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FAA expands the use of portable electronics on planes, but you'll have to wait on the airlines to allow it

FAA expands the use of portable electronics on planes, but you'll have to wait on the airlines to allow it

Portable electronics on planes

Airplane mode will still be required, and you'll have to pretend to pay attention to the safety briefing

The Federal Aviation Administration this morning at a news conference announced that it has determined that portable electronic devices can be used not just above 10,000 feet, but during "all phases of flight." That means no more turning off your iPhones, iPads, e-books, e-readers, Game Boys, Kindles, BlackBerry, blueberry, strawberry anything with an on/off switch that must be in the off position before the aircraft can push back from the gate.

You will, however, have to wait on the airlines to implement the FAA's guidance, which it expects to see happen by the end of the year.

Here are the broad strokes:

  • You won't actually have to turn off your electronic devices not that everyone does so anyway but you will still be expected to put them into airplane mode. And the FAA rightfully noted in today's news conference that there's no sense having your phone constantly check for a cell signal at 35,000 feet anyway it'll just drain your battery.
  • You'll still be expected to not use your devices during the safety briefing.
  • Laptop computers will still have to be stowed for takeoff and landing.
  • You'll be expected to hold your phone or tablet, or stash it in a seat-back pocket during takeoff and landing.
  • You'll be able to use Bluetooth devices.
  • Phone calls are still not allowed.
  • Some flights about 1 percent, the FAA estimated will need to disallow portable electronic devices, usually in instances of low visibility.

So, you'll eventually be able to read books and listen to music or play games or whatever while you're in the hour-long conga line at LGA just not quite yet. That said, Delta today announced that it's ready for the change as soon as this week.

Regardless, it's a good day for passengers and a bad day for the folks who have to edit those airline safety videos.

Source: FAA

Via: FAA expands the use of portable electronics on planes, but you'll have to wait on the airlines to allow it

Kyocera Hydro Edge review

Kyocera Hydro Edge

Announced back in July, the Kyocera Hydro Edge is a low-end handset for Boost Mobile. It continues the recent trend towards water resistant smartphones, which the Japanese manufacturer has been pushing lately. The Hydro Edge won't wow anyone looking for the top line devices, but is a decent offering for those who are budget conscious and are just looking for a working phone. The changes Kyocera made to Android are mostly minimal, but are not without grievances. We'll cover it all, after the break.

The Good

Surprisingly good camera, minimal changes to Android, Gore Tex a nice addition to the hardware, water resistant

The Bad

No 4G support, only 4GB of internal memory, slows down after use due to not having high-end specs


A solid low-end choice that sports a good camera. If you're into water resistant phones, I'd recommend checking this one out. Kyocera has been aiming at low to mid end devices, and this one performs well at that expectation.


Kyocera hardware 3

Its amazing what a few years of using larger displays can do to you. The Kyocera Hydro Edge sports a 4-inch display, but it took me a little bit to get used to that size again after using the Galaxy Nexus for so long. Regardless, it feels fine in the hand. If youre worried that because its water resistant, it was somehow going to feel weird, dont worry. On the back of the phone, you will find Gore Tex, which is nice and makes the phone less prone to being dropped.

The display is 800 x 480, so dont count on something that will match the higher end phones. Its fine for what it is, but we'd prefer a little better.The storage amount offered out-of-the box is a disappointment. 4GB is not that much, so I found myself filling it up rather quickly. There is a micro SD slot, so if you want more, you can always add it yourself. The Edge has a 5mp camera that actually impressed me. I took photos expecting average at best but came away pleasantly surprised. I think anyone considering the Hydro Edge will be happy with it. You will find three buttons on the bottom of the device: back, home and multitasking, excluding the search.


  • Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
  • 4-inchIPStouchscreen
  • Water resistant (rated toIPx5andIPx7)
  • 5MPcamera with 720 video recording
  • 1GHzdual-core processor
  • 1GBRAM
  • 4GBROM
  • 1600mAh


Kyocera hardware 1

The Edge runs Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) and comes with all of the features you would expect. The lock screen frustrated me though and made me long for the stock Android lock screen (or just a different app). It presents four different shortcuts that can be made from the lock screen: camera, phone, messaging and simply unlock. Whichever you wanted, you had to swipe up that particular way. I would often not go far enough for it to recognize that I just wanted to unlock the phone even though I dragged it to the icon. It was also way too easy to bring up the camera when you don't want to, so the needless to say, the lock screen was not my favorite part of the phone In the app drawer, you still have the two options for Apps and Widgets, though its a bit different esthetically, but there is also a third option: Play Store. It gives you a nice shortcut to the Play Store, though I never found myself using it. Other than that the software is pretty close to stock.


