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33 min ago

Google is doing a great job showing everyone why slow app rollouts suck

3

You probably have no location sharing tools from Google right now.

Unless you've received the most recent Google Maps update, with all of the fun new integrated location sharing features baked right in, you're kind of screwed right now. Instead of waiting until the Maps update was totally pushed out to every Android user, Google flipped the switch and killed location sharing on Google+ for just about everyone.

That means you have no Google-based location sharing option until the Maps update finishes rolling out, because staged rollouts are awful.

Updating an app for the entirety of Android is hard. There are a lot of us in the world, and to make that download available to everyone at the same time is expensive in several ways. What's worse, if you send out an update and there's a bug discovered out in the wild that you didn't know about, you have to send the update all over again once you fix it.

Google's solution allows anyone to only send out updates to a small percentage of users at first, and slowly increasing that release group until it reaches 100%. It's not only a good way to make sure you don't make your entire userbase angry if something is broken, it's significantly less expensive to deliver those updates over a longer period of time.

It's entirely likely this update will finish rolling out by this evening.

But miscommunications like this are the natural consequence of this behavior. I know several people in my immediate social circle with the Maps update already. In fact, my Dad emailed me this morning with a link to add me to his location sharing group on Maps. Because I don't have the update yet, if I click that link I get redirected to a Maps support page telling me to update the app. Which, obviously, I can't do yet because the app hasn't been fully rolled out top everyone yet.

So if you lost location sharing on G+ and don't have the Maps update yet, the official answer from Google is to be patient. It's entirely likely this update will finish rolling out by this evening. But that's never going to be where this stops for some people. Just like when Pokemon Go wasn't available and people started sideloading dangerous versions of the APK that were available on some random shady website, this is the perfect opportunity for someone to tap that "Install from Unknown Sources" checkbox and leave it unchecked just so they can have this new update.

That's bad for everyone, and Google not only can but should do better.

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1 hour ago

Google announces new smart home integrations for Google Assistant

5

Best Buy Insignia, LIFX, TP-Link and Wink are the latest brands to become compatible with Google Assistant.

Looking to get more home automation uses out of your Google Home? Google has announced a new wave of smart home product integration for Google Assistant, available either through its Google Home speaker or any Android smartphone with Google Assistant.

The new brands/products include:

These new products bolster the crop of connected home devices already compatible with Google Home, giving you more options for adding smart home products within your home. Perhaps you already built out some home automation around a Wink Hub — now all you need to do is add the Wink Hub to your Google Home app or in the Home Control panel in the Google Assistant settings on your Pixel or Android phone.

Earlier today, Google announced that Google Home will be coming to the UK in April. All these latest product integrations will of course be available for new UK users as well.

What do you think of these new integrations for Google Assistant? Have you had a chance to use Google Home to control things around your home? Let us know in the comments!

Google Home

Google Store Best Buy Target

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1 hour ago

Should you get the Galaxy S8 or wait for the Pixel 2?

54

Lots to talk about. Let's chat in the forums!

Android Central is two things (well, it's many things, but it's also two things): the feed, and all the great content that comes out of it; and the forums, which are incredibly popular and frequented by millions of people a month.

In the past, we haven't always done a great job showcasing some of the amazing conversations happening in the forums, and I think with a phone like the Galaxy S8 — and all the discussion it's prompting — we should change that. Comments are great (sometimes), but forums are essential.

So one such discussion happening right now is around two phones that aren't even out yet, but it's getting a lot of attention: Should you get the Galaxy S8, or wait until the Pixel 2?

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chefmorry 02-22-2017 04:47 AM “

I've been a Samsung guy since the S2. I've upgrade each year to the latest Galaxy and currently have the S7 edge. The S8 sounds like it's going to be an amazing phone based on the leaks thus far. Do I get it, or wait for the Pixel 2? It's the first time since the S2 I've thought about waiting. All over Android Central is "The Pixel is the Best Phone" available now. I don't believe...

