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1 week ago

LG G6 hint suggests Pixels will be the only premium phones without waterproofing

68

You probably shouldn't use water for that burn, Google.

The folks at LG are really going crazy with the daily hints leading up to the official announcement of the G6. In the past we've seen shadowed devices with blurbs, but this year we get brightly colored cards sent to each major tech blog willing to play this silly game with them.

The folks at PocketNow are the latest to get a card from LG, and while it may not seem super obvious at first this card is probably a direct shot at Google's Pixel phones.

Resistance under pressure, when talking about phones, means water resistance. It's something the LG G5 didn't have because the whole bottom of the phone could be removed, and it looks like LG is making sure everyone knows this is going to be a feature moving forward.

The current Android champion for water resistance is Samsung, with their IP68 rating as a standard across their premium lineup right now. That means a Galaxy S7 can go into 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes and still be functional when you rescue it. We don't know if LG plans to meet or exceed this rating with the G6, but if the company is willing to hint about it as a feature you can bet it's going to compare the G6 rating to other premium phones.

Read more: Everything you need to know about IP ratings

That, of course, is where Google is going to be a little embarrassed. The IP53 rating on Google's Pixel and Pixel XL has been a talking point from day one, but if LG releases a significantly water resistant G6 it's going to mean these pixels will be the only phones treated as premium experiences that lack the feature. It likely also means Pixels are the most expensive phones on the market to lack water resistance, which is not going to help sales as we move into the next Flagship season.

This hint may not be enough to get everyone drooling over the G6 just yet, but for those that are it's nice knowing such excitement won't damage this phone when it's in your hands.

LG G6

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2 weeks ago

Nest Cam update literally shows you the door

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An update to the Nest app for Android makes some big improvements to notifications using machine learning.

It sounds like a bad joke, but thanks to advancements in machine learning, Nest is now able to automatically add "activity zones" for doors, something that had to be done manually before now.

The company announced the software update for its Nest Cam line, which includes the excellent Nest Outdoor Cam, along with a number of notification improvements to its Android app.

When you get an alert from Nest Cam, there's a thumbnail image that shows you what's going on at a glance. Nest Aware subscribers using Android 7 or iOS 10 can even see an animated preview of the Nest Cam video clip – without having to open the app.

We're also improving the alerts that Nest Cam owners get from Nest Protect. Now, if Nest Protect warns you of smoke or dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, you'll automatically see live video from all your Nest Cams. It's just another way Nest products work better together.

The company also revealed that Nest's app now supports App Shortcuts on devices running Android 7.1 Nougat — a small number for now, but it's great that the Google-owned company is paying attention to the market.

Do you own a Nest Cam? Do you use activity zones?

See at Amazon

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2 weeks ago

Best apps for advanced math

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Best overall

Mathway

See at Play Store

Mathway delivers a great all-around experience for anyone who needs help to pump up their math skills. Whether you need help just finding the solution to homework problems, or you need the step-by-step directions to solve for X, it's got you covered. At its simplest, you'll get the solution to any math problem that you enter into the app, but that definitely isn't everything this app is capable of.

Mathway covers math problems from basic math to linear algebra and graphing. That makes it excellent for students from high school up and through college. It's especially handy for students who tend to struggle with math in class and need more hands-on help in order to understand advanced mathematical concepts.

When you jump into the app you'll first need to choose the type of math problem that you are solving. From there all you need to do is take a photo of the problem or type it in manually. Mathway will automatically solve the equation for you right there. If your answer differs from the correct one, then you can view the problem step by step to see where you went wrong. This includes an explanation of how to find the correct answer and in some cases even a graph to give you the full answer.

Bottom line: Mathway is an excellent aid for anyone who wants to check their answers or who need more in-depth help to master advanced math. It covers everything from simple concepts to advanced problems and can even break everything down step by step to make sure you have a solid grasp on what you are doing.

