LG G Vista leak says Thursday launch, comes with photos

Verizon‘s new LG phablet might soon be upon us. Fortunately, it seems that it won’t be as bad as initially thought. This latest leak regarding the mysterious LG G Vista not only brings us a few photos plus a July 31 launch date, but also gives us specs that we can probably stomach.

The previous information about the G Vista heading to Verizon painted a rather strange picture. It described a 5.7-inch monster with only a resolution of 960×540 pixels. Fortunately, that now seems to be corrected with this leak, which points out specs that include 720p resolution, 1280×720 to be exact. The RAM is also confirmed to have that unconventional 1.5 GB size, instead of the 1 GB rumored for ATT‘s version.

The rest of the specs pretty much tell the story of a mid-range phablet, with a 1.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 driving the device. Internal storage is now revealed to be 8 GB, expandable with a microSD card but only up to 64 GB. There is also a 3,200 mAh battery, thankfully removable. The good thing about this smarpthone is that, despite not sharing the G3 moniker, it does share some of the features, like the laser autofocus system to go with the 8 megapixel rear shooter and the distinctive rear button controls. Interestingly, based on the leaked photos, it seems that the G Vista will go with a very shiny back cover look instead of the brushed metal style that the G3 had.

The LG G Vista is expected to go live this Thursday and will be available from Verizon both with contract and without. Its full retail price will be $499 but with a two-year agreement, you can get it for $99. No word on when the ATT variant will come, if it actually exists at all.

VIA: Droid Life

SwiftKey app improves and fixes features,brings new themes

The competition for virtual keyboards is heating up as apps like Fleksy and Minuum try to corner their share of the digital market. Just a little over a month since it became free for the Android platform, SwiftKey has released an update that brings even more improvement to its existing features, as well as bringing a few minor additions and offering a sale on its own SwiftKey Store.

But lest you think and expect that the update will bring about major changes to the app, you shouldn’t get your hopes up too much. Mostly, it’s just a long laundry list of improvements and fixes that they’ve made to several aspects of the app, like “improved typing performance” (which should be a given for any virtual keyboard right?), “improved keyboard loading time” (which is basically the point of using a keyboard app instead of your smartphone’s default one). It has also fixed several problems from its last version, like the bottom row not being accessible as it keeps hiding in some devices.

But the update has also brought some goodies for its loyal customers and hoping to convert some who are still on the fence when it comes to choosing a virtual keyboard. SwiftKey has added several new themes that you can choose from: Spotlight Purple, Edge Green, Pulse Yellow, Pulse Pink and Hazy Pink. The update has also added 3 more languages: Kyrgyz, Tajik and Turkmen. The app’s emoji prediction now includes several languages as well, like Arabic, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Polish and Russian.

SwiftKey still has some ways to go before it can catch up with tis competitors, as it has nothing that will make it standout, unlike let’s say Minuum’s unconventional interface. But if you are attracted to the app now, they are also having a a sale over at the SwiftKey Store, with as high as a 33% discount. While the app itself is free from the Google Play Store, there are some things you can add, like changing the theme or theme packs, through in-app purchases.

SOURCE: SwiftKey

Paranoid Android 4.5 Alpha 3: choose your Recents style

Another week, another Paranoid Android Alpha teaser. And like the previous two before it, 4.5 Alpha 3 focuses on changes to the redesigned Recent Apps view. Aside from visual polish and performance improvements, the dev team is now allowing PA users to decide whether they want to use the new Material-inspired visuals or stick to the conventional KitKat style.

The new Recent Apps design in Android L is quite pretty but, as with anything related to beauty, it can be subjective. Paranoid Android, however, isn’t simply copying what Google has provided and is adding a spin of its own, particularly in animations, shadows, and a “clear all” option. That said, not everyone will like the new fancy look. Luckily, PA isn’t going to force it down your throat. When you install or upgrade to Alpha 3 and tap on that Recents button, you will be greeted by an On-The-Spot window asking whether you’d like to switch to the new cards stack view. If you answer no, you will be dumped back to the Android KitKat columnar style.

