The Smartphone Industry Needs to Take New Chances, Like Motorola and LG are Doing With Modules

With Motorola on the verge of announcing its newest phone fit with modular capabilities and LG having just come off a an opening month or two where it introduced its take on a modular phone, I think it’s clear that smartphone makers have realized that in order to survive going forward, they need to do something new. It’s time to innovate again. It’s time to take chances, offer more value in new ways, make phones more than just phones, and move beyond the simple, slab smartphone that just gets the basics right. The smartphone world needs something new, something fresh. The last thing it needs are a bunch of devices that the average consumer can’t tell apart but seem to fit a tech media narrative of what they view as success or good.

Many of your favorite smartphone makers, outside of Samsung, are struggling and have been for years. Since the early gold rush to Android supremacy four and five years ago, the industry has matured, maybe even plateaued, and made it extremely difficult for anyone to succeed. Companies like Samsung and Apple are still doing quite well as they established dominance long ago and haven’t given it up, partially because they have massive marketing budgets, but also because they keep making great products that mean something to owners of them. For companies like Motorola and LG, they can’t compete with that reputation or marketing budget by just doing the same old thing. And that right there is why I’m glad that they are both taking chances by going this modular route. (more…)

DEAL: Buy HTC 10, Receive Free RE Camera During Memorial Day Weekend

A Memorial Day weekend sale from HTC can net you a free RE Camera with the purchase of a HTC 10. Currently, the HTC 10 is available via HTC’s website for a whopping $699, but with that purchase, you get a free RE Camera, which has a current sale price of $80. Regularly, the RE Camera is priced at $199. Do note that this deal is not limited to which HTC 10 you buy, whether it is the Unlocked, T-Mobile, Verizon, or Sprint model.  (more…)

Here is the Batman Galaxy S7 Edge, and OMG It’s Hot

The Batman themed Galaxy S7 Edge that Samsung teased earlier in the day is now official and fully unveiled. As we mentioned earlier, the partnership is based on the game Injustice: Gods Among Us, but from this “unboxing” video, it’s clear that Samsung and DC spared no expense.

In the clip, we get to see a Bat symbol emblazoned box with both Galaxy S7 Edge and “Injustice” branding. Inside, Samsung is showing off a gold plated Bat symbol accessory that matches the branding on the back of the gold and black phone, specially themed Gear VR unit, and matching case. There are headphones in there as well, though they aren’t shown outside of their box.  (more…)

#TBT: Motorola Shadow, the Fake Phone of Everyone’s Dreams

I was recently diving through many older Droid Life posts — like, 2009 and 2010 posts — and came across a device that everyone seemed very hyped about. At the time, the OG DROID was still a very popular device among Android owners, but many of them were getting ready to find a worthy successor to their new-found Android love. The Motorola Shadow, as it was known among the blogs, seemed to be the phone many of us wanted. (more…)

DEAL: Save $5 on Chromecast and Chromecast Audio

Google’s dongle line-up is currently on sale with a $5 discount at retailers like Best Buy and through the Google Store. The dongles I’m talking about are the Chromecast and Chromecast Audio of course, two products from Google that turn TVs and speakers into Cast-ready devices for modern day stream-a-thons. With a $5 discount, you are looking at spending just $30 for each.

Not sure what a Chromecast does? Please leave now. I’m kidding!  (more…)

Google’s Use of Oracle’s Java APIs in Android Qualify as “Fair Use,” Says Jury

A jury returned a favorable verdict for Google today in their trial with Oracle over use of Java API’s in Android. The jury, after three days of deliberation, says that Google’s re-implementation of 37 Java APIs is protected by “fair use.”

I’m no copyright specialist, but this is  good news for both Google and developers. Not only does this save Google from what could have been a multi-billion dollar settlement, it alleviates some worries of developers who use public and open APIs for their own software.  (more…)

Skype 7.0 Available for Android, Redesigned UI on Tablets and Better Multitasking

Skype 7.0 is rolling out to Android users via Google Play with a ton of changes for users of the service. First thing you should notice immediately is a redesigned UI for Android tablets, bringing more of the Material Design hotness that Skype unveiled last year on smartphones. This new UI includes a floating action button (FAB), featuring quick access to new video calls, messages, and contacts.  (more…)