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6 days ago

There are so many Moto G5 leaks that we need a napkin

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Mobile World Congress is right around the corner, and that means the products that will be announced are leaking all over the internet. Today we get to see the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus in just enough detail for us all to talk about it!

We already know what to expect here. The Moto G line isn't a new thing and Moto will deliver a quality mid-range phone at a decent price. We'll all remark how well the inexpensive model runs and point at offerings from other companies in the same price range for comparisons. We've done that every year since the Moto G first became a thing, and the Moto G has always been one of the best cheap phones you can buy.

Thanks to @LSAwesome, @davidteixe and @evleaks we have a pretty good look at the phones themselves. They look similar to each other and have the iconic Moto look around back in what appears to be aluminum. Up front, they look the same as each other (outside of size) and most every other flat slab from anyone else. In other words, no surprises — which most of the time is a good thing.

Android Police has also found specs pages hidden for both models, and that gives us a look at innards to match up with what's outside. While they are in Spanish, it's not hard to see that the Moto G5 Plus has a Snapdragon 625 with 64GB of storage and NFC. The "regular" Moto G5 has a Snapdragon 430 and 32GB of storage. Both models feature 2GB of RAM. There will likely be different models released in other markets, so the storage and memory listings can certainly change.

We still want to have a good look at these once we get to Barcelona, but this certainly makes for a nice preview. Now let's decide if we love 'em or hate 'em in the comments!

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6 days ago

How Phil lost weight and got less fat with the Withings Body smart scale

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A smart scale won't do the work for you, but it makes keeping track of your daily weigh-ins so much easier.

OK, let's get one thing straight. Knowing how much you weigh won't actually cause you to lose weight. The scale is just the messenger, right? But I've been a HUGE fan of the Withings Body scale (it's actually my second one, having upgraded from the older model) for a couple years now.

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The gist: You stand on it. It weighs you and uploads the data to The Cloud™. Weight, BMI, even things like air quality and how much of your body is made up of water. And it's smart enough to handle multiple family members. (My wife and kids all weigh different enough so that we're easily discerned, anyway.)

And then? You follow the trend line. Don't worry so much about the daily numbers. Look at it weekly. If you're losing weight, you'll know it. Same if you're gaining. It's super smart, and super easy. An app for Android. And one for iOS. A web-based dashboard. HealthKit. Google Fit. Withings ties into it all, and made all of this super-easy for me.

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Modern Dad

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6 days ago

Every Daydream app you can install right now, and a look at what comes next

Just go ahead and install all of them. You know, for fun.

Google's first Daydream headset is finally shipping to people who purchased the first Daydream phone, and are quickly finding it's not easy to locate the whole list of Daydream apps from the Play Store. While we've been having a lot of fun showing you the best free Daydream apps and the Daydream games everyone should have installed, the act of browsing for apps and then waiting for them to install while in VR isn't a good time.

To make it a little easier, we've tracked down the first wave of Google Daydream apps that are available to install now, so you can load up your Pixel with VR goodness and see what this new experience is all about.

Read more at VR Heads!

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1 week ago

Buy Lenovo's Android-powered Yoga Book for $500 and get a free $100 Amazon gift card

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Right now you can score a free $100 Amazon gift card with the purchase of a Lenovo Yoga Book. Since its release, the Android-powered tablet has yet to see a price drop, and while this doesn't mean you are paying less, it is still a great perk. The 10.1-inch tablet comes with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and a unique Halo Keyboard which makes it stand out a bit more. You can pick one up in your choice of gold, black, and gunmetal right now. Once you receive your gift card you could always use it to grab a protective leather case, some screen protectors, or some other accessories you may need.

All you have to do is select the option that bundles the Yoga Book and gift card, and add it to your cart, it's just that simple. This deal should run through February 22, but it is possible it will sell out before that, so be sure to place your order now if you want one!

See at Amazon

For more great deals on tech, gadgets, home goods and more, be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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1 week ago

What is wireless charging and how does it work?

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Qi transmitter coil

Wireless charging isn't magic, but it can be convenient.

Wireless charging, like the Qi charging many Android phones use, isn't new technology. My Panasonic electric razor used it many years ago, and most of us have seen toothbrushes that charge wirelessly in a cradle. And of course, we can't forget Palm and the way they brought wireless charging (though a different standard) to the masses with the Touchstone. Now that size, cost, and efficiency constraints have all eased up a little, putting wireless charging in something like your Android phone or watch makes more sense.

