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2 months ago

Google's Android Developer team explains everything new in Android 7.1 Nougat

13

See the changes in Android 7.1 straight from the people who built it.

Android 7.1 is on the Google Pixel and the Android Beta Program can install the Developer Preview on the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Pixel C right now. But that means most phones aren't running it, and most of us can't play with it. We've talked about the highlights — support for round icons, image keyboards (emojis FTW) and app shortcuts — but for folks curious about everything that's new in 7.1 Nougat or want to see examples, Google's Android Developer team has you covered.

With great animations and screen overlays, we can all see app shortcuts in action, how round icons are created on the launchers that support them and see the new enhanced wallpaper gallery. We even get to learn a little about how these things work.

Some of the language in the five-minute video is geared towards developers (this is the Android Developer channel after all) but anyone can get a good feel on changes coming when your phone gets updated, or see some things your phone can do now if you're running Android 7.1. Give it a watch!

Android Nougat

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;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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2 months ago

Facebook is bringing interactive ads to Messenger

23

How do you feel about ads on top of your ads? What about advertisements embedded into your messages as "sponsored" messages?

If you're a Facebook Messenger user, you may start seeing advertisements pop up in the middle of your conversations. The company wrote a blog post directed towards "brands" to learn how to embed this sort of feature. Sponsored messages won't go out to all Facebook users, but if you've "liked" a page, you will likely start seeing interactive ads from those companies show up in your messages. This could be anything from a restaurant offering you a free drink during happy hour or a retailer slipping a discount coupon your way.

It looks like chatbots may be proliferated as an advertising medium, and it makes sense. After all, what better way to entice someone to spend money somewhere than to make them feel like the transaction is somewhat personal? It's genius, but here's to hoping that Facebook's new advertising gimmick doesn't turn into a headache for its users. Especially mobile users.

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2 months ago

Snapchat update brings AR effects to your everyday life

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Augmented reality is officially marketable.

Snapchat's latest update introduces a new feature called World Lenses. They do exactly what it sounds like: Turn the world you see through the viewfinder into an entirely different scene.

You can activate World Lenses by flipping to the rear-facing camera and simply tapping on the view ahead. There are seven to choose from in addition to the standard set that's typically accessible with the front-facing camera, so you can turn any family member into a heavily perspiring puppy.

These lenses offer a bit of a glimpse of what donning a pair of Spectacles could feel like. There's not much more information on the glasses, but there are existing settings for managing the augmented-reality accessory.

The future of augmented reality looks fun. However, definitely expect that Snapchat will use this new feature-set as a way to entice brands to submit their own marketable filters.

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2 months ago

Google's most successful social network is going away

44

So long, Map Maker.

No, Google isn't shutting down Google+ (unfortunately). Instead, the company has announced that Map Maker, its standalone tool for editing, updating, and peer-reviewing maps around the world, will be fully integrated into Google Maps by March, 2017.

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2 months ago

Android 7.0 Nougat update hitting LG G5 starting today in South Korea, global rollout to follow

20

G5 owners will soon have access to the same improved software we see on the V20.

LG will start rolling out its Android 7.0 Nougat update to LG G5 owners in its home country of South Korea today, kicking off a process that will eventually update all G5s around the world in the coming weeks. The announcement comes the same day that Google's numbers show just 0.3% of Android devices have Nougat, and Samsung's beta program for testing Nougat on the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge was announced.

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2 months ago

Partial Screenshot mode from Google's Pixel C headed to phones (sort of)

7

This sure would be handy.

Grabbing a screenshot and cropping it is no big deal, but how cool would it be to just screenshot what you needed on your phone and not bother with the editing? A little-known feature on Google's Pixel C does exactly that, but you can only access it with the keyboard attached. Pressing Control+Search+Shift+S on the keyboard makes the screen go dark, and when you drag your finger across part of the screen you see it light up and then go away when you lift your finger. That captures a partial screenshot, which is pretty handy on a screen that size.

For some reason, Google decided phones didn't need that feature and the commit was never made an official part of Nougat on phones. Do you think that stopped people from enabling the feature in custom ROMs though? Of course not.

What you see there is a manual edit that enabled this feature on a phone, and it works almost exactly the same as it does on the Pixel C. There's no keyboard attached, of course, but you get the idea. This may have been something Google decided wasn't quite polished enough to make its way to Nougat without a clear way to activate it, but you can expect some version of it to be all over the ROM world for the foreseeable future.

What about you? Do you want this feature on your phone?

Android Nougat

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;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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2 months ago

Best apps to follow the 2016 U.S. election!

