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Friday, October 23, 2015

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Early version of Apple Music for Android shown off

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 02:22 PM PDT

We know that Apple Music is coming to Android this fall, but we haven't heard any news about Apple's progress in porting the app to our favorite operating system. Thankfully, Mobile Geeks finally has something to show off.

This is a very early copy of the app for Android. The iOS aesthetics remain to an extent, but a slide out menu was added seemingly to Android standard. Since iOS has all app settings in the Settings app and not in the app itself, a whole new settings menu had to be added for convenient access without leaving the app.

A lot of features don't work, like signing in using your Apple ID, but this is expected from an early access app like this. But progress is being made, so we'll get our hands on the final version soon enough. Will you give Apple Music a try? Leave a comment!

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HTC and Under Armour delay wearables until next year

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 01:51 PM PDT

HTC seems to be quite fond of delaying things (hopefully this won't be the case with the One A9′s promised 15 day updates). We were supposed to see the fruits of HTC's partnership with Under Armour, the HTC Grip, during the spring. It was delayed until later in the year. It's October, and it still hasn't been released.

Thankfully, we finally have word of what's going on, but unfortunately, it's not great news. HTC has once again delayed the product, this time until next year.

As we continue to develop the Connected Fitness platform and elevate our product offerings, Under Armour and HTC have decided to launch a fully integrated digital ecosystem of products early next year. This global launch will provide the tools needed to help athletes of all levels track, manage and improve their health and fitness. Our teams have done a remarkable job bringing these products to life and we're excited to share them with the public soon.HTC

There was no mention of the HTC Grip, so the company may be working on devices other than the Grip to release at the same time. Or the Grip has been cancelled in favor of something else, though that's less likely. HTC does mention an ecosystem of products, so hopefully we'll see something interesting next year. This isn't exactly confidence inspiring on HTC's part though.

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Virtual currency: Sources and Sinks

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 01:37 PM PDT

Posted by Damien Mabin, Developer Advocate

More and more mobile games base their economic model on virtual currencies and free to play, yet there are plenty of pitfalls to be aware of while developing your game. One of these pitfalls is having an unbalanced economy. Sources and Sinks, a handy feature included in the Play Games Services toolset, is specifically designed to help measure the balance of your game's virtual economy.

It helps you visualise in one simple diagram the state of your current in game economy. In diagram 1 (below), along the x-axis (time), and y-axis (amount of virtual currency), we see 2 curves:

  • One showing the amount of virtual currency earn by players (orange line)
  • The other one showing the amount spent by players (green line)

Diagram 1: Poorly Monetizing Economy

What do the curves in the diagram tell us? In this case, that our game is likely not going to monetize well. Users are spending less currency than they are earning: resulting in a surplus. There is no sense of scarcity for the user which may indicate that your players do not understand how they can spend currency or that there is value to them in doing so. It would be a good idea in this case to re-evaluate how much content is available to spend virtual currency on and how discoverable this content is to your users. Alternatively, you may want to consider decreasing the amount of in game earned currency is available (inflation can be a bad thing). Ultimately, you want your curves to change as demonstrated in diagram 2 (below).

Diagram 2: Balancing economy

That's a lot better! Now your users are spending more than they earn… Wait! How is that possible? Two reasons: Players are spending the stock of money they accumulated before your changes. Moreover, there is another important point not to forget: you should not track in the above diagrams the amount of virtual currency the user purchase through in app purchases. If you wait a few more days, you should see the 2 curves converge a bit; the delta of them being the amount of virtual currency users purchase through IAP:

Diagram 3: Stabilised economy

With play game services you can get this visualisation with 2 lines of codes! It works on iOS and Android and doesn't require the user to sign in to Play Games. What you will have in your Android or iOS app is something like this:

You can find more information about the integration here.

Once the client integration done you can go into your Play Store Developer Console to visualise the curve. Go into the "Game services" section, and click on "Player analytics->overview."

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Top 10 Android app updates this week: Palabre, Wunderlist

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 01:36 PM PDT

Welcome back to our weekly Top 10 Android App Updates column, where we take a look at the most frequently upgraded apps for the week. We've found that one of the best ways to discover useful apps is to find the ones that are actually being updated by the developers rather than selecting the apps with the most installs. As in the past, we're going to filter out minor updates for the super-popular apps that have over 10 million installs, but we'll make exceptions for apps that have had significant updates. We hope you enjoy this weekly feature and that you discover some apps that end up being useful.

Garmin Connect - Version 3.4.0

Garmin Connect

What's new in this version:

  • Enhanced graphical interface offers a more intuitive, more engaging app experience
  • Easily access the data and activities that are most of interest to you
  • View all of your activities stored at Garmin Connect™
  • Wirelessly upload activities to Garmin Connect
  • And a few new features, like USB auto-detection, better audio/video sync or better chapters support.


