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1 week ago

Now you can easily hail a ride from Uber or Lyft inside Google Maps

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Why did it take so long for this kind of functionality to come to Google Maps?

Google has announced that you can now hail a ride from your preferred ride-sharing service directly through the Maps app. Tap on the icon of the guy hailing a ride and Maps will offer you a complete list of ride options, including special offers and promotions for both Uber and Lyft.

The Google Maps update actually shows you where your car is, compared to the older version that merely offered a link to launch the app in another window. You don't even have to have the Uber or Lyft apps to hail a ride, though you will need an active account.

The new version is rolling out through Google Play starting today.

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1 week ago

Google's Toontastic 3D app lets kids create 3D movies

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Google's latest kids app can conjure up stories, science reports and more!

Google's longstanding focus on educational apps has taken a turn towards fun with the launch of the company's latest kids app, Toontastic 3D. Available from today on Android and iOS, the app lets kids create their own animated 3D movies, choosing from "dozens" of characters, story types and settings, add their own voiceovers and mix background music, before exporting and sharing with the world.

It's designed to be a powerful yet approachable creative tool, and can be used for a both storytelling and school projects like science reports, with 3D drawing tools for an extra personal touch.

As the official site explains, the app aims to help kids express their creativity and develop their digital skills, as they build their creations and share them with friends and family. The new app is free to download (and free of in-app purchases too), and supports phones and tablets running Android 5.0 Lollipop and up.

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1 week ago

Best RPGs for Android

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Best RPGs for Android

What are the best Android RPGs?

Role-playing games are wonderful, story-driven experiences that complement the mobile gaming experience nicely. Despite the relatively tiny mobile screens we're used to (yes, 5.7 inches is still small by gaming standards) RPGs allow us to get lost in fanciful worlds for a while.

In the case of some games, especially those ported over from PC, that "while" could be 20 or 30 hours! This makes the best RPGs worth their price in the Google Play Store. There are some duds in there, so we've hand-picked the best of the best to save you the trouble of digging.

If you're looking for more than just RPGs, be sure to check out our roundup of the best Android games of the year!

Crashlands

Butterscotch Shenanigans makes some quirky and hilarious games and Crashlands is no exception. In what might be the funniest mobile RPG to date, you play as Flux Dabes, a space trucker who's forced to crash-land (get it?) on an alien planet thanks to an alien jerk named Hewgodooko.

As you try to survive on this strange planet, you must craft your way through repairing your ship, build bases, tame wildlife to be pets, and fight the locals while crafting weapons and items from their corpses (it sounds morbid, but it's great).

If you love witty dialogue, a fun story, quirky games, and crafting over 468 items, then you should be playing Crashlands.

Download: Crashlands ($4.99)

Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

Baldur's GateBaldur's Gate

If you're a D&D fan, then you're going to want the Baldur's Gate games on your phone ASAP. They use a modified version of the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition rules and the original Baldur's Gate was credited with the computer RPG renaissance in 1998.

These are your classic fantasy games, wherein you start off knowing only the walls of the castle in which you were born, but are thrust into a war-torn world under mysterious circumstances. Venture off and take on mythical creatures, as well as real ones (like rats!)

If you like a good old fashioned romp around a medieval realm, clearing dungeons and slaying beasts, all while creating potions and bettering your character, then the Baldur's Gate games should be right up your alley.

Download: Baldur's Gate ($9.99, with in-app purchases)

Download: Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn ($9.99, with in-app purchases)

Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy Brave ExviusFinal FantasyFinal Fantasy

One of the most beloved RPG sagas is on mobile in the form of 12 Final Fantasy games:

If you have any love in your heart for the series, then you'll definitely want at least one of these titles on your phone or tablet. Play your way through the entire sci-fi/fantasy saga if you want to and help Cloud stop Sephiroth, help Cecil stop Golbez, and help defeat Queen Brahne alongside Zidane.

Most of the adventures and a few spin-offs are there for you to spend hours and hours with, which makes them worth the cash (they can be as much as $20.99!). Just note that these games can take up a LOT of space, like upwards of 2 gigs. That being said, you're getting the full game with all of these, so 2GB doesn't really seem all the huge.

