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2 weeks ago

Be the very best with these custom Pokémon Go themes for Android

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'I wanna theme the very best, like no one ever was…'

It's likely you care more about catching that Dratini the next street over than giving your home screen some team pride, but that's OK! I have scoured the internet to come up with wonderful themes for each of the teams in Pokémon Go, so that you can show your pride each time you unlock your phone to check if your gym is still standing.

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2 weeks ago

Google confirms 'Verify Apps' can block apps using QuadRooter vulnerabilities

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Nexus 6P security

Latest exploit is roadblocked on 90% of Android devices, thanks to security feature enabled in Android 4.2.

QuadRooter is the latest big Android security scare — a collection of 4 vulnerabilities in Qualcomm-based Android gadgets that could allow a malicious app to gain root access, allowing it to do basically anything on an affected device.

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2 weeks ago

Google Maps gets Wi-Fi only mode, ability to save offline areas to SD card

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Google is rolling out a sizeable update to Google Maps that brings a new Wi-Fi only offline mode. Once enabled, Maps will go offline when there's no Wi-Fi signal, with navigation limited to your areas you've downloaded to your device. As soon as you connect to a Wi-Fi network, the app regains full functionality.

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2 weeks ago

How to change your nickname in Pokémon Go for Android

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How can I change my Trainer's nickname in Pokémon Go?

Along with version 0.33.0 of Pokémon Go, Niantic Labs now allows you to change your Trainer nickname — but only once per account, so be sure about it!

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2 weeks ago

Buy an HTC 10, get a pair of $199 JBL USB-C headphones for free until Aug 31

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HTC 10

HTC wants to get you into the USB-C audio future with this great promotion.

Now that the luster of the HTC 10 launch has worn off, HTC's running a pretty fantastic promotion that'll get you a pair of headphones and an additional $100 accessory credit when you buy an HTC 10 from its website. The headphones on offer here aren't some cheapo pair, either — they're the JBL Reflect Aware C headphones that were announced back with the phone and retail for $199.

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2 weeks ago

Go Time! Episode 4: Giant Pikachu hugs

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Episode 4 of our Pokemon Go podcast is here!

This week Jen and Erin are joined by Lory from team Instinct. They about the changes to the game since the big update, spawn and capture rate changes, and how Pokémon Go is bringing people together.

And if you're not quite to level 20, we also take a few minutes to talk about the best strategies to get you there!

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2 weeks ago

Triby: The powerful, portable Amazon Echo for the family

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Triby

A family-friendly Amazon Echo with Alexa support that sticks to your fridge. What a world!

Growing up, mom was all about written communication in the house. We had a massive calendar with everyone's schedules on it, chore lists when we got home from school, and a little notepad where everyone could leave quick messages for whoever was next in the house. It worked as long as everyone remembered to check the paper and tear that note off when it was finished.

Fast forward 15 years to a house with no paper calendars, landline phones or notepads — because my spouse and I have smartphones. That system worked really well for us until recently, when our not-so-little kids started doing things like performing chores and being home alone with no adult supervision.

The folks at Invoxia have a solution for techy families in need of central communication tools, and for this household it is the solution. It's called Triby, and it's basically an Amazon Echo for parents — with Alexa support.

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2 weeks ago

Hearthstone expansion leads to intense community backlash

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New Hearthstone expansion exposes frustration amongst communit

The new Hearthstone expansion recieved an epic launch party — and backlash from the community.

On August 5, Blizzard threw an epic Hearthstone-themed party in L.A., one week ahead of the release of the latest Hearthstone expansion, One Night in Karazhan. Hosted by Hearthstone Senior Producer Yong Woo and Hearthstone caster extraordinaire Dan 'Frodan' Chou, the livestreamed event was also a celebration of the game reaching 50 million registered players across all platforms.

New cards

The climax of the event was expected to be the big reveal of the 45 new expansion cards being added to the Hearthstone library, which were immediately posted to the Hearthstone Facebook page following the conclusion of the live stream.

