In a world where Samsung and Apple dominate the smartphone sphere, and multi-billion dollar companies like Sony, LG, and Motorola struggle to maintain single-digit market share, it's rather easy to convince yourself that real innovation and excellence costs lots of money. And, as an extension of that thought process, that there's little reason to look outside the current crop of popular phone makers.
But you'd be wrong.
Known mostly in the United States for its Blu-ray players (yes, really), Oppo is a Chinese electronics maker that is easily ignored.
Roman Nurik's DashClock Widget has seen remarkable adoption since its release earlier this month, with a handful of apps quickly adding their own DashClock extensions in a bid to populate your lock screen with useful information. Joining the list today is PushBullet which, in an update to version 9, added a DashClock extension that will let you know how many pushes await you before you unlock your device.
Besides the DashClock extension, PushBullet will now play your device's default notification tone when you receive a push, and has new localization for Italian and Dutch users, along with a couple of other tweaks.
Any.DO – one of the best looking task managers on Android – just got an update that makes the app even more useful. For starters, it now has DashClock support; if you're not already using DashClock Widget, then you're missing out on the single best widget of all time. Really, it's pretty amazing. But that's a different story.
Aside from that, is a new feature called Any.DO Moment, which is essentially an elegant daily reminder to plan your day.
The New York Times, old guard or not, is still a huge source of news to a lot of people and to the company's credit, it's paying a decent amount of attention to its mobile apps. Now the publication is issuing an update that brings a night mode that inverts the colors for easier night reading. As someone who likes to minimize the amount of bright white light blasting into my eyes, I appreciate the option.
In the constant effort to make the Drive app better, Google just pushed an update that brings "performance improvements across the whole app," as well as support for video streaming on Honeycomb or higher, pinch to zoom in the presentation viewer, and overall bug fixes.
This marks the first update Drive has seen since mid-December, when the app got a small speed-boost, along with some general bug fixes. Woo.
Last week, Qualcomm showed off Quick Charge 1.0, a technology that makes your phone charge more quickly, and that you may already have. Today, they've announced Quick Charge 2.0, and surprise of surprises, it charges your phone faster than Quick Charge 1.0!
Quick Charge 2.0 will allow your phone to juice up at rates up to 75% faster than a phone or tablet without the technology. The catch with the new version is that you'll need to have a device with a Snapdragon 800 processor...
To call this game "Tetris on a sphere" would be a bit disingenuous. It's far, far more complicated than that. Tetris merely requires you to place falling pieces such that they create solid, dissolving rows and thus abate, if temporarily, the peril of becoming overwhelmed by the steady stream of burdens in what I can only assume is a clever metaphor for adulthood. Globulous, on the other hand, has a clear goal: clear out layers of the sphere and reach the prize inside.
Republic Wireless just announced a new offer for those who have been considering the switch, but aren't willing to spend $250 for a Motorola Defy XT. Beginning today, the company has two options: buy the Defy XT for the existing price and pay $19 a month for service, or pay $99 for the phone and $29 monthly for the plan. Unlike traditional carriers that subsidize the prices of phones and lock you into a contract, however, there is no contract with Republic.
If you watch a lot of CNN and love your Android phone, you can now combine the two. But Cam, how can we do that? you may be asking. By updating to the latest version of the official CNN app, of course – it lets you watch CNN live on your smartphone! Neat. I wish every network ever would do this. Or at least AMC, because I can't miss The Walking Dead.
If you missed the HTC One launch yesterday, you could just check our HTC One section and read up about the company's latest phone. Or, you could watch the entire unveiling in crisp 720p on YouTube, as recorded in London yesterday, with more Zoes and BlinkFeeds than you can shake a BoomSound at.
Alternatively, if you're short on time, just watch the 4:37 highlights video:
Here's a list of some of our coverage, as well, to give you the full One experience: