then there is the interior with HTC’s insistence on Sense 6.0 and this new 3-camera system… Read more

LG shows off its upcoming ‘G Watch’ in new image, 240ppi 1.65inch screen rumored

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LG has posted an image of its upcoming smartwatch on Twitter, perhaps trying to deflect attention away from the Moto 360. The watch will run on the Android Wear platform, but unlike Motorola, LG has opted to use a traditional square screen for the ‘G Watch’.

Other than teasing that the device is ‘coming soon’, LG is still reluctant to release detailed specifications about the device. However, the Wall Street Journal is reporting some more concrete technical specifications according to ‘a person familiar with the matter’. The Journal says that the device will feature a 1.65 inch display with a resolution of around 240 pixels per inch.

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