Reply

A lot of the conversation stems around whether Google's second-generation Pixel hardware will stand up to what we've seen from the S8, since we know the software will be spare and simple, but also the latest of what Google has to offer.

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js2ykl 03-27-2017 05:02 PM “

One of the only advantage of the Pixel was Google Assistant. With it rolling out to all latest devices, what's left ? Hardware? It's hard to beat Samsung on this Software? Unless you're fond of Vanilla, Touchwiz has actually gotten better and LIGHTER. Plus, I don't trust Google for making a good looking and just because (a phone) is utilitarian does not mean it should be ugly...(IMO)

Reply

What do you think? Should you jump on the GS8 or wait a few months for the Pixel 2?

Jump into the forums

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

Google Store Verizon

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Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

Unlocked AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

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2 hours ago

Super Mario Run is too repetitive to justify its premium price

16

Super Mario Run is fun, but not worth the premium price.

When Shigeru Miyamoto took to the stage at Apple's September 2016 event to announce that iOS would be getting the first Super Mario game developed for mobile (excluding Nintendo's own handhelds of course) the hype was off the charts. I mean, come on. It's Mario on your phone at long last! How could you mess that up, right?

Now, after a three-month wait, the hype has sufficiently died down and we finally get a chance to see how Super Mario Run plays on Android devices. While the game is surely fun to play and features most of the familiar elements that make up Super Mario platformer game, it's really hard to justify the cost to unlock the game given the limited content that you're required to play over and over (and over again) just to unlock new characters, mini-games and decorative features.

READ: Super Mario Run for Android: Everything you need to know!

Gameplay

The full game features 24 levels spread out over 6 worlds in World Tour mode. The level designs are full of nostalgic elements which long-time Mario fans are sure to appreciate, but the difficulty level is way too low. That makes this a great game for kids, but any competent gamer should be able to beat the main game comfortably in a single afternoon. Each level also features three tiers of Challenge Coins to collect, which do ramp up in difficulty. But ultimately it's just another way the game gets you to replay the same levels over and over (and over) again.

The controls are easy to learn but tough to master right away, and things get slightly more interesting once you've unlocked new characters such as Yoshi and Princess Peach.

Control-wise, Super Mario Run was designed to be played with one hand, inspired by the idea of making it comfortable to play in crowded Japanese subway trains. As such, your controls are limited and dead simple: tap to jump. Meanwhile Mario will run across the screen automatically, vault over enemies and low obstacles until he runs into a wall or falls into a pit. This essentially renders most ground enemies harmless — another knock against the overall game difficulty.

On the positive side, the controls are easy to learn but tough to master right away, and things get slightly more interesting once you've unlocked new characters such as Yoshi and Princess Peach. Their special jump abilities certainly add a wrinkle to the standard gameplay along with some much-needed variety when playing Toad Rally.

Play, collect coins, repeat

Ah, Toad Rally. The most divisive mode in the game.

The 'multiplayer' mode for Super Mario Run is where you're likely to spend most of your play time. You race against ghost versions of other players, with the goal of impressing Toads and luring them to your kingdom. To win a Toad Rally, you must collect more coins than your opponent, while simultaneously completing skillful jumps to win over the Toad audience for bonus points.

Whether you love or hate the Toad Rally mode, you will need to play constantly it to collect different color Toads, which in turn allow you to level up and unlock new characters, mini-games, and decorations for your kingdom. Unfortunately, this means you're also stuck replaying looped versions of the same levels over and over again, but for a different purpose this time.

It sort of feels like Toad Tickets were included in the game simply because Nintendo figured mobile games always have two types of in-game currency for players to collect.

It makes the 'multiplayer' mode feel more like an afterthought, and it's akin to racing against a ghost car in Forza; Sure, there are two cars on the track, but there's no interaction with your opponent whatsoever. Hell, there's no way to even be certain the ghost character is even a recording of the player you're supposedly racing against even. Considering the great way Nintendo added simultaneous multiplayer in the New Super Mario Bros. games for Wii, it's more than a bit of a letdown.

