Verizon releases Droid Maxx in two new color options, quietly cuts storage to 16GB

$99 on-contract gets you a couple cool color options for a great phone on Verizon.

The Motorola Droid Maxx is getting slightly old at this point, and in order to freshen things up a bit Verizon is releasing two new color options of the device. Alongside the previous black model, you'll now have the choice of a bright glossy red (which looks similar to the Droid Ultra) or black with chrome accents if you're looking to stand out from the crowd. Here's the catch: You can only get the two new colors with 16GB of storage, with the old black model offering 32GB of storage for $50 more on-contract or $100 more off-contract.

Aside from that, this is the Droid Maxx we know from before — it has some seriously impressive battery life along with all of the great new features recent Motorola phones are known for such as Touchless Control and Active Display. You'll just have to decide whether the lower price and new colors are worth the 16GB reduction in storage for you.








Quick tip: "OK Google" works just fine on the Samsung Galaxy S5

A little tip worth pointing out for new Samsung Galaxy S5 owners, that the "OK Google" hotword works out of the box in the new Touchwiz launcher. It may seem obvious to some, but having spoken to a few people in the past couple of days that didn't know about it, it's worth highlighting.

It's actually the Google Search widget that takes care of things, and this is preloaded onto the homescreen when you first fire up the phone. So, without any additional downloads, just say "OK Google" while on the main homescreen. From there take advantage of the voice activated benefits it brings with it such as setting alarms, set some music off playing and, well, searching the web. Piece of cake!

OK Google isn't supported everywhere just yet, but if you're in a country that does you shouldn't have any problems putting it to use on the Galaxy S5.








Cloud Raiders gets clan support on Android

Many genres spring from a single popular game. The casual strategy genre owes its popularity to Clash of Clans, for instance. And once a game reaches that level of fame, other developers inevitably release their own games that draw inspiration from it. Cloud Raiders is Game Insight’s take on Clash of Clans.

Although a first-class effort, Cloud Raiders has lacked one key element since its release in February: clans! You can’t take on Clash of Clans without clans. Today Game Insight released a major update to Cloud Raiders that corrects this oversight and adds a proper clan system. Read on to learn about how clans affect the game and how to join Android Central’s own clan!








You'll need an invite to purchase a OnePlus One at launch

Pick up your invite from contests, forums and friends who already bought the phone

In the true spirit of riding the hype train, OnePlus has announced that you'll need an invite to buy its flagship OnePlus One phone when it launches. Taking to a forum post to explain, OnePlus says that an invite-only system — dubbed the "OnePlus Invite System" — is the best way to bridge the gap between supply and demand right at launch.

Rather than do a more standard reservation or pre-order system for the limited number of devices, OnePlus will offer up invites to purchase the phone via its forums, contests and from other OnePlus One buyers. The thinking is that there will only be invites made available for precisely the number of phones that are made and ready to be purchased — though it seems a bit exclusionary to make people go looking for an invite rather than having a simple online store where you can place an order and be backordered if no stock is readily available.

OnePlus isn't offering up any invites right now, and says that more information on how the initial wave of invitations will roll out when the phone is finally launched. As time goes on, the invites to purchase a OnePlus One will be easier to obtain until presumably at some point you'll be able to just buy one like every other phone.








The Samsung Galaxy S5 S-View Flip Case

It's expensive, but highly functional — so long as you can keep the window clean

The Samsung Galaxy S5 S-View Flip Case is an expensive way to protect your phone. But, damn, does it ever look nice. We first got a glimpse of this guy at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and it's now available for purchase, along with the phone.

For the newcomers out there, this is a case that replaces the back cover of your Galaxy S5. It has the same rubber gasket as the stock back, so you retain the IP67 rating for dust and moisture — an important thing to look for with any Galaxy S5 accessory, but admittedly less of a concern with Samsung's own products. The inside of the back cover is nearly identical to the back it's replacing. But the external look and feel are completely changed, replaced by a leather-like cover. It looks great. It feels great. (And if you're like us and putting a black cover on a white phone, the contrast is quite striking.)

The design of this case can't be understated.








Motorola celebrates 50 app update milestone with Hangout on Air to talk software

Punit Soni to field questions live with #AskMoto hashtag

Motorola has made a big deal out of bringing several of its devices' core functionalities out into the Play Store for easy updating, and it is now marking the milestone of 50 updates to over 15 apps over the last 8 months. Touchless Control, Active Display, Motorola Camera and Gallery are just a few of the apps updated regularly through Google Play rather than a complete system update, and to celebrate the accomplishment Motorola is hosting a live Hangout on Air to talk software.

