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5 days ago

Google offers more details on the closure of Google+ Photos

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Following Google's announcement earlier this week that it would shut down Google+ Photos in favor of the new Google Photos service, head of Google Photos Anil Sabharwal clarified the changes taking place.

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6 days ago

Dell Venue 8 7840 snags Android 5.1 update

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Android 5.1 has started rolling out to the Dell Venue 8 7840, bringing along minor tweaks and improvements to the tablet, along with added improvements from Dell.

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6 days ago

Droid Turbo picking up small additional OTA after the Android 5.1 release

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Two weeks after the Lollipop update finally arrived on the Droid Turbo, we're getting another tiny update on top of it from Verizon. The small OTA is hitting Turbos right now bumping the software version ever-so-incrementally from 23.11.38 to 23.11.39. A check of the Verizon software update support documents show this as simply being the Android 5.1 update, leading us to think that anyone still on KitKat will simply be jumping straight to this version.

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6 days ago

Sony begins Android 5.1 rollout to Xperia Z2 and Z3 series smartphones and tablets

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If you own a Sony Xperia Z2 or Z3 series smartphone or tablet, you're in for a sweet treat. Sony has announced that it has begun rolling out Android 5.1 to its Xperia Z3 and Z2 series of smartphones and tablets, bringing some tweaks and enhancements along for the ride.

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6 days ago

FCC chairman recommends approval of AT&T's pending DirecTV acquisition

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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has officially come out in support of AT&T's proposed $49 billion acquisition of DirecTV, recommending that the regulatory commission approve the deal. However, in order for the deal to go through, Wheeler is asking AT&T to agree to some conditions, including stricter net neutrality requirements.

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6 days ago

The NOW Watchface brings futuristic style to your smart watch

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If you've been craving a futuristic, sci-fi inspired watchface for that awesome new smartwatch, then we've got you covered. The NOW Watchface gives you all the info you crave at a glance, and does it with style and plenty of customization options to boot. If you aren't familiar with this Android Wear watchface, NOW is the time — and the watch face — to do it with.

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6 days ago

Google Maps' new timeline feature puts location history at your fingertips [Update]

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If you've ever wanted a convenient way to keep track of your stops on your latest trip with Google Maps for Android, you may be in luck. Google appears to be quietly rolling out a new "Timeline" feature which allows you to take a look at your location history in detail.

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6 days ago

Hands-on with Flir One, a smartphone-powered thermal camera

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Flir One

Thermal cameras are little more than a fun toy for most of us, but the companies and contractors that rely on the technology to be more efficient in their work are routinely faced with the tremendous cost associated with most of the hardware in the category. Over the last two years we've seen an effort to make thermal cameras smaller, cheaper, and in some cases even relying on your smartphone to do a lot of the heavy lifting.

The most recent advancement in this lineup is the Flir One, a microUSB dongle that promises to offer a decent thermal camera to those who don't need a $1,000 rig for every job. Here's a quick hands on of this new accessory and it's many features. Spoiler alert — it is also a fun toy.

This is not Flir's first effort in the smartphone accessory space, but it's easily the most polished — especially for Android phones and tablets. The microUSB dongle comes with a nice carrying case with a lanyard for when it's not in use, and it's small enough to be pocketable. Even when outside of the case, the two lenses on the front of the dongle are recessed, so accidentally dropping the camera doesn't immediately spell disaster. It's a fairly simple design, with a microUSB port on one side to charge the included battery and a power button to activate the camera on the other.

Getting this camera to work on your phone is a three step process. You need to open the Flir One app, connect the camera, and tap the power button. You'll see a notification asking for permission to allow data from the microUSB port, and once you've hit OK the thermal image will appear on the screen. From this point, you're using the cameras attached to the bottom of your phone for everything, and the camera on the back of your phone isn't active at all.

Flir's multi-spectral dynamic imaging tech uses one regular camera for detail and one Lepton camera for heat, placing them together in the app to create a single image. This means even though you can get plenty of thermal information with the lights off, the best pictures come from well-lit environments.

Flir One Shot

As you can see in this photo, there's occasionally some drift between the detail sensor and the thermal sensor on the camera. The focal point for these two cameras is best at two feet or greater to avoid this visual separation, but at that distance the detail is usually clear enough that you can figure out what you're looking at with relative ease, so if your goal is to use this camera to find heat or cold leaks it's unlikely to be a problem. You'll also note the resolution of the photo is fairly low by modern smartphone standards, but in fact the 640 x 480 image or video captured by Flir One is twice the size of its predecessor.

