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1 week ago

Best Android games with Bluetooth controller support

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Gaming is simply better with a controller in your hands.

Gaming on Android typically requires you to settle for using touchscreen controls. However, some gracious game developers do take the time and effort to include support for Bluetooth gamepad.

If you're constantly on the lookout for games that support Bluetooth controller, you can check out Gamepad Games, which is an app that's compiled a fairly comprehensive list of games with gamepad support. Unfortunately, when you actually start browsing through the apps you quickly discover that many are… not so good.

So, to save you some time, we've compiled some of the best games that support Bluetooth controllers. And if you're looking for a quality Bluetooth controller recommendation, consider the SteelSeries Stratus XL, which is the controller I used to vet these selections.

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Modern Combat 5 Blackout

Years after its initial release, Modern Combat 5 Blackout remains one of the best first-person shooters available for Android. With dazzling graphics and options to play through the solo campaign or take it online, you can get an edge on your competition with a proper controller in your hand.

If the name doesn't already give it away, this is very similar to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, so if you're a fan of that series and looking for a fun option to play on the go, you'll definitely want to give this a look if you haven't yet.

Download: Modern Combat 5 Blackout (Free)

Unkilled

Unkilled is another very polished first-person shooter that fully supports Bluetooth controllers and offers over 150 missions in the single player campaign, along with multiple online multiplayer modes to choose from. As you play online, you're able to choose a preferred character class, and then upgrade your skills and weapon load-outs.

And again, using the Bluetooth controller should give you a distinct advantage against the AI zombies as well as your online opponents. Simply sync your controller with your phone and it'll automatically work when you load up Unkilled.

Download: Unkilled (Free)

Sonic the Hedgehog

Boy, do we wish there were more awesome ports of classics like Sonic on Android. Both Sonic the Hedgehog as well as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 are fantastic on Android, and are compatible with Bluetooth controllers.

Now, I'm not sure what needs to be said about these games — they're absolute classics from the 16-bit era of gaming. All the speed and action you remember form the original Sega Genesis games are perfectly preserved, with Tails and Knuckles available as playable characters once you've beaten the game. If you've never played the original Sonic games, you'll get a fantastic experience playing them on Android.

There are several free Sonic games available in the Google Play Store, but in our opinion you're better off spending some coin for the real deal rather than the other buggy and lame Sonic adaptations.

Download: Sonic The Hedgehog ($2.99)

Skate Party 3

Do you find yourself staring longingly out the window thinking about how great Tony Hawk Pro Skater was back in the day? Me too.

While it's almost criminal that no one has ported any of those classic games to Android, Skate Party 3 offers a comparable experience that's also compatible with Bluetooth controllers. It's a little finicky and takes some time to get used to, but if you've been jonesing for a great skateboarding game to play on the go, Skate Party 3 is it. The full version is available for $1.99, but if you'd prefer to try before you buy, you can try out the lite version to see if it's worth investing in the full game.

Download: Skate Party 3 ($1.99)

Only One

Do you remember the final scene in the 2001 Jet Li movie The One? Something tells me the developers of Only One did, as the game basically plays like the final scene in that mostly forgettable action flick.

The premise is pretty simple: you stand alone on the top of a tall column with a magical sword as you fight off wave after wave after wave of enemies. The graphics are delightfully retro and the difficulty progressively as you progress through the levels. Best of all, you can connect your Bluetooth gamepad and play with more precise control. It's a free game, but you will be pestered to cheat upgrade via in-app purchases.

Download: Only One (Free w/IAPs)

Pew Pew

Keeping with the retro theme, Pew Pew is a classic-looking top-down multidirectional shoot 'em up that's a great pick up and play option. There are five unique game modes to play: Pandemonium, Dodge This, Assault, Chromatic Conflict, and Asteroids.

The game plays well enough with touch screen controls, but playing with two physical thumbsticks really makes a big difference for a game like this that demands precise controls to dodge and destroy wave after wave of enemies.

Download: Pew Pew (Free)

BombSquad

Gaming is always more fun with friends, and BombSquad is an action-packed collection of mini games with multiple ways to join the game. With fun and cartoony graphics, you'll be able to choose from eight different game modes.

Bluetooth controllers are supported, or you can get your friends to download the BombSquad Remote app and use their phones to control their character. This game is available for most Android devices, including Android TV, which means you and your friends won't need to crowd around a tablet or — even worse — smartphone to play.

Download: BombSquad (Free)

Got any great game recommendations that we missed?

Sadly, support for Bluetooth controllers is not as widespread as it could be, but there are some gems that we may have missed. Let us know in the comments!

