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3 months ago

App Shortcuts on Nova Launcher: A little taste of Nougat

30
Shortcuts are cool

App Shortcuts are cool, if you can get them. Problem being most can't.

App Shortcuts — the little dropdown menu of shortcuts sorted into specific activities — came with Android 7.1 rather than 7.0, and haven't been widely implemented in the 4 months since it started rolling out in the Android 7.1 developer preview. It's half Force Touch, half gestures on steroids, and all awesome when implemented properly. There's just a few problems with getting it implemented properly: we need more devices that can use App Shortcuts, and we need more developers who are willing to enable it.

That's where Nova Launcher comes in.

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3 months ago

How to manage Chrome's Autofill feature

9

Chrome's Autofill feature remembers typos, too. Good thing editing is so easy!

Having the Chrome browser remember your details when filling out forms on the internet can be handy. Most times when you sign up for any service or buy something online, you'll need to enter the same information each time and a secure way to enter it all at once saves time and means fewer errors. But it's only a good thing if all the info is correct.

Thankfully, changing the data stored for Chrome's Autofill feature is simple. So is turning it off completely if you would rather not have this information about you — including your credit card numbers — stored in the cloud.

When you first enter information about yourself, Chrome can save it if you have the Autofill feature turned on. The information it saves ranges from the relatively harmless to the sensitive, including credit card information, as mentioned above. Here's a list of what gets saved when you're using Autofill.

  • Name
  • Organization
  • Street address, including city, state or province, ZIP/post code, and country
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Credit Card information

Your name and address are tied to credit card data in Chrome's Autofill settings or can be data from Google Payments. We think Google Payments is a better place to store your Credit Card information, including the associated name and billing address, but we'll include instructions for managing it through Chrome for completeness' sake.

Autofill data is in the cloud, not on a device. You always need to be aware of what data you're saving and where you're saving it when it comes to your personal information.

You can add, edit, or delete Autofill information at will through Chrome, both on your phone or from a desktop version, like the one you find on a Chromebook. Because the data is stored in your Google personal cloud, the information is the same across all instances of Chrome you're signed into. That's another good reason to make sure you sign out when you're finished on any computer you share with other people.

How to change the Autofill data through the desktop version of Chrome:

  1. Open the settings menu and scroll down to Advanced Settings. Click to open them.
  2. In the Passwords and Forms section, click the Manage Autofill settings link.
  3. To add an address, click Add new street address.
  4. To add a credit card, click Add new credit card.
  5. To edit an existing address or credit card, hover over its entry and click Edit.
  6. To delete an address or credit card, hover over its entry and click Delete.
  7. Click Done when you're finished.

You're unable to change addresses stored in Google Payments through Chrome's settings. To edit one of these, follow the same procedure and then sign into Google Payments in the new tab that opens.

Changing your Autofill data on the Android version of Chrome is almost the same. You'll need to open the settings and tap the Autofill forms entry to find your existing data or add new data. Once open, you'll see the same data as the desktop, displayed in a single scrolling list for a better mobile view. Add, edit, or delete your data the same way as mentioned above.

Turning Autofill off

If you don't want Chrome to hold your data and fill out forms, it's simple to turn the feature off. You might want to do this on some devices and not others, and in that case, you need to look at how to select exactly what to sync between devices.

Read: How to choose what you sync on Chrome across devices

To turn Autofill off in the desktop version of Chrome go to Settings > Advanced Settings > Passwords and Forms and uncheck the box labeled Enable Autofill to fill out web forms in a single click.

To turn Autofill off in the Android version of Chrome tap Settings and then Autofill forms. Tap the switch at the top to toggle it to the off position.

Questions?

Let us know in the comments below, or ask Jerry in our forums.

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3 months ago

Using an Android watch with multiple Google Accounts

4
LG Watch Sport

People with multiple accounts have some extra steps in Android Wear now.

Where previous versions of Android Wear acted as an extension of your phone, anything running Wear 2.0 is designed to work like it's a standalone Android device. A big part of setting up this experience is moving your Google Account over to the watch from your phone.

