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1 hour ago

How to use Tasker to shuffle your playlists on Sonos by voice

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If there are two things we love in the modern home, it's Tasker and Sonos. Tasker is an absurdly powerful Android app that can fire off actions when certain triggers are met. Sonos is a polished lineup of connected home speakers that talk to each other seamlessly and plug into every streaming music service out there.

Without an IFTTT channel, it can be a little hard dealing with your Sonos using anything but the official apps, but with a bit of elbow grease you can get Tasker to play nice with your beloved sound system. Here we'll break down how to get a fresh, random playlist started with the bare minimum of fiddling with your phone.

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3 hours ago

Android Central's summer accessory guide

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The best summer accessories

Gear up for the summer!

We've spent a little over a week diving into phone accessories that are perfect for the summertime. Now we're ready to wrap it all up. There's been a big focus on rugged and waterproof accessories to handle your extreme adventures, though you're likely to find many of these useful year-round.

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Sponsored Post

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4 hours ago

The first five things to know about the new Moto G

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Moto G 2015

We tend to pride ourselves on using the latest and greatest phones. Better specs. Faster processors. (More heat!) More megapixels. Pick your poison. But there's absolutely something to be said for the mid-range these days, that category of phone that tries to balance style and performance with a price that doesn't break your wallet.

And there are all sorts of options out there. Motorola arguably started the newest generation of these devices with the Moto G in late 2013. And this week we've gotten our first look at the newest Moto G. And this one, folks, is something special. I'll admit I feel a little funny carrying it around. It's not leather. It doesn't have a curved display. In a much-misused word, it's not sexy. But I'm quickly coming to the conclusion that this may be the best phone for a whole lot of people.

Following are some quick thoughts on the new Moto G:

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4 hours ago

Hands-on the Case-Mate Naked Tough Case for LG G4

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This hard case rocks transparent, dual-layer protection against damage for your LG G4.

It's hard to find a decent case for the LG G4 that's compatible with the leather battery door. Many claim they'll fit, but end up putting way too much pressure on the leather, stretching it out, and just looks terrible. We got our hands on Case-Mate's Naked Tough Case this time around, and found that while installation is certainly easier on the plastic back of the LG G4, the fit around the leather was surprisingly good.

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5 hours ago

Next version of Google Glass rumored to be targeted at healthcare, energy, and manufacturing companies

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Google may soon offer a new version of its Google Glass wearable later this fall. A new report says that the company will keep the hype down on this release, as it plans to offer it to businesses working in healthcare, manufacturing, and energy.

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5 hours ago

Google Play Movies and paid Newsstand content roll out to more countries

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Google is expanding access to paid content on Google Play Movies and Newsstand to a handful of new countries today. In all, Movies will be available in three new countries, while Newsstand is hitting four.

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6 hours ago

In pictures: NVIDIA Shield Android TV vs Xbox One vs PS4 vs Wii U

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Shield TV and consoles

Nobody who should be listened to will tell you the NVIDIA Shield TV is capable of providing a gaming experience comparable to the Xbox One, PS4, or even the Wii U. The hardware and software in those consoles is finely tuned to provide things the Tegra X1 and Android TV simply aren't capable of delivering. Gaming on the Shield Android TV is fun, but the current lineup is mostly nostalgia and expanded mobile games. It's undoubtedly aimed at consoles, but not quite ready to take over yet.

That's not to say the gaming experience and many other features contained within the Shield Android TV aren't impressive, in fact it wouldn't be hard to call this the best set top box on the market today. By that mark alone, it's worth taking a look at what exactly you get from this box compared to the other consoles to help you better decide if there's room in your life for the Shield Android TV.

While the Shield Android TV is noticeably larger than streaming competitors like Roku, Apple TV, and even the Nexus Player, compared to the current crop of game consoles it's a little sliver of nothing. The lack of an optical drive and the wall wart power brick help considerably with the size, but it's also not doing as much as these other devices. Nintendo is powering two screens at once, while Sony and Microsoft equip their AMD processors with all the heatsinks and fans they can stuff into these gaming boxes to ensure optimal performance under load. The Tegra X1 in the Shield Android TV isn't that different from a mobile processor, which is why the overall profile is only slightly larger than the Shield Tablet.

This also means it takes up significantly less room on an entertainment center, especially if you pay for the aluminum stand. It can be easily hidden behind a television, or you can connect a hard drive and a web cam to it and use the Shield Android TV as an HTPC with video chat support through the Android TV leanback UI. Alternatively, if you have it displayed prominently, the instant-on power button and HDMI-CEC one-touch mode allows you to control supported televisions in the same way you would a PS4.

Another interesting place to look when comparing these systems is the controller. While Sony typically enjoys being the thinnest and lightest controller in the bunch, all of the console controllers manage to be lighter and thinner than what is included with the Shield Android TV. Nvidia makes up for the added bulk with features and a nice sloped design in the back that offers a place to rest your unused fingers, so it's not like you're getting the same experience as you would with the others.

