Created by Google, Android is a smartphone OS and platform that is open-source and open for any manufacturer to use to make a smartphone. Most Android phones use a version that is mostly provided by Google and requires Google services. Android phones can run Android apps, available from the Google Play Store, or, optionally, from other sources.
Soon after announcing its new mobile payment service called Android Pay, Google set about clarifying its position on Google Wallet moving forward. The company is working on a new version of Google Wallet that's set to arrive later this year. According to Google, it intends to let the service live on for making peer-to-peer payments. "The new app will allow anyone with a U.S. debit card to send and receive money for free within minutes -- even if the other person doesn't have the app. The money you receive can either be directly sent to your bank account or it can be spent in stores using the Google Wallet card," explained Google in a blog post. Google said the revised Google Wallet app will be made available to Android and iOS devices, and can be accessed from the web. Android Pay, on the other hand, powers tap-and-go mobile payments at 700,000 retail locations around the country. Android Pay began life as Softcard/Isis and was developed by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. Google purchased Softcard's assets from the carriers in February. Like Apple Pay on the iPhone, Android Pay requires NFC and an associated credit card in order to make payments. Google said it will have more details regarding Google Wallet in the months ahead.
Cricket Wireless today announced the ZTE Overture 2, an entry-level Android smartphone that it is selling for $50. The Overture 2 features a 4.5-inch FWVGA display, 5-megapixel main camera, VGA user-facing camera, 8 GB of storage, and support for memory cards up to 32 GB. This updated handset also has a quad-core 1.2 GHz processor and a 2,100mAh battery. The Overture 2 from ZTE runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and is compatible with Cricket's LTE 4G network.
Google today announced Play Services 7.5, an update to the underlying set of code most Android devices rely on for accessing the Play Store and various features within applications. Play Services 7.5 is a big step forward and adds a broad range of new functionalities and associated APIs for developers. The new Smart Lock for passwords, for example, can retrieve saved credentials as part of an app's login process, as well as save new credentials for later use on other Android devices and in any Chrome browser. Play Services updates Google Cloud Messaging with support for iOS devices for cross-platform messaging. Google Cast gains a Remote Display API for Android and iOS, which will let developers build a tailored second screen experience. Google Cast also gains new APIs for controlling autoplay functions, queuing, and gaming. Android Wear has a new Maps API that will let developers add map data to their own Wear apps. The SDK for Play Service 7.5 is available to developers now. Google didn't say when Play Services 7.5 will reach end-user devices.
Google today provided a small update to its Cardboard virtual reality product. To start, the actual viewer is now larger and simpler to assemble. Google says it will fit phones with screens up to 6 inches, and the viewer assembles in 3 steps rather than 12. Further, Google updated the Cardboard SDK so developers can create apps for Android and iOS devices. Google is also making an effort to push Cardboard into classrooms through a program called Expeditions, where it thinks Cardboard can empower new ways of learning about the world. Google is pitching Expeditions as "field trips to anywhere." Last, Google showed off a product called Jump that uses a 16-camera array to capture 3D, 360-degree footage for virtual reality content.
Google today announced Google Photos, another attempt by the company to help people get a handle on their photos and videos. Google wants Photos to serve as users' central repository for all their photos and videos, make it easy to manage and edit them, and make it easy to share and save the photos that matter. The service will be available online and to mobile devices. Users can take advantage of pinch gestures to view days, weeks, months, or years. Everything is stored online in Google Drive. The service also automatically creates albums based on location and time stamps. Google strove to remove the work from keeping photos organized. Users can use people, places, and things to categorize images -- and all the tags are generated automatically and privately so only the user can see them. Google's image recognition is able to tag people consistently as they age over time. Photos also has powerful search tools, which allow users to find specific moments in time. The service supports albums, movies, storyboards, animations, soundtracks, and editing. Sharing functions make selecting multiple shots a cinch with a single gesture. Users can easily generate links to photo albums for sharing that don't require the recipient to have a specific app installed. Google Photos offers unlimited storage for full-resolution photos and 1080p HD videos for free. Google Photos is available beginning today for Android, iOS, and the web.
