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20 hours ago

Android N is Nougat!!!

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After what has seemed like the longest wait since the last time we had to wait for an Android nickname, we now know what Android N will be called.

Nougat.

Google announced the latest nickname — its 12th — live from its campus in Mountain View, Calif., sharing the tasty treat on Snapchat, but not before a lengthy tease. Through the Android statue garden, into some "top-secret Android N labs." And finally, we got it.

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20 hours ago

Best Android lock screen and lock screen replacement apps

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Best Android lock screen and lock screen replacement apps

What's the best lock screen app for Android?

For most folks, the standard Android lock screen is just fine. For some, however, it's not quite customizable enough. For those people, there are lock screen replacement apps that allow you to tweak the way you see the time, notifications, the layout, and much more.

Here are a few of our favorites.

ZUI Locker-Elegant Lock Screen

ZUI Locker

ZUI Locker has over 240,000 5-star reviews in the Google Play Store and it's definitely the best of the best Android lock screen replacement apps.

You can download all sorts of themes that include a time widget, weather widget, wallpaper, and more (or less, if you prefer) or you can use any of the stock wallpapers and themes available right in the app. Customize your lock screen the way you want that's best for you.

The best feature of ZUI Locker is the Control Panel, á la iOS. You just swipe up from the bottom of your lock screen and many of your most-used settings are there for you to control without having to unlock your phone.

You can turn on/off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular data (requires you to unlock your phone), control brightness, enable Flight mode, and, best of all, turn on the flashlight (as an Galaxy S5 user, this is a godsend!). You can also quick-launch apps from the Control Panel, and you have your choice of which apps and how many are in your panel.

If you're looking for a versatile and customizable lock screen replacement app with really useful functionality, then ZUI Locker should be your app of choice.

Download: ZUI Locker-Elegant Lock Screen (free)


AcDisplay

AcDisplay

If you yearn for a simple, minimalist look for your lock screen, AcDisplay is the lock screen app for you. It features a flat black background with the time and date, and that's it. Notifications show up as app icons alone — tap 'em and unlock your phone and away you go.

The downside is that AcDisplay isn't a true lock screen replacement app, so it doesn't work unless you have the app open. If you're someone who likes a clean phone and hates apps left open, then steer clear. It also doesn't presently support pin or pattern verification, so you phone can be unlocked with just a swipe.

If you like a clean lock screen that shows the bare necessities and aren't concerned with locking your phone, then AcDisplay is perfect for you. Just be aware that AcDisplay becomes a device administrator, so if you ever want to uninstall it, you'll first have to deactivate it in your settings.

Download: AcDisplay (free)


Start Lock Screen

Start Lock Screen

Start Lock Screen is essentially a start screen on your "lock" screen. "Lock" in quotes because this app doesn't replace your lock screen; it actually just masks your home screen, so your Notification shade is still fully accessible.

This is truly a lock screen app for those who need quick access to their phone at all times. That means your phone isn't totally locked and therefore not as secure as some folks may like.

If you prefer the convenience of quick-launching apps without having to poke around your home screen, then Start Lock Screen is your solution. You just tap and hold the lock and app categories pop up, featuring all of the apps that apply. For example, there's a messaging apps category wherein you can just tap an app such as Hangouts, and be taken right into it.

If you're all for accessing your phone right out of your pocket but still want some separation from instant total access, then Start Lock Screen is a very capable middle man.

Download: Start Lock Screen (free)


Echo Notification Lockscreen

Echo Notification

Perhaps the prettiest lock screen app on the list, Echo Notification Lockscreen is a smooth, streamlined lock screen replacement that categorizes your notifications so you can quickly see what's important. You can even snooze notifications so you'll be reminded of them after a while.

The two main categories are Priority and Social, and there are already predetermined apps divided among these camps, but you can go into Echo's settings and change them around at will. So if Facebook notifications are a priority to you, you can make sure they're noted under that category.

There are only three stock wallpapers available, one of which happens to be a boring gray background. But the others are high quality, and you can always add in your own photos.

