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2 months ago

HTC Bolt specs: Snapdragon 810, 3GB RAM, 3200 mAh battery, IP57 resistance

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HTC Bolt

HTC's latest high-end phone is Sprint exclusive and has an interesting combination of specs.

The Bolt doesn't necessarily swing for the fences with all of the top-end specs, but rather has a mixture of the latest line items along with some (somewhat puzzling) last-gen components. The biggest head scratcher is the older Snapdragon 810 processor and just 3GB of RAM, which both fall short of the modern standard for late 2016. On the other end you get a great, big, high-resolution display, high-end camera specs and IP57 water resistance, together with BoomSound speakers and extra audio tuning through the USB-C port.

Here's the complete spec sheet for the HTC Bolt.

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2 months ago

Google crushes EU regulator's antitrust arguments against Android

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The Google strikes back.

Google is hitting back against European Commission claims that by bundling all of its apps and services with most Android phones, Google is exhibiting antitrust tendencies.

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2 months ago

Best Waterproof Phone

The best phones are ones you can take out in the rain or drop into a sink. The best of the best is the Galaxy S7.

Best Overall

Samsung Galaxy S7

See at AT&T See at Sprint See at T-Mobile See at Verizon

We've touted many aspects of the Galaxy S7 since its release: its design, its screen, its camera, and its software. But one thing is often overlooked in the Android ecosystem: waterproofing. With an IP68 rating that should be good up to one metre for 30 minutes, the Galaxy S7 can withstand the odd plunge into a pool or epic rainstorm.

Elsewhere, the phone hits all the right marks. Powered by a Snapdragon 820 processor, it is wildly fast, and should get more so with an upgrade to Android 7.0 Nougat. Better, its 4GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage primes it for the next couple of years, while its camera is still best-in-class months after its release. Not only is the Galaxy S7 attractive, with a nicely-curving rear glass back that connects to polished aluminum bezels, but its 5.1-inch form factor fits nicely in the hand.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S7 is an all-around great phone that is a no-brainer if you're looking for the ultimate in waterproofing.

One more thing: If you want something a bit more robust, check out the AT&T exclusive Galaxy S7 Active. It may not be quite as beautiful, but it's a bit more drop-resistant, if that's your thing. And if you want something a bit more accessible, the Galaxy S7 edge is slightly larger but just as water resistant.

Why the Galaxy S7 is the best

There's something nice about being caught in the rain.

It's truly reassuring to know that your phone can withstand inclement weather — whatever form that may take. The Galaxy S7 not only withstands wind, rain, snow and other torrents, but it doesn't have to cover anything to do so; its Micro-USB port, speaker and headphone jack are fully exposed and don't need any silly covers.

Waterproofing is just one aspect of the Galaxy S7's dominance, and differentiates it from our favorite Android phone at the moment, the Google Pixel. That phone is barely water resistant, and Samsung adds a considerable amount of value to the Android ecosystem giving its flagship products (RIP Note 7) waterproofing. The Galaxy S7 is also more competitive with the new iPhone 7 as a result of this ingress protection — its IP68 is somewhat more substantial than the iPhone's IP67 (though there are arguments to be made that they are more or less the same).

Having a waterproof phone also allows for some cool underwater experiences: the Galaxy S7 can take photos and shoot videos below the meniscus, which saves you an expensive case and a bunch of anxiety.

Best alternative

Sony Xperia XZ

See at Amazon

The Xperia XZ is Sony's latest flagship, and it's a pretty great phone, accessible through Amazon in the U.S. Sony has a great pedigree of waterproof phones going all the way back to the early Xperia Z lineup, and the XZ is the company's best example yet. A 5.2-inch 1080p display may not seem sufficient in today's market, but it's a great panel, with vivid colors and excellent viewing angles. Similarly, Sony has taken its 23MP camera to the next level with new stabilization tech.

Ultimately, though, the Xperia XZ encompasses Sony's philosophy of iterative but progressively better hardware and software, with experiences that mirror Google's own Android versions.

