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6 days ago

The BlackBerry Priv Review Re-Do: before Mercury rises


It's been 14 months since the BlackBerry Priv launched, and it still does some things amazingly well -- but amazingly slow. The Priv is still a security powerhouse, and has some great features, but why does it take so long to launch everything?

MrMobile takes us way way back to November of 2015 (were we ever so young?) and talks what's good, what's ugly, and what to look forward to when we finally get our hands on Mercury. Michael Fisher knows his phones, and wants to impart his knowledge about what's good onto you. Watch this video and look back and forward at the same time. Once you get un-cross-eyed from that, leave us a note in the comments letting us know what you think!

Stay social, my friends

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6 days ago

Is this big piece of glass part of the Galaxy S8?


The Galaxy S8 is coming, and this might be the front end of it.

We have no way of knowing what this big piece of glass is. @DforDesign tells us it's part of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and mentions that it's rounded at the top and bottom as well as the sides.

Other than a big piece of glass with little to no bezel on the side, there's not much here. But if you're waiting patiently for more on the Galaxy S8, it's enough!

More: Galaxy S8 rumor roundup

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6 days ago

Google buys mobile app toolkit Fabric from Twitter


Twitter has announced that Google has purchased Fabric for an undisclosed sum.

Fabric is Twitter's set of tools that helps mobile app developers to build, distribute and monetize apps. These tools are designed to give developers easy access to Gnip, Fabric's data platform, and the MoPub ad revenue platform. This gives a wide range of analytics and tools for development and a complete set of enterprise APIs driven by real-time and historical social data and hosted methods to make money using it. A stream of data that's the size generated by Twitter is extremely difficult to manage. Tools that do the filtering for you and building a monetization platform around the data makes development much easier.

Twitter says this deal will allow them to focus on "core products and business to best position Twitter for long-term growth" and that they are confident that Fabric will be a great addition to Google's efforts to provide tools and a platform for mobile developers. Existing services that were available through Fabric — Gnip, MoPub (a set of monetization tools) and Twitter's Ad API will still exist and be available.

For Google, the acquisition means a little more.

Expect Google to build upon what Fabric has to offer with Firebase as a preferred data and analytics platform.

While Gnip isn't part of the deal, it is a competitor to Firebase — Google's own data platform. Expect Google to build upon what Fabric has to offer with Firebase as a preferred data and analytics platform. They also will acquire the Twitter employees working on Fabric, and they're always on the lookout for talent when it comes to mobile app development and building the tools to make it easier. Perhaps the most important part of the purchase is Crashalytics — Twitter's easy to use and very popular tool for detecting and analyzing application crashes and failures. Crashalytics will help Google manage application behavior metrics across their entire ecosystem.

It's unclear what this means for developers who are invested in the Fabric platform. There will certainly be changes once things are merged into Google's operations, and those may affect how the services work as well as access to them. This play is not about Twitter from Google's perspective, so developers will likely have to transition their products to use these changes or find an alternative.

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6 days ago

NVIDIA Shield vs. Shield Pro: Which should I buy?


We know NVIDIA Shield rocks a solid Android TV experience, but the Shield Pro might just be the better buy for some.

The NVIDIA Shield TV does just about everything from streaming 4K movies and TV shows to playing high-end Android games with the included Shield Controller. But when NVIDIA refreshed the line at the start of the year, it kept around the Shield "Pro" model as well — and in this case, it hasn't been physically redesigned like the standard version, though it retains its $299 price tag.

That leaves an interesting question about whether you should consider the standard Shield Android TV model or the Pro — let us help you decide.

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6 days ago

Best Screen Protectors for Galaxy S7


What are the best screen protectors for the GS7?

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is one of the best phones out right now. With its beautiful glass curves, you'll want to try and protect the screen from scuffs and scratches.