One more thing: In order to access everything Mathway has to offer, specifically step-by-step instructions for solving problems, you'll need to upgrade to the full version of the app for $19.99 a month or $79.99 for the full year.

Why Mathway is the Best

Mathway works like a tutor helping you to master even complicated concepts without wanting to bang your head against a wall.

Not everyone can look at math and pick it up without a problem. For some people —myself included— math can seem daunting and confusing. Trying to schedule time with a tutor can be difficult when you are working and going to school, and many teachers and professors don't have the time to devote to helping a student succeed. Mathway is able to fill in those gaps for you.

Whether you're taking a remedial algebra class or you're diving into trigonometry, the app can make sure you find the solution to your problems. With PRO, you're even able to see every step of a problem while working towards a solution. If the free version is more suited to your budget, you still get plenty of help.

Mathway will solve your problem automatically. It will also tell you the rule for solving a specific problem. While it isn't quite as awesome as getting every step along the way, it does help you to figure your way through complicated problems.

Best for Algebra

College Algebra Prep, Practice

See at Store

Algebra is ostensibly the beginning of college-level math. Whether you've matriculated or you're returning after years of being away, it's a fair bet that algebra will be on your course list. College Algebra aims to work as your own personal tutor while you are working your way through the semester.

This app is fully stocked with tons of resources to reduce your anxiety while in math class. There are 56 practice tests to help you prep for test day, and you can take extra time by studying specific concepts, with access to concept-specific flashcards. If you need more specific one-on-one help, you can even find a tutor by inputting your zip code and subject of choice.

Bottom line: College Algebra aims to be your very own pocket tutor while you are working your way through Algebra 1 and Algebra 2. It delivers a great way to find a tutor, practice specific concepts, and even prep yourself for test day.

One more thing: College Algebra is just one of many apps that Varsity Tutors Llc offers. If you like the experience, you can find more apps to help you with other math courses in the future.

Best for Graphing

Desmos Graphing Calculator

See at Store

The days of needing a dedicated graphing calculator in order to properly graph out certain math problems are gone. Now instead of having to drop $80 on a calculator, you can download an app to get the job done, and Desmos Graphing Calculator does an excellent job of it. You can plot out equations, and sliders will allow you how to demonstrate function transformations.

Desmos Graphing Calculator is chock full of features to make sure you have the ability to fulfill your every graphing need. You can plot out polar, cartesian, and parametric graphs with an unlimited number of expressions for each graph. You can see statistics, crate tables, zoom to scale axes, plot inequalities, and plenty more to boot. Best of all, you never need access to the internet in order to use all of the features.

Bottom line: Desmos Graphing Calculator gives you access to everything that you need in order to successfully graph out any problem you need to solve. It's got tons of features to make sure that you don't need to purchase a dedicated graphing calculator, because it has everything you need to be successful in math class.

One more thing: By creating an account, you can save your graphs, making them easy to pull up later if necessary.

Conclusion

There are plenty of excellent advanced math apps that are floating around the internet. What we've collected are the best apps to make sure that you are successful at what you do in math class. From graphing calculators to practising advanced concepts to having the ability to practise varying math concepts, these apps will help to make sure you grasp even the advanced stuff.

While there are other apps that can get the job done, none of them do it quite as well as the apps we've listed here. Out of all of them, Mathway does the best job of delivering everything that you need in order to become a serious math whiz and ace your next test.

Best overall

Mathway

See at Play Store

Mathway delivers a great all-around experience for anyone who needs help to pump up their math skills. Whether you need help just finding the solution to homework problems, or you need the step-by-step directions to solve for X, it's got you covered. At its simplest, you'll get the solution to any math problem that you enter into the app, but that definitely isn't everything this app is capable of.

Mathway covers math problems from basic math to linear algebra and graphing. That makes it excellent for students from high school up and through college. It's especially handy for students who tend to struggle with math in class and need more hands-on help in order to understand advanced mathematical concepts.