Bottom line: If you're not taken with Samsung's design or software, or want something a bit bigger and more substantial — or unlocked and cheaper — the Sony Xperia XZ is a great option.

One more thing: Looking for something a bit smaller from Sony with water resistance? The Xperia X Performance costs a bit less, has a more diminutive 5-inch form factor, and is just as fast.

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy S7, or its larger Galaxy S7 edge, are equally good phones for different users, but they both boast incredible specs, amazing screens, and waterproofing. It's that last note we're highlighting here because, for many people, it's the difference between a usable phone and a call to warranty.

Best Overall

Samsung Galaxy S7

See at AT&T See at Sprint See at T-Mobile See at Verizon

We've touted many aspects of the Galaxy S7 since its release: its design, its screen, its camera, and its software. But one thing is often overlooked in the Android ecosystem: waterproofing. With an IP68 rating that should be good up to one metre for 30 minutes, the Galaxy S7 can withstand the odd plunge into a pool or epic rainstorm.

Elsewhere, the phone hits all the right marks. Powered by a Snapdragon 820 processor, it is wildly fast, and should get more so with an upgrade to Android 7.0 Nougat. Better, its 4GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage primes it for the next couple of years, while its camera is still best-in-class months after its release. Not only is the Galaxy S7 attractive, with a nicely-curving rear glass back that connects to polished aluminum bezels, but its 5.1-inch form factor fits nicely in the hand.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S7 is an all-around great phone that is a no-brainer if you're looking for the ultimate in waterproofing.

One more thing: If you want something a bit more robust, check out the AT&T exclusive Galaxy S7 Active. It may not be quite as beautiful, but it's a bit more drop-resistant, if that's your thing. And if you want something a bit more accessible, the Galaxy S7 edge is slightly larger but just as water resistant.

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2 months ago

Why specs matter more when purchasing phones for business

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Why do specs matter when buying a phone for business?

There are people who upgrade their phones every year because they can. There are others who choose to hold out until their screens are shattered and power buttons frayed, safe in the knowledge that they can update to any new phone at any time. Those are the people we call consumers.

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Many businesses that issue phones and their employees don't have such luxuries. Sure, we're getting more comfortable with the notion of BYOD — bring your own device — but most business phone users are limited in the phones they can use and, perhaps more importantly, when they can upgrade. Which is why making the right decision at the beginning is so important.

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2 months ago

Android 7.0 Nougat beta program officially kicks off for the S7 and S7 edge

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Get a preview of TouchWiz on Nougat.

Samsung's Android 7.0 Nougat beta program for the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge is now official in the U.S., UK, and South Korea, and will kick off in China shortly. With the Galaxy Beta Program, Samsung is providing early access to its updated user interface, giving users the ability to try out the latest features before they become widely available and share their feedback.

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2 months ago

Does Google's commitment to iOS make the iPhone a better buy?

148

A serious question.

Earlier this week, Google released a redesigned version of its Gmail app for iOS, bringing it more in line with its Android equivalent. It's a big upgrade, and something that, after years of neglect, seemed a long time coming.

But it also brought back to life an argument that, for many people, the iPhone, with its impressive hardware, great camera(s), rich app ecosystem and, of course, iMessage, may be a better showcase for Google services than Android itself. Of course, many disagree, but the iPhone has a 44% market share in the U.S., and Apple maintains a lot of influence over the smartphone world.

For some Android faithful, Google's commitment to iOS development is confusing: why create great apps for a competing platform when you want people to buy Galaxys, Motos and, ideally, Pixels? Ultimately, Google wants your data, and wants to show you ads, and will do so wherever people are, and that is increasingly on iOS and Android.

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2 months ago

Samsung isn't messing with Nougat too much

87

Not messing with a good thing.

So far, we've only seen a couple of interpretations of Android 7.0 Nougat from companies that aren't Google, and the results have been a mixed bag.

