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5 min ago

Best puzzle games for Android

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Best puzzle games for Android

All the top Android puzzle games that are worth your time.

Whether you enjoy a relaxing game of Mahjong, you love solving brain teasers, or you like finding the most creative physics solutions, there are plenty of a puzzle games on Android that you'll be able to lose yourself in. Here are some of our favorites.

Cut the Rope: Magic

MagicMagicMagic

In ZeptoLab's seventh iteration of the popular physics puzzler, you're once again tasked with feeding little Om Nom by solving physics puzzles to get the candy into his greedy maw. The familiar dangling candy is present, but new to the series is the ability to transform Om Nom into other creatures, including a yellow bird that can hover in the air, and an even tinier version of himself.

Each level may be cleared by simply feeding Om Nom, but you'll also want to collect the stars that are strategically placed in various spots. The more stars you collect, the more crystals you earn, which you can use to unlock new magical-themed worlds. You can also "conjure" eight crystals every three hours, or watch an ad to be able to conjure them more often.

There are in-app purchases in the form of packs of crystals, and you also have the option of buying hints to help you solve the puzzles and grab all the stars.

While the game can be downloaded for free, there is the option to pay 99 cents to remove the ads. In our opinion, it's a miniscule amount to pay to enjoy the game ad-free.

Download: Cut the Rope:Magic (free +IAP)

World of Goo

World of GooWorld of Goo

"Higher and higher" is the catch phrase for World of Goo, a super fun and addictive game that'll soon have you hooked.

The object of the game is to get as many of the tiny goo-ball creatures to the end point of each level — a vacuum pipe — through building (sometimes massive) towers and bridges. The trick is that the building blocks you have to work with are the goo-balls themselves, and every piece of your structure removes one goo-ball from play.

Weight distribution and structural integrity play a role. And as you progress in levels, the vacuum pipe gets harder and harder to reach, and you have fewer goo-balls to work with.

World of Goo has no ads or in-app purchases and is totally worth the mere $4.99 it costs to buy.

Download: World of Goo ($4.99)

Lara Croft Go

Lara Croft GoLara Croft Go

From developer Square Enix comes another mobile spin-off of a popular console and PC game franchise: Lara Croft Go.

Using simple swipe-to-move mechanics, you'll guide Lara through 101 puzzles fraught with perilous pitfalls and dangerous foes. Each puzzle is part of a chapter, six in total, and involve finding ways around obstacles, avoiding traps, and battling baddies.

Along the way, you'll find various tools to help you navigate through each puzzle, as well as relics that unlock new outfits for Lara. Should you get stuck on a puzzle, you have the option of paying for the solution via in-app purchases.

With its beautiful graphics and simple mechanics, Lara Croft Go is addictive and fun — and definitely worth the $4.99 asking price.

Download: Lara Croft Go ($4.99)

Dots

DotsDotsDots

Like all the best puzzle games, Dots is simple to learn, difficult to master and highly addictive.

The main object is to connect as many dots of the same color as you can, with certain patterns, such as a square or a W being worth more points.

Dots has four game modes each with different spins on the main objective:

  • Timed: Connect as many dots of the same color as you can in 60 seconds
  • Moves: Connect as many dots of the same color as you can with 30 moves
  • Endless: No limits — connect as dots of the same color as you can
  • Challenges: Play against others (multiplayer) to connect the most dots of the same color

To be able to play on Endless mode you'll have to pay $2.29, but it's worth it for a relaxing experience. Another in-app purchase grants you the ability to earn dots twice as fast.

With the dots you accumulate, you can "buy" more power-ups, which enable you to do things like stop time, erase a single dot, or wipe out all dots of the same color that are currently on the screen.

The game has absolutely no ads, and a really unique and clean visual style. (Protip: AMOLED screen owners, try night mode to save battery power!)

Download: Dots (free)

Mahjong by 1C Wireless

MahjongMahjongMahjong

We've played a number of variants of the Chinese tile-matching game, and of all those we like the version from 1C Wireless the best, due to its varied game modes and minimal ads that don't interrupt the gameplay.