The ability to slide in any pair of headphones and steal all of the audio from the TV or control the volume from your controller is nice, and the microphone baked in to the controller for "OK Google" commands is awesome, but the controller itself is still a little on the unwieldy side. There's also some odd symmetry issues, like the rightmost button seems to almost fall off of the controller the way it is positioned. It's miles ahead of anything you'll get from any other set-top box manufacturer, but clearly not quite as nice as what we see from the dedicated consoles.

Shield Android TV and consoles

While the Shield Android TV isn't going to be replacing the heavyweights anytime soon, if you're a casual gamer who isn't addicted to the current wave of games or you're looking for a nice streaming box for the non-gaming TV in your house, it's unlikely you'll find anything that suits your needs quite like NVIDIA's offering. And who knows, maybe NVIDIA's success with the Shield Android TV will have them aim just a little higher next time and offer something that directly competes with the likes of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.

NVIDIA Shield Android TV

NVIDIA Amazon Best Buy

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6 hours ago

FYI: We've cleaned up our header a tad!

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A quick heads up from our Making Things Easier Department: We've tweaked our header a tad to make things faster, better, and faster. (And also better.) One side-effect of this is that we've moved our log-in button behind the hamburger menu, which has itself moved to the left-hand side of the site. (Where all good hamburgers spend their days.)

If you need it — and I do recommend signing up and logging in, since that's how you can comment and enter contests and interact with our more than 2 million other awesome members — that's where it is. (Oh, and there are fewer ads for those who are logged in. That's always a good thing.)

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7 hours ago

Keep it simple with Behance Watch Faces for Android Wear

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Sometimes you don't want a watch face that is overflowing with information, you want something simple and stunning. If that's true for you, take a peek at the Behance Watch Faces. You get 6 fantastic faces with one app, and it's filled with artwork that's sure to make a statement.

Behance is part of the Adobe family, and the Behance Watch Faces for Android Wear make that quite evident. There are six separate faces within the app; AG, Classic, Phrase, Pulse, Timecard and Window. Three of the faces rock Analog stylings, while the other three have a digital display. You can also choose between a 12 or 24 hour format, and choosing whether or not you want the date displayed. All of your options are available exclusively through the settings on your smartwatch.

The real feature with these faces are the backgrounds. Each is pulled from the Behance portfolio's of digital artists, and they are all unique and eye catching. Each one is a little bit different, and they are all worth at least a moment of your time. You can fix your favorite one as a background, or let the background shuffle through several of them. Not all backgrounds are available with every face, but several of them are available across all the faces.

The attention to detail on each face is fantastic as well. The backgrounds and information displayed over them complement each other wonderfully. The information you have displayed meshes with the artwork in such a way that it adds to the overall theme, instead of crowding it. You can tell the emphasis was making sure each face appears as a piece of art, no matter what options you choose to enable or disable.

The Behance Watch Faces are a great addition if you've been looking for something simple and well designed. While there aren't many choices, the trade-off is walking around with the time displayed over digital artwork. If you've been craving a simpler kind of watch face, then you should definitely take a look for yourself.

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8 hours ago

Google adds a couple new beta track options for developers

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Google today announced two new methods of beta testing that will give developers even more options for testing apps before production release. Here's the deal:

  • Open beta testing basically just removes the requirement that a user join a Google+ Community or Google Group. One click on the opt-in link and a user will be able to use the beta track. Developers can limit the number of users in the open beta, however.
  • Closed beta via email address lets you control the group of testers with their email addresses. (Again, basically another option that doesn't require G+ or Groups use.) Devs can upload addresses individually, or as a batch with a .csv file.

The current methods of managing testers through Google+ Communities (which is what we've been using for our betas) or through Google Groups still remains. Google in its blog post said that some 80 percent of developers are taking advantage of the beta testing scheme in Google Play.

More: Android Developers Blog

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8 hours ago

Google lowers minimum app pricing on Google Play in India to Rs. 10

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Google has lowered the minimum purchase price for apps from its Google Play Store in India to Rs. 10, making apps even more affordable to users. As India continues to be a huge area of growth for the company, Google wanted to be sure to new audiences were able to be reached. As Android becomes more popular in the country, the demand for apps continues to grow as well.

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9 hours ago

Yahoo LiveText hopes blending video and texting will make for more authentic conversations

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Yahoo has officially announced LiveText, its new messaging app that blends text messaging and live-streaming video to create more memorable experiences. The app was originally soft-launched in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Ireland, and is now available in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, and France.

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10 hours ago

Silent Circle announces the Blackphone 2, joins Google's Android for Work program

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Silent Circle, the company behind the Blackphone, has announced that it has joined Google's Android for Work program, along with its newest smartphone. The Blackphone 2 will be the company's first product for the program, as it looks to offer customizable solutions while still focusing on privacy and security.

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10 hours ago

Win a Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Recharging Kit and more!

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Simon has been taking a look at accessories for your summer adventures, and one cool gadget he recently reviewed was the Venture 30 charger by Goal Zero. You'll definitely want to check out the full review, but what it boils down to is that while there is some room for improvement, overall the Venture 30 rugged battery pack is more than capable of keeping your gadgets charged while you're out on the trail.

Now it's time to hook you guys up for your adventures! Keep reading to see how to enter to win your own Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Recharging Kit or Flip 20 Recharger!

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