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1 day ago

Best Cases for Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus

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What are the best cases you can buy for the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus?

The Moto G4 and G4 Plus are two phones that have taken the entry market by storm. With resilient bodies, attractive designs, great performance, and awesome cameras, they're worth the money — big time. But they are also phones, and can break if dropped or mishandled. That's why you need an equally good case!

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1 day ago

Common Galaxy S7 problems and how to fix them

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The Galaxy S7 is an awesome phone, but it's not without its problems. Here are some of the most common issues and how to fix them.

Back in March of last year (has it been that long already?!), the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge launched to outstanding reviews and plenty of plaudits for both its hardware and software. But given that the phone is approaching its one-year anniversary, it's not surprising that some issues — both hardware and software — have arisen in that time.

Samsung has been generally good about correcting the major ones through software updates, but there are some big issues that users can address on their own.

Battery life problems

The Galaxy S7 suffers from battery issues more so than the larger Galaxy S7 edge — the former has a 3000mAh batter to the edge's 3600mAh cell — but they're both prone to getting beaten by the daily grind.

  • The first thing you're going to want to do is eliminate any errant battery-sucking apps that you've downloaded from the play store. Facebook and Facebook Messenger continue to be two that are repeatedly brought up by members of the AC community as being the worst battery offenders. Facebook can be accessed from the mobile web, and Facebook Messenger, well — just get WhatsApp and call it a day.

  • To check whether an app is using an unreasonable amount of battery, dive into Settings --> Battery --> Battery usage to isolate the misbehaving entity.

  • These potentially problematic apps extend to bloatware installed by your carrier. If you use a Verizon, T-Mobile or AT&T model, in particular, you'll benefit from deleting or disabling some or all of the pre-installed apps on the phone.

  • You can also disable the always-on display by going to Settings --> Display --> Always-on display and turning everything off. The feature was added to the Galaxy S7 for its convenience, and because the phone uses an efficient SuperAMOLED panel, but just because it's efficient doesn't mean it doesn't help to disable it.

How to fix Galaxy S7 battery life problems

  • Finally, if you're running Nougat — and you soon should be, if you're not already — you'll notice that battery should improve just by doing the upgrade. Why? Because Samsung has made a change to the default resolution of the Galaxy S7 that uses less energy. It's not magic, but you'll probably benefit from a couple extra hours of uptime as a result. Win!

Slow performance

This is a big category, and pretty hard to pin down, but we'll go through some of the most common solutions. Obviously, slow performance can be indicative of an errant app that may also be sucking up battery life, so dealing with this may help the other. Phones are known to slow down over time as people add more and do more with them.

Free up internal storage

The Galaxy S7 has 32GB of internal storage, and once you fill that up, the phone may begin to chug. The system will alert you when you get really close to the edge, but even before then, deleting some of those larger apps and games may do the trick.

It may also be a good idea to upload your photos to Google Photos so you can delete them locally. Google Photos offers unlimited free high-quality backups, along with at least 15GB of full-quality backups, on any phone, including the Galaxy S7. It's also likely pre-installed on your device — just look for it in the Google folder on your home screen, or in the app drawer.

How to use Google Photos on Android and the web

Change launchers

On the surface, changing launchers may not seem like it will do anything, but it does: Samsung's TouchWIZ launcher is notoriously slow, especially with all the features enabled (like Flipboard Briefing, which you should probably turn off).

To fix that, you may want to change launchers to something a bit more lightweight and performant. May we suggest one of the following?

The best Android launchers

Factory reset your phone

There are myriad reasons your phone may be bogged down, and merely deleting apps, changing launchers or disabling some features may not do enough.

If you're running into a virtual brick wall, back up everything in Google Drive, Google Photos, Dropbox, or wherever else you tend to store your virtual goods, and start over.

How do you do that on your Galaxy S7 or S7 edge?

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Scroll down to Backup and reset.
  3. Scroll down and top on Factory data reset.
  4. Tap on Reset Device.

Once you reset, you'll have to log in again to your various accounts and apps, but your apps should download automatically once you log into your Google account.