When you jump into the app you'll first need to choose the type of math problem that you are solving. From there all you need to do is take a photo of the problem or type it in manually. Mathway will automatically solve the equation for you right there. If your answer differs from the correct one, then you can view the problem step by step to see where you went wrong. This includes an explanation of how to find the correct answer and in some cases even a graph to give you the full answer.

Bottom line: Mathway is an excellent aid for anyone who wants to check their answers or who need more in-depth help to master advanced math. It covers everything from simple concepts to advanced problems and can even break everything down step by step to make sure you have a solid grasp on what you are doing.

One more thing: In order to access everything Mathway has to offer, specifically step-by-step instructions for solving problems, you'll need to upgrade to the full version of the app for $19.99 a month or $79.99 for the full year.

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2 weeks ago

Try out Google's Chrome VR partners with Daydream

Google is bringing Chrome to VR, one experience at a time.

News that Google was enabling VR support inside of Chrome left a lot of people thinking the browser would be the next app added to the ever-expanding portfolio of Daydream apps, but for now that's not the case. Instead, Google has built parts of the Daydream experience into Chrome itself so you can enjoy Chrome VR with or without a headset.

Here's how you get started!

Read more at VR Heads

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2 weeks ago

The Raspberry Pi Zero makes a great, super cheap Kodi box

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Raspberry Pi Zero

The Raspberry Pi 3 isn't the only cheap Kodi box you can make yourself.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has another insanely affordable computer that you can make things with. The Pi Zero costs a ridiculously low $5 and is every bit as accessible, if a little more limited, than its bigger brother.

Just as we did with the Raspberry Pi 3, we made a little Kodi box out of the Pi Zero and frankly, it's amazing something this cheap can do such a thing at all.

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2 weeks ago

How to configure the hardware shortcut buttons on Android Wear 2.0

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LG Watch Sport

Watches are all about personalization — yes, even the hardware buttons.

Android Wear 2.0 opens up new hardware possibilities for wearable makers, including the inclusion of extra hardware shortcut buttons on the case. These buttons typically land above and below the power button on the side of the watch, and can be customized to launch any app that you have installed.

So if you have a watch with extra buttons running Android Wear 2.0 — like the LG Watch Sport — know that you don't have to stick with their default configuration. Here's how you can customize those hardware shortcut buttons.

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2 weeks ago

Vernee Apollo 2 with 10-core CPU and 8GB RAM will be unveiled at MWC

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Get ready for a phone with a deca-core CPU and 8GB of RAM.

Chinese handset manufacturer Vernee is all set to unveil a smartphone with a 10-core CPU along with 8GB of RAM at MWC. The successor to last year's Apollo, the Apollo 2 will be powered by MediaTek's Helio X30 SoC, which offers a tri-cluster CPU design with four Cortex-A73 cores clocked at 2.8GHz, four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 2.2GHz, and two Cortex-A35 cores clocked at 2.0GHz.

The X30 is built on TSMC's 10nm architecture, and comes with a quad-core PowerVR 7XT GPU, Category 12 LTE with 3x carrier aggregation, and a DSP that can support dual cameras up to 24MP.

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2 weeks ago

Why you should look forward to Apple 'inventing' wireless charging

166

Apple is reportedly adding Qi wireless charging to its next iPhone. You may not care, but your next phone may benefit.

You'll be hearing a lot about wireless charging in the next few weeks, and that's because Apple just joined the Wireless Power Consortium, a group of like-minded companies with the goal of furthering a single standard for charging devices sans wires.

But Apple has taken its time making overtures towards wireless charging, choosing to forgo the innovative feature until the introduction of the Apple Watch in early 2015. But even that product doesn't adhere to the Qi standard overseen by the WPC, going against the trend of the rest of the phone industry in the process.

