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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

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High-end Samsung Galaxy Tab S series to be unveiled June 12?

Posted: 14 May 2014 02:28 PM PDT


Rumors of Samsung's plans to return to producing more tablets with AMOLED displays go back as far as last year, but more recently things have really started heating up. Just last week we got our first look at the 10.5-inch Galaxy Tab S, and then shortly after this we also learned that an 8.4-inch and 13.3-inch variant were in the works.

As reports related to the Samsung Tab S family continue to increase in intensity, it seems pretty obvious that Samsung is moving closer towards an actual unveiling event. The big question is when. Within a recent WSJ interview with Samsung execs including JK Shin, we might have found the answer.

While the bulk of the article deals with the Galaxy S5 and its currently strong sales, it's the very last sentence of the interview that has us really interested:

Samsung is also planning to launch a new line of tablets for the first time in New York on June 12 at Madison Square Garden as it attempts to catch up to rivals like Apple Inc.

While neither Samsung nor the WSJ say for certain what the tablet event will showcase, it does say its a new line of devices. Putting two and two together, it seems rather likely that the Galaxy Tab S family could be at the core of this announcement. To our knowledge, Samsung has yet to reveal any other details about its plans for a tablet-related press announcement June 12th event, though we've reached out to Samsung for additional details and will update if and when we hear back.

If you interested in learning more about what to expect from the tablet, you'll want to check out some of our previous Tab S coverage. So what do you think based on what we currently know, excited for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S series or not?

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Wednesday’s Must Have Game: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Posted: 14 May 2014 01:54 PM PDT

GTA-San-Andreas Today's selection for our weekly Wednesday's Must Have Game column is Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which originally launched for the PlayStation 2 back in October, 2004, and was digitally remastered and uploaded to the Google Play Store for use on Android-powered smartphones and tablets in December, 2013. In this game, you play the part

The post Wednesday's Must Have Game: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas appeared first on Cult of Android.

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Google Glass now part of UC Irvine medical school curriculum

Posted: 14 May 2014 01:28 PM PDT

As consumers work on making up their mind on how Google Glass will fit into their lives, medical students at University of California, Irvine will be using the wearables for their classes. Announced today, the medical program at UC Irvine is taking on an initial 10 pairs of Google Glass to use in the classroom with third- and fourth-year medical students, with the intention of adding another 30 pairs for use with first- and second-year students later in the year.

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The OnePlus One is being sold at cost

Posted: 14 May 2014 01:08 PM PDT

With a 5.5-inch 1080p display, Snapdragon 801, 64GB of storage and a 13-megapixel camera, you have to wonder just how much money OnePlus could possibly be making on the insanely cheap OnePlus One. Well, according to OnePlus CEO Peter Lau, they're not making anything.

In an interview with TechRadar, Lau was quoted as saying that OnePlus is "selling the phone at cost." The CEO went on to say, "We are able to do that by redistributing our costs to better benefit the user." If OnePlus truly isn't making any money on the One, it makes us wonder just how long the company can keep business moving forward.

With its Nexus series of devices, Google comes as close to selling at cost as comfortable, but it does so with the knowledge that they will make money through Google Play. Exactly how OnePlus plans to make money when it doesn't offer any paid content or services remains a mystery. Many software startups have taken the approach of getting their business started and worrying about revenue later, but hardware ventures are a different story.

If you appreciate what OnePlus is trying to do to the industry — bringing affordable, high-end hardware with compelling software to as many people as possible — you'd better support them while you can. How do you think OnePlus could make enough money to keep making phones? Let us know in the comments.

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Straight Talk bumps full-speed data allowance to 3GB, still costs $45 per month

Posted: 14 May 2014 01:05 PM PDT

Straight Talk, an AT&T MVNO and one of the most popular prepaid carriers in the U.S., has increased its data allowances by 500MB without bumping prices. Though the carrier still advertises its $45 per month plan as "unlimited," following mild outrage it has chosen to clarify that users are throttled after a certain point of data usage. At the time of clarification Straight Talk was offering just 2.5GB of full-speed data, and has now bumped that to 3GB at no additional cost.

