Recent Articles | Android Central

Order Samsung Galaxy S8: AT&T | Verizon | T-Mobile | Sprint

Pre-Order Unlocked Galaxy S8: Best Buy

Headlines

6 days ago

Google announces 2017 Google Play Award winners

7

Here are Google's picks for the best apps in the Google Play Store.

As part of the Google I/O festivities, Google held a ceremony to announce the winners of the 2nd annual Google Play Awards.

With over 85 billion downloads from the Google Play Store, it's always nice to see Google give some praise to the most innovative and interesting apps of the past year. Google has highlighted 12 apps this year, each chosen for its outstanding user experience or social impact.

Standout Indie: Mushroom 11

Mushroom 11 is a super interesting puzzle game in which you take control of a shapeshifting fungus as you make your way across an apocalyptic wasteland.

This game features challenging puzzles and fantastically fluid controls. Definitely worth checking out!

Download: Mushroom 11 ($4.99)

Standout Startup: HOOKED

HOOKED is a storytelling app that tells its story one text at a time. This app lives up to its name by drawing you into its library of mysterious stories, presented as a series of chat logs.

New stories are added daily, and there's even an option to upload your own stories for others to read. It's strangely addictive despite its occasionally cheesy storylines.

Download: HOOKED (Free)

Best Android Wear Experience: Runtastic Running & Fitness

It probably comes as little surprise that a fitness app would win the the award for Best Android Wear Experience.

Runtastic is one of the best fitness tracker apps you can use and is especially worth checking out if you've got a new Android Wear 2.0 watch or are planning to pick one up to revamp your summer fitness routine.

Download: Runtastic Running & Fitness (Free, or $4.99 for Pro version)

Best TV Experience: Red Bull TV

From the best in extreme sports to music festivals, Red Bull delivers endless entertainment — enough so that you may forget they also sell energy drinks!

Red Bull TV wins the award for its TV Experience, which will be worth keeping in mind the next time they have some guy free-fall from space.

Download: Red Bull TV (Free)

Best VR Experience: Virtual Virtual Reality

We imagine that this category is going to be getting very competitive over the next few years. This year's winner is Virtual Virtual Reality, which is built around a really fun concept of strapping on different VR headsets within a VR setting — similar to the dream within a dream scenario from Inception.

This Daydream VR app is currently on sale for half off, so there's no better time to check it out!

Download: Virtual Virtual Reality ($4.49)

Best AR Experience: WOORLD

We should be seeing more Tango-enabled phones to take advantage of Augmented Reality. When you finally get your hands on one, check out WOORLD.

It's a great showcase for the quirky side of AR, and is intuitive enough for anyone to pick up and play.

Download: WOORLD (Free)

Best Apps for Kids: Animal Jam - Play Wild!

For those looking for more kid-friendly apps to keep the young ones occupied in the back seat, Google gives the nod to Animal Jam.

Set in a fun and cartoony 3D world, your kid will learn about animals and their real-life habitats while playing fun games. There's also a social aspect for chatting in-game, with the developers committed to providing a safe online playground for kids.

Download: Animal Jam - Play Wild! (Free w/IAPs)

Best Multiplayer Game: Hearthstone

Hearthstone is still going strong three years on from its launch on Android. Developed by Blizzard, it's a social card game based in the same universe as World of Warcraft.

If you're brand new and interested in checking it out, there's great tutorial and single player modes to help teach you the basics and learn strategies before you move on to facing online opponents. Keep in mind that if you want to get serious here, you're going to need to buy some in-game expansion packs.

Download: Hearthstone (Free w/IAPs)

Best App: Memrise

The big prize of Best App went to Memrise, an intuitive app to assist you in learning a new language. Over 15 million people are using Memrise to learn a new language by playing games, watching videos from native speakers to offer social contexts, with more resources to help you along. It's free to try out, so what do you have to lose?

Also, check out the developer's "What's New" update for its reaction to winning the award for Best App. It's pretty swell!

Download: Memrise (Free)

Best Game: Transformers: Forged to Fight

Join Optimus Prime, Megatron, Bumblebee, Waspinator, Rhinox, Grimlock, Soundwave and many more of your favorite bots in Transformers: Forged to Fight. Personally, I'm kind of surprised to see this game pick up the top spot — It certainly wouldn't top my list.

Then again, who doesn't love a good ol' fashioned robot fight?

Download: Transformers: Forged to Fight (Free w/IAPs)

Best Accessibility Experience: IFTTT

If you've been looking into connecting all of your smart devices around your home into a fully automated system, you've probably already looked into IFTTT. Using custom Applets, IFTTT lets you connect hundreds of apps and devices in seemingly endless orientations — and of course there's support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can control everything with your voice.

Definitely an app you'll want to have on your phone in the years to come.

Download: IFTTT (Free)

Best Social Impact: ShareTheMeal

ShareTheMeal is a charity developed by the UN World Food Programme that lets you feed a child with a simple tap on your phone. It only takes about $.50 a day to feed a child for a day. There are 20 times as many smartphone users as there are hungry children. You do the math.

With several ongoing famines around the world, we should all do our small part to make a difference. Apps like this are a great showcase of how technology can be used to make a positive impact.

