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Weekly Poll

Earlier this week, we published a recap of our favorite Android Twitter clients. Some of our team members love the unique look of Falcon Pro, others the versatility of Plume, and others the simplicity of the official Twitter client.

These were the most popular choices, but there were a lot of other less obvious picks as well, ranging from the old and still excellent Twicca to the new and promising Robird. We realize the choice of a favorite Twitter app is unique for each of us, depending on our uses and needs, so that’s why we ask you: what Twitter client do you use?

Earlier this week, Amazon announced that they were expanding the availability of their Appstore to 200 more countries, which brings them to an almost worldwide audience. Earlier, if you lived in an unsupported country, you had to resort to a few tricks to install the Appstore on your device, so thankfully, this will no longer be the case.

However, having used the Appstore for a while when it was first launched — especially because of the daily free app offer — I admit that it has lost its appeal and it’s been ages since I’ve even bothered to install it on any of my devices. The main reason is that any app purchased through it requires the Appstore to be installed on your device to even work. That verification process annoyed me enough that I simply let go of Amazon’s Appstore, purchased the free apps that I had gotten through it and that I needed from Google’s Play Store, and never looked back.

Apart from owning a Kindle device, I see very few reasons one would use the Appstore, but I might be wrong. What about you? Do you use the Appstore on your non-Kindle devices?

Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a lot of chatter about Google taking a step to unify their different messaging platforms into one. The rumors started solidifying last week, with screenshots and what seems to be a codename / final name: Babel. At the same time, we’ve also heard news that Google might be lining up to buy the popular messaging client Whatsapp, which was later denied by a spokesperson for the company. Then of course we saw the launch of Facebook Home along with its Messenger Chat Heads.

This whole “rush” towards messaging has us wondering about the platforms that you use to communicate with your friends and family. Are you still reliant on SMS? Have you moved towards traditional IM solutions like Google Talk or Facebook Messenger, or are you using the new solutions like Whatsapp, LiveProfile, and others? Or do you rely on a mix of services to connect with different people?

Earlier today, Connor shared with you the Facebook Home launch news in This Week in Android’s recap. The new launcher should be available to some Android devices on April 12th, and its still unclear whether it will include all functionality — like chat heads and the notification tweaks — or just the launcher and app drawer.

This leaves me rather perplex. On the one hand, it’s interesting to see someone taking a different approach to the Android home beyond widgets and launching apps. On the other, you might not benefit from the full experience unless you have dedicated hardware like on the HTC First.

Besides, it’s still Facebook, which means that the experience will be reliant on your friends. If you have awesome friends who travel, throw parties and are always doing something interesting, then you’ll probably love Facebook Home. But if your “friends” are just high-school acquaintances who post duckfaces, flood you with not-so-adorable kid photos, and chronicle every meal they eat, then you probably won’t enjoy Facebook Home as much as Zuckerberg wants you to.

Will you give this new launcher a try? Or are you not the least bit interested in having Facebook as your home?

March was Customization Month on Android.Appstorm. Throughout the whole month, we shared with you all of our knowledge when it comes to personalizing your Android device. We wanted you to be able to design a homescreen like these with little effort.

There were tutorials about custom ROMs, themes, launchers, fonts; example usages for MultiPicture Live Wallpaper, UCCW and DashClock; awesome HD wallpapers, beautiful icons, and more — much, much more.

When we set out to plan this Customization Month, we wanted to bring you the best tutorials and roundups, without repeating our previous posts, or interrupting our regular coverage of Android apps and reviews. Did we succeed? Did you find this series helpful?

The Samsung Galaxy S4 was officially unveiled this week, and Connor covered most of the nitty gritty details in today’s This Week In Android. As a Galaxy S3 owner, I was looking forward to the event, and rather intrigued to see what my reaction would be.

Prior to the announcement, I told myself that the only “valid” reason for me to sell my still mint S3 — that I bought for almost $600 last September — and buy an S4 is the presence of a dual-SIM slot. Any other reason, I argued with myself, would be weak succumbing to new gadget lust rather than genuine improvement to my usage.

While I was rather disappointed to see that the dual-SIM S4 version seems to be a China-only variant, I was almost as equally relieved to find that my S3 is still quite relevant. It will get some of the software updates that the S4 has, it’s still one of the most popular smartphones on the planet and will be even more now that its price will drop, and it looks almost the same as the S4, meaning that I won’t feel silly being a phone geek yet carrying outdated hardware.

However, that’s not to say that the S4 is any disappointment in its own. The amount of better hardware that Samsung has managed to cram into the same footprint is impressive, the camera is better, the battery is bigger, and the processor and RAM have been bumped. Samsung also managed to add an InfraRed blaster and temperature and humidity sensors.