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Announcing the 'Weekly Photo Contest: Red' winners!

Posted: 14 May 2014 12:38 PM PDT

Another successful weekly photo contest is behind us, and we had the pleasure of reviewing all seven pages of photo entries in the forums. The prompt this week was "red," and we received a variety of photos that took that prompt with both boldness and subtlety — giving an interesting selection of pictures to choose from. In the end we were able to pick out for winners this week to receive prizes for the entries.

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Amazon makes Moto G LTE available via pre-order

Posted: 14 May 2014 12:34 PM PDT


Now that the Moto G LTE has been officially unveiled by Motorola, Amazon has begun accepting pre-orders for the device after making an appearance on its website just a few days ago.

It's seriously an awesome deal for only $220 off-contract. The only real thing that was holding me back from recommending the original Moto G to friends and family looking for a cheap, reliable but fast device was its lack of LTE. Now, that won't be a problem.

The device will be available everywhere on June 3 for most carriers around the world — just check with yours before you go ahead and buy, if you're not sure.

Source: Amazon

Come comment on this article: Amazon makes Moto G LTE available via pre-order

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HTC One Remix to land on Verizon soon

Posted: 14 May 2014 12:34 PM PDT


Yes, but what the hell is it? Unfortunately, we have nothing else to go by but the name. We know HTC is working on Mini and Prime versions of the One (M8), but I don't think it's either device.

"Remix" seems to indicate something music or sound related, and with the recent release of the HTC One (M8) Harman Kardon Edition for Sprint, I am thinking the "Remix" will be something similar. What is most interesting is the fact that "(M8)" isn't in the title, which makes me wonder if it has nothing to do with the M8 at all.

I guess we will have to wait and see, but more more importantly, if you were just about to pull the trigger on a shiny new HTC One (M8), does this news make you wait?

source: evleaks

Come comment on this article: HTC One Remix to land on Verizon soon

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Motorola talks wearables as part of Moto 360 interview

Posted: 14 May 2014 12:29 PM PDT

Can't get enough Moto 360? Don't worry, we can't either. While we pine for a solid release date, price and other information on the Android Wear-powered smartwatch, we'll gladly take any other details that we can get. Today we're getting some thanks to an interview with Motorola's Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Operations, Mark Randall, in which he shares his opinions on other wearables in the industry and tells us what to expect in regards to the Moto 360′s price.

Motorola is clearly feeling very confident about Moto 360. Executives are usually pretty quiet, running through manufactured scripts when talking about an unreleased product, but Randall isn't afraid to speak on the somewhat abysmal state of the smartwatch:

We look at the 360 and we look at what everyone has done in that space. To be honest we think they are all pretty crappy. We think the IDs aren't very sexy. We think people just don't want to wear a lot of the devices that are out there today. We have come out with what we think is a really beautiful ID. The feedback so far – and we've only done a very gentle release into the market – is super positive. People are saying it is finally a device they would wear on their arm instead of being embarrassed about, and we haven't even talked about functionality.Mark RandallMotorola

Randall is talking about Samsung's Gear devices, Sony's smartwatches and Pebble's industry leading offerings. All of those devices have laid the groundwork for the direction the wearable sector is headed today, but none have truly conquered the wrist-mounted computer, a market that Motorola has apparently managed to get just right.

As for Randall's words on the how the Moto 360 will be priced, he says, "We don't feel that because we have launched the Moto G or Moto E we have to price the 360 at a different price point." In other words, don't expect it to be cheap. Oh, and he also said something about "more announcements throughout the year" and "we will have further announcements on other product categories," but you already knew that, right?

Motorola is already off to an exciting start this year and we can't wait to see what else the company has in store.

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Unlucky OnePlus One winner finds empty box on his doorstep [VIDEO]

Posted: 14 May 2014 12:19 PM PDT

OnePlus One unboxing

Yesterday, we told you guys how the folks at OnePlus were shipping "Smash the Past" winners the One phone-only . No SIM tools. No chargers. No cables. Turns out, it wasn't as bad as it sounded. It was merely an effort by OnePlus to ensure the phone got to winners without delay, given the shipping materials and accessories wouldn't have been ready on time. No biggie.

