Yo ho ho. It is Wednesday and despite being in the middle of reading Rainbow Six for the who knows what number of time now (I enjoy that book each and every time I read it) I have decided to take a break to do this weekly post because things are afoot that are worth writing about. Nexus things. : )

Nexus leaks are happening, are they real though is the question?

Sadly that’s a question I actually can’t answer. But this being the Odeck and myself and numerous others wanting a Nexus 5 refresh to happen I can only say one thing about all this. I want to believe.

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So up first I’ll share the pics that came out around my bday this month regarding the Nexus 5.

If you look closely at the pic you can see that it does appear to be an LG device (based on the sticker and model number, which you can’t quite see). It is highly reminiscent of the previous LG made Nexus 5.

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It also does match up with previously leaked renderings based on I forget what (design notes or something).

Additionally, I’d also say that that’s a fingerprint sensor just to the left of the camera there. Given that Marshmallow is going to have native support for fingerprint sensors it makes sense to include one.

Earlier today there was also a leak regarding some of the specs.

From what I can actually read there, it appears the device will be running Android 5.2 (Marshmallow?), have a Snapdragon 808 processor (let’s all breathe a sigh of relief for that good news), 3 GB of RAM (which is par for the course for upcoming flagship level devices), and based on what I’m reading elsewhere Sony’s IMX278 13 megapixel RGBW sensor. (Anandtech has a write-up on the Huawei P8, which uses the same sensor and from the review it seems the sensor offers low light photography that outpaces the IMX240 found in the Samsung Galaxy S6.)

Moving past that are some interesting leaked pics of Huawei’s Nexus, which it’s fair to say looks hideous when compared to the LG made Nexus. Assuming any of these pics are legit that is and I can’t confirm whether they are or not.

Sigh. I had to throw that last image at the end despite being the first one that should’ve been shared so I could just make life easier on myself and not have to write a wall of text or format around the other pics. Sorry, kids.

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Let me point out one thing right off the bat. Yes, that is a camera hump you see there on the device. However, if you look very closely it’s not just a hump that juts out from the back of the phone itself. If you pay attention you can see that the body of the phone itself curves upwards towards it. So it’s not this big piece of plastic or whatnot just sitting out from the main body. That’s pretty much the only good thing you can say about it.

Assuming the picture is legit I’d definitely pass on that bad boy.

Also, based on the bootloader image above we know a few things about the device. Or at least the one whose bootloader images leaked and was clearly in a case of some sort in the other pictures.

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It has a USB Type C port for charging. It’s got 64 GB of internal storage. It has an MSM8994 CPU, which is the Snapdragon 810. (Lame!) It also has 3 GB of RAM, albeit of the LPDDR4 variety which is slightly newer.

Moto X Play coming to U.S. but as a Verizon exlusive

Hello Verizon bloatware clearly visible on the homescreen there.

The phone will be known as the Droid Maxx 2.

And per a comment I left on Giz on it the following is applicable about the device.

Worth pointing out a few additional things about the Droid Maxx 2.

First off, all newer Verizon devices I believe are compatible with GSM networks as they come GSM ready. However, they do not necessarily have all compatible bands to operate across all networks. I believe this device is missing Band 17 with AT&T, someone correct me if I’m wrong about that. Just restating what I read elsewhere.

Secondly, as this is a Verizon device that means any and all updates will come through Verizon. Assuming they come through at all. So even if you purchase it at full price and off contract with the intent to use it on a GSM compatible carrier you won’t be able to force updates or anything of the sort. Verizon has to release them still and you’re stuck with being updated per their whims.

Thirdly, as a Verizon device there’s one thing you can definitely know about this device. The bootloader will be as locked down as can be. Which means do not make the common mistake of even assuming root will come to your device. It may or may not, but it’s better to assume it won’t and be surprised when and if it does then to assume it’ll have it and then bitch constantly online that it’s yet to be rooted or ROMed or anything of the sort. You know what you’re getting when you buy a Verizon device and you have no one to blame for yourself when it finally sinks in that you can’t unlock the bootloader, no one has been able to even remotely unlock the bootloader, meaning no ROM support of any kind, and root has yet to be achieved X months down the line. (There’s nothing worse than people complaining almost constantly about the lack of these things on devices they know will be locked down as much as possible from the get go.)