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Are you ready to anxiously refresh results pages every minute of the day?

You may or may not have noticed the 18-month roller coaster we've been lovingly referring to as the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, but it's (probably) coming to a close at some point on November 8th. At least, that's the best case scenario. Goodness only knows what reality will have in store for us.

If you'd like to spend the day constantly refreshing election results pages to see who will be our next Commander-in-Chief, we've got a few apps and site shortcuts for you to install. If you're still not sure where you're vote is being cast, we've got something for you as well. If you're hoping for a grand election-themed escape, we've got something in mind for you as well.

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2 months ago

Google posts latest Pixel and Nexus factory images with November security patch

15

Those getting antsy for the latest software can now apply the latest Google software updates manually.

Factory images with the latest November security patch built on Android 7.1 for the both the Pixel and Pixel XL are now available, as are the images with the same security patch with Android 7.0 for the Pixel C and latest Nexuses (6P, 5X, 6, 9, 9 (LTE) and Player). For those who don't need the full factory image and would prefer a simple OTA file, those are available with the same software patches as well.

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2 months ago

Samsung Pay now available in Canada with 'select' CIBC credit cards

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Last week, Android Central told you, and Samsung confirmed, that it would roll out Samsung Pay in Canada during the first week of November, and it looks like the service has gone live for some early adopter CIBC customers.

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2 months ago

Best News Apps for Android

142

Extra, Extra, read all about it with these great Android apps.

Keeping informed on the go is one of the many things that our smartphones are incredible tools for. During the everyday hustle and bustle it's easy to ignore the world around you, but the news is everywhere. Including on your phone.

Android has a plethora of great apps to choose from thanks to the massive selection in the Google Play Store. But if you're looking to get your daily news fix, we recommend you check out this little lot.

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2 months ago

Pick between four great lifetime VPN subscriptions with huge savings

With how much of our life is online these days security is something that you need to be focused on. Ensuring that your connection is secure when you are entering your banking details or composing those private emails should be something that you think about each time you connect to the internet. Unfortunately, you can't always connect to your home Wi-Fi, but using a VPN can get you a much safer connection, but that comes at a cost.

VPN subscriptions can get pricey, but not all of them have to be. There are a number of great options out there, some of which you can pay for by the year, but there are also some that come with a one-time lifetime fee. If you are looking to take advantage of a lifetime license, you can do some pretty afforadably right now. Here are some of the best deals you can get on a lifetime VPN subscription.

HotSpot Shield

  • Regular Price: $99.95
  • Deal Price & Savings: $49.99 (49% off)
  • Key feature: Best Connection Speeds

Of the variety of VPN services that are out there, HotSpot Shield offers some of the best connection speeds available. You can connect to 20 different virtual networks around the world to keep your browsing secure, bypass local censorship to view additional content and much more with it. You can take your public Wi-Fi sessions private in just one click and much more with HotSpot Shield VPN.

See at Android Central Offers

Windscribe VPN

  • Regular Price: $900
  • Deal Price & Savings: $49.99 (94% off)
  • Key feature: Browser Extension

Ease of use is definitely one of the strong points for Windscribe VPN, and the browser extension is a big part of that. In just a few clicks you can be connected to a secure network on which you can block most ads and not leave a trace of what you've been up to. You can use Windscribe VPN on all your devices at the same time, so you never have to sacrifice your security to browse on a different device.

See at Android Central Offers

VPN Unlimited

  • Regular Price: $499.99
  • Deal Price & Savings: $20 (94% off)
  • Key feature: The Price

You simply can not go wrong with the price of VPN Unlimited at just $20. With servers in 53 different locations, which span accross 39 countries, you'll be able to quickly and easily switch between servers while on the go. Securing your browsing sessions is super simple, and you have unlimited bandwith and unlimited high speed connectivity. For less than a nice dinner out on the town you could have a lifetime of access to a great VPN service.

See at Android Central Offers

VPNSecure: Lifetime Subscription

  • Regular Price: $450
  • Deal Price & Savings: $39 (91% off)
  • Key feature: Anti-Logging Policy

One of the biggest things that sets VPNSecure apart from the competition is its anti-logging policy, meaning that nothing you do will be logged and tracked. You can connect up to five devices at the same time, so you don't have to worry about ending a session on one device to start on another, and you also have unlimited bandwith. You'll also have access to servers in more than 46 countries, a hidden IP address and more with VPNSecure.

See at Android Central Offers

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2 months ago

Netflix may finally roll out offline playback, but not in the U.S.

21

Offline playback is coming to Netflix. Just not in the U.S.

