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1 week ago

Google Assistant now available for iPhone

6

As rumored ahead of Google I/O, Google has announced that Google Assistant is now available for iPhone.

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1 week ago

Google Lens brings powerful image recognition to the palm of your hand

18

On stage at Google I/O 2017 today, Google announced Google Lens, the culmination of major improvements the company has made in machine learning.

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1 week ago

There are over 2 billion active Android devices today

5

The world's most popular operating system is used on over 2 billion devices.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai kicked off I/O 2017 by highlighting the growth of Android — the world's largest operating system now powers over 2 billion devices.

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1 week ago

The most important announcements from Google I/O 2017!

54

What are the biggest announcements from Google I/O 2017?

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For Android people, Google I/O is both frenetic excitement — all the announcements! — and a huge party. But main takeaways are the products and services that will affect the way developers and consumers interact with Google products every day.

Here are all the major announcements from Google I/O 2017!

Android O beta is live

The Android O public beta, and the second Android O Developer Preview, is now available to download on your Pixel or Nexus device!

Check it out!

Android announcements

Android engineering lead Dave Burke told attendees that Android Wear 2.0 is launching on watches from 24 of the world's top watch manufacturers. And in the living room, this year, Google will be bringing the Assistant to Android TV, with a new launcher UI.

Google announced Fluid Experiences in Android O — demonstrating picture-in-picture mode in O for the first time as part of a more intuitive multitasking setup.

Notification dots make Android's notifications smarter, with the ability to long-press on icons in the launcher to preview details of that app's alerts.

Autofill with Google lets you take the pain out of setting up a new phone or tablet, letting you bring usernames and passwords saved through Chrome on the web, or older phones, into apps you're setting up on a new device. In O, on-device machine learning can automatically select phrases, names, addresses and phone numbers by double-tapping anywhere the item.

A new special version of TensorFlow, called TensorFlow Lite, will help developers work with neural nets to for smarter AI-enabled capabilities.

Google Play Protect — an extension of the Verify Apps — codifies many of the security features that have been in Google Play for the past several years. Google scans 50 billion apps per day to keep harmful stuff out of the Play Store.

And Google is making Kotlin an officially supported language in Android, an existing robust language that developers have been asking for, giving them a much-wanted alternative to Java.

Android Go

Google announced Android Go, a new platform focusing on optimizing the latest release of Android for low-specced, low-cost devices. There'll be a new set of Google apps using less memory and data, and a version of the Play Store that highlights apps suitable for Go devices.

Data management is front and center in Android Go, with a quick settings button for data allowances. Data saver in Chrome is enabled by default. And YouTube Go lets users download YouTube videos on Wi-Fi to watch later on-the-go.

Google's "Building for Billions" initiative will help developers work to best practices for creating apps targeting emerging markets.

Every Android release from O onwards will have a "Go" version for low-memory devices. The first Android Go devices will ship from 2018.

Daydream, VR and AR

Google announced that LG's next flagship phone, launching later this year, will support Daydream. And Samsung's Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus will add Daydream support this summer with a software update.

A new kind of Daydream VR device is coming — standalone VR headsets with components built specifically for VR. Partners include Qualcomm, which makes the reference headset. The first standalone consumer Daydream headsets will come from HTC and Lenovo, coming later in the year.

In the world of augmented reality, ASUS's Tango-enabled ZenFone AR will be launching summer.

In other Tango news, Google announced its Visual Positioning Service — VPS — which can help you find specific objects in the real world, relying on key visual feature points. For example, you might be able to find a specific kind of screwdriver in a hardware store. And Expeditions will help bring AR to the classroom with interactive educational experiences.

Android passes 2 billion active devices

The enormous growth of Android continues, with the OS passing the 2 billion active device milestone. "It's a privilege to serve users at this scale," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said during the opening minutes of the keynote.

In other milestones, Google revealed that Drive has 800 million users, and Photos has 500 million, with some 1.2 billion photos being uploaded per day

Google Lens announced

Google Lens is a set of vision based computing capabilities that can identify things in the real world using Google's AI and knowledge graph. Lens is effectively Google Goggles on steroids, and it'll be shipping first in Google Assistant and Photos, before arriving in other products.

