Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Motorola Customers File $5 Million Lawsuit Over Warranty Servicing Issues

In recent weeks, Motorola’s customer service and warranty claims departments have taken a beating from the readers of this site and elsewhere around the internet for their failures to issue timely warranty placements of the company’s flagship products. It doesn’t take long to find horror stories related to warranty claims of the Moto X Pure Edition or Moto 360 because, according to Motorola, the company’s US repair center is currently “not up to our standard of excellence.” Motorola even “deeply” apologized for the mess.

But apologies can only get you so far in this world, especially when you are dealing with angry customers who have been thrown into the customer service blender for weeks and weeks on end without resolution. According to TrustedReviews, a $5 million class-action lawsuit has now been filed against Motorola over allegations of poor customer service. 

The complaint was filed on April 21 for “unfair, unscrupulous, immoral, and oppressive” business practices and claims that Motorola owes “thousands of people” compensation. The lawsuits states that Motorola violated its express warranty, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and the Fair Business Act, while also being “unjustly enriched.” In other words, Motorola hasn’t kept up its end of the warranty bargain it made with customers.

As for a timeline of what happens now, TrustReviews says that all parties need to meet in court and a court needs to decide of there should be a jury trial. If it doesn’t go to trial, a resolution could still be worked out, but it could be months and months before anyone sees compensation, assuming they are entitled to any.

In the end, I think the important takeaway is that companies do need to be held accountable when they are drastically inconveniencing customers.

Via:  TrustReviews

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Nexus 9 Removed From Google Store, No One Notices

The HTC-made Nexus 9 tablet has been removed from the Google Store, leaving only the Pixel C tablet available for purchase to potential Android slate shoppers. After months of discounts and “Hot Deals” from HTC, Google is clearing its shelves, possibly for something new, but maybe, for nothing at all.

The Nexus 9 led us to ponder the tablet ecosystem as a whole with regard to the Android OS, as no particular build of Android has given way to a “ah-ha” moment for developers. Yes, Android tablets have their place and can be useful from time to time, but with no growing library of tablet-exclusive apps (like you see for Apple’s iPad), there does not seem to be any commercial demand for Android tablets. Even the Pixel C, which is a gorgeous device, comes off as pretty damn boring in daily usage. 

At this time, when it comes specifically to Android and tablets, Android N is our best hope to make these devices exciting. With the potential to see multi-window support come native to the OS, developers can do plenty of nifty things with that.

Regardless of your opinion on the Nexus 9, it’s gone. Probably forever. If you need one, you can find one on Amazon, starting at $320.

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Samsung Pay Arriving in New Countries This Year, Gains ATM Cash Withdrawal Support in Korea

During today’s keynote of the Samsung Developer Conference, the Korean electronics giant had some major announcement to share surrounding Samsung Pay. The news involves being able to withdraw cash from ATMs using the mobile payment service and which additional countries will (finally) gain access later this year. 

For Samsung Pay users in Korea who happen to use Woori Bank, you will now be able to withdraw cash at ATMs. That’s huge news, though Samsung wouldn’t share any other information about other future markets or supported banks. But still, if mobile payment systems are going to be the future, they need to be able to do everything your cards can and that includes getting you access to cash.

As for the rollout to new countries, Samsung said to expect Samsung Pay to hit Australia, Brazil, Canada, Singapore, Spain, and the UK later this year. That’s excellent news for those of us with unlocked Galaxy S7s who can’t access Samsung Pay, even in the US. Of course, that’s also great news for those of you who live in those countries.

Via:  CNET

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Minecraft Now Available for Samsung Gear VR, Priced at $6.99

For anyone who owns a Gear VR and compatible smartphone, Minecraft Gear VR is now available from the Oculus Store. Priced at $6.99, Minecraft Gear VR brings the same experience as Minecraft: Pocket Edition, but this time, you can be inside the world that you create. Both a survival and creative mode is available for playing, but more importantly, multiplayer is completely supported. 

Using a paired gaming controller, you can bash mobs who wish to destroy you, build castles, mine deep into the world, or do whatever it is you do during your Minecraft sessions. As previously stated, everything that is available in the Pocket Edition of Minecraft is available on Gear VR, which includes skins and different playing modes. However, there are two different viewing modes for those on Gear VR. One, which Oculus says is a bit more comfortable, is a theater mode. With this, you are sitting in a virtual Minecraft room, playing the game on a wooden TV. The other is a bit more immersive, which delivers a more FPS aesthetic. Both are highlighted in the trailer video below.