This is a fairly trivial thing to do with a single account, but if you use multiple Google Accounts on your phone and need information from multiple accounts to live on your watch, there're a few new things you're going to need to know about using Android Wear.

What does it mean to use multiple accounts on Android Wear?

Android Wear

When you move more than one Google Account to the watch, each becomes an option for Google's core services in Android Wear. For starters, it means you can install apps as either of your accounts from the Google Play Store app on the watch. Like the Play Store on your phone, this affects how you manage your apps, as well as where paid apps live when you buy them. Only one account exists at a time in these Wear apps as the "primary" app, allowing you to switch back and forth as you need.

It's important to make sure you have the right account set as your default.

The good news is notifications works seamlessly once you've moved your accounts over. If you get a notification from an account that isn't set as primary, you still receive it like you would any other notification and can interact without needing to manually switch between those accounts. This setup is a little more complicated than what was previously available for Android Wear, but it gives you a lot more flexibility and control regarding the notifications that show up on your watch and the things you can do with apps on your watch.

A good example of why you would need to switch accounts on a regular basis is Google Assistant. Even with multiple accounts available on your watch, you only want to use Assistant with a single account. Additionally, Assistant settings on your watch can only be adjusted on the phone with whatever account you currently have enabled on the watch. Since Google pulls data from the account you currently have selected, it's important to make sure you have the right account set as your default.

How to switch accounts on Android Wear

Most Google Apps on your phone have the ability to quickly switch between your Google Accounts. Watch apps aren't quite as functional, especially those that have not been updated to Android Wear 2.0. For all of Google's core functions, including Assistant, the default account is whatever you currently have enabled in the Play Store on your watch. This means, in order to set the correct Assistant for your watch, you need to have that account set on the Play Store.

Making the switch is simple.

  1. Go to the Play Store on your watch.
  2. Swipe down to access the Play Store settings.
  3. Tap the Accounts icon, and whichever account has green text next to it is the default account.
  4. To switch accounts, tap the account you want as the default, and you'll be returned to the Play Store.

Anything connected to Google on your watch will now use that account as the default.

Questions?

Let us know in the comments below!

Android Wear

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3 months ago

How to set an alarm on Android Wear 2.0

9

Is it easy to set an alarm in Android Wear 2.0? Absolutely!

Buzz! Buzz! That's the sound a smartwatch makes as it's buzzing you awake. You can set up your Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch to do the same by following these directions. Take note these directions only apply to the smartwatch, and not your Android smartphone. You'll have to set that alarm separately.

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3 months ago

How to stream music from your phone in an older car

37

Upgrading your car stereo capabilities on the cheap.

Story time: I've got an older car, a 2001 VW Jetta, that still runs great but lacks some of the modern amenities that I would prefer to have in my car. Most notably, my car stereo still prominently features a cassette deck along with FM/AM radio.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure this setup was out of date back in 2001.

I'm well past using physical media for my music, so I needed to find a way to transmit the music from my phone to my car stereo. Ideally, I'd want a car stereo with a touchscreen and support for Android Auto — though I would easily settle for Bluetooth connectivity, or at the very least an AUX input in a pinch — but that would typically require either buying a new car or investing in a new car stereo that is also compatible with my 16-year-old Volkswagen. Neither of those options sound cheap or easy, so I turned to car accessories to help me out.

As a quick fix, I picked up a classic cassette to AUX adapter, which served its purpose well and wasn't too cumbersome despite dealing with the red wire. Unfortunately, the harsh nature of Canada's winter was none too kind to that wire, and it's now time to upgrade… but again, I'm still in no position to buy a new car or get a new car stereo.

Instead, here's my guide to connecting your phone to your car stereo on the cheap.

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3 months ago

How to delete an app from Android Wear 2.0

0

Easily delete apps from Android Wear with just a few taps.

Android Wear 2.0 may have bundled in more features than you could bargain for into one tiny little operating system, but in some instances it's helpful to have certain features when your phone is too far to grab.

