Headlines

6 days ago

LG Tone Active Bluetooth headset is going on sale later this month

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LG has announced that it will commence sales of its Tone Active Bluetooth headset from later this month in North America and Korea. The headset will be available in select countries in Europe, Commonwealth of Independent States, Asia and Latin America over the course of the third quarter.

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1 week ago

Catching up on the weather with Instaweather for Android Wear

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Being able to glance at your watch, and get your weather forecast is a luxury that really can't be overstated. Sometimes though the temperature, and current conditions just don't quite cut it. Whether you want to see radar of that storm rolling in, or know how hard the wind is going to kick up, finding the info you need can be a hassle. That's where the Instaweather Watchface comes in, with all the weather information you could need-and all at a glance.

The Instaweather Watchface comes stocked with 9 different watch faces. That's right, nine of them. Each one is a little bit different, and has it's own options. We've broken them down into three categories Infographic watch faces, Analog watch faces, and Radar/Map watch faces. With nine faces there are tons of options, and features to check out.

Five of the watch faces fall into infographic faces; Meteogram, IW Hourly Forecast, IW Weather Forecast, IW Bar Chart Forecast, and IW Daily Fit. Each of these has a slick, colorful display with different metrics. All of them have the time, date, and different style options as far as the look of your watchface goes. There are colorful bar charts with the daily forecast, line graphs with icons for your weather, and even a face that will show you your activity synced with Google Fit. Each of these faces has a functional and colorful look to them that is definitely pleasing to the eye. They also each have their own options which include the type of measurements used, color, and placement of graphs on your screen.

IW LCD Weather, and IW Analog are reminiscent of analog watchfaces. The analog face gives you 3 forecasts at three hour intervals with icons for the weather, and a readout of the temperature. The time is readout with an hour and minute hand. The IW LCD Weather face almost looks like a readout you'd find in an older model car. Once again there is an analog face, this time on the top half of the screen. The bottom half has current temperature and conditions, along with two more forecasts at three hour intervals.

Then you have the IW Weather Radar face, and the IW Weather Map face. IW Weather Radar will give you a radar readout of the weather moving into your area. This highlights how fast and severe weather patterns in your area are currently moving in. The IW Weather Map face is essentially the same thing, except its a map of your general area with the weather moving in. Both of them are definitely handy on days when the weather is calling for scattered or severe thunderstorms. It is worth it to mention that the weather is only updated every 60 minutes unless you buy into a premium membership, when that number drops down to every 5 minutes.

This app is fantastic for anyone who wants a running update on the weather for the day. With nine different faces there are tons of options in how your weather is displayed, what information you get, and how you get it. You also have options to customize how the different faces look, to make sure it fits your style. So if you've been looking for a better weather app, then the Instaweather Watch face app for Android Wear should certainly be on your list. Have you already used this app, or is there a better weather app you prefer? Let us know in the comments.

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1 week ago

Google Store cuts Chromebook prices by up to $30 in Back to School promotion

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Google is looking to get students ready for the new school year with a back to school sale on the Google Store. In all, while Google is boasting price cuts on a number of products, it looks like the only new sales are on select Chromebooks from Acer.

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1 week ago

Honda's first car with Android Auto will be the 2016 Honda Accord [Update]

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At an event in Silicon Valley today, Honda revealed that the 2016 Honda Accord will be the first of its models to sport Android Auto, bringing the connected platform to both sedan and coupe models of the car.

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1 week ago

Google Voice voicemail transcriptions are now 49 percent less confusing

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If you've been flummoxed at some of the errors you've gotten in Google Voice's voicemail transcription, you'll be happy to know that things are getting better. Google announced that they have used user-submitted feedback to improve voice transcription accuracy for Google Voice and Project Fi users by 49 percent.

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1 week ago

Google Photos adds a couple new album tools, custom photo description editing

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Updates to the Google Photos app and website today have added a couple new ways of adding to and tweaking albums. In version 1.2 of the app, when viewing an individual photo you'll now see a new "Add to album" option in the overflow menu, which will let you create a new album with just that photo or add to a previously-created one. While you've always been able to do this from the main gallery view — even when you had multiple photos selected — it's just as useful when viewing a single photo. For quicker multi-photo selecting, you can now long-press on a date header in the gallery view to instantly select all photos from that day as well.

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1 week ago

Moto G 2015 specs surface in new promo video

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Brazilian retailer Americanas has posted — and pulled — a new promotional video for the Moto G 2015, giving us another look at the phone's specs. The video pretty much confirms the earlier reports about the phone, if it is indeed accurate. Both are reporting that the upcoming Moto G will feature a 5-inch display, Snapdragon 410 processor, 13 MP rear-facing camera and a 5 MP front-facing camera.