To play Toad Rally, you also need to collect Toad Tickets — but you quickly learn that running out of tickets is never really an issue. It's too easy to collect them throughout the game, whether you're going back and collecting Challenge Coins in World Tour or winning them in mini-game huts in your kingdom. Once you've maxed out your Toad Ticket collection at 99, you really begin to question the point of including them at all.

In fact, it sort of feels like they were included in the game simply because Nintendo figured mobile games always have two types of in-game currency for players to collect. They're common enough to be essentially valueless. Besides, I really don't think there ought to be any limitations on gameplay in a $10 paid game.

Final thoughts

For a company that's known for innovating and taking risks, Nintendo played things really safe with Super Mario Run. Too safe. The game is only challenging when you're specifically going after a challenge coin goal but otherwise it plays like a nerfed version of the Super Mario platforming fun we all grew up with. Boss Battles, which we've seen Nintendo showcase some great variety from in past Super Mario titles, are a huge letdown in Super Mario Run. Minor spoiler alert, but once you've played through the first two bosses you've essentially played them all. I imagine it's mostly due to the controls limiting the developer's options. Classic Super Mario games were always about skillfully controlling Mario; Super Mario Run is more about timing your jumps and little else.

For a company that's known for innovating and taking risks, Nintendo played things really safe with Super Mario Run.

This pains me to say, but I would almost be more inclined to recommend Super Mario Run if it were a free-to-play game that pressured you into in-app purchases. And I guess, in a way, it is just that. But there's just no way, in my mind, that this game is worth spending $10 to play the same levels over and over (and over) again.

Should you check it out? Absolutely. You can download the app for free, play through the first few levels, check out Toad Rally mode, and add some decorations for your kingdom. And if you really fall in love with the gameplay and kingdom building aspects, you'll enjoy everything else included in the full game. Otherwise, you're bound to become bored due to the lack of variety and repetitive gameplay.

Download: Super Mario Run (Free, $9.99 to unlock full game)

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2 hours ago

Google unveils new site to highlight open source projects and processes

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Learn about Google's commitment to open source projects and communities.

Google has been a long time supporter of open source projects — the core software on your Android phone, for example, is open source and available for developers looking for a flexible, mobile OS.

Google has released millions of lines of open source code over the years and helped support thousands of open source projects, but until now there was no place to find all these projects under one umbrella website. Google announced today it has created a new website for Google Open Source projects.

The new site, opensource.google.com, offers a wealth of information, from Google's open source programs like Google Summer of Code and Google Code-In to a comprehensive list of open source projects Google has released.

But it goes even deeper than that, as Google has also included its internal documentation for how Google does open source projects.

From the blog post:

These docs explain the process we follow for releasing new open source projects, submitting patches to others' projects, and how we manage the open source code that we bring into the company and use ourselves. But in addition to the how, it outlines why we do things the way we do, such as why we only use code under certain licenses or why we require contributor license agreements for all patches we receive.

If you're a developer looking for inspiration for a new project based on open source code, or simply curious to know the processes behind how communities come together to develop open source projects, this site is an absolute goldmine of information.

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3 hours ago

Best Playstation 4 Bundle Deals for March 2017

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Looking to pick up a PlayStation 4 for yourself or as a gift but don't want to pay full price for it? Here are some of the best bundles available right now!

Consoles are always going on sale, and there are always different deals that include games, controllers, and other accessories, but hunting them down isn't always the easiest thing. Whether you are looking for an original PlayStation 4, the refined PlayStation Slim, or the newest PlayStation Pro, we've got you covered on the best deals available.

If you aren't quite sure which console to be looking for deals on, be sure to check out our amazing comparison which breaks it all down for you.

PlayStation 4

PlayStation 4 Slim

PlayStation 4 Pro

There are no current bundle deals for the PS4 Pro, but you can pick up the standard 1TB package for $399.

Your favorite deals?

Have you found a great deal that isn't listed here? If so, be sure to drop a link in the comments along with a line about what makes it such an awesome deal!

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3 hours ago

Win a Galaxy S8 from Android Central! Enter now!