Download: ShareTheMeal

Android Gaming

Best action games for Android

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

For as little as $3.29 a month you can use NordVPN to secure your browser's connection

6

Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a VPN deal you won't want to pass up!

Have you ever stopped to think about how much of your day you spend connecting to networks that aren't your own? Whether you're working at a Starbucks, trying to finish something up at the airport before your flight, or sitting in the public library, odds are you're connected to a network that isn't the most secure without even thinking about it. Daily we do things like accessing our bank account, pay bills, send personal emails, and much more, all while not knowing if someone is tracking these moves and getting ready to steal your information.

Sounds a bit scary, huh? Well, personal information is something that should be kept personal, and luckily there are some easy ways to protect yourself. Odds are, by now you've heard of Virtual Proxy Networks, or VPNs, but you may be wondering why you would want to invest in one, right? Some of them can be a bit expensive, and others are unusually cheap, leaving you wondering which to end up with. NordVPN is one of the many great services out there, and right now you can save big on its plans.

Start protecting yourself right now Learn More

If you could protect yourself, and the information on your computer, from unprotected networks for just $4 a month, would you be interested? You should be! NordVPN offers double data encryption, which encrypts your data twice (and is the only company offering it), fast speeds, a strict no logs policy, automatic kill switch in case your VPN session drops off, and much more. The company has server locations in 57 different countries and covers every continent except for Antartica (because penguins don't browse the web!).

Signing up for one year of service scores you the discounted $4 a month rate, and signing up for two years can get you an even deeper discount. If you just want to give the one-year plan a try, you'll need to use coupon code NORD70 for the lower price, and for the two-year plan use code 2YSpecial2017. These offers from NordVPN won't last very long, so you'll want to act quick so you don't miss out!

Save up to 72% Learn More

You may be worried about investing in something you've never used before, but don't worry. NordVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee, so there is no risk in trying its service. You won't know if a VPN works for you until you give it a shot. Here is a way to try it without worrying about losing a boatload of cash, and if you like it then you score a sweet deal on the next two years of protection!

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Google Assistant's new features transform it from product to platform

19
Google Assistant

Google's next platform is all about machine learning and natural language processing.

*/ /*-->*/

A full year on from its launch at Google I/O 2016, Google Assistant has both expanded to new devices and added dozens of features that truly reposition it as a platform rather than a product. With everything announced at this year's Google I/O conference, Google Assistant is a common backend of knowledge and capabilities that can be accessed through multiple interfaces on multiple devices with limitless third-party extensibility options.

It's no longer just Google Home and an app on Android phones — Assistant is going to be everywhere you use Google.

Google Home getting smarter every day

Google Home

Assistant can do more than just answer your questions and tell you jokes.

Google Home was originally the physical embodiment of the Google Assistant technology, but Assistant has since expanded to be so much more with Home leading the charge. Not only has the number of app and service integrations hit a "larger than you can recall" number, but Google is leading the charge by giving the Assistant control over an increasing number of Google's own products and services.

You no longer just talk to Google Home to have the speaker itself do something, but instead to invoke Google Assistant to do all sorts of things that can then manifest themselves on other devices — all powered by the same cross-device backend. Google Assistant processing and smarts let you ask your Home to send driving directions to your phone, shoot a YouTube video to your TV or control an increasing number of smart home devices.

More: Google Home just leapfrogged Amazon Echo at I/O 2017

Assistant on phones finally makes sense

Google Assistant

Google Assistant is a couple of months into its expansion to just about any modern Android phone, but Google I/O 2017 marked an important change to its functionality to make it truly viable and useful to a wide number of people. The biggest change is the interaction model: you can now just type to Assistant. With this being a feature of Allo it was only a matter of time before it rolled out to the Assistant on every phone. Adding text input increases the chances of interacting with Assistant on a more regular basis, lowering the barrier to accessing its wealth of information.

Assistant on the phone is getting feature parity with Google Home.

Another massive barrier destroyed is the Assistant's move to the iPhone. Argue all you want about Assistant's seamless integration into Android and how much more powerful it is, but if you want a platform to succeed today it has to be on the iPhone in addition to everything else. Just as importantly, Google Assistant on the iPhone has the same backend powering it as on Android, and within reason it has the same capabilities. Millions more people will soon have access to Google Assistant, completing the loop of using the platform across all of their devices.

The future is bright as well, with the new Google Lens system promising image recognition technology to make Assistant even more powerful. You'll soon be able to leverage Google's image recognition and machine learning in a single place — inside Assistant — rather than having the feature spread out across disparate platforms like Google Now on Tap and Google Goggles. Even more important is Google's expansion of proper "Assistant actions" support on phones — letting you control devices and make device-specific queries of Assistant on your phone the exact same way you can on Google Home.

A platform, not a product

It's becoming increasingly apparent that Google Assistant is being positioned as the glue that holds together all of Google's devices. Whether you're using a connected speaker, phone, smartwatch, car, or TV device, the goal is to have you interacting with Google Assistant in a consistent way with seamless transition between those experiences.

Functionally there are some hurdles to overcome and features yet to hit critical mass, but it's clear that Assistant is the future of consumer interaction with Google.

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

What's new in Android O?