Sundar Pichai gave a few examples of Lens's capabilities, including identifying specific flowers, finding camera at Wifi username and password by scanning a sticker, and identifying a restaurant in the real world.

Google.ai and TPU Cloud

Google.ai is the company's new AI platform for developers, allowing them to build machine learning applications in the cloud. Google.ai uses neural nets to design neural nets as part of a reinforcement learning approach, and Google is already using it in healthcare and pathology.

Google Assistant

Google revealed that 100 million devices now have access to Google Assistant. And Assistant is about to get a whole lot smarter thanks to the capabilities of Google Lens, Assistant will be able to have a conversation with your about what's on your screen. In addition to all that, Google announced that you'll finally be able to directly type to Assistant.

What's more, Google Assistant will finally be coming to iPhone, as widely rumored in recent weeks.

The new Google Assistant SDK allows manufacturers to build Google Assistant into whatever device they want — from cars, TVs, drinks mixers to toys to home appliances, opening up the platform to significant new markets.

And new languages are coming too — French, German, Brazilian Portuguese and Japanese this summer, and Italian, Spanish and Korean by the end of the year.

Actions on Google

Actions on Google will be getting payment support, allowing food orders directly through voice in Google Assistant. The on-stage demo showed ordering from Panera, with alterations to order, pulling address and payment from existing data in the Google account.

Google Home

This summer, Google Home will be launching in Canada, Australia, France, Germany and Japan. Proactive assistance will be coming to Google Home — for example, Google Home might light up, prompting you to ask Google what's up, to notify you you'll need to leave earlier to reach your next appointment.

Handsfree calling will be coming to Google Home, with free calls to anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. And thanks to multi-user support, asking Home to "call mom" will call the right person depending on who's asking.

On the entertainment front, new partners including HBO Now were announced, and users on Spotify's free service will be able to use Google's smart speaker in addition to the premium subscribers.

Bluetooth support will be coming to Google Home too, effectively turning it into Bluetooth speaker for iOS and other devices.

And Chromecast will be updated to show visual responses on your TV when you ask for help from Google Home — for example "show me my calendar" might bring up the result on your TV. Through Google Assistant, all the actions supported on other platforms will eventually be available on your TV.

More: Google Home just leapfrogged Amazon Echo at I/O 2017

Google Photos

Google Photos is getting new features to make sharing easier. Suggested Sharing can help you find the best pictures of your friends, and share them, using machine learning to recognize people in photos, and offers to share with that person, based on your own sharing patterns.

The new Shared Libraries feature can help to automate sharing of pictures of specific people, things or places. Shared Libraries can notify recipients of new photos, and automatically save photos to personal library — no more worrying about whose phone has which photos. Suggested Sharing and Libraries will be rolling out on iOS, Android and the web in the coming weeks.

Google Photo Books lets you print photos from your library, automatically selecting the best pics from a selection of your choice, based on search. Photo Books are available in the US now: Softcover books will cost for $9.99, with hardcover coming in at $19.99.

Google Lens support will be coming to Google photos too, using the power of Google's knowledge graph to help you learn more about what's in your photos.

YouTube

Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube told keynote attendees that viewers watched 1 billion hours of content on the video platform in 2016.

360-degree video is coming to YouTube's TV app, including live 360 video. Using the TV remote, you can pan around the video.

Superchat, YouTube's paid promoted message system, is getting more creative. A new superchat API will let Superchats trigger actions in the real world, like turning the lights in a creator's studio.

Google for Jobs

Google for Jobs uses Google's AI to match applicants to jobs. 46% of employers have openings and issues finding talent, Sundar Pichai told attendees, "Google for Jobs is a commitment to use our products to help people find work." The Cloud jobs API was announced back in November, and is being used by FedEx, Carrier, Johnson & Johnson — the latter found 18% more applicants using the API.

Google for Jobs will offer filtering for relevance, new listings, full/part-time jobs, job title, with machine learning clustered in list.

More to come!

There's lots more to come at Google I/O, so stay tuned!

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1 week ago

Google I/O 2017 keynote — live at 10:00 a.m. PT!

21
Google I/O 2017

Let's see what Google has in store for the rest of the year.

