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13 min ago

Antivirus for Android — do you need it?

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Android Antivirus

Do any of us really need antivirus software on our Android phones and tablets?

In a past life I worked basic tech support at both Best Buy's Geek Squad and Staples' Easy Tech programs. I have heard every possible explanation for why a computer might have been infected with something, and happily collected a paycheck while fixing the same things over and over again. Most of the time, when someone asked me what antivirus software I used I would be perfectly honest with them and explain that I didn't use any third-party software antivirus software on my Windows machine. I'd explain that I was very aware of where I was browsing and what I was clicking, and keeping my system up to date handled the rest. I didn't recommend this experience to most, because computer viruses wouldn't exist if their success rates were zero and there are absolutely people who need those tools, but it's a strategy that has kept me safe so far.

Much like computers, you can't go too far on the Internet without stumbling across an article trying to scare you into believing your Android device is under constant threat from the countless nasty things on the Internet today. Where things differ for the average user is just how far out of your way most folks have to go in order to be in any real danger on an Android device. But you wouldn't know it by the sheer number of security and antivirus apps available to mobile devices today.

We get asked all the time whether our mobile devices need antivirus software, and while the answer isn't as clear cut as we'd like it's time to explain things as clearly as possible.

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54 min ago

Google Earth Pro features now available for free to everyone

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Google has announced that they are making Google Earth Pro features free to all users. Google Earth Pro adds a number of features and on top of the standard Google Earth desktop setup that allow you to measure 3D buildings, record HD video of your virtual flights, and more. You'll now be able to record your virtual trip to your favorite city absolutely free.

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Sponsored Post

Samsung S-View Flip Covers for Galaxy Note 4 are 36% off today!

This OEM flip cover provides you with instant access to your Note 4's notifications all through the scratch-resistant window of the case. The polyurethane leather texture is comfortable to hold and not bulky, sporting a professional look. Available in 4 colors today for only $31.95

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1 hour ago

Google Now gets integration with 40 third-party apps

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If you were looking to pick a little more information in your Google Now cards, there's some good news today: Google has rolled out integration with third-party apps, enabling them to surface information within their own Now cards.

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1 hour ago

Stock Talk: Google's Q4 2014 results a reminder of long-term goals

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Google and Android

Short-term hits to the wallet may ultimately be good for the company

The mother ship behind Android (that'd be Google) reported its Q4 earnings on Thursday, and while there isn't a lot of Android-specific news to consider form the report (we did get small nuggets on the Nexus 6, Google Play usage and and Chromecast use), I know many of you are interested in Google as a whole, or even Google as an investment. So my mission here, as usual, is to summarize some of the most important data points and comments coming out of the earnings release and analyst conference call.

To frame this discussion, I think it's important that people keep in mind Google's tradition of focusing on long-term projects. Google's founders control a large block of multiple voting stock, and this capital structure was designed with control in mind. Larry and Sergey don't want Wall Street forcing them to worry about short-term performance. They want to be free to make very long term investments in projects that they expect to yield results way into the future.

We can look at projects like Google+ or Google Glass as potential failures. We can remind ourselves of all the beta products Google built only to shut down later. If we do this and act like the company's track record is poor, we are acting exactly opposite to how I believe successful entrepreneurs act. Any great business leader will tell you that it's important to fail at things. If you are not occasionally failing, you are not going after big enough goals.

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1 hour ago

Google's 3D-scanning Project Tango moving to new home inside the company

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Project Tango is moving out of Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group and into a new home within the company. Project Tango uses a number of sensors for monitoring the world in 3D. The company promises a continued commitment to Project Tango development according to a post from Google ATAP on Google+:

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2 hours ago

We're podcasting live at 4 p.m. EST!

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Android Central Podcast

Whether this has been the longest week ever of one of the quickest, the end result is the same — we've arrived at Friday. Final day o the work week (for most of us) and the home of the live recording of the Greatest Android Podcast in the World.

So coming up this afternoon: We'll discuss what it does (and especially what it doesn't mean) for Microsoft to have invested in Cyanogen, more folks have gotten Android 5.0 Lollipop on the HTC One M8, we've got new pictures of what the upcoming M9 might look like, we've got a Samsung Tizen phone in house, we wrap up our Nest series and get launch into antivirus stuff — and we'll answer more of your questions live, without a net.