Kyocera hardware 2

The Hydro Edge sports a 5MP rear facing camera and as I mentioned earlier, for a low-end phone, the camera pleasantly surprised me. Photos are not going to blow you away, but are much more capable than I was expecting. If a camera phone isnt great, I find myself just not taking as many photos, since my smartphone is my main camera these days. The Kyocera was good enough for me to want to take it out often.


Photo sample 1Photo sample 2

photo sample 2Photo sample 3

photo sample 4Photo sample 5

Video sample:


The Kyocera Hydro Edge is available from Boost Mobile, which runs on Sprint's network. The phone can be bought for $149, which is pretty decent for the full cost of the device. A disappointment, though, is that it only supports 3G, so if that's a deal breaker, this phone is not for you. Make sure that you have good Sprint coverage where you live if you are considering Boost Mobile.

Water resistance

Kyocera continues to push the water resistance quality of their phones. While we have all been there with our expensive smartphones getting wet, I just don't see it as a selling feature. Maybe for people who routinely destroy phones in water.The Hydro Edge can survive up to 30 minutes in 3,28 feet of water. So if you accidentally drop it in a puddle or want to use it when it's raining, you will be fine. If you drop it to the bottom of the river, you probably won't be able to use it again.

Battery life

The battery life on the Hydro Edge was solid and consistently got me through an entire day. It packs a 1600 mAh battery and does not offer 4G, so the fact that it has good battery life is not surprising. But it's always good when your phone can always get you through an entire day without having to worry about it. Getting me through an entire day was with heavy use.

Bottom line

Kyocera Hydro Edge

Kyocera has focused on low and middle tier phones for years now. The Hydro Edge is a very capable device for someone looking for a cheap phone that will handle use fairly well. It will not blow anyone away with its screen, camera or smoothness, but we're betting that people buying this device won't notice anyway. The camera is pretty decent regardless, as I mentioned above.For $149, it's a great deal, though we wish that it supported 4G. If you really care about a water resistant phone, I would give it a go.

If you have a Kyocera Hydro Edge and want to sound off or if you would like to read more about the phone, please head over to our Forums.

Via: Kyocera Hydro Edge review

Developers, Damon Wayans, dinner and drinks: It's the Samsung Developers Conference party!

SDKs and APIs are great and all but it's really not a developers conference without a party, right? And on the close of the first day of the Samsung Developers Conference, attendees got their fill of food, drink and some gagdgety science at the Exploratoriumin San Francisco.

And, yes, that's special guest Damon Wayans!

Check out our recap above, and be sure to swing by our complete SDC13 coverage to see everything you missed!

Via: Developers, Damon Wayans, dinner and drinks: It's the Samsung Developers Conference party!

Google voice search gets new, less robotic voice in the UK

Google voice search gets new, less robotic voice in the UK

Voice search

More natural sounding female voice replaces the old robotic tones

If you use Google Search's voice features in the UK, you may have noticed a fairly significant change today the robotic male voice of old has been replaced with a new, more natural sounding female voice. The change brings the UK in line with the U.S., which has had realistic sounding voice playback for some time now, and it's a vast improvement on what we had before.

It looks like the change has taken place through Google's backend rather than any sort of app update, so Brits should hear the new voice right away just tap the microphone icon as usual.

We've got a quick preview of the new British voice of Google search after the break.

Thanks to Chris for the tip, and to everyone who helped confirm it!

Via: Google voice search gets new, less robotic voice in the UK

Pandora now officially supports Chromecast

Pandora now officially supports Chromecast

Chromecast on Pandora

What a difference a day can make, apparently. Just 24 hours after Pandora unveiled a new tablet design for its Internet radio app, it's flipped the switch on Chromecast support. The sharing icon (which I swear wasn't there yesterday when I was kind of going off on a rant) is now live, and it connects as you'd expect to Chromecast.

Earlier this month, HuluPlus joined the ranks as the other third-party member of the Chromecast streaming community.

Source: Google+

Via: Pandora now officially supports Chromecast

Deal of the Day: Qmadix S Series Cover for Motorola Droid MAXX

Deal of the Day: Qmadix S Series Cover for Motorola Droid MAXX

Deal of the Day The Oct. 31 Deal of the Day is the Qmadix S Series Cover for Motorola Droid MAXX. This hard case features a hard polycarbonate outer shell and a shock absorbent TPU underneath for double the protection against impacts. The back of the S Series Case has a glossy finish while the sides provide softer edging for a comfortable grip. Comes in black, red and white.

The Qmadix S Series Cover is available for just $14.49, 42% off today only. Backed by our 60-day return policy and fast shipping.

Check out our entire selection of Motorola Droid MAXX cases at!

Canada Deal of the Day

Samsung USB Data Cable

Today Only: $7.95 + Buy One Get One Free!