But today, an unlucky OnePlus One winner got a little less than he was expecting, finding only an empty box on his doorstep instead of the OnePlus One he expecting. The "winner" posted the unboxing video onto YouTube where all the shipping tape still remained on the box and to be fair, there was a note congratulating him on his new OnePlus. While it's entirely possible the phone could have been swiped during transit (it happens), we think it was more likely to have been a hiccup by the folks at OnePlus.

As a new startup, OnePlus warned us they'd likely make a few mistakes on the way and we have little doubt they'll be working to fix this situation. What do you guys think of this snafu? Understandable? Or unacceptable? Video below.

Thanks, DatGuy!

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Mizuu Developer Open Sources App Following Google Takedown, Will Create New Version For Google Play

Posted: 14 May 2014 12:10 PM PDT

nexusae0_mizuu_logo_thumb It was a rough day yesterday for fans of the video indexing app Mizuu. The app was pulled from Google Play after it was found to be in violation of Google's adult content guidelines. The developer has received word that the app won't be reinstated, so he's decided to open source it and host a free version so paying customers will still have access.


The issue stems from Mizuu's use of themoviedb.org to find data on users' video files.

Done With This Post? You Might Also Like These:

Mizuu Developer Open Sources App Following Google Takedown, Will Create New Version For Google Play was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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The OnePlus One is so cheap because they're being sold at cost

Posted: 14 May 2014 11:54 AM PDT

OnePlus CEO Peter Lau had confessed how they've been able to bring high-end features with Nexus-like pricing in the OnePlus One smartphone. According to Lau, the company is able to offer its flagship OnePlus One at an affordable price because they are doing so "at cost."

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Moto G 4G LTE available for pre-order from Amazon, Moto E in stock now

Posted: 14 May 2014 11:53 AM PDT

moto e aa (11 of 32)

Yesterday Motorola formally unveiled the Moto E and the Moto G 4G LTE, bringing us two new extremely affordable smartphones that offer a fair amount of punch for the price. If you're at all interested in picking up either device, you can do so now through Amazon or directly through Motorola's website.

While both phones can be purchased immediately, it's important to note that the Moto G 4G LTE won't actually ship until June 3rd. The Moto E does appear to be in stock and ready to go on Amazon, however.

So which device is right for you? Depends on what you're looking for. If you are simply looking for the cheapest phone possible and don't mind making a few concessions to get there, the Moto E is a solid choice. With it's Snapdragon 200 dual-core CPU it's not exactly a powerhouse, but still worth your consideration at the price of just $130.

For more details on what to except from the Moto E, be sure to check out yesterday's coverage as well as our hands-on look at the device:

Meanwhile, if you don't mind spending a bit more, the Moto G 4G LTE offers a more powerful quad-core Snapdragon 400 processing package, a front facing camera, flash on its back cam and a slightly bigger 4.5-inch 720p display. Overall it's the same device as the original Moto G albeit with microSD card expansion and the addition of LTE support. While the 3G version of the Moto G is as little as $180, the 4G variant comes in at $220.

To learn more about the Moto G family, you'll want to check out our full review for the OG Moto G. Also be sure to check out the Moto G 4G LTE's original announcement page for more details.

So how about it, planning on picking up either of these handsets? What do you think of Motorola's recent budget offerings, are they game-changers? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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Hands-on: HTC Desire 816 with Sense 6

Posted: 14 May 2014 11:38 AM PDT

HTC fields a 'mid-range flagship' that proves plastic and premium aren't mutually exclusive

If there was one product launch that was drowned out in the noise of Mobile World Congress, it was the HTC Desire 816. Announced just a couple of hours before the whirlwind Galaxy S5 event, HTC's new mid-range strategy wasn't the top story for MWC, or even the day of Feb. 24, 2014. But as HTC looks to China and the mid-range for future growth, the Desire line in general, and the 816 in particular, are of huge importance to the Taiwanese manufacturer.

