Samsung Gear VR Forum now open for business!

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You might have seen our Samsung Gear VR unboxing yesterday, and we’ll have a complete review coming soon, but did you know we have a full forum dedicated to Samsung’s virtual reality goggles over at Android Forums? Yes, the Samsung Gear VR Forums are now open for business.

Samsung Gear VR Forums at Android Forums

Whether you are a new owner or planning to pick up the Gear VR in the near future (maybe it was on your holiday wish list), our new forum is your one-stop destination for answers to frequently asked questions, helpful tips and tricks, and other discussion centering on this innovative wearable. If you are an early adopter, here is your place to share what you’ve learned so far and give your thoughts on the Oculus-powered experience.

So if you have ever sat inside a waterfall or explored an ancient cage from the comfort of your living (Gear VR users will know what I am talking about), this is the place for you. Virtual reality. It’s the future, man.

Mojang and Telltale team up for Minecraft: Story Mode, a narrative game set in the Minecraft universe

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Two of the industry’s best up-and-coming developers are coming together to make a game that’ll make everyone take notice. They’re calling it Minecraft: Story Mode, and it’ll bring the narrative Minecraft never had to the forefront.

Minecraft, a game where you “mine” resources and materials and “craft” items and buildings, has always left it up to players to tell their own stories and set their own goals and objectives, but this is the first time the series will introduce a plot that is filled with decision making and characters you’ll be able to identify with.

Telltale has developed a knack for these sorts of things with the company creating the wildly popular The Walking Dead series of games, as well as the newly-launched Game of Thrones series. Telltale is also responsible for Tales from the Borderlands, a game which was launched just this morning over at Google Play.

Mojang and Telltale have already confirmed that mobile devices will be included in the game’s release plans, and we imagine Android sits near the top of their list of platforms to support next to iOS. The company made it a note to mention that this will be a new standalone game instead of an add-on just in case you were curious about how all this would work.

That’s about the length of our knowledge, but we’re promised more info will be along shortly. You are officially permitted to get excited.

[via Telltale]

Deal: 20% off any HTC.com smartphone for the next week and a half #HTCHotDeals

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HTC’s #HotDeals for the holiday season will soon wind down, but HTC wanted to go out on one last big (and long) bang. Today’s deal takes 20% off any smartphone that can be bought on HTC.com, including the HTC One M8, the HTC One Remix or the HTC Desire EYE.

All you need to do is use promo code HTCHOLIDAY20 once you reach checkout and the discount will be applied to your order before HTC dips into your wallet. The better news is that the deal will be going all the way through January 2nd at 9PM Pacific, so that’s plenty of time to wait and see if you’ll have some Christmas cash coming in to help make the purchase that much cheaper. Be sure to head over to HTC’s site right now to take advantage.

LG G3 allegedly explodes, battery burns hole right through teen’s bed

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The year isn’t even over yet but before we officially head on into 2015, guns blazing, we’re being treated to yet another story of a phone spontaneously combusting.

Posted onto Reddit early this afternoon, the phone in question is actually the LG G3 (insert joke about LG copying Samsung copying Apple) and according to the OP, was allegedly sitting on his sister’s bed charging (not under the pillow) while she got ready in the morning.

It was then the explosion happened, causing the phone’s battery to catch fire, burning a hole straight through the mattress. Soon after, the home’s patriarch came rushing in (completely nude, mind you) dousing the phone and battery with a fire extinguisher (the reason why the phone is covered in white powder) before tossing the entire mattress out the window. Needless to say, it was a traumatic experience on more than one level.

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Worth noting is the owner claims to have been using the stock, OEM cable, battery, charger and the phone wasn’t resting under a pillow. Moments before the explosion took place, the phone was being used normally and didn’t show any signs of malfunction like warmer than usual temperatures.

That being said, this seems doesn’t seem to be a wide spread issue and is more than likely a fluke. With so many units being sold (especially around the holiday season), it seems normal to expect one bad egg. Of course, nobody likes the idea of a bad egg possibly exploding in their face, so let’s hope LG is quick to help out if a faulty unit was the cause (lest HTC step in again to cool things over).

 

 

PSA to EU devs: adjust your Google Play app pricing to account for new VAT rules

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If you don’t remember, a while back Google made a change to the Google Play developers’ policy to account for new rules in VAT transactions for folks in the European Union. The change effectively automatically offloads the VAT (or “value-added tax,” the standard tax system for members of the European Union) onto the listed price of the app, so instead of it being tacked onto the end of a transaction that the user pays for, it’s being taken from the app’s base price.

Well, that change went into effect the moment the calender turned to 2015, so we thought it’d be good to remind you to set your apps’ pricing accordingly. Google Play’s developer dashboard allows you to set pricing by each region and country, so you can take a look at each country’s VAT rate (varies up to 25% depending on country) and add the appropriate amount accordingly. Without doing so, you’ll basically be paying someone else’s sales tax, and with all the income tax you already have to deal with we’re sure that wouldn’t be thrilling.

