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.

19
Jul
unnamed (15)

I must confess to a near-total ignorance in all things Minecraft. My basic understanding is that you punch trees, dig, run from exploding zombies, and out of that somehow comes a full-scale digital model of the starship Enterprise or the entire country of Denmark. But I do know that "crafting" is a big part of all that, and in order to effectively craft, you need to know what to start with and what tools to use.

19
Jul
onem8

If you've got an unlocked/international version of HTC's One M8, you might be wondering when your next Android update is coming. According to HTC Vice President of Management Mo Versi, the answer is "late next week." The company is planning an update to Android 4.4.3.

So why not bump it up to the latest release, 4.4.4?

19
Jul
moto g

Motorola's sale to Lenovo doesn't seem to have dampened its resolve for speedy Android updates. After upgrading the 2013 DROID line to the latest version of KitKat earlier this week, it looks like the Moto X and the Verizon-only version of the Moto G are getting ready for the same treatment. We've been sent alerts that some users are being invited to a "soak test" for Android 4.4.4, which means that a full rollout is probably a few weeks away at most.

19
Jul
unnamed (7)

Remember those awesome mini-drones that Parrot showed off at CES way back in January? It looks like the Rolling Spider and Jumping Sumo are on sale now, at Brookstone and the Apple Store at least, for $100 and $160 respectively. And if you bought the drone, you'll want something to control it with. Enter the FreeFlight 3 app, made specifically for controlling Parrot's new toys. It's a free download, though you'll need an Android 4.0 device to install it.

18
Jul
Play-icon-large

Update: After we reached out to a Google representative, the company gave us the following statement:

We’ve been working closely with the European Commission and consumer protection agencies for the last few months to make improvements to Google Play that will be good for our users and provide better protections for children.

The representative was unable to comment on potential changes for the Play Store in the US or other non-European locations.

18
Jul
live

Manufactures have been scaling back the included extras that come with hardware for a while now - you won't find included headphones or cases with any of the latest flagship phones. But you can generally rely on getting a USB cable and a wall-wart charger at least. Such is the case with the current Android Wear devices, the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live. But if you have one, you'd better hold onto that charger like it's made of gold, because it might as well be.

18
Jul
zte

It seems like it's hard to find a non-Nexus device that uses anything close to stock Android. Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, Asus, Acer - everywhere you look there are customizations to a greater or lesser extent. Even Motorola, formerly Google's own subsidiary, uses a custom launcher. Chinese manufacturer ZTE is looking to break that trend, however. The company is planning to launch new smartphones that use the Google Now Launcher (AKA the Google Experience Launcher) by default.

17
Jul
unnamed (5)

Raise your hands if you're excited about Guardians of the Galaxy. Now put them back down, because this is a text-based news story and I can't see you. As usual before a big summer movie, Marvel has released a new mobile game to get fans excited for the upcoming release. But what I'm really excited about is the fact that Marvel published the game itself (instead of outsourcing it to Gameloft) without the usual free-to-play trappings.

17
Jul
no kia

Every major corporation has to fire people at some point. But Microsoft's plan to eliminate 18,000 jobs this year is, to say the least, a big deal. The company announced its plans on a blog post titled "Starting to Evolve Our Organization and Culture," written by new CEO Satya Nadella. Former Nokia employees will bear the brunt of this downsize, with 12,500 office and factory workers from the Finnish phone giant being laid off.

17
Jul
beatthumb

For the biggest of the big manufacturers, loaning out the name of your flagship model to smaller and cheaper phones is a no-brainer. You get potential customers who want the look and at least some of the features of the newest, coolest device, and you also get to reap the rewards of your brand marketing. So it is with Samsung and HTC's various "Mini" models, and now, LG's G3 Beat. Hey, at least they're not trying to call a 5-inch phone "mini."

LG G3 Beat 1%5B20140716151006053%5D LG G3 Beat 3%5B20140716151006060%5D LG G3 Beat 2%5B20140716151006056%5D

The G3 Beat downgrades the best-in-class spec sheet of the full-sized G3 with a 5-inch, 720p LCD screen, a 1.2Ghz Snapdragon 400 processor, a mere 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage with a MicroSD card slot.

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