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1 week ago

Buy a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge at Best Buy, get a 32-inch TV for free

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In the market for a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge? Best Buy is running an offer through which you can get a 32-inch TV for free when you purchase the Galaxy S7 or S7 edge from the retailer.

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1 week ago

Samsung's building-sized Galaxy S7 edge billboard is unmissable

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Most billboards have a tough time catching your attention, which is why companies tend to go all out to promote their products. That's certainly the case with Samsung's billboard showcasing the Galaxy S7 edge in Sokol, Moscow, which is 80 meters high and 40 meters wide. The billboard takes over one side of an office building, and can be spotted from 2.2 kilometers away.

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1 week ago

Spigen Thin Fit case for Galaxy S7 edge

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Spigen Thin Fit case for Galaxy S7 edge

Want protection without the extra bulk? Spigen has a solution.

If you're in the market for a phone case that allows you to enjoy the natural feel of your Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and still offers protection, the Spigen Thin Fit case is a great option.

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1 week ago

Spigen Tough Armor case for the Galaxy S7

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Spigen Tough Armor case for the Galaxy S7

Heavy-duty protection that won't feel bulky in your pocket.

Spigen's Tough Armor line of cases has been defending phones from drop damage for years, and you'll find the same level of sleek and stylish protection in the Tough Armor case for the Samsung Galaxy S7.

We'll provide a hands-on review of the Tough Armor's look and feel in your hand, the patented features Spigen's built into the case, as well as the overall design and build, so you can make an informed decision.

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1 week ago

Google I/O 2016 recap: Rise of the machines

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The message is clear — machines and gadgets are going to get smarter than we ever thought was possible.

During the keynote presentation at Google I/O 2016, about 7,000 developers, enthusiasts and media professionals sat in the partially sun-soaked Shoreline Amphitheater and learned what Google has been working on lately, and what it means for the gadgets and gizmos about to be unleashed on the world. Buried in among the messaging apps, VR headsets and developer tools was a common theme — in 2016, machines are smart. And they're going to get a lot smarter than we're used to — and maybe more than we're comfortable with.

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1 week ago

Spigen Neo Hybrid case for Galaxy S7

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Spigen Neo Hybrid case for the Galaxy S7

A slim, two-piece case option for your Galaxy S7.

With enhanced shock-absorption, slim grip design, and dual-layered structure for extra protection, Spigen's Neo Hybrid case for the Galaxy S7 seems like your phone's perfect partner.

Let's take a look at the overall style, features, and design to see what works with the Neo Hybrid, and what doesn't.

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1 week ago

Mobile Nations Weekly: Google In-and-Out

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Google I/O

Google I/O, on the Google campus, where Google unveils all the new Google things...

So, there was this little thing out in California called Google I/O. Only a few small announcements: like Google taking on Amazon Echo, two new messaging apps, built-in VR for Android, apps that only download the parts you need as you need them, and a whole new smart assistant. Oh, and Android Wear 2.0 and Android apps on Chrome OS, which is kind of a big deal.

Microsoft dumped the dumb phone baggage it got in its acquisition of Nokia, selling it off for $350 million. It won't affect Windows 10 Mobile directly, but it will help Microsoft focus better — the dumb phone division never fit in with the rest of Microsoft's ambitions. Apart from that, the Microsoft Band 2 picked up Hiking and Explore features, and Health and OneDrive landed for Windows 10.

Tesla's ramp-up to the Model 3 continues in a big way with a new secondary offering from Tesla. Needing money to finance construction of the $35,000 electric sedan, Tesla's raising $1.4 billion.

Not far away from Google I/O, wevisited the latest overhaul of the Apple Store in San Francisco with a tour guided by Angela Ahrendts, SVP of Retail. The new store approach focuses around "community", with the store sectioned into areas meant to encourage interaction.

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1 week ago

Essential accessories for Nextbit Robin

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Essential accessories for Nextbit Robin

Gear up your Nextbit Robin with some must-have accessories.

While there aren't a lot of accessories on the market yet for the Nextbit Robin, we've rounded up a few items that we think every Robin owner should have.

Universal 15 W USB Type-C charger

Do you use your Nextbit Robin a lot? If so, you need a charger that's able to give you the boost you need to take on the rest of the day.

This universal wall charger connects to your phone via a USB Type-C interface, which the Robin supports — with 15 W on hand, it's able to charge your phone faster than most other chargers.

