43 sec ago

Samsung launches next-generation SmartThings smart home automation hub


At IFA, Samsung unveiled the second-generation SmartThings smart home automation hub, which will be available from later today in the US. The open ecosystem allows the SmartThings Hub to connect to a variety of sensors and accessories from a range of manufacturers.

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54 min ago

Watch Samsung's pre-IFA 2015 press conference here!


Tonight's the big event — the Gear S2 launch — but Samsung's also got a pre-IFA event going on this morning here in Berlin.

Here's the livestream:

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1 hour ago

First look: Sony's Xperia Z5 Compact could be the high-powered small phone you've been waiting for

Xperia Z5 Compact

Sony proves it's still serious about big specs in small phones, with a 4.6-inch, Snapdrago 810-powered beast

As Android handsets in general — and high-end Android phones in particular — keep pushing screen sizes into the stratosphere, Sony has emerged as one of the few manufacturers serious enough about top-end specs in smaller packages to release multiple products in this category. The Xperia Z1 Compact and Z3 Compact were among our favorite phones of 2014, proving that there's hope for buyers who want big specs in an easily one-handable device.

One year on from its last miniature marvel, the Japanese firm now brings us a new "Compact" for 2015, complete with a re-vamped camera, biometric security and a bigger battery. Check past the break for our first impressions of the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact.

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1 hour ago

Snapdragon 820's Kryo CPU twice as powerful and energy-efficient as Snapdragon 810


With Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 set to be available in consumer devices from the first quarter of 2016, the vendor is teasing details on the hardware powering the SoC. We've already heard about the Adreno 530 GPU, which Qualcomm claimed was 40 percent faster than the Adreno 430 used in the Snadragon 810, and now the company is detailing its custom Kryo CPU cores.

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1 hour ago

Unkilled is the new zombie shooter from the makers of the Dead Trigger series


Developer Madfinger Games, best know as the creators of the zombie-themed Dead Trigger shooter series, have just launched their previously announced game Unkilled. While both Unkilled and the Dead Trigger games both center on the player shooting zombies, Madfinger claims they have done their best to make Unkilled a better experience, in both graphics and gameplay.

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2 hours ago

First look: Sony's Xperia Z5 brings a revamped camera, fingerprint security and a redesigned chassis

Xperia Z5

Sony takes a confident step forward with a new camera, redesigned chassis and fingerprint security

After a shaky start to the year with the Xperia Z3+, Sony needed a great flagship to set its high-end smartphone series back on track. And the Xperia Z5 brings some much-needed advancements, most notably a brand new rear camera and fingerprint security technology.

Sony's iterative march forward continues with yet another solid high-end Android phone — its second in a relatively short space of time. The new Xperia Z5 — the middle child now, sitting between the Compact and the Premium — sports a 5.2-inch 1080p display along with the same leading mobile hardware used across the Z5 line. That means there's a Snapdragon 810 processor paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, with microSD expandability. As we've come to expect form Sony, the Z5 also packs IP65 and 68-rated water and dust-resistance, with capless ports for microUSB and headphones.

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6 hours ago

Do Button by IFTTT picks up Android Wear support, new channels


Do Button by IFTTT has added Android Wear support in its latest update, making it easy to pull up your recipes and control little tasks right from your wrist. In addition to Android Wear support, the latest update has also brought along some new channels for controlling tasks with even more services, along with the usual bug fixes. Here's a breakdown of what's new in Do Button by IFTTT:

  • Introducing DO Button for Android Wear
    • Designed for simplicity and ease of use, DO for Android Wear places the control of hundreds of apps right on your wrist.
  • New Channels include: Adafruit, Amazon Cloud Drive, Camio, dondeEsta Family, iSecurity+, Wattio, Wolfram Data Drop
  • A few wrinkles were ironed out

This latest update brings the app up to version 2.0.4, and you can go ahead and grab it from Google Play now.

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11 hours ago

Weekly poll: Do you really want a 4K screen on your next phone?


So yeah. Sony's new Xperia Z5 Premium has a for-real 4K display. That'd be UHD, 3840 X 2160 pixels, checking in somewhere around 806 ppi.

Holy crap.

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11 hours ago

HTC Desire 626 review

Angled view

Quick Intro

The HTC Desire 626 is built to be an affordable and worthwhile purchase. While it isn't the frontrunner of the class, it still packs a punch. The battery life, design, and easy expansion of storage space are fantastic even when the trade off is a lower resolution screen and a single speaker.

