Friday, April 29, 2016

Don’t Miss These Android Stories: April 29, 2016

Another week in the books here at DL. This week was filled with a lot of good news, highlighted by Rick Osterloh’s joining of Google to oversee the Nexus program. Also filed under the “good” section of this week, Fenix (the Twitter client) did not vanish forever due to running out of tokens, and instead, Twitter appears to be working better with developers to keep issues such as this from happening.

Also happening, we posted up a guide to buying your first unlocked smartphone, gave you five good reasons to purchase a HTC 10, provided an overview of Google’s new MODE Android Wear watch bands, talked about possible HTC Nexus device, and much more.

Don’t miss this week’s highlights. 

Go, Blazers!

Don’t Miss These Android Stories: April 29, 2016 is a post from: Droid Life

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DEAL: Unlocked Galaxy S7 Edge Drops to $628.99 at eBay

So, earlier today, we shared a deal on an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S7 that was available over on eBay for just $559. That’s still a hell of a deal, but now we have a Galaxy S7 Edge, a phone that is arguably superior and a fan favorite around these parts, in the same unlocked capacity, for just $628.99.

Come on, that’s just not fair. This phone is well over $700 at US carriers and is inching close to $800 at some. 

With this unlocked S7 Edge (SM-G935F), you are looking at the same situation as the unlocked S7 (SM-G930F), which means Exynos processor instead of the Snapdragon 820, no Samsung Pay, and connectivity on T-Mobile and AT&T only. Other than that, this is a great option for those looking for a deal on the best phone of 2016.

This deal also includes free shipping, plus all three colors (black, gold, and silver) seem to still be available.

eBay Link

Cheers Scott!

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Friday App Sales: Star Wars: KOTOR, Star Wars: TCS, House of Hell, and More

In case you are not a Portland Blazers fan or plan on watching all of the baseball action scheduled for this weekend (Go Giants!), might we interest you in a few new apps and games? Each week, Google Play has a ton of applications on sale, ranging widely in genre. This week, there are a few Star Wars titles (KOTOR, LEGO Star Wars, and others), The Forest of Doom, House of Hell, and Battlestation: Harbinger.

If those don’t strike you as cool, there is Fitness Point Pro for $2, Trial of the Clone for $1, Island of the Lizard King (not related to Jim Morrison, sadly), Blood of the Zombies, and many more.

Check out the massive list below. 

Friday App Sales

Go grab a few games for this weekend.

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AT&T Galaxy S6 is Next in Line for Marshmallow Update

According to Samsung, the Galaxy S6 on AT&T is the next of its 2015 flagships to receive the update to Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. After updating most of its other carrier variants, AT&T getting in on the action all but rounds out the S6s.

The update will arrive as software version G920AUCU3CPC2. Thanks to Marshmallow, users will be able to use Google Now on Tap, see longer battery life through Doze, and enjoy finer controls over app permissions. Samsung’s support site is the spot carrying this news of Marshmallow rolling out as early as yesterday, while AT&T’s support page for the S6 doesn’t mention anything rolling out yet. We also aren’t sure when the Galaxy S6 Edge on AT&T will receive the update, but it shouldn’t be far off.

To check for Marshmallow on your AT&T S6, head into Settings>System>About device>Software update>Check for updates.

Via:  Samsung

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DEAL: Unlocked Galaxy S7 is Just $559 at eBay

During launch week, you could buy an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S7 for $599, a hell of a deal at the time. Here we are a month later and that same phone can now be had for $559. At most US carriers, you are looking at close to $700 for this phone, so you can see right there that this phone is being sold at a substantial discount.

This is the model (SM-G930F) that I own and use on a daily basis. It’s an international unit that runs an Exynos octa-core, which most across the internet would agree crushes the Snapdragon 820 variant, both in terms of performance and battery life. It’s the version that we wish Samsung would have released in the US. Other than the processor switch, this is the same great Galaxy S7 that you know. 

This particular unit will work without a hiccup on T-Mobile or AT&T and is a GSM phone (no Verizon or Sprint here).

As for downsides, just know that Samsung Pay is not currently supported on these international units. Samsung seems to have blocked Samsung Pay by model number, from what I can tell, rather than by location or SIM. These units may get access to Samsung Pay once it launches in select countries later this year (like the UK), but there is no guarantee.

The deal includes free shipping.

eBay Link

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Droid Life Q&A Sessions: Volume 39 Answers

On Monday, we posted up Volume 39 of the Droid Life Q&A Sessions, looking directly at you to submit questions. As always, you didn’t disappoint. We received tons of a great questions, ranging in multiple subjects. We were asked about the Nexus 6P, our current thoughts on Android N, which fitness devices we love, and even our predictions for the Portland Trail Blazers.

With Google I/O coming up and Motorola probably launching a device or two, 2016 is about to heat up. Much like you, we are looking forward to it. Fingers crossed for a blazin’ rest of the year.

Take a look at our answers below. 

Reminder: K is Kellen, T is Tim.