Now, Samsung is on the verge of releasing a beta version of its take on Nougat, and from initial screenshots and video, it appears that the Korean company isn't changing too much.

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2 months ago

OnePlus 3T with Snapdragon 821 will be unveiled on Nov 15

39

Qualcomm confirmed yesterday that OnePlus' upcoming phone will be powered by the Snapdragon 821, and now we have a launch date. OnePlus announced on Twitter that it will unveil the handset — likely called the OnePlus 3T — on November 15:

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2 months ago

The importance of selecting a secure phone for business

12

There are plenty of great Android phones with the consumer in mind, but Android can make a great choice for a corporate environment or small business, too.

We assume that phones are secure. That might be the case when they are first released, but not all manufacturers provide users with the latest security patches. When deploying phones for a large scale organization, selecting a secure phone is paramount. We'll highlight phones that provide the highest levels of security and discuss how and why they are doing it.

More: The most secure Android phones

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Buying a phone for corporate use is different that it is for a consumer. While many of us are looking for phones with the best cameras or waterproof cases, the IT department in any corporate environment is concerned about two things: can they effectively administer the device and is it secured against remote data theft. All smartphones can get your email and they all make calls or send texts. But not very many are built for business use.

Whether you're buying a phone for your own small business or in the process of buying hundreds for a company-wide deployment it's important to make the right choice when you buy an Android phone. There are several that fit the bill, and none of them is a chore to use.

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2 months ago

Google might torpedo Qualcomm Quick Charge in future Android versions

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Quick Chargers

New Android compatibility definitions warn manufacturers against using nonstandard USB charging methods.

Between Qualcomm Quick Charge, MediaTek Pump Express, Oppo VOOC, OnePlus Dash Charge, Huawei SuperCharge, Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging and Motorola Turbo Charge, fast charging methods on Android phones are kind of a mess. Some of them overlap, but not all are interoperable, and when you consider that some require not only a custom charger but a specific cable, it's a confusing situation for consumers.

And given the potential safety issues with dodgy USB-C chargers and cables, it's easy to see why Google, as a platform holder, might want to step in.

In the latest Android Compatibility Definition Document — which lays out the rules manufacturers must adhere to in order to ship Google-approved Android 7.0 devices — the company lays out some strong recommendations intended to nudge phone makers away from nonstandard USB-C charging methods like Qualcomm QuickCharge. The references, first spotted by Android Police, suggest such changes may come into force in future Android versions.

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2 months ago

Most Secure Android Phone

Most Android phones claim to be good at keeping your private stuff private. But the Google Pixel is the most secure Android phone you can buy, thanks to the latest Android software, and the fastest updates.

Best overall

Google Pixel

See at Google See at Verizon

The Google Pixel is the most secure Android phone you can buy, and one of the most secure phones of any available today.

Without disabling any security protections, the Pixel and Pixel XL are protected against known public security exploits and remote installations are monitored by Google's scanning software which blocks potential malicious content. While security and privacy are two very different things, when you decide you want private things to stay private you need to make sure your phone is secure to keep them that way.

One of the things that make the Pixel and Pixel XL the best is that they use the latest — and most secure — version of Android. It's also updated monthly with fixes for security exploits (both known and unknown) directly from Google. For those who can't wait for the update to reach them, the update files are hosted by Google for download and installation. More importantly, the changes and code behind these fixes are available for peer review so they can be made more robust. The people trying to break in are working hard, so the people trying to prevent it need to work harder. Google's bug bounty program and developer community combined with Android's open nature make the Pixel and Pixel XL the most secure Android phones you can buy.

Bottom line: The open-source nature of Android and the dedicated Android security team work in tandem to make the Pixel and Pixel XL the best phones when it comes to security and privacy.

One more thing: The Pixel and Pixel XL also show us that a secure phone that's great to use is a reality.

Why the Google Pixel is the best

A phone you want to use can also keep your data safe — and it comes in two sizes to fit everyone.