Delete an app from Android Wear 2.0

  1. Swipe down and tap Settings.
  2. Scroll up and tap Apps.
  3. Scroll down to the app you want to remove and tap it.
  4. Tap Uninstall.
  5. Tap the checkmark to approve the changes.

And now, you're one app less!

Android Wear

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3 months ago

Why do new phones ship with older versions of Android?

81

New phones shipping with outdated versions of Android isn't too surprising. The reasons? Release cycles, and Benjamin Franklin.

This summer, you'll see phones sold — expensive phones — that have older versions of Android. Brand new phones that cost hundreds of dollars and are the best models available. They will be on shelves beside other brand new phones that have "old" software on them, too. And not just models that have been available for a while, but just-released devices that we have heard about and are waiting to buy. For some, that can be frustrating. But there is a reason, and it's pretty simple.

It's known as opportunity cost. The idea behind opportunity cost is that all resources must be used efficiently. These resources could be monetary, but they also include things like time or any other corporate benefit. We're all more familiar with the idea the way Ben Franklin expressed it: "Remember that Time is Money."

It's no secret that most phones that run Android aren't using the latest software. The main reason is that it's not an easy task to keep phones updated because of Android's software licensing, and nobody involved in making your phone or the software on it wants things to change. Many of those same reasons apply when we see brand new shiny phones that have old software on them, too.

Building an operating system is hard and you can't change the platform in the middle of doing it.

Google only makes Android for the products they sell. They allow companies like Samsung or LG to build their own operating system based on Android any time they like because of a liberal software license. That's why Android became the dominant operating system so quickly, and it's also why your phone probably has an older version of Android, and has ever since you bought it.

It's not cheap to build and test an operating system. Sometimes it's comparatively easy; think of BlackBerry's Android phone and how they are patched on time every month when Google releases a security bulletin. The new code was designed to be merged into existing code, and all a company using it needs to do is check the parts they have changed compared to the download Google provides. Actual changes to the Android core are another matter, and even a bump from 7.0 to 7.1 can prove challenging. And expensive.

Software cycles versus hardware cycles

Samsung is likely going to show us a Galaxy S8 in late March. It may run Android 7.0 or it may run 7.1. The chance that it will be running 7.1.1 (the latest official version) is very slim because that particular version wasn't ready when Samsung was finalizing the software the way it wants it to be on the S8. And that's not going to be a big deal. It will be running Android Nougat and have the same application support as Google's Pixel. Phones that release near the beginning of the year are usually all like this and will only be a point or two behind.

Those point releases are nice but not critical. 7.1 is still just fine.

This becomes more of a problem for phones that come later in the year. Android gets its yearly platform update every autumn. Recent versions have had a beta testing cycle so we get to see them a few months before. But companies can't build their software based on beta code so any phone in late stages of production before the Android platform update will be a full platform version behind. That can have major implications when it comes to security and app compatibility.

In both cases, the time it would take to stop production and update the software before selling them would directly affect the amount of money a company makes from selling them. Companies that make things like phones exist only to make money.

Nobody at Samsung or LG or anyone else wants you to have old software on your phone. But because they have to do the updating themselves, it takes time. And time equals money.

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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3 months ago

How to change keyboards on Android Wear 2.0

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It's the stuff of dreams — a keyboard on your tiny watch face.

In all seriousness, it's nice to have a backup input method when Android Wear is having trouble understanding your commands. Android Wear 2.0 comes with built-in keyboard input capabilities, so you can tap or swipe around to reply to messages. And if you have other keyboard apps installed, you can switch to those as default input method, too.

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3 months ago

How to track your sleep with Android Wear 2.0

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Easily track your slumber with Sleep as Android.

How can you track your sleep patterns with Android Wear 2.0 if it doesn't come with a built-in sleep tracker? And why doesn't Android Wear natively feature sleep tracking abilities the way that most fitness bands do?