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The Samsung Galaxy S8 will be revealed soon, so now is the perfect time to give one away to an Android Central reader.

Samsung ended its Mobile World Congress presentation with envelopes telling everyone to come to NYC on March 29th for the unveiling of the Galaxy S8. That date is just around the corner now so what better time to hold a contest and give Android Central readers a chance to win the new S8? Let's get to it!

THE PRIZE: One Android Central reader will be taking home a brand new Samsung Galaxy S8, when it's released!

THE GIVEAWAY: Head down to the widget at the bottom of this page. There are multiple ways to enter, each with varying point values. Complete all of the tasks for maximum entries and your best shot at winning! Keep in mind that all winning entries are verified and if the task was not completed or cannot be verified, a new winner will be chosen. The prize does not include service, and we cannot guarantee that the device will work on all carriers. International winners will be responsible for any customs fees incurred during shipping.

The giveaway is open until April 4th, and the winner will be announced right here shortly after the close date. Good luck!

Android Central is giving away a Samsung Galaxy S8! Enter now!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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4 hours ago

Best Cheap Android Phones of 2017

Update, March 2017: The $229 Moto G5 Plus is now our go-to budget pick, and we've added the ZTE Blade V8 Pro as a great option for dual-camera fans. The Moto E 2015 has also been replaced with the Moto G4 Plus.

Best overall

Moto G5 Plus

See at Amazon

Motorola performed yet another pricing miracle with the Moto G5 Plus, the successor to last year's excellent Moto G4 series and a contender for the best affordable smartphone today.

It starts with the excellent 5.2-inch Full HD display, but the real benefit to the G5 Plus this year is the excellent performance and battery life from the combination of a Snapdragon 625 platform and a 3,000mAh battery.

Also of note is the improved low-light performance from the 12MP camera, which boasts the same hardware as (and similar results to) the Galaxy S7.

Bottom line: This is the best sub-$250 phone you can buy today, and it's still a great device even if price isn't a factor.

One more thing: Motorola.com is offering the Moto G5 Plus with inexpensive financing if you don't want to pay up front.

Why the Moto G5 Plus is the best

Last year, we recommended the $199.99 Moto G4 over its $249.99 Plus variant, but this year the only distinction is between memory and storage amounts: the Moto G5 Plus comes in either a $229.99 2GB RAM / 32GB storage version, or a $299.99 4GB RAM / 64GB storage version — they are otherwise identical.

With either decision, you'll be happy with your purchase. Motorola has changed up the phone's design this year, adding a metal back and a more compact, mature look that complements the Moto Z series, and the excellent 5.2-inch IPS display is much more manageable in one hand. Also more manageable is the improved shape of the front fingerprint sensor, which is turned oblong and considerably easier to activate.

Motorola has also bestowed a fantastic camera on the Moto G5 Plus this year, giving it the same 12MP sensor and lens combination that's in the Galaxy S7 — though the results aren't quite as good. The phone isn't perfect — there's no NFC on the U.S. model, and it still uses the older Micro-USB charging port — but it's close.

And if you buy it through Amazon, you can save $45 on the base model, bringing it down to $184.99!

Best for dual camera

ZTE Blade V8 Pro

See at Amazon

Who would have thought that a device with an absurd name like the Blade V8 Pro (it sounds like a weaponized drink) would end up on this list, but here we are. ZTE has done an amazing thing: make a big, plastic phone that adds up to far greater than the sum of its parts. The 5.5-inch 1080p display is fantastic, and it runs like a dream on the Snapdragon 625. There's a massive 3,100mAh battery inside, too, to go along with the dual-13MP cameras, something you don't see from this class of phone.

Bottom line: The ZTE Blade V8 Pro has everything going for it, including great hardware, endless battery life and competent cameras.

One more thing: The phone runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, with no timeline for an upgrade to Nougat.