Wireless charging is not new. It's been around in some form since 2008, and products supporting Qi emerged in 2011. On Android, the first product of note to support it was the Nexus 4, and every Nexus device until the 6P supported it, too. Then the Galaxy S line began supporting it natively in 2015 with the Galaxy S6, and that's that.

These Android phones support wireless charging

But Google has since dropped wireless charging from its product lineup — the metal-clad Pixel and Pixel XL lack the feature, as did their predecessors, the Nexus 6P and 5X — and despite supporting it in its flagships Samsung doesn't really emphasize it anymore. So what's the deal?

At one point, it was supposed to be the ultimate convenience, but now it's just kind of cool.

At one point, it was supposed to be the ultimate convenience, a natural way to place a device somewhere — usually a puck or stand on a desk — but now, in light of ultra-fast charging standards like Quick Charge 3.0 and VOOC, the convenience of topping up sans wires has been largely upstaged by the mere act of juicing. Add to that fact the proliferation of the much more convenient USB-C standard, and it's understandable why wireless charging hasn't taken off the way many thought it would a few years ago.

It also hasn't helped that, despite its dominance and perceived "victory," Qi is not the only wireless charging game in town. In 2015, the smaller Power Matters Alliance merged with the even more obscure Alliance for Wireless Power to form AirFuel, of which AT&T, Samsung and Starbucks are members (though the two former are also members of WPC, for what it's worth), and the newly-formed entity is still trying to convince people that its solution is better. It's not, though it has been experimenting with resonance-based wireless charging, which opens up devices to the coveted idea of "spatial freedom."

Ikea added Qi wireless charging to some of its furniture, but the line never took off.

Indeed, wireless charging likely won't find significant support until solutions are in place to facilitate "long-distance" charging — the idea that someone can place his or her phone anywhere on a surface and have it begin charging, even slowly. Right now, solutions from either WPC or AirFuel are constrained to precise placements.

Today, Samsung is the only game in town when it comes to wireless charging. LG may add it to its upcoming G6 flagship, but it's the Galaxy S7 series (and the now-deceased Galaxy Note 7) that have maintained demand. One reason for the tech's limited adoption is its material requirement: specifically, it's much more difficult to design a phone with wireless charging when its backplate is made of metal, since the material interferes with the magnetic field created by the inductive coils that produce the energy necessary to transfer electricity from the charger to the phone.

Today, Samsung is the only game in town when it comes to wireless charging, but that could soon change.

Samsung has designed around this problem by producing phones with glass backs, which have their own sets of problems, but the real solution to this is to develop wireless charging methods that are material-neutral. WPC and AirFuel have both spent years researching exactly that, but have yet to overcome the extra heat caused by the increased power necessary to overcome the metal's conductive nature. In 2015, Qualcomm announced a solution that would use AirFuel's Rezence standard to allow for charging through metal by physically connecting the power source to the phone casing itself, but so far no devices have incorporated it.

The other thing to think about is that, aside from the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5, wireless charging has largely been relegated to expensive flagships. Its growth depends on it going mainstream, which means cutting out confusion — a settling of the two standards will help — and getting it into as many mid-range devices as possible.

Circling back to Apple, its joining the Wireless Power Consortium, and potentially releasing an iPhone that supports Qi wireless charging, may have positive implications for the Android industry in general: greater interest in wireless charging from the public at large, which could lead to additional Android devices with it built in and accelerated development of solutions with that aforementioned spatial freedom. It may take credit for pushing the idea into the mainstream, but Android users shouldn't care: Qi is an open standard, and any "invention" from Apple will be adapted and improved upon by the industry as a whole.

Even AirFuel released a statement to that effect after it was revealed Apple aligned itself with the competition:

We're encouraged by the news that Apple is looking at wireless charging for their upcoming devices. Consumers not only want wireless charging, they want it to be second-nature, available when and where they need it.

This is one of the many reasons AirFuel Alliance continues to support all wireless charging technologies, from inductive to resonant to RF. Whichever wireless charging technologies Apple ultimately considers incorporating into its next-gen phones, this is great news for consumers and for the industry as a whole. We welcome Apple to the wireless charging table.

