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1 week ago

Google Play Music adds proper podcast section for Android Auto

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One missing ingredient for podcasts in Google Play Music has been when you get in your car and fire up Android Auto. A recent update has changed that.

You'll now find a "Podcasts" section at the bottom of the top level of menu items. Tap it and you'll see the shows you're subscribed to, in order of what was most recently updated. Top a show to start playing the most recent episode. And ... that's it. To get to a different episode you'll have to hit the track list. It's a little clunky maybe, but it's a welcome addition.

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1 week ago

Here's how to check if you have Amazon credit from Apple's ebook settlement

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If you're expecting any credit coming your way from Kindle purchases as a result of Apple's ebook antitrust case, Amazon now has a convenient way to check.

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1 week ago

This week's 'T-Mobile Tuesdays' offers extended through Friday

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While not nearly as bad as its first week, T-Mobile's weekly "T-Mobile Tuesdays" promotion hit some hiccups again this week.

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1 week ago

Wind Mobile is turning into a good telco alternative for Western Canadians

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If you're in the (western) market for a new plan, it's time to consider Wind Mobile.

As of today, Wind Mobile has completed its network upgrades in all of its Western Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton. With those upgrades, the company claims speeds and coverage have been drastically improved, along with perhaps the most important metric — latency.

The realization comes after Wind announced that it has completed upgrades in Edmonton as part of a drastic overhaul to its equipment that began in December in partnership with Nokia Networks. Now the company, which is owned by Shaw Communications, moves onto its biggest and most expansive market, Southern Ontario, which includes the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Barrie, Windsor, London, Niagara Region, and Peterborough. It's unclear how long it will take to make the upgrades in its biggest region.

It's been difficult to ascertain just how much improved Wind's network is in Western Canada, but some new data has shown that it is at least five to 10 times faster than its previous performance. According to Calgary-based blog Crackmacs, users can expect average download speeds of over 5Mbps and upload speeds of over 1.5Mbps, with the former spiking as high as 15Mbps depending on the day. In contrast, my Wind SIM in Toronto consistently offers me speeds of 0.3Mbps to 1Mbps down and 0.05 to 0.3Mbps up — not exactly fast.

Worse are my ping times, which spike as high as 800ms, according to my own tests. The Crackmacs data shows a huge latency disparity in Calgary of between 50ms and 250ms, but even at its most lossy it is in line with many 3G networks around the country. In other words, Wind's network should be considerably more competitive, even at these comparatively slower 3G speeds, once the cross-country upgrades are complete.

Even as it limps towards an LTE rollout, Wind Mobile's upgraded network, combined with its enormously attractive plans, such as one that offers 10GB of local data and 1GB of roaming data for $60 per month, is very compelling.

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1 week ago

EA's The Secret Life of Pets: Unleashed combines cute animals with match-3 gameplay

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With The Secret Life of Pets movie just around the corner, it makes sense for there to be a mobile game released ahead of screenings. EA is hitting both Android and iOS with a new match-3 game within The Secret Life of Pets universe. In The Secret Life of Pets: Unleashed, players will be able to enjoy the same style of gameplay experienced in other popular titles with the added bonus of seeing colorful personalities from the film.

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1 week ago

Sprint HTC 10 update now rolling out with camera enhancements and more

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Sprint is rolling out a small update to the HTC 10 that bears good news for the phone's camera.

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1 week ago

How often do you clean out the storage on your phone?

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Our phones have become a hub for our lives — and that requires storage.

Your phone is where you store tons of photos, communicate with friends, play games and even check the news and weather. With all of that information saved to your device, it means that after a while you'll probably want to clean out the storage. Whether that means backing your photos up to Google Photos or just deleting old apps that you no longer have the use for.

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1 week ago

Motorola's design lead Jim Wicks departs after 15 years

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Motorola's senior vice president of consumer experience design, Jim Wicks, has departed the company to join the faculty at Northwestern University. Wicks had been with Motorola for 15 years and was its head of design for the past 12 years.

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1 week ago

6 best comic reader apps for Android

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6 best comic reader apps for Android

My common sense is tingling.

Face front, true believers! Though print comics are still alive, well, and actually thriving, some folks like a portable, digital version of their favorites to take with them (the TSA doesn't take kindly to luggage full of mylar baggies).