For fans of Google, Android and Chrome, the keynote and Google I/O is an event held above all else. It's a time for Google to lay out its initiatives for both consumer products and developer tools alike, and it's typically jam-packed with great stuff. Google CEO Sundar Pichai, along with plenty of other influential members of the company, will be on stage at the Shoreline Amphitheater right in Google's backyard to unveil the latest the company has to offer.

It all kicks off at 10:00 a.m. PT (that's 1 p.m. ET) today, and the Android Central team is there to bring you all of the sights and commentary you expect. Join us!

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1 week ago

Pre-order a 3-pack of Amazon's newest Alexa-enabled Fire tablets and save 20%

0

Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a discount on Amazon's latest Fire tablets!

Amazon's Fire tablet has been an extremely popular device since its release, and a large part of that is due to its aggressive price point. The company just announced a refreshed version of it with a higher contrast display, the addition of Alexa and more, yet kept it at the same price point. That's right, the new version still starts at just $49.99, but you can actually get it for less if you buy more of them.

You may be considering picking up a few of these for your family, and if you grab three of them at the same time you can save 20% on the purchase with promo code FIRE3PACK. This drops the price of three Fire tablets down to just $128.38, saving you $29.99.

The Fire tablet has a 7-inch IPS display and comes with a base of 8GB of storage in it. You can opt to upgrade that to 16GB of internal space for $20 more, or you could spend that extra $20 on a microSD card since the tablet can handle up to 256GB of expandable storage. You can grab one in black, yellow, blue, or red depending on your preference.

See at Amazon

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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1 week ago

Dive into summer with a new wallpaper

14

Prepare yourself: summer is coming.

Winter can be a cruel season, but if you ask a good Texan girl like me, there is no harsher season than summer. Triple digit heat and oppressive humidity, summer is a season that can kill far quicker, and in horrifying ways. As such, before we dive into these whimsical wallpapers, I'm going to remind everyone that it doesn't matter how short you'll be in the store or how shaded your parking space is, NEVER leave your kids or your pets in the car. It doesn't take long for temperatures in a car to get unbearable and for heat stroke to set in. If you're the forgetful type, set a reminder on your phone.

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1 week ago

Best Ways to Keep Your Galaxy S8 Camera Lens Clean

5

If there's one thing wrong with the Galaxy S8, it's the placement of that fingerprint scanner so close to the camera.

I'm not about to rehash all that's been written about the placement of the fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S8, but needless to say, if you're using that feature to unlock your phone, your finger is going to frequently tap on the camera lens.

Maybe your fingers will develop the muscle memory to find the fingerprint scanner and avoid the camera, but if not we've got some product recommendations that will help you keep that camera lens crystal clear and, in turn, help you to take better pictures.

Use a case to guide your hand

Not only are cases great for keeping your Galaxy S8 protected, the cutout around the camera and fingerprint scanner provide a very handy guide for your finger to find the scanner and avoid the camera lens.

All of Samsung's proprietary cases have even more precise cutouts around the camera and fingerprint scanner individually, which would further help to cut down on accidentally pressing the camera lens.

Looking for more case recommendations? We've got you covered!

READ: Best Cases for the Galaxy S8

Keep a microfiber cloth handy

If you're finding your camera lens is always getting smudged up, you may want to pick up a few microfiber clothes to keep in your bag or pocket to give your lens a quick wipe before you start snapping photos.

Sure, you could and probably do use your sleeve or the bottom of your shirt to wipe it in a pinch, but you'll want to ensure there's no dust or debris on your shirt because that might cause some microabrasions on the lens instead, and then fingerprint smudges are the least of your problems.

Considering how many devices you probably own that could use a good wipe down every now and again, it's never a bad idea to have a few microfiber clothes kicking around as it is. Amazon's own line of products, Amazon Basics, has some really good deals on microfiber clothes. You can get a three-pack of thick microfiber clothes for around $5. They also sell them in bulk batches if you're planning to stock up for your whole family, and they're also reasonably priced.

See at Amazon

Buy a screen cleaning kit

If you're an absolute clean freak and the idea of smudges anywhere on your phone gives you the heebie-jeebies, then you might as well go ahead and invest in a screen cleaning kit to keep your phone and all your other tech clean.