Android Gaming

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1 week ago

Google Maps now lets you create lists of your favorite places

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Easily create lists on Google Maps and share them with friends and family.

Google Maps is introducing a new feature that lets you create lists of your places and share them with your friends and family via text message, email, or social media. You'll be able to view and edit your lists even when you're offline, and there's also the option to create a public list that everyone will be able to follow.

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1 week ago

How to deal with severe battery drain on Gear VR

Severe battery drain means you can't spend nearly enough time in VR, but there is a quick fix to get you back on track.

After charging up your phone, you probably expect to be able to enjoy a solid hour or more playing your Gear VR. However, a pretty seriously irritating process has been cropping up for a lot of people. After you plug your phone into Gear VR, the headset is causing serious, and severe battery drain. This means that even with a full charge, you may not have long in to spend shooting at space pirates. Thankfully, there is an easy fix that won't take more than a few minutes.

Read more at VRHeads.com

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1 week ago

Best Horror Games for PlayStation VR

Best Horror Games for PlayStation VR

What are the scariest games for PSVR?

An important question was recently asked in the VR Heads forums: Are there any good horror titles for PlayStation VR? If you haven't yet tried a scary game in virtual reality but love horror games on normal 2D screen, you're in for a treat. Being cut off from the real world around you coupled with binaural audio is crazy immersive. If you're in the market for some horror games for PSVR, here are the best currently on offer.

Read more at VR Heads!

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1 week ago

Save over 90% on this Complete Java Programming Bundle

In today's modern age, understanding coding is becoming more and more essential. So much so that some school districts are adding coding classes to their curriculum. Those who dove into the world of Java and other coding languages via a Computer Science degree or by self-taught methods a decade ago are well-positioned for a sustaining career.

Take your coding to the next level for less! Learn More

Are you second guessing your own career path, or simply interested in learning the basics of coding? Maybe you're considering heading back to school to study Computer Science, but really who can afford to put their life on hold for more schooling? Even if you're knowledge of computer programming could fit on the back of a postage stamp, you can still learn everything you need to know to get started coding with Java.

That's where this great deal from Android Central Digital Offers comes in. You can get lifetime online access to the Complete Java Programming Bootcamp for just $39. This package includes 10 courses taught over the course of 561 lessons.

The first course offers up the core understanding of how any computer program works, including how data structures organize information so it can be used efficiently and how algorithms work to manipulate this data — basically Computer Science 101. But that's just the starting point. Throughout the remaining 70 hours of course material, you'll go from a beginner to a pro.

Each course is curated and instructed by folks with years of experience and knowledge under their belts. The first seven courses were created by Loonycorn, a team of four experienced coders who have worked Google and Flipkart, and tries to distil complicated tech concepts into funny, practical, engaging courses. Because let's face it – if you're just dipping your toes into coding for the first time it's going to be pretty dry if not taught in an engaging and humorous manner.

Save more than 90% right now! Learn More

An online course load like this would typically cost over $700, but for a limited time you can get the whole package at a steep 94% discount — you'll pay only $39!

Buy now and you'll be on your way to being a coding pro in no time.

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1 week ago

'Really Blue' Google Pixel coming to Canada as a Rogers exclusive

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A blue exclusive for the red carrier in Canada.

Google and Rogers have co-announced that they are bringing the 'Really Blue' Google Pixel — the one that everyone wants and hasn't been able to buy due to its limited inventory — to Canada as a carrier exclusive.

The limited edition version was released alongside the black and white variants in October, but it's been difficult to find — more so than the regular Pixels, which have also been elusive — on the Play Store. Canadians have complained about not having access to the blue version since its launch, but whether a Rogers exclusive is the best way to satiate that demand remains to be seen.

We'll have more information on price and on-sale date in the coming days.

Which color Google Pixel should you get?

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

Google Store Verizon

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1 week 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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1 week ago

The LG G6 will feature an upgraded 32-bit Quad DAC

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The LG G6 will offer the best audio experience on a mobile device.

We already know a lot about the upcoming LG G6 thanks to numerous leaks and teasers, and today the company has confirmed that the phone will feature an upgraded 32-bit Quad DAC. LG rolled out a Quad DAC in the V20 last year, and this year's flagship will similarly offer audiophile-grade sound thanks to the South Korean company's continuining partnership with ESS Technologies.

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1 week ago

When it comes to Wi-Fi mesh networks, more isn't always better

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Are a handful of Plume Pods better than 3 Google Wifi pucks? Maybe.