Best all-metal

Honor 6X

See at Amazon

For the new year the Honor 6X replaces its predecessor the 5X on this list. While you won't be blown away by magnificent design or all of the top-end features, the Honor 6X is an exercise in what you can get for about $250. You get a good enough screen, expandable storage and a fingerprint sensor, wrapped in a metal body that's better than the plastic offerings out there. There's also a neat dual camera setup around back that can take interesting-looking shots.

Sure it's stuck on Micro-USB and the software has yet to make the jump to Huawei's new EMUI 5.0 (and we can't wait for that to come), but you can't get that complete of a package in a phone this inexpensive.

Bottom-line: It doesn't offer everything, but it's a solid package for the money.

One more thing: Keep an eye out for discounts and promotional "flash sales" at lower prices.

Best under $100

Moto G4 Play

See at Amazon

We're stretching this one a little, because the Moto G4 Play is actually $149.99, but you can get it for under $100 by purchasing it through Amazon's Prime Exclusives section. It's the same phone, but it comes preloaded with unobtrusive lockscreen ads and a few pre-installed Amazon and partner apps and games.

Looking at the phone itself, this is a very well-rounded product for the price. You get a 5-inch 720p display, a quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor at 1.2Ghz, 2GB of RAM, 16GB storage, and an 8MP rear camera, with all-day battery life from the 2,800mAh cell, running Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

Bottom-line: The Moto G4 Play is the spiritual successor to the Moto E, but it has a bigger and better screen, more power, and a much nicer design.

One more thing: Don't expect an update to Android 7.0 Nougat on the Moto G4 Play.

Best in Europe

Wileyfox Swift 2

See at Amazon

The Wileyfox Swift 2 is the British company's latest Android phone and has every right to be taken notice of. It costs a ridiculously cheap £119 and packs Moto G-matching hardware while undercutting it on price.

The display is nice, the battery life is pretty good, the overall appearance is on point and the software provided by Cyanogen is slick, speedy and bloat-free. It's not available officially outside Europe right now, but it's absolutely one of the best cheap phones money can buy. And with recent offers dropping the price to just £99, it really is a bargain.

Bottom-line: For those in Europe looking something a little nicer than a Moto E, with a fresh software experience, the Swift is a good choice.

One more thing: Don't be tempted by the lower-end Spark or Storm. The Swift is the only one we recommend.

Conclusion

If you don't want to spend over $250 and still want a great Android phone, the Moto G5 Plus is the best choice. You don't get the best looking or feeling phone, but it offers a top-notch experience, especially for the price.

Best overall

Moto G5 Plus

See at Amazon

Motorola performed yet another pricing miracle with the Moto G5 Plus, the successor to last year's excellent Moto G4 series and a contender for the best affordable smartphone today.

It starts with the excellent 5.2-inch Full HD display, but the real benefit to the G5 Plus this year is the excellent performance and battery life from the combination of a Snapdragon 625 platform and a 3,000mAh battery.

Also of note is the improved low-light performance from the 12MP camera, which boasts the same hardware as (and similar results to) the Galaxy S7.

Bottom line: This is the best sub-$250 phone you can buy today, and it's still a great device even if price isn't a factor.

One more thing: Motorola.com is offering the Moto G5 Plus with inexpensive financing if you don't want to pay up front.

Best Android phones under $400
Best Android phones under $100

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4 hours ago

The Android O Developer Preview is made for developers — it's right in the title

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Not even Google thinks you should try the Android O developer preview if you're not a developer.

It's really cool that Google released a preview of Android O for everyone. Google has always made sure that developing for Android has almost no barriers and anyone can use the tools that they need to do it without paying any special developer fees or using specific equipment. If you're trying to attract as many great ideas as you can, this is a good way to do it.

There is a side effect, though. Seeing something called an Android O preview of any kind is both a temptation and invitation for people with no need to check out the new APIs and no plans to ever write an Android app to install it. People like you and me who just want to flash it to our phone because it's new. And sometimes that doesn't end well because the software Google is offering isn't ready for primetime.

What is a developer preview?

