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Microsoft Partners With Samsung, Dell, And Other OEMs To Preload Office And Skype On New Android Phones And Tablets

It should come as no surprise that Microsoft wants to have a larger footprint in the mobile market. So the company is taking one of its flagship products and having it shipped preloaded on a significantly larger number of phones and tablets. No, silly, not Windows. I'm talking about Office.

Office

Microsoft has announced that it is partnering with a good number of OEMs to have Office shipped out of the box on a plethora of hardware over the next year.

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Samsung Electronics Announces A 128GB eMMC Flash Storage Module For Mid-Range Phones And Tablets

While the headline might seem familiar with the same keywords of Samsung producing 128GB flash storage modules, this story is different from the previous one. Last month, Samsung announced a 128GB storage based on the new and anticipated UFS 2.0 standard and targeted for flagship high-end devices — it made its debut in the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. This new module, however, is based on the established eMMC standard and it will appear in mass market mid-range devices.

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Futuremark Releases Alternative 3DMark 'Sling Shot' Benchmark For Android To Make Your Brand New Phone Cry

Some graphical benchmarks are meant to be fairly boring but reliable tests of visual output - the reliable Quadrant benchmark from Aurora Softworks is a good example. Others create an intense graphical test by making a fully-realized 3D environment, essentially a tech demo that's meant to be a digital ruler for the performance of competing components or devices. 3DMark's Android benchmark, with its space battle cutscene, is one of these tests.

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HTC One M9 Official US Launch Date Announced: April 10th

During today's Uh-Oh Protection Q&A event, HTC announced when carriers will start offering the One M9—April 10th.

The manufacturer didn't specify who will retail the phone on April 10th, just that the date marks when someone will start. All four of the major US carriers have confirmed that they will, indeed, sell the handset.

HTCUhOhEvent

April 10th is the same day that the Galaxy S6 is scheduled to launch internationally (with US carriers following in the weeks after) so this date is hardly a coincidence.

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IK Multimedia's iRig 2, The First Digital Music Interface With Android Support, Is Available Today For $40

Back in early January of this year, IK Multimedia announced the iRig 2, one of three Android-compatible digital music interfaces announced by the company in recent months. While the first one -- the iRig HD-A -- is compatible exclusively with Samsung Professional Audio devices (Note 3/4, Galaxy S5/6/Edge), the iRig 2 is the first interface on the market that should support most Android 5.0 devices in some way or another.

Today marks the public release of the iRig 2, and it's already available from retailers like Musician's Friend and Sweetwater Music, though Amazon shows that it's actually not available until March 30th.

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HTC Teases A Big One M9 Announcement In The US This Wednesday, Possibly T-Mobile-Related

The HTC One M9 is probably the less exciting of the two flagship announcements we got at MWC, but HTC's US president Jason Mackenzie says you're going to love what they announce on Wednesday March 18th. That's the same day T-Mobile plans to have an event in New York with the slogan "This one's a real piece of work." Related? Maybe.

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[Deal Alert] Amazon Gold Box Offers SanDisk MicroSD Cards On The Cheap: 32GB For $12.99, 64GB For $24.99

The state of MicroSD card support for Android is kind of odd right now. Long-time expandable storage champion Samsung has decided to forego it for the latest flagships, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, while its competitors at HTC and LG are including MicroSD card slots in their high-end phones. If you're still in the market for a card, Amazon is selling them in 32GB and 64GB capacities at two speeds for a significant discount through the Gold Box daily deal portal.

sandisk

If you just need a little bit of extra storage, the SanDisk Ultra 32GB card with speeds of up to 48MBps is going for $12.99, a modest discount of $4 (and still much lower than you're likely to find at most brick-and-mortar retailers).

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[Deal Alert] Omaker 15,600 mAh Portable Charger With Dual 2.1A Output Is $24.99 On Amazon After Extra $5 Off Coupon

It seems like portable chargers are getting smaller, cheaper, with a larger capacity all the time. What better example of this phenomenon than this Omaker external battery, which boasts 15,600 mAh and two USB output ports that push 2.1A, the amperage needed to charge tablets and some phones at faster than a snail's pace. The device itself supports 2.1A input too, so it should refuel reasonably quickly once you've drained it.

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For reference, the new Samsung Galaxy S6 will have a 2550 mAh battery. HTC's upcoming M9 will have 2840 mAh. You can do the math: you're looking at about 5 full charges for one of these flagships before this portable charger is empty, and that's a conservative estimate.

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29 New And Notable Android Apps And Live Wallpapers From The Last 2 Weeks (2/24/15 - 3/10/15)

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.

Featured App

SeatGeek Event Tickets

Today's roundup is presented by SeatGeek Event Tickets. SeatGeek is like the Google of live event tickets: it searches everything, everywhere, and gives it all to you on the same page. SeatGeek search results for sports, concerts, and other events come from every major source, like StubHub, eBay, all the major league sports markets, and the venues themselves, then the app shows you the final ticket location and price.

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Android Platform Distribution Numbers Updated, Lollipop More Than Doubles To 3.3% As Android 4.3 And Below Slowly Lose Ground

It's only been a month since Lollipop made its debut on the platform distribution chart, and it's making decent headway. Android 5.0 more than doubled its standing, bringing the total from 1.6% to 3.3%. Most of this bump can be attributed to firmware updates that have been rolling out to 2014's flagship phones and tablets. Surprisingly, KitKat also increased its hold by 1.2%, totaling 40.9% of all Android devices.

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Since Lollipop and KitKat only account for a combined 2.9% shift, most of the remaining versions of Android lost ground pretty evenly. Jelly Bean 4.1 took the largest hit, losing a full 1.1%.

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