Essential’s potential sale is a hit to all Android enthusiasts

The Essential Phone was an incredible phone, but a flawed one. A very flawed one, especially at launch. The software was a bit buggy, the camera was not very good, and the price tag was simply too high for most people’s tastes. Over time, the price tag fell, the camera was greatly improved, and the software experience was damn near perfected. Even better is that it will continue to get better.

The device offers so much to Android enthusiasts. It runs pure, stock Android and gets updates quicker than any other manufacturer. Hell, it’s gotten a few security patches quicker than some of Google’s own devices. It’s also gotten multiple Oreo betas (as well as a final 8.1 release) and even the new Android P Developer Preview. Not to mention the Treble support for easy future-proofing and ROM support.

It offers a pure Android experience not unlike Google’s old Nexus line, and that’s something that’s special. Most Android phones are running heavily modified software, get official updates months or even over a year late, and get security patches every 3 months, if that. Essential took a different path, a path I wish most manufacturers took. A path I know any Android fanboy appreciates. If Essential disappears, yet another company offering stock Android disappears with it. And those are rare enough.

Support was claimed at 2 years of software updates and 3 years of security updates. And the company has proven that it is serious about support too, as the camera software (and the camera app itself) have gotten constant updates and almost every security update brings something new. Whether it’s customizable notch support, portrait mode, Tiny Planet support, Bluetooth 5.0 support, or scrolling sensitivity customization, Essential has proven they both strive to improve their phone and listen to their community.

Essential also offered premium materials without the ridiculous price tag. Sure, we saw Vertu phones with diamonds and 24 karat gold, but that’s not what I’m talking about. The Essential Phone dropped the aluminum frame for a titanium one, which not only felt great but resisted denting during drops (and a dent would put pressure against the glass, shattering it). It dropped the glass back for a ceramic one, a material far harder (and sexier) than even Gorilla Glass.


Essential also pioneered the notch, and it may possibly be the best use of a notch so far. It’s so small, it disappears after a day of use and never gets in the way. At the same time it’s an interesting feature of the device. The bezels are still thinner than most, if any, other “bezelless” display on the market.

What about other manufacturer’s egregious use of labels? Company logos front and back, FCC text, and random text all over an otherwise beautiful design. Essential ditched all of that, giving us a clean front and rear. Not a single letter to be found. The company instead hid identifying info on a little tag in the SIM tray slot. This makes the device truly feel special.

Essential’s first try at a phone was extremely flawed, anyone can see that. Scrolling that’s not as smooth as other flagships, poor signal on T-Mobile, a still less-than-ideal camera, and few first-party accessories (where are the charging dock and high-end DAC attachments for that click connector, Essential?). But the lessons learned could have resulted in an absolutely amazing successor. One that might have sold very well. Unfortunately we may not ever see one, as the PH-2 was officially cancelled while Essential’s fate is uncertain. And while many prefer other phones over the Essential Phone, any hit to competition is a hit to the entire industry. I mourn the loss of an Essential Phone 2, and maybe you should too.

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Ubisoft revives an aging series with the release of Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians, but it's just another APRG auto-brawler

The Might & Magic series hasn't received a new entry since the 2014 release of Might & Magic X: Legacy on PC. Well, today that changes as Ubisoft have released a new action RPG on the Play Store called Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians. Even though this should be exciting news for all of you M&M fans out there, all it really offers is just more of the same monotonous gameplay that can be found in countless identical titles on the Play Store, such as Summoners War or Marvel Future Fight.

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Ubisoft revives an aging series with the release of Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians, but it's just another APRG auto-brawler was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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LG claims AT&T skipped on G7 ThinQ because of the notch and lack of OLED display

LG just announced the V35 ThinQ, an AT&T-exclusive update to the earlier LG V30. But while AT&T has the V35 ThinQ as an exclusive, the carrier also passed on the G7 ThinQ.