It's not Google's fault if we install a developer preview build of Android on our phone and things get all kinds of buggy. It says developer preview right on the download link and Google even tells you it's strictly something cobbled together so developers — people writing apps for Android or building things that run or work with Android — can see what's changing so they are ready.

Caution: Developer Preview 1 is for developers only and not intended for daily or consumer use. See the release notes before installing it on your device. Enrolling in updates by Android Beta is not supported in Developer Preview 1.

The emphasis is theirs, not ours, and this is simple language that tells us to back off and think before we do anything. Developer Preview 1 isn't even part of any beta software program just yet and nobody at Google will be surprised if everything here crashes and burns.

So why does Google release it to everyone?

This is the good part and the bad part.

Google says this is for developers, and Google wants all of us to be a developer. Or at least make being a developer accessible for all of us.

Google wants everyone to have access to all the developer tools and the Android O dev preview is yet another development tool.

Android development is a bit like the wild west. Anyone and everyone can do anything they like, and only a few places have specific rules that need to be followed in order to distribute your work. Every development tool from Google, including early access to future versions, is free and accessible for everyone. Google knows the next great idea may come from someone without the means to buy into a paid developer program and it wants that person to have the tools they need to build that great idea.

It's fair to gripe about a lot of things Google does when it comes to Android: it has a less than ideal license, all major development is done in private, and the platform distribution method not being the greatest are just a few. But there's one thing it does really well: You and I have the same access to developer tools as any Fortune 500 company does.

The Android O developer preview is just another one of those development tools.

Keep these things in mind

It's not Google's fault that we get enticed to give a first developer preview a try on our phones. It's our own fault, as nobody is saying we should even try it. But trying it isn't the worst thing we could do, especially if we think ahead.

If you're going to try it anyway, keep a few things in mind.

  • The Developer Preview 1 is not meant for you to install on a phone you'll use every day. Put it on a spare phone if you have one.
  • Every device you can try it on also has a custom recovery available. Take advantage of that and use it to back up your current system so you have an easy way to go back. If you like to try this sort of thing you should have an unlocked bootloader anyway.
  • If you don't know how to use a custom recovery to backup and restore the running system, are you sure you want to be fooling with a developer preview?
  • You don't have to install this one, and if you do there isn't much to see just yet. Future builds should be moved to the Android Beta program and will be more stable and easier to install.

Finally, it's OK not to care about it. Android O is something you probably won't see for at least a year unless you have a phone or tablet direct from Google. Some changes will look really great. Some will make your phone more secure. But none of them mean what you have now will work any differently than it did last week.

Besides, we can install it and talk about it for you. Let us deal with bad software!

Android O

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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4 hours ago

Here's what we're playing in VR this week!

There's always something new and interesting to play.

Whether you're recovering from a Summer Sale hangover or you're in desperate need of something new to keep your kids distracted while you figure out a good vacation schedule, there's a lot happening in the VR world right now. New apps and games are being released on an almost daily basis, and keeping up with that is a lot of work.

To lend a hand, we've assembled a short list of the fun things we're playing this week, so you've got something quick to glance at while you sort out the rest of your week in the real world.

Read more at VR Heads!

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5 hours ago

Facebook wants people to use its app for messaging again with new Stories feature

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Facebook is adding Stories to its core app, and over 1.6 billion people will now get to know Snapchat, whether they realize it or not.

For years, Facebook has been about sharing with everyone — and doing a million other things, from selling products to joining groups to marking yourself as safe during emergencies. All of these things, together, have led to the service being the most-used Android app in the world, and overall the most popular digital platform on earth, with over 1.6 billion people hitting some form of Facebook's wide berth every day.

But since Facebook split Messenger from its core app, to participate in one-on-one communication you have to leave the app. Well, no more. Facebook has announced that it is adding Stories to its core app, taking a lot of Snapchat and a bit of Instagram and giving it a new front-and-center placement. Stories, which is rolling out worldwide to all Facebook mobile users on Android and iOS, is similar to what you see on Instagram (and Snapchat, of course) today. It is a feed of photos and videos that string together to form a 24-hour diary, replete with filters and other camera frills.