And of course our very own Pessimippopotamus called this almost a month ago.

Per his own remark to me on that Droid Maxx related post, he is the first to admit that he hates having been right about this.

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I too hate that he was right about this, but I’d had the same suspicion this is how things were gonna play out since the Moto X Play was announced.

Sucks. But of course it figures. The Moto X having Universal LTE (meaning one device is compatible across all carriers) and Motorola deciding they would sell the devices almost exclusively (although it’ll be available via Best Buy and a few other retailers) meant that for once Verizon wasn’t going to get a Motorola device. Seeing as how they basically made Android a thing via their exclusive (Motorola produced) Droid line of devices seemingly ages ago that clearly wasn’t going to fly. To quote the Dude, “This will not stand, man. This aggression will not stand.” And thus it makes sense that Motorola had to thrown them some kind of a bone (an exclusive one mind you, because that’s how Verizon demands things be done) via the Moto X Play. Especially when it was stated early on that the device would not be coming to the U.S. but something else would when it was first announced.

Marshmallow Icon Pack (Beta) is out and I’m digging it

Screenshot of my homescreen at present

This one just came out Monday and while it is rather limited at the moment (150 icons at present, but more are on the way) it looks really good. You can pick it up for free via the Play Store.

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I’m currently only using some of the included icons on my homescreen (seen above). For my app drawer though I’m using Glim Icon Pack ($2.73), but it’s also available in a free version.

How to (somewhat) save novices from themselves

This one I mentioned in passing yesterday, but my mom’s S4 finally called it quits. Or better yet she forced it to. Somehow she claims her Otterbox case “just broke”. But she was using the most heavy duty one they made for her phone, so I highly doubt that’s what happened. She or someone around her had to have done something to that case, cause Otterbox cases don’t just break on their own. That left her without a case though and within a day she dropped her phone and the screen shattered, this was at the end of last week mind you. Well, Monday morning her phone at some point completely died. No explanation given or asked for. I figured it was only a matter of time before it happened anyway.

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So Monday afternoon she stopped by T-Mobile and left with a Samsung Galaxy S5 in hand. Not a bad device. It’s not like she’s a power user and needs the latest and greatest. And of course she demanded that I set it up along with all her nonsense. (Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, etc etc etc.) This always proves difficult as she never knows her own passwords or logins or anything, but eventually I got it done.

But my goodness do Samsung devices suck.

Just using them reminds me of how much they suck.

The amount of installed apps that required updates and which I know my mom would never use was ridiculous.

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But there they all are, taking up space and requiring updates and cluttering the app drawer with their nonsense.

And we all know how I feel about TouchWiz.

So I quickly realized two things.

1. I couldn’t stand the sight of TouchWiz, much less having to work on a device while looking at it.

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2. There was no reason for my mom to have to wade through so many apps just to use the handful that she makes use of daily.

Thus the solution to both our problems was simple, or as simple as I could make it for her without having to do additional work.

Install Nova Launcher (free).

Doing so made things better for two reasons. First off, it basically removed TouchWiz and its evil presence from both the homescreen (short of pulling down the NavBar and seeing it in all its horrible and eye gouging glory) and the app drawer. Secondly, it allowed me the ability to install Glim Icon Pack (free) and thus make things appear much more uniform on both the homescreen and app drawer.

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I forgot to send myself screenshots of the way things looked before and after I did so, but I’ll update the post once I get home this evening and grab my mom’s phone.

Of course I quickly realized one limitation of Nova Launcher, a lot of the cool stuff is locked. You have to install Nova Launcher Prime ($4.99) to make use of the ability to hide apps in the app drawer and enable gestures and basically everything I use it for.

So I discussed things with my mom and said, “Look, there’s a lot of crap here you won’t use. I can hide it all but it’ll cost you $5. Can I buy this app for you?” She was up for it and lo and behold, Samsung bloatware is now a thing of the past. Well, it’s just hidden which isn’t the same thing but close enough as far as I’m concerned. I didn’t have to root the phone to hide it and my mom doesn’t have to wade through her app drawer to find just the apps she uses. They’re all she sees there now.

