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6 days ago

Amazon Echo can now offer you comedy from The Daily Show

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Thanks to its latest round of updates, the Amazon Echo connected speaker can now offer the unique political humor and current events topics from Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

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6 days ago

Cyanogen Inc. reportedly laying off 20% of staff in major restructuring

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New reports claim that Cyanogen Inc. may have laid off as much as 20% of its staff. One of those reports claims the company could be switching its strategy away from OS development to focus on apps.

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6 days ago

How to set up a 5.1 home theater system with Sonos for Android

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How to set up a 5.1 home theater system with Sonos for Android

Get BIG home theater sound with Sonos!

Sonos speakers are smart. "How smart?" you ask.

So smart that, when you combine a Sonos Playbar, Sub, and either two Play:1s, two Play:3s, or two Play:5s (gen 2), you can turn all the individual components into a bumpin' home theater system!

Note: Your rear surround speakers must both be the same model or this just won't work.

There are a couple different ways to do this, especially if you have an existing system that you're adding to. We're going to show you the easiest way to set this up. Here we go!

How to set up a 5.1 surround home theater system with Sonos for Android

To make life easier, you're going to want to factory reset all of the speakers that you have set up already.

Once that's done we're going to start by setting up the Playbar, which will prompt the setup of the rest of your home theater system.

  1. Launch the Sonos Controller app from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap Set Up a New Sonos System.
  3. Tap Next on the welcome screen.
  4. Tap Standard Setup so everything stays wireless.

    Tap Set Up a New Sonos System, tap Next, tap Standard Setup

  5. Tap Next on the "Standard Setup" screen.
  6. Tap Set up this player. Choose the Playbar from the list, if it prompts you.
  7. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  8. Tap Next.

    Tap NExt, Tap Set Up this Player, follow the on-screen instructions, tap Next

  9. Tap I see an orange light once you see the orange light flashing on the side of the Playbar.
  10. Tap Next on the "Wireless Setup" screen.
  11. Enter your Wi-Fi password into the field.
  12. Tap Continue.

    Tap I see an orange light, tap NExt, enter your Wi-Fi password, tap Continue

  13. Tap Next once the Playbar has been added to your network.
  14. Tap the dropdown menu.
  15. Tap the room in which you'll have your home theater setup.
  16. Tap Next.

    Tap Next, tap the dropdown menu, tap the room you'll have your setup in, tap Next

  17. Tap Next once your TV is turned off.
  18. Tap Add a Sub.
  19. Tap Next once you have plugged in your Sub. As the screen says, it can take up to 30 seconds for it to register (it's not kidding).

    Tap Next, tap Add a Sub, tap Next

  20. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  21. Tap Next once the Sub has been added.
  22. Tap Add Surrounds.

    Follow the on-screen instructions, tap Next, tap Add Surrounds

  23. Swipe left and right to choose which players you have.
  24. Tap Set up these players, once you've chosen the Sonos model that you have.
  25. Tap Next on the "Add Left Surround" screen, once you've placed the speaker where you like it.
  26. Follow the on-screen instructions.

    Swipe left and right to choose a player, tap Set up these players once you've chosen, tap Next, follow the on-screen instructions

  27. Tap Next on the "Added Left Surround" screen.
  28. Tap Next on the "Add Right Surround" screen.
  29. Follow the on-screen instructions.

    Tap Next, tap Next, follow the on-screen instructions

  30. Tap Next on the "Added Right Surround" screen.
  31. Tap Next on the "Audio Setup" screen.
  32. Tap Next once you have moved to a central location in the room from which you will watch TV.

    Tap Next, next, next

  33. Tap the play button to start the Sub test sounds.
    • Tap No Difference if the alternating tones don't change in volume.
    • Tap A is louder if the Sub sounds louder when the letter "A" is highlighted.
    • Tap B is louder if the Sub sounds louder when the letter "B" is highlighted.
  34. Tap the play button to start the bass tones.
  35. Tap the bass setting that is most pleasing to your ear.
  36. Tap Next.