68

See what the latest and greatest version of Android has in store for you!

*/ /*-->*/

Android O brings several changes to existing features as well as all new features. Since it first arrived in 2008, Android has been a very fluid bit of software. The mobile space is always evolving and Android has evolved along with it so it could meet the needs of people like us who use it every day.

Updated, May 2017: The second Android O Developer Preview introduces some new features and some refinements. Here's what you need to know.

With the first developer preview of Android O, we got a glimpse of some of the new features. With the beta release we get a clearer picture of what can expect when it's released later this year. Google also tells us that this is just a few of the things we can expect with the next version of Android.

How to get Android O on your Pixel or Nexus (and how to roll back to Nougat)

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Google Photos gets smarter and more social: Top 4 announcements from Google I/O 2017

9

The new features will certainly be helpful for loyal users, but they also exist to help you to spread the word on what Google Photos can do.

*/ /*-->*/

Google has more than half a billion active users uploading over a billion image files to Google Photos daily, so it's no surprise that the company is doubling down on what's turning out to be a successful photo-sharing platform.

At Google I/O 2017, the company announced a host of new features coming to the feature-filled photo sharing service. Here's a quick jaunt through what's new with Google Photos, as well as some of the new features that are coming later this summer.

Watch Google's explainer on what's new with Google Photos.

Suggested sharing

You're using Google Photos to store your photos, so naturally Google wants you to share them with other people. Suggested sharing uses machine learning to actively suggestion who to share a picture with. If your friend Brad is in the photo, for instance, Google Photos will suggest that you send the photo to him so that he knows how silly he looked at the pool party last Saturday. Additionally, Google's machine learning will give Brad suggestions when he sees this photo, so that he can share it with anyone else who might be interested.

You can invite anyone to see a photo, even if they don't have the Google Photos app installed. iPhone users, for instance, will receive a notification with a link to the photo, and be invited to add others to share the photo with, too. It's a share-share situation!

Shared libraries

Google Photos' Anil Sabharwal shows the crowd at Google I/O 2017 what Shared Libraries are all about.

Got a giant extended family? That's fine; now you can share an entire photo library with them all so that anyone can share photos of each other whenever there's occasion to. Shared Libraries work akin to shared photo albums, though they'll stay integrated in your own camera roll. You'll be able to search through those pictures without having to navigate to a particular photo album, too, and with the machine learning engine working behind the scenes in Google Photos, any extra, non-interesting photos you snap won't be filed in there.

Google Lens

Google Lens is coming soon, and it's going to add more functionality to Google Photos.

The Google Lens features aren't ready for Google Photos yet, but the machine learning engine is coming later this summer. Google Lens will be able to understand what's in an image, identify what you're looking at, and help you edit photos on the fly. It'll even get rid of obstructions in an image — in the event you actually catch your finger ruining an an otherwise amazing photo, for example.

Photo Books

You can order a Photo Book now from Google Photos.

Photo books are a major thing for many families, and they're especially helpful if you just want to show a number of choices photos from your last trip, for example. Google Photos will be able to identify the best photos you've taken from any album and curate it into a worth-to-share picture book.

A 7-inch softcover will cost $9.99, while the hardcover version will cost $19.99. The books are 20 pages by defaults and features 40 of the best photos. Additional pages will cost $0.35 in the softcover, and $0.65 on hardcover. Photo Books are available now for Google Photos on the web and will come to iOS and Android soon.

The easiest-to-use photo app

The latest announcements for Google Photos should be no surprise if you've been utilizing the service since its major revamp two years back, particularly with regards to its machine learning capabilities. Shared Libraries are also merely evolutions of a sharing feature that's already existed — you've been able to share individual photos and albums before, but now it's more inviting to those who may not be privy to the Photos' existence.

It's obvious Google is committed to making its photo-storage service soar, which is why it's intent on getting the word out on its usefulness. These features have been added to encourage its veteran users to share photos while inspiring the uninitiated to switch to the service and take advantage of what it can do.

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Google Photos is getting a major — and smart — photo sharing boost

3

Google Photos is getting a massive boost with new features announced at Google I/O 2017.

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Begin your Android development career with this professional bundle for $29

Ready to make a change in your career and start creating your own Android apps? Getting started can be a difficult task, there is a lot to learn, a lot of different ways to do things, and unless you have someone to chat with it can be hard to do on your own. There are a number of different ways you can begin your new path, and this bundle is one of the best.

Get started today for just $29 Learn More

Meet the Professional Android Developer Bundle, a great way for you to learn the basics and more advanced features of building Android apps. From an introduction to Javascript to the fundamentals of the operating system itself, there are countless hours of information here for you to move through at your own pace.

  • Introduction to Programming & Coding for Everyone with JavaScript - $295 Value
  • Fundamentals of Operating Systems - $295 Value
  • Building Android Apps That Work - $295 Value
  • Java SE 8 Programming Part 2 - $295 Value
  • Java SE 8 Programming Part 1 - $295 Value

Save big for a limited time! Learn More

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Best Reddit app for Android

105

Updated May, 2017: Relay replaced BaconReader as the Best Reddit app for Android.

