Puzzlephone is a modular Android smartphone that’s set to launch in 2015
By Alex Wagner
Project Ara has been in the spotlight for well over a year now thanks to its modules that allow users to swap in new parts to adapt their phone for certain situations and greatly extend the life of the core of the device. Now another company has surfaced with its own take on the modular phone concept.
Finnish startup Circular Devices has introduced what its calls “Puzzlephone.” The handset has three different main parts that you’ll be able to swap. The Brain holds the main electronics of the device, including the camera; the Spine is home to the display, speakers and microphones; and the Heart holds the battery of the phone.
Puzzlephone will run a modified version of Android, though Circular Devices says that the device will eventually support other mobile OSes like Firefox OS, Sailfish and Windows Phone. It’s expected that Puzzlephone will launch in the second half of 2015 with a price similar to that of other mid-range smartphones.
While Project Ara and Puzzlephone both feature modules that let you to swap in new parts, allowing you to put off buying a totally new phone, they’re executed slightly differently. Project Ara is all about customizability, letting you pop in all kinds of individual parts, while Puzzlephone groups many pieces together in the Brain, Spine and Heart. That may make it slightly less customizable, but it could be less confusing for mainstream consumers as well.
Are you interested in owning a modular phone?
Google: KitKat is now on 33.9% of Android devices
Even though KitKat has become merely a chocolaty residue over in Mountain View, for a large chunk of users it’s still their defacto OS build. Literally. Thanks to new data provided by Google itself, the Nestlé wafer is quite a popular product indeed, at least as far as Android goes. 4.4 is now sitting comfortably at 33.9% of all device traffic to the Play Store. Take a look:
This is very refreshing information given that many OEMs are slow to provide updates, if they bother at all. On the other hand, given the explosion in budget priced phones in the past year, as well as the success of companies like Xiaomi, it’s equally possible that there were simply more new phones made with KitKat pre-installed rather than suggesting existing phones were in fact, updated. While this data includes tablets as well, given their lesser popularity, one might be correct in assuming the majority of traffic was generated by phones.
It is also only fair to mention that Google has collected this data based on visitors to the Play Store over a seven day period (ending December 1st) and thus should a large chunk of people running older OS variants simply not have accessed the official marketplace, the numbers would be somewhat different if they had. Whatever the case may be, at the end of the day those are some very respectable numbers.
Now let’s see where Lollipop is three months from now!
Source:: android authority
Verizon has a Blaze (RED) LG G3 that looks stylish while promoting AIDS awareness
HIV is a scary disease, but also one that has become much less of a threat thanks to the development of advanced antiviral medications. Nonetheless, HIV/AIDS awareness is a very important step in preventing infection, treating it, and understanding it. RED.org has been actively involved in promoting awareness for over a decade, with partner companies cresting products with the branding and/or color, and a percentage of the revenue going towards HIV awareness campaigns in Africa.
With that in mind, Verizon has a RED edition of LG’s popular G3 smartphone, and for Cyber Monday it’s available for $0 when entering into a two-year contract agreement (sorry, EDGE buyers still have a monthly installment). For all those interested in supporting a good cause, and looking good while doing it, the Blaze RED G3 might be exactly what the doctor ordered, especially when paired with the free LG G Pad that Verizon appears to be giving away with the phone (make sure to check the Source link for details).
This is actually the second new color variant the phone has received in recent weeks, with the Zoolander-approved Blue Steel model having set the fashion world ablaze last month. Clearly LG is seeking to maximize the flagship device’s sales by releasing a cornucopia of colors to compliment buyer creativity. And of course, judging by the Korean company’s recent performance, it seems to be working.
It’s also worth pointing out that LG has been very aggressive in its updating the hardware to Android Lollipop, so those interested in the device need not worry about its future, though as its a bit less clear as to when Verizon will deploy the OTA update. Be sure to check out our full review of the G3 if you haven’t already!
Source:: android authority
Latest Android distribution numbers show KitKat growing
By Dima Aryeh
It’s always interesting to see how Android is progressing. In the past, the operating system was plagued with devices not getting updates in a timely manner, or at all. Even with Ice Cream Sandwich and early versions of Jelly Bean out, old versions like Gingerbread have still dominated the charts.
Times are very different now, with manufacturers being a lot better about updating older devices. The latest stats show that KitKat now has a 33.9 percent share of the Android market. Being the latest OS and having more devices run it than any other version is great to see, though it’s been like that for a while now. Jelly Bean’s versions total 48 percent, but individually they are much smaller. And thankfully, Gingerbread is at a low of 9.1 percent.
Things can only get better in the future. Lollipop is a huge step forward for Android, and it’ll soon be released to many devices out there.
