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2 weeks ago

Collect digital cards based on your favorite wrestlers in WWE Slam

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The WWE and Topps have launched WWE Slam, a new card-collecting app based on your favorite WWE wrestlers.

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2 weeks ago

This is the Moto Z's USB-C headphone jack adapter

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The Moto Z doesn't have a 3.5mm headphone jack. But this little doohickey will take care of that for you.

One of the biggest stories from the announcement of the Moto Z at Lenovo's TechWorld event in San Francisco back in June was that the phone does not have a 3.5mm headphone jack and instead relies on the USB-C port to pump out audio. Most folks are in two camps on this. That's either a nonstarter, or it's not a big deal at all.

And in reality it's sort of both. It doesn't have a headphone jack. But, Motorola is providing a USB-C adapter so that folks who prefer to listen to audio via a wired connection aren't left out in the cold.

Today, we're getting our first look at that adapter courtesy of the Moto Z Droid Edition and Moto Z Force Droid Edition on Verizon.

And guess what. It's a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter. There's really not much more to be said that that. You get about five inches of cable, with one end plugging in to the phone, and the other for your headphones. There's also a little rubber piece that (I think?) is for helping make sure they stay connected. It's one more thing (OK, two, I guess) to lose, sure. But it's also not a horrible compromise.

Moto Z and Moto Z Force

Motorola Verizon

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2 weeks ago

AT&T brings back its offer of a free phone when buying another

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AT&T has brought back its Buy One, Get One promotion with select phones, allowing you to get a second phone for free through bill credits when buying one. To make the deal even sweeter, AT&T is will also throw in a free Gear S2 (or slash the price of the Gear S2 Classic to just $50) when buying a new Galaxy smartphone. There are a number of catches with this promotion, like the free phone has to be on a new line of service, the two phones must be from the same manufacturer, and more.

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2 weeks ago

Fallout Shelter adds quests, enhanced combat, and much more

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For its first anniversary, Fallout Shelter has received a major update, adding a new combat system, new enemies, and most notably, quests. With quests, you can now take a group of Vault Dwellers and venture outside the confines of your Vault, exploring the Wasteland and finding new items.

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2 weeks ago

Google to host its first Play Indie Games Festival on Sept. 24 in San Francisco

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Google has announced that in September the company will hold its first Google Play Indie Games Festival in San Francisco. The event is aimed at showcasing recent and upcoming releases of top indie games in front of consumers and industry influencers and give them the chance to try them out. This will allow the indie developers an opportunity to expand their networks, gain real-time feedback and improve discoverability in Google Play for their app.

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2 weeks ago

A message to our daily Android Central readers about POKÉ-GATE!

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Greetings, Android Central Reader!

If you're reading this, it's safe to assume you read Android Central on a regular basis — thank you! — and were likely surprised by the onslaught of Pokémon content that's flooded the site over the last few days. We were caught by surprise, too!

In all our years of running Android Central, Pokémon Go has been the biggest product launch we've ever seen. The same is true of our sibling site, iMore. Bigger than a new Android release or Galaxy S device launch. Bigger than a new iPhone. More active users on Android than Twitter or Snapchat, and some are even saying more than Google Maps. It's B.I.G.

Here's the thing — We live in a world where literally billions of people own smartphones now. So, an app launch of this magnitude attracts the interest of more than just Galaxy S7 or HTC 10 owners. More than just a single carrier, region, or even platform. It attracts the interest of everybody. That's why it's driving greater demand for Android Central content than any single hardware or software release we've ever seen before. It's something that can appeal to practically everyone, almost everywhere. And that's why we're covering the heck out of it.

Pokémon Go is bigger than a new Android release or Galaxy S device launch. Bigger than a new iPhone.

Now, we understand that many of you don't like that Android Central appears to have become Pokémon Central. We totally understand that, and we're working together so the next time a phenomenon like this happens again, we're better prepared to continue to deliver you an Android Central experience that you value and love, while also doing our jobs to serve the mainstream smartphone consumer.

Heck, we're starting now. Here's a new, special RSS feed that includes everything on Android Central except Pokémon. We call it the Pokémon NO feed. So, if you'd rather not read anything about it again, this is for you:

Subscribe to Android Central's Pokémon No RSS feed

I get Pokémon, but why so much of it?

Android Central is just that — Central. We've always seen it as our mission to do the absolute best coverage possible about everything Android and Android-related. That includes bandwagoning any and all major releases. We've done it before, and we'll do it again. It's simply that the nature of major releases has changed.

We do, and always have, serve many types of Android owners at Android Central. Our most engaged community is the daily reader who views and treats us a publication — those of you who see us as a daily destination, use the AC app, or follow us on RSS or social. You're likely an early adopter and tech enthusiast and you value Android Central for its news, reviews and editorial analysis, and you value our awesome community of users.