Google today showed off an improved version of its Google Now service that is more context aware and able to help generate useful information immediately. On stage, Google used an example with a messaging app in which the recipient was asked about dinner reservations and dry cleaning. With a long press of the home key, Google Now instantly generated basic information about the restaurant referenced in the message (phone number, hours, reviews) and a reminder to pick up the dry cleaning. Google said Google Now on Tap will arrive with Android M later this year.
Google today announced its own internet-of-things platform called Brillo. Brillo is derived from Android and has minimal system requirements. It has broad silicon support and is easy to secure -- both elements Google felt were important to offer. In coordination with Brillo, Google introduced Weave, a language for internet-of-things devices to use to communicate with one another. Google says Weave uses schemas, or language templates to communicate basic actions back and forth. Weave functions across platforms, and offers developers some APIs for incorporating into their own apps. Google claims the Brillo UI is easy for consumers to use when it comes to setting up their connected devices. Brillo will arrive in preview form during the third quarter of 2015 and Weave will be fully formed by the fourth quarter.
Google today offered up the first bits of information concerning the next release of Android, called Android M for the time being. Google says it has gone back to the basics to make the platform more stable across devices. Google focus on six key areas. First, Android M will expand app permission controls, which give users more choice when it comes to granting apps access to personal data. Apps will ask permission to use features as the user takes the app for a spin, rather than at the time of installation. Users will be able to revoke permissions or adjust them as desired. The second major tentpole revolves around the web experience. Through Chrome custom tabs, the browser will save more passwords, auto-fill more content, and so on. The third area Google focused on is app linking. Moving forward, Android will take people to the appropriate app rather than a dialog box when clicking on links. The fourth tentpole is Android Pay. Android Pay works similarly to Apple Pay in that Android device owners will be able to make point-of-sale payments by tapping on terminal. It works with any Android device with NFC. Google says it will be available at 700,000 retailers around the U.S. Android pay will also be available for making payments within application. Android Pay will work on all KitKat and above hardware. The fifth tentpole is broader support for fingerprints for identity verification. Android M lets users lock their device or make Play Store purchases. Moreover, Google is giving developers access to the fingerprint API so they can add fingerprint support to their own apps. Last, Google addressed how Android M handles power and charging. It will be smarter about how it handles power through a feature called doze. Android uses significant motion detection to tell if the device has been unmoved for an extended period. If so, it will go into an extended doze state to conserve power. Google claims the Doze feature extends standby time by a factor of two. Android M is being released as a developer preview. The platform is also adding wide support for USB Type C and more granular control over how the USB connection is used. The full version isn't expected until the fall.
Facebook today pushed out a minor update to its Facebook Messenger application and improved how it handles peer-to-peer payments. First, it made the mobile payment feature available to residents of the greater New York City area. The app makes it simpler for New Yorkers to send money to others by automatically turning numbers typed in conversation threads into dollar amount hyperlinks. The recipient can click on the hyperlink to accept the payment. The web version of Messenger now supports payments within group conversations, too, with each member able to see who paid who. Users need to add a Visa or MasterCard debit to their Facebook account in order to send money to or receive money from others. According to Facebook, payments are processed immediately on the sending side, but may take a day or two to process on the receiving side. Sending money is free of transaction charges. Facebook says users can set up PINs to protect the service, and Apple device owners will be able to use TouchID to secure it. Sending money is possible from the Android, iOS, and web versions of Messenger.
Microsoft today released a full version of its Office Lens application for Android devices. Prior to today the app was offered only as a preview. Office Lens uses a smartphone's camera to capture receipts, business cards, menus, whiteboards, sticky notes, and other documents and save them to OneNote. The tool is able to adjust automatically for crooked or angled images, and can recognize text thanks to optical character recognition. Users can convert images of paper documents into Word, PowerPoint, or PDF files; automatically populate their contact lists with scans of business cards; as well as search, save, export, or share the images. Office Lens is free to download from the Play Store.