We get more than a few questions about wireless charging and how it works, so let's take a few minutes and talk about the basics — what it is, how it works and why you would want it in your next Android purchase.

This post was updated in February 2017 with the latest information.

What is wireless charging?

Wireless charging comes full circle

Wireless charging isn't magic — you still need a wire. the difference is that the wire is connected to a charging base instead of your phone, so you can just drop your Android onto the charger and things get to work without hooking anything up to your phone. The charging base can be almost any shape or size, and can even be in something like your car dash or the base of a lamp from IKEA. As long as you're able to get the right spot on the rear of your Android on the right spot on the base of the charger, it will work.

A good example would be having a wireless charging base on your desk at work. When you're not using your phone, you set it on the charger. When you need to use your phone, pick it up and it has a charge. Wireless charging isn't as fast as Quick Charging, but it's easy and something you're more likely to use to keep your phone topped off throughout the day (in our example). That's where wireless charging shines — ease of use.

How does wireless charging work?

Let's try to explain the magic so everyone in the room can understand. While there are plenty of cool technical things to discuss, and we totally should discuss them in the forums or the comments, we'll try to keep things basic here.

Wireless charging uses two resonant inductive couplings to transmit low-power signals between two devices. These are specially designed to transmit electricity without touching each other like a normal wired connection does. The base station has a transmitter coil and your phone has a receiver coil. The base station regularly sends a signal out, and when a receiver coil gets close enough a resonance or capacity change happens in the signal. The waveform of the signal is then modulated and inductive charging begins.

Inductive charging uses those two specially designed electromagnetic coils to create a magnetic field between two devices. There is an intricate process involved that allows a magnetic field to produce electricity through the difference of potential and oscillation (we'll simplify this and call it vibration so it makes more sense to everyone).

The coil in your Android is also connected to the battery charging circuit, and your battery is charged using the energy induced by the magnetic field. Excess heat is created as well, and that's part of why wireless charging isn't the most efficient way to transfer power from the wall to your battery. This is also why it takes longer to charge your phone on a Qi pad than it does to plug it into the wall. While new methods and materials use higher frequencies and thinner coils than past iterations, wireless charging is still less efficient and more costly than standard charging over a wire. It will stay this way for the foreseeable future.

To simplify:

  • Your Android and the charger have special electrical coils in them.
  • When the two coils get close enough, they use magnetism and "vibration" to send a small amount of power across the gap between them.
  • This power goes through the charging circuit in your phone and charges the battery.
  • It costs more and takes longer to charge than it would if you plugged your phone in, and creates more heat because this is less efficient than connecting wires the traditional way.

A word about Powermat

Powermat

Qi is not the only wireless charging standard. Other standards like Powermat are used to build wireless charging solutions. These use a different standard than Qi but the science behind them all is the same. Powermat has partnered with companies like AT&T and Starbucks to provide base stations in public places, and using a special case or charging block attached to your phone lets you wirelessly charge. They are also partnered with General Motors and are working to bring built-in wireless charging bases in vehicles.

While the same basic electrical theory applies to both Powermat and Qi, the different standards mean they are not compatible. Your Qi-enabled phone won't charge on a Powermat base because the signals sent and received are different. If you have Powermat equipment, you'll need to be sure you're buying more Powermat equipment to get everything working.

There are exceptions, like Samsung Galaxy phones, which include both Qi and Powermat standards.

Why do I want wireless charging in my next phone?

Now that we have a good standard — we're talking the Qi standard here — we have to remember than any Qi charger will work with any device that is Qi-certified. That means the charger you buy, whether it's a $6 Chinese unbranded unit from Amazon or a name-brand like Samsung or Zens, will work with the device you have now and any devices you buy in the future.

Couple this with the convenience factor — and until you've bought a couple Qi chargers and put them in the places you're likely to set your phone you don't really understand how convenient it is. I have a Qi charger at my desk, on the table beside my recliner in the living room, one in my car and one on my nightstand. My Nexus 6 almost never had less than 50-percent charge. Not because the battery life on the Nexus 6 was great, or because Qi chargers work "better", but because whenever it was not in my hand it was charging.