When we launched Android Central, you were the only audience for our content, which is why we love you so much. Today, though, our early adopter core — those of you reading this — represent approximately 1% of the visitors who access Android Central on a monthly basis.

For many years now, we have also served the mainstream consumer technology audience, which has grown to make up a whopping 99% of our visitors. These are just average people — not readers in the same sense — who use Google to search, or see something shared on social and want help or advice.

This Pokémon coverage lead to Mobile Nation's highest trafficked Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and likely Thursday EVER.

They don't read the homepage or daily news, and we don't have a dialogue with them the way we do with you. They view our content as a service helping them in the moment. There's a reason that, in addition to our news and review coverage, we also produce so much help, product and app recommendation content — because there is a tremendous demand for it, and we'd rather be the ones delivering that content than another outlet (and we know we can do it best!).

Both our core and mainstream audiences are extremely important to us, and we do our best to cater to the needs of all of you. If we only picked one audience to address and not the other, we wouldn't be here today doing what we love to do. It takes both to make this a sustainable business.

Coming back to Pokémon Go, the reaction to the game and demand for Pokémon Go content has been like nothing we have ever seen before, and we had to react to it quickly. Our editorial team shouldn't be criticized for that, but commended for it. They gave up their weekends and abandoned their previous plans to come in and write what we think is the best Pokémon Go content on the web. It was an everyone on deck, day-and-night effort to get it done, and they did it — and did it well!

It lead to Mobile Nation's highest trafficked Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and likely Thursday EVER. The ~100 Pokémon-related articles we produced literally doubled, maybe even tripled our entire visitor base. This is us producing content as a service to match the real-time needs of Android and iPhone owners looking for help with Pokémon Go.

It's not link bait and it's not click bait. The "bait" part in both means "bait and switch" — teasing one thing and delivering something else, much less desirable. We didn't and never would try to trick any of our readers. We wouldn't stick Pokémon on a Nougat article or Samsung on a Pokémon article. We're delivering exactly what we promise: advice and assistant for those looking for it.

Tech media is a tough business, so when opportunities like this happen you either seize the moment or somebody else does. As a company, we always strive to our best so we can keep doing what we love to do for years to come. It's not always fun, but crushing something like Pokémon is what helps to pay the bills so we can keep serving our core community, which is what we love to do most.

Yeah, yeah, yeah ... so how are you going to fix it for me so I can quit seeing the stuff I don't want to see?

Prior to Poké-Gate, our product team was already cooking up some ideas on how we can better serve both our audiences. The challenge we have today is that in order to reach the mainstream (as in, get the help and recommendation content published to the web), we still need to show it to our homepage, regular reading audience (you). As it gets mixed in with our news, reviews, and editorial coverage, it can get a little bit… messy. Especially for you, the core reader. For those of our visitors who come into our articles and content sideways, whether from google or social referrals, it's less of a problem.

Short Term:

One immediate fix was already created by an Android Central member in the form of a Chrome Extension that hides content that mentions Pokémon. Brilliant! For those of you who follow us via an RSS reader, we created the new feed sans Pokémon stories.

Subscribe to Android Central's Pokémon No RSS feed

For those of you using the AC app, we're also looking at a way to block Pokémon stories via our API from hitting the app, which will keep the AC app Pokémon free. If none of those solutions help you in the short term, then we appreciate your patience; the good news is it's easy to scroll or swipe past a story you don't care about.

Longer Term:

In the latter half of 2016, you'll see us roll out many changes that better position Android Central to serve both our audiences better than we ever have before. If you're a regular reader, you'll get the stuff you want in the way that you've always loved it before, without any of the content you care less about. And for our ever-growing mainstream audience, we're going to deliver that content in a manner that's more approachable and friendly than ever before.

Expect a mix of both product, feature, branding, design, and content changes through the back half of the year.

That all makes sense. Thanks, Android Central!

You're welcome! Again, thanks for the Pokémon patience and more importantly, the passion! We can't please everybody all of the time (even though we wish we could), but it's the dialog and passion from our most hardcore users that we love and cherish the most.

Thank you,

Kevin Michaluk
Chief Media Officer, Mobile Nations

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2 weeks ago

theScore eSports can now help you keep up with Super Smash Bros. and Street Fighter

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If you're a fan of watching coverage of competitive fighting game tournaments, theScore eSports can now help you keep up with at least two of them: Street Fighter and Super Smash Bros.

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2 weeks ago

Ask AC: Is it safe to use the Amazon App Store?

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Amazon is in a tough spot because of Google's "all or nothing" Unknown sources setting.

