Wireless chargers are convenient, but they don't precisely add to the decor of wherever they're placed. Even with the 2013 Nexus charger, which is relatively sleek, I'm happy its magnet is strong enough for me to leave it on the side of a bed frame or side table, keeping it and its cord out of sight. The Pond wireless charging tray promised to take care of this issue, and it did so in a way that attracted enough people (just over 200) for it to narrowly reach its $30,000 Kickstarter funding goal before running out of time.
Good news, European readers: physical gift cards for the Google Play Store are coming to more of you soon. Google updated its list of supported countries for gift cards today, marking Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden as "coming soon." We can't say exactly when - a few other countries like Greece, Poland, and Portugal got the same treatment earlier this month, and they're still marked as coming soon instead of linking to the relevant page.
Yahoo has really been upping its Android game with the acquisition of Aviate and the launch of apps like Yahoo Weather. Now the company has finally shown its finance app some love. Yahoo Finance has been completely rebuilt from the ground up with new features and a more modern UI. Frankly, I don't see as developers had any choice other than to start over—the previous app was incredibly outdated.
Sprint's Virgin Mobile pre-paid brand is announcing a new plan option today called Virgin Mobile Custom. Can you guess what the hook is from the name? Yes, it's a cell phone plan that you can customize. The plans come with a basic level of service, then you choose what extras to add. The catch is that you'll only be able to get these plans at Walmart stores.
Update: It looks like FreedomPop ran out of stock on its refurbished tablets almost immediately, and at the moment the links below default to various hotspot gadgets. Given the limitations of Sprint service, it's not a surprise that the company's secondhand hardware stockpile wouldn't be huge.
Also, several prospective customers have told us that they've been given the run-around when trying to sign up for the free plan, instead being placed on the free trial for paid service and almost immediately charged.
Sprint has announced that an over-the-air software update is due out for its version of the Galaxy S4 going by the name of version number L720VPUFNG2. The changelog for this one is pretty minor, so there's little reason to start abusing that update button. Galaxy S4 owners should be on the lookout for an HD Voice icon (which they might be able to notice), and a number of security patches (which they won't).
The IDC has released a snapshot of the state of the industry following the end of the second quarter, and as always, some players are doing better than others. In this case, Chinese manufacturers are the biggest winners, benefiting both from growth at home and increasing success abroad.
Despite offering a bajillion different types of devices, Samsung saw its market share drop seven full percentage points down to 25.2% of the market.
Not everything in the Android world is super-high-end, and if your carrier is building a brand on being cheaper than the other guys, perhaps having a few cheap phones around isn't a bad idea. Say hello to the Samsung Galaxy Avant, the latest addition to T-Mobile's hardware lineup. The internal specs won't blow anyone away, but with an off-contract price of just $216 (or $9 a month for two years on Jump), they don't need to.
As far as we can tell, today's over-the-air update for Fuhu's top-of-the-line DreamTab HD8 is the first time the company has published an Android 4.4 device build. Not that the kid-friendly target demographic is likely to care that their tablets are running the latest and greatest KitKat build, but heck, newer is better, right? According to Nabi's support website, the update is going out to tablets today, and can be initiated with the usual manual check in "Mommy or Daddy mode."
In addition to the extras in Android 4.4., the update adds a basic calendar app designed to let children start learning their Gregorian.