Update 11/17/14: The NES30 has been restocked after quickly selling out back in September.
Last weekend we published an exhaustive review of the 8BitDo NES30, a Bluetooth controller designed for phones and tablets with the looks of the original Nintendo Entertainment System but the extra buttons from the Super NES. The reviewer came away impressed thanks to solid functionality, a smart button layout, and a slavish dedication to the classic NES aesthetics.
The Nexus 9 is a good tablet, but the price is a little high for what you get. You know what isn't priced high? Refurbished 2013 Nexus 7s. A cache of these tablets makes an appearance every now and then, and you can get one today on eBay for just $139.95.
In what I must describe as an almost so-comical-as-to-be-intentional inability to brand itself effectively to consumers, Softcard, fomerly Isis, has come up with a new ad campaign for its NFC tap-to-pay service that should not be viewed by children or those with irrational fears of eyelashes. Meet Tappy. Don't say I didn't warn you.
First, let's get the basics down. Tappy is a tap-to-pay terminal with creepily large eyeballs, humans hands, and shoes.
With Android Lollipop, Google gave the keyboard its biggest visual refresh since the release of Honeycomb. If you like the look but don't particulary care to use the default input method, you have to wait for third-party keyboards to jump on board themselves. SwiftKey already introduced a couple Material Design-inspired themes in the past, but now it's back with five more.
In the newest theme pack, you get three new colors to work with: Material Orange, Material Phosphor Green, and Material Pink.
Not all new features are created equal, and this particular change has us kind of scratching our heads wondering why Google would consider it a good idea. In Lollipop, you can now access your quick settings straight from the lockscreen. This way you can toggle Wi-Fi, cellular data, and Bluetooth without unlocking the device, even if it's secured behind a passphrase.
Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of defense to your online accounts. Typically there are two ways to go about it: having a text sent to your phone containing a numerical key, or typing in one that appears inside of a dedicated app. Google Authenticator serves this function just fine, but you have to settle for something that hasn't been spruced up since the Ice Cream Sandwich days. Authy is an alternative offering that looks a bit easier on the eyes.
The Lollipop Smart Lock functionality is pretty cool. You can have the phone stay unlocked when it's connected to a trusted Bluetooth device, in range of a certain NFC tag, or when it sees a trusted face (presumably yours). Trusted Face mode in particular is quite cool, but it's not necessarily as secure as a PIN or pattern lock. You can, however, temporarily switch to the secure lock screen with a single tap.
In the last several versions of Android, it was possible to quickly access an app's info screen (in Settings) by popping open the recents menu and long-pressing the app in question. If this is an oft-used feature and you've already updated to Lollipop, then you probably noticed almost immediately that it's seemingly gone in 5.0. That's not actually the case - it's just hidden.
Starting with this release, you must first enable Developer Options (Settings > About device > tap the build number 7 times) before long-pressing a recent app entry will jump into that app's info screen.
If you're excited to try out YouTube's new music subscription service, you may not have long to wait. We've gotten several tips this morning from users who now have access to YouTube Music Key on the web, though that access doesn't seem to extend to the Android app just yet. Most users seem to be left out at the moment, so it's probably another one of Google's frustrating staged rollouts.
Having the latest version of the YouTube app (5.17) installed on your phone doesn't seem to help, though at least one reader with Music Key enabled said that there were now no ads being shown during music videos.