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1 week ago

AT&T reports Q2 2015 earnings: $33 billion in revenue, adds 2.1 million wireless customers

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AT&T has reported its earnings for the second quarter of 2015 today, showing a slight bump in revenue over the same period a year ago. In all, second quarter revenue clocked in at $33 billion, which is up 1.4 percent when compared to the same period a year ago. Additionally, earnings per share were 69 cents — up from 61 cents a year ago.

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1 week ago

The Moto X 2014 is quick and capable after its Android 5.1 update

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Moto X (2014)

As its successor nears, the Moto X 2014 has a new lease on life with the Android 5.1 update

Though we all cheered when Motorola swiftly updated the Moto X 2014 to Lollipop soon after Android 5.0's release, it was immediately clear that the jump from KitKat introduced some issues. Choppy performance, a few quirky bugs and a generally unstable vibe came with the update, leaving owners feeling a bit burned.

When it came to making the next jump to Android 5.1, Motorola clearly took its time. The relatively small jump from 5.0 to 5.1 on the Moto X 2014 took longer to release than the substantially larger move from 4.4 to 5.0, but there was a reason — this update wasn't just a small version bump. It was a complete smoothing out of the Moto X's software experience. And as we approach the launch of a third-generation Moto X, the 2014 model is feeling peppy and capable thanks to the update.

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1 week ago

Yahoo brings its News Digest app to Android tablets

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Yahoo has brought its News Digest app to Android tablets, allowing you to read news from around the world on a bigger screen. Offering the same, twice daily, news digest that the phone version did, the only change is here is the size of the screen you can read it on. For those not familiar with Yahoo News Digest, it offers news updates twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, keeping you informed about what is happening around the world.

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1 week ago

Google Photos teases 'PayWithAPhoto' ahead of July 29 reveal

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The recent launch of Google Photos is apparently just the beginning. New teasers on the Google Photos YouTube and Twitter accounts show that there will be a big announcement on July 29, and it involves some kind of payment system or perhaps a Google Photos promotion.

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1 week ago

A look at the One M9, S6 edge, LG G4, and Droid Turbo through the Flir One

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M9 and S6 and G4 and Turbo

It should be no surprise to anyone that phones get hot when we use them in different ways. These portable computers are capable of an incredible amount, and things like processors and wireless radios and batteries generate heat when used. (Whether a phone gets too hot is another thing altogether.) We also live in a world where smartphones are being made of more unique things every day, with parts on the inside assembled just a little differently each time, and that means those phones all handle heat a little differently.

Since we've been playing with the new Flir One this week, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to perform some relatively unscientific tests on some of the more popular phones out there today with this thermal camera pointed at them. Here are the results.

Here's a snapshot of each phone side by side doing absolutely nothing. They are all Verizon Wireless devices, all powered on, and all running as close to the same apps as we could reasonably manage. The warmest-appearing phone when doing essentially nothing was the Galaxy S6 edge, which clocked in at 88.6 degrees. You wouldn't know this phone was the warmest by looking at it or holding it — in fact had I guessed before setting these devices under the camera I'd have said the Droid Turbo was the warmest by holding it.

To get a feel for how these phones get warm, we installed the AnTuTu Benchmark app on each phone and ran them side by side. This app pushes the processor further than most apps in such a short time span, but offered as close to a uniform expectation of heat against performance as you could expect without including the warmth and insulation of a human hand. The benchmarks were initialized and the phones were flipped over, and through the Flir camera we could see the temperatures increase almost immediately.

The G4 was the first to go from purple (cooler) to yellow (hotter), but only in the top third of the phone. The warmest spot, to the left of the camera, became bright yellow on the screen as the other phones started to glow orange. The Galaxy S6 edge quickly became the warmest phone on the table as the benchmark reached its conclusion, while the M9 and Droid Turbo stayed within a degree of one another through the test.

We'd come this far, why not start the benchmark while the phones are already warm and see what happens when you really push things? As you can see in the photos every phone but the G4 became what most would consider uncomfortably warm, but the bottom two thirds of the G4 stay relatively cool even towards the end of the second benchmark. The all-metal M9 and carbon fiber Droid Turbo spread the heat just about everywhere to try and dissipate as quickly as possible, while the Galaxy S6 edge reached over 120 degrees right next to the power button.

A lot of what you're seeing here has to do with how the different materials used in the exterior construction handle heat. The M9 and Droid Turbo are going to be warm all over, but never get as warm as the G4 or the S6 in localized areas. It's a little strange that Samsung and LG both created devices that get hottest right next to the most commonly used physical button on a smartphone, but the way LG handles heat seems like the best for someone holding and using a phone that is currently doing quite a bit — the hottest area is far from your hand.