Every device that can connect to the internet has exploits available that break the default security configuration. If your phone isn't getting timely updates to combat them, you're simply not secure. We keep a vast amount of private — and priceless — data on our phones, and we all should care about keeping it safe from outside attacks. After you read all the agreements and decide what you're willing to give away, you should expect the remainder to stay private.

The Pixel phones are updated directly from Google with the latest version of Android. Outside of any new features that may come with, the device security model has been updated and strengthened by a dedicated team who regularly audits and enhances the code used to build Android. On top of this, Google releases updates to the security model at the beginning of every month for the people who build Android phones to apply to their software. These are important. More important than any other update. the Nexus 6P will get every one of them for its lifespan.

Equally important, but often overlooked, is transparency. You shouldn't have to trust a company when they say something is secure or updated, and the Android code for both the platform version and all updates is available for anyone to take a look at. Plenty of people do, and despite any opinions to the contrary, Android, as written, has proven to be a very secure platform. A phone like a Pixel is the embodiment of this.

Most important of all is that both Pixel phones are not only secure but are also phones that you'll want to use. No compromise is needed and the 5-inch Pixel and 5.5-inch Pixel XL both share the same fast processor and other internal components. A great — and secure — experience is available for fans of both sizes.

Best for typing

BlackBerry Priv

See at Amazon

BlackBerry's Android debut brings a QWERTY sliding keyboard to a premium smartphone. And the security is nothing to sneeze at.

BlackBerry is legendary when it comes to mobile device management and security, and they follow that trend when they use Android to power their phones. In some ways, the Priv is more secure than any other Android phone — the bootloader and application manager use what BlackBerry calls a root of trust so that the phone just won't work if software is able to get through the first line of defense. We've put that to the test, and while hyperbole usually surrounds any claim coming from a company who wants your money, this one rings true.

Two things keep the Priv from being our overall best choice — Android platform updates don't come as quickly as we would like, and BlackBerry isn't very transparent when it comes to the things they do to further harden Android. Monthly updates for existing and potential security issues come the first Monday of every month, and we have no reason to doubt BlackBerry's commitment to security — we just shouldn't have to take their word. If you're looking for a secure Android phone that's great to use and has a legendary BlackBerry keyboard, the Priv is right for you.

Bottom line: BlackBerry is a company with a reputation on the line when it comes to mobile security. they live up to expectations with the Priv.

One more thing: The BlackBerry is usually the first phone to get the monthly Android Security Bulletin update — hours before google releases the bulletin itself!

Best for simplicity

BlackBerry DTEK50

See at Amazon

BlackBerry says the DTEK50 is the world's most secure Android phone.

Using the same methods as the more expensive Priv to keep Android up to date and hardened to BlackBerry's specifications, the DTEK50 adds an enhanced version of their DTEK software tool to monitor application and system use to warn you when something isn't playing nicely. While this software is available as an update for the Priv, the out-of-the-box experience on the DTEK50 lets BlackBerry claim the most secure title.

In addition to the things that keep the Priv from being our pick, the experience of using the DTEK50 isn't as pleasant as the other phones on our list. Clearly designed as an entry-level phone for people who need connectivity and security, the phone is well worth the asking price. But it's just not a smooth as any of the other phones here.

That shouldn't tarnish the DTEK50's reputation, though. If you're looking for something safe and affordable with access to well over a million apps — and a tool to monitor them all — the DTEK50 may be just what you're looking for.

Bottom line: BlackBerry knows that security doesn't only apply to the flagship phones and the DTEK50 is a welcome addition for many users and IT managers.

One more thing: Scott Wenger, VP of design and devices for BlackBerry says DTEK stands for "Detection."

Conclusion

Media outlets like to give Android a bad reputation when it comes to security, and it's difficult to blame them. Old, outdated software from manufacturers with no real concern for your security or privacy are the norm when it comes to phones running Android. But it doesn't have to be this way.