Wi-Fi & Bluetooth issues

Among the most common problems on a smartphone today, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth problems can be caused by a number of factors, many of which are outside of your control.

When troubleshooting these wireless connections, it's important to establish whether the issue is indeed your phone or the object(s) you're connecting to, and the fastest way to determine that is to use another phone or tablet to connect. If that other product has no connectivity issues, then it's worth pursuing a fix on the Galaxy S7 or S7 edge itself.

  1. Make sure you turn off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, wait a few seconds and turn it back on. If that doesn't fix the problem, head to the next step.
  2. Restart your phone. Sometimes all that's needed a quick kick to the reset button and you're good to go.
  3. If Wi-Fi problems persist, try forgetting the network by holding down on the SSID (name) and tapping Forget network. Then re-enter the password.
  4. If Bluetooth problems persist, try unpairing the object from your phone and re-pairing. To do that, tap on the little cog icon next to the product's name and hit Unpair. Put the speaker or whatever you're connecting to in pairing mode and connect again.

How to fix Wi-Fi problems on the Galaxy S7

Random restarts and boot loops

A common occurrence, especially in more recent months, has been Galaxy S7 units randomly freezing while in use, restarting, or what's known as boot looping, which finds the phone stuck in a cycle where it attempts to boot into Android but somehow gets stuck and performs the process all over again.

Like with all the above issues, there are a number of potential issues causing this, from errant apps causing overheating to problems with an Android update to a corroded or damaged mainboard.

To troubleshoot, work from easiest solution to most difficult.

  1. If your phone boots into Android but is randomly restarting, it may be overheating or have a problematic app. Follow the instructions above to isolate the malefactor.
  2. If deleting all potentially problematic apps doesn't work, reboot into the recovery and clear the cache partition.
  3. If that doesn't work, it may be time to reset the phone completely. If you can't get into the phone, follow the instructions to factory reset the phone from the recovery menu.

Other issues

What are your main issues with the Galaxy S7 or S7 edge? We'll keep this article updated as new information becomes available!

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

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1 day ago

These completely wireless Bluetooth headphones are just $36 right now!

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If you want to ditch all the wires and go completely wireless with your headphones, you're going to want to check this deal on Axgio's Bluetooth headphones. Right now you can pick up a pair for just $36 with coupon code 4UEOAIDP, a savings of $14 from their regular price. For a fraction of Apple's AirPods you can still ditch the wires and have a great sound quality. You can use them both together as a pair, or individually if you prefer. You'll need to charge them separately as well, and the included cable splits into to for easy charging.

They should last for around 8 hours of usage time per charge, and come with three different silicon tips to help them fit comfortably in your ears. If you're ready to completely ditch all the wires, you won't want to miss this offer. Remember, you need coupon code 4UEOAIDP for the full savings.

See at Amazon

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1 day ago

The Galaxy Note 7 had two separate battery defects 🔥

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Samsung will reveal that the Note 7 went through two separate battery problems on its way to the dustbin.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which reportedly obtained the report Samsung will reveal and elaborate on at a press conference in Seoul this Monday (Sunday evening in North America), the Korean giant suffered two major yet separate issues with the batteries in the Galaxy Note 7.

The report, which was generated by three independent analysis firms, states that the problems with the initial batch of batteries, built by Samsung SDI, were physically too big for the Note 7 chassis, causing a small number of them to overheat and catch fire.

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1 day ago

We have a free NVIDIA Shield Android TV for an Android Central reader!

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The new NVIDIA Shield Android TV is awesome, so why not enter to win one to satisfy all of your entertainment needs?

The second iteration of the Shield Android TV is a proper successor that shows NVIDIA knows just how to iterate on this platform. In an Android TV space that still lacks a robust number of choices — and even fewer good choices — the Shield Android TV stands as the box to get if you want a no-compromise complete experience. When you buy a new Shield Android TV you're not just getting a simple little box that you'll plug in and then forget about a couple months in — you're getting as close to a full entertainment system in a single box as you can reasonably expect. Awesome! So now that you want one, let's give one away! Keep reading for the details!