This Mahjong game has four modes:

  • Classic: Pick from over 39 different towers and start playing
  • Time attack: Choose your tower and see how long it takes you to clear the titles
  • Challenge: Choose your tower and keep matching titles without while working against the timer at the top of the screen.
  • Endless: Play through random towers, matching all the tiles in one before moving to another.

There is an option to pay 99 cents to remove the ads, but since they are so minimal (just a banner at the bottom of the screen), it's not really 100 percent necessary.

Download: Mahjong (free)

The Room Three

The Room ThreeThe Room Three

The Room Three is third sequel to Fireproof Games' award winning puzzler, The Room. Reminiscent of point-and-click classic adventure series such as Myst and Siberia, The Room Three has you figuring out how escape from the clutches of your kidnapper, the mysterious Craftsman.

You navigate around by swiping around the screen and double tapping to focus in on an object or puzzle. As you progress through the game, you'll find objects that will help you find your way out. As you go, more and more of the story is revealed through notes left for you by the Craftsman.

The game is pretty long and involved, so expect to spend many hours glued to your device as you solve puzzle after puzzle.

Download:The Room Three ($4.99)

That Level Again 3

That Level Again 3That Level Again 3

That Level Again 3 is a tongue-in-cheek puzzle game where you have to basically figure everything out. And by everything, we do mean everything. For instance, the opening screen is a gray background with your character standing in the middle of it. You have to find the background (careful, don't pick the one with spikes at the bottom of it) and build your user interface (UI) so that you can move your character around.

Ads in this game are minimal; they're confined to video ads that you can choose to watch for additional help, letting clear a level or skip it entirely.

Prepare to burn a lot of time on this game — the most difficult puzzles and hilarious running commentary offer hours and hours of entertainment.

Download: That Level Again 3 (free)

What are your favorites?

We've tossed out the puzzle games for Android that we love, but how about you? Did we miss any awesome games? Shout out your favorites in the comments!

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42 min ago

Here's the Android Nougat statue at the Googleplex!

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Nougat statue

A new tasty treat lands in Mountain View.

With each major version of Android, Google unveils a new statue at its Mountain View, Calif. headquarters. This year is no different, with the freshly minted Android Nougat getting its own mascot outside Building 40 at the Googleplex.

Naturally, we had to run out there this afternoon and grab some pictures of the latest addition to the Android family, which we present for you down below. Enjoy!

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45 min ago

Google Maps shows its rainbow side with Toronto Pride Parade details

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Google has announced that it will be showing its rainbow colors in support of Toronto Pride this Sunday, July 3rd.

As part of Google Maps' support for Pride in 16 cities around the world, Toronto's Pride Parade will highlight the route, as well as traffic information around the area, this coming Saturday. According to Google, it is a part of the company's "mandate to bring temporal events to life and provide people with the most up-to-date, accurate, and useful information, so they can make the best decision on where to go."

As you can see, the parade route will be highlighted in Pride's traditional rainbow hues, and traffic be diverted around the busy areas until the chaos has cleared on Sunday around 5pm. The specialized routing will begin showing up to people in the Toronto area on Saturday, July 2nd.

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Sponsored Post

Grab Samsung's adaptive fast wall charger for just $17.95 today!

Find yourself pressed for time during the day but in need of some extra battery life? If so, Samsung’s adaptive wall charger is what you will want to connect your phone to so you can get the most battery in the shortest period of time. Right now you can grab one for $17.95.

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1 hour ago

Understanding Telus's new Premium Plus financing plan

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Spend more to save some money with Telus's new Premium Plus financing option.

Last week, Telus launched a new plan under the Premium Plus name.

At a time when many U.S. carriers are all-in on financing options, Telus's new Premium Plus plan is a hybrid system, providing customers a considerable subsidy in exchange for a two-year contract, along with flexibility in choosing to spend around $10 per month more on a plan in order to spend less for the phone upon purchase.

What is Premium Plus?

Premium Plus is the name of a new type of financing option offered by Telus, the second-largest carrier in Canada. It allows customers, new or existing, to add a small amount of money to their plans per month in exchange for paying less for the phone at the register.