Palabre - Version 2.0.0


What's new in this version:

  • New providers for Twitter, The Old Reader, Inoreader or Flickr, and a SDK so anyone can add more providers (see http://ift.tt/nUw5wW)
  • Improved a lot the design, new logo
  • Better recommendations
  • Better tablet support
  • More customizations, new large cards mode
  • Chrome custom tabs


HERE Maps - Version 1.1.9701


What's new in this version:

  • A whole bunch of under the hood improvements
  • Share your route and a directions list by text message, email and more


Wunderlist - Version 3.4.0


What's new in this version:

  • New: Wunderlist on Android has a new design!
  • New: We've simplified Quick Add to let you add a to-do at the touch of a button–a big, blue one on your Home Screen.
  • New: Add to-dos straight from your notification bar! Enable it via Wunderlist Settings>Account>Notifications>Enable Quick Add Notification, then tap on 'Add to Wunderlist' on your notification bar.


Kodi - Version 15.2.0


What's new in this version:

  • Fix non DVB subtitles
  • Fix incompatible MySQL queries
  • Improvements on PulseAudio for Linux
  • Fix multi images in grouplists/layouts
  • Updated PVR add-ons: Tvheadend HTSP and MythTV


SwiftKey Beta - Version 6.0.0

SwiftKey Beta

What's new in this version:

  • Material Design settings makeover
  • Redesigned & faster Emoji panel
  • New material inspired theme
  • Double-Word Predictions in just one tap. Pairs of commonly used words will appear in the same prediction
  • 5 new languages: Yoruba, Igbo, Zulu, Xhosa & Breton


MapQuest GPS Navigation & Maps - Version 3.0.0


What's new in this version:

  • Our new Compare tool simplifies life-no more balancing multiple apps! Looking to plan a trip? Look no further. Compare gives you options including Uber, car2go* & local transit**.
  • FIXED! The ability to reorder multiple stops broke in our last release. We know how important this feature is since you can't get it elsewhere & we made it a priority fix. Thanks for your patience & feedback!


DS File - Version 4.7.0

DS File

What's new in this version:

  • Files can be pinned to mobile devices to be synced with the files on the DiskStation
  • 2-step verification is supported for DSM 6.0 to provide extra security
  • You can retry failed download tasks
  • You can swipe to the next image directly when viewing images
  • Fixed an issue where an error message might pop up when moving files from the SD card to the mobile device


DS photo - Version 3.8.0

DS photo

What's new in this version:

  • Users can now customize photo quality when sharing to other applications
  • Enhanced performance of QuickConnect
  • Added support of multiple selection to share photos
  • Added the feature of delay time setting for the automatic deletion of uploaded photos
  • Fixed an issue where users may fail to login to the app properly when using a Middle East language
  • Fixed an issue where the app may suddenly quit when streaming videos to Chromecast


Google Play Movies & TV - Version 3.9.23

Google Play Movies & TV

What's new in this version:

  • Android Marshmallow support
  • Bug fixes and stability improvements
  • Easier setup for Roku devices
  • Binge watch for TV episodes


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ASUS ZenFone 3 To Pack USB Type-C Port

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 01:21 PM PDT

Asus Logo


The ASUS ZenFone 2 ushered in a new business model for the Taiwanese company, high end devices without the high end price tag.  The new model has translated into good sales as the ZenFone 2 has been selling pretty well in various markets.  As you'd expect, ASUS is looking to build on that momentum with the ZenFone 3 and while we don't know much about the device yet, we do know what feature that it will pack.

ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih not only confirmed the existence of the ZenFone 3 yesterday but also confirmed that it will pack the increasingly popular USB Type-C charging port.  The reversible port is slowly becoming the new standard so I'm glad to see that ASUS is planning to pack their latest and greatest with some of the latest and greatest tech.

Beyond confirming the Type-C port, Shih didn't say too much about the device so we'll have to wait for the leaks to start flooding the web before we know more about ASUS' next offering.


ASUS ZenFone 3 To Pack USB Type-C Port is a post from: Android in Canada Blog

The post ASUS ZenFone 3 To Pack USB Type-C Port appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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Blackberry Priv Pre-Orders Go Live – Price Set At $899

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 12:36 PM PDT

Blackberry Priv

After a brief accidental appearance yesterday, the Blackberry Priv is officially available for pre-order and the price is a slight bit cheaper than initially anticipated.  Blackberry has the unlocked price of the Priv set at $899.00 which is still a good deal more than what carriers are charging.  Here's a run down of the specs once again:

  • 5.4″ Dual Curved QHD AMOLED Display
  • Snapdragon 808 Processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB Expandable Storage
  • 18MP Camera with OIS and Phase Detection Auto Focus
  • 2MP Front Facing Camera
  • 3410 mAh Battery

So what do you guys think?  Has Blackberry missed the mark with their pricing?  Are you still planning on buying the Priv?