Facebook is acknowledging that filters, and the camera itself, is quickly replacing text as the important status update in peoples' days. The new camera interface will be available, as with Snapchat and Instagram, a swipe away on the left side of the app, and will offer live filters and effects (many of which will be sponsored) that can be added to photos and videos. They can either be added to one's story, which can optionally be shared to the main Facebook feed, or sent using Direct, to a single person or group of people. Either way, the content will expire within 24-hours.

Direct is an interesting addition, because it ostensibly makes the core Facebook app a competitor to its own Messenger, along with WhatsApp and Instagram, all of which incorporate their own versions of private messaging. It's unclear whether Facebook plans to consolidate these things down the line, or just slowly add asynchronous story sharing to all of its apps, but it will be interesting to see whether people actually want this to be in the core Facebook experience.

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6 hours ago

Samsung Galaxy S8 event: Live from NYC at 11:00 a.m. ET March 29!

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Samsung Galaxy S8

Join us as Samsung unveils its next flagship phones.

The leaks are all over, and we know a lot about the upcoming Galaxy S8 and S8+, but there's always more to learn at the official unveiling of any big phone. And when we're talking about Samsung, there's usually a good bit of pageantry involved in the process to keep it interesting as well.

We'll be on hand to see and you everything that Samsung has to announce at its event in New York City on March 29. It all starts at 11:00 a.m. ET — that's 8:00 a.m. in San Francisco and 4 p.m. in London — so join us then for all of the fun!

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6 hours ago

Amazon Prime members can score big savings on nearly all Kindle E-readers right now

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a way to save big on a new Kindle!

The summer is coming and there is no better way to read a book on the beach or at the pool than on a Kindle. If you are an Amazon Prime member you can score some pretty sweet savings, dropping the price of the e-readers down to as low as just $49.99. The whole line is discounted, from the most basic option to the newest, so you won't want to miss out.

Don't worry if you aren't already a Prime member, Amazon offers a free 30-day trial of the service so you can take part in these low prices. In addition to being able to save on these, Prime members can also pick one of six different books to get for free, so you'll always have something new to read.

Amazon also offers a great service, Kindle Unlimited, which gives you access to over 1 million books, thousands of audiobooks, and even current magazines on any of your devices for just $9.99 a month. With the money you are saving on the purchase, you can subscribe to a few months of the service, or grab yourself a nice case to keep your new e-reader safe.

See at Amazon

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

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7 hours ago

T-Mobile is giving all of its customers a free year of baseball streaming

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T-Mobile Tuesdays has something good for baseball fans starting April 4.

T-Mobile is into doing nice things for its customers recently. The company has announced that it is giving away a free year of MLB.tv baseball streaming to all of its users, including those on older plans and prepaid service.

A regular season costs $112.99 a year, with MLB at Bat, which includes mobile phone access, an additional $19.99, so Major League Baseball is likely hoping that this turns into some revenue-positive conversions in the 2018 season. At Bat is included in the promotion.

T-Mobile says that the promo is not a part of its T-Mobile Tuesdays campaign, where it gives something nice away every week. This one you'll need to find by heading to the Groupon link. The promo begins April 4 to celebrate the official return of baseball in the U.S. (and Canada — don't forget the Blue Jays!)

Customers will only have over a day to sign up for the promotion; it ends at 4:59am ET on April 5. Once signed up, customers will need to sign into the MLB.tv app or website before 4:59am ET on April 11, so there isn't much time to take advantage of the promo. And according to the rules, the free access will expire on February 28, 2018.

T-Mobile Tuesday 'Thank You' gifts on April 4th include a free VUDU baseball movie rental, a $2 DUNKIN' PROMO CARD, and 30% off Groupon Local (up to a $40 value).

See at T-Mobile

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7 hours ago

Best smartwatch you can buy today

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If you're going to wear a wrist computer, it may as well be the best!

Our phones are capable of an incredible level of computing, and most of us really enjoy using them for watching videos of hamsters interact with miniature versions of our favorite things. Some of us use these phones for so much, we buy little versions of our phones that we can wear on our wrists to avoid reaching for the phone every couple of minutes.

