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2 weeks ago

Honor's impressive V9 may launch next month in Europe as the Honor 8 Pro

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Honor's 2017 flagship could be heading to Europe on April 5.

Huawei sub-brand Honor sent out media invites to an event on April 5, with current rumors suggesting the launch event could turn out to be the European debut of the Honor V9. The phone was unveiled in China late last month, and offers exciting specs for the equivalent of $435 in the country.

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2 weeks ago

How to set up the always-on display on the LG G6

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Get quick stats on what's going on with your smartphone by enabling this feature.

I love being able to glance over at my smartphone display to check up on the time or any messages I might have without having to actually reach over and turn it on. You can take advantage of this helpful ability on the LG G6 by enabling the always-on display. Here's how to set it up.

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2 weeks ago

Samsung Pay launches in Sweden

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Samsung Pay Swedish beta now live, with a limited number of supported devices and payment providers.

Samsung Pay's global reach continues to expand, with the payment service's launch in Sweden today. Galaxy owners with a compatible phone, Swedish SIM and credit or debit card can get up and running by opening the Samsung Pay app on their device. Technically today's launch is a beta with a relatively limited list of supported devices — the Galaxy A5 (2016), Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge. Support for the Galaxy A5 2017 and Gear S3 smartwatches will be added "soon," according to Samsung's landing page.

Supported providers include Nordea, Eurocard, MasterCard, SEB, and Visa, with Handelsbanken, ICA Banken, re:member, Swedbank and Rikskuponger coming soon.

Today's launch comes a few weeks ahead of the anticipated Galaxy S8 launch event, where we may finally learn about a wider European rollout for Samsung Pay. Samsung Pay has ben live in the U.S. and Korea for more than a year, and recently expanded into Europe with a Spanish launch last summer. The service is set to go live imminently in India too, however so far it's been outpaced by the global spread of Apple Pay and Android Pay.

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2 weeks ago

Google Assistant could soon pick up support for Canadian French

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Google Assistant is learning a new language.

Back when Google unveiled its AI-powered Assistant last year, the company said that it would roll out support for regional languages. Assistant picked up the ability to converse in Hindi, and Google is now training the voice assistant to understand Canadian French.

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2 weeks ago

The OnePlus 3T is now up for sale directly from OnePlus in India

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Pick up the OnePlus 3T and get a case for free.

After two years of exclusively offering its phones on Amazon India, OnePlus is now selling the OnePlus 3T on its own store. To incentivize the launch, OnePlus is giving away a free case with all orders.

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2 weeks ago

Unlocked Moto Z Play is now picking up the Nougat update

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Android 7.0 Nougat is hitting unlocked units of the Moto Z Play.

The Nougat update started hitting the Verizon edition of the Moto Z Play earlier this week, and now the unlocked models are also receiving the update. The update switches the firmware version to NPN25.137-24-1, which is similar to that of Verizon's NPN25.137-24-1-2.

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2 weeks ago

LG starts promoting the G6 in Australia ahead of Mar. 28 launch

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Australia will be the first market outside Korea to receive the LG G6.

LG announced last week that it would launch the LG G6 in Australia on March 28, and the manufacturer is now hyping up the handset ahead of its debut in the country. Telstra will be the exclusive carrier partner for the phone, but as of now there's no mention of pricing.

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2 weeks ago

Verizon's Fios Mobile app offers data-free streaming for all-in subscribers

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The company wants to incentivize new converts by offering free streaming to both Verizon Wireless and Fios customers.

Good news for those of you who've gone all in with Big Red. If you're both a Verizon Wireless and Verizon Fios subscriber, you can now use the Fios Mobile App to watch your shows from home without using your data.

Per the official release:

Fios Internet and TV subscribers can now use the Fios Mobile App to watch thousands of live and recorded shows without using their data when they also have Verizon for their mobile phone service. The Fios Mobile App allows you to stream 140+ live channels outside of your home, watch your recorded DVR shows and movies while on the go, and access thousands of On Demand titles.

The company is offering up to $500 back if you concurrently sign up for both Verizon Fios and Verizon Unlimited. If you're interested, you can contact Verizon for more details.

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2 weeks ago

Google will soon break ground on its new Mountain View headquarters

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The City of Mountain View has officially given Google the go-ahead to build its new futuristic-inspired campus in the South Bay.

The Silicon Valley is as territorial as any empire and with Apple throwing its own fanfare in honor of itself with the nearly-completed construction of its space-like circular campus, Google is next with its own circus-like structure that's sure to cause a few passersby to do a double-take.

Google will soon have its own fascinating architecture on display at its Mountain View headquarters. The company has officially received approval from the city of Mountain View to construct the 595,000 square foot building. The structure will be nestled between some of the company's older buildings on its campus and Google I/O's latest home, the Shoreline Amphitheater. Ground will be officially broken in April and it's expected to be completed by 2019.

