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T-Mobile's new plans: Ten frequently asked questions

T-Mobile's new plans: Ten frequently asked questions

T-Mobile SIM Card

T-Mobile just dropped one helluva big change on us, completely redesigning its plans and how it sells devices.

No matter how simple they are or how you explain them, there are bound to be questions left unanswered. We've been keeping an eye on the burning questions people are having regarding the changes, and done our best to answer them below. We implore you to first take a look at our full set of announcement posts from Tuesday, where we break down the gritty details of the different plans, as well as some device announcements and other details:

  • T-Mobile announces new Android 4G LTE devices
  • T-Mobile makes first LTE cities official
  • T-Mobile LTE 'Simple Choice' no-contract rate plans are here
  • T-Mobile simplifies tablet and hotspot data prices, too

Still curious to know a little more about T-Mobile's new rate plans? Hang around after the break and see if we can clarify a few things.

1. Will I be required to sign a 2-year contract on T-Mobile anymore?

Nope! T-Mobile will not require a 2-year contract for its services anymore. At this moment, authorized resellers (think Best Buy and RadioShack) will still offer 2-year contract "Classic Plans," but T-Mobile's own stores and website will not even offer the option.

2. How are family plans done in the new system?

The plan system for accounts with multiple lines is nearly identical to that of individual lines. The base cost of the first line on an account is $50, which gets you unlimited talk, text and data -- the first 500 megabytes of which is at full speed. The second line is $30 additional, for the same services. Each line thereafter is $10 more, also coming with the same talk, text and 500MB of full speed data.

Each line can be given an additional 2GB of data (for 2.5GB in total) for $10 per month per line. $10 more (per month per line) after that will offer you unlimited data on each line. If you would like more data, including hotspot usage, you can add 2GB of data per month at the rate of $10 to any line.

3. Wait ... so it's unlimited, but there's a limit on tethering?

The only place where the plans really get more complicated is when it comes to unlimited data and tethering. First let's talk about the tiered prices -- for any plan other than the $70 unlimited plan, hotspot and tethering are included. So for example if you have paid $20 extra for 4.5GB of data per month, you can tether with all of it.

On the $70 unlimited plan, there is only 500MB of tethering included. Additional buckets of tethering-available data can be purchased at the same rate as any other data -- $10 per 2GB. Ya, it's annoying, but it's also the only way T-Mobile can likely offer an unthrottled unlimited plan for $70 per month. We'll hope they budge a bit more on this going forward, but the prices aren't ulcer-inducing by any means.

4. Can I add a tablet to my plan? Does it share data with my other devices?

Tablets can now be added to a plan as if they were any other device, and have their own data allotment. When adding a tablet, hotspot, laptop or data stick to an account that already has a phone on it, the initial charge will be $10 and include 500MB of high speed data. The same data tiers apply as with the phones -- $10 per 2GB, up to 12.5GB total. There is currently no unlimited data option for tablet, hotspot, laptop or data stick devices.

5. Will I have to pay full retail for my device if I move to T-Mobile now?

With a move to the new Simple Choice no-contract plans, T-Mobile is differentiating between the cost of the plan and the cost of the phone. This means that if you would like to bring your own phone, or buy one from T-Mobile at full retail price, you will pay the regular rates mentioned above. If you would prefer to have a lower up-front cost but still have a new device, you can buy a phone on an installment plan.

The installment plans consist of a "down payment" and 24 even monthly installments thereafter, with no interest. For example, a new high-end device may set you back $99 down, and 24 payments of $20 -- or $579 in total. The amount of the down payment and installments will differ based on device, but we can expect prices similar to this example. The final purchase price of the phone should be nearly identical to the price if you were to purchase it up-front.

Again the installment plan you have for your phone is not tied to your service plan, so you can pay off your phone at any time and leave, regardless of how far into your service you are.

6. Will the phones bought from T-Mobile be SIM unlocked?

Like most carriers, T-Mobile will keep its devices SIM locked to its network by default if they are purchased on an installment plan. Save for a few cases (the iPhone 5 is expected to be unlocked) you should expect each device to come out of the box locked -- to be unlocked when you finish paying off the installment plan or if you are in good standing and traveling abroad.

7. Arethere separate plans or charges for LTEdevices?

Nope! T-Mobile is not distinguishing between plans and prices if you have an LTE device or not. This is a good thing! (The first LTE-capable devices on T-Mobile are the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy 4 and Galaxy Note 2 and the BlackBerry Z10.)

8. If I have an LTE device, where can I expect to see the new network?

T-Mobile has officially announced thatBaltimore, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Jose, Calif. and Washington, D.C. are the up and running now, with many more to come this year.

9. What additional features are included with Simple Choice plans?

  • Call Forwarding (a big one for Google Voice users)
  • Call holding, call waiting
  • Caller ID
  • Customer Care (T-Mobile is well known for their CS)
  • Voicemail
  • Directory Assistance

10. I keep hearing about 1900MHzDeployment, should I care?

In order to make room for its LTE network deployment on AWS(that's 1700/2100MHz), T-Mobile has been moving its HSPA+ service over to the 1900MHzfrequency. The reason why you may have heard about it is because this move gives interoperability with current AT&T (and most international) handsets for HSPA+ service. The move to 1900MHz is an important one only if you're interested in bringing a device to T-Mobile that doesn't support AWS.

