Monthly Archives: August 2011

Phone Comparisons: Moto X (2014) vs Sony Xperia Z3

Sep 16th AT 10:01 PM

Moto X vs Xperia Z3 AH 1


Here is a battle of two of the newest smartphones on the market – the new Moto X introduced in Chicago the first week of September and the Sony Xperia Z3 announced the same week at IFA Berlin.  This is also a tale of two companies as Motorola choose to really update their Moto X from its predecessor, whereas Sony barely made any changes from the Xperia Z2, of course it was only released about 6 months ago.

The new Moto X and Xperia Z3 actually have quite a bit of the important stuff in common with one another.  Let’s start with the display – both devices are 5.2-inch Full HD displays, which means they will give you 1920 x 1080 resolution with approximately 424 Pixels-Per-Inch (PPI).  The main difference is that Motorola uses the AMOLED technology while Sony uses the IPS LCD technology and this does make a difference in your viewing experience.  The AMOLED display will give you a lot more contrast and brighter colors, but if not bright enough it is tougher to see in the daylight than the LCD display.

Now let’s talk about the fact that they also have the exact same Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor clocked at 2.5GHz.  They both have 16GB or 32GB models and they are both about the same size and weight, although the new Moto X has a curved back, so its thickness ranges from 3.8 – 9.9mm while the Xperia Z3 is a straight, slim 7.3mm.  They both use Android 4.4.4 KitKat and they each have their own UI. Please take a look at the specifications below and you can see where these devices are similar and where they differ.  After that we will take a closer look at each individual device and determine where they differ and which one deserves to win this comparison.


Moto X vs Xperia Z3

Moto X (2014)


The new Moto X is a beautiful device, especially with the leather or wood back – those curves make it so comfortable to hold for long periods of time.  The metal frame and the curved back make for a solid and quality build.  Motorola not only stretched the new Moto X in every direction, but more importantly, they increased the quality and technology.

The new Moto X retains its 2GB of RAM, but that seems to be all Motorola needs to run their near pure Android and optimized hardware and software.  One thing Motorola does not like to do is include a microSD card slot – they prefer that you use the cloud to store your photos and music files.  Motorola has never been known for great cameras – they always seemed to be an afterthought – but they upped the ante in the new Moto X.  They put in a 13MP with auto-focus and a unique Ring Flash with dual-LEDs – the flash actually wraps around the camera lens.

The new Moto X includes only a 2,300mAh battery, but again, Motorola is very good at squeezing out every last ounce from their batteries.  Besides their great ‘always on’ software, they included 4 microphones to cancel background noise on phone calls, they include a huge front mounted speaker that may be as good as the HTC One M8.  The new Moto X has a nano-coating for some water resistance and an optional Turbo Charger that costs $34.99 that will use the built-in Qualcomm Quick-Charge capability – for a 15-minute charge you will get 8 hours of usage.  Motorola makes great radios and they designed Dynamic Tuning for the Moto X which changes the reception based on where your hand is on the device.

Pricing is good as well with a $499 no contract price and only $99 on a two-year deal.

Sony Xperia Z3


The Sony Xperia Z3 is very much like the Z2 before it, with a few improvements, although it retains the Xperia ‘look’ – which is to say it is quite attractive and solidly constructed.  It has a metal frame and a glass backing and, of course, a glass front, however, its squared off shape can be hard to hold for long periods of time.

In the spec department, the Xperia Z3 has 3GB of RAM versus the 2GB of RAM found in the Moto X.  The Z3 also has a microSD card slot to add up to an additional 128GB of internal storage – more than enough to store your pictures, music and videos.  The main camera is the same 20.7MP as the Z2, with the exception that Sony made it a 25mm wide-angle lens, which allows the user to squeeze more into the viewfinder and hence the photograph.  It also comes with an LED Flash and auto-focus.

The Xperia Z3 has a much larger battery at 3,100mAh versus the smaller 2,300mAh of the Moto X.  Sony put in stereo speakers for a great sound, an FM Radio and Quick Charger that will give you 60 minutes of use out of a 10-minute charge.  It also has IP68 certification, which means it will remain dust-free and is waterproof – much more protection than the nano-coating on the new Moto X.  One thing of note is that Sony is selling a separate controller that allows your Xperia Z3 to become a remote PS4 display.