    Tap the play button, tap No Difference if neither tone is louder than the other, tap A is louder or B is louder if one is, tap the play button, choose a bass setting, tap Next

  37. You will be asked how far away from you your left and right surround speakers are. Tap one of the following options:
    • Less than 2 feet
    • 2 feet to 10 feet
    • More than 10 feet
  38. Tap Next on the "Audio Setup" screen.
  39. Tap Next on the "TV Sound" screen, once your Playbar is connected to your television via optical cable.

    Tap the option that best describes how far away from you your speakers are, tap Next, tap Next

  40. Tap Next once you have your TV turned on to a movie or show.
  41. Tap Next after setting your TV speakers to external. This can be done using your remote in your TV's sound settings.
  42. Tap Next.

    Tap Next, Next, Next

  43. Tap Successfully disabled, once you have your audio output set to external speakers.
  44. Tap Next.
  45. Tap Next on the "Remote Control Setup" screen.

    Tap Successfully Disabled, tap Next, tap Next

  46. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  47. Tap Next once your remote is set up.
  48. Press the volume button on your TV remote and tap an option.

    • A message is displayed
    • A volume level is displayed
    • Nothing is displayed

      Follow the on-screen instructions, tap Next, press the vlume button on your remote and choose the option that best describes what you see

  49. Tap Next on the "TV Messages" screen.
  50. Tap Add Another Player if you wish to do so and follow steps 3-13. Otherwise, tap Not Now.
  51. Tap Next on the "Sonos Registration" screen.

    Tap Next, tap Add another player, if you wish to do so; otherwise, tap Not Now, tap Next

  52. Enter your email address.
  53. Check or uncheck the checkoxes, depending on whether or not you'd like to receive software and company emails from Sonos.
  54. Tap Next.

    Enter your email address, check our uncheck the checkboxes, depending on whether or not you want to receive promotional material, tap Next

  55. Tap Use Current Location to allow Sonos to use your location as part of the registration process.
  56. Enter your zip/postal code.
  57. Tap Next.
  58. Check or uncheck the checkbox, depending on whether or not you'd like to send usage data to Sonos.

    Tap Use Current Location, enter your zip/postal code, tap Next, check or uncheck the checkbox, depending on whether or not you want to share usage data with Sonos

  59. Tap Next.
  60. Tap Next on the "Registration Complete** screen.
  61. Tap Set Up Music Services if you wish to set up a music service. Otherwise, tap Skip to Sonos Menu.

    Tap Next, tap Next, tap Set Up Music Services, if you wish to do so; otherwise, tap Skip to Sonos Menu

It was a long road, but we got there! Now you can enjoy immersive 5.1 surround sound thanks to Sonos!

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6 days ago

Moto Z Force Droid Edition's ShatterShield survives drops, phone still dies

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Moto Z ShatterShield

It's not the fall that killed my Moto Z Force Droid Edition. It was the sudden stop at the end. And even then, it took five of them. ... And the screen still didn't crack.

I now have a zombie Moto Z Force Droid Edition. No, it's not the name that killed it. It was the drop test. And while I'm normally not a fan of killing a phone just to watch it die, we had good reason this time. Moto's ShatterShield.

This is the multiple-layer system that it put in the Droid Turbo 2 — and now in Verizon's Moto Z Force — to keep the phone's screen from shattering should it be dropped. That doesn't mean it's a rugged phone. That doesn't mean you should repeatedly drop it onto concrete. That means should the phone take a spill — like all phones do at some point — the screen should survive.

Yes, there's fine print. (There's always fine print.) And it reads thusly:

The display and embedded lens are warranted against shattering and cracking for four (4) years from the original date of purchase; scratches or other damage to the protective lens is not covered by this warranty, but should always be in place to prevent scratches and other damage to the underlying components. This phone is not shockproof or designed to withstand all damage from dropping. All other warranty exclusions, including scratches and other cosmetic damage, intentional damage or abuse, normal wear and tear and other limitations apply.