LG has finally spilled the beans, and it claims the reason is all in the display. The G7 ThinQ uses a traditional LCD panel (though it is a “Super Bright” display) and AT&T didn’t think it was the right panel to push its DIRECTV NOW service. The notch also pushed AT&T from offering the phone. The exclusive V35 ThinQ, in contrast, uses an AMOLED display and has no notch.

It could be argued that such reasons are silly. AMOLED displays are not inherently better than LCD, though they do have some great advantages. The notch can also be argued as unobtrusive in video, especially with such tall displays like the 19.5:1 ratio display found in the G7. Not to mention AT&T offers both LCD devices and devices with notches.

AT&T denies those reasons for passing on the device, so we’ll never know which side is correct. All we know is that LG definitely caused a snafu by airing out some potentially dirty laundry.

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NBA releases AR app on Android along with new 360 Portals feature

Later today, the Golden State Warriors will host the Cleveland Cavaliers in game one of the NBA Finals in Oakland. It's the fourth straight year the two teams have contested the championship, and anyone who watches basketball will be eager to see if LeBron James can pull off probably his greatest achievement yet and lead his team to victory against the odds. It's also the perfect time to release a new app related to the sport, and that's exactly what the NBA has just done.

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NBA releases AR app on Android along with new 360 Portals feature was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Top 10 New Android Games This Week: Tap Roller, Hexlogic

Welcome back to Android Gaming Weekly, our weekly recap of new game releases. We still plan to cover upcoming releases and games we’re playing, but this column is dedicated to new games that you can start playing right now. Check out our top picks and let us know in the comments section if you have any suggestions for next week’s post.

Jurassic World Alive

DescriptionAs a brand-new member of the Dinosaur Protection Group (DPG), your mission is to save dinosaurs from a second extinction. Explore your surrounding area to find your favorite dinosaurs – including new breeds that are more awe-inspiring and terrifying than ever before.


World Soccer King

DescriptionJoin the true soccer battle against players around the world! With elegantly simple controls and surprisingly deep team management, World Soccer King brings the real soccer multiplayer matchups to your mobile.


Stories of Bethem – Full Moon

DescriptionThe Stories of Bethem: Full Moon pixel RPG tells the legend of Khoma, a young man who get involved on a long travel to get the Oneiric Objects of Bethem while he becomes a wizard: a real challenge to his strength and skills in a huge world to discover full of dungeons and surprises.


Crossfire: Legends

DescriptionAs one of the most successful FPS games in the world, CrossFire’s mobile version has been drawing considerable attention from the gaming industry. From managing the most popular FPS game on PC in China, the CrossFire team has gained years of experience understanding players’ needs and preferences.


LEGO Star Wars Microfighters

DescriptionPick your LEGO® minifigure pilot, choose your LEGO Star Wars Microfighters vehicle and fly! Pilot a LEGO® Star Wars Microfighters vehicle as you master the drift and set high-scores to unlock iconic Star Wars characters. Only the most skilled pilots can become a drift master!


Tap Roller

Description: Tap the screen to change room rotation and guide the balls to the exit! But watch out for lasers, buzzsaws and spikes!


Chef Wars Journeys

DescriptionChef Wars Journeys is the lite version of the hit food discovery game, Chef Wars! See what’s really happening inside Sylvie’s kitchen! Solve fun guessing games and food trivia to unlock chefs and ingredients. 



Description: Immerse yourself in the beautiful world of Hexologic. Solve challenging, yet rewarding puzzles, listen to relaxing music, dive deep in the game’s atmosphere and fall in love in sudoku again! Hexologic is very easy to learn and in the same time a highly addictive language-independent logic puzzle game.


BattleHand Heroes

DescriptionCalling all Super Heroes! The interdimensional being Omega has settled in Silver City to bring chaos and destruction. Crime is through the roof! Take Mr. Sunshine and his incredible powers and build a team of Heroes known as The Sentinels to take back the city from evil.


One Deck Dungeon

DescriptionAdventure calls… but you don’t always have time to spend hours optimizing your character sheet or managing your inventory! One Deck Dungeon lets you jump right in to bashing down doors, rolling dice, and squashing baddies with style. 