The Good

  • Awesome battery
  • Great size and design
  • SD slot for expanded storage

The Bad

  • Single speaker
  • low resolution
  • below average load times

desire 626 wood backing

Desire 626 Full Review

The affordable Desire line from HTC have been staples of European and Asian markets for years, and now that the US it getting in on the action there's even more reason to pay attention to these phones. In a market that already has some strong contenders HTC definitely needs to make an impression. The Desire 626, with its $230 unlocked price tag, is certainly versatile enough to catch the eye of a fickle consumer base, but maybe lacks the power needed to seal the deal for everyone.

HTC didn't go for any one feature that is amazing, instead opting to build a solid device from top to bottom. The software and design are fantastic, even when the phone does fall short in other arenas. It's also got the addition of HTC's Blinkfeed and Sense 7 software to really give you an edge on easily customizing your experience. As the trend of affordable devices continues, it's interesting to see what that means to different companies.

Here is our review.

About this review

We're publishing this review after using a 16gb white Desire 626 for two weeks This unit is running Android 5.1 with Sense 7 (Build 1.10.502.1). It's running exclusively on the AT&T Network in Baltimore, MD which has great coverage.


oh so pretty

Desire 626 Design

The Desire 626 has a plastic unibody casing that has a great feel to it. There isn't any way to open it up, or access the battery with minimal ridges even where the main and contrast colors meet up. You do get a slot on the side which allows you sim card access, and gives you an SD slot if the onboard 16GB of storage doesn't cut it for you.

Though it is a plastic unibody, the case is solid, without any bend or flex to it. It's a good size too, fitting easily enough into my hand that I can use my phone one handed. The Desire 626 doesn't have any kind of shiny finish on the case, which means it doesn't feel slippery, or like I might lose hold of it at an inopportune moment.

I've got the 626 in white with a grey stripe of contrast, but it is available in a bunch of colors. They all follow the common theme of a main color, with a contrast stripe. The main color of the phone covers the back, and front, with the contrast running around the sides. It also has soft rounded corners which gave me more confidence that I wasn't about to drop it.

For whatever reason I just couldn't get it through my head that the power button was on the bottom, with the volume rocker above it.

There are only two actual buttons on the Desire 626, and they're both seated on the right of the phone. The volume rocker is at the top, with the power button seated underneath it. They're both of a decent size, and protrude from the side just enough that you can feel them without having to go looking. I did keep having an issue of hitting the volume bar when I meant the power button, and vice versa. For whatever reason I just couldn't get it through my head that the power button was on the bottom, with the volume rocker above it

The casing extends to the front of the phone, before meeting up with the screen. Above and below the screen are speaker grills — although there is only a single speaker. The HTC branding is evident under the screen, and in the middle of the back of the smartphone. The front facing camera is on the upper right, and just barely recessed from the casing. The rear facing camera is of course on the back, with the flash. We'll get to that in a minute.

I definitely enjoy the look and feel of the HTC Desire 626. It's got a sturdy, solid feel in my hands and doesn't feel slippery in my grasp either. The colors are well chosen, and everything is right where it needs to be. There isn't anything groundbreaking here, but the design looks and feels great.

HTC Desire 626

Don't expect miracles

Desire 626 Hardware

HTC didn't pack anything amazing into the Desire 626, which isn't a big surprise. The phone still works well with minimal stutter, and a slightly longer loading screen than I'm used to. When running multiple apps, or downloading a large file the casing got a little warm but it never got uncomfortably hot in my hand.

Category Features Display 5-inch HD (1280x720) OS Android 5.1 with HTC Sense Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 quad core @ 1.1 GHz Storage 16GB with microSD card RAM 1.5GB Size 146.9 x 70.9 x 8.19 mm Rear camera 8MP with backside illumination, autofocus, 720p video Front camera 5MP with BSI, 720p video Battery 2,000 mAh Location GPS/AGPS, GLONASS Sensors Ambient light, proximity, accelerometer Connectivity Bluetooth 4.1, Wifi 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)

The plastic casing for the Desire 626 does tend to get a little warm with extended use, running with a Snapdragon 210 processor. It never got super hot, but it definitely got warm enough that it became noticeable. Generally this was when I had been playing a game for a while, or watching videos, and it cooled back down again quickly.

Battery life is absolutely fantastic.