You can download comics and manga from many sources and you need a reader that lets you enjoy all of that digital inky goodness with some added features. Here are a few of our favorites.

Excelsior!

Comics by Comixology

Comics by Comixology

Comixology is really the engine that run the digital comics machine. That is to say that you can browse, download, and read comics from just about every publisher via the Comics app by Comixology. In fact, even DC's app is run by Comixology. Comixology works just like Amazon, which is kind of the point, since it's owned by Amazon. You can search for comics, graphic novels, manga, and more by name, add them to your cart, and check out. You can even sign in with your Amazon account or create a new Comixology account. Up to you.

You also have the option to subscribe to Comixology Unlimited, which is basically all the comics you want for $5.99 a month. You have access to thousands of titles and if you're a Darkhorse or Image fan, Comixology Unlimited is the only subscription service that features titles from each of these publishers.

Comixology has titles from DC, Marvel, IDW, Image, Darkhorse, BOOM! Studio, Dynamite Entertainment, Valiant, Oni Press, and tons more.

If you're a digital comic fan in any way, then Comics by Comixology is the app for you.

Download: Comics by Comixology (free)


Marvel Unlimited

Marvel Unlimited

If you're a Marvel diehard, then Marvel Unlimited is where it's at. You get access to over 17,000 digital comics from all throughout Marvel's history for $9.99 a month. You can also pay $69 for a yearly subscription or $99 for the 2016 Annual Plus subscription, which includes a Hasbro Marvel Legends figure, three variants, other goodies, and discounts on digital comments and Marvel merch.

If you don't have an internet connection, you can read up to 12 issues offline, so you're never without comics. The Marvel Unlimited library is updated weekly with old and newer issues of comics, which are uploaded as early as 6 months after they hit shelves.

If you're trying to keep up-to-date on Marvel happenings, then Marvel Unlimited probably isn't for you. However, if you're wanting to explore the Marvel pantheon and dig deep into older books, then subscribe and enjoy.

Download: Marvel Unlimited (free, plus $5.99/month or $69/year subscription)


Perfect Viewer

Perfect Viewer

If you don't need a comic reader with an integrated store and you just want somewhere to read your books, then Perfect Viewer is… perfect for you. It has full support for CBZ and CBR files (typical digital comic files), as well as PDF, GIF, JPEG, and more.

The layout is fully customizable and you can switch between scrolling view and page-by-page view depending on your preference. You can zoom in and out on panels and images, and if you get the paid version, you can apply limited colors to black and white images.

If you're looking to open files from Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox, you totally can, but you'll have to install the source plugin. So the app is totally customizable, but you may have to do some finagling before certain desired features can be enabled.

If you're looking for an app that lets you read all of your comics in any way you choose and supports many other image file formats, check out Perfect Viewer.

Download: Perfect Viewer (free)


Astonishing Comic Reader

Astonishing Comic Reader

Astonishing Comic Reader is a basic reader app that just plain looks great. If you'd like a very aesthetically pleasing comic-reading experience, then check it out. It has no integrated store, but it'll line up all of the comics on your phone or tablet in a library-style fashion to make browsing and searching streamlined and pleasant.

You can curate your comics into customizable collections and receive recommendations for related comics via the Intelligent Suggestions feature. You can create wallpapers on the fly and use the Snapshots feature to save moments and share them.

Astonishing Comic Reader allows you to import your CBZ and CBR (comic book) files straight from Dropbox and will track which comics you've read and which you've yet to read. You also have the super-convenient ability to navigate using gestures, on-screen buttons, or the volume buttons.

If you want a comic reader that looks great, lets you read every comic on your phone or tablet, and lets you take snapshots of your favorite moments in comics, then check out Astonishing Comic Reader.

Download: Astonishing Comic Reader (free)


Challenger Comics Viewer

Challenger Comics Viewer

No ads, supports just about every image file format under the Sun, and Multi-Window support: What's not to love?

Challenger Comics Viewer is a versatile and comprehensive comic reader app that lets you enjoy all of the comics on your phone or tablet in many orientations and using gestures, vertical and horizontal scrolling, on-screen buttons – whatever. If there's a way you feel like reading your comics, Challenger Comics Viewer lets you do it.

If your comic files aren't on your device, then you can access them via virtually any cloud storage network or FTP, which easily makes Challenger the most versatile app when it comes to access and availability of your comics. I will say that it's certainly not the prettiest app, but what it lacks in form, it more than makes up for in function.