Via: Deal of the Day: Qmadix S Series Cover for Motorola Droid MAXX

Mr. Jingles dons his Halloween gear

Mr. Jingles dons his Halloween gear


Even Google's notification mascot is getting in the Halloween spirit. Clear your Google+ notifications on the web or in the latest version of the app and you'll see Mr. Jingles is all dressed up and ready for today's celebrations!

If you've got a particularly awesome costume ready for tonight, there's still time to enter ourLloydOWeen contest, which closes noon PDT tomorrow.

Via: Mr. Jingles dons his Halloween gear

Phones 4u to carry pink Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Phones 4u to carry pink Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Pink Galaxy Note 3

Pink Note 3 arriving from Nov. 1 exclusively at Phones 4u

UK retailer Phones 4u has announced that it'll soon be offering the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in its "blush pink" color option. The pink Note 3, which we saw at IFA 2013 in Berlin a couple of months back, swaps out the handset's monochrome front and back panels in favor of a more colorful tone. It's even bundled with a stylish pink S Pen, too.

To sweeten the deal, Phones 4u will throw in a free wireless speaker, valued at 120, to those buying the Note 3 in any color. Phones 4u will begin carrying the pink Galaxy Note 3 from Nov. 1 from all of its brick-and-mortar stores. On-contract prices start at 47 per month for a free Note 3.

For a closer look at the "blush pink" Galaxy Note, check out our photo gallery from IFA2013.

More: In Pictures: The pink Galaxy Note 3

Source: Phones 4u

Via: Phones 4u to carry pink Samsung Galaxy Note 3

T-Mobile prepaid SIM cards currently free with free shipping

T-Mobile prepaid SIM cards currently free with free shipping

T-Mobile SIM Cards

Now's your chance to get a new or backup T-Mobile SIMfor nothing

T-Mobile's prepaid SIM card activation kits, the gateway to starting new service on the carrier, are currently free along with free shipping from its online store. Historically the price of the SIMs have fluctuated in price pretty randomly, but for several months now you had to shell out $9.99 for a single SIM. That's not much to pay to start your service and get a little over $3 in account credit, but free is always better.

If you're in need of a new T-Mobile SIM standard, micro or nano for a prepaid line or just want to have a few backups laying around, head over to T-Mobile's online store and load up your cart. You'll be required to use a credit card to check out, but rest assured that the balance is $0.00 when you're all done.

Source: T-Mobile

Via: T-Mobile prepaid SIM cards currently free with free shipping

Expansys now offering Galaxy Note 10.1 - 2014 Edition for 495 in the U.K.

Expansys now offering Galaxy Note 10.1 - 2014 Edition for 495 in the U.K.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 - 2014 Edition

You can now pick up Samsung's latest big tablet in the U.K., but it'll cost you

It may be tough to get your hands on Samsung's latest Galaxy Note 10.1 if you live in the U.K., but Expansys is hoping to help you out with that. If you've just gotta have one and don't mind waiting for shipping, the online retailer will be happy to sell you a 16GB Wifi version for a cool494.99.

When looking at it in terms of U.S. pricing that's a bit spendy, but it seems to be right on point with what other retailers are currently selling it for. The tablet is now in stock and ready to ship at the source link below and you can pick any color you'd like, as long as it's white.

Source: Expansys

Via: Expansys now offering Galaxy Note 10.1 - 2014 Edition for 495 in the U.K.

Supposed leaked docs point to Kit Kat being designed for low spec phones, televisions and wearables

Supposed leaked docs point to Kit Kat being designed for low spec phones, televisions and wearables

Kit Kat

More last minute leaks point towards Kit Kat features

Another to add the the list of rumors about what's next for Google has magically surfaced tonight. According to ex-WSJ reporterAmir Efrati, Kit Kat will focus on unifying Android and making he OS run better on low-end hardware.

Specifically, he says it was designed for devices with 512MB of RAM, like the millions of devices in the wild running older versions of the OS. Google using a phone with a Snapdragon 800 and 2GB of RAM if rumored specifications are to be believed as a lead device for software designed for devices with old hardware is a bit puzzling though. This would be best done using the Nexus S, which Google surely has access to.

Additionally, Google has provided support for sensors such as a step detector and step counter, and and added what they are calling a geomagnetic rotation vector. This would enable Android to run as a fitness tracker as well as have more accurate and detailed location reporting. Bluetooth HID over GATT and Bluetooth MAP are additional services that would seem to suggest better wearable support.

Finally, It's said that there will be native support for IR controllers, such as the types used for televisions. We've seen these on devices before, though without support at the OS level.

Really, there's nothing here that hasn't been rumored for months. We'll know how much of it all is true, and what is just rampant speculation soon.

