Not everything in the Android world is super-high-end, and if your carrier is building a brand on being cheaper than the other guys, perhaps having a few cheap phones around isn't a bad idea. Say hello to the Samsung Galaxy Avant, the latest addition to T-Mobile's hardware lineup. The internal specs won't blow anyone away, but with an off-contract price of just $216 (or $9 a month for two years on Jump), they don't need to.
Samsung's finally getting into the premium personal audio market with its Level line of products, but can they just walk into this increasingly crowded space, one that is, frankly, dominated by the oft-maligned Beats Audio? Two pairs of headphones, one pair of earbuds, and a portable Bluetooth speaker comprise Samsung's first real effort to break into this lucrative space - are any of them worth your attention? Perhaps surprisingly, the answer could be yes.
Thanks to its "just right" size and low price tag (at least relative to the other members of the Tab Pro family), the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 is my pick of the litter. And if you'd like to pick one up for even less, Best Buy is offering a new one for a whopping $120 off of retail. You can get a white or black Tab Pro from the big box retailer in its base 16GB configuration for $279.99.
Big things are happening for the smallest of Android devices. Over the last month, we've seen several attempts to extend the capabilities of Android Wear, some have worked out, while others haven't fared so well. Most of the activity has come in the form of 3rd-party apps, so there hasn't been much action for dedicated modders. That is, until today. Team Win just posted its first official custom recovery for the LG G Watch (dory).
Update, 7-25-14: It looks like this over-the-air update was delayed for some reason. Samsung says it's coming in now.
KitKat is making its way to the Galaxy Note II. We've seen it come to Sprint, and just yesterday it started rolling out to Verizon's version of the handset. Now US Cellular has updated the support page for its Note II to say that KitKat is on its way.
VR headsets are all the rage of late, and Samsung is one of the players expected to throw its virtual reality-producing
hat goggles into the ring. Earlier this month, SamMobile provided a shot of the upcoming Gear VR product and a small taste the companion smartphone app that will ship with it. Now the site is back with a more in-depth look at some of the software that will manage the device.
Big Red is welcoming two new devices to its stable today: HTC's mid-range
One Mini 2 One Remix, and Samsung's 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 4. Both are available on the Verizon website right now, and should be in retail stores today or soon thereafter. The One Remix costs $49.99 on-contract (half of what we expected), or $449.99 without the commitment, which actually isn't bad as far as Verizon phones go.
Rooters and ROM flashers of several devices have new options today, as the developers behind the popular Team WIN Recovery Project have added three new Android devices to their growing list. The somewhat dusty LG Optimus 4X HD (from when phone names were crazy long), the LTE version of Samsung's Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 (because Samsung never really got over the crazy long name thing), and the Xiaomi Redmi 1S all get access to the touch-based recovery software, with downloads available from the website.
Manufactures have been scaling back the included extras that come with hardware for a while now - you won't find included headphones or cases with any of the latest flagship phones. But you can generally rely on getting a USB cable and a wall-wart charger at least. Such is the case with the current Android Wear devices, the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live. But if you have one, you'd better hold onto that charger like it's made of gold, because it might as well be.