Verizon Wireless recently added the Samsung Galaxy J1 to its lineup of prepaid handsets. The J1 is a compact, entry-level Android smartphone. It includes a 4.3-inch WVGA display, quad-core 1.2 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of storage. The phone supports microSD memory cards up to 128 GB. The main camera sensor captures 5-megapixel images and records 720p HD video, while the selfie camera captures 2-megapixel images. The device supports Verizon's LTE 4G network in addition to WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy. It runs Android 5.0.2 Lollipop with Samsung's user interface elements and applications. Verizon is selling the Galaxy J1 for $99.99.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra today said the company plans to add Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to 14 of its 2016 models later this year. The in-dash software will be spread across GM's range of Chevrolet products, from the Chevy Corvette down to the Chevy Spark. GM will work to add the platforms to its other automotive brands, such as GMC and Cadillac, over time. GM had already committed to both platforms but had not previously said when it might get around to installing them. Earlier this week, Hyundai was the first to step up and add Android Auto to its 2015 Sonata sedan. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay bring basic elements of the smartphone experience to the in-dash navigation screen.
Google today enabled a new functionality that will let the Google Search app find content within iOS apps and include that data in search results. Users will then be able to select the search results and go directly to the associated app on their phone. The functionality must be enabled by developers using the new App indexing tool from Google. Once indexed, Google Search will be able to poke through apps for relevant information when users perform searches on their iPhone. Google Search already does this on Android devices. Google said it plans to debut the feature in a few weeks with a select batch of apps, but it is encouraging all developers to index their own apps for the added functionality. The feature will be available globally.
Consumer Cellular today said it has added the Motorola Moto E with LTE to its lineup of Android smartphones. The Moto E features a 4.5-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture, and a VGA front camera. The phone is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon with 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage, and includes support for memory cards up to 32 GB. The phone runs Android 5.0 Lollipop. Consumer Cellular is selling the Moto E with LTE for $100. Consumer Cellular does not require contracts.
Opera today updated its Opera Max tool for Android devices with improved performance when surfing via WiFi. Opera Max is a data-management app meant to help users control how much wireless data they use. Before today's update, Max only helped control usage over cellular networks. Now, it can compress web pages over WiFi connections so users can browse quickly over congested local networks. Opera Max also gains a feature for blocking apps, which will prevent apps from tracking the user or consuming data without permission. Last, Opera refreshed the user interface based on elements from Google's Material Design. Opera Max is free to download from the Google Play Store.
Twitter today made its Periscope live-streaming video application available to Android devices. The app lets people broadcast a live video feed to their Twitter followers, who can join or leave feeds at will, as well as rate them with hearts. Periscope has been available to the iPhone for several months. The Android version adds a "return to broadcast" function for jumping back into streams the user might have left, and makes some usability tweaks to how users initiate a live feed. Periscope is free to download from the Google Play Store. It requires Android 4.4 KitKat and up.
Hyundai today claimed to be the first auto manufacturer to bring Android Auto support to its production vehicles. Hyundai is offering Android Auto to the 2015 Sonata to start. Owners of the Sonata can bring their car to a dealership for a software update containing Android Auto beginning today. Later this summer, Hyundai will let consumers install Android Auto on their own via USB drive. Android Auto lets compatible handsets (running Android 5.0 Lollipop and up) access select features, including maps, music, Google Now, and messaging, from the Sonata's in-dash navigation screen. Hyundai plans to offer Android Auto to other models later this year.