Earlier this year, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that he was "open-minded" about bringing offline playback to the service. In an interview with CNBC, Netflix COO Ted Sarandos said that the company is "looking at" enabling the feature, with initial rollout expected in countries with limited internet availability:

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2 months ago

Best Transit App

4

For determining the easiest way to get from Point A to Point B, you'll want to rely on Citymapper.

Best overall

Citymapper

See at Google Play

Citymapper is the best transit app that you can use on your Android phone, as long as you are in a supported city. When you need help traversing larger cities, like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle or any number of international cities, that is where Citymapper comes in. The app can factor in buses, trains, subways, bikes and cabs, removing the daunting task of figuring out how to get from point A to B in the fastest or least stressful way possible.

Citymapper pulls all of this information into one place so you can check out the available options and see which is best for you. From directions that use the bus, subway, rail and even bikes, Citymapper will help you find the best place to get on the transportation method nearest you, and which stop you will want to get off. If you are one to travel into smaller cities, you may find that Citymapper doesn't yet offer support for it. Luckily, Citymapper is always looking to expand the areas that it supports and you can easily suggest a new location to be added.

Citymapper is a free app, but you are at the mercy of the locations that they pick to support.

Bottom line: If you often find yourself in big cities that you don't know your way around, you'll want to make sure that Citymapper is installed on your phone and ready to go.

One more thing: As of now the number of cities that are fully supported are somewhat limited, but if you are traveling to big cities this app will serve you well.

Why Citymapper is the best

A powerful app that brings all your local transit options to one place.

Citymapper is your best bet for getting around a new city, as long as it is one of the supported cities by the app. Whether you are looking to take a train to the other side of town, or take a bus to a different section, Citymapper pulls all the data into one place. You can easily see on the map how long it will take you to get somewhere with each transportation method, allowing you to easily pick the one that best meets your needs.

PCMag put some of the transit apps head to head and said:

For New York, Citymapper gave by far the best routes. It tells you which section of the train to get on for the easiest transfers, and even offers "rain safe" routes which are underground as much as possible. It had all of the oddball non-NYC Transit options in the New York metro area. Its bikeshare option (shown at left) clearly shows how many bikes are available and where to drop them off. It's only available in 30 cities, but I found it the clearest and best routing engine for most point-to-point routes.

The beauty of Citymapper is in its simplicity: you only need to open the app from your location and tell it where you want to go, and the extensive database will take into account the various means of getting somewhere — bus, subway, tram, even walking — to determine the ideal route. It's even smart enough to tell you when to leave to get there at a particular time, or which door to exit from to emerge from a subway closest to your location. The app is well-designed and extremely intuitive, and it functions as a replacement for Google Maps in every way but for driving directions.

Best for all locations

Google Maps

See at Google Play

If you are looking for options in the most places possible, Google Maps is likely your best bet. While the other apps specialize in particular cities, Google is a bit more generic. This can be a good and bad thing at the same time. Sure, you'll have more information at your fingertips with Google Maps, but the overall density of information may not be as high.

Once you find your location on the map, you'll be able to pick between driving, taking a bus, train routes, walking directions and more. From the settings you'll be able to set a time you want to leave or arrive so that you can see accurate commute options for that trip.

Bottom line: If versatility is what you are looking for, Google Maps may be your best bet. It won't offer all the options that other apps will, but you will have support in the most cities.

One more thing: Be sure to turn the traffic option on so you are able to see where you will hit delays on your journey.

Best for offline

Transit

See at Google Play

Transit offers support in more than 120 cities already both in and out of the U.S. From an easy way to grab step-by-step directions to get you around a new city to real-time predictions of when the next train or bus may arrive, Transit is quite powerful. The built-in map will show you where your train is, notifications of when to get off at your stop and more so you won't get lost in that new city.

Whether you have an internet connection or not you'll be able to view the schedule for upcoming departures, check estimated time of arrivals (ETAs) and even request an Uber if no other method of transportation meets your needs. It has support for nearly all methods of transportation, including ferry, Uber, bus, rail, train, bike, car2go and others.

Transit is a great alternative to Citymapper and a great addition to Google Maps for those times you may need more in-depth information about getting around where you are.

Bottom line: Transit offers support for more cities than Citymapper does, but its feature set isn't quiet as extensive.

One more thing: You'll have great support for a list of U.S. cities, and you can also use it in many cities in Canada, Europe, and Australia.

Best to customize

Transit Directions by Moovit

See at Google Play

Transit Directions by Moovit offers support for more than 1,200 cities around the world, which is far more than many of the other apps out there. Just because it supports more cities doesn't mean it's the best though. The interface is a bit different than others, and some may find that it works for them and others will be turned off and go back to another option.

