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.

30
Jul
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Last Updated: August 5th, 2014

Update: Verizon's specification page has been changed to indicate that the LG G Vista has an "HD" screen. It looks like there was an error in the original spec list. We're going to assume that means that it's a 1280x720 screen.

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Looking for a mid-range phone on Verizon? Then you've got two more choices starting today. The LG G Vista, an enormous "phablet" device, and the Kyocera Brigadier, the latest in the company's line of "tough" phones, are both on sale now at Verizon's website.

30
Jul
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Good news, European readers: physical gift cards for the Google Play Store are coming to more of you soon. Google updated its list of supported countries for gift cards today, marking Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden as "coming soon." We can't say exactly when - a few other countries like Greece, Poland, and Portugal got the same treatment earlier this month, and they're still marked as coming soon instead of linking to the relevant page.

30
Jul
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Update: It looks like FreedomPop ran out of stock on its refurbished tablets almost immediately, and at the moment the links below default to various hotspot gadgets. Given the limitations of Sprint service, it's not a surprise that the company's secondhand hardware stockpile wouldn't be huge.

Also, several prospective customers have told us that they've been given the run-around when trying to sign up for the free plan, instead being placed on the free trial for paid service and almost immediately charged.

30
Jul
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Not everything in the Android world is super-high-end, and if your carrier is building a brand on being cheaper than the other guys, perhaps having a few cheap phones around isn't a bad idea. Say hello to the Samsung Galaxy Avant, the latest addition to T-Mobile's hardware lineup. The internal specs won't blow anyone away, but with an off-contract price of just $216 (or $9 a month for two years on Jump), they don't need to.

30
Jul
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As far as we can tell, today's over-the-air update for Fuhu's top-of-the-line DreamTab HD8 is the first time the company has published an Android 4.4 device build. Not that the kid-friendly target demographic is likely to care that their tablets are running the latest and greatest KitKat build, but heck, newer is better, right? According to Nabi's support website, the update is going out to tablets today, and can be initiated with the usual manual check in "Mommy or Daddy mode."

In addition to the extras in Android 4.4., the update adds a basic calendar app designed to let children start learning their Gregorian.

29
Jul
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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 a pair of graphically-intense puzzlers and a multiplayer party-based combat RPG.

29
Jul
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I don't think anyone has ever accused cable companies of having the best aesthetic sensibilities, but DISH Network's former Android streaming app was a particularly good example of how not to do it. It was a lazy port of the iPhone version, and it showed, covering the basic streaming and scheduling with the bare minimum of effort. The new version... well, I'd be lying if I said it was great, but at least it gets a facelift and a proper tablet interface.

29
Jul
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I'm planning a trip to India and Ireland next month, and since it'll be only the second time I've left North America, I could use a few directions. Google's various services are fine for that as they are, but the latest addition to Search is a handy one for anyone on the road. If you've booked your hotel online and received a receipt or confirmation in your Gmail inbox, Google will make a note of it.

29
Jul
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Alert! Alert! If you use Instagram's Android app, complete strangers could be looking at your photos of appetizers and makeup techniques right now! ...which is kind of the point of Instagram, I suppose. But security researcher Mazin Ahmed discovered that the app uses standard HTTP to transmit photos, cookies, and authentication (including usernames and unique IDs), instead of the encrypted HTTPS protocol. As Mr. Mackie is so fond of saying, that's bad.

29
Jul
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The Comic-Con special editions of Andrew Bell's Android figurines are always special, and this year is no exception. These limited-edition Heroes & Villains II figures were available in San Diego last week on the show floor, but now you can pick them up in a 4-piece bundle for yourself. It's priced reasonably at $40, which is the same sticker price you would have paid for four regular figures.

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The figures have a comic book theme, but with a suitably technological twist.

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