There are a lot of ways to get a radio signal from one place to another. This is as true for your home Wi-Fi setup as it is for any other radio equipment. When it comes to mesh networking, there are two distinct types of setup being offered by a growing handful of companies. Trying to sort out what's best for you and your house can be tough.

More: Do I really need a mesh network?

If you decide that a mesh network is what you need to get good Wi-Fi everywhere you need it, you have quite a few choices. They all are a little different but are designed to be placed around your house so you're always in range of a good, strong Wi-Fi signal. While the concept is the same — several small "stations" close to the places you need them — the number of stations (nodes) you need depends on how your house is laid out.

The wireless signal coming from a mesh access point is like a sphere or a bubble.

Inside this bubble, you have a strong connection to the network. This works great if you can get a network mesh node in a spot to spread that bubble around where you need it. Then you put another bubble in another spot to cover more places. It's a great way to spread the Wi-Fi around your house, but not be blasting it to the neighbor's house where it can interfere with his Wi-Fi. Anyone who lives in a crowded building with a lot of Wi-Fi networks can tell you how difficult it can be to have a good signal because all the channels we use for Wi-Fi are crowded.

More: How Wi-Fi mesh networks work

A setup like Google Wifi has a small number of network nodes. They transmit a strong signal in all directions and two or three nodes (plus the one attached to your router) will cover most houses. They are excellent products that work better than advertised and most anyone who buys into them will be happy with the results. Other products like Netgear's Orbi or eero are similar — fewer units with each having a (relatively) large range of coverage.

An alternative way of doing things is with a product like Plume's Pod system. Plume Pods are tiny. They plug directly into an outlet and have a small signal bubble. You put a Pod everywhere you need one instead of placing one in a spot that can cover multiple rooms. The result is the same — when you're in range of a network node you have a good Wi-Fi signal.

Your house will decide for you

You want Wi-Fi where you need it. Maybe you want it in the bedroom, the living room and the kitchen. You're not concerned about blanketing the garage or storage closet or anywhere else with Wi-Fi. Plume's Pods could be great for you.

Small, short-range Wi-Fi nodes are like a light bulb. One for every room.

The Pods are small, use very little power and have a completely separate channel they use to talk to each other so they aren't using the bandwidth you are for watching a movie or getting online. That means you can use as many Pods as you want. I'm sure there is a limit somewhere, but it's not going to be reached in your home.

They also have a very small range. They are designed to be dropped in the room you need Wi-Fi in. Plume compares them to a light bulb — one in every room. That's a perfect analogy. It's a good thing and a bad thing.

Google Wifi's much larger range per node can be a problem if you have to place them too close together.

Ideally, your phone or TV or whatever you're connecting to Wi-Fi will pick the strongest signal it can attach to. You tell it to connect to MYNETWORK and give it a password, and it connects to MYNETWORK when it finds it. With two powerful satellite nodes in close proximity, it might not connect to the closest one.

Google Wifi's more powerful signal means it needs more room.

This isn't a big deal for something stationary like your TV or a game console. You're not moving either end of the connection. But the phone in your pocket can move from one end of the house to another, and it can get confused about when it's time to grab the stronger signal because it's already connected to a strong signal. As you move around it can get better or worse, and you can end up scanning and hop from one node to another which can affect your network speed.

None of that happens with Plume's Pod system.When you leave the living room, a light bulb doesn't shine through the walls to the bedroom, and a Plume Pod is like a light bulb.

If you have a big house but it's laid out in a way where mesh satellite nodes are too close together (the Google Wifi app does a great job making sure you place them far enough apart, but it's not perfect by any means) you could see problems. You fix those problems by moving the nodes further apart, or by using more access points with a smaller range.

This can be tough in something like a tall, narrow townhouse or row house where a mesh point on each floor will get crowded, but one on the top floor and one on the lowest floor might not cover everywhere. Long, narrow homes can pose the same problem. Think about where a 40-foot bubble will fit without the centers of two of them being too close together.

Either method can give you awesome Wi-Fi throughout your home. If you're not in a situation where you would have two powerful mesh points close to each other, look to things like features and price to help you decide.

See at Plume

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Chromecast Ultra:

Google Best Buy

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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1 week ago

Verizon's trade-in offer for its unlimited plan includes a free Pixel, LG V20, or S7 edge

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Get the latest flagship phones for free when you trade in your older device and switch to Verizon's unlimited plan.

