Headlines

4 days ago

Google Voice voicemail transcriptions are now 49 percent less confusing

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If you've been flummoxed at some of the errors you've gotten in Google Voice's voicemail transcription, you'll be happy to know that things are getting better. Google announced that they have used user-submitted feedback to improve voice transcription accuracy for Google Voice and Project Fi users by 49 percent.

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4 days ago

Google Photos adds a couple new album tools, custom photo description editing

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Updates to the Google Photos app and website today have added a couple new ways of adding to and tweaking albums. In version 1.2 of the app, when viewing an individual photo you'll now see a new "Add to album" option in the overflow menu, which will let you create a new album with just that photo or add to a previously-created one. While you've always been able to do this from the main gallery view — even when you had multiple photos selected — it's just as useful when viewing a single photo. For quicker multi-photo selecting, you can now long-press on a date header in the gallery view to instantly select all photos from that day as well.

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4 days ago

Moto G 2015 specs surface in new promo video

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Brazilian retailer Americanas has posted — and pulled — a new promotional video for the Moto G 2015, giving us another look at the phone's specs. The video pretty much confirms the earlier reports about the phone, if it is indeed accurate. Both are reporting that the upcoming Moto G will feature a 5-inch display, Snapdragon 410 processor, 13 MP rear-facing camera and a 5 MP front-facing camera.

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4 days ago

AT&T reports Q2 2015 earnings: $33 billion in revenue, adds 2.1 million wireless customers

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AT&T has reported its earnings for the second quarter of 2015 today, showing a slight bump in revenue over the same period a year ago. In all, second quarter revenue clocked in at $33 billion, which is up 1.4 percent when compared to the same period a year ago. Additionally, earnings per share were 69 cents — up from 61 cents a year ago.

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4 days ago

The Moto X 2014 is quick and capable after its Android 5.1 update

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Moto X (2014)

As its successor nears, the Moto X 2014 has a new lease on life with the Android 5.1 update

Though we all cheered when Motorola swiftly updated the Moto X 2014 to Lollipop soon after Android 5.0's release, it was immediately clear that the jump from KitKat introduced some issues. Choppy performance, a few quirky bugs and a generally unstable vibe came with the update, leaving owners feeling a bit burned.

When it came to making the next jump to Android 5.1, Motorola clearly took its time. The relatively small jump from 5.0 to 5.1 on the Moto X 2014 took longer to release than the substantially larger move from 4.4 to 5.0, but there was a reason — this update wasn't just a small version bump. It was a complete smoothing out of the Moto X's software experience. And as we approach the launch of a third-generation Moto X, the 2014 model is feeling peppy and capable thanks to the update.

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4 days ago

Yahoo brings its News Digest app to Android tablets

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Yahoo has brought its News Digest app to Android tablets, allowing you to read news from around the world on a bigger screen. Offering the same, twice daily, news digest that the phone version did, the only change is here is the size of the screen you can read it on. For those not familiar with Yahoo News Digest, it offers news updates twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, keeping you informed about what is happening around the world.

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4 days ago

Google Photos teases 'PayWithAPhoto' ahead of July 29 reveal

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The recent launch of Google Photos is apparently just the beginning. New teasers on the Google Photos YouTube and Twitter accounts show that there will be a big announcement on July 29, and it involves some kind of payment system or perhaps a Google Photos promotion.

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4 days ago

A look at the One M9, S6 edge, LG G4, and Droid Turbo through the Flir One

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M9 and S6 and G4 and Turbo

It should be no surprise to anyone that phones get hot when we use them in different ways. These portable computers are capable of an incredible amount, and things like processors and wireless radios and batteries generate heat when used. (Whether a phone gets too hot is another thing altogether.) We also live in a world where smartphones are being made of more unique things every day, with parts on the inside assembled just a little differently each time, and that means those phones all handle heat a little differently.

Since we've been playing with the new Flir One this week, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to perform some relatively unscientific tests on some of the more popular phones out there today with this thermal camera pointed at them. Here are the results.

Here's a snapshot of each phone side by side doing absolutely nothing. They are all Verizon Wireless devices, all powered on, and all running as close to the same apps as we could reasonably manage. The warmest-appearing phone when doing essentially nothing was the Galaxy S6 edge, which clocked in at 88.6 degrees. You wouldn't know this phone was the warmest by looking at it or holding it — in fact had I guessed before setting these devices under the camera I'd have said the Droid Turbo was the warmest by holding it.