The Desire 816 is HTC's "mid-range flagship," the company tells us — the leading device in the Desire line, a range which fielded solid, though perhaps under-appreciated handsets in 2013. And there's more than a little HTC One DNA in this handset, with its front-facing speakers, pleasing curves and surprisingly full-featured Sense software experience. Join us after the break for our first look at the European 816, the second phone to ship with HTC Sense 6.

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Tizen on the Galaxy Gear looks a lot like Tizen on the Gear 2

Posted: 14 May 2014 11:20 AM PDT

The original Samsung Galaxy Gear is due to run the Tizen OS soon, and an early build has been previewed running smoothly on the smartwatch. Tizen launched not long ago on the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear Neo, duplicating much of the Galaxy Gear's functionality, but without the Android base. There's now a sleep mode for measuring your napping patterns, an exercise mode which similarly clocks your movement, and a stand-alone music player to access locally-stored tunes. A double-tap shortcut link can now bring up any app you want, not just the settings. The system font, wallpaper, and icon size are customizable now too.

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Why Sony is ignoring the American market, for now

Posted: 14 May 2014 11:01 AM PDT

Sony Logo

If you doubt Sony's ambitions in the smartphone market, then you should go and get your hands on the Xperia Z2. It exudes premium Sony style and has the hardware specs required to beat the competition, on paper at least. There's just one problem — if you're in the US, you can't buy it.

A quick glance at comment sections and forums suggests that there is plenty of demand. Frustrated Americans aren't used to having to wait for the latest electronics. So, why isn't Sony taking their money?

At MWC, back in February 2013, Sony announced the Xperia Z. After a major restructuring, and its first modest profit for several years in 2012, the Japanese manufacturer was ready to renew its focus on the smartphone market. Ericsson a fading memory, the Xperia Z offered cutting edge specs and an impressive waterproof USP. The idea that this was a one-off was laid to rest six months later when Sony unveiled the improved Xperia Z1, and at MWC this year we got the Xperia Z2.

A major update every six months shows a real commitment to gaining market share and Sony's sights are firmly set on the premium end of the market. Amid all the plaudits and the suggestion that this sleeping giant might be waking up, there was one big surprise – where was the push for the US market?

Not the right time

sony logo ceo kaz hirai aa

In October last year Sony CEO Kaz Hirai admitted that Sony was focusing on Japan and Europe, because it wasn't yet ready for the US market. It took around six months before the Xperia Z landed on T-Mobile and the "Uncarrier" now offers the Xperia Z1S as well, but there's no sign of the Z2 yet. Sony is selling some of its devices unlocked for full price stateside, and they aren't cheap. In terms of carriers, T-Mobile is the only one to have picked up a Sony smartphone.

Clearly something is a bit wrong with this picture. Sony isn't an unknown Chinese brand looking for a way to break in. It's a well-respected name in the US, but there are some compelling business reasons for Sony's strategy. It hasn't given up on the American market; it's just biding its time for the right moment.

Getting its house in order

Sony is a behemoth and it has been at the top of the consumer electronics industry for decades. Any company that's this big is inevitably slow-moving and resistant to change. The financial results for 2013 marked a return to the red. As a whole, Sony has made a loss in six out of the last seven years. The mobile and gaming divisions are profitable, but the Vaio PC business had to be sold and the TV division has been problematic for years now. The restructuring process is ongoing.

If we look at the smartphone business in isolation then we find that Sony sold 33 million smartphones in 2012, 39 million in 2013, and it's aiming for 50 million this year. Not only are sales rising, but the ASP (average selling price) has gone up as well.

sony xperia z2 aa (1 of 26)

According to IDC, Sony was 6th for 2013 with a worldwide market share of 3.7%. It started out the year weak and finished it strong, but 60% of its smartphone sales are in Japan and Europe. Sony is building on its base, or as Hirai put it, talking to Reuters , "It's not realistic to try to do everything at once. In the U.S. we'll start gradually."

