Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

03
Dec
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Are you tired of reading about some of the more nefarious developments at the Big Four US wireless carriers? Are you stuck in a two-year contract that you signed to get a steep discount on your phone? Are you ready to make a change to a carrier that at least pretends that it needs your business? Then Ting would like a word. The Sprint MVNO is doubling down on its offer to help pay off your early termination fee, up to $150.

02
Dec
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Are you curious to see how the versatile YotaPhone 2 performs in the real world? So are we. But with a launch in Russia and Europe scheduled for later this week and no US launch in sight, we'll have to admire it from afar. One Russian technology site is a little more lucky, however: Hi-Tech.mail.ru has managed to snag a review unit. If you're fluent in Russian you can head over there now - if not, you can check out this Google translation.

02
Dec
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Update: It looks like a few English-speaking news outlets have been given early review units as well. Engadget has one, and so does Cnet, among a few less-reliable sites. Cnet was kind enough to post a video, embedded below.

Are you curious to see how the versatile YotaPhone 2 performs in the real world? So are we. But with a launch in Russia and Europe scheduled for later this week and no US launch in sight, we'll have to admire it from afar.

02
Dec
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With Android Lollipop finally getting into full swing, November was the month for developers (or at least those devs that are paying attention) to release Material Design UI updates. Those updates took up a lot of AP coverage last month, but there are still a few standout apps for you to check out below. Just don't get too attached to Clippit - it's entirely too cool and useful to survive the wrath of the US copyright system.

02
Dec
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If you're a fan of strategy games, you had a very good month in November. In addition to soft strategy like Kingdom Rush: Origins and Godus, you've got new entries in the XCOM and Civilization series, not to mention the very impressive newcomer The Banner Saga. There are also some respectable entries in what you might call the casual genre (if you weren't busy swearing at some of the higher levels in The Blocks Cometh), and we've added a few honorable mentions as well.

02
Dec
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Yota's unconventional hardware design has gained the company a lot of press, but following the Mobile World Congress debut of the YotaPhone 2, we've heard nary a peep for the better part of a year. That changed today in a Moscow presentation: the second-gen phone with a built-in e-ink screen on the rear of the case will go on sale in 20 European countries later in December, presumably including Russia.

02
Dec
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The one Nexus-style smartphone that's even bigger than the N6 is getting its Android 5.0 update today. At least a few owners of Sony's Z Ultra (nee Xperia) Google Play Edition are getting over-the-air updates to Lollipop, as evidenced by this XDA thread. Conveniently, one of those fine folks has found the link to OTA ZIP file, so you can download and flash it manually to your own phone if you don't want to wait for the rollout.

02
Dec
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PasswordBox is a system that allows users to keep long and secure passwords to major services, auto-inputting the fields on desktops and mobile platforms and syncing them to a cloud-based system with a single login. It's a popular alternative to the similar LastPass system. Yesterday Intel announced that it had acquired the 44-person company for an undisclosed sum, and intends to integrate it into its Intel Security team (which includes support from McAfee) going forward.

02
Dec
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Most of you have probably heard of theoretical physicist and author Stephen Hawking, one of the most high-profile scientists in the world. Hawking suffers from a rare condition related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis that leaves him with extremely limited movement; for the last few decades he has used a customized mobile computer and a voice synthesizer to speak and write with tiny muscular actions. The latest version of his personal setup was created with the help of Intel and SwiftKey, and the keyboard software developer detailed the process on its company blog.

01
Dec
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Normally the IDrive mobile backup service is $5 a year for unlimited data backups. (Not to be confused with the desktop version, which is considerably more expensive.) But today you can get a lifetime of backup service for just ten bucks. StackSocial is running the promotion, which will be available for another six days. If you find Google or Dropbox's backup plans too limiting, this might be worth a look.

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