On the software side, Samsung distanced themselves from Android once again, adding more proprietary features. And while we could argue about the downsides all day, it all comes crashing when you’re a geek and know how to install Custom ROMs. I currently run my S3 with AOKP — a stock Android ROM — but I can also switch to the default Samsung ROM, or to a Samsung ROM that’s debloated and made to look like stock — Foxhound for instance. I would venture out that you’d be able to do the same with the S4, which means that you could either dip yourself into the Samsung services, or ignore them and stick to what you already use.

And eventually, the fact of the matter remains that Samsung will sell millions of Galaxy S4s. Will you be one of the buyers? Vote in the poll, and let us know your thoughts about the new Galaxy S device in the comments.


In today’s This Week In Android installment, Connor pointed out that Android 4 — including ICS, Jelly Bean 4.1 and 4.2 — is now installed on more devices than Gingerbread, the previous king of Android versions.

It was bound to happen at one point, as more and more devices get released or updated with the new Android versions, and old devices stop being used. For example, I have 4 Android units, 2 of which are on ICS and 2 on Jelly Bean. There’s no more Gingerbread in my life.

But what about you? Please vote in the poll, and make sure you enter multiple selections if you have several devices.

For a couple of years now, it has been quite apparent that form factor innovation has stalled in the mobile industry. Big candybar touch devices are the norm, with no sliders, clamshells, qwertys or any of the other wackier designs in sight. But that seems to be changing — or at least there are companies that are thinking outside the box again, most of them employing “dual screens” to innovate and step away from the touch slab.

First there’s Asus and their Padfone lineup with the new member being the Padfone Infinity. It allows you to dock the phone into a bigger screen, transforming it into a tablet and letting you enjoy your content on a bigger screen. Then there’s the YotaPhone that keeps the candybar form factor but slaps an e-ink display on the back for lower power consumption on notifications and reading. And last, there’s the NEC Medias W that puts two touchscreens next to each other in a clamshell design, which is useful to run side-by-side apps, emulate a tablet UI with different fragments on the two screen, or simply put the keyboard on the second screen.

What do you think of these dual-screened devices? Are they interesting enough that you would consider buying them now? Or would you rather wait for the more established manufacturers to embrace them?

This week saw the announcement of HTC’s flagship device for 2013: the HTC One. As Connor covered in today’s This Week In Android recap, the One sports a mind-boggling display density — 468ppi, which is leaps beyond the 300ppi standard that Apple introduced for “Retina” displays. But that’s not the only significant feature of the One.

Aside from the now obligatory processor and RAM bumps, the One features a new UltraPixel camera with optical image stabilization that captures a lot more light than a regular mobile phone camera. It also comes with dual front speakers for a sharper and louder sound, a built-in InfraRed port that allows you to remote control your TV, and packs it all in a full metal body with glare and scratch-resistant glass.

On the software front, there’s BlinkFeed on the homescreen that pulls data from your important services and sites, and Zoe that brings your Gallery to life by making any photo you capture into a 3-second video with 20 separate frames.

HTC is definitely hoping that this will be the One device to save it from the downward sales and marketshare spiral it’s been in over the past year. But will all of it be enough to make the One your One phone? Alright, no more puns. Wait, One more! OK, I’m done.

When it comes to pampering yourself with nice things, I’m all up for it. Clothes, accessories, cars, electronics,… if you have the money, why not get the best? But that’s the thing with luxury, most items aren’t really “the best”. They’re the most flashy, expensive, refined, and even ridiculous, but certainly not the best. So I draw a line between luxury and value.

That’s why I find the newly announced 10,000$ Vertu Ti rather ludicrous. I know this kind of device isn’t made for people who care about specs, but a WVGA screen and — most importantly — Ice Cream Sandwich? This phone is already two Android versions behind and will soon be even more outdated. Plus, the only selling point other than the build materials is the concierge feature. I would expect people who have 10,000$ lying around to already have a concierge at their disposal.

As Connor pointedly remarked when covering the news in his column, you could buy 33 Nexus 4s for the price of one Vertu Ti. But as luck would have it, there are people out there who have the kind of money that allows them to purchase this Vertu, try the Concierge feature a couple of times for fun, and either only take the Ti out with them to red carpet and socialite events while they use another phone daily, or use the it daily for calls and messages only.

Personally, at the rate technology is going, I think that’s a waste of Titanium — and human resources. As for the ten grand? I would consider paying that amount money for a 1cm thick phone that has a 1080p screen that works with gloves, a 40MP camera with Xenon flash, a 6000mAh battery and an octa-core processor, with the promise of instant updates to the next 10 versions of Android. That’s true luxury if you ask me, but one can only dream.

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