The features within the app are great, though. With live directions that notify you when to get off at your stop, real-time arrival information, a favorites screen to quickly access places you frequently visit and more, there is no shortage of information in the app. The Moovit widget will help you keep an eye on your favorite destinations and travel lines to make sure things are operating as normal, and you can receive a notifications for service alerts when things aren't running as usual.

Bottom line: If the other options haven't met your needs, Moovit may be able to slide in with the assist. It offers similar features to the others, but with support for more cities.

One more thing: Service alerts will help keep you on top of your travel, even when you aren't looking at it with notifications of delays or other issues that will affect your travel.

Conclusion

Depending where you live or where you will be visiting, one app may work better than the others. If you are in a supported city, Citymapper is the way to go. If you aren't in one of them, you should suggest for it to be the next supported city, and then check out one of the other options. Don't want to have multiple apps installed to do this for you? Google Maps may be the way to go, but you may not see all your available routes this way.

Best overall

Citymapper

See at Google Play

Citymapper is the best transit app that you can use on your Android phone, as long as you are in a supported city. When you need help traversing larger cities, like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle or any number of international cities, that is where Citymapper comes in. The app can factor in buses, trains, subways, bikes and cabs, removing the daunting task of figuring out how to get from point A to B in the fastest or least stressful way possible.

Citymapper pulls all of this information into one place so you can check out the available options and see which is best for you. From directions that use the bus, subway, rail and even bikes, Citymapper will help you find the best place to get on the transportation method nearest you, and which stop you will want to get off. If you are one to travel into smaller cities, you may find that Citymapper doesn't yet offer support for it. Luckily, Citymapper is always looking to expand the areas that it supports and you can easily suggest a new location to be added.

Citymapper is a free app, but you are at the mercy of the locations that they pick to support.

Bottom line: If you often find yourself in big cities that you don't know your way around, you'll want to make sure that Citymapper is installed on your phone and ready to go.

One more thing: As of now the number of cities that are fully supported are somewhat limited, but if you are traveling to big cities this app will serve you well.

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2 months ago

Pokémon Go to bring daily and weekly bonuses for active users

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Niantic has posted news about an upcoming update for the Pokémon Go app, and a big feature of it will be daily bonuses for catching the lil' buggers. The bonuses will get better each consecutive day, and look to be an easy way to score experience points, Stardust and additional items from PokéStop visits.

We want to provide you a detailed look at a new feature coming soon to Pokémon GO - Daily bonuses! Trainers will soon be able to receive a bonus for certain daily activities, including catching a Pokémon or visiting a PokéStop once a day. You'll earn a larger bonus if you do this seven days in a row!

Catching a Pokémon every day will earn the following bonus:

  • 500 XP
  • 600 Stardust

Catching a Pokémon every day for 7 days straight will earn the following larger bonus:

  • 2,000 XP
  • 2,400 Stardust

Visiting a PokéStop and spinning the Photo Disc every day will earn the following bonus:

  • 500 XP
  • A number of additional items

Visiting a PokéStop every day for 7 days straight will earn the following larger bonus:

  • 2,000 XP
  • A greater number of additional items

If you catch a Pokémon at any time on Tuesday local time, you'll be eligible for the next daily bonus on Wednesday at 12 AM local time.

While the huge numbers of new daily players of Pokémon Go don't match the initial release numbers, the game is still extremely popular and making money for Niantic. Frequent updates and additional features and rewards are part of the reason. Love Pokémon or hate Pokémon, there's no denying that Niantic knows how to make a great app that plenty of people love. Updates like this show they also have a plan to keep them interested.

No word from Niantic about when we'll see the update other than coming soon. We'll take a look when it gets here.

Pokémon Go

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2 months ago

Best Android Launchers

590
Action Launcher 3 on the LG V20

For the most customization, slickest features and latest Google design influences, Action Launcher 3 is the best launcher available.

Andrew Martonik Andrew has been a mobile enthusiast since the Windows Mobile days, and covering all things Android-related with a unique perspective at Android Central since 2012. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at andrew.martonik@androidcentral.com or on Twitter at @andrewmartonik.

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Best overall

Action Launcher 3

Action Launcher

See at Google Play

Action Launcher brings a ton of thoughtful features plus lots of additional tweaks that you expect from a custom launcher. Replace the traditional app drawer with a slide-in Quickdrawer, maximize on-screen real estate with Shutters and tweak the home screen search bar with the customizable Quickbar. Beyond that, Action Launcher also offers theming options, suggestions for app icon replacements and a beta feature to normalize icon sizes.

