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5 days ago

Here's when your Nexus phone or tablet will stop receiving guaranteed updates

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Last year, Google said that it will roll out monthly security updates to Nexus phones and tablets for three years from their respective launch dates, and platform updates for "at least two years." The search giant is now listing concrete timelines for when guaranteed support will end for each Nexus phone and tablet, including the Nexus 6P and 5X:

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5 days ago

Sony stops making smartphones in Brazil

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Sony has announced that it will no longer manufacture smartphones in Brazil. Although the vendor invested R$250m ($83m) last year to expand its mobile unit in the country, the end of tax exemptions for locally manufactured smartphones that cost up to R$1,500 ($530) has motivated the brand to move away from local production.

Instead of continuing with Foxconn and Arima for local manufacturing, Sony will now import products — like the Xperia X and XA — from China and Thailand.

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5 days ago

VLC 2.0 is here with network playback, reduced permissions, and so much more

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Popular cross-platform media player VLC has picked up a major update to version 2.0 that brings a slew of new features. Network playback is now live, with support for DLNA, Windows network sharing, UPnP, NFS, FTP, and SFTP protocols. The media player has also cut down on the number of permissions it requires, only needing access to media files.

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5 days ago

Unicode 9.0 is now official with 72 new emoji

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Unicode 9 is now official, making standard a whole new set of characters and — yes — new emoji.

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5 days ago

Google Play Music adds proper podcast section for Android Auto

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One missing ingredient for podcasts in Google Play Music has been when you get in your car and fire up Android Auto. A recent update has changed that.

You'll now find a "Podcasts" section at the bottom of the top level of menu items. Tap it and you'll see the shows you're subscribed to, in order of what was most recently updated. Top a show to start playing the most recent episode. And ... that's it. To get to a different episode you'll have to hit the track list. It's a little clunky maybe, but it's a welcome addition.

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5 days ago

Here's how to check if you have Amazon credit from Apple's ebook settlement

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If you're expecting any credit coming your way from Kindle purchases as a result of Apple's ebook antitrust case, Amazon now has a convenient way to check.

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5 days ago

This week's 'T-Mobile Tuesdays' offers extended through Friday

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While not nearly as bad as its first week, T-Mobile's weekly "T-Mobile Tuesdays" promotion hit some hiccups again this week.

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5 days ago

Wind Mobile is turning into a good telco alternative for Western Canadians

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If you're in the (western) market for a new plan, it's time to consider Wind Mobile.

As of today, Wind Mobile has completed its network upgrades in all of its Western Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton. With those upgrades, the company claims speeds and coverage have been drastically improved, along with perhaps the most important metric — latency.

The realization comes after Wind announced that it has completed upgrades in Edmonton as part of a drastic overhaul to its equipment that began in December in partnership with Nokia Networks. Now the company, which is owned by Shaw Communications, moves onto its biggest and most expansive market, Southern Ontario, which includes the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Barrie, Windsor, London, Niagara Region, and Peterborough. It's unclear how long it will take to make the upgrades in its biggest region.

It's been difficult to ascertain just how much improved Wind's network is in Western Canada, but some new data has shown that it is at least five to 10 times faster than its previous performance. According to Calgary-based blog Crackmacs, users can expect average download speeds of over 5Mbps and upload speeds of over 1.5Mbps, with the former spiking as high as 15Mbps depending on the day. In contrast, my Wind SIM in Toronto consistently offers me speeds of 0.3Mbps to 1Mbps down and 0.05 to 0.3Mbps up — not exactly fast.

Worse are my ping times, which spike as high as 800ms, according to my own tests. The Crackmacs data shows a huge latency disparity in Calgary of between 50ms and 250ms, but even at its most lossy it is in line with many 3G networks around the country. In other words, Wind's network should be considerably more competitive, even at these comparatively slower 3G speeds, once the cross-country upgrades are complete.

Even as it limps towards an LTE rollout, Wind Mobile's upgraded network, combined with its enormously attractive plans, such as one that offers 10GB of local data and 1GB of roaming data for $60 per month, is very compelling.

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5 days ago

EA's The Secret Life of Pets: Unleashed combines cute animals with match-3 gameplay

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With The Secret Life of Pets movie just around the corner, it makes sense for there to be a mobile game released ahead of screenings. EA is hitting both Android and iOS with a new match-3 game within The Secret Life of Pets universe. In The Secret Life of Pets: Unleashed, players will be able to enjoy the same style of gameplay experienced in other popular titles with the added bonus of seeing colorful personalities from the film.