We tried the Whoosh Screen Shine kit and it worked pretty well. It includes non-toxic cleaning solution that helps keep fingerprints off your screen and by extension your camera lens as well. The kit we've linked below includes two sizes of spray bottles along with two microfiber clothes — everything you need to keep your phone looking shiny, clean and, most important of all, smudge-free.

See at Amazon

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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1 week ago

Amazon's Fire tablets just got a big refresh

27

Amazon is driving costs down even further, making its tablets irresistible.

Remember way back when there was such a thing as a company capable of competing with Amazon on price for tablets? Those days are long gone, and today Amazon is making sure things stay that way. Four of Amazon's tablets have been refreshed today with new features and colors, and the prices just keep getting better.

Lets see what we're looking at!

Amazon Fire 7 and Fire HD 8

The new Fire 7 tablet from Amazon is lighter and thinner than its predecessor, with a 7-inch IPS display Amazon claims is noticeably improved with higher contrast and less battery drain. This new tablet promises up to 6 hours of batter, 8GB of onboard storage with microSD card support up to 256GB, and Alexa enabled in the OS. If you're looking for a cheap tablet that isn't terrible to use, it's hard to argue with $50 for this offering.

See on Amazon

If you want something a little more capable, the Fire HD 8 bumps the screen resolution to 1280x800 and starts with 16GB of onboard storage. This version of the tablet also offers 12 hours of battery, and like the new 7-inch version comes in the standard black as well as Punch Red, Marine Blue and Canary Yellow. This upgraded experience will run you $80, which is clearly not much considering what you're getting.

See on Amazon

Amazon Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 Kids Edition

According to Amazon, the new Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 are already more durable than the current generation iPad. That doesn't stop the company from releasing a Kids Edition variant of its tablets with big silicone bumpers and a two-year "worry-free" guarantee to replace if you actually manage to break yours. The new Fire 7 Kids Edition increases the default storage to 16GB onboard and includes a year of Amazon's FreeTime Unlimited so your kids have access to more apps and shows and books than can be read in that timeframe. This new kid-friendly setup will run you $100, and comes in the three colorful silicone options based on your choice.

See on Amazon

The HD 8-inch variant, like the Adult version, has a better display and larger battery. It's also packing 32GB of onboard storage by default and includes the same two-year guarantee as the smaller version. Like the Adult Fire HD 8, you're paying $30 more than the smaller version for the boost in specs.

See at Amazon

Amazon is clearly not done making a lot of noise when it comes to inexpensive tablets packing all of the best features the company has to offer, so will you be upgrading? Sound off in the comments!

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1 week ago

What's in Alex's Google I/O 2017 gear bag?

0
Gear bag

Here's what I'm packing to Google's annual nerd party in Mountain View!

Google I/O is a unique gem in the Android calendar, and not just because it's Google's yearly chance to show us what it's working on, and prepare developers for the devices of and platforms of the future. Being an outdoors event, Google I/O has its own set of challenges when it comes to event coverage. You're out in the California sun, for starters, and it's not quite as easy to find somewhere to plug in and write up stories. And that's before you get to the challenges of recording and editing video in that setting.

All of which means you need to pick your I/O gear pretty carefully.

This'll be my third Google I/O attending in person, and I've come packing a refreshed pile of gear to help me through the keynote, developer sessions and beyond

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1 week ago

Should you encrypt your Galaxy S8's SD card?

11

Probably not. Here's why.

We've written what you need to know about the Galaxy S8's SD card and how you can move some Android apps from the internal memory to it, and a common question that pops up (as it does when we talk about any phone's SD card) is whether or not to encrypt it.

It's a legit question. There are both pros and cons to encrypting the card, and it's hard to get a clear picture when information is spread across many different places. We can try to remedy that and have a clear and concise discussion about SD card encryption sp you can make up your mind after you know a little more. If you've waded through the technical words and terms that experts use and just want a plain answer, this is for you!

Looking for a good microSD card for your Galaxy S8? Check out our guide!