How does it work?

It's actually quite simple. Telus's ordinary Your Choice share plans are priced based on the type of phone you buy: a premium smartphone, like a Galaxy S7; a smartphone, like a Moto X Play or other low-cost Android phones; and BYOD, where you bring your own device.

Premium Plus is interesting because it lives alongside the phone's subsidy, and is completely optional.

When you buy a premium smartphone, Telus subsidizes the cost by as much as $600, which allows you to buy it for considerably less than its retail price, in exchange for signing a two-year service plan. A Galaxy S7, for example, costs $900 when purchased outright, but $250 up front with a two-year plan, making the subsidy $650.

But $250 is still a lot of money to spend when you're also signing up for an expensive plan, so Telus decided to add the option of allowing customers to tack on an additional $10 per month to that two-year plan in order to lower the up front cost even further — in this case to $50.

So Telus is increasing the subsidy?

No. What it is doing is allowing you, the customer, to finance the cost of the phone over two years, by adding an additional $10 or so to your monthly bill. This is a system that Telus's flanker brand, Koodo, has had for some time.

Premium Plus is interesting because it lives alongside the phone's subsidy, and is completely optional. It allows you to buy a $900 Galaxy S7 for $50 up front.

Is Premium Plus only available for certain phones?

Yes, the Premium Plus model only works for phones that are already heavily subsidized, and fall under Telus's Premium Smartphone category. Devices that cost around $500 outright don't need Premium Plus because Telus is already subsidizing the vast majority of the phone's cost in exchange for a two-year service plan.

Tell me: Is Premium Plus a good deal?

Well, it's an interest-free loan, so yes. Telus isn't charging interest on the additional discount, it is just breaking a portion of the phone's unsubsidized cost into manageable monthly payments that are tacked onto the end of your monthly bill.

Is it a good deal? Well, it's an interest-free loan, so yes.

There doesn't appear to be a "downside," per se. It's a matter of figuring out whether you can stomach an extra $10 per month on your bill versus paying more for a phone at the time of purchase.

Which phones are compatible with Premium Plus

According to Telus, any phone in its Premium Smartphone category is compatible. Specifically, that includes:

  • iPhone 6s / 6s Plus / 6 / 6 Plus / SE
  • Galaxy S7 / S7 edge / S6 / Note 5 / S6 edge
  • LG G5
  • BlackBerry Priv

So should I go for it?

That's totally up to you, but like I said, there doesn't appear to be a catch or inherent downside to the deal. It's just a response to the weak Canadian Dollar, which has caused the price of handsets to rise.

Got a question about Telus Premium Plus plans or anything else to do with the Canadian market? Let us know in the comments!

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1 hour ago

Google working to bring VR to Chrome on Android

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A new report says that Google is putting in virtual reality features in the Android version of its Chrome browser, which could enable VR experiences to be seen by a much larger audience.

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1 hour ago

How to keep your phone looking good inside a case

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I know it's not always a popular position, but I love me a good case.

A quality phone case adds grip, style, and color; it protects my handset even as it shows off the craftsmanship of the device. And a good case doesn't necessarily mean shelling out for an Otterbox or a Trident. A good case is a case that offers the right mix of protection, comfort, grip, and style for the user's situation. Regardless which case you own, be it a Spigen Neo Hybrid case, a Cruzerlite Bugdroid TPU case, or something in between, I've got news for you:

Most of you are using your case wrong.

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2 hours ago

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is the best Android phone you can buy today

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I know, I know: claiming anything to be "the best" in a field as subjective as smartphones is asking for trouble, especially in a year as full of great smartphone releases as 2016. But the outside world works differently than does our insular nerdscape. I'm constantly being asked by everyday people "what's the best Droid?" or "what's the best Galaxy?" and (brand-loaded phrasing issues aside) it's a good question. Which is the best Android smartphone you can buy today, and why?