Whether you're up for medieval fantasy or futuristic sci-fi action, Final Fantasy has something for everyone, easily making them some of the best RPGs around for Android or any platform for that matter!

Download: Final Fantasy (Free-$20.99)

The Bard's Tale

Bard's TaleBard's Tale

The Bard's Tale centers on a rather sly dog of a protagonist who, rather than playing the hero, prefers the company of women and the comfort of ale. You head off on a goofy adventure with a drunken fellow who plays magical songs in order to heal party members, summon party members to help fight, and summon party members to take damage for him (he's kind of a dick).

This features an excellent voice cast, with The Princess Bride's Cary Elwes as the Bard, Tony Jay (Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame) as the narrator, and Brian George and Carlos Alazraqui as additional characters.

If you love a fantasy adventure, but want a break from the dark tones of most RPGs, then check out The Bard's Tale and never be bored again; there are 50 enemy types, over a dozen bosses, tons of weird NPCs, and plenty of satire, sure to slake your thirst for hilarity. Definitely not for kids.

Download: The Bard's Tale ($1.99, with in-app purchases)

Evoland

EvolandEvoland

Evoland isn't the most original game of all time, borrowing elements from the Legend of Zelda, Diablo, and Final Fantasy to create a classic RPG adventure that might be a bit of a knock-off, but it's as fun as any of the originals, and there's a damn-good reason for its pilfering of the classics.

This game is all about the evolution of video games, starting you off with two colors and a 2D character. As you progress, you unlock new technologies and new graphics until you reach the modern, 3D/HD age.

Your sort of meta-journey is punctuated by references to classic RPGs and movies, so keep a sharp eye out and enjoy the Easter eggs thrown in as you battle and loot and level up.

If you love RPGs, no matter when they were made, then you'll love Evoland.

Download: Evoland ($5.49)

Pocket Mortys

Pocket MortysPocket Mortys

Like Pokémon? Love Rick and Morty? Does the Pope have lips? Is a chicken Catholic? At their core, the original Pokémon games were glorious RPGs and Pocket Mortys is about as close as you can get to (legally) playing the classic Pokémon games on your phone. (Yeah, Pokémon Go is a thing, but it's just not the same!)

You get to control Rick, who's just doing science in his garage when Mysterious Rick comes through a portal and challenges him to a Morty battle. After, Rick goes through the portal to the Council of Ricks, who confiscate his portal gun.

To get it back, you have to defeat the six Ricks sitting on the council, but before you can battle them, you must battle the Ricks from other dimensions and claim their badges. After all that's through, you have to go and capture every type of Morty.

This is probably the most twisted take on Pokémon you'll come across, but it's fun and branded with the cartoon's signature humor, making it a game that just makes you wanna get schwifty.

Download Pocket Mortys and SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT.

Download: Pocket Mortys (Free, with in-app purchases)

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

 Knights of the Old Republic Knights of the Old Republic

This is the full K.O.T.O.R. experience, so if you're a Star Wars fan, this is definitely the mobile game you're looking for. It's a huge download, at 2.4GB, but you get all the force-wielding, lightsaber-swinging, Republic-saving goodness that the console games dazzled us with.

You get to choose your party from nine types of characters, travel to eight planets on the Ebon Hawk, and learn to use the Force, including over 40 powers. You also get to build your own lightsaber!

Knights of the Republic is the epitome of a classic Star Wars RPG and this port is totally worth the cash. This game even supports controllers if you prefer to play that way. As the Jedi's last hope, you decide the fate of the galaxy as you battle your way to becoming a hero or falling to the temptation of the Dark Side.

You decide!

Download: Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic ($9.99)

Dragon Quest VIII

Dragon Quest VIIIDragon Quest VIIIDragon Quest VIII

Possibly the most popular game in the Dragon Quest series, Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King is available for android in all its cell-shaded beauty. It was the first widely released Dragon Quest title, being the first to hit the PAL region and the first to be called Dragon Quest in North America, where it was always called Dragon Warrior.

In this version, you play as the Hero, a Trodain guard, who embarks on a quest to reclaim a stolen scepter from the evil court jester, Dhoulmagus, who has cursed Trodain castle, turning the king into a troll, the princess into a horse, and everyone else into plants.