Of course, there's the initial cost of buying the charging bases, but they are pretty cheap — about the same cost as a good wall wart and USB cable. As more and more handheld devices and smartphones move towards the Qi standard, more and more devices will be able to take advantage of the chargers.

Finally, wireless charging doesn't have to replace removable batteries for those that want or need them. Think of it as a supplement to stretch out the time between battery swaps.

Wireless charging doesn't make your phone work any differently, but it can change the way you use it.

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1 week ago

Save up to 40% on select networking and storage accessories today only!

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Amazon's Deal of the Day can save you up to 40% off when purchasing select networking and storage accessories. Whether you are in need of a new wireless router, a network extender, or want to get set up with a NAS, you won't want to miss this deal. With items from popular brands like Netgear, ASUS, Linksys, Drobo and more available here, this is a perfect time to make those upgrades that you've been thinking of.

Some of the items available in this sale include:

This is just a small sample of what is available in this daily deal. Be sure to check the rest out at the link below, and remember these prices are only good for today, February 15, so don't wait too long to make your purchase.

See at Amazon

For more great deals on tech, gadgets, home goods and more, be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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1 week ago

Which unlimited plan should you buy: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon?

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All four major carriers in the U.S. offer unlimited data plans. But which is the best?

With Verizon bringing back an unlimited data plan, the big four networks in the United States (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) all carry an unlimited data plan now. That's important for power users as well as anyone who uses their mobile broadband internet as their sole way to stay in touch or for entertainment. The cost of data overages means that unlimited data is a must for many of us.

But just because everyone offers unlimited data doesn't mean that all plans are equal. Pricing is important as are "extras" like tethering and the hidden data cap that pushes you back to slower 3G speeds when you reach it. And of course, zero-rating means we have to pay attention to what unlimited means when it comes to the quality of streaming media as well as the source.

We took a look at what each carrier has to offer so we can decide who delivers the very best unlimited data package. Let's start with a look at the details for each carrier.

AT&T

  • Cost for one line: $100 per month1
  • Additional lines: $40 per month12
  • Data limit for potential throttling: 22GB per month
  • HD video included: Yes3
  • Tethering package: Only for smart vehicles

Notes:

1AT&T's pricing does not include taxes, surcharges or other fees.

2Customers with four lines will receive a $40 bill credit each month, starting on the third month.

3AT&T defaults streaming video to 480p but this can be disabled at no cost.

Sprint

  • Cost for one line: $55 per month1, 2
  • Additional lines: $40 per month for a second line, $30 per month for lines three through five1, 2
  • Data limit for potential throttling: 23GB
  • HD video included: No. Requires Sprint Premium Unlimited plan for $75 per month
  • Tethering package: 5GB per month

Notes:

1Sprint's pricing does not include taxes, surcharges or other fees.

2Promotional pricing of $50 per month for one line, $40 per month for a second line, and up to three additional lines for $0 per month is available until March 2018.

T-Mobile

  • Cost for one line: $70 per month
  • Additional lines: Two lines for $100 per month. A third line is $40 per month and a fourth line is $20 per month
  • Data limit for potential throttling: 28GB per month
  • HD video included: Yes1
  • Tethering package: 10GB/month (additional tethering options available with T-Mobile ONE Plus)

Notes:

1As of February 17, all T-Mobile One customers can enable HD video.

Verizon

  • Cost for one line: $80 per month1
  • Additional lines: Minimum 2, $110 + $20 for each line ($150). + $20 for each additional line (up to 10)1
  • Data limit for potential throttling: 22GB per month
  • HD video included: Yes
  • Tethering package: 10GB per month

Notes:

1Verizon's pricing does not include taxes, surcharges or other fees.

Verizon also allows any smart devices to be added to the plan for $5 per month.

The best unlimited data plan

As always, you have to choose the carrier that provides you the best coverage in the places you spend your time. Saving a few dollars for better perks is not worth struggling to find a signal. What works for someone else who might be hundreds or thousands of miles away should have little influence on your decision. Since everyone's coverage will be different, we have to treat each carrier equal on that front and base the decision on other criteria.

T-Mobile offers the best unlimited data plan in the U.S.