Basically, if you want a feature-laden, customizable comic reader that can really do it all, then Challenger Comics Viewer should be your choice.

Download: Challenger Comics Viewer (free)


ComicRack

ComicRack

Our readers asked for it and I was a fool not to include it. ComicRack for Android is the perfect complement to ComicRack for Windows and can act as a companion to your entire comic library on your Windows PC. You can wirelessly sync your entire comic library from your Windows PC to your Android phone or tablet if you go with the paid version, which is ad-free. If you go with the free version, you can still sync with your ComicRack for Windows library, you'll just need a USB cable.

ComicRack is jam-packed full of actually useful features, like the ability to manage reading states (completed, not completed, unread, etc.), a fully manageable library (wherein you can search titles), color adjustments so that your comics look as true to real life as possible, and a ton more.

ComicRack for Android has native support for CBZ and CBR files, but when used in tandem with ComicRack for Windows, it supports just about every comic format under the Sun.

If you're after a comic reader app that's loaded to the teeth with features (Twitter integration and live wallpapers and app widgets, oh my!), then seriously consider ComicRack, especially if you have it for Windows. It's a perfect pairing.

Download: ComicRack (free/$7.89)


Comic Chameleon

Comic Chameleon

Are you a webcomic fan and couldn't really care less about any of the other stuff? Comic Chameleon curates all of your favorites with full support of every artist that they publish, giving exposure to lesser known online artists, as well as many webcomic standards, like Dinosaur Comics!

Comic Chameleon features a news tab, which keeps you up-to-date on all of the webcomics it publishes, as well as new app features. If you just got into a webcomic but want to read it from the beginning, Comic Chameleon provides full archives organized by year with thumbnails of each episode/issue.

Comic Chameleon features a lot of NSFW content, so it's rated for adults only on Google Play and, having skimmed a bit of the material on there, it has earned that rating.

If you're looking for a break from "comic booky" comics and want something more episodic or you're looking for a shorter read (some are just one panel), then check out Comic Chameleon and support independent webcomics.

Download: Comic Chameleon (free)


What do you use?

Did we miss an awesome comic reader app? Tell us what you use in the comments below.

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1 week ago

The Chrome dev channel can be unstable, and it might not be your thing

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The Chrome Dev channel is marked experimental and unstable for a reason — it's experimental and it might become unstable.

I really like my Chromebook, and seeing Android apps come to the Chromebook Flip is really cool. There are still some gaps in the functionality of Chrome OS that might be fixed by adding a million or so Android apps into the mix. The jury is still out on that one and in the meantime, we'll continue to play around with everything and find ways to solve the issues and answer the questions that come up. But there is one thing we can't fix — you need to use the Dev channel to test Android apps on Chrome.

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1 week ago

Family Locator is offering access to its flight tracking feature for free

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Sygic has updated its Family Locator app, allowing all users of the popular GPS app to access its flight tracking feature for the first time.

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1 week ago

This is what it's like (so far) to use Android apps on a Chromebook

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We're in the very early days of Android apps working on Chrome OS. Here's what you need to know.

Depending on who you ask, the ability for Android applications to run on a Chromebook is either a huge deal, or a monumental mistake. Reality usually isn't quite so binary. And in these very early days, things definitely aren't so clear cut.

But there's absolutely reason to be excited about this. Android-powered laptops have never taken off for any number of reasons. But an inexpensive Chromebook that can also run Android apps? That opens up a whole new world of possibility.

But simply slapping an existing Android app onto a a laptop form factor won't necessarily be the transcendent experience many of us are hoping for. Add to that the fact that all this is still very much in developer mode at this point, and there are real reasons for exercising patience.

But that's not what we get paid to do. Here's what you need to know about running Android apps on Chrome OS as it stands in mid-June 2016.

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1 week ago

PlayStation Vue will make its way to Android starting next week

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Sony has announced that it will be bringing its Vue streaming service to Android starting next week. The company is adding support for Roku devices now, and will be expanding to Android smartphones and tablets that run KitKat or above shortly. Chromecast support will be built in from the start, which means it will be easy to watch the content on your big screen.

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1 week ago

Best cases and sleeves for Dell Chromebook 13

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Best cases and sleeves for Dell Chromebook 13

Protect your Dell Chromebook 13 with a quality case or sleeve.