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Alcatel 1X is an Android Oreo (Go edition) phone that’s coming to the U.S. next week

The Alcatel 3V isn’t the only Alcatel phone that’s coming soon to the U.S.

Alcatel will launch the 1X in the U.S. next week. It’ll be available from Amazon for $99.99 and will be sold as a GSM unlocked device. The Alcatel 1X will then be sold by Best Buy and in the coming weeks.

The Alcatel 1X is an Android Oreo (Go edition) device. That means that it runs a special version of Android Oreo that’s optimized for entry-level hardware. Google’s apps are optimized, too, so that they take up less storage space and use less data.

Alcatel has also added some of its own software features to the 1X. These include a Social Mode that’ll help you take, edit, and share photos, as well as a Social Square feature that’ll let you view recently captured photos on one half of the screen and use the camera viewfinder in the other half. There’s also an Instant Collage feature that’ll let you put your photos into pre-set arrangements.


On the hardware side of things, the Alcatel 1X is packing a 5.3-inch 960×480 display with 18:9 aspect ratio, 16GB of built-in storage, and a microSD card slot. There’s a quad-core MediaTek MT6739 processor and 1GB of RAM inside the Alcatel 1X, too, along with a 2460mAh battery.

Other notable features of the Alcatel 1X include an 8MP rear camera, a 5MP front-facing camera, a microUSB port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a rear fingerprint reader.

It’s exciting to see another Android Oreo (Go edition) device coming to market. In the past, low-cost phones like the 1X may have had to sacrifice performance to reach a low price, but Android Oreo (Go edition) should help to give the Alcatel 1X respectable performance even with its entry-level specs.

What do you think of the Alcatel 1X? Does its low price and Android Oreo (Go edition) software have you thinking about picking one up?

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Xiaomi announces Mi 8 and Mi 8 SE, going all in with the notch

Xiaomi has announced two new smartphones today, including the new flagship Mi 8. The device features a 6.21-inch AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB of RAM, a 12MP dual camera system (that earned a 105 from DxOMark), a 20MP sensor on the front, and dual frequency GPS.


Unfortunately this design also comes with a notch, and it’s a big one. In fact, it’s shockingly close to the notch on the iPhone X. Even though many Android devices have a notch now, most are still smaller than this behemoth. However, you do get infrared face unlock.


There’s also a special edition of the Mi 8 called the Explorer Edition, which bumps up the RAM and storage to 8GB and 128GB respectively and adds an in-display fingerprint sensor as well as something Xiaomi calls 3D face unlock. This 3D face unlock should be a lot more secure, much like Apple’s Face Unlock and unlike most Android phone’s implementation of camera-only authentication. The rear is also transparent, and even though JerryRigEverything has made a few phones like this, it’s just so much better when the internals were designed to be seen.


The other device is the budget-oriented Mi 8 SE. It has the same notch but launches with a 5.88-inch AMOLED display, a brand new Snapdragon 710, 12MP+5MP rear cameras, and a 20MP front camera.

Xiaomi is also the latest company to push AI with the new MIUI 10 software. Part of the focus is on AI photography, which can edit the photos based on the scenery. This is nothing new, but it’s a good addition nonetheless.

The Mi 8 will go for 2,699 yuan ($421 USD) in 64GB flavor, 2,999 yuan ($468 USD) for 128GB, and 3,299 yuan ($515 USD) for 256GB. The Mi 8 SE will go for a mere 1,799 yuan ($281 USD). Lastly, the Mi 8 Explorer Edition will go for a (still cheap) 3,699 yuan ($577 USD). It’s a real shame they likely won’t hit the US.

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Neighbourly is Google's new community Q&A app for India

Google's been focusing on India a lot lately. Following Areo, a food delivery and home services app, and Tez, a mobile payments app, the company has just introduced Neighbourly, a Q&A app through which you can ask and answer questions about places and events in your community. 

Neighbourly (spelled that way because India uses British English) is described as "a neighbourhood app that helps you ask your neighbours questions, share local expertise, and keep up with your neighbourhood." Using either text or voice input, for which English and eight Indian languages are supported, you can ask and answer questions.