You can find the Minecraft Gear VR app in the Oculus Store, priced at $6.99. If you are looking for a gaming controller to interact with the game, Oculus suggests the StratusXL for $60.

For those who may condescendingly ask, yes, Minecraft is still a thing and yes, it’s still very popular. No, you are not cool for hating Minecraft.

Via: Mojang

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HTC Double Nexus Bonanza Rumors Pick Up Steam With Codenames Surfacing, Potential Benchmark

Back in January, an “often-reliable leakster” over at Weibo suggested that HTC has been given the green light by Google to make not only one of the next Nexus phones, but two. Fast forward to today, through months of weak speculation on that idea coming true, and we get a tweet from @evleaks along with a post by Android Police that may add some validity to HTC becoming King of Nexus for the next year.

Here is what we know. according to these two. 

There are currently two Android N devices being built by HTC for Google under internal codenames or model numbers of M1 and S1. That bit comes from @evleaks, who doesn’t specifically say that these are Nexus devices, but we will go ahead and assume that they are. After all, if Google is asking someone to build it a device, it tends to be for the Nexus program.

With that bit of information in the wild, Android Police then chimed in with word from sources indicating that M1 and S1 might actually stand for the official codenames of each, Marlin and Sailfish. Call it a coincidence if you want, but the fact that they had names of “Marlin” and “Sailfish” in their pocket and @evleaks tossed out “M1” and “S1” seems like more to me.

As a reminder, Google almost always refers to its Nexus products by aquatic names. The Nexus 4 was Mako, Nexus 5 was Hammerhead, Galaxy Nexus was Maguro, Nexus 10 was Mantaray, Nexus 6 was Shamu, Nexus 6P was Angler, and the Nexus 5X was Bullhead. There are others, but you get the point. Marlin and Sailfish would fit in that naming scheme quite well.

A reference to “Marlin” in an AOSP Gerrit was found back in March and this benchmark surfaced a few weeks ago. The benchmark, which refers to the phone’s motherboard as “marlin,” indicates that the phone will run a quad-core Qualcomm product (likely the Snapdragon 820) and have 4GB RAM. Yes, the page lists the phone as a “Nexus 6P,” but you and I both know that the 6P has 3GB RAM and an octa-core Snapdragon 810 on board.

nexus marlin

As for Sailfish, well, we don’t have any public mentions of it at this time, so there is always a chance Google goes with another aquatic animal under an S name. For now, we’ll stick with the latest report, which pegs it as Sailfish.

We already know how Tim feels about HTC making the next Nexus (or two). I think I tend to agree that HTC, as long as it builds at least one of the phones as well as it did the HTC 10, would be a fine partner for this year’s program.

Know anything about this year’s Nexus phones? Hit us up.

Via:  @evleaks | Android Police | @rquandt

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Samsung Gear 360 to Release April 29 in Select Countries, No Pricing Yet

For those looking to get into a bit of VR content creation, Samsung announced during this morning’s keynote presentation at the Samsung Developers Conference, the Gear 360 camera will go on sale beginning April 29 in select countries.

Oddly enough, with that date being only two days away, Samsung gave no specifics as to which countries would be able to purchase it. Furthermore, no pricing was made available. As Samsung states, sales will be online-only at first, and will branch out to additional territories in the coming months. 

As more details are made available, we will keep you updated.

Any guesses on a price? I’m leaning towards $149. That seems like a sweet spot.

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LG G5 Getting Update That Finally Adds “Home & App Drawer” Home Screen Option

As we approached the LG G5 launch a few backs, LG received quite a bit of criticism over its choice to leave out an app drawer on the phone. Before the phone was ever released, they made it clear to us that they had heard the cries and released a UX 5.0 overview video that detailed a soon-to-be-included new addition to the phone’s Home selector called “Home & app drawer,” which of course, was a traditional home screen and app drawer combo. This was LG’s way of saying, “We heard you. Please shut up. We’ll fix it very soon.”

Then the phone launched and the “Home & app drawer” option was still missing, even as a number of media outlets erroneously reported that it was available through LG’s SmartWorld app. The app drawer being pointed to there was from the UX 4.0 software that was released for previous LG phones, not the G5. Sure, it worked and re-introduced an LG-made app drawer and home screen setup, but it wasn’t the UX 5.0 version we were promised. 

Today, the real update has arrived.

lg g5 home app drawer-2 lg g5 home app drawer-5 lg g5 home app drawer-3 lg g5 home app drawer-4

If you own an LG G5, jump into Settings>About phone>Update Center>App Updates and you may find the option available for download. At least one reader of ours saw the update on his international unlocked model, but we also found it on a T-Mobile unit.