The processor can leave just a bit to be desired. If you're running multiple apps, it tends to slow a bit. You can definitely expect to wait an extra few seconds for apps to open, but it still gets the job done. There are occasionally a few stutters, but each time the phone recovered quickly and went back to being nice and smooth.

The battery life on the Desire 626 was absolutely fantastic. I could plug it in to charge overnight and not have to plug it back in all day, starting my day around 11am and ending around 2am. Since I'm constantly on my phone throughout the day, this was fantastic to see. On the off chance I did need to charge, due to an extended gaming session or something, I'm immediately tethered to the wall for a couple of hours if I want a full charge. The lack of Quick Charge is understandable, but frustrating all the same.

The features that have become staples in the One line are still missing here, especially double tap on the screen to open your phone. It can take some adjusting to get used to if you're moving from a phone with these abilities, but it's understandable to keep the phone affordable.

The screen is a decent 5-inch display, but the quality isn't great. I'm a big fan of pictures, and everything you view on the Desire tends to render a bit weird. It ends up looking like someone took a sharpening tool to the pictures. This probably a move from HTC to compensate for the lower resolution of the display. It works well for text, but if you're used to photos on a higher quality display, you'll occasionally notice things aren't quire right.

Adequate but not amazing

Desire 626 Audio

Sadly the HTC Desire 626 is equipped with only a single speaker — that double audio grill on the front is just for looks. The speaker isn't particularly amazing, but it isn't terrible either. Its pretty strong for a single speaker, but clearly not BoomSound.

With headphones on audio quality is mid-range. There is no way to manually fiddle with options to adjust the levels or anything baked in without a third-party app. You'll get decent mids and tolerable highs, but bass is flat and software isn't likely to fix that.

Using the Camera

getting the job done

Desire 626 Camera

The camera on the Desire 626 is fun to use, provided you are in a well lit environment without any sudden movement. Like many smartphones in this class it takes great pictures given decent lighting to work with. However both cameras tend towards graininess when you are dealing with low lighting, and without OIS movement is almost always a problem.

The HTC camera app gives you plenty of options. You can grid out the screen to make it easier to get the exact shot you were looking for, and the face sensor is pretty good as well. At the bottom of the camera screen is where you can set a timer, switch between photo or video, see your gallery, and access options like switching between your front and back camera.

After taking photos there are some built in editing options. This means applying flair, themes, rotating crooked shots, and removing red eye from your phone. There are some filters as well, mostly in different colors. IT's a lot of simple stuff, but nice to have at your fingertips after taking a shot.

While the camera for the Desire 626 works well in ideal conditions, it just doesn't perform great otherwise. The graininess of photos was the biggest problem. The onboard editing can help this to a degree. It's also not that the pictures are terrible, they just aren't quite up to par with what I am used to.


An old favorite with new tricks

Desire 626 Software

You can expect to see the Desire 626 running Android 5.1 as soon as it comes out of the box. For the most part everything is where it should be, but there are a few tweaks to be aware of.

The Home widget remains as a suggestion platform to get you the apps you need, for where you are. It's actually a 3 sets of apps; one for home, one for work, and another for away. You can adjust which apps show up when, and it will automatically detect which screen should be showing based off of GPS. One of the bubbles that can't be customized on this widget are the suggestions; filled with apps that HTC thinks you might like depending on your usage.

Desire 626 screenshots

BlinkFeed might be a little bit of a shock if you aren't already used to using it on HTC devices. It's an aggregated newsfeed, which pulls from the social media accounts you connect to it. I'm not a huge fan of BlinkFeed because I like getting lost in my newsfeed, but it is a great way to get all of your news and info in a single place. It's also a great way to catch up when you've only got a moment to spare and several social media accounts to check in on.

quick settings

Customization is where you can get excited about the Desire 626. It comes equipped with HTC Sense, which means you get access to themes. Instead of giving you a few themes built into the phone, Sense gives you access to hundreds of user made themes in dozens of categories. There really is something for everyone, and it's easy to adjust how each theme will show up on your phone.

There is some bloatware to be found on the Desire 626, which really shouldn't come as a surprise. Since it's an AT&T phone you can expect their take on navigation, transferring info, and more all preinstalled for you. There are a few apps, but they honestly aren't so bad and can be easily dealt with.

The software is certainly solid. There isn't an egregious amount of bloatware, and the inclusion of Sense and BlinkFeed give you some real customization options to pursue.

Desire 626 optical illusion

Hardy and pretty

Desire 626 In the end

HTC has done a good job of making the Desire 626 a contender with it's options, instead of with its specs. There isn't anything about the phone that is done in an over the top manner, instead giving you a good starter phone that is solid across the board.