Echo offers swipe, pattern, or PIN security, and out of all the apps on this list, seems to behave the best, i.e. it works all the time.

If you want a very straightforward lock screen replacement app without all the bells and whistles that others have, but also want your notifications organized for you, check out Echo Notification Lockscreen.

Download: Echo Notification Lockscreen (free)

Locker Master

Locker Master

Locker Master is another pretty lock screen replacement app with a plethora of free wallpapers to download.

If you'd like to intricately personalize your lock screen, down to the layout, font, wallpaper, and what information is shown, then Locker Master is the lock screen replacement app for you. You can add text, the time, your battery percentage, and more to your lock screen, all while controlling the color of each widget and the look of each widget. There are myriad font and style options to download for free, allowing for limitless possibilities unlimited.

Locker Master can be a tad on the buggy side (like any lock screen replacement app), but it will definitely sate the appetite of the customization beast that lives inside you.

Download:Locker Master (free)


Lock Screen - Iphone Lock

Lock Screen - Iphone Lock

OK, so right of the bat, yes, the developers aren't capitalizing iPhone properly — who knows why. In any case, if you made the switch from iPhone to Android and still need to wean yourself off iOS, this app makes your lock screen look just like — HOW DID YOU GUESS?!? — an iPhone lock screen.

Sarcasm aside, this lock screen replacement app actually works quite well, aside from taking a few seconds to engage and the occasional flash of your home screen when you manually wake up your phone.

Your notifications will only show in your Notification bar, but you'll have full access to your Notification Shade when your screen is locked, so this app acts as more of a home screen mask than a true lock screen.

If you're missing your iPhone lock screen, then Lock Screen - Iphone Lock is the lock screen app you've been pining for.

Download: Lock Screen - Iphone Lock (free)

What do you use?

Do you use a lock screen or lock screen replacement app on your Android device? Sound off in the comments below!

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21 hours ago

Microsoft's Arrow Launcher for Android adds Office 365 document access

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Microsoft has released version 2.0 of its Arrow Launcher for Android. The update allows users with an Office 365 subscription to access and read any documents they have stored without the need to open an Office app.

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21 hours ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 preview: Specs, software, release info and more!

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Samsung phones

Once again, it's almost Galaxy Note time — and 2016's big-screen Samsung phone looks like being the best in years.

Samsung's Galaxy Note series has always been a fan favorite. It's said among followers of the series that the only thing which can replace a Note is another Note. And so after a strong showing earlier in the year with the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, all eyes are on the Galaxy Note 7, due for arrival in the second half of the year.

As usual, the rumor mill is buzzing with speculation about what we can expect from the latest in a popular line of big-screened phones. And to help you cut through the hype and speculation, we've collected all the most reliable info here, in our Samsung Galaxy Note 7 preview. Read on to learn more.

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21 hours ago

Google Calendar is down

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It's not just you. Google calendar is down.

From the app status dashboard:

We're investigating reports of an issue with Google Calendar. We will provide more information shortly. Users of Google Calendar see 'Server Error' page intermittently.

If all you do in your daily existence is Google Calendar, now would be an excellent time to attempt to do something else.

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21 hours ago

Samsung Gear VR owners will get to view lots of the Rio Olympics in virtual reality

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NBC will give owners of the Samsung Gear VR headset free access to 85 hours of virtual reality coverage of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

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22 hours ago

AT&T customers can claim free movie ticket as part of new rewards program

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AT&T has officially started its new rewards program by offering all of its post-paid wirelss customers a free movie ticket if they buy one for a Tuesday showing at an AMC or Regal movie theater.

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22 hours ago

Two-factor authentication: What you need to know

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You should use two-factor authentication on every account that offers it. Here's an explainer of what it is, and why you want it.

You see a lot of talk on the internet about two-factor authentication (or 2FA as it's commonly called) but most times its just people like us telling you to use it. And we'll continue that trend and start this bit of prose by telling you to use 2FA whenever and wherever you can. But we're also going to let you know what it is, and why it's important that you use it. Read on.