The move has already taken place in dozens of major markets, and will continue as T-Mobile rolls out more locations with LTE. If you're buying a phone from T-Mobile, or another AWS-compatible device like the Nexus 4 from Google, you don't need to worry about your market having 1900MHz HSPA+.

Now we honestly don't think that we've answered every question on your minds, but hopefully we've hit the big ones. If you have some more specific questions to ask, we'll be continuing that discussion in the forums:

Ask and answer T-Mobile plan questions in the forums!

Via: T-Mobile's new plans: Ten frequently asked questions

Tetris Blitz to offer deeper, faster take on classic puzzle game

This ain't your daddy's Tetris - get as many rows as you can in two minutes and customize with power-ups

Android Central at GDC

At GDC 2013, we took some time to talk with EA about the latest mobile iteration of the classic puzzle game franchise, Tetris. Tetris Blitz promises to be a whole new experience: there's no failure, just two frantic minutes of dropping blocks and lining up rows as quickly as possible.

The real catch are the new power-ups. These can wipe out rows and otherwise help you in new and exciting ways. Occasionally a block will drop imbued with one of your three chosen power-ups. Matching up a solid row with that block activates it. Over time, players fill a Frenzy meter which, when capped out, sends you into a bonus points mode where blocks are worth double points. Once the round is over, you can also capitalize on finishers, which can crank your score even higher.

The really cool thing about Tetris Blitz is that new power-ups are released every week, unlockable through the coins you earn through normal gameplay or in-app purchases. As you might expect, the game is free to play, so you'll get the occasional ad in between rounds. You can brag about your high scores to Facebook friends, or just quietly climb the online leaderboards.

Overall, I think this is a nice refresh on Tetris, and sensibly falls in line with what EA is doing with Bejeweled Blitz. So, any takers for when Tetris Blitz launches this spring? Will these new mechanics add a fresh spin to the old formula, or tarnish the classic's reputation?

Via: Tetris Blitz to offer deeper, faster take on classic puzzle game

AT&T apparently has an 'exclusive' on 64GB HTC One


Still no word on pricing for AT&T's HTC One, though

Oh, how we loathe the word "exclusive." For those of us on the editorial side, it's become a bit of a joke. But when a U.S. carrier uses it, it means someone else is probably getting the short end of the stick. In this case, it's anyone not AT&T, which is boasting in a promo video that it's got the "exclusive" on a 64-gigabyte version of the HTC One. (For what it's worth: The storage sizes aren't what's new here -- AT&T announced all that back in February. It's the "exclusive" part that's new.)

That means if you were hoping for the larger storage options on T-Mobile or Sprint, you might not get it, at least not at first. That said, the vast majority of "normal users" (chances are if you're reading this that isn't you) will never come close to hitting that 32GB limit. So, there's that. If you're holding out for a Verizon variant of the HTC One, we'd be willing to bet that 64GB might still be on the table, though. That's up to Big Red, though.

Meanwhile, we still don't have pricing or availability. So in the meantime, be sure to check out our full HTC One review, and swing by the ever-exciting HTC One forums!

And check out AT&T's promo video after the break if that's your thing.

Source: Youtube; via Droid-Life

Via: AT&T apparently has an 'exclusive' on 64GB HTC One

Rymdkapsel bringing minamalist strategy to PlayStation-certified devices

Build a base with Tetris blocks, but don't get too far - those pesky red lines are out to get you

Android Central at GDC

A hidden gem at GDC2013 was tucked away at the PlayStation booth called Rymdkapsel. This is a minimalisticstrategy game with some Tetris-style base expansion mechanics. Players have to collect resources, research new technologies, and defend themselves against the occasional wave of attackers.

Micromanaging is kept to a minimum, though it's clear that there's still plenty of complexity to the game. The demo was on the PlayStation Vita, butRymdkapsel is due for PlayStation-certified devices this April, and hitting Google Play at large anout two months later.

The thing I really like about Rumdkapsel is that it's designed for longer play sessions - upwards of 40 minutes, which is pretty bold in an era of bite-sized mobile gaming. That said, it looks very much like Rymdkapselwill be a test of endurance, where players are balancing the conflicting needs to expand and discover new resources while maintaining a defensible perimeter.

Via: Rymdkapsel bringing minamalist strategy to PlayStation-certified devices

Checking out Havok's Project Anarchy at GDC 2013

Though Project Anarchy may be free, it looks like all a mobile game dev could need

Android Central at GDC

One of the more interesting bits of mobile news at GDC2013 was Havok's announcement of a free version of their well-established 3D engine. For those unfamiliar, Havok is the backbone of such AAA titles as Skyrim, Black Ops 2, L.A. Noire, and many more. We had to swing by their booth to see just how well it performed. Project Anarchy handles a wide range of graphical tasks extremely well, but it also has an AI engine, allowing developers to make a fully-realized game with just a few tweaks to the demo apps included.

