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Back To School Buyer's Guide 2012: The Best Smartphones For Students (Or Anyone Else)

Last week, we took at a look at the best tablets for students and parents alike. Today, we've picked through the hundreds of offerings out there to pick the best overall and best on-a-budget smartphones on all the major carriers. As a bonus, we took a look at the latest offerings on some of the more popular pay-as-you-go carries, which can oftentimes be the best choice for a student.

With that, let's get started.

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Glu Mobile Purchases Gamespy, Looks To Beef Up Multiplayer And Social Support

Just about everyone who has played a PC game in the past dozen years has probably heard of (and possibly used) GameSpy. The service, formerly owned by IGN, has been a major player in the social/multiplayer gaming space, offering matchmaking, stats, profiles, leaderboards, and cloud syncing. And now, freemium game maker Glu Mobile has acquired the service for an unnamed price.

Glu hopes that the acquisition can beef up their multiplayer support:

“Our acquisition of GameSpy brings Glu industry-recognized leadership in online, cross-platform technology infrastructure,” said Niccolo de Masi, Chief Executive Officer of Glu.

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34 Best New Android Games From The Last 2 Weeks (7/19/12 - 8/2/12)

Welcome to the weekly roundup of the best new Android applications, games, and live wallpapers that went live in the Market or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.

This edition focuses only on new games. The app roundup is coming up soon.

Please wait for this page to load in full in order to see the AppBrain widgets, which include ratings and pricing info.

Looking for the previous roundup editions?

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Samsung Starts Production Of New High-Speed Embedded Flash Storage

One complaint many people have had (particularly with Asus tablets) is that the performance of the embedded storage is just plain bad. So I ran some storage benchmarks (2 apps, 13 metrics) on 11 different devices and compiled the results. In sum: while adequate, most devices aren't exactly speedy in the storage speed department.

That's likely all set to change soon, as Samsung (who, let's not forget, is one of the world's biggest suppliers of everything electronic) has begun production of a new generation of embedded storage.

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[Editorial] Just How Bad Is App Piracy On Android Anyway? Hint: We're Asking The Wrong Question

When crowd-favorite zombie shooter Dead Trigger decided to drop its price from $0.99 to free, citing concerns over piracy, the tech world renewed its interest in an age-old debate: how bad is piracy for developers? Of course, any lost sale is money out of a developer's pocket (though it's important to distinguish between downloads and lost sales). However, the question should and needs to be answered: just how bad is the piracy problem on Android?

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Going Indie: The Story Of Independent Android Game Development From Concept To Completion

One of the great things about Android's ecosystem is the number of indie developers who are able to enter the market successfully, providing a great product and inspiring would-be developers to join in. For many though, Android development in general is a mysterious topic. How an app or game goes from an idea to an entry in the Play Store is unknown, but (thankfully) not unknowable.

Of course, considering how major development studios bring apps to life doesn't require too much thought – major companies like EA, Disney, or Rockstar have no problem hiring designers and developers to crank out and maintain polished apps.

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LG Optimus 2X Might Not Receive An Upgrade To ICS After All, Says LG Canada

Way back in November, LG took to Facebook to announce that its high-end handsets would be receiving an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich. Of course, that was eight months ago. A lot can change in that time. Now, LG Canada's twitter account is saying that the Optimus 2X will not be upgraded, and that LG's previous comment on the subject was a "general statement issued from HQ."

2012-07-30_11h22_22

Of course, it's a little hard to understand how "the LG Optimus 2X will receive an upgrade to ICS" could be interpreted as a "general statement".

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[Weekend Poll] What Is Your Preferred Tablet Screen Size?

This is the latest in our Weekend Poll series. For last week's, see In A Perfect World, Who Would Manufacture The Next Nexus Phone?

Back in November - in the early days of true Android tablets - we ran a poll to see what you considered the ideal tablet screen size. The majority (47%) of you said roughly 10"; at the time, that was largely all there was to choose from, so an understandable result.

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ZTE Flash Details Leaked: Packs LTE And Today's Flagship Specs, Coming To Sprint In October

As we've seen occasionally in the past, ZTE is capable of producing a genuinely impressive budget phone. It looks like they're coming up to bat again, because some purported specs for an upcoming phone have leaked, and they certainly look impressive:

 ZTE_Flash_Sprint_Leak

  • Android 4.0 (could be bumped up to 4.1 by release)
  • 4.5" HD IPS Display (1280x720) with Gorilla Glass
  • LTE
  • 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU (MSM8960)
  • 12.6MP rear shooter, 1MP front
  • NFC
  • 8GB storage + microSDXC
  • 1GB RAM
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • .38" (9.6mm) thick
  • Custom ZTE UI pictured

The specs largely match today's flagships, such as the US variants of the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III - right down to using the exact same CPU.

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Download: Latest Google Play Store v3.7.15

Google is in the process of rolling out a Play Store update v3.7.15 which follows 3.7.11 and 3.7.13 from early July.

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