After seeing the G5’s lack of Modules, what modules would you want in a modular phone?

K:  I feel like there are much more innovative thinkers than me who could answer this, but it could be cool to see some sort of speaker attachment to turn your phone into a great external speaker for occasions where you don’t want to also carry around another Bluetooth speaker. It could be cool to add some sort of secondary display like the YotaPhone had that shows real details and is touch sensitive.

T:  I would be all about an external speaker. I would use that thing all of the time. LG sorta has one for the G5, but it’s unavailable in the US. Beyond audio, I would also like to see more development towards a camera attachment, but not one that only adds a dedicated shutter button and T/W wheel. Talk about boring and uninspired.

Looking to buy a smaller (~5″) phone for my wife, who’s joining the 21st century and finally getting a smartphone. Any suggestions?

K:  There aren’t many. The Xperia Z5 Compact is an option, but it’s just not that great of a phone. iPhone 6s heh.

T:  Nexus 5X seems like it’d be a good choice. Pure Android, no funny business. Good camera, and the overall performance has gotten better thanks to updates.

nexus 5x review-2

What’s your favorite fitness device?

K:  Almost all of them suck, unfortunately. I wore Jawbone’s garbage trackers for years, am wearing Fitbit’s giant Alta thing now and don’t like it, and use my TAG Connected for runs and don’t like it either because like all Android Wear watches, it’s battery life is trash. My favorite individual thing is probably my Jaybird X2 headphones. They sound great and last a long time.

T:  Even when I’m doing fitness stuff, playing sports and what have you, I don’t use anything. For some odd reason, I don’t really care to track my steps, calories, BPM, or anything like that. Just doesn’t interest me as a consumer.

What are your thoughts so far on Android N?

K:  I wish I could spend more time with it, but it seems to be pretty buggy still. I’d try and say that I’m excited for multi window, but I never used multi window on any other phone regularly. The new notifications with quick reply look great. So ummm, yeah it’s cool, but doesn’t exactly seem to be anything ultra special at the moment.

T:  We are only on DP2 of Android N, and as of right now, I would say, “so far, so good.” The UI for the notification pulldown is a little iffy, but if that gets straightened out, I am excited for its release. It seems to be a very comprehensive update for the OS. As of today, though, it’s pretty plain and borderline boring. Bring on the public launch!

android n

What hardware or software feature would you like to see get implemented for the next big jump in smartphone camera quality?

K:  I mean, how much better can we get? I guess we can start bumping up resolution again while keeping the pixels bigger. I do think that we’ll continue to see dual cameras too, because with the limits in smartphone thickness, two cameras do allow for some fun things, like wide-angle shooting or monochrome goodness. But these ideas are still pretty new and need to mature.

T:  In my opinion, it’s not the hardware or camera software that needs to be upgraded, but it is the services that we share our photos to. For example, when I post a picture to Instagram or Twitter, I don’t want to be losing quality. IG has definitely come a long way since the days when they were jacking up our resolution, but I still think there is a long ways to go. At this point, I don’t know how much more is really necessary to make mobile photography any better. I won’t say we’re at a pinnacle or anything, but we’re pretty damn close, right? I guess the only next step would be 3D cameras. Everyone wants that.

htc 10 camera

Will Project ARA ever see the light of day?

K:  Probably not. I just don’t think that the interest is there any longer since we are years and years late on any type of release. I always thought it was a cool concept, but didn’t make much sense for hardware manufacturers to get behind in the long run. The support and cost involved has to be huge. But, Ara did lead the way to phones like the G5, which are attempting to make modularity main stream for the first time. So there’s at least that.

T:  While I love the concept, I don’t see it coming to market anytime too soon. And even if it does, it will likely be met with the same issues the G5 has – too few modules. You need tons of developers and hardware makers combining resources to build a platform on modularity, and right now, we are not seeing that. I believe Toshiba is currently leading the charge on modular goodies, but even with that big name in the game, we are a long ways off.

Is the Nexus 6P still the best all around bang for your buck smartphone?

K:  Probably, yeah, if you like big ass monster phones. But at sub-$500 on most days, thanks to deals, I’m not really sure how it isn’t always in the top 3 choices. It’s stock Android, gets updates, has a nice design and great build, and super good camera. Not much to hate on there.

T:  If you don’t mind the size, the price and specs are still suitable for daily driving, no doubt. I love that phone. Even if you were to argue against the Nexus 6P, it’s easily in any blog’s Top 3 Android phones list. It’s that good. Just thinking about it makes me excited for what we might see from Google this year.

galaxy s6 vs iphone 6-8

What will Apple need to do to make the iPhone 7 your daily phone?

K:  They can’t do anything to make that happen. Apple has made really good phones for a long time and I still have absolutely zero interest in owning one for daily use. I typically don’t like the design of iPhones and absolutely think that iOS is a garbage operating system. And that’s not just me speaking as an Android elitist. iOS is just so walled off still and not at all friendly to someone who considers themselves as even somewhat of a power user. IT STILL DOESN’T HAVE A F*CKING FILE SYSTEM OR MANAGER. IN 2016. Ugh.