One rant suggested that this issue is a symptom of the larger issue of Blizzard's fraught relationship with the Hearthstone community

It should come as no surprise that some people had a poor reaction towards the cards, especially given the enormous size of the Hearthstone fan base. Regardless, as you read through the comments on each card, reactions seemed overwhelmingly negative, with most complaints centered around the perceived snubbing of the Priest and Paladin, with most of the angst aimed at one Priest card in particular: Purify.

The Purify card has caused a whole bunch of controversy amongst the community.

This Priest spell card costs two Mana and lets you silence a friendly minion (which, for the uninitiated, means removing any special ability text) and draw another card. The issue? The Priest class already has a silence card which allows you to target any active minion at no Mana cost.

Rants and subreddits

Curious, we poked our head into the Hearthstone subreddit to see how the community at large was reacting, and the frustration on display was palpable. Hearthstone's Balance Philosophy is flawed and it's not because Priest sucks read one post, which has since garnered over 1000 comments.

Another rant suggested that this issue is a symptom of the larger issue of Blizzard's fraught relationship with the Hearthstone community when compared to the development and continual tweaking of their other AAA titles. The rest of the subreddit has been dominated by reaction videos, Straw polls and many more disheartening rants from disillusioned players.

In Blizzard's defence, one of Hearthstone's game designers, Dean Ayala, was quite active on Twitter engaging with fans who vented their frustrations about the new cards and the overall balance of the game.

What started with a celebration of the Hearthstone community and the new expansion exposed some deep-seated frustration amongst a fairly sizeable portion of the hardcore base. Consider just how much time and money some people have dropped to build out their Hearthstone decks. When you're struggling with the sunken cost fallacy, it feels impossible to just walk away from something you're emotionally invested in, even if it seems like the creators are showing you disrespect.

What started with a celebration of the Hearthstone community exposed some deep-seated frustration in the hardcore user base.

But, again, this all could just be a knee-jerk reaction from a passionate community. No one will have an opportunity to battle test these new cards until the expansion goes live on August 11, when players gain instant access to the One Night in Karazhan intro mission.

The remainder of the new adventure plays out over four weeks, as new wings of Medivh's palace are explored. Players will choose whether to buy the full expansion outright with an in-app purchase of $19.99, or buy each new mission individually for either 700 gold, or $6.99.

What are your thoughts?

Are you a fan of Hearthstone? Did you watch the live event? What do you think of the One Night in Karazhan expansion cards? Let's discuss in the comments!

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2 weeks ago

The Samsung Galaxy J2 2016 is a sad, modern disappointment

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Samsung should feel bad for launching the Galaxy J2 2016.

Samsung is aggressively promoting its latest budget phone in India, the Galaxy J2 2016. Launched in July for ₹9,750 (~$150), the phone sports an outdated design and internal hardware no vendor would consider acceptable in mid-2016. The highlights include a 5-inch 720p AMOLED display, a Spreadtrum SC8830 SoC with four Cortex A7 cores, 1.5GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, microSD slot, and a 2600mAh battery.

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2 weeks ago

QuadRooter vulnerability: 5 things to know about this Android security scare

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Android security

New Qualcomm-targeted Android security bug is reported to put '900 million' devices at risk. Here's what you need to know.

Once again, it's Android security scare season. This morning news broke of the latest collection of vulnerabilities, discovered by security firm Check Point and grouped together under the catchy monicker "QuadRooter." As usual, most of the reporting has focused on worst-case scenarios and a shockingly huge number of potentially vulnerable devices — in this case, an estimated 900 million.

We're going to break down exactly what's going on, and just how vulnerable you're likely to be. Read on.

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2 weeks ago

How to find your lost Android phone

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How to track an Android phone

How do I track my Android phone? There are quite a few tools at your disposal.

Worried about misplacing your phone or (worse yet) having it stolen? Ease your fears and set up a tracking system before your worst case scenario strikes. For best locating results, your phone should be connected to a Wi-Fi signal, but GPS and mobile networks will still manage to pinpoint a fairly accurate location. You must also have a Google account for virtually all of the tracking services available, whether they are built in or downloaded.

