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.

31
Jul
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There's a bitter divide in the world of Android hardware: those who love expandable storage and those who don't. (There are a few who are indifferent and level-headed, but they never seem to speak up in the comments section.) If you fall into the former category, head over to Amazon's Gold Box one-day deal page. They're selling Transcend brand MicroSD cards for dirt cheap.

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You can pick up a 32GB MicroSD card for $13.99, more than $20 off of Amazon's regular price.

31
Jul
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I'm so glad the fervor surrounding the World Cup has died down, and now we can get ready for some real football. And by "real football," I mean American Football played by orcs, dwarves, elves, and other things that are probably more comfortable in a Tolkien tome. Blood Bowl is an Android port of a PC game based on a series of pen-and-paper RPGs, themselves based on the Warhammer universe. The computer game presents itself as a sports title, but its mechanics are more like a turn-based strategy RPG.

31
Jul
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Samsung spent a lot of time at its latest earnings call trying to re-assure investors that its meteoric rise to the top of the Android hardware business wasn't going to end anytime soon. The Wall Street Journal quotes Senior Vice President Kim Hyun-Joon, who mentioned two incoming models in particular: one with a large screen, and one that would be made using "new materials." The former is almost certainly the next iteration of the Galaxy Note, which has been released in the latter half of the year since 2011.

31
Jul
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HTC's Butterfly series is an interesting one. While this particular range of models rarely makes its way outside of Asia, HTC often uses it as a testbed for new technology and features, and some of the highlights of these phones make it into the primary international lines on the next go-round. The latest version of the J Butterfly, which will launch exclusively on Japanese carrier KDDI next month, has some additions to the basic One design that might be worth watching.

31
Jul
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The Amazon Appstore is slowly expanding to become a notable addition to the Android landscape, and though the Fire Phone isn't getting much love from reviewers, it's certainly giving Amazon a reason to boost the Appstore's profile. The latest promotion makes 30 paid apps free, over a $100 value. While not all of them are must-haves, more than a few deserve your attention. This time around the focus is more on tools than games, but there should be at least one entry for everyone.

31
Jul
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At this point, it's essentially impossible to deny that Android is beating other mobile operating systems with a big market share stick. According to a report issued by Strategy Analytics, phone manufacturers sold a combined 295.2 million smartphones worldwide in the second quarter of 2014, 249.6 million of which ran Android. That gives Google's OS a staggering 84.6% of the market share for new devices, up from 80.2% the previous year.

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.

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