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2 weeks ago

Samsung Hello could be the Galaxy S8's answer to Google Now

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Samsung sign

One location for your news, social, health and travel plans, backed up by voice interactions.

Personal feeds like the Google Feed (formerly Google Now) and HTC BlinkFeed aren't a new idea, and phone makers never seem to tire of trying to collate all your personal info and updates into one place. "Samsung Hello" could be the company's latest attempt to do just that, and based on the timing of a recent trademark filing, a launch alongside the upcoming Galaxy S8 is a good bet.

The European trademark, first spotted by SamMobile refers to an app which "gives personalized features and information based on user's preferences in the fields of weather, music, entertainment, games, travel, science, health, contact, and social news via voice command and voice recognition." That sounds an awful lot like the Feed within the Google app, though it's unclear whether Samsung Hello would be entirely voice-only, or whether there'd also be some visual component.

Will Samsung Hello and the 'Bixby' AI be one and the same?

On a drier and more technical level, the filing also mentions "software that enable block users or computers and mobile devices to access, aggregate, organize and interact with content, information and images and topics of general interest to such users." (Read: showing you stuff you might be interested in — another central feature of the artist formerly known as Google Now.)

It's also not clear how Hello might tie into the Galaxy S8's rumored 'Bixby' AI assistant, or whether they're one and the same. Most of the features detailed in the trademark filing would seem to overlap with what you'd get from a voice-controlled assistant.

We should be careful about basing too much on a single trademark filing. While they can be useful indicators of what's to come, Samsung's past filings have included dubious marks like "Galaxy Fonblet," which never went anywhere. Regardless, with "AI" becoming one of the major phone trends of 2017, we'll be watching with interest to see how Samsung's AI efforts come into focus. The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are rumored to break cover at an event in New York City on March 29.

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2 weeks ago

How the Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor helped save Modern Dad

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Fun fact: Seven years of running Android Central might well leave you with high blood pressure. Or maybe it was just a coincidence. ...

That's the bad news. ... The good news is that 2016 was the year I decided to take my health a little more seriously. Step 1: Get a doctor. That led to Step 2: Find out that I indeed had high blood pressure, and start dealing with that. And that led to Step 3: Keep track of how the ol' blood beater is beating on a daily basis.

Subscribe to Modern Dad on YouTube

So it was time to snag a blood pressure monitor. I started with your basic Amazon best-seller. And that was fine. It did the job, and it even had a little bit of smarts to it. But I wanted something even smarter, even more connected.

So I turned to Withings, whose connected scaled I'd already been using for some time. And their wireless blood pressure monitor has served me very well since I started keeping track of things. Probably as impressive as anything is that in the six months or so that I've been using it, I still haven't had to change out the batteries. (Which, strangely, was my biggest concern.)

This one works excellently with Android and Google Fit, as well as iOS and HealthKit.

See at Amazon

Modern Dad

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2 weeks ago

Open Signal: Verizon and T-Mobile are in a virtual tie for the best network in the U.S.

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Verizon is a little bit faster, and T-Mobile's network is growing like a weed.

Open Signal has released their State of Mobile Networks: USA report and they say Verizon has now tied T-Mobile for the fastest carrier in the United States, and the results are so close between the two that they are virtually tied for the "best."

Using data collected from 169,683 users, 4,599,231,167 data points were used to measure network speeds on both 4G and 3G, network availability and latency. The data is collected by users installing the Open Signal app from Google Play or the App Store and going about their daily routine.

In their analysis of the collected data, they say that Verizon has improved their 4G network speeds to pull even with T-Mobile who has traditionally done well in this category. They also mention that the average overall network speeds in the U.S. have risen slightly, and over 81% of U.S. residents have access to LTE networks.

Availability of high-speed data services shows that all four carriers have improved, but T-Mobile (86.6%) is now within two percentage points of Verizon (88.2%) when it comes to finding an LTE signal. The company with the most improvement here is Sprint, who jumped from covering 69.9% in August to 76.8% in February 2017.

Verizon or T-Mobile performed the best in every category tested, and the final results show that any measurable advantage T-Mobile or Verizon previously held in nationwide network testing has shrunk to the point of being insignificant. You still need to pick the carrier service that works bets for you, but overall either Red or Magenta should have you covered.

The best part is that they now need to fight even harder for our dollars.

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2 weeks ago

Flipboard redesign encourages curation and sharing content with friends

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Flipboard attempts a revival with new features, including the ability to curate your own publication and share it with friends.

If the Flipboard app interface was starting to feel a little dated to you, there's good news. The company has launched a massive re-design of its news aggregation app, with a particular focus on design.

Flipboard 4.0 is introduced as the response to the company's "ever-growing ecosystem" of sources, the idea being that if you catch up on all the news and social media happenings through one specific app, that it should be easy to parse. To that end, Flipboard's new interface prioritizes topics over sources. The new algorithm will continually fine tune what you like to read as long as you interact with it by liking stories or following publications. You can go even deeper by selection those very specific topics you keep up with daily (mine would be alumni actors of out-of-commission TV shows).