Source: Jessica Lessin

Via: Supposed leaked docs point to Kit Kat being designed for low spec phones, televisions and wearables

Get your gaming fix during Google Play's Spooky Savings sale

Get your gaming fix during Google Play's Spooky Savings sale


Google is getting in the Halloween spirit, and they've got a page full of games with special Halloween promotions to celebrate. Titled "Spooky Savings", here's a list of what's available:

  • Hotel Transylvania Dash Play the first levels free, save 65% and unlock the full game for 99-cents
  • The Walking Dead: Assault 99-cent special Halloween price
  • Zombiewood - Zombies in LA! Free to play, up to 50 percent off in-app purchases
  • Bike Race Free Free to play, and there's a special Halloween bike
  • Despicable Me Free to play, big discounts on tokens, promo packs and costumes
  • Dungeon Hunter Free to play, savings on all items
  • Doodle Devil 99-cent special Halloween price, 50 percent off in-game purchases
  • Doodle Devil HD $1.99special Halloween price, 50 percent off in-game purchases
  • ZOMBIES ATE MY FRIENDS Free to play, exclusive Halloween costume
  • Eden to Green Free to play, all in-game purchases 30 percent off
  • Dragons of Atlantis Free to play, bonus gear, items and armor
  • Fast & Furious 6 Free to play, special decals and gear
  • Shipwrecked: Lost Island Free to play, Halloween quests and discounts on in-app purchases
  • Dragon Story: Halloween Free to play, 25 percent discount on in-game items
  • Slots Free to play, 25 percent discount on in-app purchases
  • Into the Dead Free to play, super coins packs half price
  • Nun Attack: Run Free to play, 40 percent off bonus on items

It may not be the candy bar you want right now, but these games should help pass the time. Give 'em a try!

Source: Google Play

Via: Get your gaming fix during Google Play's Spooky Savings sale

Republic Wireless running contest to give away Moto X prize pack

Republic Wireless running contest to give away Moto X prize pack

Republic Wireless Moto X

Win a phone, 12 months of free service and various accessories

You can pick up a Moto X on Republic Wireless for the low price of $299 unsubsidized, but getting it for free would be better. The scrappy upstart carrier is currently running a contest on its Facebook page that is giving away what it calls "Moto X Prize Pack," including a device, 12 months of service from the carrier and a nice package of accessories you'll pick up a wireless speaker, car charger, Motorola Skip, case and set of earbuds.

In order to enter you'll first need to head to the Republic Wireless Facebook page (linked below), then "like" their page and enter a little bit of identifying information so that you can be contacted if you've won. If you end up referring more friends to enter the contest, you'll also get more entries for yourself to up your chances.

It's not hard to enter and you could win a free Moto X we don't see much wrong with that equation. You can enter at the source link below.

Source: Republic Wireless

Via: Republic Wireless running contest to give away Moto X prize pack

Pandora updates UI for proper Android tablet design

Pandora updates UI for proper Android tablet design


Pandora today updated its Android application to finally bring about a proper design for tablets.

The revamp smartly covers both portrait and landscape orientations, though the latter looks a little weird until you get two or three album covers onto the screen. No matter, though, it's absolutely an update you'll want to snag.

With the redesign you get easier access to your playlists, song lyrics and other sharing and purchasing options. Pretty self-explanatory, actually.

Chromecast support? Or Samsung Multiscreen? (Or both?)

Pandora and Samsung Multiscreen

By the way an earlier version of the Google Play listing apparently showed off a Chromecast-like sharing button (as spotted by several Android blogs). Chromecast support is absolutely a feature we want to see in Pandora, and some now-removed HTML clues lead us to believe it'll probably happen.

Google's Chromecast and Samsung's Multiscreen both use the same icon for sharing.

But it also needs to be noted that the Chromecast-like icon also is what Samsung is using for its Multiscreen sharing capabilities, as announced this week at the Samsung Developers Conference in San Francisco. Indeed, we saw the Pandora app demoed with that exact sharing button. (Check out the Pandora section in the Keynote video here.)

The screen shot on Google Play has since been pulled not surprising given that support for Samsung Multiscreen (again, officially coming) or Chromecast (not yet official) isn't available just yet.

But it's only a matter of time before we see Pandora streaming to your TV or home entertainment center, one way or another.

Via: Pandora updates UI for proper Android tablet design

ABI Research says Samsung sold more smartphones than Apple, BlackBerry and Nokia combined in Q3 2013

ABI Research says Samsung sold more smartphones than Apple, BlackBerry and Nokia combined in Q3 2013

Smartphone sales

Samsung is riding at the top of the smartphone food-chain let's hope they remember how they got there

I was looking through the data at ABI Research today about Q3 2013 smartphone sales. At first glance, I saw the pie chart I expected to see, with Android having over 80 percent of the worldwide smartphone market and was ready to close the tab. We know Android outsells everyone, and that just wasn't news I wanted to share. But right before I clicked away, a number at the top caught my eye.