Microsoft today said Android and iOS users will soon be able to use Cortana, its virtual assistant, on their smartphones. The Android and iOS Cortana app will work in coordination with Cortana on Windows 10 PCs, according to Microsoft. A Phone Companion app for Windows 10 PCs will help Android and iOS device owners install Cortana on their handset so they can access Microsoft's virtual assistant wherever they go. The Android and iOS version of Cortana will include most features available to the Windows 10 and Windows Phone versions, such as setting reminders, alerts, and alarms; tracking flights and managing travel details; and accessing Cortana's Notebook function for search preferences. Changes made in one version of Cortana will be reflected across all devices. Microsoft said the Phone Companion app will function with Windows Phone handsets, too, to help sync Cortana functions across devices. In order to test Cortana on Android and iOS smartphones, users will need to enroll in Microsoft's Windows Insider program and install the Windows 10 Technical Preview for PCs. Microsoft said the Cortana Companion App will be available for Android phones at the end of June and for iPhones later this year. Microsoft also mentioned that the updated Xbox Music app for Android and iPhone will be available in late June or July with the beta label in tow to stream OneDrive music content. Google's own personal assistant, Google Now, is available for Android and iOS devices, but not Windows Phone. Apple's Siri is only available to iOS.
Sony today announced the Xperia Z3+, which is essentially a global version of the Z4. Sony debuted the Z4, limited to Japan, earlier this year. The Z3+ features a glass and metal design that is water and dust proof, and measures 6.9mm thick. The Z3+ has a 5.2-inch full HD Triluminos display and runs a 64-bit, octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor with 3 GB of memory, 32 GB of storage, and Adreno 430 graphics. The Z3+ supports memory cards up to 128 GB. The main camera relies on Sony's 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS sensor, while the front camera uses a 5.1-megapixel Exmor sensor with shake correction. The main camera can record video up to 4K, while the front camera can record 1080p HD. The Z3+ offers a range of connectivity options, including dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, and support for LTE 4G networks. The battery has a maximum capacity of 2,930mAh, but Sony says it is good for two days of battery life. The device runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and will feature Sony's apps and user interface overlay. Sony said it will begin to sell the Xperia Z4 in Japan around the middle of the year, but didn't say when the Z3+ might reach the rest of the world. U.S.-based network operators have yet to voice support for the Z3+. T-Mobile was the only carrier to sell the Xperia Z3.
Cyanogen today announced the Cyanogen Platform SDK, a new tool meant to make developing for Cyanogen easier. Cyanogen describes the Platform SDK as an open-source tool that lets developers use existing APIs within CyanogenMod's framework or to create their own APIs for the greater community. Cyanogen believes approaching its platform from an SDK/API perspective will be less daunting than approaching the platform as a whole. The organization is offering an alpha-level SDK with an introductory API for the Quick Settings Tile. Cyanogen hopes developers will take a look and eventually contribute to its platform. Cyanogen is based on Google's Android operating system, but the organization has broken away from Google's version in favor of its own. Earlier this year Cyanogen partnered with Microsoft and will include Microsoft's productivity apps in its operating system. Cyanogen has lots of documentation ready for developers and looking forward to community submissions to the Cyanogen Platform SDK.
Spotify today introduced new features to its streaming music service on the desktop and on mobile devices. The biggest change involves how people discover music and create playlists. A feature called Spotify Now purports to know what listeners want to hear at different times of the day and can automatically generate playlists for different activities, such as commuting, working, and relaxing. The service is also adding video content, which will come from a variety of sources, such as Comedy Central, Vice, ESPN, NBC, Adult Swim, TED, and others. Much of the video content will focus on music and will be short-form clips rather than long shows or episodes. The company is also targeting runners with new music controls that make it easier to select and control playlists while exercising. Spotify is placing an emphasis on discovering the songs that match tempo to the runner's pace. Spotify uses on-device sensors to determine pace and can do so very quickly. The company thinks this can help runners improve their workouts. Spotify has apps for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. The new apps will reach consumers in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, and Sweden today, with other regions following over time.
Cricket Wireless recently added the ZTE Fanfare to its lineup of inexpensive handsets. The Fanfare has a 4.5-inch screen with 854 x 480 pixels. It is protected by Dragontail glass. The Fanfare is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon 200 processor and comes with 1 GB of RAM and 4 GB of ROM. The Fanfare's main camera has a 5-megapixel sensor and can capture 720p HD video, and the user-facing camera has a VGA sensor. A 2,000mAh battery keeps the Fanfare running. The device has Google's Android 4.4 KitKat on board. Walmart is selling the ZTE Fanfare for Cricket Wireless. It is priced at $69.88.