So, if they're giving it away for free, what's the catch? Well, the majority of support for Project Anarchy will be community-created, but if you need help from the pros, they'll charge you for that. Also, if you ever want to bring your game to consoles or PC, they'll charge you for that. Sounds fair enough, considering you don't have to shell out a dime to pump out a decent-looking Android game. Plus, many developers will already be familiar with the Havok environment.

Developers interested in taking a crack at Project Anarchy can sign up for more information here.

Via: Checking out Havok's Project Anarchy at GDC 2013

Apps of the Week: Collapse! Blast, Touch Control, Game of Thrones Companion and more!

Apps of the Week: Collapse! Blast, Touch Control, Game of Thrones Companion and more!

Apps of the Week

It's the last "Apps of the Week" post for the month of March, and we're going to make it a worthwhile one.

As usual, we're bringing you a collection of apps directly from the Android Central writers -- ones that stay on our devices as the go-to apps. This week we have a couple of games, a few utilities (as usual) and a couple of odds and ends to keep things fresh.

Hang around with us after the break and see how this week's picks stack up with he rest.

Jerry Hildenbrand - Collapse! Blast

Collapse! Blast

Another great time waster, Collapse Blast is a new twist on the typical match and clear puzzle game. The rounds are short and the action is fast, which makes it perfect for those of us with short attention spans. There is no secret to the gameplay -- tap three or more connected blocks of the same color, and they disappear giving points based on how many blocks were connected and any point multiplier you have in effect. Get a higher point multiplier by tapping the bottom to add more rows. You have a set number of games you can play at any one time, but the number increases as you progress in level and each level up refills the total. Each "life" is replenished in eight minutes. Of course, in-app purchasing is available for those who don't want to wait.

There's also a social aspect if you want to connect the game to your Facebook account, but this isn't required to play. The game is free, and I think you'll find it as addicting as I do.

Download: Collapse! Blast (Free)

Casey Rendon - Touch Control (Nexus 4)

Touch Control (Nexus 4)

My phone usage ranges from frequent to borderline neurotic. Constantly turning my phones screen on and off makes me paranoid about breaking its power button, or at least wearing it down to a fine nub. With Touch Control, the only reason I ever have to touch the power button is to shut my phone down. One swipe from left to right while the screen is off wakes the phone. There are also options to change that swipe to a tap or double tap. Locking the phone is just as easy, with a swipe from right to left at the bottom of the screen. Media skip can also be controlled with a single swipe. Of course something this awesome requires root access, and this particular app is built specifically for the Nexus 4 (a Galaxy Nexus version can also be found here. Touch Control is available as a free trial on Google Play, along with a full-featured paid version.

Download: Touch Control Nexus 4 (Free)

Sean Brunett - Game of Thrones Companion

Game of Thrones Companion

The tv show Game of Thrones starts its third season this Sunday. I love the show and I love the books. The show can often be confusing for many who haven't read the books, and for many who have. Its because there are so many characters and subplots and places to keep track of . Thats why I highly recommend Game of Thrones Companion. Its an Android app that gives you any information you want about the series, so you can quickly look it up if you find yourself a little confused. You can specify up to which book youve read in order to avoid spoilers. Within the app, you can view Characters, Horses, Maps, Places and Religions. For big fans and casual fans, its a must have. It costs $3.99 and in my opinion, worth every penny. Winter is coming.

Download: Game of Thrones Companion ($3.99)

Richard Devine - Expense Manager

Expense Manager

Something I'm determined to do is keep better track of what I'm spending on stuff. I'm hopeless at it and then wonder why at the end of the month I don't have any cash in the bank. So I've been looking for a decent app to help me log it all, and I stumbled on Expense Manager.

It's pretty simple, and does lack the ability to scan receipts like something such as Expensify, but what it does it does very well. And it looks great. Following the Holo design language extremely well, Expense Manager lets you keep track of all your outgoings, add them to color coded categories, and export everything as a .csv file. You can also set monthly limits, add in your regular overheads, and it even has Dashclock Integration. The app itself is free with some additional features available via in-app purchase, but if you're just looking for a simple expense tracking app, this one's definitely worth a look.

Download: Expense Manager (Free)

Simon Sage - Shoot Many Robots

Shoot Many Robots

Around PAX East last week, the fine dudes at Demiurge released an Android version of their run-and-gun PC and console title, Shoot Many Robots. Things are a bit pared down for the mobile interface and the free-to-play model changes up how you acquire weapons, but the core of the game stays true to the rootin'-tootin' redneck feel of the original. Skid up to the battlefield in your dilapidated Winnebago, blast the hell out of some ugly-ass robots, and collect their nuts. Players swipe up and down to switch lanes, tap the left side to jump, and the right side to shoot. Crates show up regularly throughout the battlefield, which can include more and more dangerous weapons as you spend nuts on upgrades. There are also ridiculous limited-use hats that players can buy for a little extra boost in performance and style.

I've always been a huge fan of Shoot Many Robots, and I'm really pumped that they're on mobile now. Start downloadin' this endless gunner now, y'all.