Within this App Updates screen, you should see updates for the new “Home & app drawer” along with the “Home selector,” which lets you chose this new home screen layout. Actually, when you tap the home button on the phone after installing these, you should be prompted to choose a default home screen, including the new “Home & app drawer” option.

Everyone happy?

Cheers Eric!

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RIP, Chrome’s “Merge Tabs,” Feature Removed in Chrome Beta 51

Chrome Beta 51 just showed up on Android and it killed off that never-quite-implemented-correctly “Merge Tabs” feature that was introduced back with the launch of Lollipop. The death of tab merging first showed up in Chrome Dev a few weeks back, but now that it has made its way through to Beta, I think it’s safe to say that it is probably on the way out for good. 

For those not familiar with “Merge Tabs,” we have to take you back a couple of years, to a time where Google thought that you wanted every single open tab in Chrome merged into your recent apps screen. That meant that if you had 5 or 8 or 15 tabs open, they were all intertwined with your apps, making a disaster of your app screen and also making it insanely more difficult than it needed to be to switch between tabs. If you had “Merge Tabs” turned on, it also killed off the tab count button and ability to swipe across the action bar in Chrome to switch between tabs.

It was awful, for the most part. But really, all Google needed to do was let your tabs merge, while keeping the swiping and tab count button in the action bar and it wouldn’t have been that bad. But they never did that for some reason and now appear to be ready to abandoned the idea.

chrome beta merge tabs-2chrome beta merge tabs

Chrome Beta 50 vs. 51

And to show you that merging of the tabs is now 100% gone, here is my HTC 10 before updating to v51. You can see I had it merged with three tabs open, all of which were showing in my app switcher. Then, post update, Google took those tabs out of the app switcher and stuck them back in Chrome, plus it then told me where I could find the tabs because merging is gone. Sad face?

chrome beta merge tabs-6 chrome beta merge tabs-5 chrome beta merge tabs-7

RIP, “merge tabs.” You were unused by many and likely won’t be missed.

Play Link

Cheers @X0MBY!

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Google Calendar’s New “Find a Time” Feature Makes Meeting Creation a Breeze

According to Google, creating a meeting between multiple people is still in a pain in the rear. You have to double check everyone’s calendar to make sure they are free, and then sending the actual invites can be time consuming. With the new Find a Time feature in the Calendar app, scheduling a meeting that works with everyone’s schedule is made very simple, even if one party is in a different time zone.

Limited to those using Google Apps for Work and Google Apps for Education, as sharing schedules is the norm in some lines of work, Find a Time works to locate the best possible time for a meeting where everyone is free. If there is no free time, Calendar will look to see which conflicting meetings can most easily be rescheduled. 

Specifically, Find a Time only suggests a time — the user is still in control of which time they want to schedule a meeting. If you happen to manage someone else’s schedule, you can also make meetings on their behalf.

The app is being updated right now on Google Play, but again, make note that this feature is only available to Google Apps for Work and Google Apps for Education users.

Play Link

Via: Gmail

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If You Care About Software Updates or Security, Stop Buying Motorola DROID Phones

Here’s a pro tip on a Wednesday – stop buying Motorola and Verizon’s exclusive DROID phones if you care at all about software updates or security. I say that because Motorola and Verizon don’t seem to care about keeping them up-to-date, even as Google and the rest of the Android industry are at least doing their best to provide timely security patches. Not only are owners of these phones missing out on new features, but they are susceptible to non-patched security vulnerabilities that most phones are protected from.

Marketed as the ultimate flagships when they launch, the DROID brand of phones have become laughing stocks in terms of support. At this point, we are well beyond blaming Motorola’s thinned out support staff and Verizon’s notoriously slow update approval or testing process. This is borderline offensive and should deter you from even considering a Turbo 3 or whatever robotic name these two cook up and sell you on later this year. 

Aside from the fact that the Turbo 2 (and original Turbo) were solid phones with great battery life and unique features like a shatterproof display, they are typically some of the last phones to receive the latest and greatest (including protection) from Google. Take the Turbo 2 as a shining example. In stores on October 29 of last year, after three botched attempts at releasing Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Motorola and Verizon finally produced the update for all customers today. Google originally released stable Android 6.0 on October 5 after a number of previews. So not only did the Turbo 2 launch with year-old software, even though Marshmallow had been available for almost a month as a stable build, it then took Motorola and Verizon 6 months to finally update it to that version of Android, which again, had been out for almost a month before it hit stores.

droid maxx 2 turbo 2

Want a worse example? Look at 2014’s original DROID Turbo, which hit store shelves on October 30 with Android 4.4.4 KitKat, weeks after Android 5.0 Lollipop was announced and just days before it was made available via stable channel, didn’t receive the update to Lollipop until July of 2015. That’s 8 months later for a phone dubbed as a flagship.