So I wasn't surprised after one-two-three-four-five drops that the screen quit working. ShatterShield isn't meant for the sort of abuse I subjected it to. (The phone still boots, actually. It still works. It's just as if the display became detached.)

But it did not shatter. It looks beat to hell — because it was. But ShatterShield did its job.

Moto Z and Moto Z Force

Motorola Verizon

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6 days ago

Community Review: SCOTTeVEST Knowmatic Hoodie

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A valiant attempt at solving a problem we didn't even know we needed solved.

Editor's Note: Welcome to our first ever Community Review! This is a full product review created by a member of the Android Central community, and it's the start of a new program here. We're going to be slowly opening this program up to community members and companies interested in participating. Please reach out to our Community Manager if you have any questions or would like to join the program!

SCOTTeVEST is a company the seeks to bring fashion and technology together in a unique way. Most company's these days are trying to find new and different ways to integrate technology directly into the clothing, but SCOTTeVEST's philosophy is simple: Just bring the tech with you! Their vision is for a wide variety of fashion sensible jackets, vests, hoodies, and even lab coats, that will comfortably allow you to bring all, and yes I mean all of the things with you.

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6 days ago

Where to buy the Sony Xperia XA Ultra in Canada

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The Sony Xperia XA Ultra may not be the most powerful phone on the market, but it's certainly one of the largest.

With a huge 6-inch 1080p display, a MediaTek processor, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a 21.5MP rear camera sensor, a 16MP front camera, and a 2,700mAh battery, the phone will mainly appeal to video and camera enthusiasts.

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6 days ago

The best Android launchers

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Android Launcher

There are tons of launchers available for Android — these are some of the best!

Launchers are the way Android users customize their smartphone and tablet experience. There's superficial stuff, like changing screen transitions, icons, and fonts, but the best Android launchers out there enable users to tweak the device's behavior to suit their daily usage, so long as you're willing to put the time into defining those customizations. Some launchers act very similarly to the one that came with your device, while others completely change the way you interact with your home screen. You can make your home screens as simple or complicated as you wish, while tweaking every little detail or just taking what's given to you by default — all by installing one single app.

If you're looking for a change of pace from the out-of-box software experience on your phone, consider a new launcher. We've found the best ones available today, and listed all of the pros and cons of each.

Updated July 22nd with information about new Action Launcher 3.8 features.

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6 days ago

Android Central 298: It's dead, Jim

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Audio-only stream below

What, what?!?! What's dead?!?! How did it die?!?!? And did we have to hit it more than once?!?! Answers to this question, and more, on this week's podcast!

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6 days ago

Where to buy the Moto Z

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Verizon's has the exclusive on the Moto Z, but it won't last forever.

So here's the deal with the Moto Z, insofar as when and where you'll be able to buy it.

The Moto Z is currently exclusive to Verizon, as a "Droid Edition." It's up for preorder and will officially be available on July 28. It costs $26 a month, or $624 outright.

It's not the only phone, however. Verizon also has the Moto Z Force Droid Edition. It's got a larger-capacity battery, higher-resolution camera and an unbreakable "ShatterShield" over the display. (We tried it. It works very well.) The Force costs $30 a month, or $720 outright.

Verizon's exclusive doesn't last forever, though. Globally you'll be able to buy a SIM-unlocked (but GSM-only) Moto Z (not the Force) in September, from Motorola.

See at Verizon

If you want more of the traditional Moto experience, you can also order the Moto Z Droid Edition and Moto Z Force Droid Edition on the MotoMaker website, which includes the ability to configure various different Mods, choose colors and more.

See at Motorola

We'll update this page as the Moto Z becomes available in more places.

