If there's one thing I think we can all agree on, it's that when our phones are low on juice, we're willing to jump through a hoop or two to power back up. Be it an awkwardly placed public wall outlet, regularly carrying around external chargers, or buying a phone with a user-replaceable battery so that swapping in a spare is quick and easy.
We also all know somewhat instinctively that using our phones while they're on a charger will decrease the rate at which they charge - that's just common sense. Even if the phone is charging, using the device obviously consumes power, and that cancels out some of the net effect charging has.
Square batteries are fine for square things, but the latest craze is round watches, which means lots of wasted space on the inside. That's a bummer when we're already struggling to keep watches running for more than a day. However, LG Chem says it has leveraged new manufacturing techniques to produce hexagonal batteries that can cram as much as 25% more power into a watch.
Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications, games, and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.
Please wait for this page to load in full in order to see the widgets, which include ratings and pricing info.
Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.
Photo Wall FX Live Wallpaper
Today's app roundup is sponsored by the Photo Wall FX live wallpaper by Handy Apps. The idea behind this wallpaper is simple: it uses the local photos on your phone or tablet to make a grid collage, dynamically selecting and cycling photos and sizing them so that there's no space left between them.
You can't turn around these days without spotting a mediocre Bluetooth accessory being cranked out in a white label electronics factory in Shenzhen. The Jaybird BlueBuds X, however, continue to be some of the best wireless earbuds available, but they're very pricey. You can get them for the lowest price yet today, but you'll have to wait a few weeks for Amazon to get them back in stock.
Play Music is as much an online service as it is a mobile app, but when it comes to the former, you have to wait your turn before you can get your hands on it (without jumping through hoops). Fortunately, Play Music has come to Argentina. Thanks to alphabetical order, it's now the first country listed on Google's support page.
Google Earth debuted way back in 2005, long before Android existed in any meaningful way. It was a borderline magical experience at the time—you could just open a program and see the entire planet from orbit. Google Earth might be old news now, but Google is celebrating the anniversary with a new discovery feature. It's only on the desktop right now, but "Voyager" shows you the best things available in Google Earth.
People have been hopping on bikes and racing around France for over a century. Okay, they may have been doing it for even longer, but this year marks the 102nd time they will call it the Tour de France. If you live in the US and want to stream the action on your Android device, NBC has released an official app into the Play Store just for you.
NBC says its mobile app will provide live video coverage from every stage and full replays. There's a map you can use to track the action, or you can just use the app to track results if you don't have time.
Sprint would really like you to buy a phone. Really. So much so that they're willing to throw a salesperson and a bunch of phones in a branded car and drive to your door to sell it to you, preferably along with a service contract and a $30 case. The new Direct 2 You service will also offer assistance to existing Sprint customers; the example given in the press release is moving data from one phone to the other.
The service launches today in metro areas in and around New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Denver. Wait, what? Denver?
Trains are big and fast, and if they hit your car, you might die. You would think that was sufficient motivation to be careful at railroad crossings, but there was actually a sharp 9% increase in rail crossing accidents last year. Google has agreed to work with the Federal Railroad Administration to list more than 200,000 public and private rail crossings in Google Maps to help people be more aware.
Remember Bomberman? You know, that cute little maze-based puzzle game that got infinitely more fun when you played it with friends? Right, well imagine a Bomberman game... set in a schlocky slasher movie. That's basically BRAWL, the latest console pilgrim to come exclusively to NVIDIA'S SHIELD Tablet and SHIELD Android TV. It's also notably the first Android game we've seen on the Play Store with an "Adults only" 18+ ESRB rating, though that might be a mistake - the game's trailer (which looks like it's taken from the PS4 version) brands it with the slightly less salacious M rating.
In BRAWL, you take control of one of eight characters that seem to have popped out of a Halloween party sponsored by Hot Topic.