This is the full PS2 game, so it's 1.4GB, taking up quite a bit of space on your phone. But you get everything the original has to offer: epic, turn-based battles, crafting via the Alchemy Pot, and classic fantasy, presented in a gorgeous 3D anime style.

If you loved Dragon Quest VIII on PS2, you'll love it on Android too.

Download: Dragon Quest VIII ($19.99)

Mage and Minions

Mage and MinionsMage and Minions

Claiming to be the first RPG truly designed for controls, Mage and Minions is an excellent fantasy RPG that really does feel great to play. The controls are smooth and make sense to the mobile experience and the gameplay is fun and immersive.

You and your party are off on a quest to prevent Ragadam from taking over the world and ultimately destroying it, all the while battling skeletons and demons, collecting loot, crafting items and weapons, and casting spells to get the job done.

The spell-casting controls are particularly cool, since you have to draw symbols on your screen to summon different spells.

If you're looking for an RPG experience that was truly meant for mobile, then indulge in Mage and Minions.

Download: Mage and Minions (Free, with in-app purchases)

Dungeon Hunter 5

Dungeon Hunter 5Dungeon Hunter 5

This is one of the deepest RPGs on this list, featuring a story mode, an online mode, and co-op mode wherein you hack and slash your way through dungeons, all the while leveling up and unlocking new weapons, armor, and other upgrades you can craft to create even stronger weapons.

This game is HUGE. The initial download is 33MB, but you'll eventually be downloading gigs of data, since there are over 900 weapons to wield and hundreds of different spells and skills to acquire.

While online, you get to develop your own dungeons where your precious loot resides, defended by minions that you recruit and craft from Minion Shards. As an added defense, you get to build Trap Rooms within your dungeons in order to thwart those that might steal your treasure. Just be careful; you'll likely be on the receiving end fairly often!

Dungeon Hunter 5 is a big, immersive, versatile RPG that sucks you in and before you know it, it's the year 2100 and you're a pile of dust, still battling your way to herodom or riches (because apparently heroes don't get paid).

If you're looking for an awesome free RPG that you can play until Ragnarok, then dive into Dungeon Hunter 5 and definitely keep an eye on your data usage!

Download: Dungeon Hunter 5 (Free, with in-app purchases)

Did we miss anything?

What's your favorite RPG for Android? Did it make our list? Sound off in the comments below!

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1 week ago

Baby's first CES: Experiencing the world's largest tech show for the first time

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When I was a kid and my parents could still stand being within a city block of one another, I was often dragged along on incredibly long car trips to furniture and fireplace tradeshows, the largest being High Point Market in North Carolina.

Every time we went, my parents would pack armfuls of pamphlets and paper into the car, picking up samples and arguing pros and cons of one unit over another. Simply put, it was business. I wouldn't wander around with them much, though; normally I'd be dumped in a kid's area with plenty of other snot-nosed children whose parents tugged them along to these big grown-up hullaballoos.

There wasn't much for kids to do at these things, my parents said.

But High Point wasn't just some big, boring, adult convention, my dad explained. It's actually the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world with over 11 million square feet of show space and over 2,000 exhibitors, and when he told kid me that, I was like,

"Wow. That's… Really, really big? Cool?"

When I turned 23 (and my parents could absolutely, positively no longer stand being within a city block of on another), I was given the opportunity to experience my first tech trade show, the largest being the Consumer Electronics Show (or CES) in Las Vegas.

While High Point Market is big, CES is gigantic. At literally double the size, there are nearly 22.5 million square feet of show-space, and the city of Las Vegas becomes an inevitable black hole of technological advances for a full 3+ days with companies like Samsung and LG showing off their most innovative, eye-catching, multimillion dollar projects.

I spent some time browsing through old CES articles and websites that detailed high-points of past CES's. There were ground-breaking, futuristic wearables like Google Glass, surgeon-steady drones that precisely hovered over their intended targets, and artificially intelligent robots that would adapt and teach its human master new foreign words every day.

"Like the world's coolest show and tell, but like… Really, really big? Cool!"

I asked a few of my editors if they had any advice.

