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12 min ago

AC editors' apps of the week: MLB Ballpark, My Disney Experience, Lumi News and more

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It's Appday Sunday and that means we're back with more of our favorites to share. Every week we bring a handful of great apps to the table and share them with everyone. Sometimes they are new apps, sometimes old standards, but every time they are apps we love to use.

Give these a look and then take a minute to tell us all about the apps you are using and love so we can give them a try. We all find some of our favorites right in the comments on these posts!

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3 hours ago

Test-driving OBD2 readers and Android

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Or, how my phone saved me from throwing money away on my car.

I am not all that mechanically inclined. I can do basic home improvement stuff, sure, but I'm not above paying someone to help do things I don't know how to do, or aren't good at. Same goes for my car. I have a basic understanding of how things work, and I can open the hood (beer in hand, of course) and point and grunt and call upon some basic low-level dude knowledge. (My two young daughters, of course, are unimpressed.)

But when something goes wrong? Hell if I know. And the dumb warning lights on most of our cars don't do us any favors.

Like many of us, I've left that light alone for way too long. While at the dealer one day dealing with that airbag recall, I asked about getting that checked out while I was there. It'd be $90 to just read the code, I was told. That sounded insane. And it is, in fact, insane. On many levels.

I learned what so many of you out there already knew. There's a better way.

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7 hours ago

From the Editor's Desk: Fix you

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Android updates are hard. And they're expensive. All the "shame lists" and pay-per-update ideas in the world won't change that.

Once or twice a year the Android Blogger Conspiracy Working Group gets together to remind ourselves and everyone else that the update situation is a mess. And we know how to fix it. And we need to remind Google that all it takes is this one easy thing, and it'll all be fine. We've got the answer. Or answers.

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7 hours ago

Mobile Nations Weekly: Gems, Java, and smarts

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ZTE Axon 7

Google wins in court, ZTE goes big, Tesla ramps up, Apple on the defensive, and the return of Windows Central Gems!

Windows Central Gems is back! With support from Microsoft we're checking out some great and maybe overlooked apps across the Microsoft ecosystem — and giving away a bunch of great prizes to boot!

Google just scored a big win in its ongoing court battle with Oracle over Java APIs. It's far from the end of the case, but it's a major turning point in the legal drama. ZTE impressed the hell out of us with the Axon 7, and we've got Moto X leaks and OnePlus 3 teases and for some reason a Batman version of the Galaxy S7.

As the ramp up to the Model 3, Tesla is going all out on fundraising and raking in $1.7 billion from a stock offering. Tesla's Autopilot system has also seriously extended its already long lead over competing autonomy systems by racking up 100 million autonomous miles, though we still can't recommend you sleep in the driver's seat.

Following Google's impressive smart assistant demonstrations at Google I/O, Apple's finding their Siri assistant unfavorably compared to Google and Amazon's Alexa, but Apple might have something up their sleeves to address that and help the company stay relevant.

If you're an Xbox gamer, you're no doubt giving consideration to the latest flagship game release. It's Overwatch, and it's simply phenomenal. And we're starting to get rumors of new Xbox hardware in just a few weeks at E3.

All of that and much, much more in this edition of Mobile Nations Weekly!

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Sponsored Post

Grab this Galaxy S5 hard case and holster combo for $4.95 today!

Worried about breaking your beloved Galaxy S5? If so, Amzer’s hard shell case with holster combo makes for a great addition to keep your phone safe. It provides protection while in use and a safe place to keep it during travel, all for just $4.95 today!

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1 day ago

Amazon now lets you test drive Echo's Alexa in your browser

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If you've ever wanted to try out the Amazon Echo before shelling out for one, you can now do just that right from your browser. Amazon has launched a dedicated website where you can try out an Echo simulation and put Alexa's myriad of skills to the test.

As Amazon explains, the idea was initially spawned as an experiment by developer Sam Machin during a hackathon last year. The simulation replicates the experience of interacting with the Echo's digital assistant, Alexa, with the press of a button. From Amazon:

Echosim.io lives in your browser, so anyone, anywhere can access it and test their Alexa skills. You no longer need an Alexa-enabled device to test your skills. Developers worldwide can use Echosim.io to experience Alexa. Its simplicity makes it easy for anyone to understand what an Echo is and what it does without having to explain Alexa's unique UX.

Getting started with the tool is a simple affair. All you have to do is head to the Echosim.io webpage and login with your Amazon account. From there, you simply click and hold the the on-screen button and speak your command; Alexa will do the rest.

Given that competition in the space is about to heat up in a big way thanks to Google's forthcoming Google Home — not to mention a rumored upcoming Siri-powered offering from Apple — this is a good way for Amazon to get Echo out in front of more people.

