About the Author

Alex Allegro

@allegrotechie

July 21, 2014

Contest winners turned pirates leak early copy of Modern Combat 5, and Gameloft’s furious

Earlier this week, Gameloft hosted a contest on their Facebook page rewarding winners with a free, early copy of Modern Combat 5: Blackout. The upcoming next installment of the popular first-person shooter is slated for release July 24th for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8 devices. Unfortunately for Gameloft, however, you can already download it-for free. According to the company, one of the contest winners pirated the game made it available for download as a torrent. Unsurprisingly, Gameloft is livid. Gameloft Community Manager Florian Weber said in a statement on Facebook:

iPhone 6 clone ‘Gionee’ touted as world’s thinnest smartphone at 5mm

A new phone called the Gionee Slim S 5.5 measures in at a mere 5mm thin and is being touted by the company as the world’s thinnest smartphone. Looking eerily similar to another rumored phone, it comes in ‘gold and white’ as well as ‘black and grey’ while also featuring a metal and glass chassis. Although it might be a cheap knockoff, its got impressive specs to back it up. The device boasts an unknown octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 2,300mAh battery. The phone retails for RS22,999, which comes to about $385.

Photos of the upcoming successor to the Moto G have leaked online this morning, along with a barebones specification sheet. 1068 XT is the model number to the new device says MallandonoAndroid, also stating that the device’s official name is “Moto G 2nd generation”.

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July 18, 2014

Leaker @evleaks this morning posted a tweet featuring some interesting APKs from the upcoming Galaxy Note 4 that reveals information about its hardware and software.

The list includes the usual suspects, such as S Health, S Music, and Samsung Link software, but two of the APKs might pique your interest. “SStudio_WQHD_K.apk” implies the new phablet will sport a highly rumored WQHD display, giving the display a resolution of 2560×1440. Also on the list is an APK titled “FingerprintService.apk”, strongly implying the fingerprint reader currently found on the Galaxy S5 will be expanding over to the Note line as well.

Other features such as “PhotoTable.apk” and “SmartSelfShot.apk” were also leaked, but it’s no surprise Samsung is going to be adding even more photo modes to the already saturated list.  expand full story

Google’s iOS app is hiding an entertaining Easter egg

A new easter egg discovered and shared this morning by Search Engine Land allows users of the Google app on iOS (not the website) to play with the letters of the Google logo and flick them around as you like. Once you move the letters from the normal position, you can also tilt your device to see them slightly sway across the screen. Some users won’t be able to play with the logo today as the Google Doodle is honoring Nelson Mandela today, but that will most likely will be refreshed around midnight. In the mean time, check out the full video of the Easter egg below.

Sony Xperia Z2 KitKat update rolling out now w/ call quality and performance improvements

This morning Sony began the update process for the Xperia Z2 to Android 4.4 KitKat. According to the documentation, the update should bring along some noticeable improvements including “enhanced call quality” and “improved charging when battery is low”. It’s not clear when the rollout will be complete, but it shouldn’t be too far off so keep checking that ‘System Update’ tab in your settings for KitKat goodness.

July 17, 2014

In a study conducted by security research firm Zscaler, 28% of Android apps request permission to read old SMS logs, while a whopping 68% request permission to send SMS messages from your phone. They also found that 36% of apps request GPS permissions, while over 46% request access to the “phone’s state”, allowing the app to gather information related to the SIM card, IMEI number, serial number and more. For the study, Zscaler analyzed over 75,000 apps from the Google Play store and logged the requested permissions from each app. Being a security firm, Zscaler considers SMS and GPS related permissions to be the two most “high risk” permissions to grant access to, with “device information related permissions” landing sixth on the list.

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Google today announced the release of LiquidFun 1.1, an update to the open-sourced 2D physics engine originally released last December. New in today’s release is browser support and this allows games using the engine only found on Android devices to be ported over as Chrome extensions. Also new in the update is iOS support. Google says previous versions of the engine could be modified to work on iOS, but today’s update brings native support to the platform. The release notes are below:

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July 1, 2013

A successor to the Nexus 7 was a no-show at Google I/O this year, but that doesn’t mean a V2.0 of the tablet isn’t coming soon. Back in May, we reported that according to a KGI analyst, Google was planning on announcing the Nexus 7 2 at I/O with a full 1900×1200 HD display, a lighter and thinner body, with a Snapdragon 600 processor, 4Ah battery and both front and rear (5MP) facing cameras. The second version of the Asus tablet was also slated to be the first device with Android 4.3 on it.