"Whatever you think it is, times ten," said Derek Kessler. "Bring good, already-broken-in shoes for walking. Pack light. Have a spare battery pack (or two). Hydrate. Don't be afraid to say no."

Other people echoed the same thoughts, and so I packed a comfortable pair of boots, made room in my clear, CES-issued backpack for bottles of water, made sure my backup battery was charged, and set off on a plane ride from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada to Las Vegas, Nevada (side note: I should have taken the pack light note a bit more seriously. RIP the backpack I had to leave behind in lieu of those overalls I never wore).

It was my first time at a tradeshow as a grown-up. Weird.

You know that scene from Annie where she first gets introduced to everyone at Daddy Warbucks' mansion and they sing 'I think I'm going to like it here'? When I got to CES, that scene essentially happened, but it was with a lot more robots, VR headsets, and 3D cameras (and it was entirely in my head, but that's neither here nor there).

The entire show was overwhelming, whimsical and fantastic. Every massive aisle had something new and mind-bending to offer, with passionate vendors looking to offer it (some even trick you into watching virtual reality pornography, but that's a story for VR Heads).

From the practical smart tech that seemed like something out of a sci-fi flick like smart umbrellas, skin-scanning, moisture-measuring devices, and self-driving cars, to the silliness of iPhone cases that resemble butts and a $200 smart hairbrush (not everything needs to be smart, k?), the 2.5 million feet of showspace presented itself like a twisting hedge maze of innovation and blossoming creativity.

Looking for a home beer brewery? That exists. What about a wheelchair that helps the user stand and and reposition themselves? That was there at CES, too, and it won an innovation award. Looking for a Star Wars' video game that literally lets you use the Force (aka your mind) to take down bad guys? Yup. That's for real.

@hellorousseau cheerily rode around on motorized scooters and hover boards while I stood comfortably behind the camera. #zoomzoom #ces2017 #gocellago

A video posted by Mikah Sargent 📎 (@mikahsargent) on Jan 7, 2017 at 4:45pm PST

And as I wove in and out of aisles last weekend, pushing past the tens of thousands of people that had descended onto Vegas for this massive techy trade show, it hit me: no matter what you're looking for – whether you're dealing solely with smartphones or smart home tech, drones or 3D printers, virtual reality or artificial intelligence – there was something for you at CES.

If you're a kid being dragged to the show by your parents, there are incredible new toys being made that can let you scan your creations into digital existence. If you're a teenager, there are incredible social media tools like 3D cameras and action cams to record your weekend shenanigans and action shots.

If you're a young professional, there are electric bikes and scooters to get you to work on time while still saving the environment and itty-bitty storage devices that store HUUUUGE amounts of data, and if you're anyone of any age, there are drones and self-driving cars to ogle over and dream about.

If you're a grandparent, there are attention-grabbing toys that are bound to keep any grandchild's fascination, and if you're looking for something to help monitor your heart, health, and safety, you bet your bottom dollar there's something there for you, too.

CES isn't just a massive show and tell, it's an experience – it's a great big place to explore, regardless of your age or what you do for a living.

CES is an adventure, and I'm so happy that I got to be there.

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1 week ago

Best Car Mounts for Google Pixel

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What's the best car mount for Google Pixel?

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL are gorgeous and you're going to want to hold onto them all the time, but that's just plain unsafe when you're driving — and depending where you live, it's often illegal! You need to pick up a great car mount, and we have some favorites to share with you!

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1 week ago

How to set up and use Chromecast Audio groups

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Put your music where you want to hear it by setting up Chromecast Audio groups.

One of the coolest features of Chromecast Audio and the Google Home app is the grouping setting. If you have multiple Chromecast Audio or Google Cast-ready speakers, you can set things up so that you can cast audio to specific devices while others stay silent. For me, this reason alone makes the Chromecast Audio the best solution for a complete home audio setup.

And doing it is easy. We love easy. But like many of the cool things Goggle lets us do, it's buried in the settings and it seems like nobody at Google PR is talking about it. No problem. We can talk about it instead!