Cracking the carriers

Carriers in the US wield an unusually large amount of power over the smartphone industry if you compare it with other nations. They expect manufacturers to spend big on their products. They want huge marketing campaigns, promotions, low wholesale prices, and exclusive versions. Presumably there's an expectation there of a major financial commitment that Sony isn't really in a place to make right now. There were also rumblings about problems in Sony's supply chain which caused delays for the Xperia Z2.

sony xperia z1s review aa-3

The premium end of the market

There's another issue with the US market which is particularly problematic for Sony and that's Apple. According to NPD, the iPhone has a market share of 45% in the US. In some ways, looking at the premium market, Sony's biggest opposition is Apple. That's despite the fact that Steve Jobs was a huge Sony fan and the Japanese company was an inspiration for him.

In Sony's home market of Japan, Apple's deal with NTT DoCoMO was a major assault. Apple captured a share of 36.6% for the last financial year and that compares to 12.3% for Sony, according to a Bloomberg report. Sony has its work cut out increasing that share in Japan, where you would imagine it's easier for it to get a good ROI on marketing campaigns. If it works out to be more expensive on average to capture a new customer in the US and Sony is still making gains in markets like Japan, then it makes sense to pick the right battles.

samsung galaxy s5 vs sony xperia z2 (12 of 14)

Android accounts for almost 70% of devices in Europe, and Apple is much weaker with an 18.5% share, so it also represents a better opportunity for Sony. In the first quarter of 2013, Sony claimed third place behind Samsung and Apple in Western Europe, and Kantar found that many Samsung smartphone owners were switching to Sony in the UK. A full 38% of Xperia Z buyers were ex-Samsung owners.

Sony has no interest in the budget end of the market, but aiming for the high-end makes a head-to-head with Samsung and Apple inevitable. Coming from a weaker position, with some dead weight dragging the smartphone division back, Sony simply can't afford to open up too many fronts.

No comfort

All of this news is not going to serve to comfort Americans looking to buy the Xperia Z2 right now. It will undoubtedly land at some point, but it could be months away, and there's a chance the Z3 will be out by then. In the meantime what can you do? Petition your carriers to strike a deal, order it online, or drive across the border and pick one up in Canada. If you're put off by the price tag then take a loan, after all, that's effectively what you're doing when you sign up to a two year contract with a carrier.

If Sony smartphone's business continues to grow and it can get the other divisions sorted out, then rest-assured it will return to the US market all guns blazing.

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Mobile Nations Community Update, May 2014

Posted: 14 May 2014 10:11 AM PDT

Mobile Nations Community Update

Time for the May Edition of the Mobile Nations Community Update! I'm pleased to report that the Android Central, CrackBerry, iMore, and Windows Phone Central communities have all been buzzing with activity, as per usual. But what I'm really excited to talk about this month is the latest addition to our network.

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After rave reviews, Monument Valley brings its impossible cube gameplay to Android devices

Posted: 14 May 2014 10:10 AM PDT

Monument Valley for Android

UsTwo's "Monument Valley" is one of those games that can only be described as a work of art. Beautiful, almost surreal visuals, and a dreamy atmosphere — it's not wonder the game garnered over 500 thousand downloads since launching last month for iOS. The game utilizes a variety of impossible architecture to trick the eye with optical illusions (like the impossible cube).

Monument Valley for Android screenshots

UsTwo combines this puzzle gameplay with beautiful, high-res visuals and a wonderful pastel color pallet to bring the game to life. Really, it's unlike anything you've ever played on mobile.

The best part is after months of beta testing, the game is finally ready for its debut on Android. At only $4, you could do a whole lot worse with your money. What are you waiting for? Monument Valley can be downloaded via the Play Store link below.