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22 hours ago

Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius brings its turn-based gameplay to mobile

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Square Enix has launched Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius in the U.S. and worldwide, following its release in Japan earlier this year. This free-to-play turn-based game is one of the rare ones in the long running franchise to be created specifically for mobile devices.

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23 hours ago

Samsung deserves praise (and a little criticism) for the U.S. unlocked Galaxy S7 launch

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Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

Finally, the Galaxy S7 you want is available in the U.S.

Rather than dealing with the sub-optimal experience of buying from a carrier directly — living with a deplorable amount of bloatware, slow software updates and all sorts of "gotcha" moments — you can now just go to one of several retailers and buy an honest-to-goodness unlocked Galaxy S7 or S7 edge. It's exactly what we've been asking for year after year — just sell us the phone directly, and relegate the carriers to just offering service.

Now Samsung could have done the bare minimum here just to say it has unlocked versions of the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge available in the U.S. — it certainly did so with the U.S. unlocked Galaxy S6. But I'm happy to heap praise on Samsung for going the extra mile this year. These aren't just un-branded versions of a previous model, or European phones with a new charger in the box — the U.S. unlocked Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are equipped specifically to work best in the U.S., and that means full support for all four major carriers — yes, including Verizon and Sprint.

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1 day ago

Samsung gives the U.S. the perfect Galaxy S7 — unlocked!

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It's the best Android phone you can buy, no longer shackled to the U.S. carrier system and weighed down by bloatware.

Samsung, seemingly answering the prayers of many a smartphone nerd, today announced that it is selling the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge in the United States unlocked. That is, they'll work on any carrier you want, come without a carrier's preinstalled bloatware, presumably get updates faster — and generally just be more badass.

The unlocked Galaxy S7 costs $669. The unlocked Galaxy S7 edge runs $769. The phones will be sold directly by Samsung, as well as at Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, Sam's Club and online from Target. Select distributors also will have access to the unlocked GS7.

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1 day ago

What bands are supported in the U.S. unlocked Samsung Galaxy S7?

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Pretty much all the bands are supported in the Samsung Galaxy S7. Thanks for asking.

The thing about having a SIM-unlocked smartphone is that it still has to be able to support the bands — that is the radio frequencies — of wherever it is you're trying to use it. And the unlocked Galaxy S7 and GS7 edge that Samsung has released in the United States pretty much has 'em all.

Here are the bands supported by the U.S. unlocked Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge:

Category Features CDMA 1x & EVDO Rev 0/RevA BC0, BC1, BC10 GSM Band 2/4/5/8 UMTS Band 1/2/4/5/8 FDD-LTE Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/18/19/20/25/26/29/30 TDD-LTE Band 38/39/40/41 TD-SCDMA Band 34/39

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

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1 day ago

Amazon Prime Day makes its triumphant return on July 12

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Amazon is bringing back Prime Day, the day in which it offers an abundance of awesome deals for Prime members. Beginning July 5 Amazon will begin running a number of specials leading up to the big day, which will be July 12. Last year the retailer slashed pricing on Chromebooks, Kindles, televisions, security cameras and more.

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1 day ago

Quick comparison: 2016's mid-range Android challengers

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It's a great time to buy a mid-range phone.

With the unveiling of the Honor 5C and Wileyfox Spark in Europe this past week, and the imminent arrival of the Sony Xperia XA and ASUS Zenfone 3 internationally, the mid-range market continues to be one of the most competitive spaces for Android phones. With many such handsets launching this summer, we've rounded up the top six to see how they compare on paper.

You'll find out spec showdown down below, along with links to our hands-on coverage with each of these promising mid-level handsets!

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1 day ago

Take advantage of the Oculus Summer Sale to add some VR games to your collection

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It's time to take full advantage of the currently ongoing Oculus Summer Sale, which will bag you some VR games for your Gear VR from as little as 79p. As noted over on Hot UK Deals, the promotion itself ends on July 5 and you'll be able to pick up titles like Into The Dead and EVE: Gunjack to bolster your selection of games.

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