For starters, you'll need to have at least two devices to do anything here, and they both need to be set up through the Google Home app. If you have the devices but haven't set them up yet, figure out where you'll put them and plug them in (one at a time) then look at your phone. Tap the notification and go through the setup process. It's easy, promise. At the end, make sure you sign into your Google account on each device if you want to cast Google Play Music or audio from YouTube. This will let you use any subscription services you might be paying for and help filter music based on your tastes if you are using a Google Home (also an audio Cast target!) and voice commands to cast from.

When you've got things setup, follow these three steps to make a group.

  • In the Google Home app, tap the devices button in the upper right corner.
  • Pick a device that you want in a group, then press the settings button (three vertical dots) in the upper right of its card and choose the Create group option.
  • Choose a name and the other devices you want in that group then press the save button.

Just like setting up the devices themselves, it helps to give things a descriptive name so you know what is what. If you are going to use Google Assistant (either through your phone, Google Home or NVIDIA Shield TV) make it a name you can say and one that Google will understand. Weird stuff isn't recognized very well and you can't always say some things, like when mom is visiting.

When you want to cast music (from any valid Cast audio-enabled app) you can cast it to the group you named, and all the devices you picked will play at the same time. Any devices you didn't pick won't play anything. This is a great way to have music fill the places you are or have a podcast follow you from room to room so you don't miss anything. You can still cast to a single target, too — just pick it by name in the list of available devices or say it by name to Google Assistant.

A device can be in more than one group at a time or no groups at all. It's completely up to you.

Groups work with any device that's a valid audio Cast target. That means the Chromecast Audio as well as stand-alone Google Cast-ready speakers or other devices. It doesn't work with video devices, like a regular Chromecast, Android TV or Chromecast Ultra. Hopefully, Google enables a method that these devices can also play in a restricted audio-only mode so they can join the party. But as of now, they don't work.

If you have a house full of audio Cast-ready things, you owe it to yourself to set up a group or two and fill your life with sound.

Chromecast

Chromecast:

Google Best Buy

Chromecast Audio:

Google Best Buy

Chromecast Ultra:

Google Best Buy

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1 week ago

Trackmania Turbo VR review: it's you against the track

Time to get loopy in your coupe.

Trackmania Turbo VR is, in one word, intense. The larger-than-life tracks, winding wallrides, and magnet corkscrews are taken to the next level when your face is stuck right behind your car. Never before has Trackmania been officially released for VR, and I'm sure many fans of the series always dreamed of what it would look like. Well, it's here...sort of. This free add-on to Trackmania Turbo brings some of the best parts of the standard game to VR while leaving others behind.

No, the entire Trackmania Turbo game is not playable in VR other than in cinema mode. Instead, you get a special section accessible through the main menu that has a limited amount of content. This review will focus on Trackmania Turbo VR and whether or not it's worth buying the entire game if you're looking to get your hands on the VR part only.

Read more at VR Heads!

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1 week ago

How to allow extensions in Incognito mode on your Chromebook and why you want to

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Sometimes being incognito just isn't enough.

Chrome's Incognito mode is a great thing. It won't hide who you are on the internet but it does keep all traces of the websites you've visited out of your Google account and local browser storage. Sometimes, you want to keep those cookies and trackers from being stuck to you and your account. Reasons range from looking at porn to using a computer on someone else's account to sneaking around the five per month limit at some major news outlets. All reasons are valid if it's what you want (or need) to do.

You can take this one step further if you need to by adding some necessary extensions to incognito mode. Your Chromebook is pretty safe from malicious things actually being installed, but things like web beacons and trackers can still try to keep tabs on you. And even Incognito mode can't stop the piss-poor ads that end up getting put everywhere. But extensions can. Here's how easy it is to do.

Best Chrome apps and extensions

You don't need to install anything special or enable any settings or flags to run extensions in Incognito mode. You just need to have them installed and trust that the people who developed the extensions themselves aren't collecting data they shouldn't be. Google is pretty tough on the latter, and extensions you get from the Chrome Web Store are limited to the data they actually need.

To enable an extension in Incognito mode:

  • Open the extensions page by entering chrome://extensions/ in the Chrome omnibar.
  • Find the extension you want to enable in incognito mode.
  • Check the box that says Allow in incognito.