Blackberry Priv Pre-Orders Go Live – Price Set At $899 is a post from: Android in Canada Blog

The post Blackberry Priv Pre-Orders Go Live – Price Set At $899 appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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Review: Lumoid, the try before you buy service for electronics

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 12:21 PM PDT

The age of the Internet has ushered in a whole new world of e-commerce, and with that has come the inevitable decline of brick-and-mortar stores. With lower prices and added perks, online shopping has siphoned off enormous amounts of customers. But online shopping faces a problem in the form of consumers having to purchase without testing the physical product in person.

Enter Lumoid. Lumoid is a new service that aims to solve that problem, at least for certain products. The concept behind Lumoid is simple: Customers go to Lumoid's online selection and choose which category they'd like to look at, the current three categories being wearables, drones and photo/video gear. Then they simply pick out a kit, or build their own, and rent it. Different products have different limits, but the wearable kit we tested allowed us to pick five items and test them for two weeks. At the end of those two weeks, you simply pack the items in the box and ship them back to Lumoid.

For those two weeks, customers can try the wearables and use them as much as they want, with the goal being that the customer will find one that they like. If you do find one that you like, you can either purchase it online from Lumoid, or with some devices, simply not send it back and have it charged to your card, with a $25 discount from the regular price for testing it out first. If you choose not to purchase any item, Lumoid will charge you a $25 rental fee, which is an extremely fair price.

Starting at the beginning, I went through Lumoid's website and selected the wearables I wanted to try. It was an easy and painless process that makes it easy for consumers to sort and select wearables. If you don't want to handpick, Lumoid has several pre-made kits that you can choose from.

After I placed my order, I received an email the next day informing me that one of the items in my order, the Moto 360, was backordered. There would be a delay of one or maybe two weeks before my order would ship because of it. Lumoid also noted that if I was to replace the Moto 360 with another item, my order would ship without delay.

I chose not to replace the Moto 360, as it was one of the items that I was most keen to try, considering that it is an Android Wear device. I waited a week with no response. The second week then went by with radio silence. I started to get a bit worried, but didn't take any action yet. On the eve of the third week, I emailed Lumoid and let them know that my order hadn't shipped. The customer service was fantastic. I got an immediate reply, apologizing profusely and informing me that they were going to overnight my order so that it would arrive the next day.


Sure enough, the Lumoid box showed up the next day. It's small, neat and surprisingly elegant. A thank-you note is included in the box, as well as a prepaid return label, a checklist of the box contents and a note that detailed the return date and instructions.

All of the wearables were wrapped in tissue paper and each came in a small mesh bag with a drawstring. Open up a bag and you'll find the wearable, corresponding charging equipment, a manual and a small guide from Lumoid on how to set up and pair the wearable to your phone.

My wearable kit consisted of the Moto X (1st gen), ASUS Zenwatch (1st gen), Pebble Time, Withings Activitè Pop and the Jawbone UP3. All of the devices were in very good condition, though a couple had very minor scratches, likely from previous testing. Nonetheless, it was an exceptionally well-done delivery and execution that made it easy to set up and test each device.


Getting a chance to test out wearables is a fantastic opportunity. Going at it from a customer standpoint, I learned much more about wearables and ultimately found that I'm not a fan of them. Is that a problem? Not at all. Having had the chance to try them out allowed me the opportunity to discover that before I dropped a significant amount of money purchasing one.

That fact is what makes Lumoid a fantastic service. It serves its purpose whether or not you choose to purchase a product. If you do test a few out and decide to purchase one that you like, that's great! You've just made a purchase that you know will bring you satisfaction because you've tested the product and liked it. If you test them out and find that you're not a fan, that's just as good! You've made yourself happier by finding out your preference rather than purchasing without knowing. It's a win-win in both cases.

Lumoid has also nailed down the simplicity aspect, which makes it easy for anyone to give it a go. Once you're finished testing the wearables, you simply seal up the box, apply the prepaid shipping label and drop it into your nearest FedEx drop box, making it a seamless and simple process.


The team behind Lumoid has done a great job of creating a service that fills a gap in the market. If you're interested in learning a little more about wearables or maybe you're trying to decide between a couple of different devices, give Lumoid a shot. It's a painless process that offers big benefits at a low price.

