If there's one thing Amazon knows how to do, it's sell stuff to as many people as it can. Today the company has announced that 41 new countries and territories now have access to its online Android marketplace. These areas are spread throughout Africa, the Middle East, Oceania, and Southeast Asia.
If you act quick, you can get a nice deal on an tablet from Newegg, which is offering 10% off a bunch of Android slates. It's not clear how many devices are included, but the new Shield Tablet is one of them (that's $30 off). This deal ends tonight—July 31st. Update: Looks like Newegg just removed the Shield from the list of tablets you can use the code on. Other devices seem to still work fine.
Verizon is sending out an over-the-air software update to Galaxy S5 owners that brings in a number of improvements. Though, before you get too excited, most of these changes skew towards the minor side of things. Verizon's Caller Name ID, Message+, and Cloud apps have all been updated. Likewise, some of Samsung's apps and accessories have seen attention as well. Web Search has been added to S Finder, and Visual Voicemail now works when the S-View flip cover is closed.
The Oculus Rift has been in development for a few years with development kits available to those who wanted to experience the future of motion sickness, but now the second iteration of the development hardware is out. Naturally, iFixit got one to tear apart. What they found is solid evidence of the collaboration between Oculus and Samsung. The screen in the Oculus Rift DK2 is literally the whole front panel of a Galaxy Note 3.
ZOMG! Volantis? Is it time for Volantis? You know you were thinking that, but we just don't know what's going on. All we can say for certain is that Google's Play Store in the US has no stock of the WiFi N7 or the LTE versions with AT&T or T-Mobile SIMs. The only version you can get is the "GSM Networks" LTE tablet.
HTC's Butterfly series is an interesting one. While this particular range of models rarely makes its way outside of Asia, HTC often uses it as a testbed for new technology and features, and some of the highlights of these phones make it into the primary international lines on the next go-round. The latest version of the J Butterfly, which will launch exclusively on Japanese carrier KDDI next month, has some additions to the basic One design that might be worth watching.
The Amazon Appstore is slowly expanding to become a notable addition to the Android landscape, and though the Fire Phone isn't getting much love from reviewers, it's certainly giving Amazon a reason to boost the Appstore's profile. The latest promotion makes 30 paid apps free, over a $100 value. While not all of them are must-haves, more than a few deserve your attention. This time around the focus is more on tools than games, but there should be at least one entry for everyone.
At this point, it's essentially impossible to deny that Android is beating other mobile operating systems with a big market share stick. According to a report issued by Strategy Analytics, phone manufacturers sold a combined 295.2 million smartphones worldwide in the second quarter of 2014, 249.6 million of which ran Android. That gives Google's OS a staggering 84.6% of the market share for new devices, up from 80.2% the previous year.
Update: Verizon's specification page has been changed to indicate that the LG G Vista has an "HD" screen. It looks like there was an error in the original spec list. We're going to assume that means that it's a 1280x720 screen.
Looking for a mid-range phone on Verizon? Then you've got two more choices starting today. The LG G Vista, an enormous "phablet" device, and the Kyocera Brigadier, the latest in the company's line of "tough" phones, are both on sale now at Verizon's website.