Be mindful of the warning — an extension can store data from an incognito browsing session even if the browser itself can't. This data might also have a trail of where you visited and the things you clicked on. It won't have any data about who you are, what your Google account is, or anything else that can personally identify you.

Once you're done, the next incognito session you open (control + shift + n opens a new incognito window) will have the extensions you selected active. Now your private browsing can have the same features as your normal browsing.

Chromebooks

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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1 week ago

Grab Aukey's folding travel charger for just $6 right now!

4

Update: This popular deal is back again with a new coupon code. Use code AUKPAU22 for the savings this time!

Right now you can pick up Aukey's compact folding charger for just $6 with coupon code AUKPAU22, a savings of $4. Once folded up, this charger isn't much taller or wider than an SD card, and has two USB ports to allow easy charging of your favorite gadgets. It has a 2.4A output for making sure you are getting the best charging speed that you can, and thanks to its AiPower Adaptive Charging Technology it can ensure that the charge going to each device is safe and won't cause overheating, overcharging or anything else.

You can grab the charger in either black or white, but don't forget to use coupon code AUKPAU22 for the full savings. This deal is only good for a few days, so be sure to grab one (or even two) if you are interested before they run out!

See at Amazon

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1 week ago

Video: HTC U Ultra + U Play first impressions!

18

Just a week removed from the end of CES, we already have our first major Android launch of 2017 — from HTC. The Taiwanese company has just unveiled the HTC U Ultra and U Play — a pair of new phones pitched as "flagship" devices.

But while both pack the same impressive metal-and-glass construction, the Ultra is the handset you'll want to get more excited about. It's got top-tier internals, an upgraded version of the camera from the HTC 10, Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box and AI smarts thanks to the new "Sense Companion." It's early days for both these phones: so early, in fact, that HTC isn't allowing live hands-on video. But we're still able to give you an early sneak peek at both phones. You'll find everything you need to know compressed into four minutes in our first look video!

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1 week ago

Android's progress lives and dies by Samsung

130

Google makes Android, but Samsung increasingly owns Android. And that's a problem for updates.

In Canada, we have seasons. It's currently winter, and therefore cold. Not so cold, but enough to change the snow to rain and back again, and it's been doing a fair amount of both lately.

But aside from cold hands and wet feet, this type of weather isn't great for most Android phones, and only one in my lineup right now is IP68 water resistant: the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. But as wonderful and beautiful as that phone is — and despite the presence of a Micro-USB, it's barely aged a day — its success is actively being undermined by the fact that it's running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, and has been since I got it in March.

The problem

More than ever Google's Android strategy is permanently and inextricably aligned with Samsung's

With Samsung officially rolling out Nougat to its GS7 lineup, the time is ripe for talking about how much influence the company has over how Android's update-reliant fragmentation is seen by the world. But this is not just about Samsung's flagships, either. No, looking at this month's Android version distribution numbers, it occurred to me that more than ever Google's Android strategy is permanently and inextricably aligned with Samsung's as long as the former develops the OS for free and the latter keeps building the world's most popular phones on top of it.

And while we've heard rumors for years that Mountain View will take Android updates into its own hands, the most likely scenario is one that's playing out already: Google releasing annual updates to its Pixel line and keeping those running the latest version of its mobile OS for as long as possible.

In the meantime, it's hard to look at the paucity of phones out there running Nougat without levelling some of the blame directly at Samsung. While the Korean giant has certainly had a tough few months, potentially pushing back the release of Android 7.0 for its non-exploding phones, there's no question Samsung has a dubious track record for expeditious updates. A flick of the switch on a couple of generations of handsets would singlehandedly quintuple the number of phones running the latest version of Android.

It's going on six months since Android 7.0's official release on Nexus devices.

This time, Samsung did do things a little differently by offering a public (though hard-to-sign-up-for) beta of Nougat for the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, but as valuable as such a process will be to the overall stability and performance of the phone's eventual release candidate, it will be nearly a full year after Android N was announced, and going on six months since Android 7.0's official release on Nexus devices.