See at Google

Fosmon Dura-T Ultra Slim Fit case

Fosmon Dura-T Ultra Slim case

As far as smartphones go, the Nextbit's Robin's aesthetics are unique in that they are simple. If you want to protect your Robin while preserving its minimalist charm, then a thin, clear case is the way to go.

The Dura-T from Fosmon fits that bill as it is quite slim, just 1.4 millimeters thick, and weighs not even an ounce. It's almost like not having a case on at all.

While this case isn't going to protect your Robin if you drop it out of a second-story window, its thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) composition will prevent the surface of your phone from getting scratched. However, be aware that clear TPU has a tendency to yellow over time.

This case also has a lip that comes out over the face of the phone, which is nice because it protects the screen from getting scratched if you lay it face-down. One user did report having some problems accessing the Robin's buttons because of this lip — it's just something to keep in mind.

See at Amazon

dbrand Nextbit Robin skins

dbrand skins

If you've gone with a Nextbit Robin, you're probably someone who doesn't run with the pack. Why not individualize your Robin even more by slapping a custom skin on it?

dbrand, best known for its iPhone and MacBook skins, has developed a line of Robin skins that are made from the same top-quality material — authentic 3M vinyl. This means that if you decide to remove the skin, you won't be left with any sticky residue.

With 20 shades and 6 textures, all of which can be mixed and matched with separate skins for the back, upper/lower sections, and the Robin logo, you can create a truly individual look for your phone.

See at dbrand

Atill Bluetooth earbuds

Atill Bluetooth earbuds

Wirelessly enjoy music from your Nextbit Robin with Atill's Bluetooth earbuds.

These noise-cancelling earbuds are perfect, whether you're out for an evening jog or sitting on the bus on your way to work or school. They will wrap your senses in sound, allowing you to tune out screaming kids or noisy seatmates.

Because they use Bluetooth 4.1 technology, you can pair them with up to two different devices at the same time. This is great for sharing a pair or just connecting them to your Robin and your tablet, without having to go through the pairing process every time you want to switch devices.

One issue with these that's worth mentioning is that a user reported finding them to be uncomfortable to wear after a period of time. They likened the feeling to having suction-cups in their ears. However, this might be a good thing for you, depending on how you're using them. It doesn't seem likely that these earbuds would slip out of your ears, even if you're going for the world record for jumping jacks.

See at Amazon

Nextbit tempered glass screen protector

Nextbit tempered glass screen protector

A scratched or cracked screen is bad, m'kay? There's no better protection for your fragile Robin's screen than tempered glass.

Tempered glass screen protectors offer the best protection because they are strong — four to six times stronger than annealed glass — and if they do break, they will shatter into small bits of blunt glass instead of sharp shards.

While Nextbit's tempered glass screen protector is a little pricey at $25, it's the way to go if you want to ensure a precise fit for your Robin.

See at Nextbit


Eco-Fused 12 piece microfiber cleaning cloths

Eco-Fused cleaning cloths

Keep your Robin free of ugly fingerprints and smudges by wiping the screen with microfiber cleaning cloths.

Eco-Fused cleaning cloths are thicker than the average cleaning cloth and made from soft and durable microfiber. This means that you can safely use them to clean your Robin's screen without worrying that they will leave scratches behind.

The best thing about these cloths is that they don't leave any smudges, streaks, or lint on your screen, so you can wipe it down once instead of having to go over it again and again.

See at Amazon

Did we overlook something?

We've scoured the internet, looking for must-have accessories for the Nextbit Robin. We are human, however, so it's possible we missed something super-awesome. If we did, sound off in the comments and let us know!

Nextbit Robin

See at Amazon

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1 week ago

Allo Messenger is a big deal for Google's mobile-first strategy

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In a mobile-first future, Allo may not be revolutionary, but it is a big deal nonetheless.

In recent years, Google has released no fewer than eight ways to communicate with friends and family. From the heady, Jabber-powered simplicity of Google Talk to the bulging interior of Google+ Messenger to the most recent volley, Hangouts, to say Google has struggled to capture market share in the effervescent messaging space is an understatement.

These days, Talk is no more, and Google+ Messenger was rolled into Hangouts in 2013. With the announcement of Allo, Google's newest artificial intelligence-powered chat app, it would seem that the company struggling to connect with with consumers in this increasingly-lucrative space is once again poised to be outplayed by the incumbents, names like WhatsApp and Line and WeChat.

Indeed, Google's tenacity in returning to messaging is remarkable given its poor track record. Allo, even with a sufficient tally of unique features, appears to be little more than a showcase for the Google Assistant, a confluence of research into artificial intelligence and machine learning that coalesces into a bot available to the user at any time.

