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. It looks a lot like the slightly down-market ZL, in fact, with a 10.4mm-thick plastic body.
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.
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. The app is still compatible with devices running Android 4.0 or higher.
The first thing you'll notice is the new entry in the Settings menu, New Apps.
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. 3.1 is a massive update - the strings file, for instance, has more than doubled from 300 to 700 entries. This is how Google is pushing out all the shared files for Google Play Games.
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. It's smooth and rounded, with that divisive carbon fiber pattern on the back panel. It's roughly 8mm thick, which is the same as the GS4.
Have you finished downloading CyanogenMod's 10.1 RC1 release for your device yet? If not, hit cancel and refresh your browser. Just three days after RC1 started rolling out, CM 10.1 RC2 has hit the download center, going up over night for forty seven devices at the time of writing, including devices from the Galaxy SIII to the Nexus Q.
the list goes on
For those not sure why they should care about CM10.1 RC2, an RC or Release Candidate is basically a firmware release that the CyanogenMod team believes is up to snuff for a daily driver – a new-but-not-bleeding-edge release that's stable enough to rely on.
As a recent convert to the Nexus 4 (after waiting months for my Sprint ETF to drop), I'm in love with the wireless charging orb. That's not to say it doesn't have issues (besides its price), though. While I've had nary an problem with the orb, I have heard a few times that it has one serious issue – failing to keep the Nexus in place as it charges.
A few days ago, I came across a potential solution to this problem – the Nexus 4 Charging Orb Cradle by Etsy user Pixil3D.
The 3D-printed cradle isn't necessarily the most elegant solution imaginable, and adding a $24 fix to a product that already costs $60 isn't exactly palatable to this writer, but the cradle has one thing going for it – it's 3D-printed, and anyone that has a 3D printer can make their own.
Have you got a shiny new HTC One in your pocket, but the company's lackluster advertising has only made you more aware of your hatred for Sense 5? Do you long for stock Android, but crave power user features? Does your heart know no fear of voided warranties? Then today is your lucky day, assuming you're using an international GSM or Sprint model. The CyanogenMod custom ROM is now available in 10.1 (Jelly Bean 4.2) flavor for both versions of the One, albeit only in a test build (pre-nightly) format. Update: The first nightly builds just appeared.
These builds are so early that even the most daring of our readers might want to hold back on them.
As the weekend begins, you know deep down inside what's missing in your life. Happiness, love, and security? Nah, if that's what you were about to say, that's dead wrong. What you need is a big honkin' phone in your pocket running on Big Red's 4G LTE network. Oh, and it can't just be big – it needs to have a full HD screen too. The Droid DNA certainly fits the description, and it just so happens it can be yours for the low price of $19.99 (some restrictions apply, phone will not love you back).
The Droid DNA is a bridge between the 2012 and 2013 smartphone worlds.
Hulu's premium TV service hit 4 million users last week, and to celebrate, they've released an update to their Android app. (Actually, the update probably doesn't have anything to do with that. Forget I mentioned it.) The 2.8 version of Hulu Plus adds some much-needed improvements, particularly for playback and video seeking. The free app (tied to the paid service) is now compatible with a wider range of devices - the Play Store is showing everything from the Galaxy S II to my Nexus 7 running Android 4.2 as compatible.
The revised app has better playback performance and reduced buffering, a great help to anyone who's trying to catch up with All My Children over 3G.