Source: Shoot Many Robots (Free)

Andrew Martonik - Sounders FC

Sounders FC

I know this app won't be relevant to as many people as some of the others, but it has been installed on my device and checked daily since the U.S. soccer season started. Sounders FC have finally come out with their own app to follow the club on Android, as it was previously only available on iOS for the first couple of seasons.

You get every bit of information you'd want when following a team, from match day information and upcoming games to the roster, standings and news coverage. I go to the MLS Matchday app to check in on what the rest of the league is doing, but when I just want to know about the Sounders, this app does a great job. As a bonus it follows a modern Android design language as well, which certainly helps. If you're a Seattle soccer fan, there's no reason not to have this installed.

Download: Seattle Sounders FC(Free)

Happen to miss previous editions of our weekly app picks? You can check them out right here. Our continuing weekly app coverage can also be seen right here as well.

Via: Apps of the Week: Collapse! Blast, Touch Control, Game of Thrones Companion and more!

HTC Droid DNA retired?

HTC Droid DNA retired?

Droid DNA

Has the HTC Droid DNA been given its gold watch and sent packing? Verizon CS says yes, and it's no longer listed for sale

A reader sent in a pretty interesting screenshot, accompaniedby some equally interesting information about the HTC Droid DNA. According to Verizon customer service, the DNA is now officially retired. The screenshot of chat with a CS (you can find it after the break) actually uses the word retired, and subsequent inquiries led to a statement from Verizon saying "HTC halted production in efforts to push out an upcoming project on the horizon".

Now normally, we would place little to no faith in the words of an online chat with customer care from any provider. We're not judging, they have a difficult job and get way more harassment than anyone deserves. But after hearing about this, we went looking on Verizon's website, and found that the DNA is nowhere to be seen. You can't buy one from Big Red. Verizon loves to take our money, so there must be a reason they don't want to sell us a Droid DNA.

Now consider the on and off rumors about the HTC One coming to Verizon. We're pretty sure that you'll never be able to buy an "HTC One" for use on Verizon. But ask us if you'll be able to buy a premiumHTC device with Sense 5, the new camera, Boomsound, a kick-ass display, and all the other goodies that come with the HTC One and our answer would be different. Don't let semantics like official names fool you. We're pretty confident that something very close to the HTC One is "on the horizon" for Verizon Wireless.

We never pretend that we know what goes on inside the minds of carrier corporate executives. We certainly question many of their decisions, but we're not at the meetings and don't have access to the data they use when they decide things like which phones to sell, and when to stop selling them. And of course, all this could be wrong and the DNA is simply out of stock for a while. We're just going to keep watching this, and when it all works out, we'll let you know.

Thanks, Robert!

DNA chat session

Verizon's list of current HTC phones

Via: HTC Droid DNA retired?

Project SHIELD at GDC 2013

Still waiting on retail availability info

Android Central at GDC

We already got some playtime with NVIDIA's Project SHIELD at PAX East, but it was great to sneak in a few more rounds at GDC 2013. As a more industry-focused event, obviously NVIDIA was busy at GDC getting devs on board with Tegra optimizations through sessions, but there were also plenty of Project SHIELD demo units kicking around, giving everyone a chance to try out the system first-hand.

Personally, I can't wait to snag one of these and see just how well it will stream my PC titles. Down the line, it would great to have remote streaming so you could get your game on outside of the house, but for the time being, that's just wishful thinking.

NVIDIA is still staying tight-lipped about release dates and pricing, which is really what we're all interested in. Personally, I'd be willing to pay around $200 to $300 for a SHIELD - what about you guys?

Via: Project SHIELD at GDC 2013

CloudMagic: All of your accounts in one place

CloudMagic: All of your accounts in one place


So many accounts in so many places, and CloudMagic can help you search through every single one of them.

As much as we'd prefer to have all of our data, documents, conversations and contacts in a single service that makes it easy to find what you need, that just isn't going to happen. As new services come along, we all seem to follow a bit of a "junk drawer" mentality of just tossing accounts onto our phones that don't talk to each other.

CloudMagic is hoping to remedy this issue somewhat by linking every account to one app, and making the contents of each universally searchable. Hang along with us after the break and see how it pans out.


Across services like Box, Dropbox, Gmail, Facebook, SkyDrive, Evernote and others it just gets difficult to know where thatone thing is. If you're willing to grant CloudMagic access to these accounts, it creates a centralized place to search across each account and find what you need. As you can see in the screenshot above (the list scrolls down even farther), it pretty much covers any modern service that you would have. It's not just cloud "storage" though, but also things like Evernote, Google Docs, Gmail and Facebook. As long as it has your content, this can search it.

After connecting accounts and performing a few searches, it's easy to see why CloudMagic can be useful. A simple search for "Android" reveals Gmail threads including the word, Google Contacts who have Android Central email addresses and pictures in Dropboxin an Android folder. The results are grouped by type, and give a preview of the information in the results. Once you find a piece of information you want to see more about -- no matter the source -- you can tap it and be taken to a full view. The integrated viewer will show threaded emails properly as well as things like Google Docs fully formatted.