Snarky as that sounds, smartwatches have a lot of practical uses. These wrist computers are better suited for capturing sleep and activity data to better understand how healthy you are, and are a much safer way of getting turn-by-turn directions places.

There are tons of great uses for a quality smartwatch, but first you need to pick a quality smartwatch. Here are some of the best available today!

Looking for just the Android Wear watches? These are the best you can buy today!

LG Watch Style

Not only was this watch one of the first to be released with the latest version of Android Wear onboard, but it's also one of the most compact Android Wear watches available today. The LG Watch Style is light enough that you don't notice it on your wrist, but the metal body gives the watch a nice sturdy feel with just enough battery to get you through a whole day without issue.

Check out our LG Watch Style review!

Each Watch Style comes with Google's easy to replace watchbands onboard, so you can quickly customize your watch to look just the way you want. Which is good, because the outer shell only comes in three very similar shades of metal. The real fun you'll have here is when you start making sure your watch band matches whatever watch face you choose from the tens of thousands available in the Google Play Store!

See on Best Buy

Samsung Gear S3

Samsung's smartwatches are basically phones in their own right. The Gear S3 can take its own SIM card and act entirely separate from a phone, instead of connecting via Bluetooth. This means you can make phone calls right from your wrist, or get your notifications while out jogging without the phone needing to be with you. You can also make payments at any card terminal with Samsung Pay baked right in.

Read our Gear S3 Review for more!

This is also a capable fitness wearable, with a heart-rate monitor for additional information for when you're active and a sleep monitor that kicks in automatically. With the included wireless charger that sets the watch up almost like a bedside clock and a battery that will easily get you two full days of use, this watch is great for getting you to put your phone down without actually disconnecting you from the world.

See at Amazon

LG Watch Sport

The larger relative of the LG Watch Style crams as many features as possible into a larger body. This watch makes calls, can pay for things at many but not all terminals, and offers most of the fitness features you'd expect to find on something built to be taken out for a serious workout session. It's a big watch with three large buttons and unless you are very lucky and find the limited edition this watch only comes in one color.

Check out the LG Watch Sport Review

What you won't find on this watch is the ability to replace the strap if you don't like the sporty rubber strap, because it actually has parts of the computer built into it. As long as you're fine with that strap, this is the watch to get when you want Android Wear and every possible feature onboard.

See on Google Store

Fitbit Blaze

The closest thing to a household name when it comes to fitness tech made a smartwatch that puts fitness first before anything else. Fitbit's watch doesn't try to look like a watch, either. This oddly-shaped fitness band is just wide enough to put a nice display on it, and like every other Fitbit works to give you constant information on your daily workout progress. Since the battery will last you between three and five days on a single charge, it's the kind of thing you're likely to wear everywhere and anywhere, which is great.

One of the most impressive things about the design of this watch is the way the entire outer shell comes off when you replace the band. This means you can have multiple color options for the outer shell to go with all of the different watch strap options you can buy today!

See on Amazon

Ticwatch 2

This isn't a name you're likely to have heard of before, but Ticwatch 2 is an Android-based watch that isn't running Google's Android Wear. Instead, this custom version of the OS focuses on a special natural language search system that competes directly with Google Assistant in a couple of very interesting places.

The big standout feature for this watch is the touch sensitive strip you use for scrolling. Instead of turning a knob or swiping on the screen, you can drag your finger across the bottom of the bezel and the interface will move to match.

Ticwatch 2 offers GPS, heart rate monitoring, and a microphone/speaker combo with plenty of apps onboard that work with both. While the battery is going to get you a little over a day, the included charger will be something you likely use each night.

See on Amazon

What if I have an iPhone?

To be perfectly honest, if you own an iPhone there's really only one watch worth your time and that's the one made by Apple. Our friends at iMore have everything you need to know about the Apple Watch and how it works with every kind of iPhone.

Read more about the Apple Watch

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