THE PRIZE: One Android Central reader will be taking home a brand new updated NVIDIA Shield Android TV!

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 giveaway is open until February 8th, and the winner will be announced right here shortly after the close date. Good luck!

We're giving away the new NVIDIA Shield Android TV!

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1 day ago

New Sonos CEO wants integrations with Google Assistant, Alexa

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Ok, Google, crank up the tunes on Sonos.

Patrick Spence took the reins at Sonos weeks ago, and a memo obtained by The Verge he sent out to the company when he did makes it no secret where he wants Sonos to expand in the face of increased competition: digital assistant integration.

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1 day ago

Best Wall Chargers for Android Phones

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Chargers

The best charger for your Android depends on which phone you have.

Real talk: Android phone quick-charging standards are kind of a mess. Sure, just about anything which can supply power over USB will juice up your phone to full power, given enough time. But identifying the thing that'll let you charge your phone as fast as possible — even if it's packaged with your phone in the box — isn't always easy. Sometimes you need a special charger. Sometimes a special cable. Sometimes both!

Fortunately, we've rounded up a handful of the best go-to chargers for some of the most popular brands. Reads on to find out how to power up as fast as humanly possible.

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1 day ago

The Pixel is selling out because Google finally got its ads right

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The Pixel is off to a good, if not great, start.

Google's Pixels made up 12.3% of activations at Verizon stores during the holiday quarter, a number that should make both companies very happy in the quest to unseat the dominance of Samsung and Apple.

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1 day ago

The Best Android Apps

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Looking for the absolute best Android apps, utilities, and games, the Play Store has to offer? You've come to the right place!

There are a lot of Android apps out there, and we've rounded up the very best across each of the Play Store's major categories. Keep in mind that these are our subjective choices, and are always welcome to hear about what you're digging in the comments, so don't be shy!

Best book & reference app for Android: Kindle

Amazon's Kindle remains the de facto standard for e-reading and offers the widest marketplace for books and reference materials. The app includes a wide range of features, including definition look-up, text scaling, contrast adjustment, and location memory. You can even load Mobi and PDF files to be read in the Kindle app (though not ePub).

Download: Kindle (Free w/ IAPS)


Best business app for Android: Splashtop

Splashtop is a remote desktop access app that allows users to get access to everything they need on your home or work PC. So long as your computer is on, the desktop client is running, and you have an active subscription, you can use your Android device to click around your desktop, open applications, browse files, and make use of touch shortcuts to get more done faster. Encryption is enabled for business customers concerned about security.

Download: Splashtop (Free w/ subscription)


Best comics app for Android: Comixology

In no uncertain terms, Comixology made comics on mobile popular. Issues are made available to purchase the same day they're out on print. There are a bunch of free issues available, and the selection spans major publishers like Marvel, DC, IDW, and Disney. You'll also find related news and podcasts tucked away in there.

Download: Comixology (Free w/ IAPs)


Best education app for Android: Lynda.com

Lynda remains a top source for current, high-quality instructional videos. Though the bulk of the service relies on a hefty $25/month subscription fee, there are a lot of free videos available. Many of the areas of subject matter are technical and surround certain types of software, but you'll also find photography, music, art, and other major topics covered.

Download: Lynda.com (Monthly subscription required)


Best entertainment app for Android: IMDb

IMDb is an invaluable tool for figuring out which films and shows actors are from, digging up obscure quotes, and seeing which shows are topping the charts. After watching an HD trailer, you can find showtimes at theatres near you, or mark it on your watchlist to catch it later. Between the full photo galleries, recent news, and information on every movie under the sun, IMDb is insanely useful.

Download: IMDb (Free)


Best finance app for Android: Mint.com Personal Finance

Mint.com is an outstanding organizational app to stay on top of your budget. It plugs directly into your existing bank accounts and identifies transactions across broad categories so it can visualize the information in helpful way. You can set monthly budget limits for different types of activities, and manually add in transactions that aren't using any of your bank cards. Investment totals made through your bank are displayed here as well.