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The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 4.7: the little budget phone that could

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 12:21 PM PDT

Alcatel OneTouch is doing its best to stir things up in the budget/unlocked phone market. Hardware for mobile is getting to the point where budget no longer means poor performance. Just a couple of years ago, I would never have recommended anyone buy a budget device. In my opinion, the poor experience that went along with budget phones and 2-year contracts made the low cost just not worth it. Now, with phones like Alcatel OneTouch's Idol 3 line on the market, you not only get a good phone for the price (and off-contract), but you're getting a phone that's highly competitive in many areas.

The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 4.7 was announced back in January at CES. It was announced along with its bigger sibling, the Idol 3 5.5. We reviewed the Idol 3 5.5 back in April and gave it high marks for a budget device. The 4.7 and 5.5 Idol 3 variants have a lot in common. In fact, they look identical except for the size. Under the hood, though, they're different. Will it make big enough difference to hamper the overall experience? That's what we're here to find out.

We've had the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 4.7 in hand for longer than we probably should have. We used it on the AT&T network in San Francisco Bay Area and Central Valley of California. I used it as my personal device. Below is my review of the Idol 3 4.7.

Click to view slideshow.

1. Hardware

Hardware separates the Idol 3 4.7 from the 5.5. In just about all aspects, the 4.7 has lower specs than the 5.5. Some of it may not matter, like display resolution and battery, because of the smaller size, but the processor may matter. This is a beef I have with smaller phones. I really wish we could get a small phone with great specs. Regardless, the Idol 3 4.7 matches up well with the competition in the market with phones that are comparable in size. Compared to the 5.5, the Idol 3 4.7 has a lower resolution display, a smaller battery, fewer cores and lower clock speed, less RAM, and a lower resolution front-facing camera. The Idol 3 4.7 is also $70 cheaper than the 5.5, so maybe we're just getting what we're paying for.

  • Height: 5.3 in (134.6 mm)
  • Width: 2.6 in (65.9 mm)
  • Depth: 0.3 in (7.55 mm)
  • 4.7-inch 1080p (312 ppi) IPS LCD display
  • Weight: 3.88 oz (110 g)
  • Non-removable 2000mAh lithium ion battery
  • 1.5 GB RAM/16 GB ROM (10 GB usable) with a microSD card slot
  • Qualcomm MSM8916 quad-core 1.2GHz CPU
  • 13 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Micro SIM, EAP SIM, Dual SIM available
  • Bands: GSM Quad (850/900/1800/1900), UMTS 850/1700/1900/2100, HSPA+ 42Mbps Downlink, 5.76Mbps Uplink, LTE FDD: B2/4/5/7/12/17
  • Dual front-firing JBL speakers

2. Design

To discuss the design of the Idol 3 4.7, I'm going to steal some of the text from my review of the 5.5. I'm doing this because things that looked or felt awkward or different to me when I first got the 5.5 don't feel that way to me now because I'm accustomed to it now. The Idol 3 4.7 and 5.5 look identical except for their size. So my thoughts on the Idol 3 5.5 apply to the 4.7 apply, except for when I discussed my issues with the size, which I'll obviously specifically discuss for the 4.7 here.

At first glance, I found the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 5.5 to look a bit odd. It has a simple slab design with chrome corners and a funny lip on the bottom and top of the front on the device. Then I realized why I felt that way: the dual front speakers. Interestingly, Alcatel OneTouch has designed the Idol 3 (4.7 and 5.5) to be used right side up or upside-down. Except for the noticeable front-facing camera (5MP on the 4.7), the device looks basically identical whether upside-down or not, so why not make it work upside-down? In the quick settings menu, there's a toggle to allow the "Reversible" use of the device. I think it's an interesting feature that some could easily find useful.

The dual front speakers may be one of my favorite OneTouch Idol 3 features. It's an interesting design choice to have the glass end before the speakers at each end of the front of the device. The device then steps down at each end for the speakers. I've never seen another phone designed this way, and I'm not sure it's the prettiest way to get the job done, but I think Alcatel OneTouch did the job well. The look has grown on me and I'd take it all day if it meant that I'd have the dual front speakers.

One of my biggest complaints I had with the Idol 3 5.5 was the slipperiness of its back. I had issue with this because of the phone's size, which made one-handed operation of the device dangerous. If I tried to one-hand it, I always felt like the phone could just slip out of my hands and the display would shatter. These issues could be solved with skins or cases that are now available for the 5.5, or by buying the 4.7-inch variant.

I love the size of the Idol 3 4.7. I love that it's small and is easy to grip and use with one hand. The back is still slippery like the 5.5 variant, but because of how it can be held, that's no longer an issue.

When I reviewed the Idol 3 5.5, I thought the power and volume button layout is weird. Since then, I've used several different phones with all different button configurations. I no longer feel like there's a normal. If the Idol 3 has a different layout than your current or old phone, you'll quickly get used to it and it will become the new normal.