To get a feel for how these phones get warm, we installed the AnTuTu Benchmark app on each phone and ran them side by side. This app pushes the processor further than most apps in such a short time span, but offered as close to a uniform expectation of heat against performance as you could expect without including the warmth and insulation of a human hand. The benchmarks were initialized and the phones were flipped over, and through the Flir camera we could see the temperatures increase almost immediately.

The G4 was the first to go from purple (cooler) to yellow (hotter), but only in the top third of the phone. The warmest spot, to the left of the camera, became bright yellow on the screen as the other phones started to glow orange. The Galaxy S6 edge quickly became the warmest phone on the table as the benchmark reached its conclusion, while the M9 and Droid Turbo stayed within a degree of one another through the test.

We'd come this far, why not start the benchmark while the phones are already warm and see what happens when you really push things? As you can see in the photos every phone but the G4 became what most would consider uncomfortably warm, but the bottom two thirds of the G4 stay relatively cool even towards the end of the second benchmark. The all-metal M9 and carbon fiber Droid Turbo spread the heat just about everywhere to try and dissipate as quickly as possible, while the Galaxy S6 edge reached over 120 degrees right next to the power button.

A lot of what you're seeing here has to do with how the different materials used in the exterior construction handle heat. The M9 and Droid Turbo are going to be warm all over, but never get as warm as the G4 or the S6 in localized areas. It's a little strange that Samsung and LG both created devices that get hottest right next to the most commonly used physical button on a smartphone, but the way LG handles heat seems like the best for someone holding and using a phone that is currently doing quite a bit — the hottest area is far from your hand.

It's also worth pointing out that most tasks won't get your phone anywhere near this hot. You'd have to be playing an impressive 3D game for an extended period of time or doing something crazy like transcoding video to get your processor to work as hard as we pushed these phones. I wouldn't go so far as to say any of these phones have any heat problems based on this information, but it is interesting to see how these phones get hot and which can be used comfortably under intense situations.

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4 days ago

Galaxy Note 5 and S6 edge+ pose for the camera in latest leaked pics

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 edge+ have been the center of attention recently, with various images surfacing, and a reported August 13 launch date. And today even more images of the unannounced Samsung phones are doing the rounds.

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4 days ago

Best waterproof power banks for Android

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These waterproof power banks are great for emergencies and surviving through the thick of things.

When it comes to summer accessories that really stand out and make a difference, having a waterproof power bank can really save your skin in a variety of tough situations. Not only are they built to take a beating, they're great for providing battery life to your smartphone or tablet when there's not an outlet in sight. Dive in as we line up the best waterproof power banks we've found that will survive the hot and heavy this summer.

READ NOW: Best waterproof power banks

GJT Solar Panel 8000mAh Waterproof Power Bank

$18.99 Buy Now

Charge up this GJT Solar Panel Power Bank before you head out for a complete backup of 8000mAh. And if you end up draining it while you're out in the wild, let the sun do the rest. The built-in lithium polymer battery charges via the monocrystalline solar panel when there are no outlets to be found, and it's completely waterproof and shockproof. On the back is an LED flashlight that's great for emergency situations in the dark, and there are 4 charging indicator lights on the front to identify exactly how much life remains. It even packs over-charge/discharge and short-circuit protection.

UNIFUN 10400mAh Waterproof Power Bank

$19.99 Buy Now

Great for just about any activity, water-related or not, the UNIFUN Power Bank holds an impressive 10400mAh of backup battery life for all your favorite mobile devices while you're away from a regular power source. It features an IP66 rating and has dual USB outputs (1A and 2.1A) for simultaneous charging when battery life gets critical. You've got port plugs that cover everything up when it's not in use, and a built-in flashlight at the top that's able to keep up 6-8 days after a complete charge. Its durable construction keeps it from sliding on most surfaces and is completely waterproof and shock resistant.

JJF Bird Solar Panel 12000mAh Waterproof Power Bank

$39.99 Buy Now

Here's a solar charging power bank that holds a bit more juice than the GJT option, but still packs all the same waterproof and shock-proof features. Charge up the JJF Bird Power Bank using the microUSB cable or even via the monocrystalline solar panel. There are 2 USB outputs for simultaneous charging, battery life LED's on the front for quick and easy monitoring, as well as an emergency LED flashlight up top for those hard to see situations. It comes with a carabiner clip for hooking to your backpack or pants, too.

EasyAcc 9000mAh Waterproof Power Bank

$23.99 Buy Now

Rocking an IP67 protection rating, the EasyAcc Power Bank comes in handy for camping, beach days, fishing, hunting, or hiking. Its 9000mAh capacity is enough to provide a solid 2 complete charges to most mobile devices, and serves as a great companion for both day and night time use. Along with its built-in flashlight, the EasyAcc Power Bank comes with a compass, carabiner clip, carry strap, and a couple microUSB charging cables. The 2.1A output will boost your device's battery when it hits the red, whether you're miles away from civilization or lounging by the pool. There's no fretting when this tough power bank takes a dip in the drink.