How to enable Android Device Manager on your phone

In newer Android phones, the Device Manager is already located conveniently in your Settings app, so there's no need for any extra downloads. This locating service has essentially amalgamated with Google to make finding your phone easier. There are just a couple of things you'll need to activate.

  1. Launch Settings.
  2. Tap Security.
  3. Tap Device Administration.

    Launch Settings, tap Security, tap Device Administration

  4. Tap Android Device Manager so that a checkmark appears in the checkbox.
  5. Tap the back button in the top left corner of your screen.
  6. Tap the back button again in the top left corner to return to the main Settings menu.

    Tap Android Device Manager, tap top left arrow, tap left arrow again

  7. Tap Location in the main Settings menu.
  8. Tap the switch beside Location at the top of the screen so that it turns on.
  9. Tap Mode.

    Tap Location, tap the switch beside Location so that it turns on, tap Mode

  10. Tap High accuracy so the circle is filled in.
  11. Tap the back button in the top left corner.
  12. Tap Google Location History.

    Tap High accuracy, tap top left arrow, tap Google Location History

  13. Tap the switch beneath Location History so that it turns on.
  14. Tap the switch beside your device so that it turns on.

    Toggle on and make sure device is toggled on

How to locate your phone using Google

Should you happen to lose your phone, you can locate its whereabouts by logging into your Google account from any computer or even from another phone.

  1. Launch a web browser from a phone, tablet, or computer.
  2. Navigate to Google if it is not your default search engine or home page.
  3. Type find my phone android in the Google search bar.

    Launch web browser, navigate to google, type find my phone android

  4. Tap on Android Device Manager (usually the first option in the search).
  5. Enter your email address and password just as though you were checking your email.

    Tap the first Android Device Manger option, enter your email and password

When your phone is located, you have three options to choose from:

  • You can Ring your phone so that it makes noise (even if you had it on silent). This feature is helpful if the map indicates that the phone is within earshot and you simply can't see it.
  • You can Lock your phone so that the finder can't access your home screen. This feature is most helpful if your phone wasn't previously secured with a passcode or a fingerprint sensor.
  • You can Erase your phone. This is the best option if you know for certain that you aren't likely to retrieve your phone.

    Choose to ring, lock, or erase phone when located

If you are trying to locate your phone with Android Device Manager and it doesn't seem to be working, the most likely cause is that your phone is not currently connected to Wi-Fi or an available network. In this case, it's important to keep trying; the moment your phone does make that connection, it will appear on the map.

If you want to download a tracking app for fear of a missing phone crisis, there are a number of options to choose from, and we're highlighting some choice picks for you.

Family Locator

Family Locator app

The Family Locator app by Life360 is essentially a GPS tracker for phones but is especially useful for families with multiple phones in use. Your family members become a "Circle", the app's name for a closed group of people who consent to having their phones tracked in real time. Your family members will appear on live maps within the app as little icons so that you can see where everyone is at any given moment.

The app also allows you to chat with people in your Circle or broadcast a meeting time and location. And, of course, if a phone from within your Circle is ever lost or stolen, the app will track it on the map.

Download: Family Locator (Free with in-app purchases)

Cerberus anti theft

Cerberus anti theft app

This locator app from Cerberus offers an impressive array of remote control features if you find your phone has been lost or stolen. You'll still be able to lock, ring, or erase your phone, but you'll also be able to remotely access your camera or sound a loud alarm from your phone, even if it was on silent mode when you lost it.

The advanced features allow you to hide Cerberus in your app drawer so that it can't be detected if and when your phone is found or stolen. Your missing phone will transmit data to you via the Cerberus website or via SMS text from another phone with the Cerberus app installed.

Download: Cerberus anti theft (Free with in-app purchases)

Prey Anti Theft

Prey Anti Theft app

The Prey Anti Theft app is impressive in that three different devices can be protected through one download. You'll have the ability to sound an alarm from your missing phone, take screenshots if it's in use, and lock down the device the moment you realize it's missing.

Once you've downloaded the app, it will walk you through a series of tutorials to show you how to use your Prey Account to track your phone. The app itself is free and doesn't require additional purchases in order to access the high-end features.