Another strange design choice with the Idol 3 phones is the placement of the microUSB port: It's not centered on the bottom of the phone. Instead, it's placed to the right of the phone on the bottom. That means if you have a dock on your nightstand or in your car, charging the device may not be possible or may become very awkward. I don't feel like that's a deal breaker, just keep it in mind if you're buying accessories along with your Idol 3.

3. Build Quality

Here's how I review build quality: Does the phone creak or make noises when I use it? Are the buttons tactile and responsive? Is it made of quality materials? The Idol 3′s sides and back are plastic, but it's as solid as plastic devices come. I've not noticed any creaking. The buttons are nice and tactile, and using them feels nice.

The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 is not made of "exotic" materials, but it feels solid and comfortable in the hand. There's nothing about the build that makes the Idol 3 stand out from the crowd, though, so it gets an average grade here.

4. Display

The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 4.7 has a 4.7-inch IPS LCD 720p display. In a world of 2k and 4k displays, 720p feels like it's way behind in specs. But in my opinion, there's a point where resolution stops mattering, and 312 pixels per inch is absolutely adequate. Like the Idol 3 5.5, the display can get super bright and viewing angles are great. It does well in direct sunlight, too. Alcatel OneTouch credits the display quality to its Technicolor IPS display.

As for colors on the Idol 3 4.7 display, compared to my Nexus 6 and its AMOLED display technology, the blacks aren't as black. However, the whites on my Nexus 6 are more yellowish and the colors are more saturated than the Idol 3. These are pretty standard differences between the AMOLED and IPS LCD technology the phone uses.

Overall, you won't be disappointed with the Idol 3 4.7's display. It's right on par with the competition is the size range. The Idol 3 even has a little higher pixel density due to the smaller display size compared to the Moto G (3rd Gen).

5. Software

Another category in which Alcatel OneTouch did things right is software. The Idol 3 comes with Android Lollipop, version 5.0.2. Very few changes have been made to stock Lollipop: Stock app icons like the dialer and contacts have been themed, but with a simple, rounded corner look. Google apps and pre-installed apps like Facebook and Twitter are not themed. Interestingly, the 5.5 came with apps like Evernote and WhatsApp, but the 4.7 does not.

A really interesting touch regarding icon themes are with the calendar and clock apps: The calendar icon displays the correct calendar day and the clock displays the current time. Another item to note is that pre-installed apps like Twitter or Facebook can be deleted so that they're not stuck on your device taking up valuable space if you don't use them. Like the Idol 3 5.5, the 4.7 comes with 16GB of memory, and after the OS and all the other goodies, we're left with about 10GB of usable space. As of this writing,  my Idol 3 4.7 has 6.13 GB of space left. So it's nice to have the option to get rid of those pre-installed apps if you're not using them. I'm already using most of the pre-installed apps, like Facebook and Twitter. Alcatel OneTouch also includes some interesting apps of its own, like Mix for some turntable fun times.

The Idol 3′s lock screen is basically stock, save for quick launch buttons near the bottom of the lock screen. The lock screen has the standard Lollipop phone and camera quick launch icons at the bottom corners, but it includes up to 5 extra quick launch icons. These can be turned off or configured in their own category in the settings menu. Configuring the quick launch tasks in the settings requires a long press on the "Func" setting within the Lock Screen settings. The actual changing of the tasks is not as simple as it could be, but I love that it can be customized. These quick launchable tasks include Selfie, Calculator, New Message, Add a Contact and more.

Another cool Idol 3 feature that I love is double-tap-to-wake. The function does seem improved over what I experienced during my Idol 3 5.5 review. Again, I think all phones should have a tap-to-wake function. It's simple and makes sense. You'll love it if you've never had it before.

When Alcatel OneTouch announced the Idol 3s back in March, the company felt it important to mention that the phones could be used upside down, which is an interesting feature. Many functions of the Idol 3 can be used upside down, including phone calls. This feature can be toggled in the quick settings as well as in the settings menu. The animation it uses to flip the home screen can even be changed. This is a feature that I think hardware and software design have come together well to make something new and useful. The only issue I ran into with using the device upside down is with the buttons — they're only on the upper portion of the device — but I think the real beauty of the reversible phone is then you're quickly pulling the device out of your pocket or bag to answer it and it doesn't matter if it's right side up or upside-down. Plus, tap-to-wake makes it so it doesn't matter where the power button is.

One software item of business that needs to be talked about is updates. I've heard nothing from Alcatel OneTouch that they will be updating their phones to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. But Alcatel has given their word they are committed to updates and they've kept their word. With the 5.5, they've already dropped several performance updates, and hopefully we'll continue to see the same support for the 4.7.

Click to view slideshow.