See Echo at Amazon

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1 day ago

Allo might just be the messenger we want and the messenger we need

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The world still wants a cross-platform iMessage. We'll never get one from Apple. Will Allo be the one?

Allo — the messenger client Google announced at Google I/O 2016 that leverages Google Assistant — has a lot of people scratching their heads while thinking that the last thing we need is yet another messenger client. Our own Dan Bader does a great job breaking down why Google "needs" Allo to showcase new technology in a mobile-first way, but for the users — you and me and your Grandma — there are already pages full of messengers that work in Google Play. It feels like Allo will be just another app you can use to chat with friends that has a cool feature or two — just like the handful of other apps you use to chat with your friends that has a cool feature or two; one that some folks will try for a while, then move on.

That could very well be the case, and Allo just won't catch on. But there is an alternative way to think. What if there was an app that had the simple appeal of Apple's iMessage, but was available for every person using an iPhone or an Android?

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1 day ago

CREO Mark 1 review: An unremarkable debut

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CREO Mark 1 lede

The Mark 1 is an ambitious effort, but the underwhelming hardware prevents it from being a great phone.

The Takeaway

CREO's take on software with Fuel OS is certainly interesting, but the hardware it showcased it on — the Mark 1 — is decidedly sub-par. The vendor is promising monthly updates through which it will keep the Mark 1 running like new. While that sounds like an enticing option, the phone fails to meet muster out of the box. There's a noticeable lag when using the Mark 1, and the Helio X10 SoC just isn't capable of driving the screen.

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1 day ago

Best accessories for Fossil Q smartwatches

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From watchbands to tempered glass protectors, we have your accessories covered for the (super stylish) Fossil Q.

Fossil's Q series smartwatches come in two styles: the digital display Q Founder and the more traditional Q Grant. The brand also released two stylish and functional bracelets, called the Q Reveler and Q Dreamer — fitness trackers that come in a variety of styles.

No matter what device is on your wrist, you'll want to some accessories to protect your investment, or customize your Fossil Q smartwatch to take your sense of style to the next level.

Tempered glass screen protector

Tempered glass is often known as safety glass– and for good reason! Screens covered with a tempered glass protector are more resistant to breakage than they would be with a standard one. That's why this Fossil Q Founder screen protector is perfect.

Designed to fit edge-to-edge with bubble-free application, this screen protector will cost you around $18 on Amazon for the tempered glass option (and around $13 for the crystal clear and anti-glare protectors.)

See at Amazon

Fashionable watchbands

Customize and accessorize your Fossil Q smartwatch with their wide variety of dynamic watchbands!

Both the Q Founder and Q Grant smartwatches are compatible with 22 millimeter watchbands, so don't forget to browse for your perfect color and style combination!

See at Fossil


Fossil Q activity trackers

If you really want to get the full experience from Fossil's dynamic new wearable devices, then check out the brand's activity tracker. Functional and unbelievably stylish (think the classic-ness of Tiffany's with the fashion-forward flare of Marc Jacobs), Fossil's Q Dreamer and Reveler pieces look like a bracelets, but function like an activity tracker.

How does it work? Well, the band receives filtered notifications and tracks everything from steps to calories, while cueing you to complete "creative weekly curiosity challenges."

If you find the Q Reveler or Q Dreamer are more your bag, you can also swap out those bands as well for any 12 millimeter band.

See at Fossil

What's your favorite Fossil Q accessory?

Because the Fossil Q smartwatches are newer products, there aren't a ton of exciting accessories to go along with the device... Yet! Let us know what your favorite version of the Fossil Q is, and how you choose to customize it in the comments below!

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1 day ago

Best screen protectors for the Nextbit Robin

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Best screen protectors for the Nextbit Robin

Though it may not be as brittle as a robin's egg, you should probably protect your Robin's screen.

All day long you're swiping and tapping on your Nextbit Robin's screen and dirt and dust on your fingers can cause little imperfections. If you keep your phone in your pocket, your change or keys can slice and dice your screen as well, even if it's scratch-resistant (eventually, they all get dinged up a little).

For now, Nextbit Robin screen protectors are kind of hard to come by, which is why we've rounded up some of the best ones we've found.

Nextbit tempered glass

Nextbit Tempered Glass Screen Protector

If you're the brand-conscious sort, you could get your screen protector straight from the horse's mouth (or robin's beak, as it were). At $25, Nextbit's tempered glass screen protector is a little expensive, but it gets the job done, covering up the most important part of your Robin.

The protector only covers the screen, so the glass edges surrounding it are left open, which might be a turn-off for some folks, but pair it with a Bruises case and you'll be good to go.

Nextbit's screen protectors are extremely thin, so it'll seem like your phone's wearing nothin' at all. Tempered glass is four times stronger than regular glass, so your Robin will be nigh-bulletproof (helpful for when it's out with Batman, i.e. you and your bad self).