Download: Mint (Free)


Best health & fitness app for Android: Endomondo Sports Tracker

Endomondo is still one of the best all-around fitness trackers available on Android. You can track speed, distance, and time for running, walking, cycling, or any other overland activity and share the results to your friends on Facebook. If you're willing to go with the pro version, you're able to enjoy goal setting features, an audio coach, and view detailed graphs for your progress throughout a workout. You'll also find that a wide range of popular fitness bands and accessories will feed data into Endomondo.

Download: Endomondo (Free w/ IAPs, or $4.99 for Pro version


Best lifestyle app for Android: Tinder

Tinder is a hugely popular location-based dating app. Users log in with their Facebook credentials, which populates a Tinder profile with all of their interests and a profile image. You're then presented with a stream of potential matches based on those nearby and with overlapping interests and common Facebook friends. With a swipe, users anonymously decide if they like someone or not, and they get a notification when someone they picked has picked them as well. Then it's just a matter of using the chat system to taking things from there.

Download Tinder (Free)


Best media & video app for Android: Plex

Plex is a widely-respected media-sharing app that helps you get content on your Android device from your PC. Just run the media server software on your computer, and you can access music, video, and pictures from anywhere. Extra features, like Chromecast support and cloud saving, are available with a PlexPass subscription.

Download: Plex (Free w/subscription)


Best medical app for Android: Medscape

Medscape is a rich medical reference library that allows users to pour over thousands of procedures, drugs, and news articles. Specialities can be tagged so that relevant information can be made more prominent. The data is pulled in through WebMD, which is highly reputable in the sphere. One of the more useful sections for everyday users is a drug database and cross-referencing for potential interactions. For those really into medicine, there's an educational section where you can read up on the latest research and catch embedded videos going over the content.

Download: Medscape (Free)


Best music & audio app for Android: Spotify

Spotify is arguably the best music streaming service out there, featuring a massive library of tracks, as well as a station generator and some curated, mood and genre based offerings if you don't feel like making a playlist yourself.

There's also a social emphasis with Spotify, giving users the option to share and play friend's playlists to help them discover music and share what they're listening to on social media sites. You can stream shuffled music for free (with ads) or subscribe for unlimited access to everything Spotify offers.

Download: Spotify (Free, $9.99/month for premium)

Best news & magazine app for Android: Flipboard

Flipboard has become the new way people take in web content on their phone. Users build up a list of subscriptions, and content is fed into a beautiful interface. Swipes cause each page to turn smoothly, and a single tap on the header image takes you into the full text of an article. Though reading through your favorite sites is great, you can build your own magazines built from web content and share them with the Flipboard community at large.

Download: Flipboard (Free)


Best personalization app for Android: Action Launcher 3

Action Launcher brings a ton of thoughtful features plus lots of additional tweaks that you expect from a custom launcher. Replace the traditional app drawer with a slide-in Quickdrawer, maximize on-screen real estate with Shutters and tweak the home screen search bar with the customizable Quickbar. Beyond that, Action Launcher also offers theming options, suggestions for app icon replacements and a beta feature to normalize icon sizes.

The best features of Action Launcher 3 require a paid upgrade to the Plus version, but it's worth every penny.

Download: Action Launcher 3 (Free)


Best photography app for Android: Snapseed

Snapseed is a highly polished photo editing app built smartly for touch input. Tapping navigation buttons along the bottom allow users to switch between tools, such as rotating, cropping, color correction, and filters. Then, swiping up and down on the picture lets you select the type of adjustment, and going left and right changes the amount of adjustment. It's a great interface for smaller screens, and provides all the major editing you might need to do.

Download: Snapseed (Free)


Best productivity app for Android: Trello

Trello is a task app the can scale as large as company-wide project handing, to as small as grocery lists. Set reminders, add labels, organize in collections called boards, assign other members, attach pictures and documents, and much more. Trello has a very good-looking web client too, making it easy to manage your tasks by PC as well.