Although this is all a rumor, a curious buyer decided to ask an Asus live chat representative if they had any idea what the specs were. Despite the fact that chat representatives don’t normally have access to upcoming products, one offered up the exact same specs as above:

asus-nexus-7-HD

Interestingly enough, the spec sheet they repeated matches the same exact spec sheet that KGI reported on in May. The chat rep. also said that we should expect to see version 2 of the tablet sometime in Q2 of the year, specifically late July.

Chat representatives don’t typically know future product roadmaps, especially specs, so it’s more than possible that this chat rep. simply Googled KGI’s report and reported it back to the person they were chatting with. On the other hand, they could both line up because they are both right. We’ve contacted Asus and we’ll be sure to report back any news.

June 26, 2013

As Google begins to accept orders of the recently announced ‘Google Editions’ of both the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4, it’s natural for the first reviews to already have hit the web. The two devices are arguably the best Android phones on the market right now, and once Google announced these stock Android versions, everyone expected for them to get even better. The verdicts are in, and if you don’t want to check every site individually for a review,  we’ve got a roundup for you below.

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April 16, 2013

Last week, we reported that the Explorer’s Edition of Google Glass would begin to ship out next month. However, today, units became available for pick up. Google Glass users Matt Abdou, Brandon Allgood and Cecilla Abadie have posted some photos on Google+.

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 10.19.56 PM

The Google Glass packages include one power cord, two visors, one carrying bag and the actual Google Glass hardware.

Interestingly, Matt Abdou uploaded to footage of himself GoKarting while wearing Google Glass. While he does seem to adjust Glass near the beginning in the video while driving, the glasses seem to stay on well and the video quality is up to par with what you would find on a common smartphone. Yesterday, we reported that the camera is capable of shooting 720P footage. The sensor comes in at 5 megapixels.

Another unboxing video follows: expand full story

April 15, 2013

Metal Galaxy S IV never came to fruition because of production worries; Note III to include 6 inch display

Sources from within are saying that Samsung prototyped an all metal Galaxy S IV, but because of worries with possible production delays, it was never used. The metal Galaxy S IV was met with open arms at the company says SamMobile, and was the first choice, but Samsung didn’t want to risk delays, according a report by SamMobile

Of course, the HTC One being all-metal phone is ‘worrisome’ to Samsung, according to the report, and is unsure if the Galaxy S IV measures up in terms of build quality to the One. While the report isn’t confirmed by Samsung, SamMobile is known to be very reliable. There is a possibility a holiday edition of the Galaxy S IV in metal could launch, but theres no guarantee.

In the same report, SamMobile is also saying that they’ve got the specs for the Galaxy Note II’s successor. The report claims that the Note III will sport a 6″ inch 1080P AMOLED display, 0.2″ inches bigger than the previous report of 5.8″ inches. Other specs include an Exynos 5 Octa-core processor, also found on the Galaxy S IV. The kicker here is that the report says the Note III will support LTE and the Octa-core processor, whereas the Galaxy S IV only supports LTE on the quad-core model.

Finally, SamMobile expects to see a 13MP camera with the “latest version of Android”. Samsung could have one of the first Android 5.0 devices out on the market, assuming Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie is announced at Google I/O and the Note III launches sometime after that.

It’s unlikely the Note III will launch encased in a metal body, but if the report is to be believed, it may not be so far-fetched after all.

April 12, 2013

Pebble Watch SDK goes live, new watch faces and apps to come

Pebble, the E-Ink smart-watch for iPhones and Android devices which raised over 10 million dollars on Kickstarter is about to get a lot of new features. Today, Pebble announced that the watch SDK is being released today. The SDK will allow developers to create custom watch faces, alerts and new apps.

At the moment, there’s less than 10 available watch faces and only one app, but expect those numbers to grow dramatically now that developers can get their hands on a public SDK.

April 10, 2013

Possibly in an effort to better compete with the new pricing-strategy from T-Mobile, Sprint announced today they’ll be offering the HTC One for $99 if you’re a new customer and sign a 2-year contract. If you’re interested on getting in the deal, click here to go straight to Sprint’s pre-order page.

