Most mobile users these days are happy to get LTE service (and a few of us just wish we could get 3G reliably) but there is already a surprising push towards the next big thing in wireless speeds. Samsung thinks it has the solution, or at least what might become one: expanding existing LTE networks into the super-high 28GHz range, the lower part of what's known as the millimeter wave bands.
If a speaker, vibration motor, and an on-device notification light aren't enough to grab your attention when a new message comes to your phone, you need a more extreme option. The developer of HueNotifier Beta has provided one: an impressive sync between any Android 4.0+ device and Philips' range of Hue connected LED lightbulbs. After installing the app and setting it up, new notifications from any app can be assigned to pulsate the light bulb or bulbs in any available color.
Zact is a brand new Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that might just change the way you think about cell phone providers. Its unique approach is built on software provided by parent company ItsOn, and enabled with a mix of Android hardware and proprietary services. The result is unlike anything else available at the moment. With a completely customizable selection of voice, text, and data features, a la cart app-based data, and unprecedented sharing and parental controls, Zact might just be the perfect phone service...
The Xperia Z is a pretty spiffy flagship phone, and tough as well, thanks to its IP55/IP57 Ingress Protection rating. But now there's a more specialized model coming, the Xperia ZR, designed specifically for waterproof functioning in even wetter environments. The new phone is manufactured to the higher IP55/IP58 standard, meaning that it can be safely submersed in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.
The Xperia ZR roughly follows the Z's design, getting rid of some of the slim lines and premium materials for the sake of its more waterproof chassis.
Here's hoping all of our readers are having a peaceful Mother's Day. If any of you gave your mom a Google Play Store gift certificate (and your mother is particularly fond of action games or weather widgets) you might point her towards this story for a few bargain-priced suggestions. Sega has a couple of their Android ported games on sale, and Minecraft is discounted over on Amazon. The surprisingly powerful eWeather HD/Radar HD is also on sale, along with the gaming-focused remote access suite Kainy.
Of course after our app roundup earlier today, we've got to have a roundup of the very best games from last month. This time we have a few more than usual, bumping the count to eight. While our shortlist isn't so short this time around, all the games discussed are well worth checking out. From racing to hidden object, April 2013 had something for just about every type of gamer.
Readers probably don't need to be reminded that each month, we distill all of the Play Store's latest entries into a selection of the very best apps of the previous month, hand-picking a shortlist to save you both time and money in testing everything out. This month, though, there were just too many worthy apps to cut down to the usual five, so we've got a slightly-less-short list of the best six apps from April 2013.
TeslaCoil Software's Nova Launcher has become one of the most popular custom launchers for Android power users since shortly after the arrival of Ice Cream Sandwich, and part of the reason is the constant addition of new features. The latest revision (2.1) adds a whole lot of goodies, especially if you like to play around with the look and feel of your icons and themes. The release adds features both for free users and those who've bought the $4 Nova Launcher Prime.
Remember how we told you Google Games was coming, and how it's going to pack multiplayer functionality, leaderboards, achievements, and stuff like that? That's happening. There are going to be cloud game saves too.
Fresh out of Google HQ, we've managed to score a copy of the new Google Play Services v3.1.36, which is very slowly rolling out to devices right now. For comparison, the current Play Services that most people have is v3.0.27.
Considering Samsung's tendency to release mountains of phones, the Galaxy S4 Mini seemed like a lock from the moment we saw the Galaxy S4. And what have we here? The Galaxy S4 Mini appears to have broken cover in China, and it looks more or less as you'd expect – like a smaller GS4.
Like last year's pint-sized GS3 variant, the Galaxy S4 Mini has the same general industrial design as the S4 proper.