At the same time, Action Launcher regularly incorporates the latest design and features from Google's own launcher, meaning you don't have to loose that Google feel when you get all of these extra features. For example those using Action Launcher on Android 7.1 today can already access to new app shortcut features from the home screen.

The best features of Action Launcher 3 require a paid upgrade to the Plus version, but it's worth every penny.

Bottom line: If you're feeling bored with your phone's launcher and want a feature-packed replacement, Action Launcher has you covered.

One more thing: You don't have to pay for Action Launcher's Plus features, but you really should if you plan to use it full-time.

Why Action Launcher 3 is the best

A super powerful launcher with plenty of slick customization options.

Action Launcher can be as simple or as feature-packed as you want it to be, depending on how you set it up. All of the tools are there to keep your home screens looking minimalistic while providing tons of features and options to make the most of the available space. Shutters and Quickcuts turn your app icons into so much more, while the customizable Quickbar takes what other launchers use as dead space and turns it into exactly what you want.

If you want co change the entire theme of your phone but don't want to fiddle around finding all of the pieces yourself, Action Launcher's theme engine helps you customize things so it all looks neat and tidy — including custom app icons — without all of the legwork. But if you don't mess with themes, you know you're getting a great Material Design look with inspiration from the latest Pixel phones, even if you haven't updated to Nougat just yet.

For just $4.99 you can unlock all of Action Launcher 3's features, and you really should give it a look if your current launcher is leaving a bit to be desired.

Best clean look

Google Now Launcher

Google Now Launcher

See at Google Play

If you want the clean, simple home screen experience just as Google intended, you'll want to use the Google Now Launcher. This is the launcher that's pre-installed on Nexus phones, and it's all about giving you a basic but extremely quick experience with access to your apps and widgets — and of course Google Now is just a single swipe away.

You don't get advanced options for extra gestures or themes, but some people prefer a simple layout and Google Now Launcher absolutely delivers in that respect. It's updated regularly by Google as well, though the future is uncertain with the Pixel phones now shipping with their own different launcher.

Bottom line: Use the Google Now launcher if you're looking for high stability and a consistent Android experience. Pair it with the Google Keyboard for the full experience.

One more thing: Things are a bit in flux right now in terms of the launcher on Nexuses versus Pixels — this launcher may soon take on a new look in the future.

Best to customize

Nova Launcher

Nova Launcher

See at Google Play

Nova is a massively popular launcher that offers a whole bunch of animation options, folder views and home screen behaviors. One particularly cool addition is swipe actions, which allow app icons to act as a folder with a swipe, or a standard app launch with a tap, similar to Action Launcher's feature.

Theming Nova with custom icons and custom wallpapers is easy, especially with the Google Drive integration. You can back up your Nova layouts and themes directly to the cloud service of your choice, and restore backups directly from the cloud, too, which can make setting up a new phone a great deal easier than putting everything back how you like it manually.

Nova is a highly functional launcher that can be as subtle or as loud as you like, making it completely unique if you spend the time tweaking it.

Bottom line: If you're willing to tweak things a bit, and are going for an exact look, Nova Launcher could be the one for you.

One more thing: Consider the $4.99 in-app purchase to unlock its more advanced features with the "Prime" upgrade.

Conclusion

Home Screen launchers are heavily influenced by personal taste, and while not everyone wants the same things from their launcher the robust feature set of Action Launcher can be the best choice for most people. It offers great features, lots of customization choices and integrates the latest design guidelines from Google.

Best overall

Action Launcher 3

Action Launcher

See at Google Play

Action Launcher brings a ton of thoughtful features plus tons of additional tweaks that you expect from a custom launcher. Replace the traditional app drawer with a slide-in Quickdrawer, maximize on-screen real estate with Shutters and tweak the home screen search bar with the customizable Quickbar. Beyond that, Action Launcher also offers theming options, suggestions for app icon replacements and a beta feature to normalize icon sizes.

At the same time, Action Launcher regularly incorporates the latest design and features from Google's own launcher, meaning you don't have to loose that Google feel when you get all of these extra features. For example those using Action Launcher on Android 7.1 today can already access to new app shortcut features from the home screen.

The best features of Action Launcher 3 require a paid upgrade to the Plus version, but it's worth every penny.

Bottom line: If you're feeling bored with your phone's launcher and want a feature-packed replacement, Action Launcher has you covered.

One more thing: You don't have to pay for Action Launcher's Plus features, but you really should if you plan to use it full-time.

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