The Xperia Z2 never found a home on the U.S., however, T-Mobile agreed to be the exclusive distributor of the Z3, but it will not be cheap – Sony smartphones never are – and could be about $800 off-contract.

…And the Winner is…



The winner of this comparison has to be the new Moto X – from its smooth and sexy looks to the specifications – but it’s the technical advances that really add up.  I am taking about 4-microphones for noise cancelling during phone calls.  The wonderfully sounding new speaker, mounted on the front of the device is a fine upgrade.  Another technical marvel is the Dynamic Tuning, developed by Motorola.  With the new antenna, depending upon where you hold the Moto X, the signal will change to the most advantageous place on the remaining antenna – it is said to increase the signal strength by up to 500 times!  Not that I favor paying $35 for the Turbo Charger, however, 8 additional hours for a 15 minute charge for a one-time $35 charger, may be a great bargain after all.

The Sony Xperia Z3 is the best phone that Sony has made, and it is a great smartphone – but with both devices so close in specs, it is the little things that matter.  The new Moto X shows that Motorola really cared about the design of the device and with a near Nexus experience, translates to receiving some of the quickest Android updates. The new Moto X is our winner in this comparison. Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know which phone you feel should win this competition and why…as always, we would love to hear from you.

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AntiSquad Tactics Offers Colorful Turn-Based Combat In Both Free-To-Play And Premium Versions

Sep 16th AT 9:41 PM

unnamed (3)Tactical strategy is an interesting hybrid game genre, combining the thinking and placement of a strategy title with the turn-based combat and slow burn improvements of an RPG. AntiSquad Tactics is the first original take on squad strategy we've seen in a while, and unlike games such as X-COM, it's designed for mobile first. But what might interest the purist gamers in the audience is that AntiSquad is available in both a free-to-play and a premium version.

AntiSquad Tactics Offers Colorful Turn-Based Combat In Both Free-To-Play And Premium Versions was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

AH Primetime: The Low-Down On Some Of Android’s Built-In Secret Codes

Sep 16th AT 9:31 PM

AH Android Logo 2014

Android is most well-known, by some of the more ‘poke around to find the nifty things’ people for the easter eggs and secrets.  The most viewed secret is the special animation that is accessed by repeatedly and quickly tapping on the build number (for example 4.4.4, 4.2.1, or 4.0.4) in the settings menu.  You get to see an included animation that is based on and around the version’s dessert name (Kit Kat for 4.4-4.4.4, Jelly Bean for 4.1-4.3.1, Ice Cream Sandwich for 4.0-4.0.4, Honeycomb for 3.2-3.2.6, Gingerbread for 2.3-2.3.7, Froyo for 2.2-2.2.3, Eclair for 2.0-2.1, Donut for 1.6, and Cupcake for 1.5) and the animations have gotten increasingly fun and detailed, since there has been marked improvement in software and hardware capabilities.

But those secrets are too well-known to really be considered secrets or easter eggs, so what else is there?  Well, there is the dialer.  The dialer, you say?  How could anyone possibly put a secret into the dialer, where you make and receive phone calls?  It’s actually not the dialer itself, but how the dialer functions.  It functions as an input method.  Yes, an input method for numbers and the * and # symbols.  For a fun fact, the * is known as an asterisk and the # sign (known sadly today as a hashtag) is actually referenced as the ‘pound sign’ or simply just ‘pound’.  Now, with the fact that the dialer is great for secrets, lets get to the list of what some of them are.  NOTE: some of these may be dangerous to your device, and the usability of it, so use at your own risk.  Avoid any that you don’t understand the name or function for, as a safe rule.

To access some of the physical diagnostic tests, like testing the touchscreen and various hardware functionality, here are some to know and possibly play with.  Some of these are specific to certain devices, or certain manufacturers.

