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1 week ago

More footage of Pokemon GO beta gameplay gets leaked

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A new video shows even more gameplay from the closed beta testing of Pokemon GO, the upcoming augmented reality mobile game from former Google company Niantic Labs.

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1 week ago

The LG G5 spare battery coffin is a brilliant little charger

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LG G5 spare battery charger

This is what you can get for free in the U.S. if you get an LG G5 by April 30.

One of the more important features of the LG G5 is the battery. Specifically that it's removable. And because you can swap in a spare battery whenever you feel like it, it makes sense to have an extra on on hand. To that end, LG is giving a good many folks who ordered early a free spare G5 battery, complete with charging cradle coffin — and a sweet little adapter to boot.

As you might well have guessed, this isn't just a charging cradle.

Let's take a quick look.

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1 week ago

Deadpool movie makes its R-rated digital debut in the Google Play Store for $14.99

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Deadpool, the surprise box office hit superhero box movie starring Ryan Reynolds as the Marvel Comics character, is now available to own as a digital download in the Google Play Store for $14.99.

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1 week ago

HTC introduces the familiar-looking One S9 in Europe for €499

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HTC has announced a new phone for European markets, the HTC One S9. The phone takes after the One M9 in style, while changing up the internals. The phone comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow pre-installed.

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1 week ago

Unlocked HTC 10 has Wi-Fi calling support

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HTC 10 Wifi calling

Make calls over Wi-Fi without carrier-branded firmware.

It used to be that in order to use Wi-Fi calling — the ability on certain carriers to place calls and texts over Wi-Fi, even when you have no cellular reception — you had to be using a carrier-branded handset. But we've seen a trend towards Wi-Fi calling on unlocked Android phones of late, including the Galaxy S7 and Nexus 6P with the Android N developer preview.

The latest Android phone to bring support for Wi-Fi calling in an unlocked model — at least on some carriers — is the HTC 10

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1 week ago

Hearthstone's Whispers of the Old Gods expansion awakens for everyone

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The latest expansion to the Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft digital card game, Whispers of the Old Gods, is now available for players. This expansion adds a new, Lovecraftian horror dimension to the game, with new creatures and new spins on old cards.

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1 week ago

Inside Action Launcher's Quicktheme

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Action Launcher has garnered a fair bitt of praise from us at Android Central. Some love Quickdrawer and being able to ditch the traditional app drawer. Some love the Covers and Shades, which free up space and get us into apps faster. But as a themer, Action Launcher's got a great trick that can make your home screen feel completely new with one easy step.

Setting a new wallpaper in other launchers just gives you a new image behind all your widgets and folders. Setting a new wallpaper in Action Launcher will change not only that image but will recolor your Quickbar, Quickdrawer, and folders. Quicktheme does this by sampling colors from your wallpaper and using them to color the launcher's other elements in colors it believes it'll match. That beats digging around in Nova Launcher's settings to re-color everything manually.

You can even choose between several tints for your themes, most are pulled from your wallpaper but there will always be two defaults: Material Light and Material Dark. In most instances the algorithm Action Launcher uses to pick these shades will be enough. For wallpapers with a lot of colors, or wallpapers with a very small amount of an accent color you're trying to match, it can sometimes miss. Sadly, the only way to draw new colors is to set the wallpaper again with a different zoom or crop. There are also rare instances when Action Launcher fails to pull colors from a wallpaper.

While the ability to manually set colors when the pre-selected colors fail would be great, the built-in tones work well for most wallpapers and themes. Being able to simply set your wallpaper and watch the rest of your launcher re-theme itself to match is gratifying, instead of having to fuss around in your launcher's settings manually re-coloring your folders and drawers.

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1 week ago

Battle the xenomorphs in new Aliens vs Pinball tables from Zen Studios

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Zen Studios has released Aliens vs Pinball, a set of three pinball tables based on the popular sci-fi movie franchise. The game is available for Android owners as a free-to-play app, with all three tables accessible for $9.99 as an in-app purchase.

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1 week ago

YouTube app redesign taps into machine learning for better recommendations

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Starting today, the YouTube Android app is getting a slightly updated look with more personal recommendations.