Security is not convenient

The only real reason to encrypt your SD card in any phone is so that the only way to see what's on it is to unlock the screen. It doesn't matter what you have on the card or what anyone else thinks; if you want to make sure nobody can look at what's on the card if you lose your phone or it gets stolen you have to encrypt it. Some programs store their data on the SD card with encryption enabled, but encrypting the entire card is the only way to protect everything in one shot.

Think about that for a second — the only way to see what's there is to decrypt it and that can only happen when you have your phone powered on and unlocked. Guarding your photos or anything else you've saved on the card by encrypting it is a pretty easy thing to understand and see the benefit. But the reasons why you might not want to do it are pretty compelling, too.

  • You can't see anything on the card unless it's inside the phone that encrypted it and the phone is unlocked. That means you can't take it out and use it in anything else unless you erase everything and reformat it. if you stick it into your PC to copy music or a big video to the card, it won't work; your computer will tell you it needs to be formatted. The same goes for another Android phone, even another Samsung brand phone. Which brings us to the next reason ...

  • If your phone dies, all the data on the SD card dies along with it. If something happens to your phone and you can't get it back to a usable state so you can decrypt the card, the data is gone forever. It's really cool that SD card encryption can keep some creep who stole your phone from seeing all your pictures. It's less cool when you break your phone or it has a hardware fault and you can't see all your pictures. Or copy them somewhere.

Google has the same attitude about encryption for SD cards as they do for anything else: Security trumps everything.

This is because Google (Samsung uses the code from Google for encryption) follows old-school hardcore nerd thinking when it comes to encryption. Namely, that if you're going to bother encrypting something, you do everything possible to sandbox the data from the outside world unless it's decrypted. Microsoft, for example, lets you encrypt a volume (a partition or storage drive) and decrypt it in another machine if you have the right passphrase. They have lightened up a little bit because they understand people don't want to lose everything if there's a problem and that most of us don't bother making backups of anything unless it's automatic. Google assumes you understand the situation and will make regular backups in case something fails because locking the encrypted volume to specific hardware is more secure.

Neither is right and neither is wrong, they are just very different ways of approaching security. In a perfect world, both companies would have a setting so you could do it either way, but that's a lot of work and the world isn't perfect. What's important is that you understand that Google won't let you use another phone to get what's on the card if it's encrypted. Important enough to use ugly bold letters, even.

So, should I?

Nope. This is a classic case of "if you have to ask, then no" and we're not even trying to be arrogant. Not even a little bit.

If you are asking yourself that question, you weren't told you had to encrypt the card by your boss or IT manager, or that you don't have anything on the card that you know you need to protect with encryption. These are really the only time it's worth bothering to encrypt the card. This is why it's optional in the first place. Having a secure lock screen keeps anyone from seeing what's on your card when it's inside the phone. Encryption makes sure that applies when it's out of the phone, too.

Not everything is worth the bother or the risk of encrypting your SD card.

If you have random pictures of the cat or your friends and family being silly, some music you like and a picture or two you downloaded from Facebook, ask yourself if it's worth the hassle. There are even apps you can use to encrypt some of the folders without encrypting the whole card. If you have a Galaxy S8, one's built into your phone in the Secure Folder feature you'll find in the settings.

We're also not trying to discourage you here. We like to think that when it comes to our privacy and our data, encryption makes everything better. But not everyone here at Mobile Nations has a Galaxy S8 with an encrypted SD card because the risk of losing it if the phone breaks (or gets stolen or gets lost, etc.) is not worth it. The stuff on the card is too important to lose, and not important enough to encrypt.

There are a lot of things that need an additional layer of security and your things may be some of them. If you keep those kinds of pictures or have files you wouldn't want anyone to see without your permission, you might want to add the extra lock that encryption offers. Nobody can say you shouldn't want to keep your stuff "safe." Just know how it works and be diligent with the backups.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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1 week ago

Begin your Android development career with this professional bundle for $29

Ready to make a change in your career and start creating your own Android apps? Getting started can be a difficult task, there is a lot to learn, a lot of different ways to do things, and unless you have someone to chat with it can be hard to do on your own. There are a number of different ways you can begin your new path, and this bundle is one of the best.