Minimizing Allo's potential impact on the market is shortsighted given Google's newfound approach to app development.

But minimizing Allo's potential impact on the market is shortsighted given Google's newfound approach to app development. Not only was it announced alongside an ultra-simple but technologically advanced video app, Duo, but Allo is proudly mobile-only — Android and iOS, specifically — and uses a customer's phone number for authentication. In that way, it picks up some of what makes WhatsApp so compelling, along with pieces from others like Facebook Messenger (bots), Telegram (Incognito Mode), Signal (end-to-end encryption), and Snapchat (doodles, timed messages).

Breaking down those individual components, it's plain why Google built Allo, keeping it separate from Hangouts. First, the app doesn't require a Google account, which cleans the slate for mobile users who still have a metallic taste in their mouths from the forced linking of Google+ to other services on the company's platform. While users will benefit from pairing their Google accounts with Allo, by giving the bot more context about their likes and dislikes (and their previous searches), the linking the two is neither necessary nor intrinsic to getting use from the assistant.

Relying on a phone number for authentication over a Google account further restricts and focuses the app: a single point of entry, and no desktop mode. Unlike Hangouts, which subsumed Talk, which was built into Gmail on the web, Allo will always be mobile-first, a hugely important tenet of the success of both WhatsApp and Instagram — both owned by Google competitor Facebook — along with Snapchat, the ultimate mobile-only messenger. (Yes, WhatsApp has since grown to have desktop apps, but they are still directly linked to a single-instance mobile device. You can't sign up for WhatsApp from the web.)

Allo gives Google a way to experiment with features without worrying about reaching parity on the web.

This unbundling of Google's primary messaging platform allows Allo to scale across mobile in ways that Hangouts never could. It also gives Google a way to experiment with features without worrying about reaching parity on the web, a rising tension among messaging startups. Google, unlike many of its competitors, has leeway to make these decisions, given its existing product lineup. Don't want to use Allo? Hangouts isn't going anywhere.

It's also no accident that Allo is the Google assistant's first host: a messenger app allows the company to be nimble and imperfect, allowing the tool to grow within its confines, rather than represent the bulk of the opportunity, like Google Home, the company's speaker-cum-voice-companion. Google Assistant is at the heart of what the company hopes is its next salvo in continuing to dominate search, which is inevitably turning into something more contextual and mobile. It's one thing for Google's in-app bot to be able to identify clams in a photo of a bowl of seafood linguine; it's another to use that information to make it useful in helping people make better decisions about where to eat, how to get there, and how to pay for it.

Of course, no number of features and amount of finesse will guarantee Google a place at the messaging table, increasingly dominated by Facebook and Snapchat in the West, and Line and WeChat in the East. But Google has to try, and in trying has to set itself up to iterate quickly should it fail. None of its previous messaging concerns have been mobile enough, in the canonical sense, to properly compete with the incumbents, and there is good chance Allo is too late to the game to make an impact. But whereas Facebook's past messaging app failures — who remembers Poke, or Slingshot?— have long been forgiven as they're forgotten, people tend to hold onto Google's duds, because they feel almost like betrayals.

The truth is that Allo may very well be inconsequential, a blip on Google's, and our, radar in its grand platform strategy. But its core tenets — data-gathering, bots, and a mobile-first approach — will not be. Those unequivocally represent Google's future, and will impact as many people as use the internet today. It is in this context that Allo should be viewed, not as a short-term mistake, but as a long-term bet on mobile.

More: Unified messaging is a joke, and it probably always will be

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1 week ago

Spigen Neo Hybrid Crystal for the Galaxy S7

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Spigen Neo Hybrid Crystal for the Galaxy S7

Go Neo Hybrid for that soft, grippy feeling with solid protection.

If you've ever seen a Galaxy S7 that's been dropped on its edge or corner, then you know why you should have a case on yours (hint: it ain't pretty).

We went hands-on with the Spigen Neo Hybrid Crystal to to see whether this case is right for your S7, based on your needs. We'll break things down for you in terms of style, features, and design.

Style

Spigen Neo Hybrid Crystal for the Galaxy S7

Spigen's Neo Hybrid Crystal is elegant and simple in appearance — clear, with a colored outer rim. The rim comes in Champagne Gold, Gunmetal, and Satin Silver, so you can accessorize based on your S7's color. The choices aren't abundant, but at least you have some options (pro tip: Champagne Gold doesn't look good on anything but the gold S7).

