6 days ago

Where to buy the Samsung Gear S2

Samsung Gear S2

The Samsung Gear S2 is available today from a limited (but well-known) number of retailers. As a refresher, this is a Tizen-based smartwatch, but and it's compatible not just with Samsung's latest phones — the Galaxy S6 models, plus the Note 5 — but also with a large number of non-Samsung smartphones. (So long as they're running Android 4.4 and have at least 1.5GB of RAM. You can find a complete list of compatible phones here.)

And don't let the fact that this is running Tizen scare you away. As we showed in our hands-on with the watch from Germany, it's fast. And there's a lot to like about it.

So if you're looking to pick one up, there are a number of retailers from which you can choose. The Gear S2 runs $299, and the Gear S2 Classic is $349.

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6 days ago

Listen to Phil talk new Nexus, Chromecasts and more with Chris Lacy on The Blerg


Phil got a chance to sit down and talk with Chris Lacy on his podcast, The Blerg, to talk about all the recent Android announcements. From the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P to the new Chromecast hardware and more, the conversation touched on a lot of great points.

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6 days ago

Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom is coming to a smartphone near you


SEGA has announced plans to soon launch Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom worldwide after soft-releasing the title in a select number of markets. The company also noted that the original Sonic Dash game has been downloaded more than 140 million times, paving way for the improved successor.

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6 days ago

Vodafone now lets you share stuff with others during a call


Vodafone today announced Call+ Android users, rolling out new services to help improve the quality of calls placed on supported handsets. The UK network has ensured that the new Sony Xperia Z5 smartphones work out the box with the new services, meaning you'll need to do absolutely nothing to take advantage of enriched calls, should you purchase a new Xperia.

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6 days ago

Sony Xperia Z5 now on sale at Carphone Warehouse for £550


Sony's Xperia Z5 is now available for purchase in the UK. Carphone Warehouse is listing all four color variants — black, green, white and gold — with the white option exclusive to the retailer in the country.

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1 week ago

Patent licensing deal will see Microsoft Office apps pre-loaded on ASUS smartphones


Microsoft and ASUS have announced a broadened patent licensing deal that will give ASUS access to more licensed technologies from Microsoft in its Android smartphones and tablets. According to the press release, it also appears that Microsoft Office services may come pre-installed on some ASUS devices as part of this deal as well.

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1 week ago

Train your brain on Android Wear with Memory Feud


For a while now games built for Android Wear have been popping up on the Google Play Store. Now on top of a fun and simple game, you can hone your memory skills;. Memory Feud is a word game that's fun and easy to play.

We've got the details for you here.

Memory Feud is a pretty simple premise. See the word you are supposed to spell at the bottom of the screen and tap on the letters to spell it. The trickier part happens when the letters disappear and you need to remember which letters were where to spell it out correctly. The letters are contained within honeycombs, and you tap on them to spell out your word. Considering that your smartwatch screen is fairly small, it isn't difficult to remember where the letters you need are hiding.

When you're playing the game, first you'll see a honeycomb filled with letters, with a counter in the middle of the screen to tell you your current score, and the word you're meant to spell at the bottom of the screen. It will display like that for a few seconds before the letters in the honeycomb disappear, and a counter pops up at the top of the screen. As you tap the honeycomb corresponding to the correct letter it will turn green and fill with the letter again. If you mess up, the honeycomb will turn red and depending on your score end the game.

The Game Over screen will show your score, and high score, along with the ability to restart the game. Most of the words you'll be spelling are 3-5 letters wrong, but the game does start to increase in difficulty as you go along.

Teensy Studios did a great job with Memory Feud. It's fun, easy to play and good for you since it's a memory game. Memory Feud is available now and it's absolutely free which means you should definitely check it out. Does Memory Feud look like your kind of game, or do you have a different favorite for Android Wear?

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1 week ago

T-Mobile informs customers of security breach with a credit application processor


T-Mobile has released a statement about the security breach of Experian, a company that T-Mobile uses to process its credit applications. CEO John Legere says that an investigation has revealed that the records of 15 million people were acquired by a third party between September 1, 2013 and September 16, 2015, some of whom were T-Mobile customers. There's a chance that you were one of the affected people if you signed up for new postpaid service or financed a device from T-Mobile in that time.

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1 week ago

Speck CandyShell Grip Case for Galaxy Note 5


There's no way around the obvious. This Galaxy Note 5 case got grip.

Protecting the Galaxy Note 5 from drops and scratches while enhancing grip enough to help prevent them in the first place is the CandyShell Grip's specialty. This fused hybrid cover packs both a flexible polycarbonate and a shock absorbent TPU that's careful not to bulk up that Note 5 any more than it needs to be. The hard shell is as glossy as it gets, which means fingerprints — and lots of 'em. There's the usual TPU stripping that wraps around the edges of the case, and over the back.

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1 week ago

What you need to know about Stagefright 2.0


Additional issues have been found surrounding audio files and libstagefright, but Google's already got a fix underway.