Unfortunately, I don't have the answer to the second question, but I can help you with your sleep tracking conundrum—especially if the smartwatch you brought home doesn't offer its own sleep tracking app. Try Sleep as Android on for size. It's a full blown sleep tracking app for your smartphone that actively listens as you sleep to determine whether you're sleeping well or hardly at all. The app also offers Android Wear sleep tracking functionality, as well as synchronization with your Google Fit account, and though the wearable app is merely a switch to turn on your phone's sleep tracking feature, it's better than using nothing at all.

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3 months ago

How to customize your avatar in Pokémon Go Gen 2

Pokémon Go has completely changed the way you customize your avatar in Gen 2. Here's what you need to know.

Along with many, many improvements, upgrades and changes to Pokémon Go in version 0.57.2, also known as Gen 2, the game has overhauled avatar customization with a new UI, in addition to a number of new styles and clothing options.

Here's everything you need to know about the new avatar customization in Pokémon Go Gen 2.

Everything you need to know about Pokémon Go Gen 2

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3 months ago

Which unlimited plan should you buy: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon?

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All four major carriers in the U.S. offer unlimited data plans. But which is the best?

This post was updated February 27, 2017 with the latest information.

With Verizon bringing back an unlimited data plan, the big four networks in the United States (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) all carry an unlimited data plan now. That's important for power users as well as anyone who uses their mobile broadband internet as their sole way to stay in touch or for entertainment. The cost of data overages means that unlimited data is a must for many of us.

But just because everyone offers unlimited data doesn't mean that all plans are equal. Pricing is important as are "extras" like tethering and the hidden data cap that pushes you back to slower 3G speeds when you reach it. And of course, zero-rating means we have to pay attention to what unlimited means when it comes to the quality of streaming media as well as the source.

We took a look at what each carrier has to offer so we can decide who delivers the very best unlimited data package. Let's start with a look at the details for each carrier.

AT&T

Unlimited Plus

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data
  • 10 GB mobile hotspot (tethering)
  • Unlimited talk and text to Canada and Mexico
  • Advanced messaging between compatible phones on the AT&T network
  • Unlimited talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico with free Roam North America Feature (if more than 50% of use is outside the U.S. the plan can be terminated)
  • Unlimited music and video streaming with optional Stream Saver for less data use
  • $25 monthly credit for DirecTV services
  • One line of service on an AT&T Unlimited Plus plan is $90
  • Two lines of service for $145
  • Up to eight additional lines (includes any phone, LTE tablets, LTE hotspots and connected cars) for $20 per line
  • Add a wearable for $10 per month

Unlimited Choice

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data
  • Data speeds capped at 3Mbps
  • Standard definition video streaming
  • One line of service on an AT&T Unlimited Choice plan is $60
  • Two lines of service for $115
  • Up to eight additional lines (includes any phone, LTE tablets, LTE hotspots and connected cars) for $20 per line
  • Add a wearable for $10 per month

Everything you need to know about AT&T's unlimited plans

Sprint Unlimited Freedom plan

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data (with certain restrictions)
  • Unlimited data for streaming video up to 1080p
  • Unlimited data for gaming up to 8Mbps
  • Unlimited data for streaming music up to 1.5Mbps
  • 10GB high-speed mobile hotspot with VPN and P2P support
  • Add a tablet with unlimited data for $25 per month
  • One line of service is $50
  • Two lines of service is $90
  • Three lines of service is $90
  • Four lines of service is $90

Everything you neeed to know about Sprint's Unlimited Freedom Plan

T-Mobile

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data with 200MB of roaming data
  • Unlimited talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico
  • One hour of free Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi and unlimited texting on enabled flights
  • Unlimited data and texting in over 140 locations at 2x speed (264kbps) (limited time offer)
  • Unlimited music and HD video streaming (limited time offer, applies only in the U.S.)
  • 10GB high-speed mobile hotspot use (limited time offer)
  • One line of service on a T-Mobile ONE plan is $70
  • Two lines of service for $100
  • Three lines of service for $140
  • Four lines is $160 and each additional line adds $20 to the total