Google today announced that it is adding tweets to search results. Tweets will now appear alongside standard results when users search from Google.com, from the Google app on Android and iOS devices, or from any mobile browser. Google believes bringing tweets to search results is a good way for people to read about things as they unfold. Google put tweets in search results several years ago but eventually removed them. For now this feature is limited to English. Google said it plans to add more languages over time.
Instagram today made its Layout application available to the Android platform. Available to the iPhone since March, Layout makes it easier to assemble collages through custom layouts, easy access to photos containing people, and a handful of tools such as pinch-to-zoom and other effects. Layout also features a photo booth function that lets users take pictures on the spot and create instant collages in the moment. Layout for Android is free to download from the Google Play Store. Instagram also updated its main app for Android with a new feature called Structure. According to Instagram, Structure helps bring out details and textures in photos. This feature will reach the iPhone soon. Instagram for Android is also free to download from the Play Store.
Microsoft today released a preview version of Office for Android smartphones. The latest renditions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint closely match those available to the iPhone. Microsoft said it made a lot of improvements to the apps based on feedback for the Android tablet version of Office. The apps are designed to be finger friendly and support many of the same features found on the full desktop versions. Users can create, open, edit, and save files to OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box. Microsoft's Office apps for Android are free to download from the Play Store, but Microsoft is requiring people to join the Office for Android Community in order to access them.
MixRadio today made its customized radio service available to Android and iOS devices for the first time. Microsoft acquired MixRadio when it purchased Nokia's handset business, but later divested it to a messaging company called Line. Due to its relationship with Nokia and Microsoft, MixRadio has been exclusive to Windows Phones until today. The new Android and iOS apps, which are available from the Play Store and iTunes, include thousands of free, curated radio stations similar to how Pandora operates. The service lets users create and listen to personalized radio stations, and can be cached on devices for offline playback. The app is supported by ads, but MixRadio may launch an ad-free version later this year. It is available in 31 countries, including the U.S. In addition to announcing the new apps, MixRadio said it has partnered with HTC to provide music-related news stories for HTC's BlinkFeed application.
Samsung and Think Tank today introduced a beta app called Flow, which is meant to help people transition tasks from one Samsung device to another. It is similar in concept to Apple's Continuity feature for iOS and Mac hardware. Flow offers Samsung smartphone owners two distinct use-cases: transfer an activity or defer an activity. With transfer, people can work on a particular activity and then move it to another device and pick up right where they left off. For example, users can listen to clips on Soundcloud on their smartphone and then transfer the activity to their tablet without missing a beat. The deferring feature lets people defer an incoming activity request on one device if, for example, it's not the right device for that particular task. They can then pick up the activity on whichever other device they prefer when they're ready. According to Samsung, Flow supports existing applications through Android's share mechanism. Samsung expects to add more features, including notify, mirror, and divide, to Flow over time. For the moment, Flow is limited to the Galaxy S5, S6, and S6 Edge; Galaxy Alpha; Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge; and the Galaxy Tab S. The beta app is free to download from the Google Play Store.
LG today announced the G4c smartphone, a smaller and less-costly version of the G4 handset. The G4c has a 5.0-inch screen at 720p HD and runs a quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor at 1.4 GHz with 1 GB of RAM. The phone has an 8-megapixel main camera and a 5-megapixel user-facing camera; 2,450mAh battery; and a handful of radios, including LTE 4G, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, GPS, and GLONASS. The LG G4c runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and includes LG software functions, such as Knock On, Knock Code, Quick Memo, and QSlide apps. LG said the G4c will reach key markets in the weeks ahead. LG also made the G4 Stylus more official. The G4 Stylus is being sold by carriers in the U.S. as the Stylo.
