The Moto E is Motorola’s latest smartphone, priced at just $129 unlocked. Outside of the Nexus program and the rumored Android Silver initiative, Motorola is the one manufacturer who seems dead serious about offering consumers an Android software experience that is closely aligned with Google’s vision of the operating system. Starting with the Moto X, the company made a decision to remove a large percentage of manufacturer code from their software builds. What they found was a nimble operating system that didn’t need the latest and greatest processor in order to provide for a great experience. Features in the Moto X were incremental. They were far from bloatware, instead building in options that really resonate with customers. In the Moto E, their best selling device to date, they delicately removed some of the higher end features. The removal was offset by value, with a $200 price point that did not require a contract. Last month, the company set out to prove they could go even lower. Did they make too many compromises or will the Moto E redefine expectations of what you can expect from a $129 smartphone? Okay, the title of our Moto E review is a bit of a spoiler, but read why this phone succeeds.
Motorola has sent out invitations for an exclusive event in London on May 13th, so two weeks from today. The invitations describe the event as an introduction of “the next Motorola phone.” Motorola is however providing clues as to what we can expect. The invitation reads “Made to last. Priced for all.” Based on this, we can assume that Motorola’s follow-up to the Moto X and Moto G could add water resistance to its feature set. The current generation of Motorola phones are already aggressively priced, with the very capable Moto G being available off-contract for under $200.
Google is planning to make big changes that are aimed at bringing customers the best possible Android experience through partnerships with carriers and manufacturers. The Android Silver program will incentivize carriers and handset manufacturers to build devices which run a pure version of Android. It would also mark the end of the Nexus progam, where Google would effectively partner with a manufacturer each year to build a Nexus device. Android Silver would go much further and involves millions of dollars earmarked for promotional advertisements and kiosks with Google-trained staff. According to The Information, the Android Silver program is Google’s attempt to regain control of the Android and positioning it as a premier platform.
HTC appears ready to use a different tact to take on Samsung. Known for the high quality metal body construction, HTC is rumored to be working on a version of the One M8 that will feature a plastic exterior. Codenamed the Ace, it would be a departure from the metal body we’ve grown accustomed to from HTC. By shifting to an all plastic construction, HTC will be able to position the One M8 Ace as a lower cost phone, but not one lacking for power.
Just weeks after the Samsung Galaxy S5 has started hitting shelves, we are already hearing about a potential new premium version. According to a report from SamMobile, the Samsung Galaxy S5 Prime is being prepped for a June release. Initial markets for the new device would include Europe and the Americas. What’s more intriguing are the ‘Prime’ specs.
There is a new update to Comics, the Android comic book app from ComiXology. The new application features a new in-app purchase system that introduces a new way to purchase comics. Since being acquired by Amazon, changes have been made to their app on both iOS and Android. In the previous version, you could buy comics using your Google Play account. While in-app comic purchases can still be made using the app, it utilizes a cart which likely interfaces with the ComiXology website.
An issue affecting the camera in the recently released Samsung Galaxy S5 has resulted in a statement via Twitter from Verizon. If you are a new Samsung Galaxy S5 owner and see “Warning: Camera Failed“, they are encouraging you to reach out to Verizon support. The issue does not seem to be software related or at least a fix has not been made available yet. Verizon and likely Samsung have decided that the best solution is to replace the phone.
Available starting today, the new Google Camera app offers features you’d typically find on a DSLR or by using the depth of field effect on the HTC One M8. While the HTC One M8 utilizes multiple sensors, the Google Camera app manages to pull off high quality depth of field effects using any compatible Android phone. Depth of field or bokeh is when your subject is in focus and the background is blurred. You won’t need a 50mm lens at ƒ1.4 to create stunning bokeh filled imagery, thanks to the Lens Blur feature in the Google Camera app.