It's also worth pointing out that most tasks won't get your phone anywhere near this hot. You'd have to be playing an impressive 3D game for an extended period of time or doing something crazy like transcoding video to get your processor to work as hard as we pushed these phones. I wouldn't go so far as to say any of these phones have any heat problems based on this information, but it is interesting to see how these phones get hot and which can be used comfortably under intense situations.

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1 week ago

Galaxy Note 5 and S6 edge+ pose for the camera in latest leaked pics

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 edge+ have been the center of attention recently, with various images surfacing, and a reported August 13 launch date. And today even more images of the unannounced Samsung phones are doing the rounds.

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1 week ago

Best waterproof power banks for Android

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These waterproof power banks are great for emergencies and surviving through the thick of things.

When it comes to summer accessories that really stand out and make a difference, having a waterproof power bank can really save your skin in a variety of tough situations. Not only are they built to take a beating, they're great for providing battery life to your smartphone or tablet when there's not an outlet in sight. Dive in as we line up the best waterproof power banks we've found that will survive the hot and heavy this summer.

READ NOW: Best waterproof power banks

GJT Solar Panel 8000mAh Waterproof Power Bank

$18.99 Buy Now

Charge up this GJT Solar Panel Power Bank before you head out for a complete backup of 8000mAh. And if you end up draining it while you're out in the wild, let the sun do the rest. The built-in lithium polymer battery charges via the monocrystalline solar panel when there are no outlets to be found, and it's completely waterproof and shockproof. On the back is an LED flashlight that's great for emergency situations in the dark, and there are 4 charging indicator lights on the front to identify exactly how much life remains. It even packs over-charge/discharge and short-circuit protection.

UNIFUN 10400mAh Waterproof Power Bank

$19.99 Buy Now

Great for just about any activity, water-related or not, the UNIFUN Power Bank holds an impressive 10400mAh of backup battery life for all your favorite mobile devices while you're away from a regular power source. It features an IP66 rating and has dual USB outputs (1A and 2.1A) for simultaneous charging when battery life gets critical. You've got port plugs that cover everything up when it's not in use, and a built-in flashlight at the top that's able to keep up 6-8 days after a complete charge. Its durable construction keeps it from sliding on most surfaces and is completely waterproof and shock resistant.

JJF Bird Solar Panel 12000mAh Waterproof Power Bank

$39.99 Buy Now

Here's a solar charging power bank that holds a bit more juice than the GJT option, but still packs all the same waterproof and shock-proof features. Charge up the JJF Bird Power Bank using the microUSB cable or even via the monocrystalline solar panel. There are 2 USB outputs for simultaneous charging, battery life LED's on the front for quick and easy monitoring, as well as an emergency LED flashlight up top for those hard to see situations. It comes with a carabiner clip for hooking to your backpack or pants, too.

EasyAcc 9000mAh Waterproof Power Bank

$23.99 Buy Now

Rocking an IP67 protection rating, the EasyAcc Power Bank comes in handy for camping, beach days, fishing, hunting, or hiking. Its 9000mAh capacity is enough to provide a solid 2 complete charges to most mobile devices, and serves as a great companion for both day and night time use. Along with its built-in flashlight, the EasyAcc Power Bank comes with a compass, carabiner clip, carry strap, and a couple microUSB charging cables. The 2.1A output will boost your device's battery when it hits the red, whether you're miles away from civilization or lounging by the pool. There's no fretting when this tough power bank takes a dip in the drink.

Novobeam 3000mAh Compact Waterproof Power Bank

$17.49 Buy Now

For those occasions when you're certain battery life isn't a serious concern, but need just a little extra security, the Novobeam Compact Power Bank is an excellent solution that's discrete, and fits just about anywhere. Since it only packs a mere 3000mAh, you're likely to only get a single charge out of it for most modern devices. It's the Novobeam's slim size and lightweight design (less than 3oz) that make it such an ideal companion for single-day hikes or fishing trips. With a 1A output, it's not out set any records in charging speeds, but it'll certainly be your savior if caught in a sticky situation.

What's your favorite rugged/waterproof power bank?

See a waterproof power bank on the list you're interested in, or do you have eyes on a different portable battery? Either way, we're interested in hearing what your go-to power bank is for those wet and extreme conditions. Drop us a line below!

Soak up some more info on summer accessories!

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1 week ago

Introducing Mobile Nations' Kicked TV, bringing you the latest and greatest in crowdfunding projects!

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Sorting through the thousands and thousands of Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and other crowdfunding projects that go live every day can be daunting. That's why we're thrilled to welcome Kicked TV to the Mobile Nations family! Kicked is built around the Kicked Weekly show, a quick look at the top new and exciting crowdfunding projects out there that you might want to check out, and maybe even back yourself.

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