Google Santa Tracker updated for 2014, brings Chromecast and Android Wear support
If you’d like to follow Santa and his journey all around the world, you can visit the website, download the Android app, use the Chrome extension, and even put it on your television via Chromecast. In the Android app changelog, Android Wear support was added, but we’re unsure of how it will integrate with the platform. Hopefully we’ll get a blog post explaining the integration sometime soon, but a Christmas surprise on our wrists wouldn’t be bad either!
Grab the Santa Tracker in the Play Store using the link below, and take a look at the newest Santa Tracker video.
Source:: android authority
Razer Nabu launches tomorrow for $99.99
By Dima Aryeh
When the Razer Nabu was announced, the world of wearables was completely different. Since then, we’ve had the launch of Android Wear, which has changed wearable technology. These new devices run full Android and have pretty advanced functionality that offers more than just viewing notifications. But these smartwatches have also gotten increasingly expensive.
Well after a long beta testing period and a lot of refinement, the Razer Nabu is finally launching! It’s coming out tomorrow, December 2, for only $99.99. That price gets you a band in one of two sizes and four colors (with black launching tomorrow and the others launching later) with a 128×32 display. The device will connect to any Android device with Android 4.3 and up, as well as any iPhone 5 and up (with support for the iOS 8 Health app).
Though this smart band seems simple, some of the features are really cool. Shaking hands with other Nabu users automatically transfers contact info, the SDK is open for anyone to create social and real life games, and the functionality is pretty large. Plus, the device will last 5 to 7 days on a single charge, which Android Wear devices can’t even come close to.
This is definitely an interesting wearable device to consider. With a low price and awesome battery life, it’s a great way to get into wearables. Plus, it can be used as a fitness band. Will you be getting one? Leave a comment!
Samsung could release an “Edge” variant of the Galaxy S6 – report
From the recent launch of the Galaxy Note Edge, it’s apparent that Samsung has been trying to stand out from the competition. Though we had our reservations about the new form factor, the next Samsung flagship could launch with an “Edge” variant as well.
As reported by SamMobile, Samsung is rumored to launch a different form factor along the Galaxy S6 next year. Much like the Note line this year, the Galaxy S6 is said to launch in two variants: one with a plain slab of glass like we’re used to, and one with a curved-edge display. We’re unsure if the screen will have the same curve on the right edge like we saw at the Note Edge, but we’re hoping Samsung improves on the form factor, as the curved screen device had some problems of its own.
Left-handed use was one of the problems we ran into with the Note Edge, as was the form factor in general. Overall, the phone felt interesting, weird, but very tough to get used to. It’s a different idea that we don’t necessarily want to see go away, but it does need some work if anyone is going to buy it. Samsung has a huge opportunity to rethink software and hardware alike with the Galaxy S6 Edge, and make it a truly innovative package.
If the software improves, especially on the Edge display, it could change the way we think of smartphones. Imagine expanded uses for the curve that go beyond the current feature set, as well as better software that would be less prone to accidental bumps and touches. Additionally, if the in-hand feel could be improved in any way, that would also be a huge step forward.
Like with the Note and Note Edge, Samsung is expected to launch the Galaxy S6 in full force, while only making a limited number of the Edge variant. At least at its launch, Samsung announced limited availability of the Note Edge, though now it’s launching on all U.S. carriers. With Samsung pushing forward the Note Edge’s availability into more markets we assume one of two things: either there’s a real demand for curved devices, or Samsung is merely attempting to get the idea out there and into the hands of more consumers, in hopes it will take off.
With the Samsung Galaxy S5 selling 40% fewer units as they wanted it to, Samsung will likely be doing everything in its power to make sure we don’t see a repeat of this situation. Creating a GS6 Edge variant could certainly fit well into the company’s plans. After all the Galaxy S6, known internally as “Project Zero“, is said to be a complete reimagining of what we should expect from the Galaxy S line.
How do you feel about Samsung continuing its efforts with curved-screen technology? Do you think you’d buy an Edge device if it came in an S6 package?
Source:: android authority
Top 5 most popular Android apps from last week: SUPER, Amaze
Every week we cover new Android apps with Fresh Meat on Wednesday, followed by Android Gaming on Thursday and Top 10 App Updates on Friday. When Monday rolls around, we look back to see which apps were the most appealing to our audience. Read on for the 5 most popular Android apps from last week. These apps are ones that are most likely new and haven’t appeared in the Top 5 list more than 3 times.
App info: Super is fun. It’s also quirky, colorful, and different. People who use Super usually laugh once they get into it. Go on, give it a try—it’s free!
2. Home Design 3D
App info: With Home Design 3D, designing and changing your home has never been so intuitive and quick. Whether you want to redecorate, redesign or create the home of your dreams, Home Design 3D is the perfect app for you!
3. Amaze File Manager
App info: Open Source, light and smooth file manager. Attractive Material Design like UI. Basic features like cut, copy, delete, compress, extract etc. easily accessible
App info: WeMail is a free email app that is designed from the ground up for the way you naturally communicate using your mobile phone. Automatically organize emails by sender, reducing your inbox size by more than 50%.