Verizon is bringing back its unlimited plan for $80, or $45 per line for four lines on a family plan. You'll be able to use high-speed LTE until 22GB, following which your data speeds will be de-prioritised in the case of network congestion. The plan also includes hotspot tethering up to 10GB, and comes with free calling to Canada and Mexico.

To incentivize its unlimited plan, Verizon is offering a new trade-in plan through which you can pick up a Pixel, LG V20, Galaxy S7, S7 edge, Moto Z Droid or Moto Z Force Droid, or the latest iPhones for free.

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1 week ago

How to add complications to your watch face on Android Wear 2.0

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Android Wear 2.0

Watch faces aren't just for looks anymore — now they can give you tons of useful information.

Android Wear 2.0 brings a ton of new features to your smartwatch, but one of the more noticeable is the addition of customizable "complications" on your watch faces. Complications are a two part system — watch face developers can design their faces to have open slots of the complications, and app developers can surface parts of their apps to integrate as complications.

As the Google Play Store on your Android Wear 2.0 watch starts to fill with freshly updated watch faces and apps that include complications, you'll want to spend a little time customizing things to make the most of the new capabilities. Here's how you can get it done.

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1 week ago

Fitbit's entire 2016 lineup is discounted for Valentine's Day

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Fitbit is offering a 25% discount on its fitness trackers in time for Valentine's Day.

Ahead of Valentine's Day, Fitbit is discounting its 2016 product lineup. The discounts range from $20 to $50, with the sale lasting until 9 a.m. PST, February 15. You can pick up the discounted products either from Amazon or directly from Fitbit.

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1 week ago

Xiaomi Mi 5s review: A great phone you can't buy

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Xiaomi Mi 5s

The Xiaomi Mi 5s offers much-needed improvements from the Mi 5, making it a significantly better device.

Quick take:

Although a mid-cycle refresh in Xiaomi's flagship series, the Mi 5s comes with an all-new metal chassis that looks upmarket. The phone has upgraded hardware in the form of a Snapdragon 821 SoC, the camera sensor has been overhauled, and Xiaomi is offering a global MIUI ROM with Play Store access. Then there's the price, with the handset retailing for the equivalent of $300 in China.

The good

  • Great display
  • Excellent build quality
  • Value for money

The bad

  • Availability
  • Camera lacks OIS
  • No microSD slot

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1 week ago

Verizon reveals new unlimited data plan

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Unlimited data plans are back at big red, and the prices don't suck.

Verizon took the wraps off of a new data plan that gives customers unlimited data, talk, and text for $80 on a single line. Four lines can all get the same unlimited deal for $45 per line.

Of course, they mean alternative-unlimited like every other carrier does and you might get throttled at 22GB. We're told it shouldn't happen often, though.

On all Verizon Unlimited plans you get our fast LTE speeds. To ensure a quality experience for all customers, after 22 GB of data usage on a line during any billing cycle we may prioritize usage behind other customers in the event of network congestion. While we don't expect to do that very often, network management is a crucial tool that benefits all Verizon customers.

You can also add a connected device, like the new Verizon Wear24 or a tablet for an extra $5 per month and the international TravelPass (500 MB/day limit; 2G speeds after that) is available for $10 per day. Last but not least, mobile hotspot is included and you will be able to tether up to 10GB per month before you're throttled way down to 3G speeds.

The plan is available starting February 13 and you'll be able to get all the details at Verizon's site.

The one big unknown? They call this an introductory plan, so we're not 100% sure how it applies to existing customers. We'll know more on February 13.

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1 week ago

From the Editor's Desk: Google partnerships prove valuable

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From the Editor's Desk

A combined strategy of in-house hardware and strong partnerships can work — under the right circumstances.

Google has been riding a wave of consumer confidence the past couple of months following its late-fall hardware launch of the Pixels, Google Home and Chromecast Ultra. But this week, we saw the other side of its strategy: launching products with its long-standing hardware partners running on Google's platforms. Wednesday saw the release of Android Wear 2.0 using LG's hardware, and just two days later Samsung released a really great Chromebook.

The new LG Watch Sport and Watch Style aren't perfect (even in the shaky smartwatch world), and no matter how good the Samsung Chromebook Pro is received it in itself won't change the landscape of the Chrome OS market — but each launch proves a point of strength and potential for Google. No matter how strong Google's renewed sense of importance on in-house developed hardware is (and how great the Pixels are), it knows how Android got to massive market position it currently occupies: by partnering with companies to build against its platform. And as Android on phones (and to a far lesser extent, tablets) continues to be a worldwide market leader, Google is working a slightly different angle with other adjacent ecosystems — Android Wear and Chrome OS.

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