Download: Prey Anti Theft (Free)

Lost Android

Lost Android app

Lost Android will allow you to have remote access to your missing phone via their website. Here, you'll be able to erase sensitive information if you fear that your phone may never be returned, or send messages to your phone in the hopes of someone finding and returning it.

Additionally, you can choose to remotely forward any calls you may be missing to another number and record a running list of any calls or messages made or photos taken with your phone.

Download: Lost Android (Free with in-app purchases)

Where's My Droid

Wheres My Droid app

The basic features of the Where's My Droid app allow you to ring your phone if you misplace it, locate it via GPS on Google Maps, and use a passcode to prevent unauthorized changes to apps on your Android phone. Stealth Mode also prevents anyone who finds your phone from seeing your incoming text messages; instead they'll see a customizable attention word that alerts them of the phone's lost or stolen status.

The Pro version of the app, which you pay to use, lets you remotely wipe data from your phone, use a landline to access your phone, and remotely lock the device.

Download: Where's My Droid (Free with in-app purchases)

The bottom line

If your phone is stolen or found and it's then factory reset, you will not be able to rely on any apps or services to find your it; a factory reset will wipe out any of the original data, accounts, or passwords that are needed to remotely find your Android phone.

As always, exercise caution when retrieving a lost or stolen phone. If you have any concerns about it being lost or stolen, it's best to set up and test your preferred tracking system as soon as you buy it, and contact the police. It can be a bit of extra front-end work to register some apps, but it will be more work trying to locate a missing phone if no safety nets are in place at all.

How do you track?

What app do you use to track your Android phone, if any at all? Let us know in the comments section below!

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2 weeks ago

Honor 5C review: Balanced and affordable, not exciting

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Honor 5C

Honor's new entry-level model is better value than the 5X — but this £150 phone still comes with a few compromises.

When you're selling a phone around the £150 mark, it's less about of what you put in it and more about what's left out. In the past, Motorola's Moto G devices have represented the near-perfect balance of quality and affordability, with emphasis on display and performance — and a clean, slick software experience — above all else.

Honor, the online-centric brand from Huawei, isn't new to selling cheap phones. But unlike Moto, its budget phones have yet to nail it in same way as its Lenovo-owned rival. The Honor 5X was a mess of performance glitches and nagging software issues. And the less said about last year's Honor Holly the better.

The Honor 5C aims to remedy this, with a £150 unlocked price tag, Huawei's latest software and most efficient mid-range chip, metal construction and a 1080p display. So is it up to the task? Let's find out.

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2 weeks ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 vs. Note 5: Should you upgrade?

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Should I upgrade from the Galaxy Note 5 to the Galaxy Note 7?

The argument for upgrading from a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to a Galaxy Note 7 is fairly straightforward: considerably more power and a larger battery in a smaller body, an improved camera, and an S Pen with twice the pressure sensitivity, and twice the features. The upgrade speaks for itself.

But here I am holding both a Galaxy Note 5 and a Galaxy Note 7 in each hand, and the justification for upgrading becomes much less convincing. The Note 5 has been out less than 12 months at the time of writing, and feels just as modern — and new — as it did back in 2015. With Samsung maintaining the Note 5 on shelves as its cheaper S Pen-enhanced variant, should you be thinking about upgrading to the Note 7 from the Note 5? Let's dig into it a bit.

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2 weeks ago

Grab this durable Bluetooth speaker and a selfie stick for just $13

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Aukey is currently offering a sweet deal at Amazon that scores you a free selfie stick with the purchase of its outdoor Bluetooth speaker, and some additional savings on the speaker. You can grab the package deal for just $13, which is a total savings of $19 on the two items. Both will need to be added to your cart, and then you'll need to use coupon code OJSSO3VO for the savings.

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2 weeks ago

Amazon's Great Indian Sale discounts the Xiaomi Mi 5, OnePlus X, and much more

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If you're in the market for a new phone, you'll want to check out Amazon's Great Indian Sale. The retailer is discounting several phones, including the Xiaomi Mi 5, which is now available for ₹22,999.

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