Punit Soni will be leading the event, and is requesting questions from the public — simply post with the hashtag #AskMoto on Google+, Facebook or Twitter to ask your question, and hopefully Punit will read it during the event. Thanks, questions and suggestions are all welcomed, he says, and while the number of questions is sure to balloon to an unanswerable number, it may be worth watching.

The Hangout on Air will kick off at 1:00pm PT on Wednesday, April 23rd, and you can RSVP to watch at the Google+ event page below.








Amazon adds Hulu Plus, Crackle and Showtime to their lineup of Fire TV voice search partners

If you're like Gary Busey and enjoy talking to things such as your Amazon Fire TV, you'll be pleased to know Amazon has added new voice search partners to their still fresh set-top box. Hulu Plus, Crackle, and Showtime Anytime are joining VEVO in integrating their full catalogs into Fire TV’s unified voice search.

“We’re excited and energized by the momentum we’re seeing with Fire TV,” said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Devices. “Customers are telling us they love it, developers are building for it, and we’re working hard to expand existing features and build new ones. We’re thrilled to have Hulu Plus, Crackle, and SHOWTIME integrating their full selection of movies and TV shows into Fire TV’s unified voice search.”

On top of that, Amazon took the time to note a few other things that are coming for the Fire TV as well. Game selection will be expanding and soon, you will be able to play touch-enabled games with the upcoming Fire TV app for your phone or tablet. Amazon FreeTime and Amazon MP3 integration is coming as part of a free, over-the-air software update and finally, Prime browse will make it even easier to discover movies and TV shows that are included in Prime Instant Video.








Battle of the Blur winner, and a look at how the cameras get it done

Your winner may surprise you ...

Earlier this week we posted up a few pictures using the various background blur techniques from four different phones. We also asked you guys to vote on which you thought was the best image, without telling you which phone it came from. No bias, no manufacturer loyalty, just your opinion from seeing a picture. The result is probably going to be surprising.








Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 pitted against iPhone 5s in extensive camera shootout

We put the latest and greatest camera phones head-to-head to see which one shoots the best

It's a great time of year to be interested in smartphone cameras, as all of the major manufacturers have put their latest and greatest photographic technology into the flagship devices. The iPhone 5S is well-known for its camera quality, but how do the just-released Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 hold up? Well we know not everyone will get their hands on all three devices at once, so our very own Ally Kazmucha has gone above and beyond with an in-depth camera shootout over on iMore.

We have side-by-side-by-side comparison shots, in-depth analysis and information on what makes each camera stand out in different scenes. What one performs the best? You'll have to read through and see for yourself.

Read: iPhone 5s vs. Galaxy S5 vs. HTC One M8: Camera shootout!






Rogers turns on 700 MHz spectrum for communities in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto

Rogers just activated their fresh 700 MHz spectrum in a few regions across Canada. Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver are the lucky cities today, though we can expect a nationwide rollout eventually. 700 MHz has been widely described as “beachfront” spectrum that’s particularly good at penetration, so you can keep a signal in elevators and parking garages, for example. It also provides added stability to everyday LTE connections.








Beats Music app updated with new widget, social account linking and player improvements

Although the Beats Music app wasn't the best out of the gates, they've realized some of the growing the pains along the way and listened to user feedback. A new update pushing through Google Play right now brings some requested social features but more importantly improvements to the music player, offline storage and music downloading, and of course, the usual list of 'bug fixes'. We've got the full changelog for you.








Amazing Spider-Man 2 web-slings its way into Google Play

The official Android game for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hit the Play Store today, offering plenty of web-slinging and smart-alecky heroism. The storyline expands on what’s in the movie, and has tons of unlockables, like the Symbiote Spider-Man costume, and butt heads with villains like Venom and Kraven the Hunter. There’s original voice acting throughout (though I haven’t been impressed with it in past games) and an open world replete with rich 3D graphics. Added bonus: it looks like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 game launched on Android before iOS this time.

Even if you have no intention of seeing the movie, if you’re a comic fan at all, this is probably worth a gander. The game is going for $4.99, and it includes in-app purchases of some kind. Knowing Gameloft, it’s entirely likely that there will be prompts to buy power-ups and premium currency, but we’re downloading it now to find out for sure. Any takers?

