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1 day ago

Weekly poll results: Motorola did it better

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OnePlus 2 and Moto X Style or Pure or something

Last week we asked what people thought about the two "big" events in the Android world of the week — the OnePlus 2 announcement, and Motorola showing us the Moto X Style (or Pure, or something) and the Moto X Play.

Most of us paid close attention to both, and while there were some surprises, in the end we are left with what each manufacturer thinks is a natural successor to last year's product. That's how it goes, but that won't stop us from debating things over and over. And over.

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1 day ago

Best Android gadgets of the week: Moto Surround, Amazon Dash Button, and more!

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This weekend we're rounding up the best new Android accessories to hit the market again. Amazon pulled the trigger on the public launch of their incredibly convenient shopping button, while Motorola offered up two new pairs of headphones. There's plenty more, so dive in!

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1 day ago

From the New Guy's Desk: inside baseball and the OnePlus Two

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OnePlus 2

There's no shortage of opinion to be found right now on OnePlus as a company, or the viability of its recently announced and entirely overhyped smartphone, but I'm going to steal a moment of your time to talk about something the company did really well. In fact, it's the one thing I wish and pray and hope for every time a new smartphone is announced.

A few hours before everyone strapped Google Cardboard to their faces and watched a pre-recorded launch event officially announcing the OnePlus Two, a small press event was happening in San Francisco. Like many smartphone press events, the goal is to let us get some hands on time with the phone so we can tell all of you about it as soon as the announcement is over. Unlike most smartphone launch events, OnePlus created a relaxed, incredibly well-lit environment that was set up better than just about anything I'd ever been to.

OnePlus 2

The event OnePlus put on was simple, and it worked. We pulled up to a glass building with tons of natural light everywhere, and had plenty of room to set up and start playing with untethered hardware. The music in the background was low, and the OnePlus folks were constantly asking if we needed help or had any questions. Instead of a special place off to the side for interviews, folks from Qualcomm and Carl Pei just walked up and sat down, ready to chat. It was about as close to perfect as you could ask for in this situation, short of private one-on-one meetings with the company to look at the phone.

But hey, open bar and free food right? Knock a few back and tell everyone how awesome our phone is.

While I labeled myself the new guy in the title, I've been doing this whole smartphone thing for a while now. Most events are full of "atmosphere" which is a nice way of saying it's mood lighting dark with whatever the popular thing is right now blasting in the background. If you're really lucky, the devices aren't tethered to the table with a security alarm so you can actually hold the phone. It sucks for video, it sucks for photos, and it makes talking to the people who are supposed to be there answering your questions frustrating at best. But hey, open bar and free food right? Knock a few back and tell everyone how awesome our phone is.

If you take a look at the photo of the Moto X Style from the Motorola event the very next day, and compare it to what was shot during the OnePlus event, you see the obvious differences. Rather, I do. Truth be told the folks I work with are great with their cameras, often significantly better than I am in fact, so it may not be something that sticks out quite as much here as it does elsewhere on the Internet. It's not as simple as bringing your own lighting, either. The environmental differences are truly significant when it comes to getting the shot and spending time with the hardware.

Moto X Style

This sort of thing isn't talked about a lot, because it's inside baseball and doesn't really have any bearing on you as a reader. For us, this kind of event makes the work a ton easier to deal with and makes getting to know the phone for that initial hands-on a little more enjoyable. I'm going to be handling the review of the OnePlus Two, and as soon as it crosses my desk I'm sure there will be a lot more to say about it. Until that happens, OnePlus gets a thumbs up from me for offering up the most relaxed and helpful group press event I've ever been to.

OnePlus 2

OnePlus

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1 day ago

AC editors' apps of the week: Angry Birds 2, Amtrak, Ticketmaster and more

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Apps of the week

Our weekly app picks

It's Appday Sunday and that means we're back with more of our favorites to share. Every week we bring a handful of great apps to the table and share them with everyone. Sometimes they are new apps, sometimes old standards, but every time they are apps we love to use.

Give these a look and then take a minute to tell us all about the apps you are using and love so we can give them a try. We all find some of our favorites right in the comments on these posts!

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1 day ago

The ZTE Axon Pro is now on sale at Amazon, NewEgg and others for $449

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ZTE began taking pre-orders on its own for its latest smartphone, the ZTE Axon Pro, in mid-July. Now the phone is available from other online retailers, including Amazon, NewEgg and eBay. All three are selling the smartphone unlocked for $449.98.

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1 day ago

Audiobooks.com brings its disappointing app to Android Auto

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Audiobooks.com for Android Auto

We're not quite sure how Android Auto launched without an app for audiobooks, but such is the case. That's changed now that Audiobooks.com has added support.

But the experience ... is not great.

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1 day ago

In pictures: Two generations of Moto G

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Moto G 2014 and Moto G 2015

In addition to some updated specs, the 2015 Moto G has a bit of a new look to it. If you were a bit bored by last year's matte black finish (and ignored the fact that there were other shells you could purchase), well, things are looking up this time around.

Both phones keep the same shape, of course. A slab is a slab is a slab, especially if you're talking about a $200 slab. But the band connecting the camera to the dimple adds a little bit of flair, as does the texture of the swappable back. Again, nothing too fancy, but just a little more over last year. As far as the front of the phones go, you're basically looking at the same thing.