Email gets special actions at the bottom to reply, reply all and forward -- touching any of which bring you to the Gmail app to perform. Other things like Google Docs get a simple "open" button, where you can be taken to either a browser or the Docs app if you have it installed. It's not perfect, but data is displayed and moved around between apps a whole lot smoother than you would expect considering the number of sources CloudMagic has to handle.


Adding accounts is a pretty painless affair, as each loads an in-app web browser (as many Twitter clients do) to let you sign in and grant access.CloudMagicis taking advantage of the different account's API access, which means a couple of things. When adding an account, you're clearly shown what information the app will be able to see -- in this case basically everything. It also means that you can easily revokeCloudMagic'saccess to each of the accounts from their respective settings if you no longer use the service. Now the idea of this app having access to these accounts doesn't freak us out too much, but it should be noted that in order for the service to work it really needs broad access to each account.

The app looks and performs extremely well, so you won't be completely surprised when we say there is a monthly subscription cost associated with CloudMagic. It is free to download and set up, and you can use it for free as well provided you don't "preview" more than 50 docs, emails, contacts, etc. per month. (A preview means that you tapped into an item and performed an action on it.) But if you want to keep using it, the service is actually a little steep for our tastes at $4.99 per month for unlimited use. That's not to say that it isn't useful -- it certainly is -- but for $4.99 per month you might have to consider just doing the extra work and opening a few separate apps to find what you need.

Via: CloudMagic: All of your accounts in one place

Ingress doles out new-player invites to L6 and up


If you've been dying to try your hand at Ingress -- the AR game run by the Niantic Project and Google -- but haven't been able to get your hands on an invite yet, it's time to make friends. Ingress this morning announced that any current player Level 6 and up (which means Levels 7 and 8 as well) should now have a single invite to bestow on a lucky newcomer.

Ingress centers on the idea that there's this magical "XM" or "Exotic Matter," which lies in wait, hidden from casual view. But it affects everything around it. You use your phone or tablet to view the XM and the portals that harness it. Two sides -- the Enlightened and the Resistance -- are battling for control over the portals, linking them together and creating protective fields and capturing mind units in the process.

One upside to the game is that it gets you away from a computer and TV. It gets you out of the house. And, heaven forbid, it gets you walking around. And might just meet folks in your area, too, actually talking to them, all in the name of ... well, you'll see.

Source: +Ingress

Via: Ingress doles out new-player invites to L6 and up

The Google Watch with Google Now - A wearable computer for the present

The Google Watch with Google Now - A wearable computer for the present

Google Building 44

A Google Watch would be an ideal first step into the world of wearables, and putting Google Now at its heart makes too much sense for it not to happen

The future of computing is mobile, and the future of mobile is wearables. Google knows this; so does LG, Samsung and Apple. Thats why all four are rumored to be working on their own smart watches. Googles, its reported, will run Android, and might be with us sooner rather than later.

The Pebble smart watch has already proved the appetite for this kind of product as a smartphone companion device. The appeal is obvious -- the ability to keep tabs on email, messages, calls, music playback, etc. using a device thats always on your person. Relief from the burden of constant phone-checking (or at least, a weaning of users onto constant watch-checking instead.) Its no wonder Google and others want a piece of that pie.

Glass is for the future

Sure, a smart watch might not be as sexy as a futuristic headset like Google Glass. But its also nowhere near as risky a proposition, not to mention easier to get into consumers hands using Googles existing infrastructure and software. (Think Android and the Google Play Store.) Make no mistake -- Google faces an uphill struggle in making Glass a success. Its a potentially revolutionary class of product, but the barriers to ownership and acceptance are immense. For the moment its expensive -- $1500 for the Explorer Edition. Its also a highly visible accessory that draws attention to its user -- and not necessarily in a positive way. Its being at eye height means you cant not notice it, and the presence of a camera will be a cause of unease for some.

Sergey Brin, Google Glass

For those reasons, weve already started to witness some blow-back against Googles smart glasses. A Seattle dive bar famously issued a pre-emptive ban. State legislators in the U.S. are pondering a ban on Glass while driving. In the UK, anti-Glass pressure group Stop the Cyborgs has made the news in recent weeks. And it isnt all scaremongering and publicity stunts -- there are some real privacy, safety and security issues around Glass thatll need to be resolved in the coming years.

Glass is for the future. The present needs a different kind of wearable computer, and the Google Watch fits that bill. Googles smart watch should offer its own unique benefits in a less obtrusive package. The larger footprint of a watch would allow traditional (low-power) smartphone innards to be used, presumably alongside a standard touchscreen of some sort. And if Googles to use Android on its smart watch, as is reported, then its already got a ready-made, mature mobile platform to build off. All the individual pieces Google needs to make a really great smart watch already exist, and the path to release is much smoother.

Android on a watch

But Android on a watch isnt going to look a whole lot like Android on a phone -- its a completely different class of device. Consider, for instance, the problem of text entry on a screen so small. Whereas most smartphones are built around a central home screen launcher, a watch needs to offer information at a glance, and perhaps the ability to launch additional apps where it makes sense. That requires a radical re-thinking of the UI most of us are familiar with, even if under the hood its the same old Android running the show. Being an embedded OS, of course, Android can look like anything -- a phone, a tablet, an oven.