Flir One Screenshot

The Flir One UI is about as straightforward as you can get. There's a giant capture button for grabbing photos, a toggle switch in the bottom left for switching from photo to video, and a menu toggle for accessing a thermometer that draws a crosshair in the middle of the screen with the temperature, and some basic settings for camera quality. If you swipe from right to left, you'll get the last photo taken in a built in gallery mode, where you can edit and share photos. These photos are already saved to your local storage, and already accessible from your existing Gallery app, but if you want a quick look back at the quality of the last shot it's a handy swipe away.

Swiping from left to right accesses a panel with nine color map options for the viewer, allowing you to choose how the thermal information is displayed and captured. These options range from flat gray with tiny splashes of color for the warmest or coldest spots to full on Predator Vision, and just about everything in between. The Iron setting, which is the default when launching the app for the first time, is my personal preference. Since I'm not using this for anything other than making pretty colors on things, that doesn't count for much. They are more than just filters, though. There's potentially significant information in each option, depending on what you want from an image. Here, see for yourself.

Ultimately, $250 is still a steep ask for something like this if you're only using it for fun, but there's plenty about the Flir One that should be attractive to those who could use a thermal camera that is a third the cost of "cheap" thermal cameras. It's also $50 cheaper than the competing Seek thermal camera for Android, though we've not yet done a side by side to see which of these cameras is actually better. If you're looking for a decent thermal camera on a budget, or you're looking for a fun accessory for your Android phone, the Flir One seems is worth a closer look.

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6 days ago

Weekly Poll: How do you charge your phone?

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Charging your phone

There are lots of ways to feed the ever-hungry battery on a modern Android phone. Chances are, most of us have a system of sorts that we use to make sure every time we pick our phone up and press a button or tap the screen to awaken it, it will be alive and ready to respond. This week, we want to hear how you do it.

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6 days ago

AT&T said to be introducing activation fee for Next and BYOD customers, raising upgrade fee on August 1 [Update]

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Original story: According to a new report, AT&T may be raising its upgrade fee to $45, and introducing a new $15 activation fee for AT&T Next and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) customers, starting August 1. Droid Life is reporting that the $5 increase in upgrade fee, and $15 activation fee will apply to all customers beginning August 1, though those currently making payments under a Next Installment Plan won't have to pay on their next upgrade.

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6 days ago

Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham — and the Most Important Question Of The Day

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Let's face it: Donald Trump is a name I try to avoid whenever possible, and Lindsey Graham — the Republican senator from South Carolina — isn't a name I expected to type on Android Central anytime soon. But here we are.

See, Trump being Trump ended up with Trump doing what only Trump can do. And what Trump did in this instance was spit out Graham's phone number — his real number, apparently — during a speech today. The "why" doesn't matter. Fact is he did it.

And that leads us to the Most Important Question Of The Day:

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6 days ago

Possible Moto G (2015) specs revealed in product listing

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Ahead of Motorola's July 28 event, where we're expected to get a look at some upcoming smartphones, Swiss retailer Digitec has posted a store listing for the third-generation Moto G, giving us a peek at what we may see from Motorola next week.

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6 days ago

Grab a white Sony Smartwach 3 for less than $150 from Amazon

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Amazon is currently offering more than a 40 percent savings on the white Sony Smartwatch 3, dropping the price to only $147.95. The biggest savings come on the white model, though all of the colors are currently on sale. You can grab a black one for $170.11, or the lime one for $159.95, all rather significant savings from the normal $249 price tag on the smartwatch.

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6 days ago

Goodnight Lad — an augmented reality bedtime story

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Goodnight Lad

I don't usually bring my smartphone in for a bedtime story, but a recent Kickstarter reward I received gave me reason to consider it. Goodnight Lad is a young children's story where every page is extended through the use of augmented reality. You install the app, point your phone at the page, and the main character and his friends spring to life for your child.

It's a clever use of AR, not because it's a kids story, but because the experience is so complete. Each page can be read to your child through the app, and the Kickstarter included outfit changes and cards to extend the story and share with friends. The app itself is nice and easy to use, and it locks on to the AR targets on the page nice and fast. It's by far the most compelling and enjoyable AR experience I've seen in a while, right down to the interactive menu on the first page.

The book is now available for $20, though currently the extra cards from the Kickstarter don't appear to be available. There's a demo in the app if you're not quite sold on the idea yet, which you can check out through the Google Play Store. I wouldn't go so far as to call this the next big thing in bedtime stories, but for $20 it's a nice way to shake things up and have some fun while reading a book.

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6 days ago

Google acquires Pixate to help developers make better mobile app prototypes

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Google has bought yet another small tech company. It revealed that it has acquired the Palo Alto, California-based Pixate, which was formed in 2012. Pixate creates tools for developers so they can make quicker and easier prototypes for mobile apps.

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