Flipboard also introduced a collaborative new Smart Magazines feature, which lets you share a curated publication of sorts. You choose what goes into the Smart Magazine and then you can invite your pals to also read the content — like a shared RSS feed. They can make their own, too.

There's more information about what the update entails at the official blog post, including a how-to on honing your Flipboard so that you rely on it for daily reading.

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2 weeks ago

MrMobile's best Android tablet (is from 2015)

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It's been 15 months since Google's Pixel C launched, and it hasn't diminished in quality (or price). It still has some annoying bugs, and there's still software that just won't work in landscape mode, but after over a year since release, I still find myself gravitating toward it whenever I'm able to leave my bigger machines behind.

I'm Michael Fisher, alias MrMobile, and it'd be ridiculous for me to suggest you buy the Pixel C … at full price. But when it goes on sale, or it comes bundled with the attachable keyboard, I'm in enthusiastic agreement with what Jerry Hildenbrand said: the Pixel C is a handy piece of hardware, and it's (still) my favorite Android tablet of the year (so far). Hit play on this video, and let me tell you what's great (and not-so) about the Pixel C in 2017.

Featured Products

Stay social, my friends

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2 weeks ago

The 3GPP announces a new logo for 5G specified products and services

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Are you ready for another G? The 3GPP certainly is.

The 3GPP — a group of worldwide organizations that specify network standards for data transmission — has settled on the new 5G logo.

Designed for use on Release stage 15 and onwards, they have applied for a trademark and will use the logo to recognize products that meet the new specs, or publications about the spec or those products. They also explain some reasoning behind the design itself.

The logo has a new wave pattern, but is a development of the existing LTE waves, using the green of the LTE-Advanced Pro version. The idea is to keep a familiar design aspect with the use of plain black text and textured waves, but to make the logo stronger and sharper – ready for use on the new radio and next generation core specifications for 5G.

They also have set some guidelines and rules about the use of the logo, and how to get permission to use it. Use of the logo is voluntary, and approval for its use comes from, and will be monitored by, the 3GPP organization partners. They also explain just what seeing the new logo on a product means.

The permission to use the 3GPP 5G logo does not involve or imply any certification by the partners in 3GPP or the 3GPP community that the products or services of manufacturers or service providers actually comply with the 3GPP specifications. It is intended simply and only to provide a basis of reference for users, network operators and other manufacturers and service providers.

We've already heard about Qualcomm's new 5G products and an Australian network that can use them, as well as AT&T 's take on 5G and their roll out plans. Expect to see more companies using the logo and telling us about their 5G plans.

The best thing about having a standard is that there are so many to choose from.

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2 weeks ago

Pokemon Go Valentine's Day event: Everything you need to know

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Valentine's Day is sweeter than ever with extended lures, extra candy, and more frequent catches!

Pokemon Go's next event has just gone live, and this one is aiming to steal your heart. A special Valentine's Day event runs from 11 a.m. PST February 8th thru 11 a.m. PST February 15th. There is going to be plenty going on for the next week, from extra candies to help evolve your Pokemon to lures that'll last for hours. Don't worry, though, we have all the details for you here.

Candies, candies everywhere

As you're probably well aware, in order to evolve your Pokemon you need to collect enough candy. That's where the first perk in this event shows up. Each time you catch, hatch, or evolve a Pokemon you'll receive twice the normal amount of candy. That isn't all either. Your buddy Pokemon will also find candy to help them evolve twice as fast!

Extended lures

Lures are also receiving a special perk. Instead of their usual 30-minute duration, each lure that you — or anyone else — set up will last for a full 6 hours. Yes, you read that right: 6 full hours for each lure. That's a lot of time to catch yourself some new Pokemon, and of course, you'll also get extra candy from those catches.

More frequent catches

At times it can be quite frustrating to try and find new Pokemon or to catch a specific Pokemon. If you've been hoping to come across some adorable pink Pokemon, but you've been having issues, then you are most definitely in luck. Chansey, Clefable, and a number of other pink Pokemon will be cropping up much more frequently. Additionally, Cleffa, Igglypuff, and Smoochum will be much more likely to hatch out of your eggs.

Pokémon Go

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2 weeks ago

Put some love on your wallpaper this Valentine's Day! ❤️

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Don't let your home screen fall into a rut — switch out your wallpaper!

You don't have to pull out a complex new theme like Deadpool to bring a breath of fresh air to your home screen. A new wallpaper can do wonders, just ask your iPhone-carrying friends. Launchers like Action Launcher can re-theme your entire launcher around a good wallpaper. In our effort to help brighten your device — and maybe your day — we're compiling some wallpapers for you to try out.

