Raise your "hand" if you remember a company called Kodak? Some of you millennials can be forgiven if you haven't heard of them. They probably haven't been too prominent in your lifetime. They used to be one of the largest photography companies in the world. Based out of Rochester, New York, they sold cameras and film to millions around the world. (LINK if you aren't sure what film is).
I saw this announcement, and at first, I thought it surely must be an old article from 2010. Nope. It's legit. The Kodak Ektra is a leatherette covered, Android 6.0 phone sporting a Helio X-20 SoC, 3GB of RAM, 32 GB of micro-SD expandable storage and a 3,000 mAh (non removable) battery. It looks to be a pretty vanilla Android install with Kodak's own camera app that actually seems pretty nice. Sadly, the specs on the camera look to be pretty middle of the road by today's standards. Currently only announced for European release at a pricey €450. I will update this post if/when US pricing is released.
LeEco is one of China's top OEMs, but is not very well known in the US since getting your hands on one of the devices in the US can be a painful process. Today LeEco is changing that. They are launching two new phones and some TVs in the US via their e-commerce store LeMall. The Le Pro3 and LeS3 are heavy hitters at their price range of $399 and $249 respectively.
The Le Pro3 comes with an all metal build, 5.5" 1080p display, Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and includes the EUI software. The Le S3 is very similar except it includes the Snapdragon 652, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. Both of these devices look like pretty great options. The only real question is how good is the EUI software?
The V10 from last year must have been one of the most durable Android handsets ever. The V series from LG, both the V10 and V20, have been advertised as having Military-Grade impact resistance. The V10 from last year had those beefy steel bars which took much of the brunt of a drop absorbing most of the impact. The V20 is said to have the same durability rating even without the steel bars.The LG V20 seems to do well with drops being able to withstand most drops from 4ft according to the Military Standard spec.
The question is how well will this phone hold up under extreme torture tests? By now you are probably well familiar with Zack of JerryRigEverything. His channel focuses on the durability testing of cell phone by implementing a series of tests (bend, scratch, burn). The V20 with its plastic and metal build did not fair so well in the scratch department. In fact even keys did some pretty severe damage to the metal back of the device. The phone actually fared quite well in both burn and bend tests however. You likely won't be bending your phone just by sitting on it.
Aukey has made a name for themselves over the past several years as being a leader in high quality power and charging solutions for smartphones and tablets. Their 20,000 mah battery portable charger upholds this same standard in quality. It is able to charge two tablets at the highest charge rate simultaneously. The max output is 3.4A which will give most Android device a pretty quick charge. You can currently pick this charger up for only $22.99.
The LG V20 was starting to seem like an after thought kind of device, but then the Note 7 debacle happened and it seemed once again like LG was poised for victory with the release of this power user device. Then when AT&T and T-Mobile went live with pre-orders and people saw the price tag many folks had sticker shock even though $800 is about what you would expect to pay for a phablet device.
Verizon will be offering the LG V20 at a very reasonable price point at launch. Starting tomorrow you can buy the LG V20 on the Verizon network for $672 retail or a $28 per month payment plan. The V20 has all kind of features that make it very much worth this price point. It has a premium all metal build. It is one of the last major flagships to have a user replaceable battery. The dual lens camera takes some of the highest quality images around. This phone provides possibly the best sound experience with the loudest speaker of devices I have tried and also a premium quad dac for improved sound performance with high and even cheap headphones. Heck the phone even has an IR blaster!
The phone will be available in store on October 27th....
SafetyNet is what Google uses to determine if your device has been rooted. A rooted device can be a security risk for apps like Android Pay so you can see why Google might want to block root when it comes to apps that store credit card numbers and bank info. Still if you know the risks and still want to be able to root your device and use such apps you can with Magisk SuperSU Hider.
SafetyNet was able to detect root even when SuperSU hiders like Magisk were being used. Magisk was just updated and enables you to hide SuperSU so you can once again use Android Pay and even apps like PokeMon Go. Head to the link below to grab the update.
You can download the Android 7.1.1 Developer Preview for your Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, or Pixel C right now! You can actually try out the latest version of Android ahead of the Pixel and Pixel XL which each ship with Android 7.1! This is the beauty of the Nexus program that has been done away with. Being able to run the latest version of Android first is the main draw for both Pixel and Nexus devices.
If you are currently on a developer preview build you should be able to grab this update Over The Air. If you aren't you can sign up for the Beta Program here. Google has also provided both OTA.zip files you can flash in recovery and full stock images that can be flashed manually. Head to the links below to download the files needed.
The speed at which a company can go from on top of the world to having the world on top of it can be astonishing. The Note 7 went from one of the most anticipated devices in the summer, being considered the best android device (and smartphone) of the year, to now being a headache for Samsung.
The last lawsuit Samsung faced was a result from Apple accusing them of patent infringement. It will be interesting to see if Samsung can overcome these lawsuits if they ever go to court.
Hopefully Samsung does right by the victims that actually sustained damage and is able to rebound from this. Both the Galaxy and the Galaxy Note series were great devices and deserve to be continued. The Note literally changed the smartphone landscape as it ushered in the phablet series of phones while also killing the tablet devices.