T:  I really wanted to test drive the iPhone 6 for a while and even review it, but Kellen snatched that opportunity from me. Maybe I can do the iPhone 7. We’ll see. The phone will likely be thin, have a Retina display, newer processor, and better camera. It’s always the same thing, just with updated specs. I’m sure it will be a fine phone, but I don’t see myself dropping Android anytime soon, especially with all of the money I have invested in apps and stuff.

How do you feel about the Blazers’ Playoffs chances now with impactful injuries on opposing teams?

K:  For once, the Blazers aren’t the injured team and getting taken advantage of. It feels weird. I certainly feel for the teams that are now injured and about to be bounced by the Blazers, but I can’t help but also think, “Man, finally it’s not Portland.” That said, the Warriors sans-Curry can still take out the Blazers, probably in 5 or 6. As fun as the Blazers can be, the Warriors are next-level good.

T:  I foresee the Blazers making it to round 2, meeting up with the Warriors, and possibly taking the series. But even if that happens, which seems unlikely, the Spurs or OKC would annihilate us. We don’t have the depth (weapons) needed to go to the Finals. We have a ton of heart, but even with the amount of drive, I don’t see us winning a championship this year.

To see all of the past Q&A Sessions, look here.

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Unlocked HTC 10 Orders Begin Shipping Next Week

With HTC 10 pre-orders through Verizon shipping and arriving next week, those of us who pre-ordered the unlocked model a couple of weeks ago have been starting to wonder if Big Red’s early exclusive would push us aside as well. According to HTC’s Jeff Gordon, that shouldn’t be the case and unlocked pre-orders should ship next week as well. 

In response to a couple of HTC fans on Twitter who asked about pre-order shipments, Gordon carried on a somewhat evasive conversation about early May shipments and credit card confirmations going out (which we have yet to receive on any front) before finally committing to “unlocked HTC 10 begins shipping in the US next week.”

One thing I should point out is the fact that HTC uses a company called Digital River to handle distribution of their online ordering system. I mention them because they made quite a mess out of the HTC Vive launch a few weeks back. The mess included credit card payments being canceled moments before shipments were supposed to start and HTC offering very little help in the matter because they don’t seem to work all that closely with Digital River. They had no way to check on the status of your order or when it would ship or anything useful. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen this time around.

Either way, take that, Verizon early exclusive garbage.

htc 10 shipments

Via:  @urbanstrata
Cheers Bert!

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HTC Mother’s Day Deals Include Pink One M9 for $399, Garnet One A9 for $389

HTC is hosting a Mother’s Day promotion through its online store, valid from this morning until May 8 (Mother’s Day). If your mom is in need of a new smartphone, HTC has three different choices for you to select from.

For mothers that enjoy pink, there is a Pink One M9 (unlocked) for $399, down from its usual price of $649. For something a bit lighter in-hand, there are two One A9 models to choose from, a Sprint variant and an unlocked variant – both priced at $389. Both models are the Deep Garnet color. The One A9 is typically priced at $499, making the deal good for more than $100 off. 

If its Father’s Day you are looking to shop for, HTC details that it will have a promotion in time for that holiday, too. Be on the lookout for that.

Go make your momma proud.

HTC Link

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Sprint Gets the HTC 10 on May 13

Remember how Verizon said that they had nabbed some sort of exclusive on the HTC 10 which would allow them to be the first to sell the phone in the US? Well, that came true. They opened up pre-orders this morning and will deliver the phone on May 5. But what about the other couple of carriers planning to sell the phone – when are they getting it? For now, we know that Sprint will sell the HTC 10 on May 13, a full week after Big Red. 

According to a press release from Sprint, on May 13, you will be able to buy the HTC 10 for $26 per month for 24 months ($624 in total payments). Sprint didn’t reveal which color(s) would be available, but we’re hoping it’s more than just the silver that Verizon is offering.

We have yet to hear from T-Mobile and will update this post once we do. As a reminder, AT&T passed on the HTC 10 and will not be selling it.

Via:  Sprint

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HTC 10 Now Up for Pre-Order at Verizon for $100 Off

Verizon told us to expect pre-orders for the HTC 10 to open up on April 29 and they have delivered. HTC’s latest flagship, though only in silver, can now be pre-ordered with a limited-time $100 discount.

As of this morning, Verizon has priced the HTC 10 at $22.83 per month with a 24-month device payment plan or $648 at full retail. To see the $100 discount I just referenced, you will need to sign-up for the 24 monthly payments ($547.92 will be your total). If you buy the phone out right, Verizon has no deal for you. 

Be sure to read our HTC 10 review for the full details on HTC’s best device in years. Or you could read the 5 reasons we think the HTC 10 is worth buying, check out a bunch of tips and tricks for it, and browse through all sorts of photo samples from the camera.

Verizon expects pre-orders to be delivered by May 5.

Verizon Link

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