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Neighbourly is Google's new community Q&A app for India was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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The Play Store now has notices for app events

The mobile gaming world today is a huge moneymaker, with in-app purchases generating way too much money in revenue. Even popular desktop games like Fortnite and PUBG are making their way to phones to get a piece of the pie. These types of games often have events, and the Play Store's 'My apps & games' page can now show notices for them.

The feature is pretty straightforward: it gives a short summary of the event in question in order to promote those who have it installed to hit 'Open.' In this instance, there's some sort of summoning event for the game Fire Emblem Heroes.

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The Play Store now has notices for app events was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Life, uh, finds a way... out of beta: Jurassic World Alive app gets official release

Two months ago I wrote a piece about Jurassic World Alive that talked about how the game was scheduled for an official release sometime in the Spring. Well, it would appear that the developers have stayed true to their word as Jurassic World Alive is officially available on the Play Store as of today. If you weren't already aware, this is an augmented reality game all about collecting dinosaurs. Think Pokémon GO, but instead of collecting hundreds of adorable make-believe creatures, you will be venturing out into the world to obtain the most fearsome dinosaurs known to man and maybe even make a few new species of your own.

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Life, uh, finds a way... out of beta: Jurassic World Alive app gets official release was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google’s Project Fi adds the Moto G6, LG G7 ThinQ, and LG V35 ThinQ

Looks like the Moto G6 isn’t just getting attention from Amazon this week, as Google’s Project Fi is adding the handset, too.

The landing page for Google’s Project Fi’s list of supported devices has grown by three today. The Moto G6 is available to pre-order right now if you are so inclined, and you can pay $199 up front or $8.29 per month for 24 months to make it yours.

If you prefer an LG-branded smartphone instead, there are two on the way. Project Fi has both the LG G7 ThinQ and the recently-announced LG V35 ThinQ up on the website, but neither has a specific launch date yet — other than they’ll both arrive some time in June.

There is pricing available for the new LG phones, though. For the G7 ThinQ you’ll need to pay $31.20 per month or $749 full price. The V35 ThinQ will retail for $37.46 per month 0r $899 full price.

So, those are the new additions. Are you planning on picking one up?

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Moto G6 joins the Amazon Prime Exclusive Phones lineup

Amazon added the LG K30 to its list of smartphones available through its Prime Exclusive Phones option earlier this month, and now there is a new Motorola-branded option getting thrown into the mix.

The Moto G6 is the newest handset to be added to the Prime Exclusive Phones lineup. It’s priced at $234.99 with the program, a discount from the standard $249.99 price tag. For that price you can pick up a handset with a near-stock Android 8.0 Oreo experience.

The Moto G6 offers a 5.7-inc Full HD+ “Max Vision” display with an aspect ratio of 18:9. There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon octa-core processor under the hood, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of built-in storage. It also supports microSD cards up to 128GB if you need a bit more storage. Meanwhile, there is a 12MP and 5MP camera setup on the back, with a 8MP camera on the front. Finally, the Moto G6 has a 3000mAh battery.

The black color option ships beginning today, but there is an Oyster Bush color that will begin shipping this summer.

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LG V35 ThinQ now official with 6-inch OLED display

Earlier this month we got our first look at the rumored LG V35 ThinQ, which was rumored at the time to be an AT&T-exclusive following the news the big blue carrier wasn’t planning on launching the LG G7 ThinQ.

Well, now the LG V35 ThinQ is officially official. The Life’s Good crew has unveiled the handset, revealing all of the crucial details of the upcoming smartphone. That includes the specs and general launch markets, but we’re still missing some specific carrier releases and price points.

As far as the specs are concerned, the V35 ThinQ boasts a 6-inch QuadHD+ OLED display with a resolution of 2880×1440 and an 18:9 aspect ratio. Under the hood LG has installed a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB of RAM, 64GB of built-in storage, and a microSD card slot that supports cards up to 2TB. Around back there are pair of cameras, with one being a 16MP super wide angle shooter, and the other a 16MP standard angle option. There is an 8MP front-facing camera on the other side.