Almost a year ago our own Phil Nickinson asked whether Google Now, Google's predictive search app, might someday replace the traditional Android home screen. Thereve been a few baby steps towards that with the Google Now widget, apps like DashClock and more content-centric home screen implementations like HTC BlinkFeed. But the natural place to put Google Now -- the place that makes so much sense that it cant possibly not happen -- is on the Google Watch.

Google Now

Wearing Google Now

Its a perfect fit, and it brings a whole new meaning to the term timely information. Google Now is easy enough to get to on most Android devices, but on phones and tablets its hidden behind either a swipe gesture or a few button presses. At a more basic, physical level, theres the problem of actually having to extract your phone from your pocket, then unlock it and find Google Now.

This is exactly what smart watches aim to remedy -- the constant need to check your phone. Watches, as a product category, are all about fast access to timely, relevant information. So when Googles smart watch eventually arrives, Google Now should be front and center, providing single-glance access to not just the time and any pending notifications, but the weather, transit directions, appointments, sports scores, boarding passes and more. In doing so, it could elegantly fit into a new role as the face of the Google Watch.

Search is Googles bread and butter, and Google Now has shown us that the future of search is predictive and personal. Android has always been about hooking users mobile lives into Googles products, and recently that's expanded to include predictive search. As an Android product, Googles watch, if and when it arrives, should be a continuation of Android's mission. And if Google Now is the center of that experience, it might just be the ideal wearable device for the here and now.

Via: The Google Watch with Google Now - A wearable computer for the present

It's Easter Weekend. Save 15% on All Android Accessories!

It's Easter Weekend. Save 15% on All Android Accessories!

Android Central

Use coupon HOP13 at checkout to save 15% on ALL Android accessories

Take me to and let the savings begin!

Via: It's Easter Weekend. Save 15% on All Android Accessories!

Google applies for patent to tie weather and location data to camera settings

Google applies for patent to tie weather and location data to camera settings

Patent application

Could Google use your location data to make you a better photographer? This patent application shows someone in Mountain View thinks so.

Google has filed for a patent that would adjust camera settings for optimal performance based on GPS coordinates and the current weather conditions. Depending on where you are, and what the weather might be like if it's determined that you're outdoors, settings like white balance, ISO, exposure value and all those other camera settings most people never touch can be tweaked using the data collected.This means that the settings of the camera can be adjusted on-the-fly for the perfect shot.

We have no idea if Google will ever use this one, or if it's even a worthwhile feature, but Senior VP of engineering Vic Gundotradid promise making Nexus phones with "insanely great cameras". And while we're over patents and the never-ending war that seems to go along with them, this one was too cool to not talk about.

Source: USPTO; via Engadget

Via: Google applies for patent to tie weather and location data to camera settings

Fieldrunners 2 beta invites are going out

Fieldrunners 2 beta invites are going out

Filedrunners 2

Testers now being contacted via email for their chance to check out theFieldrunners 2 beta

A few days ago we told you about the Fieldrunners 2 for Android closed beta and directed you to the sign-up page. If you followed through and signed up, be sure to check your inbox to see if you got in, as the invites are now rolling out. In the email you receive, you are given full instructions on installing and running the app, as well as the proper channel to submit bugs. That last part is important -- if you did get in, be sure to contact Subatomic Studios and let them know. Also, some advice on how to uninstall in preparation for the final release product, as you may have issues with game progress data otherwise.

The beta is two of the 25 full missions that will be in the final edition, and besides testing for compatibility and bugs, you're bound to have a good time and see what the full version will offer. I've been playing Fieldrunners 2 on the PC for a while (I <3 U Steam weekend deals) and am a big fan of the original Fieldrunners game on Android. So far, I'm loving what I see here. Hopefully the testing goes smoothly, and we see a final release soon. Now if you'll excuse me, I have towers that need upgraded.

Thanks everyone who sent this in!

Via: Fieldrunners 2 beta invites are going out

Jelly Bean now available via 'Simple Upgrade Tool' for the Alltell Galaxy S II

Jelly Bean now available via 'Simple Upgrade Tool' for the Alltell Galaxy S II

Galaxy S II

Alltell hasn't forgotten the Samsung Galaxy S II, and Jelly Bean is available for download right now

Customers on Alltellusing a Galaxy S II will want to check their messaging app this evening, as Jelly Ban has been made available. Users are receiving a text telling them the update is ready to download to their computer:

FREEALLTELMSG: Get the latest update for your Samsung Galaxy SII. Download OS Jelly Bean version 4.1.2 from your computer. Visit

Upon visiting the link, you're then warned that this is only able to be done via a computer (Windows only) using the Simple Upgrade Tool fromSamsung. What you'll be downloading is the officialSCH-R7604.1.2 build, and the included package will walk you through getting it installed on your phone.

While we prefer OTA updates whenever possible, the jump from Gingerbread to Jelly Bean requires more than just an update to the system files. Manually flashing it from a computer is probably the best way to go here, though we wish it was a more generic process versus a Windows only executable file.

