Sony Xperia Z 4.4 update now live

Some users in “selected markets” should soon start seeing their older Xperia Z phones prompting them to update, with Sony making its Android 4.4.2 or “KitKat” software available from today. Sony’s update changes the lock screen design, updates the status bar and notifications tabs to KitKat standard, fiddles with the supplied email and messaging app interfaces and more.

The upgraded software will also arrive on the Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR and Xperia Tablet Z models. Here’s one such device:


The original Sony Z-Unit, from the olden days of early 2013. How things have not really changed very much since. Read more over on Sony’s blog.

Motorola Moto E – £89 4.3-inch budget Android phone

Motorola has announced a new mobile today, taking the hugely popular Moto G and scaling it down a little in order to sell it to MORE PEOPLE at a cheaper price. The result is the Moto E, a phone that arrives running Android 4.4 on an “up to” 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor, outputting via a 4.3-inch display running at 540 x 960 resolution.

And while there’s only 4GB of onboard storage, Motorola’s stuck a microSD card slot on here. Lovely. The 5MP camera and lack of flash is not so awesome. The killer feature is its price, with Motorola expecting it to launch the Moto E for just £89 unlocked.



Which is nice, although with the more capable Moto G only just managing a full-power smartphone experience for a tenner more, it’s hard to imagine that a slightly lower-spec device will be quite as popular. Maybe it’s for the kids.

Meanwhile, Motorola also announced a plan to launch a 4G/LTE version of the classic Moto G. That’ll cost £149 and will launch within weeks — and has been updated to include a microSD card slot too. Here’s the thing:

Introducing Moto E and Moto G with 4G: Smart phones priced for all

London, 13 May 2014 09:30AM. Motorola was the first company to bring consumers the cellular phone, the flip phone and a really, really thin feature phone.  Now we want to radically transform the mobile industry once again by making quality smartphones that can do great things, available to practically everyone. Read the full article »

Half-Life 2 out now on Android*

*Nvidia Shield.

Astonishing news on the game front has arrived today, with an Android conversion of PC legend Half-Life 2 now available. Sadly, through some Nvidia promotional business, it’s only for owners of the Nvidia Shield right now. But that’s sure to change in future, either officially or unofficially.

Here it is:



If, by some amazing fluke of consumerism, you happen to own an Nvidia Shield, it could be yours for £5.99.

Huawei Ascend P7 – Android 4.4 on 5-inch, 1080p display

Huawei’s going into the premium HD five-incher world, with its Ascend P7 combining a 1.8Ghz quad-core Huawei chipset with 2GB of RAM and a full HD display. There’s a 13megapixel Sony sensor around the back of it, plus a high-res 8megapixel front-facing camera that builds upon that offered by last year’s Ascend P6.

The 2,500mAh battery compares well enough with its peers, plus the entry level storage option on the P7 is 16GB — and there’s an SD card slot on it too. Here she is, in a photograph we just took here at the launch event in Paris:


What’s not so thrilling is seeing Huawei’s bonkers Emotion UI laid atop Android 4.4 here and the lack of the app drawer, but Huawei usually lets you turn off most of its customisations so perhaps it’ll be bearable. Not as amazingly innovative a phone as Huawei was suggesting, so as ever our enthusiasm levels will be determined by its eventual selling price.

“METAL SLUG, the pinnacle of 2D action-shooting on NEOGEO returns in a Tower Defense / Strategy game”

Says it all. Publisher SNK Playmore has released Metal Slug Defense on the Play Store, a game that takes the 2D art style of the classic shooters and shapes it into a modern mobile tower defence game. As well as solo play it offers “Online VS Battles” for those after a bit of multiplayer action, something that could be rather awesome. Could be. Here’s what it looks like:



Metal Slug Defense is free to download but *sigh* offers in-app purchases. See how you get on with it here.

STATS: Android took 70.7% of smartphone sales in Europe last quarter

Analyst Kantar has pulled its latest set of numbers out of the bag, revealing the makeup of the European smartphone sales scene for the three months to the end of March 2014. It shows that Android was its usual super-dominant self, with Google OS mobiles accounting for 70.7% of all smartphone sales. Apple was in second place, way back on 19.2%, with Microsoft’s Windows Phone system taking 8.1% of sales.

Our mental arithmetic calculates there’s at most 2% left for BlackBerry. Here are some Android phones lining up to be counted:


Six… seven. In terms of the UK, Kantar says 88% of all mobile phones sold here during the quarter were “smart” models, so everyone’s nearly made the switch from buttons to touch. Read more at Kantar.

Historical classic Defender of the Crown arrives on Android

After existing on iOS for (literally) several years, there’s now a version of Cinemaware’s legendary Amiga adventure Defender of the Crown for Android. It costs £1.49 in our money, offering “100% accurate emulation” for Android fans of the ancient Amiga game.

Be careful, though, as some of the early comments from impulsive day one buyers are less than flattering, with one user saying the modern game’s touch implementation of the original’s mouse control is “horrific”.



But then, back in the 1980s and early 1990s, battling bizarre control systems was all part of the challenge. Defender of the Crown is on the Play Store here.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown now on Android

Here’s quite an exciting thing for mobile gamers. XCOM is now on Android. People loved it on PC and the “proper” home consoles, with the Android release from 2K Games claiming to offer a full-power mobile recreation of everything that made the strategic combat title such a popular smash.

Here are some men crouching down with guns:



Apparently it’s more interesting to play than look at. Android XCOM comes with a pretty large price tag, though, costing £7.14 to buy via Google Play. Pity those who paid £39.99 for it on a disc. Get it here.

BEST DEALS: LG G Pad 8.3 down to £119

If you’ve been holding off buying a Nexus 7 tablet in the hope that a larger version might appear, now might be the time to take the plunge on LG’s G Pad instead. Tesco is selling the 8.3-inch G Pad for just £119 online right now, a stonking discount for what’s still a relatively new and powerful Android tablet with a larger display.

The LG G Pad 8.3 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 clocked at 1.7GHz, plus there’s 2GB of RAM inside and a 1080p display. It’s pretty high-end stuff for that kind of budget-tech price tag.


We might go for it, pending a bank balance check. Check it out over at Tesco.

Link via HUKD.

Mr Flap is a Flappy Bird homage that’s… quite good

We spent a few happy minutes blissfully playing Mr Flap last night, a game that takes the Flappy Bird mechanic and flips it… folds it… bends it… into a circle. It’s circular Flappy Bird, with players flapping at moving gates that expand to change position as your tiny bird “laps” the course.

That’s all you do. It’s quite hard, as these screenshots of us playing it will demonstrate:

mr-flap-android-1 mr-flap-android-2

The game existed as a Flash title before hitting Android, a few minutes research informed us. Mr Flap is free, not covered in adverts, doesn’t demand money for extra flaps and can be found here.