After many months of waiting for a decent tempered glass screen protection for the S7's curved screen, we've finally found one we're able to recommend. We've also included some decent options for film screen protectors — not as tough as the tempered glass, but still providing good protection for your screen.

amFilm Galaxy S7 Screen Protector Glass

When you're looking for a tempered glass screen protector, you ideally want edge-to-edge coverage. Otherwise you're left with an ugly edge around the perimeter of your phone. For a while, there simply wasn't a decent option available for the Galaxy S7's curved screen.

Enter this option from amFilm. This tempered glass screen protector is scratch resistant and only 0.3 mm thick, featuring curved edges designed to contour to the curves of your phone and offering the best edge-to-edge screen protection you'll find for the Galaxy S7.

Installation is easy thanks to the precise cutouts and solid border around the bezel of the phone, and you shouldn't notice any difference in the phone's touch sensitivity. It's also available in three colors — Black, Gold and White — so you can match the style of your phone while keeping it well protected.

See at Amazon

Yootech Curved Edge to Edge Screen Protector 3-Pack

Yootech's 3-pack of screen protectors provides edge-to-edge coverage for your phone with precise cutouts for the ear speaker, camera and fingerprint scanner. The kit includes everything you'll need for installation — alcohol prep pad, squeeze card and dust removal tape.

This screen protector uses dry installation, meaning it adheres to your phone's screen via magic! Actually, they use static electricity to cling to your phone. That means you'll want to be quite careful during installation to be in a dust-free environment. A good tip would be to steam up your bathroom to get all the dust in the air to settle, then do the installation in there.

If you completely mess up your first installation attempt, you at least get two spares here, so you can give it another shot and still have a replacement to swap out if your first one gets too beaten up.

See at Amazon

Maxboost Liquid Skin Samsung Galaxy S7 Screen Protector

The Maxboost Liquid Skin protector includes two screen protectors for the screen — one with precise cutouts around the bits you want exposed, and the other a case-friendly option with cutouts from the edge around the top and bottom of the screen. It also includes a protector film for the back panel of your phone, because it's made of glass to and susceptible to scratches and scuffs too!

As you may have gathered from the name, these protectors require a wet installation with the included spray bottle. You spray down the sticky side of the screen protector, place it down on your cleaned screen and adjust it until it's just right. Then you'll want to use the squeegee card to clear out any bubbles then leave it to dry overnight. You'll want to be careful with it for the first few days, too, especially if you plan to slap a case on your phone too.

See at Amazon

IQ Shield LiQuidSkin 2-pack

Another wet installation option, the IQ Shield LiQuidSkin includes two screen protectors that IQ Shield claims each screen protector consists of four layers of protection. Cutting through the marketing buzzwords, these screen protectors feature a layer of TPU, will adhere well to your phone and should provide durable, transparent protection without yellowing over time.

Installation requires you to spray the adhesive side of the screen with the included spray bottle, then squeegee out the excess and any bubbles then leave it to dry for a few hours. The benefits of a wet install over a dry install include crystal clear transparency, and you're able to adhere the protector around the curved edges better.

See at Amazon

Which screen protectors do you trust?

If the screen protector brand you use isn't on our list, let us know in the comments!

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

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6 days ago

YouTube's AdBlitz kicks off its 10th year for Super Bowl 51


For many, the best part of the Super Bowl is the ads.

YouTube has been the go-to place to watch all of the catchy (and cringe-worthy) ads from Super Bowls, and has even given a one-stop place for them called "AdBlitz." Super Bowl 51 marks the 10th year for AdBlitz, and that means the channel is live and ready to go for kickoff that's only a couple weeks away.

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6 days ago

YouTube is launching a new private chat feature, and it's starting in Canada


Canadians finally get a Google product first.

YouTube is rolling out a new sharing feature, and Canadians — who YouTube says share 15% more videos than an average user — are getting it first. The new interface turns the YouTube sharing system into more of an integrated chat experience, keeping a private conversation around a video inside the YouTube app rather than elsewhere.