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Thus installing a third party launcher resulted in a win for both of us. I didn’t have to look at TouchWiz and now she only sees and has access to the apps that she uses or installs going forward.

I’ll be messing with it again tonight and see if I can’t add some shortcuts or gestures to the homescreen to give her access to other stuff she uses regularly. Like enabling tethering/portable hotspot and a few other things.

But I figured this would be a good thing to share overall with everyone, because I’m sure all of us have a friend or relative who gets a device and then promptly makes us set it up and then bugs us over and over about how to do this or that or why is this or that on there and blah blah blah. Hell, for all I know some people reading this are those people. If you are, I still love you but just know that sometimes your type make my right eyebrow twitch. (My right eyebrow twitches right on the outermost edge when I am at peak annoyance. Like when someone says something that is especially cringe worthy or “are you fucking with me?” in my mind my right eyebrow just kinda does its own thing.)

That’s all for today cause it’s lunch time

I’m gonna go heat up my homemade burger and get back to reading my book. If anything of note pops up throughout the day then I’ll just add it to the post below this and update the headline/title accordingly to make note of any updates.

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Beyond that, feel free to chime in with whatever you have. I’m always down for discussing anything and everything Android related further with all of you.

UPDATE! YouTube gaming is a go!

I kind of forgot this was coming, since I already had the app on my phone for a bit now.

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For those wondering, YouTube Gaming is essentially Google’s version of Twitch.tv. Where people play games and others watch them play said games. How that’s fun or enjoyable is beyond me. If I’m not playing personally or in the room talking trash to those who are (i.e. my friends) then I just don’t find the idea of watching someone else play a game that great. But I mean if pewdiepie can make a fortune playing games and sounding like an idiot while doing so then wtf do I know. Clearly there’s an audience for it.

But I digress.

Honestly, I don’t care for the idea behind the app at all but the app itself looks gorgeous. And yes, you can see other non-gaming content through it.

Everything in the screenshot directly above is part of the “Featured Channels”. I just wanted to show what was further down though.

Seen above are a few examples of what you see on channels you add that aren’t gaming related. What you’ll see as you scroll left and right is going to vary from channel to channel though obviously.

The two examples shown above specifically came to be because I noticed I had a notification in my navbar and it basically said “Loot Crate streaming is live!” And curiosity overcame me and I tapped on it and lo and behold that’s what came of it.

There’s even an Easter egg. Tapping on your profile picture in the top right corner and then Settings and then About after that and tapping on the app version five times leads to what you see above. The action bar’s title is removed and replaced with that classic item from Asteroids seen in the screenshot above. No, it’s not a game you can play at the top of your screen. It is neat though.

The website itself is also live at gaming.youtube.com and the UI there is also just as amazing as what’s found in the app. Me gusta!

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If you’re at all intrigued and want to know more I suggest checking out Android Police’s write-up of their hands on from the Creator Preview awhile back or Ars Technica’s as well.

Oh and for what it’s worth, this is now live in all countries where YouTube is available. Although apparently some people are seeing issues with live streaming (which is country specific and affects only Germany as far as I’m aware of at the moment).

UPDATE 2! First Moto X Play review is up!

I know some people have been very intrigued by the Moto X Play since it was announced and I just thought I’d share that the first actual review of the device is live. It comes courtesy of Mobile Syrup, so be sure to read it in full at the link.

Also, here’s the video found at the top of the review.

Also, just FYI, anyone genuinely interested in owning the Moto X Play and using it in the U.S. take note of the fact that the Canadian version is the one that fully supports all the LTE bands used by both AT&T and T-Mobile.

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And for those wondering about the size here’s a pic of the Moto X Play (left) next to a Moto X 2014 (right).

It doesn’t look that much bigger. Although it is clearly bigger, but now I’m wondering if the Moto X Pure Edition/Style coming in at 5.7” is really “not too big” as I originally thought it was going to be.

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Just thought I’d share the review with you all though. Sounds like a phenomenal device.