Best overall

Relay

Download on Google Play ($2.99)

Relay is the most beautiful of the Reddit apps and also one of the best explained. If you're new to Reddit or looking for an easy-to-navigate app, Relay has got your back with a simple layout and explainer tips the first time you use the app.

While many Reddit apps have implemented Material Design, none have done it quite as boldly or as well as Relay. It is also one of the few apps to offer themes beyond the simple light and dark, offering pink and blue as well. GIFs may not autoplay, but the image pop-ups that appear when you tap a thumbnail beat the heck out of the image loading in a new window or in a browser, and the material transitions out of these previews are gorgeous.

Bottom-line: Colorful, highly customizable, and material to a T, Relay is a Reddit app that's it's hard to go wrong with, especially for newer Redditors and lovers of long threads.

One more thing: Relay's great for longer posts with lots of threads, like popular AMAs, because you can use navigation controls in the floating action button to skip between one thread and the next.

Why Relay is the best

Relay is a Reddit app with a design that stands out, which is saying something considering how diverse Reddit apps can look, and it's a design that works well. From the handy clear button above the home button that clear posts you've already read to the floating navigation button in a Reddit post that allows you to easily skip from one thread to the next within popular or polluted Reddit posts like AMAs, Relay's UI is consistent and consistently productive.

Relay's themes are a good middle ground between those that only offer light/dark and those that let you pick all your own colors, with three light themes and two dark themes, and no matter what theme you pick, the app is easy to read, navigate, and act upon.

There are a lot of Reddit apps out there, and whether I'm going to be on it for two minutes or two hours, Relay keeps the front page of the internet readable, interesting, and fresh. It's the app that has outlasted all the others on my device, and I think it'll earn its spot on yours, too.

Best for beginners

Reddit: The Official App

Download on Google Play (free)

Reddit didn't have an official app for a long time, but now it's here and it's awesome. It's a clean and refreshingly simple app, great for users that don't want to hassle with a bunch of settings.

That simplicity can also be a problem. You can't resize the text which is a shame because it's a bit on the small side. The app's dark theme and card views are just okay, but it can auto-play GIFs and videos in card view, which is amazing for GIF-centric subreddits.

Bottom-line: It's the official app, and it's off to a great start, though it's a little simple. If you've already got your subreddit subscriptions where you want and browse a lot of GIFs, this is the app for you.

One more thing: Because of the concise feature set right now, the settings for Reddit: The Official App are wonderfully simple and easy to navigate.

Best Classic Reddit app

BaconReader

Download on Google Play ($1.99)

BaconReader has been around for a long, long time and users have enjoyed using it for just as long. It is one of the most-downloaded and most-reviewed Reddit apps on Google Play, and it got there by wooing users with slick features and maintaining them with stellar service and support.

BaconReader is carefully and pristinely laid out, making it easy to quickly browse and find something new and interesting to read, without stumbling around or leaving anything out. If BaconReader's beautiful design and feel seem familiar, their developer OneLouder is also the design of 1Weather, one of our favorite weather apps.

Bottom-line: BaconReader has robust features, support, and loyalty among its users. And while you can use it for free, it's more than worth upgrading to premium.

One more thing: If you ever need any help, BaconReader's subreddit is quite active and the developers are quick to answer most questions.

Best for Purists

reddit is fun

Download on Google Play ($1.99)

I said it two years ago and it still holds true: reddit is fun looks most like the Reddit site, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on your tastes. reddit is fun has a card view, and it also has three experimental beta themes if you're bored of the traditional views. Switching views isn't a simple toggle the way other apps do it, but at least you have more options when picking a theme and layout.

reddit is fun is great for users who need to watch their data usage or are using a slower device, allowing you to skip downloading thumbnails when off Wi-Fi. While most apps can't load user flair, reddit is fun can display what the flair would be if you were on desktop, for instance: usernamehere pikachu on r/Pokemongo.

Bottom-line: It's a traditional take on a Reddit app, but reddit is fun is more than willing to experiment in order to keep users happy and give them an old school Reddit feel on Android.

One more thing: You can unsubscribe from a subreddit from the navigation page rather than having to go a separate page or menu, nice for cleaning up your subreddit list while you browse.

Conclusion

There are so many great Reddit apps on Android. Even as the service has matured and gone mainstream, there is still a wealth of independent app development because Reddit is such a different service depending on how you use it. Relay is the best of the bunch because it looks great, is easy to use, and has a wealth of features. But the official Reddit app is great, too, especially for newcomers to the service. You can't go wrong with any of our picks.

Best overall

Relay

Download on Google Play ($2.99)

Relay is the most beautiful of the Reddit apps and also one of the best explained. If you're new to Reddit or looking for an easy-to-navigate app, Relay has got your back with a simple layout and explainer tips the first time you use the app.

While many Reddit apps have implemented Material Design, none have done it quite as boldly or as well as Relay. It is also one of the few apps to offer themes beyond the simple light and dark, offering pink and blue as well. GIFs may not autoplay, but the image pop-ups that appear when you tap a thumbnail beat the heck out of the image loading in a new window or in a browser, and the material transitions out of these previews are gorgeous.

Bottom-line: Colorful, highly customizable, and material to a T, Relay is a Reddit app that's it's hard to go wrong with, especially for newer Redditors and lovers of long threads.