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It is definitely good news that PA is flexible in this area, and hopefully they will retain that option even after Android L, which itself doesn’t have a way to revert to the old ways, comes around. But in case you made the wrong choice or want to switch back and forth between the two styles, fret not. Paranoid Android lets you reset the choices you have made with any On-The-Spot option, though finding it might not exactly be straight forward. To get there, launch the Settings app and go into Backup and Reset. There you will find the Reset preferences option that will show you all the past choices you’ve made, at least as far as PA customizations are concerned.

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Those on the more stable 4.4 version also have something to be happy about, though not as much as alpha testers. In this latest 4.45 version, the Theme Engine has once again been synced but there are also some PA-specific fixes. In particular, the Hover icon on the notification panel has been resized to fit the rest of Quick Settings and PA’s hidden battery feature has also received some fixes. Of course, these changes have also been added to 4.5 Alpha 3, so early adopters won’t be missing out on those fixes at all.

SOURECE: +Paranoid Android

Moon Violet and Burgundy Red LG G3 variants out in August

While the US carriers that are offering the LG G3 have only been offering at least two colors to their customers, the flagship smartphone actually has five different color options: Metallic Black, Silk White, Shine Gold, Moon Violet, and Burgundy Red. The last two have not been released yet, but LG has finally made the announcement that it will finally be available starting August.

However, they have not finalised the exact dates yet and which markets the the purple and red variants will be available. In the US, ATT, T-Mobile and Verizon are currently offering the black and white colors, while some others had the black and gold ones. There are no hints or announcements yet from any of the carriers if they would be interested to have the two more splashy options available for those who are bored by the conventional colors.

But regardless of what color you’d want, one thing is clear: the LG G3 has garnered a lot of positive reviews. Its 5.5-inch Quad HD screen with a resolution of 2560×1440 is something that is unrivalled as of this moment and surprisingly, the battery life is not problematic even with this kind of specs. As we said in our review previously, this is kind of an “abnormal” phenomenon with smartphones. Mobile photography enthusiasts will not be disappointed with the LG G3 as well, its 13MP camera is enhanced by several built-in features, like the laser auto focus and the optical image stabilization.

It really shouldn’t matter though which color of the LG G3 you have, as long as you get to enjoy and take advantage of the smartphone’s features (and you can always get colorful casings). But if you want the real colourful deal, then let’s hope the Moon Violet and Burgundy Red options would be available in your market.

VIA: Phone Arena

Xperia Z2′s New Movie Creator creates 30-second videos

Don’t you just wish sometimes that the photos and videos stored in your mobile device would just go and make a short film about themselves, without you having to lift many fingers? Well, if you own a Sony Xperia Z2 (or planning to buy one), then that option is now available with the New Movie Creator app, which will automatically create 30-second videos based on the media in your smartphone.

It works simply enough, just like Google+’s Auto Awesome Movie mode. The app will take a look at your photo and video timeline (only those stored in your Z2 of course) and then based on the dates on which they were taken, it will assemble a short film, complete with music and transitions. The time period varies; it can create photos from one day, three days or a week. Once it has finished making your 30-second masterpiece, it will notify you that it’s ready for viewing.

The New Movie Creator also gives you the chance to minimally edit the finished product. You can delete those unwanted photos that make you look fat, edit the music that seems out of place for the photos included and change the text included in the video. There’s no indication however that it will allow you to add photos that you want included. Once you’re satisfied that the short film is perfect as it is, you can then export the film to your device or share it with your friends on different social networks.

New Movie Creator can be downloaded OTA in a 9.9MB file through the Update Center. Just make sure that before you start using the app, you don’t have photos or videos that are NSFW or might be considered “damaging” and of course, carefully review the 30-second film before sending it out to the Internet, which never forgets.

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SOURCE: Xperia

HTC One M8 gets 4.4.3 update with some 4.4.4 fixes

It might sound a bit weird, but the HTC One M8 is only now getting updated to Android 4.4.3. The rollout actually started in the US last week, at least for the unlocked versions, and is finally making its way to Europe. This massive update bumps the Android version to 4.4.3 but does include some changes coming from 4.4.4, which means that HTC won’t need to release that latest version immediately.