The Google Pixel delivers a great smartphone experience that ticks all the boxes for reviewers and users alike, and with no modifications, your personal data is very safe. A team of security professionals and engineers are dedicated to keeping it that way. Any of the phones on our list will do a great job when it comes to security, but the overall experience makes the Google Pixel the best.

Best overall

Google Pixel

See at Google See at Verizon

The Google Pixel is the most secure Android phone you can buy, and one of the most secure phones of any available today.

Without disabling any security protections, the Pixel and Pixel XL are protected against known public security exploits and remote installations are monitored by Google's scanning software which blocks potential malicious content. While security and privacy are two very different things, when you decide you want private things to stay private you need to make sure your phone is secure to keep them that way.

One of the things that make the Pixel and Pixel XL the best is that they use the latest — and most secure — version of Android. It's also updated monthly with fixes for security exploits (both known and unknown) directly from Google. For those who can't wait for the update to reach them, the update files are hosted by Google for download and installation. More importantly, the changes and code behind these fixes are available for peer review so they can be made more robust. The people trying to break in are working hard, so the people trying to prevent it need to work harder. Google's bug bounty program and developer community combined with Android's open nature make the Pixel and Pixel XL the most secure Android phones you can buy.

Bottom line: The open-source nature of Android and the dedicated Android security team work in tandem to make the Pixel and Pixel XL the best phones when it comes to security and privacy.

One more thing: The Pixel and Pixel XL also show us that a secure phone that's great to use is a reality.

This article was originally published in October 2016. It was last updated in November 2016 with information about the Google Pixel.

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2 months ago

Canadians can now sign up to use Samsung Pay with CIBC cards

6

Samsung and CIBC are teaming up to offer Samsung Pay to Canadians with "select" CIBC credit cards, as we previously reported.

Now, Samsung Canada has put up a landing page allowing users to sign up to receive an email to receive a link to download Samsung Pay on a compatible Galaxy device. Seems fairly convoluted, but there we go.

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2 months ago

Moto M unveiled in China with metal body and 3050mAh battery

19

After a spate of leaks, the Moto M is now official in China. The specs are in line with what we've seen in the leaks, with the phone offering a 5.5-inch Full HD display with 2.5D curved glass, 2.2GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P15 SoC with Mali T860MP2 GPU, 4GB of RAM, 32GB storage, microSD slot, 16MP camera with dual-tone flash and PDAF, 8MP front shooter, 4G with VoLTE, Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, USB-C, and a 3050mAh battery,

Essentially, the phone looks like a metal-clad variant of the moto G4 Plus with the fingerprint sensor moved to the back, and USB-C connectivity. The Moto M also has a nano coating that makes it resistant to the occasional splash, and Lenovo has bundled Dolby Atmos tech. On the software side of things, we're treated to Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.

The phone will go on sale starting November 11 in the country, retailing for ¥1,999 ($295). It will be sold in gold and silver color options, and as of now there's no mention of global availability. Given its retail price, the Moto M slots in between the budget Moto G4 Plus and the mid-range Moto Z Play.

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2 months ago

Sony's 'Concept for Android' brings Nougat to the Xperia X

0

Sony offers a taste of Nougat with its Concept program.

Sony introduced the "Concept for Android" program last year, allowing select users to preview upcoming software features before they're widely available. Since the program's introduction, Sony has dialed back on overt customizations to conform to a Material Design core, instead providing differentiation in the form of services.

After seeing a lot of success with the Marshmallow Concept, Sony is now rolling out the Nougat-based Concept build to Xperia X owners in Europe.

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2 months ago

The stunning Blue Coral Galaxy S7 edge is now up for pre-order at AT&T

24

Samsung announced last week that it would offer a Blue Coral color option for the Galaxy S7 edge, and the variant is now up for pre-order at AT&T. You'll be able to pick one up for $794 outright, $26 per month for 30 months, or $33 monthly via AT&T's Next plans.

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