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6 days ago

Samsung's Exynos processors to power Audi's next-gen infotainment systems


You want high-end processors in everything, even your car.

Samsung doesn't use its own Exynos processors in all of its phones and tablets, but it has struck a deal with Audi to start using its chips in its cars to power its next-generation infotainment systems. The announcement states that Samsung will be providing its "flagship" processors, which bodes well for the performance of in-dash applications.

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6 days ago

Top 5 tips and tricks for your new Huawei Mate 9

Huawei Mate 9

The day-one checklist for that freshly-unboxed Huawei Mate 9.

The Huawei Mate 9 is upon us, and it's Huawei's best phone yet. (Go read our review!) If you're picking one up over the next month, as release time approaches in Europe in the U.S., you'll want to know what to get to know your phone's most important customizations options, tweaks, tips and other tricks.

We've been using the phone over the past month, and we've rounded up the top five essential options you'll want to check out the day you get your device.

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6 days ago

ComiXology is getting an exclusive Adventure Time comic


Wield that axe, Marshall Lee.

Fans of the Adventure Time universe are about to find themselves needing ComiXology in their lives, as one of its alternate universe characters gets his own three-part story. In a continued effort to promote their new push for original content, Amazon has a year of exclusive comics planned for ComiXology and Kindle owners.

At the top of their publishing list is Adventure Time: Marshall Lee Spectacular, a three story comic all about the alternate version of Marceline the Vampire Queen from the perspective of Ice King's fan fiction. If you're unfamiliar with the series, it really doesn't get less confusing from here.

This three-part series includes an original song performed by Marshall Lee, and is available as either a $3.99 one-time purchase or free to ComiXology Unlimited subscribers. If you're not a part of the $5.99/month subscription service, Amazon offers a 30 day free trial so you can see what's going on. For those who would rather not bother with ComiXology at all, the comic is also available directly from Amazon for the Kindle app.

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6 days ago

Best Chrome extensions you didn't know existed but should be using

10 Chrome extensions you didn't know existed but should be using

What are the best Chrome extensions I should be using?

Update 16 January 2017: We've refreshed this list to ensure you're kept up to the latest when it comes to the best Chrome extensions you should be using.

The amount of time most people spend browsing the internet continues to rise each year, and Google's Chrome browser attempts to be the most comfortable and versatile browser out there. To aid in its quest, Google allows for developers to market small software extensions that modify and (in most cases) ameliorate your browsing experience. Here are 10 Chrome extensions you didn't know about but should be using.

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6 days ago

Microsoft is finally testing Cortana for your lock screen!


"Hey Cortana, catch up to Google Assistant."

Microsoft's progress with Cortana for Android has been slow, but undeniably constant. As voice services go Cortana is arguably more capable than Assistant or Siri, but the implementation on Android hasn't been complete enough to ever seriously consider replacing Google's services. It's an uphill climb for Microsoft, especially now that Google's Assistant is coupled with Google Home as a more complete solution, but the next big step has finally arrived in the Cortana beta channel this morning.

This doesn't appear to be a full lock screen replacement like Microsoft has done with other apps in the past.

In what Microsoft is calling a "VERY Alpha build" in the Cortana beta community, support for Cortana on your lock screen is being tested. This update starts by asking if you'd like to enable Cortana, and if you agree to test the new feature you'll see Cortana's ring at the bottom of your lock screen. This doesn't appear to be a full lock screen replacement like Microsoft has done with other apps in the past, but you do gain some new information by interacting with the Cortana ring.

Swiping right on the rings pulls the Cortana itinerary view into frame, which gives you access to all of the traffic, calendar, and news events you've told Cortana you want to see in your feed. There's also a microphone icon should you want to communicate directly with Cortana, but for right now it doesn't look like "Hey Cortana" works when the display is off. It's possible Microsoft will have that working as work on this Alpha build continues, but even without that feature this step forward is significant.