As this video goes to press, my answer is the Samsung Galaxy S7. It's not the phone I'd choose to carry myself (I'm more of a Moto kinda guy) and it certainly won't be the best pick for everyone, but 90 days getting to know the Galaxy S7 have convinced me that it's the best recommendation for "the average consumer" in the summer of 2016.

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2 hours ago

Dell discontinues Android-based Venue tablet line; ends OS upgrades for current products

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Dell has confirmed it will not be launching any new tablets in its Android-based Venue family. It also won't be pushing out any OS updates to the Venue tablets that are already sold to customers, although it will continue to honor any currently active warranties and service contracts.

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3 hours ago

Amazon selling the Moto G4 with ads doesn't mean it's another Fire Phone

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It ain't exactly Nexus-quality stuff, but Amazon selling phones for cheap while adding a little bit of its own DNA isn't a return to the phone of which we shall not speak.

The jokes were inevitable, of course. With the news that Amazon was sticking its mitts into the smartphone world once again — selling the new Moto G4 and BLU R1 HD for cheap in exchange for lock screen ads — it had to happen.

Return of the Fire Phone.

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4 hours ago

Android N is Nougat!!!

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After what has seemed like the longest wait since the last time we had to wait for an Android nickname, we now know what Android N will be called.

Nougat.

Google announced the latest nickname — its 12th — live from its campus in Mountain View, Calif., sharing the tasty treat on Snapchat, but not before a lengthy tease. Through the Android statue garden, into some "top-secret Android N labs." And finally, we got it.

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4 hours ago

Best Android lock screen and lock screen replacement apps

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Best Android lock screen and lock screen replacement apps

What's the best lock screen app for Android?

For most folks, the standard Android lock screen is just fine. For some, however, it's not quite customizable enough. For those people, there are lock screen replacement apps that allow you to tweak the way you see the time, notifications, the layout, and much more.

Here are a few of our favorites.

ZUI Locker-Elegant Lock Screen

ZUI Locker

ZUI Locker has over 240,000 5-star reviews in the Google Play Store and it's definitely the best of the best Android lock screen replacement apps.

You can download all sorts of themes that include a time widget, weather widget, wallpaper, and more (or less, if you prefer) or you can use any of the stock wallpapers and themes available right in the app. Customize your lock screen the way you want that's best for you.

The best feature of ZUI Locker is the Control Panel, á la iOS. You just swipe up from the bottom of your lock screen and many of your most-used settings are there for you to control without having to unlock your phone.

You can turn on/off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular data (requires you to unlock your phone), control brightness, enable Flight mode, and, best of all, turn on the flashlight (as an Galaxy S5 user, this is a godsend!). You can also quick-launch apps from the Control Panel, and you have your choice of which apps and how many are in your panel.

If you're looking for a versatile and customizable lock screen replacement app with really useful functionality, then ZUI Locker should be your app of choice.

Download: ZUI Locker-Elegant Lock Screen (free)


AcDisplay

AcDisplay

If you yearn for a simple, minimalist look for your lock screen, AcDisplay is the lock screen app for you. It features a flat black background with the time and date, and that's it. Notifications show up as app icons alone — tap 'em and unlock your phone and away you go.

The downside is that AcDisplay isn't a true lock screen replacement app, so it doesn't work unless you have the app open. If you're someone who likes a clean phone and hates apps left open, then steer clear. It also doesn't presently support pin or pattern verification, so you phone can be unlocked with just a swipe.

If you like a clean lock screen that shows the bare necessities and aren't concerned with locking your phone, then AcDisplay is perfect for you. Just be aware that AcDisplay becomes a device administrator, so if you ever want to uninstall it, you'll first have to deactivate it in your settings.

Download: AcDisplay (free)


Start Lock Screen

Start Lock Screen

Start Lock Screen is essentially a start screen on your "lock" screen. "Lock" in quotes because this app doesn't replace your lock screen; it actually just masks your home screen, so your Notification shade is still fully accessible.

This is truly a lock screen app for those who need quick access to their phone at all times. That means your phone isn't totally locked and therefore not as secure as some folks may like.

