Guys, the smartphone world is getting crazy. Phones just seem to keep growing, and Blu's Studio 7.0 is the biggest I've seen yet. Before we get into the meat and potatoes of what this massive phone is all about, I want to get one thing out of the way: this is not a tablet with telephone capabilities. Stylistically and functionally, the Studio 7.0 is a massive smartphone through and through.
I think the real appeal of the Studio 7 (you know, for those who are actually looking for a 7-inch smartphone), is the price: this oversized handset only costs $150.
That cool little HDMI stick that Google released more than a year ago got more useful and more awesome when the Cast API became available for developers. And while there are now hundreds of apps with Chromecast support on the Play Store, Google keeps a small curated list of some of them, kind of like a featured selection. Every now and then new entrants are let into this special club, and the latest addition is a trio of interesting apps: musiXmatch, Lyve, and Fitnet.
The dust has barely settled after the bombshell announcement that Cyanogen Inc. quietly signed an exclusive deal with OEM Micromax in India. That left the OnePlus One with an uncertain future in India without a software partner, and now things are getting even worse. The OnePlus One has been banned in India after legal action by Micromax.
In an update to Gmail's web interface, Google has added support for attaching files stored in Drive to your emails like conventional attachments. Before, you had no choice but to share Drive files as links or upload them yourself. This is especially useful when sharing files to people who aren't using Gmail and therefore don't enjoy the smooth integration with Drive that Gmail has. For those worried that Google would abandon Gmail with the recent focus on Inbox, this is encouraging news.
Carriers are slowly creeping toward the day when they will no longer need old-fashioned 3G voice calls. AT&T is doing its part by updating another device with VoLTE functionality. The Galaxy S4 Mini should be getting an update right now with VoLTE baked in.
Sony hasn't always been the best at updating its phones, but the company does have a commitment to AOSP unlike most others. It contributes a lot of code to Android, and developers are encouraged to tinker with unlocked devices. In fact, Sony has just announced support for AOSP on the Xperia E3 and Xperia T3, meaning all Qualcomm-based phones from 2014 can run pure Android with very little hassle.
The Moto 360 was supposed to be the one. The watch that would rule all other watches with their pitiful square screens and plastic housings. I was excited for the Moto 360, but I couldn't help thinking the hype was out of control. We were expecting too much, and indeed, when I reviewed the Moto 360, the verdict was okay, but not amazing. At the time it was the best Android Wear watch, but that was due largely to the aesthetics.
You might not know it to look at retail stores in the US or Europe, but Huawei has quickly become one of the world's largest phone manufacturers, even while it keeps most of its high-end hardware restricted to China. The company is showing off its engineering and manufacturing chops with the Honor 6 Plus, a new 5.5-inch phone slated to hit the market on December 23rd. It, uh, might look a little familiar.
SHIELD Portable and SHIELD Tablet owners, mosey on over to the Play Store for your latest app update. NVIDIA has pushed a 4.0 upgrade for its SHIELD Hub app (previously called Tegra Zone), which ties into most of the unique gaming-related software on the devices. The new version has a Material Design upgrade to make it play nice with the Lollipop build on the Tablet itself, though it uses NVIDIA's usual green-on-grey color scheme, so you'll have to look closely for the changes to the animation and layout.