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1 week ago

$100 million in funding puts real money into HTC's virtual reality play

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HTC has announced a new global accelerator program for virtual reality start-ups called Vive X. The $100 million investment will help provide expertise and mentorship to help the VR ecosystem continue to grow at a quick pace.With this, HTC hopes that these start-ups will be able to create valuable content for the Vive platform and get it to the market for everyone to enjoy.

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1 week ago

Google's new MODE bands change the smartwatch game forever

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Being together without being the same now also applies to watchbands.

Watch any of the Android Wear commercials, and you'll see the same basic message. Take any smartwatch design you like, and the basic features will be the same. It's a great message, and a fantastic embodiment of the overall Android motto right now. It looks like Google has plans to take that idea one step further with a new watchband tech called MODE, and to help introduce this idea to the world they've partnered up with Hadley Roma to release a collection of impressively designed watchbands.

Here's a quick look at how it all works, and where you can get you hands on these bands.

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1 week ago

Early Samsung Gear 360 photos look amazing

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It's starting to look like Samsung's Gear 360 camera might be one of the best you can buy.

A good photosphere or 360-degree photo is mostly about the stitching. Done right, these photos can take you to another place and time, allowing you to see the whole area as it was captured in that moment, instead of just a planned window into that space. There's more to see, more to explore, and the act of doing so is just plain fun as long as there aren't messy lines or jagged edges to pull you back to reality. When dealing with 360-degree cameras that take pictures with multiple sensors, it's hard to avoid distortion when connecting those two images.

One of the big questions we've had about the Gear 360 is how well Samsung handles the stitch between the two cameras. While we've not yet been able to wander around and take photos with a Gear 360 of our own, some early shots we've found make it look like Samsung may be preparing to release one of the most capable 360-degree cameras under $500.

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1 week ago

AT&T vs. Verizon: Best family plan

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 Best Family Plan

Comparing data, to minutes, to cost, to perks, which carrier is right for your family?

Wireless carriers don't necessarily make it easy for you to compare between their services. They all offer data, and minutes, and messaging, but the small details between them can mean a big difference on your monthly bill.

Choosing a shared plan for your family is a big decision. When you're shopping between AT&T and Verizon it's important to know how much data you need, how many devices will be on your account, and how much data you expect to use.

What sharing plans are available from AT&T and Verizon?

Sharing plans allow you to purchase one big chunk of data and divvy it up between all the phones and devices on your account.

AT&T offers their Mobile Share Value plans. These plans are different sizes and allow you to choose exactly how much data you and your family need to share each month.

The Verizon Plan lets you choose between plans sized from S-XXL depending on how much data you need. From there you add the number of devices you want to share the data with.

How many devices are allowed on a shared plan?

With both AT&T and Verizon you are charged for each device on your plan. Adding smartphones to your plan costs more than adding tablets or wearables, so knowing how many devices you want to share data with will impact your total bill each month.

AT&T cost per device

AT&T allows up to 10 devices to be on one of their shared plans. The cost of adding a device depends on how many GB of data you are sharing.

  • $25/month/smartphone (on plans with 5 GB or less of data)
  • $15/month/smartphone (on plans with 15 GB of data or more)
  • $10/month/tablet (no data restrictions)
  • $10/month/wearable (no data restrictions)
  • $20/month/laptop or hotspot device

Verizon cost per device

On Verizon, you pay a flat rate per device, regardless of the size of your plan; however, the rate varies depending on what kind of device you're using. At least one of the devices on your plan must be a smartphone in order to share data.

  • $20/month/smartphone
  • $10/tablet/month
  • $10/mobile hotspot/month
  • $5/device/month

Remember, if you're not bringing your own phone, your carrier will also charge you a monthly fee to purchase one of their phones. Costs vary, but if you want the most up-to-date phone, you'll be looking at about $25-$30 per month.

How does data work on a shared plan with AT&T and Verizon?

Both AT&T and Verizon let you choose a set monthly data amount for your family to share. If you go over your monthly allotment, you will be charged an overage fee.

AT&T monthly data rates

  • 300 mb, $20
  • 2 GB, $30
  • 5 GB, $50
  • 15 GB, $100
  • 20 GB, $140
  • 25 GB, $175
  • 30 GB, $225
  • 40 GB, $300
  • 50 GB, $375

Overage Charges: If you go over your allotted data on one of these plans you will be charged an additional $20/300 mb on the 300 mb plan, or $15/1 GB on all other plans.