Having a good case or sleeve for your Dell Chromebook 13 is essential for keeping it looking like new and protecting it from damage.

While there aren't too many cases or sleeves made specifically for the Dell Chromebook 13, there are a number of them that will still fit it well. Here are our favorites.

Dell Premier Briefcase

Dell Premier Briefcase

Dell's Premier Briefcase was designed with the business traveler in mind; however, students can make use of it too. It has multiple pockets for paper, pens, other tech, and even textbooks. If you're traveling on business, you'll appreciate how it helps you stay organized while you're on the road.

Additionally, its compartments are padded, so you don't have to worry about your expensive laptop getting smashed while you're struggling to navigate the packed center aisle of your airplane (or the campus bookstore). It's TSA-friendly too.

If you're looking for a case for your Dell Chromebook 13 with a lot of extra storage and that can help you stay organized while you're on the go, this case is a great option.

See at Dell

iPearl mCover Hard Shell Case

iPearl mCover Hard Shell Case

Made with Dow polycarbonate material in two pieces, The iPearl mCover Hard Shell easily snaps onto the top and bottom of your laptop, surrounding it in a protective cocoon. It comes in clear and a variety of translucent colors that won't detract from the sleek aesthetic of your laptop.

Another benefit is that it has retractable feet at the bottom for comfortable typing, as well as providing your laptop with extra ventilation.

If you're looking for a protective shell for your Dell Chromebook, the iPearl mCover is a great choice.

See at Amazon

ProCase Sleeve Cover

ProCase Sleeve Cover

The ProCase Sleeve Cover is a stylish yet simple laptop bag that's lightweight and doesn't add any bulk to your Dell Chromebook 13.

Its soft materials protect your laptop from scratches and even short drops. One user reported dropping their laptop while it was in this case, albeit on a carpeted floor, and it survived without a scratch or a dent. We don't recommend testing this out for yourself, but there it is.

If you're worried at all about scratching your Dell Chromebook 13 when pulling it out of its case, this one opens 180 degrees, so you can lift your Dell Chromebook 13 out of it — no pulling necessary.

It also has a pocket in the front for pens, documents, homework, a mobile phone, tablet, or other odds and sods that you regularly carry with you.

If a lightweight case for your Dell Chromebook 13 is what you're looking for, this may be the one for you.

See at Amazon

AmazonBasics Laptop Sleeve

AmazonBasics Laptop Sleeve

The AmazonBasics Laptop Sleeve is meant to cover your laptop in a cocoon and protect it from getting scratched up. It's so slim that you can easily place it and your Dell Chromebook 13 inside a backpack or messenger bag.

It zips open from the top so you can easily slide your laptop in and out without hassling with straps, buckles, or other cumbersome fasteners.

If you're looking for a simple, protective laptop sleeve for your Dell Chromebook 13, this one may be right for you.

See at Amazon

Inateck Sleeve

Inateck Sleeve

Inexpensive yet stylish and protective, the Inateck Sleeve fits most 13 inch laptops. Although the fit might be a tad snug on your Dell Chromebook 13, a tight fitting case is not necessarily a bad thing.

Featuring a layer of foam padding and soft fleece lining, this sleeve not only protects your laptop from scratches, it also protects against bumps and shocks — without adding too much bulk.

It also opens from the top so that you can easily slide your laptop in and out, and you'll love its elegant black woven canvas exterior.

If you want a stylish yet protective laptop sleeve for your Dell Chromebook at a cheap price, check this one out.

See at Amazon

What's your favorite?

We've told you about the sleeves and cases we like, but what about you? What cases are your favorites? Let us know in the comments!

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1 week ago

You won't want to miss these huge savings on Nova Launcher Prime

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Do you own Nova Launcher Prime already? No? Well, fix that now, because Nova Launcher's premium version is on sale for 99 cents!

It's one of our favorite theming launchers. It's one of our favorite launchers period. It's one of our readers' favorite launchers. And while there's a lot you can do in Nova without ponying up for Prime, there's absolutely no reason not to do it when it's 80% off like this.

Almost all of our home screen themes are written for Nova Launcher, and we have a wonderful in-depth look at Nova Launcher's settings. Nova's also one of the most popular launchers around, so if you need help, you'll likely be able to find it in our forums, on social media, or in Nova's own communities.

So what are you waiting for? Go get your Prime on!

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