Since we're all fairly concerned about mobile security on a personal and professional level, we recommend that the phone in your pocket and full of your personal data has a locked bootloader and "Unknown sources" left unchecked. If you find a trusted app that needs to be sideloaded, disable the setting again once you've installed it. It's the last barricade between your data and an app that hasn't been vetted for safety.

Because we take this stance, more than a few folks have written in with the same question:

Is it safe to use the Amazon App Store? It requires Unknown sources be enabled.

First, thanks to everyone who asked. We love it when folks try to get the answers they need and try to help as much as we can.

The Amazon App Sore is a dilemma. The problem is that it can update apps over-the-air like Google Play or the Apple AppStore but to do this in needs the Unknown sources setting to be enabled. That means if you did sideload a nasty app that wants to install other, possible nastier, apps you let them try it. That's what Unknown sources is — it allows sideloading of apps that didn't come from Google Play and have the right signature.

Amazon does a good (4 stars; would buy again) job vetting the apps they put in their store. Apps must be approved before they are published — the same method Apple uses — and so far, we haven't heard of any slipping through the cracks and being harmful in any way. While Google has no public opinion of Amazon and their ventures with Android, BlackBerry has embraced them and it's an approved way to run Android apps on BlackBerry 10 devices. Their store is safe, and the apps you download from them are safe.

The hard part is offering a suggestion that works for everyone in this case. There just isn't one. As much as I hate to do it, this one gets two answers.

  • If you're a casual Android user — you don't read blogs every day or fiddle with settings and tweaks on your phone — leave the unknown sources box unchecked and skip the Amazon App Store. You'll find most of the apps in Google Play, and there's a good chance they will be a more recent version. This isn't fair to Amazon because they do run a tight ship, but that's just how Android works. This setting is an all-or-nothing thing.

  • If you are an enthusiast-type, go for it. Either manually toggle the setting when your phone tells you there's some sort of update, or run wide open and use good judgment for every app your download and install. You know the risks, and you own the hardware, so do what you please with it. Just be careful. Do it for old Uncle Jerry.

All this is more of a precaution that a reaction to anything. Malware isn't unheard of on Android, but the numbers you hear from companies who make money selling you security apps aren't quite as sensational when you consider the scale — there are about 1,600,000,000 Androids out there. And that's only counting the ones that have Google services installed. 10,000 is 0.000625% of the install base, and even 1,000,000 is less than 1%. But there's always a chance some crafty guy or gal can find a way to get your stuff. Do everything you can to keep your stuff safe.

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2 weeks ago

Don't miss this amazing deal on the 32GB Nexus 5X

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If you are looking for an awesome deal on the Nexus 5X, you won't want to miss out on this offer for an unlocked 32GB version of the phone. Through its Flash section, Newegg is offering it for just $235, which is lower than we had seen it in the past. This time around you have your choice between black and white for this 5.2-inch phone.

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2 weeks ago

Moto E3 and Moto G4 Play coming to the UK this summer

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Lenovo plans to unleash both the Moto G4 Play and third-generation Moto E in the UK this summer, offering quality smartphone experiences at affordable price points.

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2 weeks ago

You can now buy the HTC Vive from GAME in the UK

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If you're yet to invest in one of the more premium VR experiences, the HTC Vive is now available for order from GAME in the UK for £689. The company's VR experience makes use of a headset and a pair of controllers to interact with what's being displayed on-screen.

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2 weeks ago

Sony Xperia E5 now available at Vodafone for just £100

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The Sony Xperia E5 is now available from Vodafone UK for just £100 on a pay as you go plan. If you'd rather pay over time, you can pick one up for £16 which includes unlimited texts, 250 minutes and 250MB of data per month. As a refresher, the Xperia E5 sports a 5-inch 720P display, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and runs Marshmallow out of the box.

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2 weeks ago

EU antitrust regulators are now going after Google's ad business

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European Union antitrust regulators have sent two "statements of objections" to Google over its Adsense for Search platform, accusing the search giant of abusing its position by preventing third-party websites from showing ads from its competitors.

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2 weeks ago

Pokémon Go is now officially available in the UK!

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Pokémon Go has taken the U.S. and other select markets where it's available by storm, but now the popular title is finally available in the UK. There's no longer a requirement for you to risk your handset's security by downloading some potentially malicious app. Simply head into Google Play, view the Pokémon Go listing and hit that download button.

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2 weeks ago

Nest's new Cam Outdoor is now up for pre-order to keep your home safe

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Nest has launched an outdoor version of its popular Cam. It's essentially the same product but with added weather proofing to ensure it'll last the days when attached to the side of your property. This is achieved by a combination of magnets and screw mounts, which will in turn enable you to direct the unit to face in an orientation of your choice.

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