The past couple of months have been filled with a lot of uncertainty surrounding a series of issues popularly named Stagefright, a name earned because most of the issues found have to do with libstagefright in Android. The security firm Zimperium has published what they are calling Stagefright 2.0, with two new issues surrounding mp3 and mp4 files that could be manipulated to execute malicious code on your phone.

Here's what we know so far, and how to keep yourself safe.

What is Stagefright 2.0?

According to Zimperium, a pair of recently discovered vulnerabilities make it possible for an attacker to present an Android phone or tablet with a file that looks like an MP3 or MP4, so when the metadata for that file is previewed by the OS that file could execute malicious code. In the event of a Man in the Middle attack or a website built specifically for delivering these malformed files, this code could be executed without the user ever knowing.

Zimperium claims to have confirmed remote execution, and brought this to Google's attention on August 15. In response, Google assigned CVE-2015-3876 and CVE-2015-6602 to the pair of reported issues and started working on a fix.

Is my phone or tablet affected?

In one way or another, yes. CVE-2015-6602 refers to a vulnerability in libutils, and as Zimperium points out in their post announcing the discovery of this vulnerability it impacts every Android phone and tablet going back as far as Android 1.0. CVE-2015-3876 affects every Android 5.0 and higher phone or tablet, and could theoretically be delivered via website or man in the middle attack.


There are currently no public examples of this vulnerability ever having been used to exploit anything outside of lab conditions, and Zimperium is not planning to share the proof-of-concept exploit they used to demonstrate this issue to Google. While it's possible someone else could figure this exploit out before Google issues a patch, with the details behind this exploit still being kept private it's unlikely.

What is Google doing about this?

According to a statement from Google, the October Security Update addresses both of these vulnerabilities. These patches will be made in AOSP and will roll out to Nexus users starting October 5th. Eagle eyed readers might have noticed the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P we looked at recently already had the October 5th update installed, so if you pre-ordered one of those phones your hardware will arrive patched against these vulnerabilities. Additional information on the patch will be in the Android Security Google Group on October 5th.

As for non-Nexus phones, Google provided the October Security Update to partners on September 10th, and has been working with OEMs and carriers to deliver the update as soon as possible. If you take a look at the list of devices patched in the last Stagefright exploit, you've got a reasonable picture of what hardware is being considered a priority in this process.

How do I stay safe until the patch arrives for my phone or tablet?

In the event that someone really is running around with a Stagefright 2.0 exploit and trying to infect Android users, which again is highly unlikely due to the lack of public details, the key to staying safe has everything to do with paying attention to where you're browsing and what you are connected to.

Avoid public networks when you can, rely on two-factor authentication whenever possible, and stay as far away from shady websites as you possibly can. Mostly, common sense web stuff for keeping yourself safe.

Is this the end of the world?

Not even a little bit. While all of the Stagefright vulnerabilities are indeed serious and need to be treated as such, communication between Zimperium and Google to ensure these issues are addressed as quickly as possible has been fantastic. Zimperium has rightly called attention to problems with Android, and Google has stepped in to fix. In a perfect world these vulnerabilities wouldn't exist, but they do and are being addressed quickly. Can't ask for much more than that, given the situation we're in.

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1 week ago

Microsoft's Picturesque Lock Screen for Android adds search features and more


Microsoft's Android-exclusive lock screen app, Picturesque, launched back in February, offering users a way to access the many images that the company has posted on its Bing.com homepage. Now the app has received a major update to version 2.0, adding a number of features.

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1 week ago

Imgur improves GIF performance, adds search functionality and more


After bringing a fully native version of its app to Android, the Imgur team is back with yet another great update for everyone. This update brings along a new search functionality in the app, allowing you to quickly and easily find images and GIFs. Additionally, the team revamped profile designs and more. The full change log includes:

  • Search functionality inside the app, including searching within GIFs, one of the most popular ways Imgurians use the app
  • Improved GIF performance which will allow for faster-loading GIFs -- and more immediate laughs
  • A revamped profile design and streamlined notifications for comments on posts to let users know what other Imgurians are saying

You can grab the latest Imgur update from Google Play now.

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1 week ago

Jetpack Joyride speeds to Hill Valley with new Back to the Future update


The popular side-scrolling endless runner game Jetpack Joyride just got an update that adds a way for players to drive 88 miles an hour and go back to Hill Valley. Yep, the update introduces levels, vehicles and more from the classic Back to the Future movie trilogy:

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1 week ago

Where to buy Google's new Chromecast and Chromecast Audio


Google's new Chromecast hardware is now available for purchase. The new Chromecast and Chromecast Audio haven't rolled out to the extreme number of retailers that were available for the previous model, but you have at least three options in the U.S. and one in the UK right at launch to pick up the new streaming dongles.

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1 week ago

GeForce Now elevates the NVIDIA Shield Android TV to console status


We could very well be looking at the building blocks for a truly next-gen gaming console.