*#06# – IMEI number

*#0*# – Enter the service menu on newer phones like Galaxy S III

*#*#4636#*#* – Phone information, usage statistics and battery

*#*#34971539#*#* – Detailed camera information

*#*#273282*255*663282*#*#* – Immediate backup of all media files

*#*#197328640#*#* – Enable test mode for service

*#*#232339#*#* – Wireless LAN tests

*#*#0842#*#* – Backlight/vibration test

*#*#2664#*#* – Test the touchscreen

*#*#1111#*#* – FTA software version (1234 in the same code will give PDA and firmware version)

*#12580*369# – Software and hardware info

*#9090# – Diagnostic configuration

*#872564# – USB logging control

*#9900# – System dump mode

*#301279# – HSDPA/HSUPA Control Menu

*#7465625# – View phone lock status

*#*#7780#*#* – Reset the /data partition to factory state

*2767*3855# – Format device to factory state (will delete everything on phone)

##7764726 – Hidden service menu for Motorola Droid

*#*#7594#*#* – Enable direct powering down of device once this code is entered

*#*#273283*255*663282*#*#* – Make a quick backup of all the media files on your Android device

*#*#232338#*#* – Shows Wi-Fi MAC address

*#*#1472365#*#* – Perform a quick GPS test

*#*#1575#*#* – For a more advanced GPS test

*#*#0283#*#* – Perform a packet loopback test

*#*#0*#*#* – Run an LCD display test

*#*#0289#*#* – Run Audio test

*#*#2663#*#* – Show device’s touch-screen version

*#*#0588#*#* – Perform a proximity sensor test

*#*#3264#*#* – Show RAM version

*#*#232331#*#* – Run Bluetooth test

*#*#232337#*# – Show device’s Bluetooth address

*#*#7262626#*#* – Perform a field test

*#*#8255#*#* – Monitor Google Talk service

*#*#4986*2650468#*#* – Show Phone, Hardware, PDA, RF Call Date firmware info

*#*#1234#*#* – Show PDA and Phone firmware info

*#*#2222#*#* – Show FTA Hardware version

*#*#44336#*#* – Show Build time and change list number

*#*#8351#*#* – Enable voice dialing log mode, dial *#*#8350#*#* to disable it

##778 (+call) – Show EPST menu

These codes are specific to HTC devices only:

*#*#3424#*#* – Run HTC function test program

*#*#4636#*#* – Show HTC info menu

##8626337# – Run VOCODER

##33284# – Perform field test

*#*#8255#*#* – Launch Google Talk service monitor

##3424# – Run diagnostic mode

##3282# – Show EPST menu

##786# – Reverse Logistics Support

So, with that massive list out of the way, and sorry for having it be a massive chunk of numbers and words you may not recognize, let’s get down to some key ones, because they are worth knowing, or worth noting as an Android smartphone user.  When you want to sell your Android phone, you should, for the listing of however you aim to sell it, provide information about the phone to make sure it is able to be activated on a carrier by a different user.  The first code checks the IMEI (standing for International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) is unique to a device and is used to label a device on a network.  It’s nice to have access to it, since it is necessary to activate a device. When a new device gets leaked, we often get to see some benchmarks showing off the statistics and internal specifications, but sometimes, the more tech-savvy leaker or developers make a system dump of the device and release it before the device actually goes on sale or gets announced.  It’s most useful when a device housing the first taste of a new version or re-skinning (Nexus 5 for Kit Kat, the Galaxy S5 with Touchwiz on top of Kit Kat, and the Galaxy Note III for the first Galaxy Gear compatibility).  To get to that menu, go ahead and use *#9900#, and look around.

Some of these may be great to show off, but one you do not want to use lightly or misuse is the full wipe code, which is *2767*3855#, and reset it to the way it was when it was first used by a consumer/customer.  If you plan to sell the device, it might also be recommended to use this code to make sure nothing you had on your phone is easily found by the next owner(s). If you get a used device, and want to make sure everything works on it physically, use the service menu code (*#0*#) to test things like dead pixels of any color, sound output, vibration, and a good few other things.  It’s also great for a person who has recently replaced parts on/in or repaired a smartphone to make sure all things are going well.  It’s really rather useful.

Last thing we’re going to go into detail involves the code *#*#7780#*#*, which resets all content in the /data partition.  When you download and install an app from Google Play, and also the Internet, the apk (the file that is installed, so it’s sort of like an exe file on Windows) is put there for the system to reference and interact with.  If you erase it, you delete all apps you installed from the Play Store and other places, as well as deleting any updates you downloaded that weren’t included in the stock, untouched-from-factory device.  It’s great if you want to give the phone to a friend or family member for a short time to use as a backup or interim device.