Download Trello (Free)


Best shopping app for Android: Amazon Shopping

Amazon is the granddaddy of online retail. If you're shopping for anything at all, it's worth checking out to see what Amazon's offering. They have crazy deals all the time, just about every physical object you could possibly want to acquire, and with Prime, you'll get it on your doorstep lickety-split. A separate price check app can help by scanning barcodes of physical products and seeing if you can get it any cheaper on Amazon.

Download Amazon (Free)


Best social app for Android: Facebook

Like it or not, Facebook is the most ubiquitous social network out there. Everybody's on it, sharing everything they do. With the Android app, you can quickly post status updates, share links through the browser, upload and tag pictures, send instant messages, and leave likes on your friends' status updates. On many devices, Facebook information is tied to your address book, ensuring that their information is up-to-date and the image is their latest profile pic.

Download: Facebook (Free)


Best sports app for Android: theScore

theScore remains a high-quality, broad-field sports app that helps you get all the news you could possibly want. NFL, NBA, NHL, EPL, UFC, and more are covered with news, scores, pictures, and video clips. Users can mark teams or players as favorites so they can track what's up more easily.

Download: theScore (Free)


Best tool app for Android: Tasker

Tasker lets you set up a wide range of tasks to execute automatically given certain circumstances. You can set antenna to go off when you leave a certain location, turn on an app after tapping an NFC tag, or mute your ringer after connecting to a specific Wi-Fi network. With the help of third parties plugging into Tasker, you have a ton of options for if/then statements here.

Download: Tasker ($2.99)


Best transport app for Android: Uber

Uber has become such a force in the sphere of transportation that it has displaced the entire taxi industry in many major cities. Uber acts as the go-between for pedestrians looking for a ride and a legion of private drivers. Uber drivers are vouched for by users to ensure security, and thanks to GPS, you can find the closest one easily. Prices are dictated by supply of drivers, which means you can get some very reasonable fares, though there are occasionally surges in pricing during busy periods. Payments are made through Uber, so there's no need for cash at any stage. If you're lucky enough to be in a city with Uber service, this is hands-down the way to get around.

Download: Uber (Free, plus fare)


Best travel & local app for Android: TripIt

TripIt lets you store all of your travel plans, including information about your itinerary, hotel, and car rental bookings in one convenient location. It can import this information direct from your email box, and you can easily share your travel plans with your family and friends. It'll even add your trips to your calendar.

TripIt is a free app and service for a basic set of features, but the real benefits come in when you subscribe to TripIt Pro for $49 per year. You get updates on any changes to your flights such as delays or gate changes, and it will also inform you when a better flight becomes available and will let you change your flight plans in-app.

Download: TripIt (Free or $49.99/year subscription)


Best weather app for Android: Accuweather

You might be using Accuweather right now on your Android, whether you know it or not. The longtime weather service powers the weather data on many apps and widgets, including those pre-loaded on many handsets by manufacturers. They use Accuweather for a reason: it's dependable and damn accurate.

And why should you use Accuweather? That accuracy here is combined with a clean, concise app that is easy to navigate and easy to understand.

Download: Accuweather (Free, or $2.99 for premium)


Best widget for Android: Beautiful Widgets

Beautiful Widgets is a full complement of home screen widgets, including weather, time, and battery. Though Android includes many of those natively, the real selling point with is that Beautiful Widgets has a whole store full of styles to chose from. Combination widgets which include multiple data types, such as weather and clock, can use different themes together to create a really unique look.

Download: Beautiful Widgets ($2.69)


Best live wallpaper for Android: Muzei

Muzei is a simple, gorgeous way of livening up your wallpaper rotation. By default, the background is blurred, and with a double-tap, it leaps into focus. You can set how long it takes for a new wallpaper to come in, or decide to leave the wallpaper permanently in focus. An open framework allows other extension apps to find and pick wallpapers for you, either based on your location, social network, cloud collection, and many other sources.