One more thing: Relay's great for longer posts with lots of threads, like popular AMAs, because you can use navigation controls in the floating action button to skip between one thread and the next.

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Access geo-restricted content from anywhere with this lifetime subscription for just $39

Ever go to watch a show or stream music only to find out that it isn't available where you live? There is nothing worse, right? Whether it is something on HBO that you want to check out, or some music you want to stream on Pandora, not being able to access it because it is only available in a different country is completely annoying. There are ways around it, but some are difficult, and others are expensive. It doesn't have to be this way though!

Get a lifetime subscription now! Learn More

Meet Unblock All, one of the easiest ways to access geo-restricted services from anywhere. Whether the Netflix content you want isn't available by you, or Pandora isn't accessible, with Unblock All you'll be able to gain access. You can change your location from Canada to the UK, or Australia to the U.S. all with just one click.

Some of the other features include:

  • Access blocked content from anywhere in the world
  • Change your location to the US, Canada, UK, or Australia w/ one click
  • Browse faster than w/ a VPN or Proxy thanks to no traffic limits & equal security
  • Use on an unlimited amount of devices

Save 81% right now! Learn More

Normally a lifetime license to the service would run around $215, but right now you can pay much less than that. For just $39 you can get the lifetime of access, or if you just want to check it out for a year, you can for only $19. If you want to access content that isn't normally available in your area, you'll want to check out Unblock All now!

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

How to use Samsung Health to build better habits

13

Samsung Health makes building better habits easier than ever.

The hardest part of making real changes to your lifestyle, comes when you realize you need to build better habits. Whether this involves ensuring that you get enough sleep every night, or cutting down on your daily caffeine intake, Samsung Health can help you in this endeavor.

Use the Tracker

The first big way that Samsung Health helps you out in building better habits is by delivering a Tracker that you can customize. There are 11 different options for your Tracker, from a daily step counter, all the way to your daily Blood Pressure.

You can enable any of these at any time, and the only default tracker that you cannot remove is the step counter. Some of the trackers will allow you to enter your information manually, while others will need a compatible accessory to take a reading.

How to add a Tracker

  1. Open Samsung Health.
  2. Tap Manage Items.
  3. Tap the toggle next to the habit you want to track.

How to manually input information into a Tracker

  1. Open Samsung Health.
  2. Tap the Tracked activity that you want to input information into.
  3. Tap the plus sign to add information.

How to input measure information into a Tracker

  1. Open Samsung Health.
  2. Tap Measure on the Tracked activity you want to measure information for.
  3. Place your finger on the sensor to left of your camera on the back of the phone.

  4. Wait while the sensor measures an activity.
  5. Set a status for more information about the activity collected by the sensor.
  6. Tap Save.

See your progress

After you've started to track your habits, the next step is seeing your progress towards better habits. To this end you have two different options. You can view your overall insights from the home page of Samsung Health, or view information specific to a tracked activity.

View your overall Insights

  1. Open Samsung Health
  2. Tap the green lightbulb icon in the upper right corner of your screen.
  3. Tap Set Up Insights.

  4. Type in a nickname and double check your information.
  5. Tap Next.

  6. Set goals that you want to track.
  7. Tap Next.

View Trends on a Tracked Activity

  1. Open Samsung Health.
  2. Tap on the Tracked Activity you want to view Trends for.
  3. Tap on Trends to view a graph of information of that activity.

Have you tried Samsung Health?

The first step is building better habits is having a good look at all of your information. Between tracking your information, and seeing Trends in how these habits change from day to day, it's easier to see where you're doing well along with where you still need to improve. Have you tried using Samsung Health to build better habits? Let us know about it in the comments below!

Samsung Gear Fit 2 review

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

How Google's Project Treble will help fix one of Android's oldest problems

36

How Google can build one update that works everywhere.

In March 2016, when the Android N developer preview was released, we noticed something was different. With Android Marshmallow, Google had inserted a new partitioning structure that included a vendor partition. This held some files that had previously lived in the "regular" core OS folders in the system partition, as well as some files from the company who made the phone itself. But in the Android N developer preview, things changed even more and there were also files in this new partition that duplicated and overwrote pieces of the core OS when the phone was booted up.

At the time, we put our heads together and did some extra digging and came to the conclusion that this was the first step towards making Android easy to update by giving companies like Samsung or Qualcomm a place to call their own and splitting the system into two parts: a vendor area and an Android core area.

Project Treble splits Android into two parts: The Google part and the hardware support part.

Google announced Project Treble today, and everything has come full circle. This is exactly what that vendor area is for, and we get to see just how it can change the problem of phones not being updated fast enough.

The Vendor Interface and VTS (Vendor Test Suite) are coming with Android O, and it looks like this will take away any excuses for being slow with the updates. It's a fairly technical thing to describe, and if you're technically inclined, you should have a look at Google's blog post on it all, but we can break it down so that everyone can understand what this is and why it can make a big difference.

We all know Android comes from Google. Plenty of other companies work with Google to make Android better (and Google has invited companies to do even more of this), but the code is finalized and hosted by Google. Anyone can download it and build it into Android, but this Android on its own is not a complete phone operating system.