So join us at this link at 4 p.m. EST — that's 9 p.m. in London — as we get this thing done!

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3 hours ago

Even the Tizen-powered Samsung Z1 doesn't avoid Google's ecosystem

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Samsung Z1

Samsung's first Tizen phone ships with Google Search and YouTube apps, and Google as its default search engine

Following delays of over a year, Samsung finally shipped its first Tizen-powered handset, the Z1, earlier this month in India. The arrival of Tizen on smartphones — remember it's been on Samsung's Gear smartwatches for almost a year now — has been a long time coming, and there's been plenty of speculation among press and mobile industry watchers that Tizen could emerge as a viable alternative to Android for the Korean electronics giant.

What we've found during our initial hands-on time with an Indian Samsung Z1, however, is a phone that's very much at ease with Google's ecosystem.

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3 hours ago

Major carriers partner to bring LTE to Chicago's subways

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced that the city has reached a deal with Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile to bring 4G LTE from all four carriers to the Chicago Transit Authority's subway system. The network, which will replace the decade-old system currently in Chicago's subways, will provide continuous coverage for 22 miles.

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3 hours ago

Using Nest long term: Hands-off is a good thing

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Nest Thermostat is the smartest connected home gadget I own, but it's far from perfect

"What do you think of that thing?"

We're all used to being asked about the smartphone in our hands. Someone on the train on in a coffee shop notices something unique about your tech and leans over to see what it does that made you pick one up. It was strange at first to have the question asked of a thermostat, especially since I've been trying to get my friends and family excited about connected home tech for well over a year now. Since installing the Nest Thermostat I've had this question asked nearly a dozen times, and the most curious thing about the question is often the reaction to my answer. See, I don't think about it. I notice it when I walk by it and the center screen lights, awaiting my input, but about a month ago I realized that I stopped thinking about the temperature of my house entirely, and after a little research I realized it was entirely because of the Nest Thermostat.

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4 hours ago

T-Mobile has two more ads lined up for the Super Bowl

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It looks like T-Mobile will be showing multiple new ads during Super Bowl XLIX. In addition to their ad starring Kim Kardashian, T-Mobile will also air a spot featuring comedians Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman. While the full ad hasn't yet been posted online, the carrier did post a behind-the-scenes video.

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5 hours ago

Cricket bumps $40 base plan from 1GB of data to 2.5GB, offers Moto G (2013) for $25

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AT&T's prepaid carrier Cricket is increasing the data allotment for all of their plans without making any changes to the pricing. It's a bit of a shake-up, offering one of the best data packages among prepaid carriers. Additionally, they're offering the first-generation Moto G for just $24.99, and discounts on several other the best phones on Cricket.

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5 hours ago

Pandora's app redesign is now available to all streamers

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Pandora Radio announced an upcoming update late last year, which included a redesign of its mobile apps. The new design was available as a beta to just a fraction of Pandora users, but the update has hit supported Android hardware today.

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6 hours ago

TYLT Vu-Mate Qi charging card for the Galaxy Note 4

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TYLT Vu-Mate Qi charging insert

A viable option for adding wireless charging to your Note 4, but read the fine print first

The Galaxy Note 4's lack of wireless charging leads owners to the decision of buying Samsung's own first-party wireless charging back, or going with a third-party charging insert, in order to add the capability. Unfortunately the replacement Qi charging back that Samsung sells is thicker than what the phone comes with and kills any chance that you can use a case with your phone, which is a deal breaker for many.

Coming to the rescue, TYLT offers a Vu-Mate Qi wireless charging card for the Note 4 — just like previous Notes and Galaxy S phones before it — that adds wireless charging capability right underneath the stock back cover with no discernible increase in bulk. But of course nothing's perfect — you'll still be giving up in a few different areas to add Qi charging to your Note 4 this way. Read along for our review of the TYLT Vu-Mate Qi charging card.

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16 hours ago

OnePlus set to unveil its own ROM for the One, OxygenOS, on Feb. 12

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Though people have been quite happy with the incarnation of CyanogenMod on the OnePlus One, OnePlus is ready to give folks another option with its own custom ROM called OxygenOS. Posting to its forums — as it often does — we get the teaser that this new OxygenOS software will be light, open and accessible, following the same design ideas that led to the creation of the One itself.

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