Asus today said it will sell its 2015 flagship smartphone, the Zenfone 2, in the U.S. beginning May 19. Asus first revealed the Zenfone 2 at CES in January. The device has a 5.5-inch full HD screen and relies on a 64-bit Intel processor. The Intel Atom Z3580 chip has four cores clocked at 2.3 GHz, and is paired with a 533 MHz GPU, and 4 GB of dual-channel RAM. The chip includes integrated Cat 4 LTE-Advanced with Carrier Aggregation for compatibility with today's fastest 4G networks. The Zenfone 2 also includes a 13-megapixel camera with an aperture of f/2.0, Toshiba sensor, Super HDR, and dual-tone LED flash. Asus says the fast-charging mode can power the 3,000mAh battery to 60% capacity in 39 minutes. The device runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with Asus' ZenUI. It comes with a range of interchangeable rear covers, which Asus says consumers can use to personalize their handset. Asus is offering 100 GB of Google Drive storage to buyers of the device. The phone costs $299. (A slower version of the phone with 1.8 GHz processor and 2 GB of RAM costs $199.) Asus plans to sell the device unlocked via Amazon.com, Newegg, Groupon, and B&H photo. It is compatible with AT&T's network.
Sprint today said its Direct 2 You home delivery and setup service is now available to all customers in Kansas City, Chicago, and Miami. Sprint initially launched the service in those markets in April, but it was limited to existing customers. The expansion now means any potential customer in Chicago, Dallas, and Miami can schedule a Sprint house call. Further, Sprint said it is expanding the service to New York City, San Francisco, and Denver in early June, with more markets to follow throughout the year. With Direct 2 You, a Sprint technician will bring the store experience directly to customers who purchase a new phone. Customers can still receive the same benefits as buying in stores, such as setting up the phone, transferring content from the old phone to the new one, and tutorials to ensure the customer understands how to use their new device. Techs will also be able to teach customers how to learn a new operating system if they're switching from an Android device to the iPhone or vice versa. Sprint's Direct 2 You service is offered free of charge.
Microsoft said it plans to take a more active role in making sure the existing base of Windows 10 smartphones has the latest code. The company is taking a page from Apple and will not rely on carriers to deliver operating system updates. Microsoft said, "We take our responsibility to keep Windows secure seriously. We [will] proactively update supported devices with necessary updates to address issues. And today, we're announcing this continuous update process applies to all Windows 10 devices, including phones." Microsoft confirmed to ZDNet that it will deliver security, performance, and feature updates to Windows 10 Mobile handsets itself, and the code will be pushed to all users simultaneously. The statement appears to apply to handsets that ship with Windows 10 Mobile, and not older devices. With Windows 8.1 and earlier, Microsoft relied on its carrier partners to approve and distribute system updates and it will continue to do so. As ZDNet points out, however, consumers with older handsets can join the Windows Insider program to maintain early access to new OS versions. Apple uses this same master distribution method for keeping its iOS devices up to date. Google still relies on its handset and carrier partners to update their individual devices to newer versions of Android.
AT&T's web site recently provided details about an unannounced handset from LG called the Escape 2. The Escape 2 has specs similar to the LG Spirit, which was announced earlier this year. The Escape 2 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with LG's user experience, including Knock On, Knock Code, Quick Memo, and QSlide apps, according to the user manual. The phone has a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor with 1 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of storage. The Escape 2 boasts LG's rear-positioned button array and a slight curve to design. Other specs include a 4.7-inch HD display, front and rear cameras, and 2,100mAh battery. AT&T's web site did not say when the Escape 2 will go on sale, nor how much it might cost.
Google today said a bunch of mobile video apps have been updated with support for its Chromecast product. Android device owners can stream video from the CBS All Access, FOX NOW, FXNOW, HGTV, Pluto TV, and Haystack TV apps on their handset or tablet to their TV via Chromecast. Chromecast is a WiFi-enabled HDMI dongle that plugs directly into TV sets. Chromecast already supports on-demand video apps such as HBO Go, Netflix, and Showtime. The latest versions of these apps are free to download from the Play Store, but many require accounts with cable providers to access the content.