Download: Muzei (Free)


Best keyboard for Android: Gboard

Google originally designed the Gboard for the iPhone, and they took their time making it available for Android. The wait was worth it, as Google Keyboard has been rebranded and updated with great new features including integrated web search. The Gboard is completely free, supports gesture typing for both individual words and entire sentences, a bounty of languages, and a modest choice of themes.

Download: GBoard (Free)


Best podcast app for Android: Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts does what any good podcast player should do: it loads quickly, has great discovery tools, has effects for cutting down on silences, and it looks great doing it. Shifty Jelly, the company behind Pocket Casts, has put a lot of love into making the app as full-featured as possible without alienating beginners just looking for an easy-to-use podcast app.

With tablet support, Chromecast output, and easy ways to store content on microSD cards, Pocket Casts is our pick for the best podcast app on Android.

Download: Pocket Casts ($3.99)


Best arcade game for Android: PinOut

PinOut is a brilliant reimagining of the classic pinball action we're all familiar with into an endless arcade format, created by the award-winning developers behind Smash Hit. The game features sharp, futuristic graphics and smooth controls as it pits you in a race against the clock to see how far you can make it on one ball.

PinOut is a free download from the Google Play Store, but you might want to spend $2.99 on the one-time upgrade to premium to unlock the ability to start from previous checkpoints you've reached.

Download: PinOut (Free w/ IAPs)


Best action game for Android: Sky Force: Reloaded

Sky Force Reloaded is, simply, one of the finest games on Android. Featuring frantic gameplay, dazzling graphics, and a deep upgrade system it will have you coming back and playing for hours on end.

The story picks up after the events of Sky Force 2014 with General Mantis' daughter picking up the cause of her fallen father. Most stages feature an epic boss battle with her in a massive warship, but first you have to shoot and navigate your way through intense waves of laser-blasting tanks, turrets, and helicopters. New missions are unlocked by collecting medals, which are earned by saving all the humans, destroying all enemies, and staying untouched through a mission.

Download: Sky Force: Reloaded (Free)


Best cards and casino game for Android: PokerStars Poker: Texas Hold'Em

Fans of Texas Hold 'em will be familiar with PokerStars. It stacked with features you'll love: millions of online players, frequent tournaments, multiple game styles to choose from and in-game table chat. Actual gambling apps aren't available through the Google Play Store, so you're playing with play money here — which you can buy through in-app purchases, or you can hold out for a free spin at the slots to get some starting funds once you're out.

Download: PokerStars Poker: Texas Hold'em (Free w/ IAPs)


Best racing game for Android: Asphalt 8

Asphalt 8 is an over-the-top, white-knuckled racing game for Android. Power-ups litter the fantastic courses set in real-world locations, which can help you launch off ramps for amazing (and physically unlikely) stunts. Hopefully in the process you can trash some of the competition in explosively cinematic crashes. Some freemium elements are employed, such as purchasable currency and premium power-ups, but on the whole, the game is entirely playable without spending a cent.

Download: Asphalt 8: Airborne (Free, IAPs)


Best sports game for Android: FIFA Mobile

FIFA Mobile offers all of the excitement of a live footie match to your Android device. There are four game modes to choose from: you start out with Live Events and Attack Mode, and unlock Leagues and Season once your profile reaches level five. Controls include the standard virtual button and joystick layout, or you can try out some great finger-friendly gesture controls. No doubt soccer fans will appreciate the top-notch graphics and real player models.

Download: FIFA Mobile (Free, IAPs)


Your favorite Android apps?

Those are our picks for the very best apps for Android, but there are a lot of apps out there and new ones are coming out all the time. Leave a comment with your favorites!

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1 day ago

Save 50% on Scrivener for Windows for a limited time!

Ever try creating a really long document in Microsoft Word or an online notepad? It's not ideal, and odds are it isn't something you will want to do more than once. There has to be a better way to do it right? One with more features aimed at those writing in longer form? Well, there is.

Meet Scrivener for Windows, the great long-form writing app that comes packed with features. It allows you to view and edit different sections by themselves or switch to a storyboard to view and arrange your project. Sounds expensive, huh? Well, right now you can save 50% on the purchase!