As Business Insider points out, the plans call for the removal of almost 200 trees from the building site. However, Google will plant new trees in place and incorporate plenty of green space to populate the common areas.

You can peruse through the entirety of the proposal at Mashable.

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2 weeks ago

Grab two of these USB-C adapters for just $6 right now!

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Anker is currently offering a two-pack of its Micro-USB to USB-C adapters for just $6 with coupon code SDUSBC11, a savings of $2. With these adapters, you can turn those old cables you have laying around into something that can charge your new Pixel or other compatible phone. The adapters are quite small so you could easily fit them in your pocket or maybe even your wallet, and always have one with you so you are never without a cable to charge up with.

Odds are this deal won't hang around too long, so be sure to act quickly if you are interested. Don't get stuck with only old cables around and a dead battery! Grab these adapters now and thank yourself later. Don't forget coupon code SDUSBC11 for the savings!

See at Amazon

For more great deals on tech, gadgets, home goods and more, be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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2 weeks ago

Kodi or Plex: Which media server is best for Android users?

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Kodi and Plex may seem similar at a glance, but they offer entirely unique experiences and services.

Feature-rich media centers, like Kodi and Plex, are making it easier for more people to make the decision to cut cable out of their lives. The benefits are clear and plentiful: you get full control to watch what you want to watch, on whichever device you choose, with no ads or interruptions.

Android users are in an especially good position, as both Kodi and Plex are well-supported across all Android phones, tablets, and TV boxes.

Kodi

One of the main things differentiating Kodi from Plex is that Kodi remains open source and entirely free. The software has been built and maintained by a passionate community who are consistently offering updates and occasionally adding in new features. Whether you're using Kodi on a PC, tablet, smartphone, or Android TV box, you get the full software experience scaled to your device.

The Kodi client is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS (jailbroken), and even Raspberry Pi. Once installed, the easiest way to manage media with Kodi is to make it accessible locally on the machine. Adding local media sources in Kodi is a breeze, whether you're storing your files on the internal storage of your device, an external hard drive connected to your computer, or an SD card inserted into your smartphone or tablet. Kodi also allows you to stream media from any networked PC, though you'll need to be a bit tech-savvy to set that up for yourself. Kodi recognizes pretty much any file type, so you can throw all your videos, photos, and music in there and Kodi will handle it.

That's another advantage Kodi has over Plex — customization. With Kodi, you're able to download and change skins, including ones specifically designed for mobile devices. The latest update for Kodi set the default skin to a very mobile-friendly option, so now the decision to change the skin can be done for mostly cosmetic purposes.

There's been increased interest in Kodi boxes, which are essentially just cheap Android TV boxes that come with the Kodi app pre-installed. If you're thinking of going down this route, you'll probably want to get one with expandable memory, so you can conveniently load it up with all your favorite media.

Kodi supports a bunch of community-created add-ons, which is where things actually get a bit sticky.

Kodi also supports a large number of community-created add-ons, which is where things actually get a bit sticky. On one hand, there are perfectly legal add-ons that help you integrate other services you may use such as Dropbox and media sources such as YouTube and Spotify — even a Plex add-on if you'd like to. However, the most popular Kodi add-ons allow you to stream TV shows and movies from the internet and are unequivocally, 100% illegal. While the Kodi website covers itself by stating, in part, "The watching or listening of illegal or pirated content which would otherwise need to be paid for is not endorsed or approved by Team Kodi", there's no denying that a large portion of Kodi's user base is there strictly for convenient access to pirated content. If you morally object to using an application so closely associated with piracy, Kodi is probably not for you.

Download: Kodi

Plex

Plex is anchored by a web-based media server, which you're able to set up for free. To properly use Plex, you'll need to dedicate a computer to host your Plex Media Server. This can be a computer you use regularly or a dedicated machine and can be running Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, or a network-attached storage device. Once you've got your Plex Media Server setup, you're able to add all your digital media to the server and access it via the Plex web-based client on your PC or via the Plex app on any of your devices.

Plex is fully supported by Android, along with a whole host of other devices and platforms. No matter which device you want to connect to your TV, there's a Plex app for it: video game consoles (current and last generations of Playstation and Xbox, as well as the NVIDIA Shield), smart TVs, streaming devices (Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku TV etc.), and, of course, mobile devices (Android, iOS, Windows 10 Mobile). Since all your content is conveniently stored on a web-based server, you're able to access all your content across your devices. Nearly every file type is supported, and you're able to share your Plex server with other users as you would with a Netflix account.

Where Plex really shines is with its smooth user interface. Plex pulls metadata for all your movies and TV shows from reliable sources, so you get a nice preview image and description for each movie or TV show. You can also create playlists for not only your music but also episodes of your favorite shows. On top of all the fantastic organization, everything is easy to navigate no matter which device you're using. This experience is all available in the free version of Plex.