6. Performance

On paper, the Idol 3 4.7 hardware isn't going to blow you away. It doesn't have as many cores or GHz as the 5.5, nor is it even close to the hardware that today's flagships have under the hood. Compared to the Moto G (3rd Gen), it has the exact same CPU but clocked a bit slower. But the hardware names and numbers mean nothing if it can't perform.

When we reviewed the Idol 3 5.5, we had an amazing experience with the device. Performance was great and we were very impressed. However, as soon as the device was released, we heard from reputable sources that there were performance issues. However, Alcatel OneTouch have demonstrated commitment to their devices by releasing multiple updates with intent to improve performance. I would expect similar support for the 4.7.

So how does the 4.7 perform? I think it's done pretty darn well. I did a fair share of gaming on the device, and Granny Smith and Need for Speed Most Wanted ran admirably without lag. I may have experienced skipped frames, but to me that's a non-issue compared to lag. The device is obviously fresh and not as loaded with apps as my personal Nexus 6, but in the time that I've had the Idol 3 4.7, performance has been respectable. For the price you'll be happy.

7. Call Quality and Audio

Audio on the Idol 3 5.5 blew me away. I love the dual front-firing JBL speakers and feel like they closely rival what the Nexus 6 offers in terms of volume output and quality. So I had high expectations for the 4.7.

As I expressed in my initial impressions, I haven't been blown away by the front firing speakers on the Idol 3 4.7. The front-firing speakers get loud, but they're definitely more tinny. I don't remember this issue with the Idol 3 5.5, but I had just gotten the Nexus 6 then. Comparing the sound to the now $300ish Nexus 6 with dual front speakers, the Nexus 6 clearly sounds better. Regardless of quality, dual front-firing speakers still offer a great media consumption experience, whether you're watching a movie or gaming. The JBL speakers will still blow away most phone speakers out there. It's how all phones should be made.

Similar to my experience with the 5.5, call quality on the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 4.7 is average. I could understand the people I was talking to and they could understand me. It gets the job done comfortably.

8. Camera

The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 4.7 packs the same 13MP camera as the 5.5. I've been mostly impressed with the camera on the Idol 3. I love how fast it snaps pictures, and a lot of the built in features in the camera app go beyond what stock Android offers. These are features like manual mode, time-lapse, QR scanner and burst shot.

In summary from my 5.5 review, I love the speed at which the Idol 3 can snap pictures. It's great for snapping pictures of kids, and it performs well in good lighting conditions. It's okay in non-optimal lighting conditions. I wish it had optical image stabilization. For the price (like most of the features on the Idol 3), I'm impressed.

Click to view slideshow.

9. Battery Life

The Idol 3 4.7 has a non-removable 2000mAh battery. That's almost 1000mAh less than the 5.5, but the 4.7 also has a smaller display and a lower performance processor. So, the battery life is once again pretty good for this Idol 3. It will last you through the day with moderate use. I'm a pretty heavy phone user and the Idol 3 4.7 easily lasted me into the evening.

10. Extras

Like the Idol 3 5.5, the 4.7 packs JBL headphones into its tiny box. My $650 Nexus 6 didn't come with headphones, but many high-end phones will. I think the entire package that you get with the Idol 3 4.7 is very impressive for $179.99. Headphones, a phone with great features like the dual front firing speakers and a really great software experience make me give the Idol 3 4.7 a good rating here.

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 4.78 / 10

Overall, I'm pretty tickled about the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 4.7. It's a tiny phone with a big name. I've given it a pretty darn good score. The question I'm asking myself now is, "Would I actually buy one for myself?"

The answer is, probably not. Why? Well, I am a very heavy phone user. I have so many apps and junk on my Nexus 6 that it's running absolutely terribly right now with its 3GB of RAM and Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor. The Idol 3 4.7 has ran beautifully over the time that I've reviewed it and used it as my daily driver, but I probably have a fraction of the apps that I have on my Nexus 6. It just concerns me as a heavy Android/phone user that this phone won't be able to keep up with me, because I really haven't found a phone that is able to keep up with me yet anyway.

Would I recommend this phone to anyone? Absolutely. It's $179 unlocked. You can be contract-free and take it to any GSM carrier. If you're just using your phone for basic functions like calls, email, internet browsing and Angry Birds, this phone is right up your alley. If you think large phones are the worst, this is definitely a phone you should consider. I don't like the size of my Nexus 6, and if you could pack today's high-end hardware in a phone the size of the Idol 3 4.7, I would be all over it. Another phone I would consider in the same range is the Motorola Moto G that can be upgraded to 2 GB of RAM, but I haven't reviewed that phone myself and can't say much about how it compares. Also, for not much more money, there's the Idol 3 5.5.