If you have no access to a compatible Windows computer (Microsoft Windows 7, Vista, or XP) you should visit the closest Alltell dealer and ask for assistance. For everyone else, get to downloading!

More: Alltell. Thanks, Terry!

Via: Jelly Bean now available via 'Simple Upgrade Tool' for the Alltell Galaxy S II

You'll now have to wait until at least June to not buy the HP Slate 7

HP Slate 7

Look the HP Slate 7 Android tablet didn't exactly bowl us over when it got a look at it at Mobile World Congress in February in Spain. OK, the industrial design was actually pretty good -- along the lines of a nicely done Nexus 7-type tablet -- but the internals and display should have been enough to make even a first-timer think twice. The $169 tablet was supposed to go on sale sometime in April, but HP's microsite apparently has pushed that launch to June.

The Slate 7 ain't getting any younger, folks. While there's a place for budget tablets, an extra $30 would get you a base Nexus 7. There's no contest there. And considering that we're very likely going to see an updated 7-incher (or thereabouts) at Google I/O in May, the prospect of an even older Slate 7 just isn't tempting at all.

Source: HP; via Engadget
More: See our hands-on with the HP Slate 7

Via: You'll now have to wait until at least June to not buy the HP Slate 7

Galaxy S4 preorders start at US Cellular on April 16

Galaxy S4 preorders start at US Cellular on April 16

Samsung Galaxy S4

Looks like April 16 is starting to be the day for Samsung Galaxy S4 presales. AT&T's opening up that day, and now US Cellular is throwing its hat into the ring, too.

No word yet on what the phone will cost -- we're told it'll be announced on April 16 -- nor do we know what storage options USCC will offer.

More: US Cellular
Also: Samsung Galaxy S4 ForumsHands-on with the Samsung Galaxy

Via: Galaxy S4 preorders start at US Cellular on April 16

Deal of the Day: SPE Leather Slider Case for Galaxy Note and Note 2

Deal of the Day: SPE Leather Slider Case for Galaxy Note and Note 2

Deal of the Day The March 29 Deal of the Day is the SPE Leather Slider Case for Samsung Galaxy Note and Note 2. This case is made of genuine leather and is designed specifically for your device to offer top-notch comfort, quality, and ease of use. Slide into this flexible leather case from the side and protect against drops while the interior features a soft padding which keeps your screen safe from scratches. Comes in black, brown and white.

The SPE Leather Slider Case is available for just $12.00, 60% off today only. Grab yours while supplies last!

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Via: Deal of the Day: SPE Leather Slider Case for Galaxy Note and Note 2

Ouya in action at GDC 2013

What's a backer launch without a party?

Android Central at GDC

Ouya had their big backer launch bash at GDC 2013, giving everybody a shot to try out the $99 Android-powered gaming console. There has been a lot of excitement leading up to this launch, not only because it stands to be yet another Kickstarter success story, but also because it's paving the way for a whole new product category of Android devices.

The main thing for me was game selection, and what was available didn't disappoint; Puddle,Gunslugs, Final Fantasy 3, Radiant, Organ Trail, and Ice Rage were just some of the titles I recognized that were installed on the demo units (which were apparently final retail hardware). Everything performed pretty well, and the controllers felt great in hand. A cynic may look at the Ouya as the poor man's Xbox, but it stands to be a great console for those that want a little something to play on a secondary TV - be it elsewhere in the home, or, thanks to its portability, off at someone else's. At that $99 price point, it also present a low barrier for entry to those just looking to dabble in console gaming, rather than dive into it head-first.

Aside from playing on Ouya consoles, MakerBot was at the backer launch event printing off some of those custom cases we heard about earlier. There was a bunch of Ouya prototype consoles and controllers laying around too, which made for an interesting look at the device's journey.

So those are just a few initial impressions, but be sure to stick around for our full review once the retail unit lands on our doorstep. Ouya is hitting public shelves this June, but you can preorder right now. Who's biting?

Via: Ouya in action at GDC 2013

Facebook holding Android event on April 4

Facebook holding Android event on April 4

Facebook event

Facebook has something in the oven, and we'll find out what it is next week

Facebook is holding some sort of Android related event next Thursday in Menlo Park and has sent out a slew of press invites. Nobody is sure exactly what they have in store, but speculation runs from a better (working) Android application to the rumored HTC MystFacebook phone.

There's also rumor of a "deeply integrated" Facebook experience built into the devices people will want to buy. Zuckerberg has been pretty adamant that building a phone is the wrong way to go, so this is certainly a possibility. We're not sure exactly what to expect, but we know Facebook does things in grand style. We'll know more next week.

Via: Facebook holding Android event on April 4

Ouya consoles now shipping to Kickstarter backers

Ouya consoles now shipping to Kickstarter backers


Folks who funded the OuyaKickstarterproject need to start checking their mailboxes, as units have started shipping

As we mentioned just a month ago, Ouyais shipping out consoles to Kickstarter backers as of today (March 28). Folks who pledged $95 or more to help fund the project will receive the units on a rolling schedule, and everyone should have their Ouyain hand in the next few weeks. You'll be notified via email when your unit ships.