Some of the other great features include:

  • View & edit different sections of your writing in isolation or as a whole
  • Take a "snapshot" of a document, then edit & rewrite knowing you can restore an earlier revision at any time
  • Easily storyboard & rearrange your project
  • Utilize the fully-featured outliner to take control of the structure of your work
  • Switch to scriptwriting mode for automatic or custom formatting—then export to a dedicated scriptwriting program such as Final Draft
  • Use the name generator to create pseudonyms for interviewees or names for fictional characters
  • Automatically back up your projects as zip files each time you open or close them

Save 50% right now! Learn More

Normally this would all set you back $40, but right now you can save half of that. At just $20 this is a hard program to pass up. You may think your current workflow is just fine, but once you invest a bit of money and try this out, you won't want to turn back!

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1 day ago

Samsung Gear VR vs Google Daydream View: Which should you buy?

Which is better, Samsung Gear VR or Google Daydream View?

Discovering that your phone can act as the brain for a VR headset is pretty great. You drop the phone into a headset, strap that headset to your face, and suddenly you have access to hundreds of apps and videos all uniquely built for virtual reality. Transforming your phone into a pocket theater on the Moon, an arcade full of unique games, and a portal to see just about every part of the world as though you're actually standing there is both incredible and surprisingly affordable.

If your current phone doesn't support the best VR experiences available right now, there's a good chance your next phone will. The big question you need to answer for yourself is which VR platform you want to be a part of, the Oculus-powered experiences in the Samsung Gear VR or the Google-built platform inside Daydream View. It's not an easy question to answer, but here's everything you need to know about making this decision!

Read more at VR Heads!

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1 day ago

Google Pixel, three months later: Still going strong, still the best

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Google Pixel

Oh my, how time flies.

Somehow it has already been three months since we published our Google Pixel and Pixel XL review. Not only has time simply passed since we wrote that review, but I've also been actively using the Pixel as a primary phone since the review period. That gives a ton of extra perspective on a phone that's at the top of people's minds nowadays, regardless of whether they're enthusiasts or just casual buyers.

Even three months after it became commercially available the Pixel (and XL in particular) is often still out of stock or not available in all configurations, showing that demand is at least strong enough to force supply constraints through some combination of factors. Google's first in-house designed and sold phones are popular, it seems.

And as we know, companies don't just sell phones in the first quarter after introduction — they count on sales throughout a full year after release. So now with the Pixel hitting its stride for the period that should bring the most rapid sales over its life, does it still stand up in the same way it did when it we first reviewed it? Here are some of my thoughts after three months using the Google Pixel.

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1 day ago

Photo editing app Meitu says it needs permissions for analytics, denies selling user data

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Meitu details why it needs all those permissions.

Chinese photo editing app Meitu made landfall in the U.S. recently, with the free app shooting up the Play Store rankings over the course of the week. The app adds anime-style filters to photos, and the final results end up being equal parts wonderful and weird.

The app has been popular in China and Hong Kong for several years now, but its entry into the U.S. was fraught with privacy issues. The app asks for twenty-three permissions in total, which include access to your phone's device ID, storage, Wi-Fi, network settings, local IP, location details, carrier information, the ability to run at startup, and more.

In a statement to the media, Meitu said that it collects all that data to optimize the app's performance, and get a better understanding of how customers engage with its ads. The company denied that it sells any of the user data it collects, going into further detail as to why it needs so many permissions.

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1 day ago

How to change the default launcher on the Huawei Mate 9 and EMUI 5.0

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How do I get rid of the launcher on my EMUI 5.0 phone? Easily!

The Huawei Mate 9 comes with its own pretty good launcher — though it helps to add an app drawer — but if you prefer something different, as many people do, it's easy to change.

The phone ships with EMUI 5.0, which is a big update over what shipped on older Huawei devices, but there are still too many menus. In particular, it's still too difficult to change the default launcher. But with these steps, you can do it in a snap.

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1 day ago

Tips for surviving Inauguration Weekend

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Okay, so we're doing this.