A promotion starting March 1, 2017 allows post-paid customers with two or more lines to add another line free. This offer applies to T-Mobile ONE, Simple Choice and Simple Choice No Credit plans

Everything you need to know about T-Mobile's unlimited plans

Verizon

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data
  • Unlimited HD streaming video (see Verizon's Video Optimization Deployment page)
  • 10GB high-speed mobile hotspot
  • Add a tablet with unlimited data for $20 per month
  • Add a connected device for $5 per month
  • Unlimited calling and texting to and from Canada and Mexico
  • One line of service is $80
  • Two lines of service is $140
  • Three lines of service is $162
  • Four lines of service is $180

Everything you need to know about Verizon's unlimited plan

The best unlimited data plan

Update Fevruary 27, 2017 Because of the way all four companies have rapidly changed their plans and pricing since this article was originally written, we no longer recommend one carrier over any other. Use the company who provides you the best service and ignore the small differences in pricing.

The original article text is below.

As always, you have to choose the carrier that provides you the best coverage in the places you spend your time. Saving a few dollars for better perks is not worth struggling to find a signal. What works for someone else who might be hundreds or thousands of miles away should have little influence on your decision. Since everyone's coverage will be different, we have to treat each carrier equal on that front and base the decision on other criteria.

T-Mobile offers the best unlimited data plan in the U.S.

This is based on cost, data available for tethering and the "real" monthly allotment before you are throttled. One important thing puts it ahead of Verizon, and that's the notion that an $80 plan should cost $80. Not $80 with added fees and taxes. It sounds like a gimmick, but two lines on T-Mobile is going to cost about the same (or less) as a single line with a $5 connected device because of those fees. If we focus only on cost — which you should if you have equally good coverage — T-Mobile wins.

T-Mobile also beats Sprint's promotional plan because Sprint limits your ability to stream HD. We think a good data plan has to be able to entertain us in all ways, so we have to disregard anything that doesn't allow us to do just that. AT&T's offerings simply fall short and we hope recent changes from Verizon and T-Mobile get them to follow suit.As of February 17, 2017 AT&T now offers an unlimited data plan for up to four devices without the requirement of being a DirecTV subscriber. The new pricing is reflected above, and is considerably more expensive than T-Mobile or Sprint's plans.

If you have equally good coverage from all carriers and want to get the most value from your phone company you only have two real choices right now: T-Mobile or Verizon.

Recent user-data through Open Signal suggests that there is little difference in network speeds or total coverage, and pricing is very similar now, too. These two companies want your business and have been bickering for a while. They've also been adjusting their policies and rates to "out-do" each other which is awesome for us as consumers.

See plans at T-Mobile

See plans at Verizon

See plans at AT&T

See plans at Sprint

Your turn

What carrier do you subscribe to, and are you thinking of switching to either T-Mobile or Verizon? Let us know in the comments!

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3 months ago

Getting 'GPS signal not found' error in Pokémon Go? Here's how to fix it!

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Don't let GPS errors stop you from playing Pokémon Go!

Pokémon Go is everywhere, and that's great for Android gamers around the world. But if you're getting a "GPS signal not found" error when you launch the game, here's how to fix it!

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3 months ago

How to configure the hardware shortcut buttons on Android Wear 2.0

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LG Watch Sport

Watches are all about personalization — yes, even the hardware buttons.

Android Wear 2.0 opens up new hardware possibilities for wearable makers, including the inclusion of extra hardware shortcut buttons on the case. These buttons typically land above and below the power button on the side of the watch, and can be customized to launch any app that you have installed.

So if you have a watch with extra buttons running Android Wear 2.0 — like the LG Watch Sport — know that you don't have to stick with their default configuration. Here's how you can customize those hardware shortcut buttons.

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3 months ago

Top 5 ways to manage messy charging and power cables

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Drowning in cords, cables, and wires? We're here to help!

Getting a new desk, computer monitor, TV, or other device is exciting, but dealing with the power cords, charging cables, and all the other wires that come with those devices is a different story.