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Dropcam App Gets Updated With Support For Nest Thermostat And Smoke Alarm

Sep 16th AT 9:18 PM


Back in June, Dropcam announced that it had been purchased by Nest (and, by relation, Google). It's been a few months since that happened, and it looks like the first signs of that merger are now taking place, starting with Nest integration in the Dropcam Android app. 


Dropcam now works with both the Nest Protect Smoke + Carbon Monoxide detector and Nest Thermostat, and will provide different levels of feedback according to settings and the device.

Dropcam App Gets Updated With Support For Nest Thermostat And Smoke Alarm was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Moto Maker web site goes live for the new Motorola Moto X

Sep 16th AT 9:07 PM


Buyers hoping to get the 2014 version of the Motorola Moto X will be excited to know the Moto Maker web site is now live. Like last year’s version, buyers have a wide variety of customizations they can configure before placing the order for their device.

The item with the greatest number of choices is the color and material of the back. Buyers have a choice of 17 different colors for the standard back. Opting for a “Natural” back will add $25 to the cost of the device and gives users the choice of Walnut, Bamboo, Ebony or a Teak finish. Alternatively, buyers can upgrade to a leather back for the same $25 upcharge. The leather backs come in Black, Natural, Cognac and Navy Blue.

Buyers of the Moto X also get a choice of black or white for the face and ten different choices for the color of the trim. An 18 character customization can be engraved on the back cases. Users also have the option to customize the phone’s greeting during bootup and custom wallpapers can be added to the device. Buyers can even arrange to have their Google account information “pre”-synced.

A basic 16GB version of the Moto X 2014 will set buyers back $499.99 while upgrading to a 32GB version sets the starting price to $549.99. Currently the Moto X is exclusive to AT&T. Once the order is placed, buyers can expect a 7 – 10 day wait for the new smartphone to be delivered.

source: Motorola

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Google Play Services 6.1 update: Analytics, Drive and Fit enhancements

Sep 16th AT 9:00 PM

Google Play Services is getting its seasonal update, which comes about every 6 weeks. This time we are seeing Google’s Android backbone being upgraded to version 6.1, with major improvements coming to Analytics, Drive and the newly-released Google Fit.

The Enhanced Ecommerce analytics extension was introduced in Google Play Services 5.0. It provided great input on pre-purchase behavior and product performance, which is why it has now been included int he Google Tag manager. This will allow developers to easily manage tags within mobile apps.

Google Drive got a significant UI re-design, leaning more towards Material Design. Developers also have some neat features, though, as Completion Events enhancements have been applied to the Google Drive API. This will make it easier for developers to handle conflicts between server and local files.

google fit platform

Google Fit developers can also now test their apps with any Android device. It was only introduced last August, so we can except more changes coming to the APIs soon.

Most of us won’t really notice these changes, as they are not consumer-oriented. One thing is for sure, this update will definitely change your user experience. At the end of the day, that is what makes a good device awesome. It needs to handle all the mundane features like a boss before more gimmicky features are added.

With that said, stay tuned for your update, as it should be coming in a few days. A quick Google Search will also allow you to download it )just in case you are not that patient). This is mostly for developers, so we wouldn’t rush to get the update unless you really want to see the few design improvements.

Source: Android Developer Blog;

Apple iPhone 6 vs. Google Nexus 6: which phone will be better?

Sep 16th AT 9:00 PM

With the iPhone 6 now on our doorstep and being pre-ordered by the millions, those of us firmly entrenched in Camp Android are looking to the Nexus 6 to bring balance to the universe in the next six weeks or so. We're well aware that the Nexus 6 doesn't have confirmed specs yet, but as these things go, it's not exactly hard to know what's likely, based on numerous leaks and benchmarks. So given what we know so far, which phone is shaping up to dominate the rest of the year?

test comparatif iphone 6 nexus 6
Who makes the more important phone: Apple or Google? © Apple / Google

(This is a preview - click here to read the entire entry.)

