If you read our Nexus 5 Voltron-style review, you know that one of the Nexus 5's only real failings is its tiny, tinny speaker. To quote Mr. Ruddock: "It doesn't get very loud, the quality is pretty gag-worthy." A few XDA-Developers members decided to investigate the actual hardware on the speaker, leading Adam Outler to conclude that at least some units were affected by a manufacturing defect. He decided to fix this problem the XDA way: by cracking the phone open and poking holes in it.
Sure, you could have stickmen run around stabbing each other on your homescreen or even watch as pixelated space ships blast one another out of the sky, but do you know what's more awesome than both options? Dragons. Nothing instills fear into the hearts of child and man alike like those abominable winged reptiles, and now Dragon Strike Live Wallpaper is available in the Play Store so that you can regularly see these majestic beasts in all their fire-breathing glory.
"Smartwatch. Reinvented." declares the title on the Neptune Pine's Kickstarter page. Did we need them to be reinvented? Have smartwatches been around long enough to need a complete reboot? Simon Ian and his team think that they do, and at least 404 people agree with him - they've pledged a total of $118,245 CAD towards the smartwatch in just over one day.
The project's title is also strange in that it's a bit of throwback: instead of being a companion device a la the Galaxy Gear, Sony Smartwatch, or Pebble, the Pine is more like a tiny, full-fledged smartphone that lives on your wrist.
Amazon's Android Appstore held great promise when it was announced, but the reality has often proven annoying to use. A big part of that was the terrible Appstore app that was used to install purchased content on a device. Today things are getting better in that department. The Amazon Appstore client has jumped from v5 to v7 and has gotten a complete UI overhaul in the process.
The new UI is still recognizable as Amazon, but it looks more like the updated Kindle Fire tablets, and less like something designed explicitly to taunt you.
Toshiba pisses me off. It's a company that released one of my favorite Android tablets of all time (which is also subsequently abandoned after 4.1). When I know that a company is capable of putting out good gadgets but they continuously release garbage, it frustrates me. Announcement after announcement, I think this could be the one – this might just be the next good Toshiba device. And every single time, I'm disappointed.
After its update to 5.0 on iOS about a week ago, Pocket has been upgraded for Android as well. I'm a long-time user of Pocket, and while my use case is probably different from the typical user's (there are probably only about 10 items in my list at any given time), it's clear to me that Pocket is always trying to find new ways to make simple save-and-read functionality better and more convenient.
Everybody loves proprietary gaming platforms that make you sign in to play Far Cry, right? Hello? Well they're here to stay, whether you like them or not (thanks EA, Microsoft, Valve, and the rest of 'em) and Ubisoft is trying to make its proprietary service a little less awful with the official Uplay app. It's available now to gamers on the Play Store.
Give Ubi some credit: at least the app looks good.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is one of the best smartphones money can buy. However, it does take a lot of money to buy one. As an unexpected thank you for buying its giant tablet-phone, Samsung is offering $50 in Google Play credit, and all you have to do is enter some information online.
It's easy – just hit up the website below and input your phone number, IMEI, and a few other bits of information.
If you're noticing some fishy battery behavior today, and it looks like Google Play Services is the culprit, you aren't alone. Throughout the day, users have been reporting extraordinary battery use by the usually innocuous services app, accounting for up to 50% of battery usage. It would seem that, for reasons unknown, Play Services is keeping users' devices awake for incredible lengths of time. Some users report that location is disabled on their devices, ruling that out as a suspect for the increased battery drain.