Samsung sold 35 percent of all smartphones sold in Q3 of 2103. That's a figure that's fairly easy to come up with in the past if you wanted to do a little work, but there it was, laid out just like that. After a little poking around at their data, and calling in Andrew, our financial and numbers wnderkind, we realized just what that means.

According to ABI Research, Samsung sells more smartphones than Apple, Nokia and BlackBerry combined.

They also sell more than all other Android vendors singly, and likely more than the rest of the top five combined. We don't have that data handy, and aren't about to guess. And quite frankly, none of the other vendors have the history or the weight of total sales behind them that Apple, Nokia and BlackBerry do. It wasn't too awful long ago that they were the big three the ones to beat, if you like when it comes to domination of the mobile market.

This matters. Since the huge majority of these are likely to be Android phones (more data we don't have from ABI and won't guess at) it matters even more to us as Android enthusiasts. Samsung is clearly the dominant player in the entire Androidecosystem. If you had any doubts before, wash them away.

We just got finished seeing all the new tools Samsung is using to attract more interest in their smartphones. Regardless of what you may read elsewhere, this was an event centered around five new SDKs, four of which were Android only and one that was Android, iOS and JavaScript / HTML 5 (for the multiple screen APIs). Samsung is certainly all-in with Android, and Google has carried them to the top of smartphone mountain by giving them Android to fold, spindle and mutilate as they please.

Google has carried Samsung to the top of smartphone mountain

With their new push for the enterprise market, these numbers are going to grow. You and I may not be enamored with things like boosted security and Knox support, but we don't matter to Samsung. We're outliers. Samsung will spend the money to do what it takes for their phones to be as popular in a business environment as they are with us "common" folks. That's good news for people forced to use locked-up corporatephones. Let's hope Samsung also starts to offer more "developer" phones without all the extra security and that people see the benefit in buying them.

For now, all this is still a good thing. Samsung isn't likely to abandon an entire platform that someone else writes for them and improves yearly for free, but we also need to watch closely. Samsung will do what is best for Samsung, like any other company. I don't expect Samsung to suddenly really care about Tizen, or provide more than the token support they now offer (note that I am a Tizen fan, I'm just realistic knowing that Samsung doesn't really care about it). Not when Google does the heavy lifting for them, and they are still free to make it Samsung on the top. But I can't completely ignore the Chicken Littles out there who are certain Samsung is ready to leave Android and ruin everything because if they did, things would not be pretty for Android sales and support.

Via: ABI Research says Samsung sold more smartphones than Apple, BlackBerry and Nokia combined in Q3 2013

Sprint announces their first 'Spark' tri-band LTE phones: LG G2, Galaxy S4 Mini, Galaxy Mega

Sprint announces their first 'Spark' tri-band LTE phones: LG G2, Galaxy S4 Mini, Galaxy Mega


Sprint Spark network is a go, phones coming November 8

Sprint has sent out a note to the press, chock full of news plenty of folks are going to love. They are about to officially kick out Sprint Spark what they've named their tri-band LTE technology and have three phones in the works to use it.

Spark is Sprint's attempt to get some serious LTE speeds for their customers by utilizing the three different wireless spectrums they use and hold licenses for. The network and devices capable will use active hand off between 800MHz, 1,9Ghz and 2.5GHz frequencies to cover three needs. The 800MHzbands will offer great building penetration, the 1.9GHz bands are good for general purpose LTE connections in more populated (and slightly congested) areas, while the 2.4GHz frequency allows Sprint to cover long distances with maximum capacity. There are five markets officially live today New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tampa and Miami and 100 of America's largest cities will be covered during the next three years.

You're going to need phones that support this, and Sprint has three new ones coming.

The LG G2will be available Friday, November 8. It will run $199.99 with a new agreement, or $19.59 per month (plus tax) using Sprint One Up. The G2 will receive an update to enable support for Sprint Spark in early 2014.

The Samsung Galaxy Mega will be available Friday, November 8 for $199.99 with a new agreement. Sprint One Up users can grab it for $19.59 pre month plus taxes. Uncle Sam gots to get his. The Galaxy Mega is expected to receive an update to enable Sprint Spark network support shortly after launch.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini will also be available Friday, November 8. It will cost you $249.99 with a new agreement, or an even $25 (again taxes) per month with Sprint One Up. Like the Mega, it should receivean update shortly after launch to enable tri-band Sprint Spark support.

In addition, Sprint tells us that the HTC One Max is coming soon, and is going to cost $249.99 with a new agreement or $25 monthly on Sprint One Up. No word on any release dates or Sprint Spark usability dates on that one just yet. Consider it a teaser.