To get Android to do anything, you need support from companies like Qualcomm, Samsung, and every other company who makes the individual parts. The software that makes those parts work is separate, and the way things are before Project Treble mean that those parts need to be built into Android's code when the companies making a phone build the operating system. Each time Android is updated, whether it be a full platform update, like the jump from Marshmallow to Nougat or a security update that only affects a few parts of the system, the parts that make the hardware work need to be incorporated.

Android itself is not a complete operating system. You need support from hardware vendors to do anything.

That slows things down considerably. Instead of Google being able to send a single update for every phone running Android to the companies that make them and have it work, they send a non-complete operating system that needs the rest built into the new base, then it needs to be compiled and tested. Samsung (for example) needs to do this for every model of the Galaxy S8 they make before they can even think about sending that update to you.

With the new system, Google's portion of Android can live in its own space and the parts from Qualcomm and Samsung and HTC and everyone else can live in their own space. In theory, the update is already tested and will "just work."

That's what the new VTS is for. Think of the VTS as the rulebook about how to make Android. If everyone follows these rules, the changes Google makes and tests will work exactly the same on every phone running a particular version of Android. And with updates easier to build and send to us users, most new phones will all be on the same version. This is great for us, and it's great for the companies involved because it lets them work on their area of expertise while someone else works on their stuff.

The Vendor Test Suite is designed to make sure every company builds Android the same way.

To check that the rules work and everyone is following them, a series of tests can be done on a new device before it goes up for sale and each time the system is overhauled. These test will make sure that Samsung's TouchWiz Android and HTC's Sense Android both work with Google's Android the same way and a single update from Google works on both. This is how things are done to make sure all the apps in Google Play will work, and, for the most part, it's a great system.

We don't have the full details yet, but we're told that everything will be published and pushed to the open source code for Android once Android O launches later this year. This will make for a very interesting time at Google I/O, and we'll continue to check out this new way of doing things and what everyone else involved in making the phones we love is doing with them.

Android O

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Here's what we want to see at Google I/O 2017 [Roundtable]

19

Here's what we want Google to show us at I/O 2017.

Google I/O 2017 is just a few days away and we're excited. If you've ever been to I/O you know that it's three days where the future of Android, Chrome and just about everything Google does gets talked about and shown off. While it's primarily a developer conference, seeing that future and getting a hands-on demo of it has everyone looking forward to using it every day.

We went around the table to talk about the thing(s) we want to see most from Google this year. Think of this as our wish list for Google Claus just in case we're in the "nice" column.

Russell Holly

I want a better way to share VR experiences locally.

I want Google to explain its messaging solution. That explanation can be massive feature additions to Allo, it can be a way to import Hangouts to Allo, or it can be a firm public declaration that Hangouts is getting Allo features. Something. ANYTHING that helps Google's long-time users return to a messaging plan that makes sense.

I'm also looking forward to seeing what comes next for Daydream. I'd like to see Google explore the social aspect of VR, either with Hangouts/Allo plugin for Daydream or a better way to share VR experiences locally. The important thing here is the social layer, and I think Google can have some real fun with this.

Alex Dobie

I want some clarity on Google's laptop/tablet/convertible strategy. We've been theorizing around Andromeda and Fuchsia for the past few months — developers need to be part of that conversation, and I/O 2017 is as good a place as any to kick things off. Android, as we know it on tablets probably, isn't going away, but Google needs to lay the foundations for whatever's next, whether it's a collision between Android and Chrome OS, or some other platform that's an evolution of both.

I want some clarity on Google's tablet/laptop/convertible strategy.

I'm also looking forward to putting some meat on the bones of Android O. We'll hopefully find out a little more about what the next major release will mean for end users — sure, I/O is a developer conference, but it's seen consumer-relevant announcements in the past.

And finally, a bit of a wildcard — remember that crazy old rumor about some adaptation of the Android One program coming to the U.S.? If that's real, I'd love to see how it's going to work as part of this year's keynote.

Andrew Martonik

By Evan-Amos - Public Domain

I'm looking forward to seeing what Google lays out for Android O in terms of more specific features and direction for this release. The early Developer Preview is obviously not intended to be feature-complete, and Google I/O is a great place to start getting a feel for what the next version of Android will really be when it's released. High on my list is seeing what it can do with tablets — there are a few different rumors swirling, and I want Google to make sense of it all.

Show me those Android O features!

More selfishly, I want to hear something that shows Google cares about Project Fi still. The service is still a tiny focus compared to Google's other big businesses, but it's one that feels particularly ignored considering we all pay monthly for it. We're still using Hangouts for SMS, call forwarding is broken since the Google Voice app updated and we haven't heard anything new in terms of extra features. It feels like Fi is in a holding pattern, and it's not at a particularly great place to do so.

Jerry Hildenbrand

Tell me something good about Project Fi. Tell me you have SMS support built into the Fi app. Tell me you are going to officially support Android Wear devices. Tell me anything, even if you have to lie to me.

Why I should keep using Project Fi?

And if you are going to just lie to me, go on and tell me you're making a Pixel Tablet that runs Chrome OS and has a SIM card slot. One that works on Project Fi.