Ouya founderJulie Uhrman wants to remind everyone of a few things while you're waiting. There will be a system update out of the box, so be prepared for that. Users will also need a valid credit or debit card to download games, but they will remain free to try. Finally, while the units come with one controller, support for up to four is included and you can purchase more at their website.

The Ouya project is poised to take Android gaming to another level, with the right price and decent specs. Of course, having a fully functional Android device hooked up to your television can be a lot of fun as well. We're expecting big things as units ship out, and by the time the devices launch in early June we're sure there will be an expert or two in the Ouya forums.

More: Ouya

Via: Ouya consoles now shipping to Kickstarter backers

Google Play Movies now available in Mexico

Google Play Movies now available in Mexico

Google Play Movies & TV

Google Play Movies llega a Mxico

Google has pushed the button and made Google Play Movies live in Mexico. Users south of the border can now rent or purchase select movies, and view them on their Android devices or on the web. Last week we saw the launch of Google Play Books in Mexico, and we're glad to see Google able to provide their content services to more and more countries.

We've no word on when further Google content will be made available in Mexico, or any other regions where it's currently unavailable. We assume there are teams at work all over the globe figuring out the licensing and regulations in order to deliver all of Google Play's content to anyone who wants it.

If the Movies & TV application is not installed on your Android device, you can grab it at the Google Play link above.

Thanks, Spook!

Via: Google Play Movies now available in Mexico

Springpad update brings redesign, better search and performance

Springpad update brings redesign, better search and performance

Springpad 4.0

A much needed update makes Springpad feel fresh again

A large update brings Springpadup to version 4.0 today, with some notable improvements. The once cumbersome left toolbar has been simplified, and many of its previous controls are now intuitively integrated into the foreground of the app.

There are now three main screens: home, notebooks, and search. The home screen displays individual springs (notes). A slider can be moved to show only your springs, your springs and those of collaborators, or your springs and springs you follow. The notebooks screen is relatively unchanged, with the addition of notebooks being followed at the bottom. The search screen lets you search through your own springs, or find other people's springs and notebooks. Homemade Cadbury Creme Egg recipe anyone? Best of all, adding new springs is a breeze with the new static add button on the bottom right of each screen.

It seems Springpad has taken a few notes (no pun intended) from Google Keep. This leaner, meaner design makes Springpadmuch more enjoyable to use. Hit the Google Play link at the top to give it a spin for yourself.

Via: Springpad update brings redesign, better search and performance

Jelly Bean update now available for the Sprint Epic 4G Touch

Jelly Bean update now available for the Sprint Epic 4G Touch

Epic 4G Touch

Update only available over KIES

The Epic 4G Touch is getting its Jelly Bean today, courtesy of Sprint. Don't bother looking in system settings for a notification, as this one is only available throughKies due to its large size. Sprint is not listing any specific changes on its update page, but this update to buildGB27 should bring with it the usual Jelly Bean goodies like Google Now and Project Butter.

Hit the forums for more discussion about what's new and improved, or for help updating using the Kies method.

Source: Sprint; Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Via: Jelly Bean update now available for the Sprint Epic 4G Touch

HTC One official flip case review

HTC One flip case.

HTC's stylish flip case also doubles as a kickstand

With the HTC One starting to become available in more countries, it's time to start taking a look at HTC's official accessories. The first is a protective case that doubles as a stand when the phone's in landscape orientation, which just might make it an ideal accessory for heavy multimedia users and anyone flying with an HTC One.

Check past the break for a quick video tour, more words, and an extensive photo gallery.

The HTC One flip case -- officially the "HTC One hard shell case with cover" is definitely the more attractive of the two official cases. It's furnished with a leather texture and soft-touch plastic, and there's a soft felt lining to protect the screen. Helpfully, the front contains cut-outs for those super-loud and bassy front-facing "BoomSound" speakers, so you'll still be able to enjoy music on the HTC One even with the case closed.

Speaking of which, we should point out that the cover doesn't lock closed -- there's no magnetic lock or fastener. That means you're not guaranteed screen protection if the phone's loose in a bag/

Fitting the flip case is easy enough -- the phone just locks into place, and the fit is surprisingly secure. We gave it a good shake and weren't able to easily dislodge it. There are cut-outs at the top and bottom for the headphone jack, power button and microUSB port, and most of the right edge is exposed, allowing easy access to the volume rocker. (Of course, that also means the phone's potentially vulnerable to scratches in this area.)

Viewed from the rear, the official HTC One flip case is a little messier. The joins between plastic and material aren't quite perfect, and there's a crease where the case folds to form a stand. But we're willing to bet you won't spend much time looking at this side of the phone anyway. And in the hand, the leather-textured back has a premium feel to it.

Using the HTC One in a stand like this makes perfect sense, especially when you consider the front-facing speakers and gorgeous high-res display. As a case alone, this accessory isn't outstanding, but the kickstand functionality makes it easy to recommend for air travelers and mobile video devotees.

The official HTC One hard shell case with cover is available in the UK priced at around 20 inc. VAT.

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Via: HTC One official flip case review