Download on Google Play: Monument Valley

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LG G3 press renders show up giving excellent look at new device

Posted: 14 May 2014 10:04 AM PDT


As suspected, leaked images related to the LG G3, scheduled to be officially announced on May 27th, continue to surface on a regular basis. The latest set of images is a nice one compared to some of what we have seen as they are press renders of the LG G3. This means they have pretty good clarity and detail. Notably, we get a really good look at the face of the device and what the bezels should look like. LG has made a mark as having thin bezels thanks to the LG G2, so many are interested to see what the size of the LG G3 will be like despite the 5.5-inch screen.

The images show the side bezels are quite thin and the top and bottom bezels are minimal. LG has been able to achieve this at least in part due to the relocation of buttons on to the back of the device.

Who is excited about the LG G3?

lg_g3_press_render_05 lg_g3_press_render_04 lg_g3_press_render_03 lg_g3_press_render_02

source: phoneArena

Come comment on this article: LG G3 press renders show up giving excellent look at new device

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Hands-on with the new Sonos Controller for Android

Posted: 14 May 2014 10:02 AM PDT

The folks at Sonos have released an update to their Sonos Controller app for both iOS and Android devices. While it doesn't change much of the functionality, it does add a redesigned UI, the ability to create playlists on the fly and universal search across all of your music services. It's been available on Android in beta form for a few weeks, but it's now officially available for everyone to enjoy.

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LG G3 looks incredible in its latest leaked press shots

Posted: 14 May 2014 09:36 AM PDT

screen-shot-2014-05-14-at-7-27-56-am Time to upgrade your smartphone? You may want to hold onto your cash. At the end of the month, LG will unveil its new G3, and according to these leaked press shots, it's going to be an absolute stunner. In fact, I'd even go as far as to say that its almost bezel-less design could

The post LG G3 looks incredible in its latest leaked press shots appeared first on Cult of Android.

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Motorola exec Mark Randall calls current crop of smartwatches 'pretty crappy'

Posted: 14 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

Motorola executive Mark Randall isn't just proud of the upcoming Moto 360 smartwatch — he thinks that the current crop of wearables are "pretty crappy" in comparison. Motorola is understandably excited about the Moto 360, the Android Wear-powered wearable is a notable step up in software and hardware design for smartwatches, and one of very few that have dared to go round. Randall, the Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Operations at Motorola, said that "We think people just don't want to wear a lot of the devices that are out there today."

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Android in the Enterprise: The ball's still in the manufacturers' court

Posted: 14 May 2014 09:34 AM PDT

Today, iOS dominates the enterprise. This has been the case for a few years now, and reports like Good Technology's report show that iOS is at 72 percent of the enterprise, while Android is at 26 percent.

There is a good reason for this. The out-of-the-box Android does not really allow for much restriction, setup automation (like pre-setting up Exchange mail, contacts, and calendar for example), and visibility into the device. This is in stark contrast to iOS, which has, since 2010, been baking enterprise-friendly features into the core OS. Certainly BlackBerry (both BB7 and BB10) which arguably set the standard for enterprise mobile security back in the early 2000s, still have the most restrictions and control, even if customers are not buying them like they used to.

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Jawbone UP partners with Automatic to get drivers to walk more

Posted: 14 May 2014 09:12 AM PDT

Automatic, the company behind the smart driving assistant that we reviewed in March, is partnering with Jawbone to integrate data into their UP fitness app. While the UP band tracks your steps, integration with Automatic will show drivers the connections between their physical activity and driving. Jawbone has previously partnered partnered with Whistle in a similar way.

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Monument Valley brings its beautiful impossible architecture to Android

Posted: 14 May 2014 09:12 AM PDT

Stop what you're doing and watch this. Then download Monument Valley. It's long been a popular puzzle game on iOS, and it's now available on Android for $3.99. It'a all about look at feel. You guide Princess Ida through the impossible, M.C. Escher-type geometry, hitting buttons and turning shapes as needed. It tests your brain, for sure, but it's not so tough that you'll want to throw your phone or tablet against the wall.

You'll want to look for visual clues, as well. Some shapes slide. Others turn. You'll get a feel for it as the game goes on.

(For an even better experience, throw on some headphones, or fire up an HTC One, if you've got one.)

After even just a couple minutes, you'll quickly realize how good a game this is. Period.

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