One of the more important improvements actually can't be seen until you pop off that rear cover. Check out the rubber gasket around the SIM and SD card slots — that's what really makes this thing water resistant.

Moto G 2015

Motorola Amazon Best Buy

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1 day ago

From the Editor's Desk: The best $200 you'll spend ...

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In hindsight, it's not all that surprising that the new Moto G is as good at it is. Motorola's gotten really good at the mid-range phone. Better than anyone else, I'd argue. And it's not surprising because Motorola told us a long time ago what its game plan would be.

Actually, it was Larry Page who told us.

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2 days ago

Weekend fun: 10 sounds from old versions of Android

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Android Ringtones

I was fooling around in my Google Drive the other night, and came across a really cool find. I have a folder with a bunch of old ringtones and notification sounds from Froyo and Gingerbread just sitting there, waiting for me to get all nostalgic and use them.

I have no idea why I saved the ones I saved. I'm going to guess they were my favorites from back then, and needed to use them on a phone that didn't include the "stock" Android ringtones and sounds. Or maybe something else. In any case, I figure other people might just enjoy a blast from the past and wanted to share them here. What ones do I have, you ask? These 10, plus an ultra-bonus DROOOIIIIDDDDDDD sound. All converted to 320kbps mp3 files. Don't ask why, I have no answer. Just enjoy.

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2 days ago

Mobile Nations Weekly: Moto X, Windows 10, Teslas, and more!

4
Moto X Style in Walnut

Welcome to Mobile Nations Weekly: your window into the week in mobile tech and life.

You can expect this to hit every week: the latest and greatest from the past week in technology and mobile life from across Android Central, Connectedly, CrackBerry, iMore, Windows Central, and more! If there was any week to get this started, this week was the one it — we've got major releases of hardware and software from multiple manufacturers. All of this is setting the stage for the coming months (and in some cases years) in mobile technology, so it's an exciting time for fans of smartphones, tablets, and all manner of gadgets.

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2 days ago

CHOETECH 15600mAh Dual-USB Quick Charge power bank

10

Feed the need for Quick Charge speeds.

Weighing in at 12.5oz, this power bank is solid in design, featuring a glossy black finish that's a real stickler for fingerprints. You'll find the power button on the top, along with a series of LED lights that provide percentages of remaining battery life at any given time.

What's unique about the CHOETECH power bank is its ability to be charged using either a microUSB cable or Apple Lightning cable. Both ports are featured on the front lip of the power bank next to 2 USB ports — 1 standard and the other Quick Charge 2.0 certified. Both inputs charge at a max rate of 2.1A, regardless of what cable you end up using to replenish the power bank. Output 1 (standard) provides 1A, and output 2 (QC 2.0) at 2.4A. Bundled with the power bank is a single 4ft. microUSB cable for charging your phone or the portable battery.

To completely charge the power bank, you're looking at approximately 7 hours using a Quick Charger, or about 10 hours with a standard charger. It comes with the standard protection features built-in, including over-current, over-charge, and short circuit protection. It happily charges 2 devices simultaneously, as long as you have an extra USB cable laying around. Given the brute size of this power bank, it's definitely not ideal for pocketing, but would still do well for traveling or weekend camping trips. Just keep it away from water, because this isn't a rugged power bank meant for that kind of abuse.

Our take

$39.99 Buy Now

It's got plenty of backup power with its 15600mAh battery, dual-USB ports, a Quick Charge 2.0 option, and can be charged up with a microUSB or Lightning USB cable. It's quite the beast for its $39.99 price tag. If you're really only keeping one device alive for a trip, you could probably go with something a bit slimmer like the Aukey 10k Quick Charge Power Bank. For 2 or more devices though, this is a pretty solid option.

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2 days ago

Windows 10 and the Android SDK tools: No big changes

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If you're one of the people who rushed to upgrade to Windows 10, you'll be happy to know that the Android tools in the SDK work just as they did before.

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2 days ago

What are you looking for from a 'smart' thermostat?

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Nest thermostat

The Internet of Living Rooms is a thing. We point to the very popular, very pricey and potentially cool smart thermostat market to see how it's beginning.

Environmental control is a natural place for smart and connected devices to be. Ever since the middle of the 20th century, we've heard about how the homes of the future will be automated and controllable from one central location. Fast forward to today, and nobody is surprised when they hear about a home that has smart lighting or smart heating and cooling.

We're going to talk a little bit about that smart heating and cooling today. Specifically, what we want a smart thermostat to do for us.

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2 days ago

Possible Samsung Galaxy Note 5 specs leak out

280

To go along with the recent leak of possible Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 edge+ press renders, it seems that we now might have an idea what's inside one of those devices. The specifications for the Galaxy Note 5 have reportedly appeared, courtesy of notable leaker Evan Blass.

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2 days ago

In pictures: The Moto X Style (aka Pure Edition)

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Moto X 2015

It doesn't matter what you call it — Moto X Style, Moto X Pure Edition ... whatever — this is the new hotness for 2015 from Motorola.

You've read our preview. You've watched the video.

On this fine Saturday morning, let's just enjoy this upcoming phone — we've got to wait until September before it's released — in pictures.

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