Rollover Data: Unused data is rolled over into the next month and expires one month after rolling over.

Verizon monthly data rates

  • 1 GB, $30
  • 3 GB, $45
  • 6 GB, $60
  • 12 GB, $80
  • 18 GB, $100

Overage Charges: If you go over your data limit, Verizon charges $15 per GB (rounded up). This means if you have a 6 GB plan and use 6.1 GB, Verizon rounds up and charges you an additional $15 overage fee for a full extra GB of data for that month.

Rollover Data: Verizon does not let you carry unused data into the next month. If you don't binge through all your data in one billing cycle, it's gone.

How do talk and text work on a shared plan on AT&T and Verizon?

Both AT&T and Verizon include unlimited talk and text with their shared plans.

With AT&T if you purchase a 15 GB or higher plan, you also get free talk and text to Mexico and Canada.

Verizon doesn't include talk with countries outside the U.S. but it can be added to your plan. However, you will be able to send an unlimited number of text and multimedia messages internationally from any device on the shared plan as long as you're in the US when you send them.

What perks come with share plans from AT&T and Verizon?

Sometimes it's tough to decide between one carrier or another, so each provider will offer something to sweeten the pot and hopefully make you choose them over someone else.

AT&T offers a popular TV service called DIRECTV, giving you access to local and network shows as well as a DVR. If you subscribe to this TV service, AT&T will give you unlimited data on for your cell phone, which could save you a lot of money each month depending on how much data your family uses. However, AT&T will slow down your connection if you use more than 22 GB of data between your mobile devices.

Verizon will let you bundle services together which could be helpful if you're also interested in having a home phone, and/or TV hookup. They also offer a loyalty program called Verizon My Rewards + which allows you to earn points when you pay your cell bill or order products from their shop or third-party services. You can use these points to put toward gift cards at restaurants, receive discounts on products, or use them for travel rewards program.

Which carrier's shared plan is right for your family?

There are a few important factors that will ultimately help you decide which carrier will get your business when it's time to choose a shared plan for your family.

For comparison we'll judge AT&T and Verizon on plans that share two smartphones and two tablets.

If you want the absolute cheapest plan, that can be built with AT&T. Beware this plan has an unrealistically low 300 mb of data to share, so you'd likely be paying their $20/month overage fee.

If you want the plan with most high speed data you can get that with AT&T, but you're going to pay through the nose for it.

If you want the best value for your data there are some really great options through Verizon if you're not a complete data-fiend and have access to Wi-Fi for most of your day.

If you have many devices consider the Verizon plan as it's per-device fee is lower than AT&T's.

If you are concerned about overage fees then there is no clear winner between either provider as they both charge $15/GB (though on the lowest AT&T data plan they charge more for overages).

If you're primarily concerned with talk and text from your provider, AT&T includes talk AND text with people in Mexico and Canada on all plans with more than $15 GB of data; however, Verizon includes unlimited international messaging (with optional talk-plan add ons), so this is a draw.

If you already pay for TV service in your home you might find more value with AT&T depending on how much data you use in a typical month, but both carriers offer bundling services.

Keep calm and carrier on

Ultimately choosing a shared plan for your family comes down to how many people are in your home, what devices they use, and what they use them for. AT&T and Verizon have slight advantages between each other depending on what category you look at.

Overall Verizon's plan is straight-forward and simple if you are looking for data on multiple devices for a good price. AT&T offers a few extra services with their base price, which could be advantageous if you like to talk with family and friends in Canada and Mexico rather than text with them.

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1 week ago

Google's new six-second 'Bumper' ads are destined for YouTube

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Google is introducing a new video ad format called Bumpers, which allow advertisers to create six-second advertisements for YouTube. The company hopes that advertisers see Bumpers as a cost-effective way to drive incremental reach for their products.

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1 week ago

Google, Uber, Ford, and others team up to push for U.S. self-driving car regulations

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Google is teaming up with a number of other companies to try to push U.S. lawmakers to pass regulations for self-driving cars. The company, along with Uber, Ford, Lyft and Volvo have now formed the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets.

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