Google starting try before you buy program for potential Glass Explorers

Anyone interested in trying out Glass without shelling out the full $1500 for the privilege will be interested in hearing about this offer that Google is extending to potential Explorers. For a $50 deposit, Google will ship you four non-functioning dummy units from the Titanium series frames in charcoal, tangerine, shale, and sky paint jobs. Apparently these are returned Glass units that have had all the working elements stripped out of the devices. This pilot program is being made available under the radar through e-mails sent directly to users that have shown interest in Glass.

Facebook wants you to know when your friends are nearby, if they're cool with that

Facebook has announced an interesting new feature called Nearby Friends which does pretty much exactly what you think it does. User can optionally turn on broad proximity notifications, so you and your friends can get a notice when your friends are nearby. You can set specific friends and friends lists to get these notifications, and it only works if both parties have it enabled. The new system also allows you to share specific GPS coordinates for a limited amount of time with selected contacts.

Belkin updates WeMo app with new WeMo Light Switch features

Belkin has updated their WeMo home automation apps for iOS and Android with a few new features. Chief among them is a long-press option for their Light Switch, which is recognizable through the popular IFTTT service. There are also new controls to recognize sunrise and sunset, an away mode which flips the lights on and off randomly to make it look like someone’s home, and programmable backlight dimming.

Verizon and AT&T Samsung Galaxy S5 to be available from Staples starting Sunday

If you're in the market for a Samsung Galaxy S5 and just couldn't decide where to get it, or you happen to need to pick up some toner at the same time, might we suggest Staples? Starting next week, you'll be able to purchase the latest and greatest from Samsung from the office supplies and more store, specifically on April 20th (as that's Easter day, we hope this also entails getting a chocolate Galaxy S5).

Wall Street may not like the quarterly results, but Google is still powering ahead

The struggle between short-term thinking and long-term investing continues

Yesterday after the market close, Google reported its Q1 results for 2014 which Derek Kessler nicely summarized already. While its clear that Google is growing the top line in a very healthy manner (19 percent year over year growth), Wall Street was disappointed and the stock is trading lower today. In my usual form, I’d like to touch on what I pulled out of Google’s quarterly conference call and how Wall Streets’ reaction fits into the picture.

Let’s take a quick look at the numbers. Google reported earnings of $6.27 per share on revenue of $15.4 billion. Analysts (on average) expected $6.40 per share on revenue of $15.52 billion, which means Google "missed" its earnings number by 2 percent and its revenue number by 0.8 percent.

The growth metrics are what really have Wall Street bothered. Revenue grew 19 percent, but earnings only grew 4.5 percent. When people see this they instantly worry that expenses are growing too fast compared to revenue. Because Google is involved in a ton of projects that are not directly connected to the main advertising business, the market is concerned that future growth will not be as profitable as the current business. Therefore future growth is worth less, and therefore the stock is worth less.

That’s the logic. Except that this “logic” is decided in nanoseconds after the press release hits the wire. Investors pounce all over a supposed earning “miss” without really thinking about the long term. That’s Wall Street for you. I suggest you ignore it and focus on long term investing. That’s what I do, and being a Google shareholder has served me well.








Moto G now available to buy from Republic Wireless, starts at $149 no contract

The Moto G is now available order from Republic Wireless, the little MVNO that relies heavily on WiFi and VOiP to get things done. Starting at $149, the Moto G is available in 8GB and 16GB flavors. Shipments are expected to start in 1-2 weeks, so there's still a bit of a wait before Republic Wireless customers can get their hands on Motorola's budget-friendly Android smartphone, but that's not really all that much longer.








MLB.com At Bat rolling out Chromecast support today

Baseball fans will be happy to hear that the official MLB.com At Bat app will support Chromecast soon with an update that should be rolling out today. That means you can wirelessly stream live games from your Android device to your TV (assuming you have the handy Chromecast HDMI dongle). The new feature is locked behind a hefty MLB.TV Premium $24.99 monthly subscription or $129.99 annual membership. There’s also a more lightweight $2.99 monthly plan available for the At Bat app, though you won’t be getting Chromecast support in that instance. Also keep in mind that there are certain blackout periods where live games aren’t available, depending on where you’re streaming from.