The V35 ThinQ is running Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, it’s outfitted with a 3300mAh battery, and it will be available in two colors: Aurora Black and New Platinum Gray.

It’s also worth adding that there will also be an LG V35+ ThinQ variant, but the only difference with this option is 128GB of built-in storage.

LG did note that the handset will launch “in the Americas starting in June”, and then it will launch in limited markets in Africa, the Middle East, and in Asia.

In the United States, AT&T has indeed announced it will open pre-orders for the V35 ThinQ beginning Friday, June 1. It goes on sale in stores on Friday, June 8. With AT&T Next it will cost $30 per month for 30 months.

What do you think of the LG V35 ThinQ? Better than the G7 ThinQ?

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Pokémon Quest is bringing its blocky action to Android in late June

Last night The Pokémon Company held a press conference that announced a couple of new Pokémon games. Much of it had very little to do with Android short of a Poké Ball Plus accessory for Pokémon Go and an ambiguous release date for Pokémon Quest on mobile. Sure, the game is available right now on the Nintendo Switch, but all of us Android users will have to wait until late June to get out hands on it.

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Pokémon Quest is bringing its blocky action to Android in late June was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Fresh Meat: 10 new Android apps worth checking out

New apps need lovin’ too, right? Every day there are thousands of additions to the Google Play store, but many go unnoticed and never receive the attention they deserve. We’ve shown in the past that this community can discover great apps and propel them to new heights. Our weekly Fresh Meat column highlights new apps with fewer than 100,000 installs. Browse our new Android app picks below and let us know which ones you enjoy.



Description: Experiencing the White House offers multiple tours related to the Executive Mansion in a single app, including an intimate, room-by-room virtual experience of the White House, a companion tour for guests visiting the building in person, and a guided walking tour around the President’s Neighborhood for people visiting Washington, D.C.




DescriptionTired of complicated DJ apps that give you a whole bunch of buttons and knobs that you don’t care about? Worried that your run of the mill music player will make it too easy to screw something up? BlueJay lets you focus on picking and playing the songs that your audience wants to dance to.


Red Bull Air Race

Red Bull Air Race

DescriptionFollow the new dimension of motorsport from the palm of your hand. The best way to follow your favourite pilots with live timing, videos and more. Packed with news, video and live race features: Live race timing, Latest news and videos, Alerts and updates, Race standings, Post-race highlights


BlackBerry Enterprise BRIDGE


DescriptionBlackBerry Enterprise BRIDGE allows you to securely view, edit, and save documents using Intune-managed Microsoft apps, such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft Excel from BlackBerry Dynamics. 


CARROT Weather

CARROT Weather

Description: CARROT Weather is a crazy-powerful weather app that delivers hilariously twisted forecasts.Dark Sky’s eerily accurate weather data gives you quick access to your current, hourly, and daily forecasts. Or just tap anywhere for more meteorological goodness. 


Drink Water Reminder

Drink Water Reminder

DescriptionDrink reminder is a free drinking reminder application. Drinking water time and drinking water goals are through scientific calculations, which can effectively help you develop the habit of drinking water and keep your body’s moisture balance.


Color Breeze

Color Breeze

DescriptionColor Breeze will automatically grayscale according to your schedule. Grayscaling your display will get your phone ready for bed. Stop yourself mindlessly checking your phone without receiving notifications.


Google One

Google One

DescriptionGoogle One is a simple plan for expanded storage that includes extra benefits to help you get more out of Google.


Goodreads Beta

Goodreads Beta

DescriptionThis is the beta version of the new Goodreads Android app—a redesigned, faster experience for discovering, tracking, and sharing books from your Android device. The beta app is still a work in progress. You may notice some bugs or missing features. You can continue to use your current Goodreads app alongside the beta app.




DescriptionVPNhub is a private and secure VPN that encrypts your personal data and hides your IP address, location and identity. Browse anonymously and protect your personal information on public Wifi hotspots. 


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