Novobeam 3000mAh Compact Waterproof Power Bank

$17.49 Buy Now

For those occasions when you're certain battery life isn't a serious concern, but need just a little extra security, the Novobeam Compact Power Bank is an excellent solution that's discrete, and fits just about anywhere. Since it only packs a mere 3000mAh, you're likely to only get a single charge out of it for most modern devices. It's the Novobeam's slim size and lightweight design (less than 3oz) that make it such an ideal companion for single-day hikes or fishing trips. With a 1A output, it's not out set any records in charging speeds, but it'll certainly be your savior if caught in a sticky situation.

What's your favorite rugged/waterproof power bank?

See a waterproof power bank on the list you're interested in, or do you have eyes on a different portable battery? Either way, we're interested in hearing what your go-to power bank is for those wet and extreme conditions. Drop us a line below!

Soak up some more info on summer accessories!

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4 days ago

Introducing Mobile Nations' Kicked TV, bringing you the latest and greatest in crowdfunding projects!

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Sorting through the thousands and thousands of Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and other crowdfunding projects that go live every day can be daunting. That's why we're thrilled to welcome Kicked TV to the Mobile Nations family! Kicked is built around the Kicked Weekly show, a quick look at the top new and exciting crowdfunding projects out there that you might want to check out, and maybe even back yourself.

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4 days ago

NVIDIA Shield Portable Android 5.1 update adds Chromecast support, drops Miracast and some games

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NVIDIA is pushing out an update to its Shield Portable, which brings along with it Android 5.1, and Chromecast support. Unfortunately, while bringing some new features along with it, this update also removes support for Miracast, Sonic 4, the Android Browser, and more.

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4 days ago

The Big Android BBQ is making its way to Europe in November

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The Big Android BBQ is heading across the pond this fall, as it heads to Amsterdam for the first time ever. From November 12 to November 14, developers and enthusiasts will be able to gather together for a fun filled Android event. Senior developers and Android thought leaders from around the world will be speaking at a variety of breakout sessions, which are being referred to as tracks.

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4 days ago

Subway Surfers travel down under to Sydney in its latest update

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It's time once again for publisher Kiloo to update its popular endless running game Subway Surfers. This time, the team travels down under to Sydney, Australia in the next leg of its world tour.

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4 days ago

The Wear Mini Launcher makes getting to your apps easier than ever

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Smartwatches have brought the ease and accessibility of modern technology to our wrists, but even with the most recent Android Wear update being able to get to the app you need in a pinch can take longer than you'd prefer. Wear Mini Launcher has been solving this problem since the early days of Android Wear, and has continued to remain relevant as the platform evolves.

Wear Mini Launcher for Android Wear is opened by swiping from the upper left corner of your screen. You'll get a column with all of your currently installed apps in a list, similar to the current stock setup in Wear 5.1. Just tap the one you need and it'll open up for you without any issues. If you swipe from the top left a second time, you'll get access to all of your smartwatch settings. Instead of manually going into the settings you can use the launcher to easily adjust your screen brightness, turn on Wifi, check your phone and smart watch battery life, and more.

Like most things in the Android world, things start getting interesting when you customize the experience to your own preferences. While there aren't any options for customization from your smartwatch, if you open the app on your phone you'll see there is plenty you can tweak to your preferences. There are four tabs — Behavior, Customization, Tools, and Other, and each has it's own array of options. The Behavior tab has options like how you access the Wear Mini Launcher, how apps are organized in the launcher, and whether there are apps you don't want to appear in the launcher at all.

If you were hoping to be able to adjust the color of your background or foreground, then you just need to hop into the Customization tab. This is also where you can edit how many columns your apps appear in within the launcher, and the size of the app icons. Tools lets you adjust notifications if you go out of range of your phone, whether music will be played through your watch, and whether the brightness slider appears when you open the second launcher screen. The Other tab allows you to send anonymous crash info, and check out the app licenses.

With more customization options than you can shake a stick at, along with an easy interface that you can make your own, Wear Mini Launcher is a great addition to your app line up for Android Wear. Whether you use it to get to all of your apps easily, or to tweak and adjust your smart watch settings, this is a solid app with plenty of use in your day to day. Have you used the Wear Mini Launcher, or are you more partial to a different experience? Let us know below!

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