While it's impossible to do away with every cable or cord needed to run all your tech, there are a lot of ways to manage your cables more efficiently, which can help you eliminate the stress of a disorganized space.

1. Move closer to outlets

I live in an old house, and I know power outlets can sometimes be in some inconvenient spots, but if you can, moving closer to wall outlets will prevent power cables from needing to stretch across the room. This small change can help minimize the look of clutter, and prevent tripping over cables.

2. Go wireless where you can

Almost anytime you can go wireless; you will feel a bit of relief from your cable madness,

Wireless Bluetooth headphones and speakers are prime examples of gadgets that can reduce cable fatigue. Yes, I know, they both have charging cables, and I'll get to that in a second, but the freedom and mobility devices such as these offer is outstanding and truly make spaces cleaner.

While those are common examples of going wireless, less common but super helpful is using wireless HDMI.

It's not the cheapest solution or even the most practical for everybody, but if you have multiple TVs and dislike having to get an HDMI cord (or several) for each TV, you can always pick up a product like the IOGear Wireless HD Digital Kit.

Rated as The Wirecutter's best wireless HDMI transmitter, it's easy to see how this just how useful the IOGear can be.

"The IOGear transmitter base unit has two HDMI inputs and an HDMI output. This means you can have a TV, transmitter, and sources (Blu-ray, cable/satellite box, etc.) wired up in one room while wirelessly sending the same signal to another TV elsewhere in the house."

See at Amazon

3.Store small cables and adapters

Charging cables, dongles, and small power adapters add up over time, and I often find they are about 90% of my clutter — especially at my desk. It's good to having a place to store said small items is crucial to getting your cable chaos under control; invest in a cable organizer.

The BAGSMART travel organizer is the perfect way to store cables and adapter you're not using. I know, it's meant for travel, but there is no reason you could store this in a drawer or on a shelf by your desk.

With one zipper pouch — big enough to hold a large mobile phone — BAGSMART also includes some stretchy straps, which are ideal for keeping in oddly shaped or bulkier items.

Plus, if you ever do want to travel with it, the outside of the case is padded and has a slight rigidness to prevent your items on the inside from being damaged by scrapes and minor falls.

See at Amazon

4. Keep essential cords neatly arranged

You probably charge items like your phone and your tablet every day, which means you're going to want access to those cords often and with ease.

An item like the YOCOU 5-Channel Cable Management System can tidy up your workspace and keep your most important cables readily available.

The small grooves will hold in pace almost any wire or cord that's ¼-inch or less in diameter, and It has an adhesive back that sticks to any flat surface so you can mount it wherever works best for you.

See at Amazon

5. Tie together excess cords

Some cords and cables are comically long, leaving you to deal with several feet of cord that inevitably ends up in a tangled mess behind your TV, computer, desk, etc. If you're going to have an excess amount of cord hanging around, why not make it look neat?

Wrapping your excess cord together with a velcro strap is an excellent way to eliminate some clutter. It's especially useful for cords and cables that you don't need to move often.

For example, The HDMI cable from your gaming console to your TV or the power cord for your computer speakers. If you don't regularly need to move the position of the item you're plugging in, strap that sucker down!

How to you keep your cables organized?

Have any other tips for keeping your cords and cable tidy? Share them in the comments below.

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3 months ago

Where to buy the Samsung Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro

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Samsung Chromebook Pro

Samsung's latest Chromebooks are here, and you have plenty of places to buy them.

With the two new laptops, Samsung has tossed its hat into the ring to be considered for the best mid-range Chromebooks available today. With a thin-and-light metal frame, brilliant QHD display and a stylus, it's worth taking a look at these machines. Your only decision is whether to buy the $550 "Pro" model with an Intel Core m3 processor, or the $450 "Plus" version with a lower-powered ARM processor.

The more mainstream Chromebook Plus is hitting stores first, with the Chromebook Pro to follow at the end of April. This is everywhere you can pick up the latest Chromebooks from Samsung.

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