The cold hard data

Even though Samsung begins its Nougat trickle next week, it will be months before all 50 million or so units get it — the majority will have been sold through carrier channels, most of whom perform their own extensive quality control — and many of those may receive the older Android 7.0 instead of the more recent Android 7.1.1. Again, this is nothing new. But based on new data from Kantar WorldPanel, Samsung's latest phones captured 28.9% of holiday sales, sitting closely behind the iPhone as the most popular devices in the U.S. That's millions of phones unboxed during the busiest season of the year running year-old Android software.

That same data from Kantar claims Google's Pixel phones accounted for just 1.3% of the smartphones sold in the same period, and more than half of that business was done from a single carrier, Verizon. Most people in the U.S. still buy their phones through carriers, and thanks to the longevity of hardware, last-generation devices are still being offered at tremendous discounts to people who just want something that works.

Devices like the Galaxy A and Galaxy J are the devices sold and forgotten, never receiving the upgrades us early adopters so crave.

Moving down the line, Samsung's A and J series are competent devices that, according to IDC, comprise the majority of the company's smartphone shipments every quarter. These are the devices sold and forgotten, never receiving the upgrades us early adopters so crave. But the longer replacement cycle of smartphones coupled with the fact that Samsung has little incentive to invest the considerable engineering time to even issue security updates to those entry-level and mid-range phones, let alone the updated Android code, means that we'll likely see slower uptake of Google's latest Android versions unless the cycle is broken. Same goes for older flagships like the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S5 — even the Galaxy S4, which Verizon still sells — which are still being purchased in the millions.

This isn't really Samsung's fault, either. The company has a right to support or neglect its phones as it sees fit, and millions of customers are obviously speaking with their wallets by continuing to purchase Galaxys over competing Android devices, most of which have better update track records. But that Android's long-term health is so caught up in Samsung's own update strategy can't sit well with Google, and the Pixel's modest success hasn't, and likely won't for some time, positively impact Mountain View's own desire to get the Platonic ideal into as many pockets as possible.

Well, I guess there's always next year.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

Unlocked AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

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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1 week ago

Wileyfox unveils Swift 2 X with FHD display, Snapdragon 430 for £219

2

A larger Swift 2 Plus with a Full HD display.

Wileyfox has introduced the Swift 2 X, the third phone in the Swift family. The phone is now available for £219, and offers decent specs for the price in the form of a 5.2-inch Full HD display, Snapdragon 430 SoC, 3GB of RAM, 32GB storage, and a microSD slot.

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1 week ago

How to use one-handed mode on the Moto G4 and G4 Plus

5

Nougat update brings an easy-to-use one-handed mode to the Moto G4 and G4 Plus.

The Moto G4 and G4 Plus are starting to pick up the Android 7.0 Nougat update, with the rollout kicking off in India. The update has all the features Google introduced with Nougat, including multi-window mode, inline replies, improved security, a new Doze mode, and much more.

Motorola also added a Moto Actions gesture that lets you use the phone one-handed. It is simplistic in its functionality, but if you made the switch from an earlier device in the Moto G series to the larger 5.5-inch panel on the G4 and G4 Plus, you can now shrink the screen size down for easier one-handed use.

Once enabled, you'll have to swipe up, left, or right from the bottom of the screen to launch one-handed mode. Swiping up shrinks the screen down and fits it in the center of the display, and swiping left or right from the bottom will launch the one-handed mode on that side.

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1 week ago

Samsung and LG may launch foldable phones this year

15

It's time to get excited about foldable screens.

After showcasing concepts for several years, it looks like Samsung may finally launch a phone with a foldable screen later this year. Citing anonymous sources, The Korea Herald states that Samsung is getting ready to launch 100,000 units of a phone that unfurls into a 7-inch tablet sometime in the third quarter of 2017. Apparently, Samsung was already working on fold-in screens — panels that fold inward — and it wasn't a major challenge for the vendor to switch to screens that fold outward.

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1 week ago

Stable Nougat OTA now hitting Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, starting with beta users

72

Android 7.0 Nougat is now making its way to the S7 and S7 edge.

After concluding the beta program last week, Samsung announced that it would roll out the stable Android 7.0 Nougat update to the Galaxy S7 and the S7 edge later this month. The company is now kicking off its rollout, with the update making its way initially to those enrolled in the Galaxy Beta Programme.

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