When Amazon announced Amazon Underground, a new app marketplace where many freemium games are made "actually free," everything seemed pretty great. You can make in-app purchases on apps downloaded from Underground without actually spending money, which is my favorite way to buy things. Of course, if you spend much time thinking about how this must work behind the scenes, it's tough to see how this will be a winner.
Amazon has been kind enough to share the nitty gritty details. Here's the short version:
Developers agree to waive the fees for in-app purchases
Amazon pays developers 0.2 cents per minute of use, per user
Today's leak of the Huawei Watch on Amazon referenced the fact that the device was compatible with "iOS 8.2 or higher." Normally, it might be easy to chalk up such a thing to an oversight or automatic field-fill on the merchant page.
But I'd take stock in that information: we've learned from a second, reliable source off the record that Android Wear will be receiving iOS support soon. How soon? It's possible we could see an announcement some time around IFA, which happens Sept. 4-9, though the announcement may not necessarily be at the show or even during it - it's not exactly clear.
There's no shortage of budgets handsets floating around out there in the States, and Acer just threw its name into the arena with a couple of low-mid-range (that's a thing, right?) handsets: the Liquid Jade Z and Liquid Z410. Catchy.
I'll be the first to tell you that neither of these phones are meant for power users. Instead, they're for folks who don't care about any of the following: updates, speed, size, processor, or anything else really. I.E. - probably none of you guys.
But they are for users who care about one thing: price.
Now, if you're still interested, here are some details.
In an apparent effort to boost app discoverability and engagement, it looks like Google is rolling out a beautiful new layout for "apps" search results on mobile. Doing a quick search for pretty much anything followed by the word "apps" will get you a grid of app results above the normal search results, each block colored according to the app's icon. Clicking the "expand" button opens up the grid, with more results smoothly flowing in. Check it out in motion below.
Worth noting is that these results seem to only appear on Android for now - the download numbers and ratings of course reflect Play Store stats, and each block will take you to the relevant Play Store listing.
The touchscreen issues that plagued the OnePlus One are well known at this point, but what about the OnePlus 2? This device is still trickling out to the illustrious recipients of invites, and it appears to have a different grounding issue. Rather than affecting the screen, this one affects the capacitive home button. Maybe I'm holding it wrong?
The new Moto X is set to come out in a week or two, but the 2014 model is still a fine device. It's even more fine if you can get one for a mere $180, as you can today on eBay. This is the Verizon model of the phone (XT1096), but that means it's unlocked and should work fine on GSM carriers.
Amazon's Fire Phone, the logical smartphone extension of its Kindle Fire tablet series, is a dud. A combination of lackluster reviews, carrier semi-exclusivity, and most of all being tied into Amazon's app and service environment have made it more or less a total failure. The company never publishes hard data for its hardware sales, but casual observation and constant discounts (sometimes more than $500 off of the original $650 off-contract price) imply that the product has been a wash.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon isn't eager to continue in the phone market. According to the paper, "dozens" of engineers in the Lab126 hardware team have been laid off.
Folks who desire an HTC One M9 but don't have that kind of cash lying around don't have to settle for nothing. The Desire line does a decent job of taking the flagship's form factor, stripping away the premium gloss, and producing a piece of hardware that everyday smartphone users can get by with just fine. And they typically cost around a third of the price.
The latest option for Verizon Wireless customers is the HTC Desire 626, announced earlier this month. This device comes with a plastic white and gold body that looks like a paired down version of the M9.