If you prefer the convenience of quick-launching apps without having to poke around your home screen, then Start Lock Screen is your solution. You just tap and hold the lock and app categories pop up, featuring all of the apps that apply. For example, there's a messaging apps category wherein you can just tap an app such as Hangouts, and be taken right into it.

If you're all for accessing your phone right out of your pocket but still want some separation from instant total access, then Start Lock Screen is a very capable middle man.

Download: Start Lock Screen (free)


Echo Notification Lockscreen

Echo Notification

Perhaps the prettiest lock screen app on the list, Echo Notification Lockscreen is a smooth, streamlined lock screen replacement that categorizes your notifications so you can quickly see what's important. You can even snooze notifications so you'll be reminded of them after a while.

The two main categories are Priority and Social, and there are already predetermined apps divided among these camps, but you can go into Echo's settings and change them around at will. So if Facebook notifications are a priority to you, you can make sure they're noted under that category.

There are only three stock wallpapers available, one of which happens to be a boring gray background. But the others are high quality, and you can always add in your own photos.

Echo offers swipe, pattern, or PIN security, and out of all the apps on this list, seems to behave the best, i.e. it works all the time.

If you want a very straightforward lock screen replacement app without all the bells and whistles that others have, but also want your notifications organized for you, check out Echo Notification Lockscreen.

Download: Echo Notification Lockscreen (free)

Locker Master

Locker Master

Locker Master is another pretty lock screen replacement app with a plethora of free wallpapers to download.

If you'd like to intricately personalize your lock screen, down to the layout, font, wallpaper, and what information is shown, then Locker Master is the lock screen replacement app for you. You can add text, the time, your battery percentage, and more to your lock screen, all while controlling the color of each widget and the look of each widget. There are myriad font and style options to download for free, allowing for limitless possibilities unlimited.

Locker Master can be a tad on the buggy side (like any lock screen replacement app), but it will definitely sate the appetite of the customization beast that lives inside you.

Download:Locker Master (free)


Lock Screen - Iphone Lock

Lock Screen - Iphone Lock

OK, so right of the bat, yes, the developers aren't capitalizing iPhone properly — who knows why. In any case, if you made the switch from iPhone to Android and still need to wean yourself off iOS, this app makes your lock screen look just like — HOW DID YOU GUESS?!? — an iPhone lock screen.

Sarcasm aside, this lock screen replacement app actually works quite well, aside from taking a few seconds to engage and the occasional flash of your home screen when you manually wake up your phone.

Your notifications will only show in your Notification bar, but you'll have full access to your Notification Shade when your screen is locked, so this app acts as more of a home screen mask than a true lock screen.

If you're missing your iPhone lock screen, then Lock Screen - Iphone Lock is the lock screen app you've been pining for.

Download: Lock Screen - Iphone Lock (free)

What do you use?

Do you use a lock screen or lock screen replacement app on your Android device? Sound off in the comments below!

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4 hours ago

Microsoft's Arrow Launcher for Android adds Office 365 document access

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Microsoft has released version 2.0 of its Arrow Launcher for Android. The update allows users with an Office 365 subscription to access and read any documents they have stored without the need to open an Office app.

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5 hours ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 preview: Specs, software, release info and more!

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Samsung phones

Once again, it's almost Galaxy Note time — and 2016's big-screen Samsung phone looks like being the best in years.

Samsung's Galaxy Note series has always been a fan favorite. It's said among followers of the series that the only thing which can replace a Note is another Note. And so after a strong showing earlier in the year with the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, all eyes are on the Galaxy Note 7, due for arrival in the second half of the year.

As usual, the rumor mill is buzzing with speculation about what we can expect from the latest in a popular line of big-screened phones. And to help you cut through the hype and speculation, we've collected all the most reliable info here, in our Samsung Galaxy Note 7 preview. Read on to learn more.

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5 hours ago

Google Calendar is down

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It's not just you. Google calendar is down.

From the app status dashboard:

We're investigating reports of an issue with Google Calendar. We will provide more information shortly. Users of Google Calendar see 'Server Error' page intermittently.

If all you do in your daily existence is Google Calendar, now would be an excellent time to attempt to do something else.

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