5. The Shadow Sun
App info: The ultimate Western action RPG has arrived on Android! Embark on an epic dark fantasy in the grand tradition of great, story-driven RPGs from PC and console, created by veterans of the Neverwinter Nights, Baldur’s Gate, and The Witcher franchises.
Note: To ensure that all apps receive a fair chance to make the list, we will retire any app that has made the list for three consecutive weeks and will place it in our Android and Me App Hall of Fame. We will post this Hall of Fame list in a dedicated series. Any app with * next to the title indicates it will now be added to our Hall of Fame list and will no longer be listed in this article.
The Dragonfly Futurefön may be the most ridiculous laptop hybrid ever
Arguably the “holy grail” of the tech universe is an all-in-one device that can successfully do everything we need to successfully live in our modern world: acting as a replacement for our laptop, tablet and even our smartphone. While such a product could be extremely convenient, attempts to create such a device have generally failed when it comes down to execution. The Dragonfly Futurefön is another futile endeavor that aims high but ultimately bends, twists, and dual-boots in all the wrong ways.
One of the first things you’ll notice about Dragonfly Futurefön, aside from its odd name, are the dual screens attached to the keyboard. The idea behind this unique dual-screen setup is that you can dual-boot Windows or Android using one or both monitors at a time. The right-most monitor detaches from the base, allowing you to use it as a tablet or a phone. Yes, that’s right, you can use it as a phone. They’re calling the phone the “Slingshot,” and since it’s a tablet/phone hybrid, it’s going to be pretty massive. The device comes in two versions: one Android-only variant, and one that runs Windows while the Slingshot runs Android, allowing you to run both operating systems at a time when the phone/tablet unit is attached.
Included in this odd-shaped package is a slide-out trackpad and a smartpen that nestles in the side of the device. Oh, and it has a detachable Bluetooth earpiece around back. How could you live without this thing? Okay, probably pretty easily.
Let’s talk about size for a second. The device’s monitors are both 7-inches, giving you both an awkward phone and laptop experience. Here, they show the device compared to the size of a dime:
If these images show exactly how the final product will look, this thing is going to be a freakin’ monster in its fully put together form. Imagine holding the whole unit up to your ear!
The Dragonfly Futurefön is currently raising money on IndieGoGO. The company’s goal is a mere $10,000, and they’ve far surpassed that. At the time of writing this, they’re already at $508,000. Wow. You can find out more about the IndieGoGo campaign here.
As for costs? $300 gets you the all-Android version, while $400 gets you the dual Windows/Android hybrid. That seems awfully cheap for what the Futurefön is promising to accomplish.
Honestly, this idea is really awesome. It’s futuristic and different, and we can’t knock anybody for trying to make “the next big thing” a reality. With that being said, it is also way beyond the realm of practicality. It’s thick, likely heavy, tries to do too much and will probably end up failing miserably when it comes to achieving its true goal: being a no-compromise all-in-one device.
Why will it fail to deliver a no compromise solution? Because you’re stuck with a weird format laptop, a massive phone and likely a host of other issues including the fact this is a startup and they are bound to run into delays and other problems. That my friends is the very definition of a compromise-heavy product.
What do you think of the Dragonfly Futurefön? An epic idea and the greatest thing since sliced bread, or is it doomed to fail before it even arrives?
Source:: android authority
Amazon Fire TV on sale for just $69
By Sean Riley
We’ve seen some scorching deals on the Amazon Fire phone and the Amazon Fire TV Stick already, but the most highly-praised device in the Amazon lineup of late has been the Fire TV, and we hadn’t seen any serious discounts on it until now.
For Cyber Monday, Amazon is slashing the price on the Fire TV a full $30, bringing it to just $69. If you are wondering why you would opt for this over the Fire TV Stick, which even at full retain is cheaper at $39, then let me offer you a quick refresher on the Fire TV.
One of the more notable features of the Fire TV is the Voice Search built into the remote that is included in the box with the Fire TV. The Fire TV Stick can take advantage of this feature through the app on your phone or if you buy the voice control remote separately, but that’ll set you back another $29.99 and put you right up to this sale price on the Fire TV.
The Fire TV is also a significantly more powerful device than its minuscule sibling. It features a quad-core CPU (Snapdragon 600) with Adreno 320 graphics and 2GB of RAM. This is a huge step up from any of the other streaming devices out there including the Roku 3, Apple TV and Chromecast. This means a more fluid UI anytime you are using the device and will be even more relevant if you ever decided to pick up the Amazon Fire Game Controller and use this as a console.
One of our biggest complaints with the Fire Phone was that the focus on getting you to Amazon content simply wasn’t terribly relevant on a phone, but that same UI and focus on the Fire TV works and reviewers have been unanimous in their praise of this device as a value even at the normal $99 price, so this deal is not to be missed.