Via: Sprint announces their first 'Spark' tri-band LTE phones: LG G2, Galaxy S4 Mini, Galaxy Mega

The roundup: Nexus 5 leaks all over the place ahead of anticipated launch

The roundup: Nexus 5 leaks all over the place ahead of anticipated launch

Nexus 5

It's coming; here's a last-minute look at everywhere the Nexus 5 has cropped up in the past 24 hours

In case you hadn't been paying attention, there's a new Nexus phone due to arrive very soon, and this week has seen the LG-made device make its way out to all corners of the world ahead of its anticipated release. There's evidence that devices are already in the hands of carrier and retailer reps, so naturally this has led to an acceleration in the pace of online leaks. Join us after the break for a rundown of some newly-unearthed images of this still unannounced handset.

First up is an image from a Malaysian LG service center, which comes viaLin Siong Soh on Google+. Note the new-style white notification icons.

Nexus 5

Second, an Instagram video from user djdaymos showing a preproduction Nexus 5 and a 3D render.

Next is a UK-based leak poster Nickyyy from the Overclockers UK forum posted this (since removed) photo of a freshly-unboxed Nexus 5.

Nexus 5

Next up is this shot, published by one Yusuf Islam on Google+, and captioned "My mate being a complete plum."

Nexus 5

Another post from OverclockersUK, this time from poster Mr Gimp of what he says is a dummy unit

Nexus 5

And finally a trio of shots of what seems to be a similar dummy unit from Gavin Phelan on Twitter.

Nexus 5Nexus 5Nexus 5

That's it for now. We're expecting some form of announcement tomorrow ahead of widespread availability on Friday, so stay tuned.

More: Earlier Nexus 5 leakage

Via: The roundup: Nexus 5 leaks all over the place ahead of anticipated launch

Sprint Galaxy S4 getting Android 4.3 update

Sprint Galaxy S4 getting Android 4.3 update

Sprint Galaxy S4

Galaxy Gear support and Samsung KNOX in latest update for Sprint's GS4

As predicted by a recently-leaked update timetable, the Sprint Samsung Galaxy S4 is today getting its Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update. Sprint's GS4 is the second U.S. model to get the upgrade, following Verizon's rollout on Monday. In addition to bringing the GS4 up to what is, for the moment, the latest version of Android, the update also adds support for the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, while implementing Samsung's KNOX enterprise security layer.

If the leaked timetable is to be believed, updates for AT&T and T-Mobile's Galaxy S4s should follow on Nov. 13 and 18 respectively.

Sprint subscribers, hit the comments and let us know how you're getting on with the new firmware.

via Android Central forums

Via: Sprint Galaxy S4 getting Android 4.3 update

AT&T offering free Galaxy Tab 3 with high-end Samsung phones

AT&T offering free Galaxy Tab 3 with high-end Samsung phones

Galaxy Tab 3

7-inch Galaxy Tab 3 free with Galaxy S4, S4 Active, Note 3 or Note 2 on contract

AT&T's hoping to pick up a few extra subscribers in the run up to the holidays by offering a free Samsung tablet to buyers of four of the company's leading Galaxy smartphones. From today customers picking up the Galaxy S4, S4 Active, Note 3 or Note 2 on a two-year plan (or through the AT&T Next installment program) can claim a free 7-inch Galaxy Tab 3 tablet (also on contract). The deal is available from participating stores today and will be extended to AT&T's online presence in the near future, the carrier says.

The Galaxy Tab 3 7-inch isn't Samsung's highest-end tablet and we weren't exactly blown away by the Tab 3 series when reviewed the themearlier this year, but you can't really argue with free. The promotion runs until Jan. 9, 2014.

Source: PRNewswire

Via: AT&T offering free Galaxy Tab 3 with high-end Samsung phones

EE extends 'Cash on Tap' payments service to four new devices

EE extends 'Cash on Tap' payments service to four new devices

Cash on Tap

Galaxy Note 2, Note 3, S4 Mini and Sony Xperia Z1 get support for NFC payments app

British mobile operator EE has announced that it's extended availability of its "Cash on Tap" NFC-based payment system to four new Android smartphones: the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Note 3 and S4 Mini, and the Sony Xperia Z1. The Mastercard-backed scheme allows users to pay for purchases up to 20 in value over NFC at some 230,000 outlets across the UK. EE notes in today's press release that it's currently supported by big-name cafe and takeaway brands, such asMcDonalds, Caff Nero, Pret A Manger and Greggs.

The new devices join the Sony Xperia SP and Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4, which were already enabled for Cash on Tap. To use the service, subscribers will need to have an EE-branded version of one of these devices; unlocked versions aren't supported. What's more, you'll need to have an NFC-enabled EE SIM to get started.

Cash on Tap support for more handsets are due to be announced in the coming months, EE says.

Press Release

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z1 on 4GEE - now compatible with Cash on Tap

30 October 2013. London. EE, the UKs most advanced digital communications company, today announced its Cash on Tap service, launched in partnership with Mastercard, is now available to even more 4GEE customers, with the addition of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, Galaxy Note 2 and 3, and the Sony Xperia Z1 to the range of supported devices.