If you want to try this out before it is rolled out as a standard feature, sign up for the Cortana Beta group here.

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6 days ago

Where to buy a used VR headset

VR is expensive. Buying used might be the solution.

From the Samsung Gear VR up to the HTC Vive, you're not going to get a decent VR experience for cheap. The Gear VR starts around $100, but if you're not sure about VR just yet, $100 is a lot to spend on trying something.

Used VR headsets are popping up more and more as the technology continues to develop, but selection is fairly limited for now. We know where you can get used headsets, but there are a few things to consider before diving into second-hand VR.

Read more at VR Heads!

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6 days ago

Best Samsung Galaxy S7 Charging Docks


What are the best charging docks for my Samsung Galaxy S7?

If you are really concerned about taking care of your Samsung Galaxy S7, you might be a bit hesitant leaving it charging on a table, where it's free to be knocked off the ground by an errant elbow or a clumsy pet. That's where a charging dock can come in real handy.

The Galaxy S7 is also special in that it supports Qi wireless charging, meaning you can elevate your Samsung Galaxy S7 off the table or counter with a dock that'll also keep it fully charged when it's time to go.

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6 days ago

Beginner's guide to Star Wars: Force Arena


Feeling a little overwhelmed with Star Wars: Force Arena? I'm here to get you started.

Most multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games are pretty complicated. They have a lot going on the screen during battles, tons of different units you can deploy, and often they can be confusing to start.

Even with the in-game tutorial, I found there was quite a bit of information I wish I knew about Stars Wars: Force Arena before I started challenging real players from across the world. Luckily for you, I went through the confusion, so you don't have to. This guide is meant to help you have a better understanding of some of the game's mechanics, which hopefully will help you win!

Play Star Wars: Force Arena today!

Know the different card types

There are four types of cards in Star Wars: Force Arena and each one plays a different role. Not every deck has to have all four types to be successful, but balancing your deck with different kinds of cards is not a bad way to get a feel for the game. The card types are as follows:

  • Leader: Prominent Star Wars characters (such as Princess Leia and Darth Vader) that lead your troops into battle. There are a ton of leaders in the game, but you can only have four of them (two Rebel Alliance and two Galactic Empire) activate at a time. You can swap leaders out as you acquire them.
  • Squad: These are cards that will spawn units onto the battlefield. Stormtroopers, Wookie Warriors, and even Tanks are all squad cards.
  • Support Cards: These are cards that affect the game in different ways but don't spawn units onto the battlefield. These cards can help you hurt enemy units and structures — like X-Wings and Tie Fighters — or some provide status effects to units on the field — like stun grenades and Hyper-Adrenal.
  • Structure: These cards will spawn structures onto the battlefield that can attack enemy units, good for defending your leader or turrets.

Card Rarity

Not all cards are created equal; some are significantly rarer to find; the rarer the card, the harder it is to find in the game.

  • Legendary: These are leader cards and are the rarest cards in the game.
  • Unique: These cards will have an orange background and are tied to a specific leader, meaning they can only be placed in decks with that leader. In the image above Director Orson Krennic is my leader and Death Squad Leader is his unique card.
  • Epic: These cards are quite powerful and rarely in packs in the lower tiers.
  • Rare: Not as hard to find as Epic cards, but you still won't find any in lower tier bronze packs.
  • Common: Just like the name says, you'll find these cards all over. Common cards have gray backgrounds.

Understanding Card Stats

In Star Wars: Force Arena you deploy units by using different cards. Each leader has a deck of six cards that you can swap out from the Deck menu at any time. To build a good deck you are going to need to know how to read the cards stats.

General card stats

Every card has a list of basic stats that will tell you how much damage it does, how much health it has, and various other relevant information.