This is based on cost, data available for tethering and the "real" monthly allotment before you are throttled. One important thing puts it ahead of Verizon, and that's the notion that an $80 plan should cost $80. Not $80 with added fees and taxes. It sounds like a gimmick, but two lines on T-Mobile is going to cost about the same (or less) as a single line with a $5 connected device because of those fees. If we focus only on cost — which you should if you have equally good coverage — T-Mobile wins.

T-Mobile also beats Sprint's promotional plan because Sprint limits your ability to stream HD. We think a good data plan has to be able to entertain us in all ways, so we have to disregard anything that doesn't allow us to do just that. AT&T's offerings simply fall short and we hope recent changes from Verizon and T-Mobile get them to follow suit.As of February 17, 2017 AT&T now offers an unlimited data plan for up to four devices without the requirement of being a DirecTV subscriber. The new pricing is reflected above, and is considerably more expensive than T-Mobile or Sprint's plans.

If you have equally good coverage from all carriers and want to get the most value from your phone company you only have two real choices right now: T-Mobile or Verizon.

Recent user-data through Open Signal suggests that there is little difference in network speeds or total coverage, and pricing is very similar now, too. These two companies want your business and have been bickering for a while. They've also been adjusting their policies and rates to "out-do" each other which is awesome for us as consumers.

See plans at T-Mobile

See plans at Verizon

See plans at AT&T

See plans at Sprint

Your turn

What carrier do you subscribe to, and are you thinking of switching to either T-Mobile or Verizon? Let us know in the comments!

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1 week ago

You may soon be able to use Google Home or Amazon Echo to make phone calls

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Hey Alexa, get me the operator!

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that both Google and Amazon are looking into ways to add phone call functionality — remember that? — to the Home and Echo, respectively.

The tech giants could launch the feature this year, the people said -- but the effort is hung up over concerns about privacy, telecom regulations and emergency services. And they are aware of the inherent awkwardness of having phone conversations on a speaker.

While one would think that having phone call functionality on such a product would be equivalent to using the speaker on a phone, but both the Home and Echo are stationary products that plug into a wall, and the companies would have to figure out how to seamlessly transition a call from one room to another, or back to a phone, without interrupting the call.

Amazon would also have to contend with the fact that it doesn't own the operating systems the Echo would connect to in order to facilitate the phone call, something that Google, with Android, can more easily overcome. Amazon is looking into call forwarding or even providing the Echo with its own virtual number to get around that limitation.

Would you use a Google Home or Echo to make phone calls? Let us know in the comments below!

Amazon Echo

Amazon

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1 week ago

Essential Accessories for Huawei Mate 9

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Got a fancy new Huawei Mate 9 sticking out of your pocket? Accessorize it with these useful add-ons.

The best part about bringing a new smartphone into your home is all the accessories that you get to buy in celebration. Here are a few ideas of how to initially equip yourself for life with the Huawei Mate 9. And if you need some cases to accompany those new accessories, we've got you covered there, too.

Ranyi Premium Hybrid case

A great case doesn't need to be expensive or bulky. Ranyi's Premium Hybrid case for the Mate 9 is neither, but at $8.99 it's well worth the price.

Featuring a hardened carbon fiber back and plastic sides, the Ranyi case protects against drops and scratches without adding weight or thickness.

See at Amazon

AUKEY Magnetic Car Mount

car mount

It's illegal in many states to hold your smartphone while you're driving, even if you're not actively using it. Keep it out of your hands and easy to see with a magnetic car mount that slides inside your air conditioning vent. The ultra-strong magnet comes with sticky magnetic strips you can adhere to the back of your phone or inside a case.

See at Amazon

Huawei Mate 9 Desktop Charging Dock

charging dock

Keep the Mate 9 handsomly docked by your bedside or on your desk with this desktop charging dock from Encased. The stand is Type-C compatible and features a height adjustable design, in case your smartphone case is keeping the Mate 9 from properly docking. The built-in cable also enables data transfers.

See at Amazon

Arctek Type-C Car Charger

car charger

If you spend quite a bit of time in your car — commuting sure is rough — be sure to grab the Arctek USB car charger, which supports QuickCharge 3.0. It also has built in protection for overheating and overcharging, in case you need to keep your Mate 9 plugged in for the ride. This car charger is also compatible with some laptops, including the ChromeBook Pixel and Apple MacBook.