Get started today for just $29 Learn More

Meet the Professional Android Developer Bundle, a great way for you to learn the basics and more advanced features of building Android apps. From an introduction to Javascript to the fundamentals of the operating system itself, there are countless hours of information here for you to move through at your own pace.

  • Introduction to Programming & Coding for Everyone with JavaScript - $295 Value
  • Fundamentals of Operating Systems - $295 Value
  • Building Android Apps That Work - $295 Value
  • Java SE 8 Programming Part 2 - $295 Value
  • Java SE 8 Programming Part 1 - $295 Value

Save big for a limited time! Learn More

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1 week ago

Everything Flo is packing in her Gear Bag for Google I/O 2017

6

It's basically just sunscreen and some phones.

If there's one thing that stuck with me after attending last year's Google I/O, it's to always wear sunscreen. If you've ever had to carry a giant bag full of things on top of sunburned shoulders, then you know the pain. And that pain is not fun to have lingering around when you'd rather be soaking up developer sessions and checking out the latest Android-based demonstrations.

This year, I'm packing a ton of sunscreen. Bottles of it. I'm bringing the spray kind, the lotion kind, and some for my face — I'll probably slather a bunch in my scalp, for the days I forget my hat. I'm packing a couple of other neccesary things, too — a laptop, a couple of smartphones— but I'm attempting to keep it my kit as concise and as whittled down to the necessary as possible so that I've enough room to carry all that sunscreen.

The bag: Something I bought off of AliExpress

I couldn't do the Timbuk2 Classic Messenger anymore. The more gear I'd cram into it, the more my back seemed to ache for days after merely an hour with it on. So, I switched to this little backpack I found on AliExpress a few months ago, though it's quickly turned into one of my favorite carry-all. And it was pretty affordable, too!

This off-brand bag is big enough to fit my MacBook Pro and Timbuk2 Snoop Camera Insert (the link takes you to the new version of the product). There's also a front pocket that fits my phone and my wallet perfectly, and there's enough room inside to store rolled-up sweater, too. Google I/O will likely be in the upper digits towards the mid-afternoon but at night fall it can get pretty chilly in the South Bay.

Also inside: So much sunscreen

As a pale-skinned woman who burns considerably after only minutes in the sun, I've gotten into the habit of carrying some very heavy duty sunscreen. My favorite is the Alba Botanica Hawaiian sunscreen. It smells nice and it's water resistant, and it's kept me protected through various hikes through the California Redwoods and beyond. It's also available in spray form, which is convenient for quick touchups throughout the day.

On my face, I wear Tarte Guard Sunscreen, which offers all the protection without the grease. But if you're put off by the bright pink bottle, Dr. Jart's Every Sun Day UV Sunscreen is a great Korean-made alternative that's also dermatologist-tested and cruelty-free.

See at Amazon

The phone: Pixel XL

I remember last year, I was already struggling with the Nexus 6P around this time — I vividly remember pulling over while navigating around Mountain View because the phone had randomly shut down in the middle of my route. You can bet there was plenty of screaming and cursing happening that day.

I don't expect to run into the same issue with the Pixel XL, but that's because it's been so consistent since I adopted it last October. I know that I can trust it to post to Twitter, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat without shutting down on me, as well as provide ample battery life for answering the barrage of Hangouts messages and emails I'll be fielding throughout the entire week. It also takes the best photos, and it's the only phone I have in my arsenal with the absolute latest version of Android.

See at Google

The smartwatch: LG Watch Style

To be very honest with you, faithful Android users, I've long since ditched Android Wear 2.0 for the hybrid Fossil Q (also pictured here) because I don't like having to charge a watch every single night. But during major event weeks, I'll switch to the LG Watch Style, which is one of the most comfortable smartwatches for those with smaller wrists. I like to have the notifications pop up as they appear, not to mention it's much more convenient to respond with a simple "ok" on Android Wear than it is to always have my phone in my hand.

See at Google

The other computer: Samsung DeX

I'm not actually planning to use the Samsung Galaxy S8+ to cover Google I/O. I'm actually bringing it to test out the Samsung DeX, which I'll be using in my Mountain View hotel room to decompress at the end of each day. I'm impressed with what I'm seen from Samsung's "desktop experience" thus far, but the real test will be whether it makes sense for me to travel with a mouse, keyboard, and HDMI cable in tow, too.