Motorola Adds Four New Moto X Apps To The Play Store

Sep 16th AT 8:59 PM




Overall September so far has been a good month for Motorola. Early on in the month Motorola held its Moto Launch Experience event in which it finally released its much awaited smartwatch, the Moto 360. In addition, Motorola also unveiled a new evolution of both the Moto X and Moto G smartphones. None of this came as much of a surprise as the original gif invitations that were sent out basically told the public these devices would get their public unveiling. Either way, all three were generally considered to be well received. In particular the evolved Moto X (2nd generation) is attracting a lot of attention. A few days ago the Moto Voice app received its first major update. This was not a new featured app but instead the re-imagining of the old Motorola Touch Control feature. However, the new redesigned app included a number of updates including the ability to use self-created launch quotes which allow the unit to only respond to the user.

There also seems to be an additional four new Moto apps which have made their way into the Play Store. The first is Moto Actions which as the name suggests allows users to take advantage of Motorola’s gesture feature “Simply wave your hand above the phone to silence calls or snooze alarms”. The second new app is simply titled Moto and according to the description seems to be the brains behind the hands-free feature. This app allows users to take advantage of many of the voice and gesture features “like reading out texts while driving”. The third new addition is Moto Display which again as the name suggests allows users to take advantage of the screen when it is turned off.

Using this feature the device is able to display information on the lockscreen, allowing the user to see the information at a glance without needing to turn the phone on “Moto Display gives you what you need to know, when you need to know it—without waking your phone”. The last new Motorola app is Motorola Sensor Services and this seems to be a system app which allows the device to maintain the most recent and current updates ensuring users have the latest features. Before you all head over to the Play Store, it is worth noting that all of the apps clearly state that they are currently only compatible with the 2nd generation Moto X. For the older Moto X and other Moto devices, it seems you will have to wait for the update. As it states “Currently” in the description it is probably safe to assume the update will come to the rest of the Moto family.

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Motorola Releases Three New Moto X Commercials

Sep 16th AT 8:58 PM

wood-moto-x-2014Motorola’s latest flagship, the Moto X is a marvelous improvement over an already spectacular device. To highlight the specific differences that make the new Moto X shine, Motorola published three new commercials showing how convenient Moto Voice is, how safe Moto Assist is, and how stunning the much-needed camera upgrade can be. So sit back, relax, hit the break, and take in the key features of the wondrous Moto X in video form.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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Google Asks Developers To Think Carefully About Android One Apps

Sep 16th AT 8:31 PM

AH Android One Logo 1

Since the unveiling of Android One, Google have been working hard behind the scenes to make sure the new Android platform will be up and running on time. Yesterday was the launch date in India for Android One making its debut on three different Indian OEMs, Micromax, Karbonn and Spice. For those of you who are not up-to-date with Android One then here is a quick recap. Android One has been designed by Google for low-end devices. Everyone is awaiting the release of Google’s next big platform, Android L, but this will be optimized for the newer and highest spec devices. In contrast and specifically designed for emerging markets such as India, where the spec of the device is second to its cost Google created Android One. In short this is a budget-friendly version of Android for budget-friendly handsets.

With the ethos of making Android ‘available to all’ Google sent out a very clear message today on its developer blog asking developers to think carefully about Android One when developing new apps. Google realizes creating Android One will only be successful if the other side of the operating system (OS), namely the apps are also designed to maximize the OS functionality. There is no point in Android working hard on a platform if the subsequent apps available are not customized specifically to accommodate the system. In particular Google has asked developers to remember certain points when creating their new apps. These points generally refer to the local state of cellular and WiFi networks in the targeted emerging markets. An example given by Google of the type of problems developers might encounter is ‘search functionality’ and response. Due to the lack of consistent network speeds Google advises developers Android One search results might be better off focusing more on returning searches effectively and not the speed of the return searches. One idea suggested by Google to combat this issue is to include a ‘notify function’ which allows users to receive a notification when the search is completed. This according to Google will allow the app to continue running searches in the background on slower networks instead of continually timing-out.

Google also advises the other areas to consider when developing for this unique platform include performance on 2G networks, memory utilization, battery usage and obese APKs. As Android One devices will be typically lower on RAM, contain smaller batteries and have a lesser memory capacity, Google wants to make sure third party apps do not overload the devices. Overall, this type of outward advice to developers does suggest Google are well aware of the problems a new platform in emerging markets might pose and genuinely look to be trying to avoid the issues before they arise. As Google points out by following the suggested guidelines “you will help the next five billion discover, use and love your app”. So if you are an app developer and thinking about the next five billion customers you might want to give the full developer blog a thorough read.

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