So, what I'm trying to say is this: Think of the kind of phone user you are, and then think about if this phone does it for you. If so, you can pick up the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 on Amazon or AlcatelOneTouch.us, with orders fulfilled by Amazon, for the low price of $179.99. I've had a great time with the phone. It's size is so refreshing, and I'm going to miss it when I send it back to Alcatel.

What are your thoughts on the Idol 3 4.7? I know a few of our readers already have one. Let us know what you think of the device or if you're thinking about buying one. Also let us know if you have any questions by commenting below.

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Google promises new emojis are coming to Android

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 11:51 AM PDT

Some of the new emojis in iOS 9.1. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of AndroidIf you have friends who use iOS, you've probably been getting a lot of messages that contain new emojis you can't see. That's because Android doesn't support them yet, but Android SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer promises that Google is "on it." Emoji icons are now part of the Unicode Standard, and every so often, it is

The post Google promises new emojis are coming to Android appeared first on Cult of Android.

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Bag 2 Monster Digital flash drives and save 70% [Deal]

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 10:21 AM PDT

4cf1325a628339cb3042f06b667da5b99a75fd6c_main_hero_imageStart backing up your sensitive documents, HD movies, and favorite photos with these two high-quality Monster 3.0 flash drives. They not only play nice with computers, smartphones, and smart TVs alike, but transfer files at rapid speeds whenever you need—even when there's no wireless in site. And thanks to Cult of Android Deals, you can

The post Bag 2 Monster Digital flash drives and save 70% [Deal] appeared first on Cult of Android.

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Google knows you want new emojis on Android, and they are working on it

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 10:07 AM PDT

With iOS 9.1, iPhone users were treated to the release of a bevy of new emojis, ranging from a taco to a middle finger. Android users want new emojis too, something Google wants you to know they hear, and are working on.

Google's Hiroshi Lockheimer took to Twitter to share the following:

We don't have any sort of timeline or method as to how Google would implement the new emojis (System update? Tied into Google Play services?), but just know they are on the way.

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OnePlus extends invite life to 3 days

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 09:37 AM PDT

Let's say you're lucky enough to snag an invite to buy a OnePlus 2, and for whatever reason, you miss using that invite to buy a phone within 24 hours. Unfortunately, your invite would now be expired. Or at least it would have been prior to today.

OnePlus has announced on Twitter today that once issued invites will be valid for 3 days now, instead of the previous 24 hours. No other details on the change have been shared at this time, but it all seems pretty straightforward.

While OnePlus has said in the Tweet announcing the change that the invite extension is just one of the ways the company wants to keep improving, using customer feedback to do so, replies are littered with speculation that today's announcement was prompted by poor sales. With the recent release of the Moto X Pure Edition, Nexus 5X and with phones coming out all the time like the Robin, OnePlus is undoubtedly facing more competition than ever before.

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You can pre-order the BlackBerry Priv for $699

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 09:07 AM PDT

While the Priv, BlackBerry's Android device, appeared on the company's website not too long ago boasting a hefty price tag of $749 and a launch date of the middle of November, it turns out BlackBerry has had a change of heart. The Priv has appeared on the company's site again with some major changes in tow.

The hardware hasn't changed, but BlackBerry is now listing the Priv for $699. That isn't a huge price drop, but it should make the handset more attractive to some out there considering it as their new daily driver. For those not in the U.S., the handset is priced at £559.00 including VAT in the U.K. or $899 in Canada.

BlackBerry also improved shipping dates, too. The Priv is now listed as shipping beginning November 6 for orders in and outside the United States.

The Priv's specs are the same. It still has the 5.43-inch Plastic AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560×1440. It boasts a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, and there's 32GB of built-in storage with 3GB of RAM. There's an 18MP camera on the back with a 2MP front-facing camera on the other side. There's a microSD card slot and the battery is measured in at 3410mAh. It's running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box.

Do you plan on picking up the Priv?

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Pre-order your BlackBerry Priv in the U.S. right now

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 08:53 AM PDT

BlackBerry Priv looks exciting -- but expensive. Photo: BlackBerryBlackBerry Priv pre-orders are back! Fans in the U.S. who are looking to get their hands on BlackBerry's first Android-powered smartphone can place their order now ahead of its official debut on November 6. But be warned: curved displays, high-end specs, and physical keyboards do not come cheap. "PRIV combines everything you expect from BlackBerry

The post Pre-order your BlackBerry Priv in the U.S. right now appeared first on Cult of Android.