Hold on, though, I think I can even top that one. The DROID MAXX 2, the budget-friendly DROID that launched alongside the Turbo 2 at the end of last year, has yet to receive any sort of software update. Think about that for a second. A phone that is 6 months old, has never received a single update. Forget the fact that almost all phones launch with bugs that need squashing, that means it not only hasn’t received the update to Marshmallow, but it hasn’t seen a single security patch. Google releases security patches every single month to address often scary security vulnerabilities. Samsung, a company who is almost as bad as Motorola has become at updating phones, still manages to at least push out monthly patches. Verizon and Moto with their DROIDs, almost never.

Oh, and get this. The DROID MAXX 2’s Marshmallow status page on Motorola’s site only says that it will receive the update to Android 6.0 “pending partner support.”  That doesn’t exactly sound like a promise or guarantee any longer. Look at this.

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 8.58.47 AM

And I haven’t even touched on the fact that Motorola and Verizon completely abandoned a promised Lollipop update for 2013’s DROID ULTRA, MAXX, and Mini.

As you can see, this isn’t a new situation, but it is one that seems to be getting worse. Maybe that’s a sign of the (probably overdue) impending death of the DROID brand or maybe it’s just another reason to avoid carrier exclusives. If anything, it’s 100% reason enough to avoid buying the next DROID, if there is one.

If You Care About Software Updates or Security, Stop Buying Motorola DROID Phones is a post from: Droid Life

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Nextbit Robin Updated to Android 6.0.1, Offers Better Processor and Camera Performance

This morning, Nextbit announced the availability of a large update for Robin, bringing Android 6.0.1 to all owners. This Marshmallow update includes the April security patch, as well as the expanded emoji library for all of your texting needs.

Also inside of the update, the Robin will also feature an overhauled camera app, bringing a much faster experience, resulting in “better pictures.” This was accomplished by tuning the camera’s software. Additionally, Nextbit states that processor tuning was done, which should lead to better battery life and performance. 

To top it off, Nextbit announced a new set of AIAIAI headphones, created specifically to be paired with the Robin. The headphones are a TMA-2 model, offering a fully sealed titanium coated S03 speaker unit, H03 nylon headband, and E04 over-ear PU leather earpads. Priced at $225, the headphones are not cheap, costing only $175 less than the Robin itself, but Nextbit and AIAIAI claim that the quality of the audio experience will speak for itself.

Take a look at the complete changelog, then if you are interested in the headphones, follow the link below.

What’s New

  • Marshmallow 6.0.1, including the April security patch and of course the expanded emoji set.
  • Additional processor tuning bringing you better battery life and better performance.
  • New camera tuning and a completely overhauled camera app for faster (much faster), better pictures.
  • All new sound tuning at the driver level by Arkamys. Now Robin sounds clearer both through the built-in dual speakers and the headset jack – even when you have the volume cranked up.

Headphones Link ($225)

Robin Headphones

Via: Nextbit

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If Your DROID Turbo 2 has Yet to Receive Marshmallow, It’s Now Arriving

After a couple of pump-fakes, a spin move, and a timeout or two, in between commercial breaks and a power outage, Motorola and Verizon are finally (maybe, but we think for real) pushing out the Marshmallow update to the DROID Turbo 2 for those who have still not seen the update after all these months. And even if you have, you will still probably get this latest update.

The update was approved last week on April 20. We tweeted about it, though most of you seem to have seen the update within the last day or so. 

The update will arrive as build 24.14.12, which is ever so slightly newer than the previous Marshmallow updates of 24.14.10 and 24.14.11. Cleary, there was a bug or two to fix in the lead up to this latest version. If you aren’t already on Marshmallow, the update will hit your phone in two parts, with build 23.31.24 as part 1. Once you have that, you will then get 24.14.12.

I feel like we have written about the Turbo 2 and its Marshmallow update more times than I can even count and so hopefully this is it. And I hate to start this rainy Wednesday on a low note, but man, if there is a Turbo 3 this year, I don’t know that anyone should consider it if software updates mean anything to them. The original Turbo’s Lollipop update took about 8 months too long to show up and now the Turbo 2’s Marshmallow update took about as long. For a Verizon exclusive flagship, that’s completely unacceptable.

To check for the update, head into Settings>About phone>System updates.

Via:  +David Schuster | Verizon

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