For fans of wireless charging, regardless of which side of the platform aisle you stand, this is good news.

Wireless charging explained in plain English

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2 weeks ago

OnePlus' #LickOfLove Valentine's Day video will definitely make you cringe

19

OnePlus shows off the "world's most lickable smartphones."

OnePlus has a history of making questionable ads. The company's earlier efforts were downright sexist and understandably caught a lot of flak, following which the brand turned its attention to videos that at least showcased its products.

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2 weeks ago

Amazon takes on Skype and Hangouts with its own video conferencing solution

4

Chime is an easy-to-use video conferencing tool powered by Amazon's cloud platform.

Amazon Web Services has launched Chime, a cloud-based video conferencing service aimed at businesses. Available on Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac, Chime allows users to quickly set up meetings, offering VoIP and video calling, instant messaging, and screen sharing. The feature-set is similar to that of Hangouts, and Amazon is also targeting Skype for Business — which runs on Microsoft's own cloud-based Azure ecosystem — with its video conferencing software.

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2 weeks ago

Google's Instant Apps rolling out to some and Wish is first out of the gate

32

Are we ready for apps that install from a search result? We need to be because they're here.

Some folks are starting to see Google's Instant Apps feature roll out to their phones and it seems like Wish is the first company to use them.

Back at Google I/O 2016 Google told us about Instant Apps. The idea is that you would find an app in your Google search results and be able to tap a button and start using it, much the same way you would use a web page. They are "real" apps with a component that installs on your phone and not a web-optimized or HTML5 app that lives completely in the cloud. This should be a great way for companies to expose people to what they have to offer from a native app without having to get us to leave the search and open the Play Store to download it. For us, it means we can get instant access to something like a shopping app instead of using a web page that might not be designed for a small touch-based screen. Everyone wins.

Up until now, everything about Instant Apps has been in a slow testing phase while everyone outside just watches. But we've heard several reports from folks saying they can install and use the Wish instant app on their phones with Android 7.0 installed. We're seeing the same thing here, and our pals at Audroid are, too. This is what the process is like.

  • Open your settings and find Google Settings.
  • Find the Instant Apps setting and tap the switch to enable it.
  • Read the terms and agree.

Now when you're searching for something (in this case the Wish website) you might see a search result for an Instant App version. If you open it, you'll be able to install a tiny part of the app and jump right in.

Shopping sites and news websites will be able to benefit from these, and other companies are thinking about how they can leverage giving a user access without taking them away from their search. The idea is pretty cool, and we're excited to see how companies use it to lure us to them.

Anyone else out there seeing Instant Apps? Give a shout in the comments!

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2 weeks ago

This is how you play Google Cardboard apps on your Samsung Gear VR

It's real, and it's awesome.

Samsung gear VR owners can now use Google Cardboard apps through their preferred headset, instead of having to switch back and forth between a Cardboard viewer and something else. It's pretty easy to set up, and our friends over at VRHeads have everything you need to get started with every version of the Gear VR. Enjoy!

Take me to the article!

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2 weeks ago

T-Mobile responds to Verizon's unlimited plan by rolling back its dumbest changes

165

T-Mobile has seen Verizon's unlimited, and raised it unlimited and one.

When T-Mobile introduced its T-Mobile One plan last year, the internet was divided between people who thought the ostensibly unlimited data was a courageous move for a cash-strapped carrier with a patchy LTE network and those who saw it for a violation of the tenets of net neutrality.

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2 weeks ago

Where to find used Android Wear watches

6

You can save a bunch of cash if you know where to look.

Android Wear 2.0 is here, and that means a lot of early adopters will be selling their perfectly fine watches to help fund a new one. Plenty of them will also be updated to Android Wear 2.0, so this is a good chance to score a new-to-you piece of Android for your wrist!