It’s a tall order for those who command a lot of apps, but one that should be done if you don’t want to lose out on extra revenue that might be lost because of this move. It sucks that Google had to make this change, but they did and you should at least be grateful there’s a way to circumvent it with just a bit more legwork on your behalf. At least you’ll have a nice long weekend to get it done.

[Thanks, Jeff!]

HTC One (M7) is getting Android 5.0.1 Lollipop tomorrow courtesy of Sprint

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It’s only been a few days since HTC announced that the carrier release for Android 5.0 Lollipop had been delayed for both the HTC One M8 and original HTC One (M7). While it was easy to assume that a rollout was quite a ways off, it appears the software update is, in fact, trickling out to users.

HTC Product Manager Mo Versi announced via Twitter that, believe it or not, HTC One (M7) owners will be receiving Android 5.0.1 Lollipop as early as tomorrow, providing their home is with Sprint. Not bad, HTC… Not bad at all. As far as the One M8 and M7 on other carriers are concerned, we’re hoping this is hint of a speedy rollout across the board.

Wear Mini Launcher 3.0 update adds a handful of new features and Material design

Mini Wear Launcher 3.0 update

Straight out of the box, there’s isn’t a whole lot you can do with an Android Wear smartwatch. But that’s okay, that’s what the developer community is for. Not too longer after the first Android Wear devices became available, developer Nicolas Pomepuy released Wear Mini Launcher, filling in a gaping hole of functionality not found in the Android Wear OS with a launcher to quickly access your smartwatch’s apps and settings (normally buried in the settings menu).

For version 3.0 — released today in the Google Play Store — the developer is adding a handful of all new features that continue to make Wear Mini Launcher one of the single most indispensable apps for the platform. Here’s the new changelog:

Wear Mini Launcher 3.0

  • Material design for the phone’s app
  • Double tap an app for sticky mode
  • Long tap an app to manage it
  • New tool: disconnection notification
  • New Quick Setting to lock screen on

To get everything up and running, you’ll first need to install the app on your smartphone and make sure it’s also connected to your Android Wear device. After that, you should be good although the developer mentions that you may have to reboot your watch to get the connection going again, but after that you’re golden.

The best part is although there are in-app purchases, it’s only a donation system. The app is completely free, with all features unlocked whether you donate or not (we’d recommend throwing the dev a few bucks out of courtesy for his hard work). You can download Wear Mini Launcher via the Play Store link down below.

Samsung announces mass production of Exynos 7 Octa 14nm, possibly for Samsung Galaxy S6

Discuss it at AndroidForums: Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge

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Samsung today announced that they started mass producing an Exynos 7 Octa configuration built with a 14nm die process. Such a small die makes room for better performance with significant savings in power consumption.

In comparison to 20nm Exynos 7 Octa chipsets, Samsung says this new chipset is 20% faster and 35% more power efficient. Those are some pretty big gains that could have huge impacts on device performance and battery life.

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The question: which device is this going inside? Samsung obviously wouldn’t name drop anything, though they did confirm that it’d be fitted inside upcoming top-line devices. We imagine they’re referring to none other than the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6.

Of course, it’s all speculation until we get the official announcement so let’s cool our engines until March 1st arrives when Samsung heads to Barcelona for the announcement.

[via Samsung]

Hands-on with the metal-clad Samsung Galaxy A5 and A3 [VIDEO]

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Samsung is capable of great hardware design. They’ve re-used the same design on the Samsung Galaxy S5 so long that we’ve started to forget that. To show that they can still pump out great looking devices we’ve got the Samsung Galaxy A5 and A3. We got our hands on these devices that represent what the Samsung Galaxy S6 should look like.

The Samsung Galaxy A5 has a 5-inch 720p display with a 1.2GHz processor and 13MP camera. The Galaxy A3 has a 4.5-inch 540 x 960 display, 8MP camera, and the same 1.2GHz processor. These are mid-range devices in terms of specs, but that’s not why these devices are interesting.

Both the A5 and A3 are made of aluminum. This makes them look like much more than just your average mid-range Android device. Samsung has been using more metal on devices lately, which leads us to believe we could see the same thing on the Galaxy S6. Do you like the look of metal?

By the way, both of these devices will be available soon in India.

Android Wallpaper: Field Day

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See past editions of Android Wallpaper

Welcome back to another edition of Android Wallpaper! This week our theme is fields. A field is basically just an expanse of open ground, but when you hear the word “field” you probably think of a cornfield or a football field. There used to be a lot more fields on this planet, but buildings have slowly taken over. Use these wallpapers to go out into the field.

This week we have 6 HD wallpapers that feature fields. Some are luscious pastures, others have had better days. To get one of these wallpapers on your phone, tablet, or even PC, simply tap or click on the image to see it at full resolution. Let us know which one is your favorite, and be sure to share a screenshot if you use one of these wallpapers!

Push new Android Wallpaper to your Android device with our Pushbullet channel.

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