See at Amazon

Foneso Extendable Monopod

extendable tripod

Planning to shoot photos with the Mate 9's dual rear-facing cameras? Get the Foneso tripod and selfie stick combination! It's the ultimate travel accessory because it holds up your phone for selfies and stands up for group shots! The camera mount stows down to 7 inches and features a Bluetooth remote. It also offers a 1/4-inch standard screw for GoPros and other smaller cameras.

See at Amazon

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1 week ago

How to fix a stuck keyboard in your Gear VR

Getting the keyboard to open in Samsung Internet is easy, but closing it requires an extra step.

One of the coolest things you can do while playing with your Gear VR, is spend some time surfing the internet. That's entirely possible too, with the help of the Samsung Internet app. This means you can check out 360 degree videos, or check out the latest SNL clip to give yourself a guffaw. However, some users have reported a problem where they can open up the virtual keyboard in Samsung Internet, but are unable to close it or access voice search. Thankfully there is an easy fix to this problem!

Read more at VRHeads.com

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1 week ago

Master Product Management with this bundle for 79% off

Product Management is a skill that many companies are looking for these days as they bring new products to market, test new ideas, and figure out which direction to go. In today's world, things change so fast that you've always got to be ahead of the curve or you get left behind quickly, and no one wants that. Wouldn't it be cool to get involved with the next big thing, before it is the next big thing? Well, you can with the right skills.

Master these new skills for $45! Learn More

The complete Product Management bundle will help get you started with the skills you need to jumpstart your new career path. From learning the basic skillsets you need to shift your career to mastering the interview and becoming a Product Manager, you'll get it all. With 7 different courses and nearly 500 lessons, you'll get a whole lot of information at a huge discount here.

The courses include:

  • Skillsets to Shift Your Career to Product Management - $45 Value
  • The Complete Product Management Course - $35 Value
  • Master the Product Manager Interview - The Complete Guide - $35 Value
  • The Non-Technical Person's Guide to Building Products & Apps - $30 Value
  • Become a Product Manager | Learn the Skills & Get the Job - $35 Value
  • Product Management: Product Market Strategy - $20 Value
  • Buyer Personas for Your B2B Business - $20 Value

Take a chance at a new career for 79% off! Learn More

Normally, you'd pay around $220 for these courses on their own, but right now you can pay a fraction of that. Priced at just $45 for a limited time you can finally make the move towards a new career path without going broke. Be sure to act quick as this deal won't last long, your future self will thank you.

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1 week ago

Adding a SubPac to your VR setup makes a huge difference!

Is there such a thing as too much immersion?

A great VR experience pulls you in and keeps you totally engaged. It doesn't matter if you're battling sorcerers, diffusing bombs, operating on people, or just running a convenience store for robots. That immersed feeling is everything, and it's never just one thing that pulls you in. A polished, natural-feeling environment coupled with some great audio can come together to build something truly special, but how much further can you go with home VR equipment?

For some, the next step is better whole-body detection. Others want a way to feel what is happening in VR with better vibration and impact vests. Some just want to increase the sense of presence by adding smells or air movement. The truth is there is no one way to move forward, as long as the ultimate goal is to increase immersion. The folks at SubPac have been working for a long time on making it easier for you to feel sounds as though they're coming from more than just your headphones, and it makes a surprisingly big difference in VR.

Read more at VR Heads!

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1 week ago

HTC will launch a mobile version of the Vive this year

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HTC will design and release a mobile VR solution this year.

HTC isn't selling as many phones as it used to, and is now referring to itself as a "VR company," much to the delight of its shareholders.

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1 week ago

Getting 'GPS signal not found' error in Pokémon Go? Here's how to fix it!

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Don't let GPS errors stop you from playing Pokémon Go!

Pokémon Go is everywhere, and that's great for Android gamers around the world. But if you're getting a "GPS signal not found" error when you launch the game, here's how to fix it!

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1 week ago

AT&T vs. Verizon: Best Share Plan

50
 Best Family Plan

Which carrier will help alleviate the resentment of the data hog in your shared family plan?

I don't blame you for looking this up. Getting a mobile plan that benefits both you and the various members of your family — whatever that might look like — is difficult. Every person has different needs from their data, as cliché as the saying goes, and I bet that there's at least a few of you reading this who resent the data hog in your shared family plan. You can help prevent this kind of resentment by signing up for the right shared plan.

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