If you've got a wallpaper you use everywhere, share it in the comments below! We're always looking for something new. Now, hit the break and get your wallpaper picker ready.

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2 weeks ago

Best Armband Cases for Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

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Best armband cases for the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

Take your phone with you wherever and however you work out.

If you're a fitness freak who loves to have their music with them as they work out, or simply looking to take up jogging as the summer warms up, an armband case is a smart way to keep your phone comfortably secure as you move.

There's a number of options out there that purport to support a number of different phone styles. We'll touch on some of the best of that bunch, but first we'll focus on the ones specifically designed for use with the Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge.

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2 weeks ago

Verizon is now making its own Android Wear smartwatch, the Wear24

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Verizon is offering its own smartwatch, because why not?

Riding on the news of the the LG Watch Sport being announced, Verizon is also releasing a self-branded exclusive smartwatch running Android Wear 2.0 called the Wear24. Much like its own Ellipsis tablets, the Wear24 watch is a less-expensive option that Verizon can offer without managing a partnership for a big brand name company.

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2 weeks ago

These are the smartwatches that will get updated to Android Wear 2.0

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Will my smartwatch get Android Wear 2.0?

There are two new smartwatches available from LG and Google running Android Wear 2.0 out of the box. But which timepieces will receive updates to Android Wear 2.0 down the line? We have the full, official list straight from Google:

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2 weeks ago

LG Watch Sport review: The best showcase for Android Wear 2.0

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LG Watch Sport

LG was a launch partner for Android Wear, and now it's leading the charge for Android Wear 2.0.

After being quite exciting in its early days, Android Wear really lost whatever luster it initially had over the last two years. Google did a great job getting a good variety of more traditional fashion brands on board for new and interesting hardware throughout 2015 and even into 2016, but with the announcement of Android Wear 2.0 at Google I/O it kind of put the brakes on buying watches as we all knew new hardware would be coming with the final release of the software.

With a bit of a setback pushing the Android Wear 2.0 launch to 2017, we had to wait a bit longer to see the platform's "launch" watches: the feature-packed LG Watch Sport and the svelte LG Watch Style. The latter has its own draw in that it's sleek and sets itself apart from previous big Android Wear watches, but the LG Watch Sport is a true evolution of what you think of today as a full-power smartwatch.

It's relatively big, thick and filled with all sorts of features that showcase the brand new refocused Android Wear 2.0 software. This is the launch product for what Google hopes is a new wave of excitement about Android wearables, and that means it has to get it right with the $349 LG Watch Sport — see how it all comes together in our complete review.

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2 weeks ago

LG Watch Style review: Fashionable, not future-proof 

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With a smaller display and Android Wear 2.0, the LG Watch Style would have been nearly perfect if it just had wireless payment abilities.

It's 2017 and we're still talking about smartwatches like they're this untapped element, waiting to be unearthed. The reality is that many of the companies making the wearable devices have failed to answer the question of why I'd need to sport one of these things in the first place. What's the point? Is it to be fashion forward, or to have all the functionality of a smartphone on my wrist? And why can't I have both? 

The LG Watch Style has only made this conundrum worse. On the one hand, this is the first Android Wear smartwatch I've been able to wear for prolonged periods of time. And as a result, it made me want to use Android Wear: to remember to strap it on before I leave the house; to turn my wrist over to check on notifications; to take more walks so I could hit those steps. It's the first time that an Android Wear watch truly felt like a necessary accessory. But on the other hand, the LG Watch Style is missing a key feature that would have made it a worthy bragging point against my pals sporting Apple Watches, and there's where I'm struggling to justify its hefty $250 price tag.

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2 weeks ago

Google announces LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style with Android Wear 2.0, on sale Feb 10

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LG Watch Sport and Watch Style

Welcome to a new era of Android Wear smartwatches.

Google is ready to launch its newest revision of Android Wear, version 2.0, and it has paired up with LG for two new smartwatches to showcase the latest software. The LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style are launching in tandem to show both sides of what Android Wear can be — big and powerful, but also slim and beautiful.

Both watches are cut from 316L stainless steel, and have resistance from the elements (IP68 for the Sport, IP67 for the Style). They have Gorilla Glass 3-covered circular P-OLED displays with ambient brightness sensors (even without a "flat tire"), as well as new Snapdragon Wear 2100 processors and rotating crowns for a new form of input. Beyond those shared basics, they couldn't be more different.

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2 weeks ago

LG Watch Style specs: 1.2-inch display, swappable straps, no heart rate sensor

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LG Watch Style

This small watch has the basics covered.

Looking at the previous crop of Android Wear watches, many wanted something that was a bit smaller, thinner and easier to manage on an average wrist. LG answered with its LG Watch Style, which comes in with a smaller display, compact case and subtle thickness. Inside that case you get all of the basic specs, though, and simply miss out on some of the fringe features.

Here's everything you can find inside the LG Watch Style.

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