See at Nextbit


Casebase tempered glass

Casebase

Casebase offers a two-pack of tempered glass screen protectors, which, starting around $13, isn't a bad deal. These screen protectors have an oleophobic coating, meaning they'll repel the oils from your hands and other sources, keeping your screen free of smudges and fingerprints.

The ultra slim design maintains screen sensitivity, so you won't be having to tap apps twice or go back over your keyboard because you missed a few letters.

This Casebase screen protector comes with all of the necessary tools to make installation a breeze, and having the second protector is a godsend, just in case you screw up.

See at Amazon

Orzly tempered glass

Orzly

Orzly are all over accessories for the Nextbit Robin and their tempered glass screen protector is no slouch when it comes to keeping your screen scratch-free.

This tempered glass screen protector is four times harder than regular glass and shatterproof, so if it breaks, you phone's screen won't. It's also got rounded edges to prevent any chipping.

At only 0.24 millimeters thick (or thin), all of your screen sensitivity is maintained and high definition shines through as though your screen is bare.

See at Amazon

Skinomi Tech Skin

Skinomi Tech Skin

Skinomi's entry is made of soft TPU with a fascination ability: it's self-healing. This means that any little imperfections will eventually be smoothed out by heat and moisture. This is also UV-resistant TPU, so it won't turn yellow over time, which means you might only need one for the whole time you have your phone.

This one comes with a liquid solution that allows for adjustments during installation, so if you don't nail it the first time, you can still move it around and get it just right. Once it's on, it conforms well to the size of your screen, giving you total, top-to-bottom protection.

All Skinomi screen protectors come with a lifetime replacement warranty, so if anything goes wrong, you just ring them up and they'll send you a new one for free.

See at Amazon

IQ Shield LiQuidSkin

IQ Shield LiQuidSkin

What separates IQ's LiQuidSkin from other screen protectors is that it's a single-layer film, which means ultimate clarity and sensitivity, so it's like your phone is naked but protected.

This is another TPU protector that's UV-resistant, so there's no worry of it yellowing as time goes by, leaving your Robin's screen completely clear. Installation is particularly simple with the LiQuidSkin, thanks to IQ Shield's own adhesive and their wet-install method, which allows you to make adjustments before your protector is in place forever.

Like all the other screen protectors in our round-up, this one only covers the screen, so the rest of the glass on the front is bare. If you're looking for total protection, then you probably want to pair your Robin with a case.

IQ Shield screen protectors are backed by a lifetime warranty and a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, so if yours doesn't work, you can get a new one for free. If it isn't as promised, you can send it back for a refund.

See at Amazon

What are you using?

Are you using a Nextbit Robin screen protector that we didn't mention? Sound off in the comments below and let us know why you think it's the best.

Nextbit Robin

See at Amazon

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2 days ago

Jawbone reportedly stops making its UP fitness trackers

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A new report claims that Jawbone has stopped making its line of UP fitness trackers and has sold its remaining inventory to an unnamed third-party company.

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2 days ago

Google Photos' 200 million users have freed up 13.7 petabytes of storage to date

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Google Photos is now officially one year old, and Google has celebrated the occasion by providing some hard numbers on just how big the service has become in the past year.

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2 days ago

Moto G4 Plus review: A memorable upgrade

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Android Central Choice Award

The most powerful of Lenovo's Moto G lineup raises the bar for the mid-range.

The Takeaway

Lenovo's first full cycle with the Moto brand seems to be off to a good start, at least with the most powerful variant, the Moto G Plus. While the device shares a number of hardware specs with the Moto X Play, a slimmer, more approachable design, and the addition of a fingerprint sensor, make this one of the best devices in its class.

The Good

  • Nice, simple design
  • Fingerprint sensor is fast and accurate
  • Good camera quality and features
  • No-nonsense Android software

The Bad

  • Snapdragon 617 processor feels overworked
  • Lacks popular Moto Voice features
  • Loose, plasticky buttons and back cover

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2 days ago

Android Central 290: Dev's-eye-view

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Audio-only stream below

We've heard from the bloggers, now let's see what a developer has to say about this year's Google I/O developer conference. (OK, and we'll hear from some more bloggers, too.)

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2 days ago

Best Sprint phones

Best Sprint Phones

Sprint offers some of the best phones on the market. We've rounded them up just for you!

Sprint doesn't exactly play well with others, so the selection of unlocked phones that you can bring to its network is rather limited. If you are trying to bring your own unlocked phone to Sprint, it's best to head to the nearest location and ask if your device is compatible.

That being said, it has a relatively decent list of phones that you can buy straight from them, including some of the top Android phones available right now.

We've rounded up a quick list of the best they have to offer.

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