Another recently added feature that might make Plex a compelling choice is voice control integration with Amazon's Alexa. If you've got an Amazon Echo in your home, you can load up your music and video library into Plex and then use Alexa to send commands to Plex. This is a super exciting development for Plex and really helps to further separate it from Kodi.

Where Plex really shines is with its smooth user interface.

Plex also gives you the option to upgrade to Plex Premium. You'll want to check out the added features included in a premium subscription. Notable features include Mobile Sync, which lets you sync media to any device running the Plex app for offline access, the ability to create multiple user accounts, and a bunch of enhancements to the music section, including lyrics, Mood Mixes, and more. You'll also get early access to all the latest features being added to Plex. The most recent feature added, Plex Cloud, allows you to access your media without the need for an always-on PC action as your Plex Media Server. Plex Premium costs $4.99 a month, $39.99 a year, or $149.99 for a lifetime membership.

Download at Plex

Which is best?

At face value, Plex offers the smoother UI and better features, including the recently added Alexa Skills and centralized storage for your files that is then available across all your devices. On the other hand, Kodi, is entirely open source and customizable via skins and add-ons. If you've got an NVIDIA Shield TV or another brand of Android TV box or a tablet you'd like to dedicate to watching media, Kodi is a great choice — as long as you're okay with tinkering within the app and spending some time learning how to maximize your Kodi experience

Ultimately, the decision of which is best will come down to your needs. If you're looking to set up all your media just on one computer or device, Kodi is more than capable and fully customizable with the option of discovering some really cool add-ons. Tech-savvy folks might appreciate how Kodi is open source, and with Kodi, you don't necessarily need a dedicated computer to run a server.

On the other hand, the benefits of Plex being commercial software is that there's dedicated support for all your setup needs. Plex is a well-tuned product that's made even better with Plex Cloud — you'll no longer need to dedicate a computer to be your Plex Media Server if you opt to join Plex Pass subscription. But even if you decide to go with the free version of Plex, you'll still have a very good experience streaming your content to all your other devices.

Overall, we give the nod to Plex for its versatility, premium features, and for offering a more polished experience.

What do you think?

Which do you prefer: Kodi or Plex? How do you have your home media center set up? Leave a comment below.

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2 weeks ago

Plex now lets you to hook up to your media library in the cloud

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If you've got media on Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive, you can now easily access it all with Plex Cloud.

Have you ever used Plex? The ridiculously easy to set up a localized media server that turns your living room television into a veritable entertainment hub? The company has announced it's officially making Plex Cloud available to Plex Pass users.

Plex Cloud was previously an invite-only beta, but after four months of development, the service now lets everyone connect to any existing cloud storage services, including Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive. You can sync these up with your Plex Pass to create an always-on Plex Media Server that runs on the cloud, instead of relying on a dedicated computer or network-attached storage of some sort.

Not sure what Plex is, but think you'd like to find out? Here's a quick primer on what differentiates the service from Kodi, the other feature-rich media suite.

Do you use Plex? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!

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2 weeks ago

Hangouts is finally completing its transition to an enterprise communication platform

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Google's long-winding road of trying to figure out what exactly Hangouts should be looks to be finding a nice stopping point.

With a set of massive changes planned for the near future, Hangouts is set to find a proper place as an enterprise-focused communications platform. Google just announced sweeping changes to its G Suite enterprise tools, and chief among them is big improvements and restructuring of Hangouts to work best for business.

It breaks down into two distinct products that Google calls "an evolved Hangouts purpose-built for teams," called Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat, that are new integrated pieces of G Suite and also a direct shot at Slack and Microsoft Teams.

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2 weeks ago

Google's new reCAPTCHA system is so great, you can't even see it

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Google has a new, invisible-to-humans way of identifying bots on websites.

We've all seen the progression of different CAPTCHA systems for identifying that yes, you are indeed a human visiting a website. Google's reCAPTCHA has been the most innovative in the past few years, getting all the way to a point where you just check a box and move on. Now, the reCAPTCHA system is ready to disappear from sight entirely while still doing its job of preventing bots from compromising sites.

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2 weeks ago

Don't buy an LG G6 without a microSD card

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LG G6

Western markets are only getting a 32GB G6, so it's time to break out a microSD for photos and music.

The LG G6 is a great phone. But what's definitely not great is the way certain features, like the Quad DAC, wireless charging and 64GB storage model, are confined to a handful of specific regions. Of the three, the storage capacity restrictions imposed on Western G6 buyers is probably the most irksome. 32GB is only barely enough to include in a flagship phone in 2017. (I've laid out all the reasons against buying a 32GB phone here.)

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