Android is in good shape. They can make small refinements, as will the people making the phones, but there isn't a real need for any big changes (even if we want them). But Google does a lot of other things, and some of those (cough Project Fi) could use some special I/O lovin'.

Marc Lagace

Show some love to Canada, Google!

My favorite reveal from last year's I/O was the Google Home, so I'm hoping that Google announces an official release date for us Canadians along with some more features and functionality for Google Assistant. I didn't realize how much I've been relying on Google Assistant on the Pixel until I recently switched to a different phone. It's quickly become a feature something I use frequently throughout the day, so I'm hoping Google has been able to iron out some of the kinks.

Speaking of Canadian availability, man would I be happy if Google announced it was going to start offering Project Fi service up here, too. Show some love to Canada, Google!

Ara Wagoner

I hope for the same thing every year at Google I/O: a dark theme for Google Play Music. But in all seriousness, if YouTube can get a dark theme, as can Google Play Movies, then Google Play Music can too. Oh, and I want the voice controls Google Play Music has on Google Home (fast forward 90 seconds) to migrate to Google Assistant on phones and Android Auto. Crazy, right?

Dark. Themes. Yes?

Turning to things that might actually happen, I want to hear new developments on the Chromebook front, be it Andromeda, be it Google Play finally rolling out to the rest of us with legacy Chromebooks, or the debut of a new Google-made Chromebook that will be beautiful beyond all reason. I also want to see Google announce some sort of initiative to try and get Android manufacturers to roll out monthly updates in a timely manner. It matters, and our choices for buying phones that get timely updates shouldn't be Blackberry and a couple of flagships.

Florence Ion

This is my fifth consecutive year attending Google I/O and I've grown an affinity to calling it Google Disneyland by virtue of the fact that it's now held at an outdoor venue. It also feels like the new digs are a nod to what it must be like to develop with Google: fun, a little chaotic at times, and incredibly forward-facing.

Making new friends at Google Disneyland is great!

This year, in particular, I'm excited to see what's next for Android and Google Assistant, but I'm also looking forward to reconnecting with the Android community in one common space. The energy at I/O is so incredibly infectious; there are nascent and experienced developers alike making connections, sharing stories, and nurturing one another in a space that encourages it. It's also fun to make friends while you're waiting in line for a session and catch on to how some developers are using their apps to make the most out of what's available to tinker with on Android.

Daniel Bader

Let's go back to what I/O is all about: Developers.

Every year, Google I/O promises improvements for developers that will bring their apps to the next level. But the Play Store is still full of terrible apps, along with thousands of great apps that no one will be able to find. This year, I'd like Google to focus once again on why people came to Google I/O years ago: to build amazing Android apps that can actually make money, in a marketplace that showcases the best and brightest curated by real people and not just algorithms.

I'd also like Google to expand upon its plan for Assistant, which is quickly growing into one of Google's most important properties. We've seen it expand to all Android phones running Marshmallow and above, along with Allo and Google Home, but I'd like Google to address its poor discoverability — did you know the Galaxy S8 has Assistant built in?

Jen Karner

OK, Google; What's next for Allo?

This is my second year of actually keeping a close eye on what is going on at Google I/O, and what I'm really interested to see is what they've got planned next for Daydream. It's already incredibly capable, but I'd love to see more social aspects for this headset, where my friends and I can enjoy things together — even when geographically we're thousands of miles apart.

While VR is where most of my attention is going to be focused at, I'm also hoping to see what is next for Google Assistant and Allo. Additionally, I'm curious to see what new developments Google is going to surprise me with this year and whether I had any clue they were coming.

Your wishlist?

We know everyone out there has a thing or two they want google to show us at Google I/O 2017. Sound off in the comments and let us know what's on your list!

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Apex Launcher is back and better than ever, but you should wait a while before switching

2

Apex Launcher isn't back just yet, but that hasn't stopped people from saying that it is.

Apex Launcher announced its comeback weeks ago with a May arrival date. Lo, it is May, and and Apex Launcher beta has pushed out for the testers to enjoy. But I'd hold off for a little while.

Hey, I'm as ready for another customization-heavy launcher to join the ranks of Nova Launcher and Action Launcher as anyone else, but after playing with the new beta, I can tell you it's not there yet.

Now, I refuse to make a bunch of hasty conclusions about Apex's resurgence until it makes its way to the stable release, or at least makes it through a few more beta updates, but so far, things look a lot like they did back in 2015. There's a few new-ish card styles and animations, but the majority of Apex looks and acts like it did before, right down to the way it cuts off icons when your grid gets too big.

Long story short, it's still more old Apex than new Apex. Until that new Apex is a little more visible, unless you're really into betas and giving feedback to launcher developers, I'd sit tight. If you want to take part in the Beta, you'll need to join the Apex Launcher Google+ community and then opt-in to the beta before downloading Apex Launcher from Google Play.

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

YouTube TV has managed to satiate my desire for live television

34

But with rival services making their way onto the scene, YouTube TV needs an edge.

Is there anyone out there who cut the cord and misses cable as much as I did? It wasn't until I downloaded YouTube TV that I realized how much I missed the sensation of flipping through channels, or being able to watch programs at the same time as everyone else.