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5 days ago

Sprint HTC 10 update now rolling out with camera enhancements and more

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Sprint is rolling out a small update to the HTC 10 that bears good news for the phone's camera.

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5 days ago

How often do you clean out the storage on your phone?

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Our phones have become a hub for our lives — and that requires storage.

Your phone is where you store tons of photos, communicate with friends, play games and even check the news and weather. With all of that information saved to your device, it means that after a while you'll probably want to clean out the storage. Whether that means backing your photos up to Google Photos or just deleting old apps that you no longer have the use for.

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5 days ago

Motorola's design lead Jim Wicks departs after 15 years

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Motorola's senior vice president of consumer experience design, Jim Wicks, has departed the company to join the faculty at Northwestern University. Wicks had been with Motorola for 15 years and was its head of design for the past 12 years.

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5 days ago

6 best comic reader apps for Android

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6 best comic reader apps for Android

My common sense is tingling.

Face front, true believers! Though print comics are still alive, well, and actually thriving, some folks like a portable, digital version of their favorites to take with them (the TSA doesn't take kindly to luggage full of mylar baggies).

You can download comics and manga from many sources and you need a reader that lets you enjoy all of that digital inky goodness with some added features. Here are a few of our favorites.

Excelsior!

Comics by Comixology

Comics by Comixology

Comixology is really the engine that run the digital comics machine. That is to say that you can browse, download, and read comics from just about every publisher via the Comics app by Comixology. In fact, even DC's app is run by Comixology. Comixology works just like Amazon, which is kind of the point, since it's owned by Amazon. You can search for comics, graphic novels, manga, and more by name, add them to your cart, and check out. You can even sign in with your Amazon account or create a new Comixology account. Up to you.

You also have the option to subscribe to Comixology Unlimited, which is basically all the comics you want for $5.99 a month. You have access to thousands of titles and if you're a Darkhorse or Image fan, Comixology Unlimited is the only subscription service that features titles from each of these publishers.

Comixology has titles from DC, Marvel, IDW, Image, Darkhorse, BOOM! Studio, Dynamite Entertainment, Valiant, Oni Press, and tons more.

If you're a digital comic fan in any way, then Comics by Comixology is the app for you.

Download: Comics by Comixology (free)


Marvel Unlimited

Marvel Unlimited

If you're a Marvel diehard, then Marvel Unlimited is where it's at. You get access to over 17,000 digital comics from all throughout Marvel's history for $9.99 a month. You can also pay $69 for a yearly subscription or $99 for the 2016 Annual Plus subscription, which includes a Hasbro Marvel Legends figure, three variants, other goodies, and discounts on digital comments and Marvel merch.

If you don't have an internet connection, you can read up to 12 issues offline, so you're never without comics. The Marvel Unlimited library is updated weekly with old and newer issues of comics, which are uploaded as early as 6 months after they hit shelves.

If you're trying to keep up-to-date on Marvel happenings, then Marvel Unlimited probably isn't for you. However, if you're wanting to explore the Marvel pantheon and dig deep into older books, then subscribe and enjoy.

Download: Marvel Unlimited (free, plus $5.99/month or $69/year subscription)


Perfect Viewer

Perfect Viewer

If you don't need a comic reader with an integrated store and you just want somewhere to read your books, then Perfect Viewer is… perfect for you. It has full support for CBZ and CBR files (typical digital comic files), as well as PDF, GIF, JPEG, and more.

The layout is fully customizable and you can switch between scrolling view and page-by-page view depending on your preference. You can zoom in and out on panels and images, and if you get the paid version, you can apply limited colors to black and white images.

If you're looking to open files from Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox, you totally can, but you'll have to install the source plugin. So the app is totally customizable, but you may have to do some finagling before certain desired features can be enabled.

If you're looking for an app that lets you read all of your comics in any way you choose and supports many other image file formats, check out Perfect Viewer.

Download: Perfect Viewer (free)


Astonishing Comic Reader

Astonishing Comic Reader

Astonishing Comic Reader is a basic reader app that just plain looks great. If you'd like a very aesthetically pleasing comic-reading experience, then check it out. It has no integrated store, but it'll line up all of the comics on your phone or tablet in a library-style fashion to make browsing and searching streamlined and pleasant.