Cash on Tap is designed to make paying for everyday items as easy as possible, and is a quick, secure and convenient way to make contactless payments via 4GEE smartphones. The service is accessible via a dedicated application, and allows customers to pay for items under 20 in over 230,000 outlets nationwide including McDonalds, Caff Nero, Pret A Manger and Greggs.

Available free from the Google Play store, the EE Cash on Tap app features an easy top-up function, as well as a balance checker and an itemised list of transactions. New customers can also get 10 credit when they sign up, receiving 5 when they first activate the Cash on Tap app, and another 5 when they add any money from any UK credit or debit card for the first time*.

New and existing 4GEE customers with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Note 3, or Sony Xperia Z1, bought directly from EE retail shops, and EE telesales, will now be able to use the service. These handsets join the 4GEE Samsung Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3 LTE, as well as the Sony Xperia SP, which are already Cash on Tap enabled.

Simeon Bird, Director of Propositions at EE, said: Cash on Tap is one of the most convenient ways to pay for everyday items, removing the need to reach for your wallet or search out loose change. Were pleased to be announcing the next compatible handsets, allowing even more EE customers to benefit from the simplicity and control the service offers them.

Marion King, President UK and Ireland at Mastercard said: "Using your mobile phone to make payments, helps make life quicker and easier for consumers on the high street. And with EE's latest range of Cash on Tap enabled handsets, even more UK customers than ever before can experience the benefits the service provides.

Further compatible Cash on Tap handsets are due to be announced in the coming months.

For more information on Cash on Tap, please visit

Via: EE extends 'Cash on Tap' payments service to four new devices

Vodafone UK extends '4G bonus' to end of January

Vodafone UK extends '4G bonus' to end of January


Vodafone has announced that it's extending its "4G bonus" program through until the end of January. The promotion, which was originally due to expire at the end of October, gives Vodafone Red 4Gsubscribers 4GB of bonus data for the life of their contracts. What's more, SIM-only customers and 12/24-month customers on contracts that include a bundled 4G phone will get unlimited data for three months, then double the standard data allowance plus 4GB for the life of the contract. That's a lot of data.

With the extension of this Vodafone deal and new price plans launching from EE today, we're starting to see the UK LTE marketplace becoming a bit more competitive. That trends looks set to continue into December, when Three UK launches its LTE network along with unlimited data and a promise not to charge extra for the service.

Press Release

Vodafone UK extends 4G Bonus until the end of January.

Vodafone UK is giving customers even more reasons to enjoy fantastic sports or music entertainment on ultrafast 4G by extending its 4G Bonus offer beyond Christmas. With the 4G Bonus, anyone signing up to a Vodafone Red 4G plan before the end of January will get an extra 4GB of data per month for the length of their contract. The offer, announced on 9 September, was originally intended to stop at the end of October.

Vodafone Red 4G brings 4G to life as never before, with sports action including over 150 hours of Premier League football from Sky Sports Mobile TV, or more than 20 million songs from Spotify Premium for music lovers.

Anyone signing up to a SIM only plan (starting at 26/month) or a 12 month plan (starting at 52/month) or 24 month plan (starting at 34/month) with a new 4G-ready handset included, will get three months unlimited UK data, then double the amount of data available on standard Vodafone Red plans plus an extra 4GB per month for the length of their contract. On top of unlimited calls and texts its Vodafones best ever value deal.

Via: Vodafone UK extends '4G bonus' to end of January

Collect and battle dragons and more in GREE's Dragon Realms

Collect and battle dragons and more in GREE's Dragon Realms

Dragon Realms

Mobile gaming powerhouse GREE International has released a number of role-playing/town building games in recent years, including Modern War, Kingdom Age, and Crime City. Their latest role-playing game Dragon Realms was developed internally at GREEs RPG+ Studio and acts as the spiritual successor to last years Kingdom Age.

Dragon Realms is a free to play Massively Multiplayer Online game that boasts hundreds of creatures to collect, cooperative and PVP play, and cross-platform multiplayer to boot. Read on for our detailed impressions.

In case the name didnt clue you in, Dragon Realms takes place in a medieval fantasy setting. The story revolves around a war between three factions: the Silver Alliance, the Feral Horde, and the Undead Legion. Unbeknownst to all of them, a dark figure works in secret to orchestrate the conflict and sew chaos.

As the player, youll need to choose a hero from one of the factions and then work to uncover the source of the war and unite the warring factions. GREE promises to expand and evolve the story through future updates and in-game events.

Speaking of the title, it wouldnt do for the game to have just one or two dragons. There are actually nine different types of the giant beasts at present, with more on the way. Each of these dragons can evolve into four different forms. The only way you could get more dragon in there is if the realms themselves were made of dragons. I dont know; that might be too much dragon.