See at Best Buy

Other gear and accessories

There are a couple of other necessities I'm packing with me. My battery pack this year will be the AUKEY 20,000 mAh solar-powered battery pack, which is quite dense and will certainly add a bit of weight to my bag. But it's got multiple ports for the crew to charge along, and I never have to worry about it running out of juice as long as the sun is still shining.

I'm also bringing along a Polaroid wide-angle lens, which easily screws on to the existing 40mm lens already affixed to my Canon SL1. This makes it so that I can widen the shot of the crazy sculptures placed throughout the Shoreline and switch back to the pancake lens when I need to snap a photo of a screen, for instance.

Coming to Google I/O?

Are you making the trek to Mountain View for Google's annual developer conference? Leave a comment and tell us what you're packing for the event!

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1 week ago

Farpoint Tips and Tricks for survival

These tips will help you survive the inhospitable world of Farpoint.

Farpoint has arrived on PlayStation VR, delivering an excellent sci-fi experience for you to shoot your way through. If you want to be well and truly ready for everything this desolate planet is going to throw at you, then knowing what you are about to get into is handy. So we've put together a few tips and tricks to help you survive what is coming.

Read more at VRHeads.com

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1 week ago

Best Family Plan

10
Best Family Plan

What's the best family plan in the U.S.?

If you're looking to save money on your monthly mobile bill, then signing up multiple lines is the best way to go. The Big Four carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon) don't really have "family plans" anymore, per se, but they do have multi-line plans that are similar to buying in bulk. The more you add, the more you save.

Here's the best family plan you can get from the Big Four.

Best family plan: T-Mobile

T-Mobile

Since all the major carriers switched to unlimited plans, T-Mobile has taken the lead in terms of savings with a family plan.

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You can sign up up to four lines on one account for $160 per month ($40/month/line), taxes and fees included. With each line, you get "unlimited" data (up to 30GB of 4G LTE, 2G speeds after that), unlimited talk and text, Music Unlimited (unlimited streaming from select services with no data charges), and tethering at 3G speeds.

With certain services, like HBO Now, you can also stream as much video as you please without extra charges, though video streaming quality is throttled to 480p. If you like your HD video, you'll have to compromise.

Though T-Mobile's coverage still isn't the best in the country, it's quickly catching up to Verizon's wide reach.

T-Mobile's Buyer's Guide: Everything you need to know

Runner up: Sprint

Sprint

Sprint may not play nice when it comes to bringing your own device, and its CDMA technology might be a little dated, but Sprint's "Unlimited Freedom" plan costs just as much as T-Mobile's for four lines, and you get HD video streaming and 10GB of hotspot data per line. You'll also get unlimited talk and text and 2G data.

The first line is $60/month, the second is $40/month, and each additional line is $30/month, so four lines are $160/month. This does not include taxes or other fees.

If you prefer Sprint's service, or you're already with Sprint and are considering resigning, know that you'll get roughly the same deal as T-Mobile.

Sprint Buyer's Guide: Everything you need to know

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For your consideration: Verizon

Verizon

Verizon may not have the best deal on family plans, but it does have the best coverage in the U.S., and its multi-line pricing is still competitive.

Verizon only offers multi-line plans on its unlimited data plans. Four lines are $180/month (taxes and fees not included). You get "unlimited" data (22GB of 4G LTE, possible throttling to 2G speeds after), unlimited talk and text, HD video streaming, tethering, and service in Mexico and Canada.

Like Sprint, bringing your own phone to Verizon is a bit difficult, but if you want the best coverage available, then check it out.

Verizon Buyer's Guide: Everything you need to know

The other guy: AT&T

AT&T

AT&T may be the second biggest carrier in the U.S., but its current unlimited family plans are a bit difficult to parse. For its "Unlimited Choice" plan, AT&T's site says you can get 4 lines for "less than $40 per line, per month", but the exact price isn't listed anywhere. You'd have to speak directly with an AT&T rep to see. You can, however, have up to 10 lines on one account.

AT&T Buyer's Guide: Everything you need to know

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