We've talked about how handy it is to have a portable charger numerous times here at AP (I even recommended one in this year's Holiday Gift Guide). I've personally tested several different chargers over the last few years, so I've seen them go from $125 for 6,000mAh down to entries like the one we're looking at today – the Unu Superpack – which offers 10,000mAh for just $40 (on Amazon).
Samsung's virtual reality-producing pair of Galaxy Note 4-powered goggles have gone on sale in the US on the manufacturer's website. Gear VR Innovator Edition, as the experimental product is actually called, is available for $199.99.
Gear VR works similarly to Google Cardboard, with a phone providing the processing power and display needed for the experience. But instead of cheaply assembled paper holding up the handset, Samsung and Oculus have worked together to create something that looks as though it should serve a function on its own.
Update: Want a slightly older model for an even better price? The Harmony Smart Control package is $79.99, fifty dollars off, and includes most of the same functionality. It's lacking the included buttons on the larger remote for home automation, which won't matter much if you don't have any compatible hardware and/or you intend to use your smartphone anyway. This deal also disappears after today.
You can control your Chromecast with your Android phone.
Want to stuff a couple of stockings for the holidays? Here's a cool suggestion from Amazon: the Kindle Fire HDX 7" 4G LTE. This is last year's Kindle Fire generation but still the newest HDX 7" available — Amazon didn't update the HDX 7" line when it released the new HD 6, 7, and HDX 8.9" this past September. The 4G LTE models are being discounted 50% today only through Amazon Gold Box, while the regular Wi-Fi only models have kept their regular price.
Update 12/7/14: The deal is back today.
Samsung is really the only game in town if you want an Android slate larger than 10-inches. The Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 is a pricey device, though. The retail figure is $649.99, but it usually sells for $549.99. You can get it for more than $200 less on eBay right now, provided you don't mind a refurbished unit.
The Tab Pro 12.2 is rocking a 2560x1600 LCD, an Exynos 5 Octa processor, 3GB of RAM, and a 9500mAh battery.
Google seems to be making a final push to get people buying Chromecasts before Christmas. If you buy one between today and December 21, you'll get a $20 Google Play credit to buy some new movies to stream on your TV. They don't make it too clear, but it appears you will need to buy from the Play Store to redeem this offer. Update: As commenter SEJ326 points out below, Chromecasts from both Amazon and Best Buy are also eligible for the offer.
Last year, we put out a gift guide with all of our recommendations for the holiday season, but we made one mistake: we released it on December 20th, just five days before Christmas. What were we thinking? I honestly have no idea. This year, we decided to try to be a bit more helpful and put something out at least a couple of weeks ahead of time. You're welcome.
Without further ado, here is the Android Police Holiday Gift Guide for two-thousand fourteen.
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a racing game with unique controls, a chess game for kids, and a gorgeous God of War ripoff.
Back when we first took a look at the design initiative that would become "material design," we noted that Google planned to update apps incrementally, with changes happening over an unspecified period of time, until they'd evolved to full compliance. A couple of months ago Hangouts began its journey, but to many the app still doesn't feel quite up to par. A messy, improperly-layered drawer, lack of some familiar actions from the app's previous iteration, and of course no revised launcher icon are a few complaints begging for resolution.