Android 4.4.3 is pretty much a straightforward maintenance update but it does bring some new features, in particular the redesigned dialer app. But as with many OEM’s, HTC took advantage of the update to include some of its own changes to its flagship. While there is no version bump involved for Sense 6.0 on the device, there are quite a few changes and fixes for HTC”s built-in apps. Apps like Camera, Gallery, and Settings have been updated to their latest versions, while features like Motion Launch, BoomSound and Extreme Power Saving Mode have also seen some optimizations.

Android 4.4.4 is an even lesser maintenance update whose primary purpose seems to be to address some OpenSSL security vulnerabilities disclosed early last June. The changes have been so minimal that some OEMs and even custom ROMs have integrated those fixes even before updating to version 4.4.4. HTC confirms that this is also the case with this One M8 update, which means that the manufacturer won’t feel the need to rush out an update that would only be effectively changing version numbers.

The HTC One M8 Android 4.4.3 update comes at a sizable package of around 600 MB, less for the unlocked US version and more for the European model. In Europe, it is hitting Nordic versions of the device first and, as always will take time before it goes out to everyone, depending on the region and the carrier.

VIA: Android Central (1), (2)

T-Mobile adds Samsung Galaxy Avant to its budget line

It seems that some just can’t get enough of Samsung‘s Android-toting Galaxy smartphones, and apparently neither can T-Mobile. The carrier has just announced that the Galaxy Avant, one of the Korean manufacturer’s latest mid-tier devices, is now available from T-Mobile shelves in very Un-carrier ways.

The Galaxy Avant is honestly not that impressive but it is a solid budget device in a small package. The qHD resolution of 960×540 pixels might look a bit disappointing, but at 4.5 inches, it might not be that bad for very basic viewing. It runs on a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor and, quite surprisingly, has a higher than normal 1.5 GB of RAM. Internal storage is capped at 16 GB but there is a micro SD slot for 64 GB more. There is a 5 megapixel rear camera and a front shooter of unknown size. You won’t be missing out when it comes to connectivity, as the Galaxy Avant has all the bells and whistles, including WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS and GLASSON, WiFi Direct, and even NFC. And of course, it is compatible with T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network.

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While it’s not exactly high-end, the Galaxy Avant isn’t lacking in features, starting with Android 4.4 right out of the box. On Samsung’s side, you have Easy Mode for simplifying the use of TouchWiz, S Voice, Samsung rather underwhelming Siri counterpart, and the whole host of Samsung services, like ChatON. From Verizon, you get features (or bloatware if you insist) like T-Mobile TV and Visual Voicemail.

The Samsung Galaxy Avant is now available for purchase from T-Mobile’s nationwide outlets as well as from its online store. Interested buyers have two options. One would be to buy the smartphone at full price for $216 or pay for it at $9 a month for 24 months with zero down. Either choice will grant you access to T-Mobile’s slew of Un-carrier services, including its rather enticing and quite controversial listen-all-you-can Music Freedom offering.

SOURCE: T-Mobile

Google makes searching while traveling even easier

Ever since the advent of smartphones, apps, and admit it, Google, traveling to an unfamiliar place is not as scary as it once was. As long as you have Internet connection (and a lot of hotels and tourist destinations have WiFi, if you don’t want to risk roaming charges), even if you don’t have a physical guidebook or the people around you cannot speak your language, you can still get around. The newest Google Search function has even removed a few extra steps to make it much easier for you to explore an unfamiliar place while you’re still at your hotel.

All you need is for your hotel reservation to be saved into your Gmail account, for you to have a Google Search app on your Android device, and you’re all set. By just tapping the mic on the app, you can say “Show me the best restaurants around my hotel” or “How do I get to my hotel from here” and it will (hopefully) give you the answers you’re looking for. Now you can find the best places to visit nearby, also through the help of Google Maps of course.

