The Moto Z and Moto Z Force have launched today as Verizon-exclusive devices. The Moto Z will come out as an unlocked device in the not too distant future, but the Droid phones are the only game in town when it comes to Moto Mods. And there are settings apps for the Mods in the Play Store—two of them, in fact. I guess that's cool.
Google does a lot of smart things, but it also makes some very bizarre (dare I say, dumb?) decisions. Case in point, YouTube recently changed the way it handles background play, making it harder to end playback from the notification. The "x" used to be tiny, but now it's just gone.
Pre-orders for Moto's new flagships went up last week, but today is the day the phones go officially on sale. Both the Moto Z DROID and the Moto Z Force DROID are available for purchase at Verizon's website and the prices are like we discussed earlier.
You'll have to pay $624 for the regular Z or divide that up into $26 monthly installments over 30 months. As for the Z Force, it's about a hundred dollars more, costing $720 upfront or $30 per month for 30 months.
You can also grab a Mod if you want that, but you'll have to be ready to shell out serious cash for some of them.
Bolstered by surging sales of the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, Samsung has announced its second quarter earnings for 2016, showing that profits, 8.14 trillion won ($45.2 billion), are up almost 18%, with revenue, 50.94 trillion won ($7.22 billion), also up by 5%.
These are big, big increases for Samsung - the biggest profit the South Korean company has made in over two years. This is no doubt thanks to, at least in part, a hugely profitable IT & Mobile Communications division, which has the smartphone department as part of that. Profit for the IM division was 4.32 trillion won ($3.83 billion).
Remember Chromecast's "Fast Play" feature? Well, some of it is out there in the wild now: for example, apps now can be pre-fetched by the Chromecast when they're loaded on your phone (this works for all Chromecasts). But the one feature a lot of people were looking forward to - video prefetching, aka Content Prediction - still isn't released.
Content Prediction is one piece of the larger Fast Play puzzle, but it's an important one. Content Prediction lets the Chromecast start to buffer a video before you even press the play or Cast button on your smartphone, with the idea that the video will start playing, essentially, instantaneously once you start it.
ZTE's latest attempt at breaking into the premium smartphone market is the Axon 7, and it's available for pre-order today. You have to drop $399.98 to secure your Axon 7, which offers some rather high-end specs for that price. One catch, you'll have to wait a few weeks to actually get your phone.
AT&T started rolling out WiFi calling to some of its devices a few months ago, starting mysteriously with the LG G4. The GS6 Active and LG K10 followed that, but now a pair of newer flagship phones finally have it too. The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are getting WiFi calling in the latest OTA.
After nearly a year of rumors, teardowns, a vague announcement, and a false start, Google Play's Family Library is finally going live today. It will begin rolling out over the next few days to users in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Other countries will surely join the list in time, but those will be the first. Family Library will allow up to six family members to share purchased content with each other without paying for additional copies.
Last year, Alcatel made its first real foray into the US unlocked smartphone market with the Idol 3. That phone cost $249, but at the time, offered quite a bit for the money. A large 5.5" 1080p display (with a fairly good LCD panel), dual front-facing speakers, no real bloatware to speak of, LTE, solid cameras (13MP/8MP), and a microSD card slot. High on features, low on price may as well have been the tagline for the Idol 3, and while it was at times excruciatingly slow owing to its Snapdragon 615 chipset, I found it an overall good value proposition.
Ever since its start as a Kickstarter campaign, the Nextbit Robin has been available in two color schemes: Mint and Midnight. Now a third color is joining the ranks, and it's just as interesting and even a little bolder and brighter than the Mint variant: Ember.
The colorway mixes black sides and back with bright red (a little magenta'ish if you ask me) end caps, power button, and volume button. It's striking to say the least, especially with the buttons on the sides popping right off the black plastic. Here are a couple more pictures from different angles.
The Ember variant is produced in limited quantity and will sell for the same $299 as the other colors.