You can curate your comics into customizable collections and receive recommendations for related comics via the Intelligent Suggestions feature. You can create wallpapers on the fly and use the Snapshots feature to save moments and share them.

Astonishing Comic Reader allows you to import your CBZ and CBR (comic book) files straight from Dropbox and will track which comics you've read and which you've yet to read. You also have the super-convenient ability to navigate using gestures, on-screen buttons, or the volume buttons.

If you want a comic reader that looks great, lets you read every comic on your phone or tablet, and lets you take snapshots of your favorite moments in comics, then check out Astonishing Comic Reader.

Download: Astonishing Comic Reader (free)


Challenger Comics Viewer

Challenger Comics Viewer

No ads, supports just about every image file format under the Sun, and Multi-Window support: What's not to love?

Challenger Comics Viewer is a versatile and comprehensive comic reader app that lets you enjoy all of the comics on your phone or tablet in many orientations and using gestures, vertical and horizontal scrolling, on-screen buttons – whatever. If there's a way you feel like reading your comics, Challenger Comics Viewer lets you do it.

If your comic files aren't on your device, then you can access them via virtually any cloud storage network or FTP, which easily makes Challenger the most versatile app when it comes to access and availability of your comics. I will say that it's certainly not the prettiest app, but what it lacks in form, it more than makes up for in function.

Basically, if you want a feature-laden, customizable comic reader that can really do it all, then Challenger Comics Viewer should be your choice.

Download: Challenger Comics Viewer (free)


ComicRack

ComicRack

Our readers asked for it and I was a fool not to include it. ComicRack for Android is the perfect complement to ComicRack for Windows and can act as a companion to your entire comic library on your Windows PC. You can wirelessly sync your entire comic library from your Windows PC to your Android phone or tablet if you go with the paid version, which is ad-free. If you go with the free version, you can still sync with your ComicRack for Windows library, you'll just need a USB cable.

ComicRack is jam-packed full of actually useful features, like the ability to manage reading states (completed, not completed, unread, etc.), a fully manageable library (wherein you can search titles), color adjustments so that your comics look as true to real life as possible, and a ton more.

ComicRack for Android has native support for CBZ and CBR files, but when used in tandem with ComicRack for Windows, it supports just about every comic format under the Sun.

If you're after a comic reader app that's loaded to the teeth with features (Twitter integration and live wallpapers and app widgets, oh my!), then seriously consider ComicRack, especially if you have it for Windows. It's a perfect pairing.

Download: ComicRack (free/$7.89)


Comic Chameleon

Comic Chameleon

Are you a webcomic fan and couldn't really care less about any of the other stuff? Comic Chameleon curates all of your favorites with full support of every artist that they publish, giving exposure to lesser known online artists, as well as many webcomic standards, like Dinosaur Comics!

Comic Chameleon features a news tab, which keeps you up-to-date on all of the webcomics it publishes, as well as new app features. If you just got into a webcomic but want to read it from the beginning, Comic Chameleon provides full archives organized by year with thumbnails of each episode/issue.

Comic Chameleon features a lot of NSFW content, so it's rated for adults only on Google Play and, having skimmed a bit of the material on there, it has earned that rating.

If you're looking for a break from "comic booky" comics and want something more episodic or you're looking for a shorter read (some are just one panel), then check out Comic Chameleon and support independent webcomics.

Download: Comic Chameleon (free)


What do you use?

Did we miss an awesome comic reader app? Tell us what you use in the comments below.

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5 days ago

The Chrome dev channel can be unstable, and it might not be your thing

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The Chrome Dev channel is marked experimental and unstable for a reason — it's experimental and it might become unstable.

I really like my Chromebook, and seeing Android apps come to the Chromebook Flip is really cool. There are still some gaps in the functionality of Chrome OS that might be fixed by adding a million or so Android apps into the mix. The jury is still out on that one and in the meantime, we'll continue to play around with everything and find ways to solve the issues and answer the questions that come up. But there is one thing we can't fix — you need to use the Dev channel to test Android apps on Chrome.

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5 days ago

Family Locator is offering access to its flight tracking feature for free

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Sygic has updated its Family Locator app, allowing all users of the popular GPS app to access its flight tracking feature for the first time.

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