Most cards have these basic nine stats:

  • Health: This number is how much health the any given unit or squad has.
  • Movement Speed: How fast the unit moves during battle.
  • Attack Range: How far away the unit can attack another target.
  • Attack Power: The higher the attack power, the more damage the unit will do.
  • Attack Speed: How fast the unit can attack.
  • Deployment Time: How long it takes for the unit to appear on the field.
  • Damage Per Second: The amount of damage the unit can inflict per second.
  • Target: What type of enemy units the card will attack.
  • Unit Count: How many units spawn when deployed.

Other important card stats

Certain cards have other unique stats that affect different units and structures on the field. You'll mostly see these stats on specialize infantry and aerial support cards — the Dressellian Sniper and Tie Fighters are two prime examples.

  • Leader/Squad Attack Power: How strong the card is against an enemy leader or squad.
  • Building Attack Power: How strong the card is against enemy buildings. (Turrets and shield generators)

In the simplest terms, certain cards do different amounts of damage to different types of cards; that's when you'll see these two stats pop up.

Advantages and Disadvantages

I am still flabbergasted that the Star Wars: Force Arena tutorial doesn't cover advantages and disadvantages because it's so imperative that you know them to be successful.

You can see a list of what each cards advantages and disadvantages are by tapping on advantages when you're looking at a card's stats. Here you will see a list of other cards that your card is strong against and weak against.

Learning these advantages and disadvantages is often the difference between victory and defeat. If you see an enemy tank on the field, you will know what cards to use to counter the attack.

Upgrading cards

To progress further in Star Wars: Force Arena you will need to upgrade your cards; you do this by collecting multiple copies of the same cards. You get cards by opening packs, and there are currently about four ways to receive card packs.

  • Play packs: Each time you play a match will earn you play points — three points for a win, two points for a draw, and one point for a loss. Once you have ten play points, you can open a victory card pack. You can only open two play packs every 24 hours.
  • Free packs: These are time locked for a few hours at a time. The longer the wait, the better the cards.
  • Victory packs: When you win matches you will be awarded a card pack. These take the time to unlock, but you can unlock them right away by using crystals. The longer the wait to open the better the cards.
  • Purchase packs: Packs can be purchased with a premium currency called crystals. You do get some crystals in Play Packs, but it will take a long time to work up enough crystals to buy a pack.

Once you collect enough of one type of card, you will notice a green flashing bar underneath cards that are ready to upgrade in your Deck menu. Select the card you want to upgrade and then tap on upgrade. It will cost you credits to upgrade your cards, the higher the level of your card the more duplicates you'll need to acquire and credits you will need to spend to power it up.

Level Up

Upgrading your cards is important because it gives you experience points and levels you up. When you level up the amount of health your turrets and shield generator have increases, making you harder to defeat on the battlefield.

Pro tip: if you're going to spend money in this game early on, it's better to invest in credits to level up as quickly as you can. Once you progress further in the game then switch to buying card packs will be more important.

Tiers and Divisions

Tiers and divisions are how Star Wars: Force Arena's matchmaking system works. In practice, you should never have an opponent who is drastically above you or below you in the rankings. You climb divisions and tiers by collecting rating points.

As you win or lose matches, you will gain or lose rating points. You will climb divisions a couple of times before you reach a new tier, which will give you access to new (often more powerful) cards. Plus, the higher tier you are will give you access to better victory card packs.


Completing missions gives you the ability to unlock new leader cards and other various legendary cards. Once again the tutorial makes no mention completing missions, and it's important to unlock critical heroes. I want Han Solo, thank you very much.

You complete missions by completing different objectives one at a time. You can see these objectives by tapping the yellow button in the top right corner right next to the settings button in any menu. Basic missions unlock specific leaders, while special mission unlocks a random legendary card.

Once you have completed an objective — like Open 1 Play Pack — you'll need to come back to this menu to claim the objective as completed. Each objective also gives you various awards to help sweeten the deal. Always be working towards these objective as fast as you can.

Play Star Wars: Force Arena today!

What did you wish you knew?

What are some other aspect of Star Wars Force Arena you wish you knew before playing? Let me know in the comments below.

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