Moto Z and Moto Z Force

Motorola Verizon

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6 days ago

Microsoft's OneDrive adds Pokémon Go image detector as part of latest update

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Microsoft is rolling out new updates to its OneDrive image and file storage service. It includes a way for people to quickly identify and find any images taken from the Pokémon Go game.

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6 days ago

Xperia X Ultra: After a disappointing start to 2016, I'm hoping for the best Sony phone in years

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Sony logo

Sony's Xperia X phones have been boring, overpriced and underwhelming. But there's reason for cautious optimism.

Sony, and before it Sony Ericsson, has been part of the Android ecosystem almost since the very beginning. Along the way, despite tumultuous conditions elsewhere in the company and a hit-and-miss biannual release cycle, Sony has managed to turn out some genuinely great handsets. The Xperia Z3 stands out as the zenith of that series — the last Sony phone that was really worth a spot next to the Galaxy phones and iPhones of the time. (And a model that holds up so well two years on that it's the only Sony phone currently involved in the Android 7.0 developer preview program.)

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6 days ago

MrMobile's Moto Z review: A smartphone like no other

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With an aluminum frame barely 5mm thick and slap-on "mods" that give it crazy capabilities, the Moto Z is unlike any smartphone you can buy today. It's also the latest installment in one of the most inconsistent product families in mobile technology.

In 2013, Motorola introduced a small, modest mobile that tried to redefine what a smartphone should be, and it called it the "Moto X." The next two years would see the company gradually abandon most of the principles it laid down with that first phone, making the X bigger and brawnier to better battle the Galaxy-class competition from Samsung.

For 2016, Motorola (now a Lenovo sub-brand called simply "Moto") has taken its flagship smartphone so far afield of its origins that it isn't even an "X" anymore. The result is a smartphone that I like very much – one I'll probably buy when the unlocked edition arrives in the fall – but one I'm not sure I'd recommend to many people. Join me for the Moto Z Droid Edition review by MrMobile!

About this review

MrMobile's Moto Z Review was based on six days' trial of a Moto Z Droid Edition review device on loan from Motorola/Verizon Wireless. The Moto Z Droid Edition was not paired to a wearable for this review. Test areas included the North Fork of Long Island, New York; Amtrak's CT/NH/MA Northeast Corridor; and Greater Boston, Massachusetts.

Socialize!

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6 days ago

Police look to unlock smartphone using 3D-printed fingerprints

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A law enforcement agency has turned to a researcher at the University of Michigan for help in creating 3D replicas of a victim's fingerprints in order to gain access his phone. The technique, demonstrated earlier this year by Anil Jain, could help law enforcement unlock a device equipped with a fingerprint scanner.

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6 days ago

Acer Chromebook R11 review: Solid laptop, mediocre convertible

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Acer Chromebook R11

Acer Chromebook R11 Full review

As we head toward the future of Android apps being available on Chrome OS, the idea of a small, convertible touchscreen Chromebook makes a little more sense. Before that announcement at Google I/O 2016, a Chromebook that could fold back into a touch-only device didn't really have much appeal. Chrome apps weren't ready for touch, and the OS as a whole still preferred a mouse and keyboard.

The Acer Chromebook R11 is one of these convertible Chromebooks that launched a bit ahead of its time, being ready for the touchscreen convertible future before Android app support came to the OS. And even at this point, though we know Android apps are coming, they won't be here for everyone for several months. There's little reason to buy a Chromebook for what it could do in the future — what it can do right now is far more important.

Acer knows the Chromebook world, and has the sales numbers from the past few years to prove it. But does the Chromebook R11 continue the company's history of making great Chromebooks with this convertible-style laptop? Our full review will tell you just that.

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6 days ago

Dots & Co brings more companions and challenges to the mental oasis

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Dots, the developer behind Dots and TwoDots, has just released a new mobile title called Dots & Co. This latest instalment in the series is now available for iOS and Android, adding an enhanced visual palette, more companions with new powers, all bringing additional layers to the original and much-loved gameplay.

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