America is inaugurating its 45th President this weekend, and that means a number of important things. People have traveled from all over the U.S. to experience the event, either in support or in protest, and historically that influx of people means a dramatic increase in strain on the cellular networks. Each of the major carriers claim to have beefed up their service in preparation, but there's a lot more to the Internet than just that connection. In a situation where anything can happen and likely everything you're imagining will happen to some degree, it's important to be prepared.

Here are some quick tips for getting through Inauguration weekend with your sanity, and hopefully also your phone, intact.

If you're in Washington DC

Whether you're a DC native or you've travelled in from far away, there are some tools you're going to want handy.

Amazon Prime Now is your friend

Before you head out to any of the events this weekend, make sure you have everything you need for a safe trip. Multiple payment methods on hand, a direct walking path to and from the event so you don't get lost, and a good rugged case for your phone. If you're not the phone case type, or you're rocking a slim folio, upgrade immediately. You're going to be surrounded by hundreds of people with arms that aren't likely to know exactly where you are holding your phone to get that perfect video. Fortunately, Prime Now works well in DC, so you can have a case or a glass screen protector delivered to you before you head out.

Check out Amazon Prime Now

Don't rely on Wi-Fi

Someone else's wireless network is not your friend this weekend. It's way too easy to walk around with the equipment necessary to create hotspots built specifically for snooping your data and stealing your passwords. Crowded events like this are an incredibly common way to have your data stolen and your credit cards used before you even know what happened. Stay on your cellular network, unless you're using a service like Project Fi that secures your connection with a safe VPN.

Record, don't broadcast

As much fun as Facebook Live and Periscope can be, don't bother trying them this weekend. Your network connection is never going to be good enough to establish a high quality stream surrounded by all of these people with their phones trying to rapid fire tweets from the events in DC. If you want to capture something, record it through normal photos and video. If you're concerned about losing that recording, turn on Google Photos and set it to automatically back up photos and video so you can access it from anywhere later.

There are so many apps

The volume of information at your disposal for these events in incredible, but here's a quick list of apps you'll want installed on your phone to help you through the event.

  • Twitter: The Trump Inaugural account on Twitter is going to keep you updated and includes quick glances at details like where the entrances and exits are.

  • DC Metro and Bus: Navigating Washington DC without a map of the mass transit system can be a little intimidating, so keep this handy.

  • Uber: You could also skip the mass transit system in DC and just go Uber, though at the peak of traffic it's likely surge pricing will be in effect.

  • Mobile Justice: DC: The ACLU app for DC makes it easy to record and report events that aren't exactly legal.

  • Trusted Contacts: Make sure people know where you are. Check in regularly, and stay safe.

If you're catching the events from elsewhere

Whether you're interested in viewing the festivities or avoiding them entirely, there are some tools for you.

YouTube Live Stream

The Inauguration and its partner events will be live streamed on YouTube, which means it can be casted to your television with a Chromecast and you can watch all weekend.

Twitter Filters

Not interested in the opinions of others this weekend? Filter them out with Open Tweet Filter. It only works on the web, so you're on your own if you open the app on your phone, but this will either keep the Inauguration out of your feed entirely or keep you completely focused on the events at hand.

Go find something to do

Quoting Patton Oswalt:

Leave your TV tuned to a channel like Turner Classic Movies or National Geographic or any channel that will have zero inaugural coverage. Then turn off your phone. Then shut down your computer. And then -- IF you can afford it -- go find a struggling theater company and pay to see whatever play they're putting on. Or a struggling art gallery or music club or museum. Leave 'em money and see what they're about.

Go see an indie film that's got stellar reviews and no audience. Or a new restaurant or other small business that needs friends and customers. Download a new band. Go to an independent bookstore and buy something from a small press. Go to an open mike. Or see any comedian. Tip your barista or barkeep a little extra.

In other words, do all of the cultural and aesthetic things that Trump thinks are worthless. Make a whole big chunk of existence suddenly spike in importance. And then keep doing that, if you can.

Above all, be safe!

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