Search and other products in the Google ecosystem has constantly been trying to improve their options and features to make travellers even more confident as they explore other places. When you search for a restaurant or place anywhere you are, you’ll get hundreds or maybe thousands of results and it can be overwhelming. Just a few months ago, they allow searchers to filter the results based on price, ratings, cuisine (if you’r searching for a place to eat) and others.

Google Now is another product that is making itself even more useful for when you travel. Aside from getting cards that suggest places to visit when you’re in a certain area, you can also use it to manage your flight information and hotel details, like getting directions, saving the codes for easier scanning at the airport, etc. It can even advise you what time you should be leaving your house to get to the airport with its “leave home by” feature. So just make sure your smartphone has connection and enough battery, and you’re all set wherever you’re going.

SOURCE: Google

Plants vs Zombies 2 update: new worlds, levels and zombies

If you’re one of the thousands, nay millions, of mobile users who are still determined to protect their virtual houses from zombies by using plants, the latest update to the seminal game will surely make you even happier. Plants vs Zombies 2 adds even more levels, plants and zombie characters, in Part 2 of a medieval confrontation between the brain-sucking villains and the photosynthetic heroes.

The most recent update before this one was just last month and the rollout of even more content continues with the latest one. It releases Part 2 of the Dark Ages world and has 10 new levels to conquer. New “characters” are also introduced, with the addition of 2 new kinds of plants, a wizard zombie (can’t we have a Harry Potter zombie soon?) and a king zombie (but not the actual king of zombies).

There’s also a “fired-up” Zomboss (we’re assuming he is the one to whom all the other zombies report to) so it must mean he’s even hungrier for brains. There’s also an addition called Arthur’s Challenge (who knows there might be a plant Excalibur somewhere there) which will supposedly “test your mettle” in some way as you try to prevent the zombies from making a snack out of your brains.

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Plants vs Zombies 2 has gotten a lot of rave reviews since the environments and the new plants and zombies are much more “advanced” and varied than the original (which was already addictive enough). You can download it for free from the Google Play Store but be prepared to be tempted to splash out some cash (if you are weak when it comes to self-control) as there are some in-app purchases as well.

Backup your smartphone photos with SyncMe Wireless

While the smartphone cameras are still not as good as a professional digital camera, it is the most convenient tool for us to take a quick snapshot anytime. If you have already synced your camera photos with cloud storage services, here’s what you should do to add another layer of local backup with SyncMe Wireless app.

What you need:

- SyncMe Wireless on Google Play Store (free with IAP)
- A shared folder from your desktop or NAS

We will be skipping the steps to create a shared folder. Depending on whether you are using a desktop or NAS, SyncMe Wireless works with Windows shared folders, Samba on Linux and CIFS (SMB) protocol. Once you have prepared the shared folder for the photo backup, you can start to add scheduled backup job with the app in your Android smartphone.

Adding a computer

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When you launch the SyncMe Wireless app for the first time, you need to first add a computer (or NAS) with the backup destination. You have to also make sure your phone is connected to the same network as the computer. Now choose “Add computer” and select “Computer Name”.

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The app will scan the network and give you a list of the connected computers on the network. Next choose the computer you want to send the backup to. If a user account is needed, key in the user name and password after the computer is selected. You are ready to create a backup job!

Adding a Sync Folder

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What we are going to do next is to add a scheduled backup job, running at 9pm every day. First, click on the computer name and select “Add sync folder”.

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There are a few settings you would need to set:

Device folder: choose the folder in your phone where the camera saves all the photos
Computer folder: choose the backup destination on the computer or NAS
Schedule: to schedule a 9pm daily backup job, you just need to set the “Run at” to 21:00
Copy to: choose “Copy to computer only”, this will backup your photos to the computer
Overwrite same name files: disable this option to skip the photos that have already been backed up previously. This will make the backup job much faster.
Track deletions: default option is “No”, photos that you deleted on your smartphone won’t be removed from the backup

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That’s it! You have now completed the setup and your photos will be backed up daily to your computer automatically! You can also run the backup job immediately with the “Run” option. Of course, this is just one of the example to use the SyncMe Wireless. The job scheduling options are good enough for all your other files to backup or sync with your home computer. Let us know if you have any questions!