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Google charging for Nexus 6P pre-orders as shipping looms

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 08:22 AM PDT

Nexus 6P should be shipping soon! Photo: GoogleGoogle has begun charging customers' credit cards for Nexus 6P pre-orders, indicating it will begin shipping its new handset very soon. The move comes after the Nexus 6P sold out on the Google Store for the U.S. on Wednesday. If you've ever pre-ordered anything online, you'll know that being charged for it indicates your purchase will soon

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KnockOn brings tap to wake gestures to Androids with AMOLEDs

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 08:22 AM PDT

Get tap to wake on your Android now! Photo: JawomoYou know those super useful tap to wake gestures you get on handsets from HTC, LG, and OnePlus? Now you can get them on almost any Android with an AMOLED display, thanks to a new app called KnockOn. Just like the tap to wake gestures on the handsets mentioned above, KnockOn lets you tap twice on

The post KnockOn brings tap to wake gestures to Androids with AMOLEDs appeared first on Cult of Android.

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If You Currently Have The Discounted Play Music Plan ($7.99), You Get To Keep That Rate When You Convert To YouTube Red

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 08:05 AM PDT


Starting on October 28th, YouTube Red will let folks in the US start watching all the movie trailers, phone reviews, music videos, epic fails, adorable babies, cat clips, and rants they've been consuming for years, sans ads. In exchange, viewers hand over $9.99 a month instead.

Unless, it turns out, you're one of the early Play Music subscribers. Google is sending out emails to folks who hopped on board in the early summer of 2013 to inform them that when they are converted to YouTube Red, they will get to keep their discounted $7.99 rate.

Read More

If You Currently Have The Discounted Play Music Plan ($7.99), You Get To Keep That Rate When You Convert To YouTube Red was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Xiaomi rumored to be ‘borrowing’ Apple’s 3D Touch tech

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 06:46 AM PDT

Samsung wants Galaxy users to enjoy 3D Touch, too. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of AndroidXiaomi isn't exactly known for having its own ideas, so why would you expect it to act any differently when Apple introduced its innovative new 3D Touch feature for the iPhone 6s? True to form, a new rumor coming out of China claims that Xiaomi has patented its own version of the technology. Because, of

The post Xiaomi rumored to be 'borrowing' Apple's 3D Touch tech appeared first on Cult of Android.

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Gorgeous new Google Play Store rolling out now on Android

Posted: 23 Oct 2015 06:15 AM PDT

The new Google Play Store. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of AndroidGoogle has revamped its Google Play Store after launching Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and the gorgeous new redesign is rolling out now to all Android users. It's not all about looks, though. Although the design is the first thing you'll notice — Google Play is now a whole lot prettier — the overhaul makes the Store

The post Gorgeous new Google Play Store rolling out now on Android appeared first on Cult of Android.

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A 3rd Gen ASUS Nexus 7 Tablet Could Potentially Be In The Works

Posted: 22 Oct 2015 10:15 PM PDT

Asus Logo

The Nexus 7 (2013) is still widely regarded as a great budget and good performing tablet. It even runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and users have reported much better battery life following the update. However, will ASUS and Google make the 3rd Nexus 7 any time soon?

According to a TrustedReviews interview with Jonney Shih, the Chairman of ASUS, when asked about the possibility of them working together again, he revealed that the company is already taking part in projects with Google.

Please just stay tuned, you know, stay tuned… I think we do have quite a good development partnership with Google. We are still doing a lot of projects with them together. (TrustedReviews.com)

This really excites me as another low priced ASUS Nexus tablet  with a fingerprint sensor, USB Type C and Android 6.0+ would sell like hotcakes.

[TrustedReviews / TechnoBuffalo]

A 3rd Gen ASUS Nexus 7 Tablet Could Potentially Be In The Works is a post from: Android in Canada Blog

The post A 3rd Gen ASUS Nexus 7 Tablet Could Potentially Be In The Works appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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New App: Pixolor Is The Live Eyedropper Tool I've Always Wanted For Android

Posted: 22 Oct 2015 04:59 PM PDT

One tool that I personally have always wanted on Android but have never actually seen is a live color picker. A floating tool that could grab pixel-specific color values from your screen without the need for screenshots or any other complication. Today it looks like my wish has been granted by embermitre with the release of Pixolor to the Play Store.

Pixolor is basically a floating eyedropper controlled by a persistent notification.

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New App: Pixolor Is The Live Eyedropper Tool I've Always Wanted For Android was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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New App: Pixolor Is The Live Eyedropper Tool I've Always Wanted For Android

Posted: 22 Oct 2015 04:42 PM PDT

One tool that I personally have always wanted on Android but have never actually seen is a live color picker. A floating tool that could grab pixel-specific color values from your screen without the need for screenshots or any other complication. Today it looks like my wish has been granted by embermitre with the release of Pixolor to the Play Store.

Pixolor is basically a floating eyedropper controlled by a persistent notification.

Read More

New App: Pixolor Is The Live Eyedropper Tool I've Always Wanted For Android was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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