Build your realm

Dragon Realms

Gameplay in Dragon Realms is divided between two core components: realm (town) building and quests. The players realm starts with a single castle. As you accumulate gold and reach new level milestones, youll be able to construct a variety of buildings for your realm such as farms, granaries, barns, and more.

All buildings produce gold over time. They can also be upgraded to produce more gold, though it naturally costs gold to level them up. Some buildings provide bonuses for the player or other resources than gold as well.

As with most city building games, building construction takes varying amounts of real time to complete. If youre in a hurry to finish a structure, you can spend gems (premium currency) to instantly finish construction.

Growing and customizing a town is much more fun when you can share your handiwork with others. Thankfully Dragon Realms allows players to visit the realms of people on their friends lists.


Dragon Realms

Dragon Realms doesnt have an exploration element to speak of, though players do unlock new areas for quests by leveling up and other actions. To pick up quests, you simply select them from a quest menu. Each quest conveniently offers a Visit button that allows players to jump to its location.

Quests often have combat-oriented goals such as killing a certain number of monsters or battling against another player. Other quests require certain buildings to be created or upgraded, or for the player to level up. Quest rewards include gold, XP, and new heroes or items.


Dragon Realms

Guilds provide Dragon Realms with its MMO aspect. Any time after completing the starting tutorial, players can create or join a guild and team up with other players.

The main benefit of joining a guild is access to guild-specific quests. These include Epic Boss events that a single player couldnt defeat alone and invasions that require coordination between guild members. Guilds can also gain access to unique buildings and special perks that give combat bonuses to heroes.

Player versus player

Dragon Realms has a strong competitive component as well. Players can engage in PVP battles at any time. The matchmaking system presents a selection of opponents of varying levels to choose from. The battles go by quickly and theres no real penalty for losing, so new players shouldnt feel intimidated by the competition.

Winners of PVP battles receive XP and Honor. Honor is a unique currency that can only be acquired from PVP battles. You can increase your rewards by taking advantage of the games unique streak system. Each time you win a battle against another player, your win streak increases by one. You have a short amount of time to engage in a new battle and keep the streak going. As long as you keep winning, the XP and Honor gains will keep on rising.

Collect them all

Dragon Realms

Dragon Realms combat system is quite simple. Players assemble a team of up to 9 heroes of various races and species and then clash against a rival team. Youll also be able to enter coliseum areas in which your main hero takes on multiple attackers one at a time. Either way, you just double tap an enemy to unleash your attack.

The hero collecting system is what really gives Dragon Realms its flair. There are over 200 heroes to gather, with more coming later via updates. Each hero has attack and defense ratings that determine its effectiveness in battle. Some heroes have special abilities like increasing the players attack, buffing other heroes attacks, and reflecting the opponents attacks back at them.

Heroes can be strengthened in two ways: leveling up and evolving. You can mix and match both forms of upgrades, leveling an evolved hero and vice versa.

To level a hero up, players select a base hero and up to 10 additional heroes to be combined with the base hero. Leveling up provides a significant boost to the heros attack and defense stats.

It takes two heroes of the same type to perform an evolution. The end result will be an evolved hero that is much stronger than the characters used in its creation. Each hero has four stages of evolution to go through.

Mixed signals

While Dragon Realms undoubtedly brings loads of cool heroes and creatures to the table, their visual presentation isnt always top notch. Sure, the character art seen in the trailer and during story scenes looks quite beautiful. But the actual sprites are small and dont exude too much detail or personality. Using separate art styles for character portraits and sprites may be common practice, but Id rather the entire game looked as fetching as those portraits.

In-App Purchases

Dragon Realms

Being a free to play game, Dragon Realms naturally has both standard and premium currencies. Gold is the standard type. Youll earn it as building revenue and by completing quests. Honor can be earned through defeating other players as I described earlier.

Gems are the games premium currency. They can be used to acquire more heroes, level and evolve those heroes, and of course, speeding up building completion times.

Multiplatform and upcoming features

MMOs even largely asynchronous ones like this live and die by their player bases. If nobody else is playing, you wont be able to take on tougher foes and guild quests.

Luckily Dragon Realms has one big feather in its cap as far as player base goes: multiplatform support. Android and iOS players can join the same guilds, chat, participate in events together, and even battle each other. With players from the two largest smartphone platforms intermingling, the player base should last for quite a while.

That platform agnosticism is great, but truly agnostic players who own both Android and Apple devices cant hop between both versions of the game just yet. At present, save data is stored locally instead of on the cloud. GREE is already working on Game Center and Google Play support though, so cloud saves wont be too far off.

Dragon Realms is available now, for free, from the Google Play Store.

Via: Collect and battle dragons and more in GREE's Dragon Realms