Sure, full-featured cable TV does have its drawbacks. In many cases, it's overwrought with screeching advertisements and garbage content (says the reality TV connoisseur), not to mention that it can be pretty expensive if you want the whole kit and caboodle. But I found that the past few weeks with YouTube TV have been successful precisely because it evokes the same sensations of subscribing to cable TV while simultaneously filling in the blanks where some streaming services fall short.

It's saving me from a bad habit

Let's get this straight: There is nothing wrong with being a consumer of reality television. For me, it's a way to escape the world at present and be ensconced in someone else's drama for a change. But even I can admit that I was spending way too much money on the varying seasons of the Real Housewives and a few other shows simply because I wanted to watch them at the same timeline as everyone else. Most seasons range between $12-20 in the Google Play Store — it definitely adds up after a while, and then I'm left with seasons of old reality television tied to my Google account.

YouTube TV saves me a ton of money.

YouTube TV saves me a ton of money. For $35 a month, I can watch garbage television on Bravo, E!, and The CW in real time, or subscribe to them — it's the thing to do on YouTube, after all — so that I can watch them later.

I also appreciate the duality of the YouTube TV app. Not only do I have access to 50 live channels, including a variety of sports-centric networks (ESPN , FS1, and NBC Sports Network, to name a few), but I can also keep a mark on the other network shows I like to watch, too, without having to wait for Hulu to publish the episodes. And if it's a live special that won't appear on the internet after the fact, I can use the built-in DVR capabilities to record it and watch later.

YouTube TV is liveIt also offers a breadth of on demand contentAnd YouTube originals

YouTube TV offers live TV (left), but there's also on demand content (middle) in addition to YouTube originals (right).

That's the other thing about YouTube TV: the promise of nearly-unlimited DVR. You can record shows as they air and keep them tied to your account for up to nine months. There's a downside to doing this, however, and it's also a reminder of why I cut the cord in the first place: I'm forced to watch the advertisements in between scenes, and I can't skip 'em either.

But considering I've been a Hulu subscriber for such a long time — six years! — and I've never paid to eliminate the ads, I'm okay with sitting through a few of them when I'm watching TV. If anything, it adds to the effect of "having cable," and I don't have to worry about pausing the content in between segments to get up and take a break from the couch.

The beginning of a burgeoning trend

YouTube isn't the first to jump on the live-TV-over-the-internet trend. Sling TV has been long offering this kind of functionality on a variety of devices. I found its packages to be a bit too limiting for my liking, however, and the channels I wanted to watch in real time were part of its highest subscription tier. It's since changed its offerings, however, and I'll be curious to see if I can get more variety for the same price as YouTube TV.

Hulu is currently accepting sign-ups for its live television abilities.

Hulu has also joined the ranks in delivering live television over the internet, and that's the service that I'm feeling particularly conflicted about. The pricing and variety of channels are about on par with YouTube TV, and though I've yet to try it out, it seems to be more worth the cash. It only offers 200 hours of cloud DVR, however, but that's in addition to the breadth of original content and movies available on demand.

YouTube doesn't necessarily have all that content available. Sure, I have access to whatever is on demand from the various network channels — this includes made-for-TV movies and past seasons of terrible reality television — but the feed is also clogged with mentions of YouTube Red content that doesn't appear as appealing to watch.

One thing's for sure: the idea of live TV wherever you are is definitely heating up.

I'll be curious to see if Hulu Live can offer an edge of what's essentially a beta service offered by YouTube. I like the flexibility of the YouTube TV app, however; the ability to watch TV on either my Android device or through Chromecast. But Hulu is even more cross compatible in that regard, particularly since it's available on practically everything. What's a gal to do?

One thing's for sure: the idea of live TV wherever you are is definitely heating up. It's also a great reminder of how the methodology of watching TV has drastically changed over the years. Before, you could only watch live TV by subscribing to cable or sharing shady links with your friends. Now, you can do almost everything a traditional set-top box with DVR used to do right from your smartphone.

Read more and comment

 
2 weeks ago

Verizon debuts its own chatbot on Facebook Messenger

1

The Fios customer service bot will answer your questions and help you find things to watch.

Probably the worst part about customer service is having to talk to someone on the phone when things go awry or you have a quick question. But would you rather have the conversation over Facebook Messenger?

Verizon has introduced the Fios chatbot on Facebook Messenger. You can use it to do things like search for content to watch, manage your DVR, and add channels to an existing package. It works for Verizon Fios internet service, too, so if you're wondering what the throughput is on your internet speeds, you can simply ask the chatbot to test the connection.

"The Fios chatbot is focused on entertainment content now," said Miguel Quiroga, head of digital for Verizon's Fios consumer business, in the official press release. "It will continue to evolve based on how people use it. In effect, our customers will be 'co-creating' the platform with us."

Automated customer service isn't a new concept, just as chatbots aren't new either. Facebook on its part recently announced its plans to double down on chatbots in an effort to give them substantial credence over time.

If you're a Verizon Fios customer, you can try out the Fios chatbot on Facebook Messenger right now. Search for Fios, and then select "Get Started" as the first chat entry to start the process of linking your account.

Read more and comment

 
Show More Headlines

Pages