Sprint is getting some significant updates to its smartphone lineup today: two high-end phones from LG and two mid-range phones from Samsung, in a variety of sizes from petite to freakin' huge, man. The Nexus 5 and G2 from LG, as well as the Galaxy S4 Mini and Galaxy Mega (6.3) from Samsung, are all available on the online store now. They should be in most retail stores soon (with a possible exception in the midwest and southeast), though the Nexus 5 will probably be scarce as usual.
|Jeremiah Rice||Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.|
You might just be seeing a new version of Google Maps in your Play Store downloads today - Google has updated the app from version 7.3 to 7.4. There's not a whole lot of new stuff going on inside, certainly not compared to the cavalcade of UI changes that happened earlier this year. A few tuned gestures, a few refreshed UI elements, and that's about it. APK downloads below.
If you're a regular Maps user, you'll notice that the one-finger zoom gestures have been reversed.
The Moto X got a price drop on all American carriers late last month, bringing the on-contract price down to $100 for all American carriers (though you can find it cheaper at some retailers). It looks like Motorola is following suit with the unlockable developer versions of the phone, which are sold directly from the manufacturer and without subsidy. Previously the Developer Editions were $649.99, but you can now pick one up for $549.99.
The original Rayman Jungle Run was one of our favorite games of last year, and easily in the top tier of running and platforming games available on Android. That title was a mobile tie-in to the Rayman Origins console game, and now that Rayman Legends is out, Ubisoft is back for another mobile installment. Rayman Fiesta Run builds on the original with new levels, new powers, and new gameplay elements.
The latest unabashed cash -in on the Star Wars franchise is now available throughout the system. Tiny Death Star, a collaboration between LucasArts and NimbleBit, is available to multiple countries after an Australia-only launch. The pixelated game is a Star Wars-flavored version of NimbleBit's extremely popular Tiny Tower.
We've checked the Play Store in the US, Canada, UK, and South Africa, and Tiny Death Star is available in all of them, so we're fairly confident that this is a worldwide release.
There are a lot of Bluetooth keyboards aimed at Android tablets, but ASUS' Transformer series of tablets and docks has long been a favorite of those who prefer a full laptop-style form factor. ASUS is trying to bring that same experience (or at least part of it) to a broader range of devices with the TransKeyboard, revealed on the company's YouTube channel late last night.
The TransKeyboard is pretty similar to other mobile keyboards - it's relatively compact and interoperable with Android smartphones/tablets and PCs.
You might not be able to activate the Nexus 7 on Verizon, but Big Red is more than happy to offer its own branded alternative to the best 7-inch tablet available. The Ellipsis was announced a couple of days ago to the raucous applause of absolutely no one, and now it's officially on sale. You can pick one up for $149.99 with a two-year contract, or a surprisingly low $249.99 off-contract.
Yes, yes, we know: Google takes its sweet time in getting all the various parts of the Play Store rolled out to all corners of the globe. This evening (or morning, I suppose) they've expanded the Google Play Books service to South Africa, Switzerland, and Turkey. Android and Chrome users in these countries should be able to buy and read books right now.
Pics or it didn't happen: South Africa
Today's update brings Google Play Books to 39 countries, mostly in North America, Europe, and Asia - in fact, South Africa is the first country on the continent to get access to the service.
Back when the Google Glass Explorer program was starting up, there was a bit of a to do about the fact that users of the beta hardware were not permitted to sell their Glass units. After some consumer uproar, Google amended their position to allow lending Glass to others on a limited basis. They still preferred people not sell Glass, and explicitly told Explorers that their Glass units would be disabled if they did so.
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got an interestingly ancient racing game, a tug-of-war tower defense title, and a game that I wouldn't play in front of my grandma.