Microsoft today released an application for Windows Phone and Android handsets called Hyperlapse. The app can be used to stabilize shaky footage or to create fast-moving time-lapse videos. The app supports multiple playback speeds (between 1x and 32x) and can import existing video files from the phone's camera roll. Microsoft says the user interface takes only a few moments to master. The app is available to Windows Phones from the Windows Store, though the Android version is officially being labeled a beta. Microsoft also made Hyperlapse available to Windows PCs. There are a number of competing time-lapse apps in the market, including one from Instagram called Hyperlapse. Instagram's app is limited to the iPhone. Microsoft's Hyperlapse app is free.
Verizon Wireless today announced the LG Lancet, the first Windows Phone handset to support Verizon's Advanced Calling 1.0 service. Lancet owners will be able to make high-definition voice calls via Verizon's LTE network. The phone runs Windows 8.1, but carries over some features from LG's Android handsets, such as KnockOn for waking the phone and Quick Memo for capturing screen shots. The Lancet features a 4.5-inch screen, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 8-megapixel main camera, 8 GB of storage, and support for memory cards up to 128 GB. The Lancet is a budget-friendly phone. The full retail price is $120, though Verizon is offering the phone for $5 per month with a Verizon Edge plan. The LG Lancet is available online starting today, and it will reach Verizon stores May 21.
Google today updated its Google Fit health and fitness tracking app with some much-needed features. For example, the app now estimates how far people have walked based on the number of steps they've taken (and several other factors, such as height and gender). The app now estimates the number of calories burned, as well, and makes it easier to look through fitness data history in days, weeks, and months. Last, Google created a new widget for Google Fit and a dedicated Android Wear watch face so users can more easily view their fitness data. Google Fit is free to download from the Play Store.
Boost Mobile today announced the immediate availability of the LG G Stylo. The G Stylo, also being sold by T-Mobile, features a 5.7-inch 720p HD display and a stylus. It also carries a 8-megapixel camera main camera, 5-megapixel user-facing camera, quad-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 410 processor with 1 GB RAM, and 8 GB of internal storage. The Stylo supports memory cards up to 32 GB and packs a 3,000mAh battery. The phone runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with LG's user interface, which includes Knock Code and QuickMemo. Boost Mobile is selling the phone for $199.99. Sprint Prepaid will also sell the device at $199.99 beginning June 7.
YotaPhone today made available a white version of the YotaPhone 2 handset. The white version of the phone, announced earlier this year, ships with Android 5.0 Lollipop and revised user interface elements for the e-ink display. Otherwise, it is identical to the black model. YotaPhone has also begun pushing Android 5.0 to the original YotaPhone 2 handset. The company said it may take up to two weeks for all users to see their device updated. YotaPhone plans to bring both the black and white versions of the YotaPhone 2 to the U.S. this summer through an Indiegogo campaign, but the details of which have yet to be revealed.
T-Mobile recently revealed it will soon sell the LG G Stylo and Leon handsets. The G Stylo features a 5.7-inch 720P HD display and includes a stylus. It also boasts a 13-megapixel camera, quad-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 410 processor with 2 GB RAM, and 16 GB internal storage. The Stylo also supports memory cards up to 128 GB and packs a 3,000mAh battery. The Leon, which LG announced earlier this year, has a 4.5-inch FWVGA display with a 5-megapixel main camera, a VGA user-facing camera, and a 1,900mAh battery. Both phones run Android 5.0 Lollipop and support T-Mobile's LTE 4G network. Pricing and availability are not yet certain. The news was first reported by TMoNews.
Motorola's Senior Director of Software Product Management, David Schuster, today said owners of the original Moto X should see Lollipop hit their devices in the next few weeks. Schuster said Motorola has faced challenges with its partners in getting the OS builds approved, but the company expects to start deploying in the U.S. and Latin America soon. Motorola earlier indicated the Moto X would jump from Android 4.4.4 KitKat directly to Android 5.1 Lollipop. Motorola will provide details about the exact timing closer to availability.