The trick is knowing where to look. I was poking around and saw random listings from pawn shops and local online classifieds from LA and New York and was definitely not impressed. Prices almost as high as brand new watches of the same model (a couple even higher!) and a few that look like they have been through a war.

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2 weeks ago

Best Heavy Duty Cases For OnePlus 3 + OnePlus 3T

8

What are the best heavy duty cases for protecting your OnePlus 3 or OnePlus 3T?

The OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T are stylish and capable smartphones featuring an identical unibody design carved out of aluminum, with its AMOLED display protected by Gorilla Glass 4.

OnePlus offers a collection of stylish protective cases options when you purchase through their site. Alas, if you're feeling like it could use some added protection from drops and other accidental damage, there are rugged case options available to give you better peace of mind.

Update February 13: Added the Poetic Revolution case and updated article to reflect compatibility with OnePlus 3T.

Otterbox OnePlus 3 + 3T case

Otterbox is one of the most trusted names in smartphone cases. Their case for the OnePlus 3 and 3T is featured prominently right on the OnePlus website, which should tell you that the manufacturers themselves trust this case to keep your device protected.

Featuring a hard shell outer layer to defends against drops and scratches and a coupled with a shock-absorbing silicone layer designed to stay snug to your phone. All this comes in a slim package that doesn't add too much bulk to your phone, and available in three color schemes — Dark Matter, Saharan White and Cardinal Red.

See at OnePlus


Spigen Rugged Armor

Looking for a rugged case that doesn't sacrifice your phone's sleek design too much? Look no further than the Spigen Rugged Armor case.

This one-piece case is made of flexible TPU, and features a spider-web pattern on the inside that helps distribute the shock from drops along the entirety of the case. There's raised lips to protect the screen and back camera, Spigen's air cushion technology in the corners, and a glossy finish with carbon fiber features on the back to complete this stylish, protective case.

See at Amazon


TUDIA Ultra Tough Hybrid

Looking for a case that provides full protection from all angles? The TUDIA Ultra Tough Hybrid case will keep your OnePlus 3 protected from front to back.

It features a polycarbonate outer shell — available in four colors — with an inner sleeve made of TPU to protect against the shock from drops. along with a polycarbonate front plate with a built-in protector to keep your screen free from scratches. This also means that your tempered glass protector won't fit with this case, but unlike other cases that have this issue, at least TUDIA provides its own layer. Rounding out the protection are covers for the charging port and headphone jack to keep out dust and pocket lint.

See at Amazon


OEAGO Tough Rugged Protective Case

The OEAGO Tough Rugged Protective Case is the most rugged-looking case on this list by far. The soft TUP inner sleeve helps with shock absorption, and is covered by a polycarbonate shell, featuring a tactile gridwork to help you maintain a good grip on your phone at all times. The outer shell also features a built-in kickstand, which is convenient for hands-free movie watching, and the inner shell is available in eight different colors so you can find the one to fit your style.

Best part? It's currently available for under $10. You can't beat that value!

See at Amazon

Poetic Revolution OnePlus 3 Rugged Case

Roses are red, violets are blue. If you're looking for a rugged case, this one will do.

Crappy poetry aside, this two-piece rugged case from Poetic features a polycarbonate front cover with built in screen protector (made of plastic), with the rest of your phone protected by a TPU sleeve that will keep it protected from shock and impacts. The accents on the back and sides will help with grip, and you'll have full access to all your ports and buttons.

If you've already got your own tempered glass screen protector — perhaps the Orzly option for the OnePlus 3 or 3T — this case won't work because the front protector will get in the way so you'll want to look elsewhere. Otherwise, this is a great option to keep your OnePlus 3 or OnePlus 3T well protected, which is available in black, blue/gray or pink/gray.

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How do you keep your OnePlus 3 protected? Got a case recommendation that didn't make our list? Let us know in the comments below!

OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 3

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