Hands on with the Moto E

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The Moto G is the best selling smartphone in Motorola’s history, and with good reason. It made the smartphone more affordable to more people. Motorola has now taken it a step further with the introduction of the Moto E. Simply put, it’s made to last and priced for all. Priced at $129 / £89 off contract and unlocked, Motorola thinks this is the beginning of the end for flip phones and feature phones.

I will be spending a lot more time with it over the coming week, but my initial impression is this is one solid phone for the money. It feels very much like a Moto G, only smaller. It certainly isn’t the most powerful phone in the world, but it’s buttery smooth.

Hit the break for our quick hands on video highlighting the specs with a concentration on the new Motorola Alert app.

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Win a Galaxy S 5, HTC One M8, LG G2, Nexus 5, or Note 3 courtesy of Poweramp, Negri Electronics and TalkAndroid [updated with winner]

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We have held a number of contests with Poweramp in the past, but this one is by far the biggest. Poweramp is celebrating build 555 by giving away 5 premier smartphones during a 5 day contest with their 5 favorite Android blogs. The phones up for grabs include the Samsung Galaxy S 5, HTC One  (M8), LG G2, Nexus 5, and Samsung Galaxy Note 3.  An amazing group indeed.

Here’a how it works. All you have to do is comment at the bottom of this post telling us what your first Android phone was (or is)? You will have until Friday, May 2, at 11:59PM PST to get your entry in. Once the contest is over, we will select one random winner and submit it to Poweramp. The other four sites will do the same, and Poweramp, in association with Negri Electronics, will hold a random drawing for each phone. We will let our winner know which phone they have won next Monday, May 5, which is when Poweramp version 555 will be released. Be sure that your account has a working email address because that is how we are going to contact you.

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Hands on with the All New HTC One (M8)

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After months of leak after leak after leak, HTC finally took the wraps off of their latest flagship, the HTC One (M8), today in New York City and London. There wasn’t much left to shock us, but that doesn’t take away the fact that this is an amazing phone. Will it be the phone of the year? I will wait until I spend more time with it until I make that decision, but it certainly is off to a good start.

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Are in-app purchases for free-to-play games effective?

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We have all come across games with in-app purchases, and I often wonder if it’s really all that effective. I don’t mind spending money on any app or game if it’s worth it, but when a developer designs a game that forces you to pay for something to succeed in the game, I have a problem with that. I would rather the developer give me a demo of the game for free with an option to purchase the full version or the remaining levels for a one time purchase. In-app purchases remind me of the 1-900 days in which they tried to lure lonely men into coughing a bunch of dollars and getting nothing in return. Why should I buy a special red ship that has more fire power? Let me earn it the old fashioned way.

According to a survey conducted by Swrve, it appears as though the majority of people aren’t falling for this trap. According to them, only 0.15 percent of mobile gamers contribute 50 percent of all of the in-app purchases. These people are referred to as “Whales”, but I have another name for them that probably wouldn’t be a good idea to say.

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Does the Samsung Galaxy S 5 need a metal body?

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With each year comes a new round of flagship devices, and before the announcement of these much anticipated devices, consumers start a wishlist of what he or she wants featured. For the most part, it has to do with displays or internal components. How big will the display be? How many pixels per inch? Then there is Megapixels in the camera, Gigabytes of RAM, and the latest processor. Most of these get answered because each year there is a ‘standard’ set of specs a high-end device should hit. However, there is something that varies between devices: How a phone feels or the quality of build.

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Why did the Google-Motorola marriage end so quickly?

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Sometimes the tech world surprises us, and yesterday’s announcement that Google sold Motorola to Lenovo was just another example. At the same time, let’s not forget that the same people that were shocked yesterday were almost equally as shocked when Google bought Motorola for a lot more than they sold them for. Now that Google decided to divorce so quickly, it almost seems as if this marriage was a result of a drunken Las Vegas weekend. Or maybe both parties had the right intentions, but just like with many marriages, they don’t always work out. So you part ways, and keep the stuff that you want and move on. That’s exactly what Google did.

So why did Google buy Motorola in the first place? Was it the patents? Everyone seems to think so, but if that was the case, couldn’t they have just bought the damn patents? I am sure patents were part of the equation, but Motorola was an American innovative company that had a lot of talent. Google knew of things that Motorola was working on long before we reported on them (ie modular phones), and they probably thought the organization would make a great fit. However, Google was never a hardware company, so they allowed it to run separately.

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TalkAndroid Staff Picks: Best Android Phone for 2013

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With Android, there is never a shortage of phones, but only a handful can be considered for the best of the year. It’s never an easy pick, but that isn’t a bad thing because it means Android fans have choice. Last year, each of us here at Talk Android made our picks for 2012, so we decided to do it again for 2013. Will we all agree, or will each of us pick something completely different? I was actually surprised at the result. Hit the break to find out what each of us picked.

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Contest: Win a $150 Moto X coupon code from TalkAndroid [Updated with winner]

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The Moto X $150 promo ended on Monday, and I know a lot of you weren’t able to snag one. Thankfully our own Jack Holt was able to snag one, and we are giving it away to one of our lucky readers. This coupon code is good for a $150 discount on the Moto X off contract price. That would bring your total to $349 for the 16GB model or $399 for the 32GB model.

All you have to do is comment below telling us what you want for the holidays other than a Moto X. You have until tomorrow, December 12 at 11:59pm EST to get your entry in. On December 13, we will pick one random winner and email them the code, so be sure you are using a real email address for your account. The code expires on Monday, December 16 at 11:59pm EST. Good Luck!!!

Update: And the winners is Eric Moyer. Congratulations!! We are sending your code to the email associated with your account.

 

Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch

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Following the Galaxy Note 3 announcement, Samsung pulled the wraps off the Galaxy Gear Smartwatch. It looks like a very cool device, but the bad news is that it’s only compatible with the Galaxy Note 3. Eventually, the Galaxy S 4 and Galaxy Note II will be added, but no plans for other Android devices.

It connects via Bluetooth using the Samsung Galaxy Gear app. They didn’t specifically say, but it appears to use the new Bluetooth LE standard as part of Android 4.3, which is probably the reason why the Note 3 is the only compatible device.

It features a 1.63-inch (320 x 320) display, a 1.9MP camera, and battery that promises to last a full day. You can even answer your calls with it.

Hit the break to see it in action.

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Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3

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After many months of leaks, we finally got to see the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in all its glory. Samsung held events in both Berlin and New York City to celebrate with their typical pomp and circumstance. They say if you grab the device it will grab you back.

Thanks to the very thin bezel, the width of the Note 3 has a larger display (5.7-inches vs 5.5-inches) despite the phone being the same width as the Note II.

Although Samsung is known for giving you the best specs available, it’s always more about the features. The Note 3 sports an improved S Pen and the newest features revolve around a dot, circle, and box.

By hovering the S Pen over the screen until a dot appears, you can access Air Command by pressing the button on the S Pen. It’s a quick menu to such features like Action Note and Scrapbook. With Scrapbook, you can draw a circle around anything you want to save to your personal scrapbook. Next up is the Pen Window, which adds to Samsung’s Multi Window feature. Just draw a box on your display and you will be able to open certain apps from within this box for enhanced multitasking.

Hit the break for a look at these features in our hands on video from NYC. Read more