While it is somewhat underpowered compared to other phones in the affordable smartphone market, the addition of HTC's Sense and BlinkFeed do make a pretty impressive difference. Sense in particular gives you far more customization options than you might see otherwise, at least so easily anyway.

With a lower price point than many of it's opponents, HTC seems to be banking on you saving a few dollars rather than enticing you with features meant to catch the eye. The resolution on the screen can be a bit jarring, but it's easy enough to adjust for. You are after all, getting what you paid for. With the HTC Desire 626 you're paying for a solid device to get the job done, not anything super shiny.

bottom screen

Should you buy the Desire 626? Maybe.

The Desire 626 is a decent phone, but nothing about it is amazing. Compared to some other phones in the same price range like the Moto G, the Desire 626 comes in a bit underwhelming. If you're a already a fan of HTC's Sense software, and you're looking for a phone in the $200-$300 range then this is a decent choice. Otherwise, it's worth shopping around to find the best bang for your buck. best bang for your buck.

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12 hours ago

First Moto 360 (2015) ad is all about what makes it tick


Following the announcement of the new Moto 360 (2015), Motorola has released the first ad for the smartwatch, and it's all about what makes it tick. The ad gives us a "peek" inside the new Moto 360, showing off the wearable's notification features, fitness tracking, and more against the backdrop of carousels, cogs, and wheels.

The Moto 360 went up for preorder from Motorola and on the Google Store earlier today. The watch is available in both 42mm and 46mm variants, with tons of customization options in Moto Maker. Are you planning on picking up Motorola's latest Android Wear offering? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Motorola (YouTube)

Moto 360 (2015)

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12 hours ago

Google Docs picks up new research tool, voice typing on the web


Google is rolling out some fancy new features to Docs aimed at bringing some much needed productivity features to the app. Some of the updates include a dictation tool in Docs on the web, robust change tracking, and the ability to search Google within Docs for Android.

Perhaps the most notable addition is the new Research tool in Docs for Android. The tool allows you to perform Google searches within the app, making it easier to find quotes or images without having to switch between apps. Further, Google says you can add info from the web with just a couple of taps.

Next up is what Google is calling Voice Typing, which is simply a dictation feature. Available in Chrome on desktop, Voice Typing does exactly what you'd expect, freeing your hands from the confines of the keyboard as you dictate your latest research paper. Even better, Google says the feature is available in 40 languages from the outset.

Finally, Google has added new change tracking and form features to Docs. Now, when you open a document you're collaborating on, you can click the "See new changes" button to see all of the edits made since you last opened the document. With the new Forms feature, you can easily create polls and forms with fresh themes, and you can even add GIFs, videos, and images to spice things up.

Source: Google

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12 hours ago

Huawei Watch, Moto 360 (2015) pre-orders go live on the Google Store


The Google Store is now accepting pre-orders for both the Huawei Watch and the Moto 360 (2015), with shipments starting in the next two to four weeks. Motorola has already opened pre-orders for the new watch through its Moto Maker site, and now Google is offering it as well. Unlike purchasing from Motorola, you will have only two options: 42mm in black or 46mm in cognac.

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12 hours ago

Verizon will introduce a revamped company logo later this week [Update: it's official]


Earlier this week, Google revamped its official logo, and soon Verizon Wireless will do the same thing. The wireless carrier will officially reveal the new logo for the company on Thursday.

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13 hours ago

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium: Up close and personal with the world's first 4K phone

Xperia Z5 Premium

Of course Sony's 4K phone looks great — but beyond the technological milestone it represents, there remains a lot to learn about the Z5 Premium.

It had to happen eventually. Even as "Ultra HD" TVs remain out of reach to most buyers, the blistering pace of mobile hardware advancement has launched us into the era of 4K smartphones. Announced alongside the vanilla Z5 and Z5 Compact at IFA today, the Xperia Z5 Premium brings Sony's high-end smartphone experience to a 5.5-inch screen size, while cranking up the display density all the way to an insane 806 pixels per inch. We've seen it with our own eyes, and can offer some first impressions after the break.

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14 hours ago

Moto X Pure Edition, Moto 360 (2015) pre-orders go live in the US


As promised by Motorola, you can now pre-order your customized Moto X Pure Edition in the US. Currently, Motorola is estimating ship dates of around September 17, though that could always change depending on how many orders are placed.

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