April 9, 2013

Last week, Facebook announced two new products to expand their reach in the mobile market: Facebook Home, a downloadable Facebook-intergrated skin for Android phones and the HTC Facebook First, the first official hardware by the company. The First is scheduled to be released April 12th for $99 exclusively through AT&T. Naturally, the First comes pre-loaded with Facebook Home.

Facebook Home is a downloadable launcher for Android phones only, and a few of its key features such as Chat Heads are getting much praise by reviewers. On the other hand, the First is being criticized for its lack-luster hardware such as the mediocre 5MP camera and lack of a dedicated shutter button.

If you want to read all about Facebook’s new duo of software and hardware, below is a round-up of some of the reviews from around the web…

Engadget:

The HTC First is compelling for two reasons. For Facebook fans, it’s now easier to maintain social connections with friends and family. For the tech-savvy crowd who has little interest in the service, the phone is a stock Android 4.1 device that comes with AT&T LTE, which is still something of a rarity. Including this opt-out was a smart move on Facebook’s part, because it’s difficult to recommend that consumers sign two-year contracts on an unproven product that depends so heavily on their engagement with Facebook. Worst case, it’s a decent mid-range phone for $99 on contract (or $450 without any commitment). Facebook Home isn’t perfect, nor will it convince many non-Facebookers to start Liking and commenting with reckless abandon. But it’s aesthetically pleasing, and surprisingly polished for a 1.0 product.

CNET: expand full story

An updated Google Play with an image-centric design will be rolling out to all Android devices running Froyo (2.2) and up over the next few weeks, the Official Android blog confirmed. The redesign focuses on connecting ‘similarly themed’ content so apps, songs, and movies of the same genre are grouped rather than scattered everywhere.

Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 11.46.15 AM

Perhaps it’s too soon to  state this with any certainty — surely this update has been in the works for some time now — but we may already be seeing the influence of Facebook Home on app design, at least as it pertains to the use of larger imagery and simplified interface. Something to keep an eye on at the very least.

April 5, 2013

YouTube has recently added a new 144p video resolution option for select videos, according to users who noticed the change.

Up until this option was added, YouTube made playback quality from 240p to 4K resolution available. While these higher resolutions offer pristine quality, they do require significant bandwidth and fast internet connections.

We speculate that this new 144P option is a move to address these issues. This new base choice will open up YouTube video viewing in countries and regions where people are limited to basic internet connections.

April 3, 2013

In a surprise announcement made at the Chromium Blog today, Google announced that Chrome OS, Chrome, and Opera will use a new rendering engine titled ‘Blink’. Blink is based of the current rendering engine WebKit. Google states the change is “not an easy decision,” but the change is necessary due to a ‘slow down of innovation.”

Google seems quite apologetic in the blog post, noting it understands the change may have significant implications for the web, but hopefully, in the long run, it will improve the health of the open web ecosystem.

It noted that the change will have little impact in the short-term to developers and Internet users, but Google hopes that the removal of the “multi-process architecture” will simplify the engine’s code and ease the difficulty required to develop for Chrome and Chrome OS. Ultimately, Google also hopes the new engine will speed up Internet load times.

The full press release via the Chromium Blog is available below.

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April 1, 2013

PhanDroid has received a promotional flyer from RadioShack that shows the price of the upcoming HTC One for $199.99. The interesting part about the flyer is that RadioShack offers a $50 Google Play gift card with the purchase of an HTC One on a 2-year contract. The flyer doesn’t give any word on a release date, but the HTC One is expected to launch sometime in April.

T-Mobile on the other hand offers a deal of its own: Order the HTC One online and receive a free car kit. The kit allows you put your phone on your car’s windshield or dashboard to use as a GPS. T-Mobile offers the HTC One for $99 down plus an extra $20 a month.

HTCOne-Tmobile

March 31, 2013

Google has begun its yearly unveiling of April Fool’s Day jokes with some clever new ideas that probably come up in strategy meetings throughout the year.

Google Nose. Searching a query on Google and clicking the ‘Nose Beta’ button can only find this ‘service’. The service isn’t real of course, but you can read about its features on Nose’s homepage. Funniest bit?

Don’t ask, don’t smell: For when you’re wary of your query – SafeSearch included.

More Google jokes are on the way… expand full story

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