I'm just about as platform agnostic as they come when video games are involved. I'll happily waste a Saturday building levels in Super Mario Maker on the Wii-U with my kids, swap out my camera and pile of phones for my HOTAS setup for some Elite: Dangerous on my PC when the work day is over, get sucked in to another Bungie epic with Destiny on my PS4, or address my strangely emotional response to Cortana's mental state in Halo on my Xbox One. I'll play mobile games on my phone, second screen games on my tablet, and I've even been known to carry around a PS Vita or Nintendo 3DS on the off chance there's a free minute when travelling.

Recently, NVIDIA invited me to participate in some early testing of their GeForce Now service, previously known as GRID Gaming Beta. It's not for everyone, and there's still some bugs to sort out, but after a couple of days with the final version of this service I think NVIDIA has all the right parts for a truly next-gen console.

Before we get too ahead of ourselves, let me take you back to the dawn of the video game console. An age where PCs were terribly expensive, but gaming was clearly a market worth investing in. Consoles arrived to offer an inexpensive computer specifically for gaming, a content machine where all you did was play the games you were offered by the manufacturer. You bought your game, put the game in your console, and when you powered on the machine your game was immediately ready to play. No complicated install instructions, load times, or having to deal with catastrophic failure when something else went wrong with your PC. Simple, inexpensive, and thoroughly enjoyable.

Games launch in under 30 seconds, with no downloads needed and no installation required.

Fast forward to today. I purchased a copy of Destiny: The Taken King, which came with a disc and a download code. I put the disc in, and after the game was done installing to my PS4 I had to download an extra 15.4GB of game from a server whose ability to provide me with the file could loosely be described as almost functional at the time. It took nearly five hours to go from purchase to gameplay. The original promise of the console has been replaced with most of the original downfalls of playing on a PC, the irony of which being how much more convenient and relatively inexpensive PC gaming has become if you don't want the absolute best graphics. In a world where I can get a Core i3 with 6GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive in a laptop form factor for the same cost as an Xbox One, the only thing "consoles" have going for them right now is a game library and a TV friendly UI.

Enter the NVIDIA Shield Android TV with GeForce Now. A $199 set top box with access to over 100 Google Play games (some of which now are playable in 4K), over a dozen truly great Shield exclusives, and a $6.99/month game streaming service that grants the user access to what essentially amounts to Amazon Instant Video for gaming. I can fire up Blaz Blue: Calamity Trigger and have it start in seconds, in 1080p at 60fps no less. I can do the same for a handful of AAA titles, like the basically brand new Witcher 3 game, and have it launch just as quickly with the same kind of quality playback. Games launch in under 30 seconds, with no downloads needed and no installation required.

These aren't just stats from NVIDIA, either. I lost a Saturday to The Witcher and couldn't tell the difference between playing it on this set top box and playing it on my sub $800 PC. While my desktop is due for an upgrade, the quality here is impressive. NVIDIA doesn't have a ton of games in GeForce Now able to demonstrate PC quality graphical prowess, but everything they do have gets the smooth part down with no problem. There's a healthy selection of multiplayer games, and as long as the title supports it I can even plug in a mouse and keyboard and enjoy things that way, which is great because the Shield Controller isn't great for everything.

It's clear there's room in the market for this kind of experience.

There's a few obvious caveats, and some things that aren't quite finished. You have to be connected to a very nice internet connection. NVIDIA says it can do 1080p at 30fps with a 25mb connection, and that it needs roughly double that for 60fps. My 150/150 FIOS connection didn't give it any problems, but not everyone has a great internet connection. During gameplay I did notice the occasional hiccup, but they were few and far between and the system recovered almost instantly. You'll also occasionally run into key translation issues, like when you're asked to press the generic Android menu button on your Shield Controller and that icon doesn't actually exist on the Shield TV version of that hardware. You also can't pause a game somewhere and leave for a while, as GeForce Now will disconnect after you've been idle for a while and you'll lose anything that wasn't saved. These are all entirely fixable things, though, and NVIDIA has demonstrated they are listening closely to their audience right now.

I'm not suggesting someone sell their Xbox One and pick up a Shield TV, or that you should give up on that epic PC build in exchange for a simpler setup out of convenience, but it's clear there's room in the market for this kind of experience. It's even more clear there are people out there who would enjoy this exact setup. No maintenance, low cost, and the option to purchase games and play the on both the Shield TV and your actual PC, not to mention the ability to stream games from your PC if you've got an NVIDIA card that plays nice with that setup.

What NVIDIA has here are the building blocks for something great. The resurrection of the game console as an instant enjoyment machine. The simpler yet fully enjoyable gaming machine for folks who aren't willing or able to get behind the $1,500+ VR gaming rigs Oculus and Valve are going to start pushing in a few months, without all the hurdles of what we now call consoles and less than 1/4 the size. It's an impressive opportunity this company has created for itself, and there's a reasonable chance we'll all get to watch this grow together.

NVIDIA Shield Android TV

NVIDIA Amazon Best Buy

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