The most disappointing aspect of this case is how it feels in your hand. The main body is made of soft TPU, but it has a glossy finish, so it will slip-slide around in your hands. It doesn't instill much confidence when you're holding it. The plastic outer rim adds nothing for grip. That being said, it's considerably less slippery than a bare S7.

Note: Clear TPU can and almost certainly will turn yellow over time due to sunlight absorption.

Features

Spigen Neo Hybrid Crystal for the Galaxy S7

In this case, it's a lack of features that we'll talk about. Though the Neo Hybrid Crystal is a two-piece, with soft TPU and a plastic outer rim, it features none of Spigen's patented Air Cushion Technology, leaving the corners of your S7 susceptible to drops and the inevitable spider web cracks that befall most dropped S7s (when they're not properly protected).

This case still supports wireless charging, so you won't have to constantly take it off at night to charge your phone. That's an added benefit from the softer TPU — It's relatively thin, adding negligible bulk to the S7 and since you won't have to take it off very much, you can avoid stretching that softer plastic rim.

Design

Spigen Neo Hybrid Crystal for the Galaxy S7

As mentioned, this is a two piece case: a soft TPU shell with a plastic outer rim. That outer rim does nothing. It feels cheap and flimsy when it's not on the case and adds no real feeling of stability when it is on; all of the substance of this case is in the TPU shell.

All of the buttons are covered by the TPU, which is then left open through the plastic rim, but if the plastic rim doesn't fit quite right, then pressure along the rim can inadvertently activate the volume and power buttons. It's annoying and altogether inconvenient, especially if you're trying to text with one hand.

The bottom line

Spigen Neo Hybrid Crystal for the Galaxy S7

This case is decent, but it is pretty slippery with an outer rim that does absolutely nothing for the overall structure, nor any added protection. You're better off spending your money on a 100 percent TPU case or a polycarbonate/TPU hybrid.

If you're looking for some better clear cases, check out our roundup of the best clear cases for the Galaxy S7.

See at Amazon

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

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1 week ago

Google I/O Day 3 video roundup — political data, ATAP, and security for all

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Take a deep dive into the topics that matter.

Google's three-day developer festival has been a massive success, due in no small part to the sheer volume of knowledge the company has stuffed into the Shoreline Amphitheater and its surrounding tent spaces. Not every session was livestreamed this year, and even if they were it'd be impossible to watch them all at the same time. Not to worry, every session was recorded, and that means you can catch up on everything you might have missed from day three of this incredible event.

We've gone ahead and set out a selection of our favorites, but be sure to take a look at everything available on the Android Developer, Google Developer, and ATAP YouTube channels for more!

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1 week ago

Oculus Rift update blocks third-party app that ported its VR games to HTC Vive [Update]

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Oculus released a software update to its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset this week that blocks the use of Revive, a third-party app that allowed for the porting of exclusive Rift VR titles to the rival HTC Vive headset.

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1 week ago

U.S. Android Wear owners can save 20% off a MODE watchband until June 20

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The Google Store is offering a promotion for U.S. Android Wear owners. Until June 20, they can save 20% off one MODE band for their watches.

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1 week ago

LG G5 now up for pre-order in India for ₹52,990, CAM Plus module bundled for free

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The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge launched in India over two months ago, and until now there hasn't been much in the way of when other flagship phones will be available in the country. That's changing today, as the LG G5 is up for pre-order in the country for ₹52,990 ($785). The South Korean vendor has mentioned that all customers pre-ordering the phone will receive the CAM Plus module for free.

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1 week ago

Spigen Slim Armor case for Galaxy S7 edge

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 Spigen Slim Armor case for Galaxy S7 edge

Military-grade protection in a slim case...could it be true?

Your Galaxy S7 edge has a beautiful screen and body that requires protection from everyday wear. In the over-saturated market of phone cases it is sometimes difficult to decide which is best for you and your smartphone. If you're looking for something rugged yet slim, this might be your case.

Let's break things down in terms of style, features, and design.

Style

Spigen Slim Armor case for Galaxy S7 edge

The Slim Armor case has a two-piece design made up of an anti-stretch TPU sleeve and a polycarbonate outer shell. This gives your phone some protection against pressure (e.g. if you sit on it or lean against something while it's in your pocket) while giving you something to grip when it's in your hand. We found it fared well against in-hand slippage, but hand moisture and other conditions might change its gripping potential.

You can choose from five colors to best suit your style: Gunmetal, Champagne Gold, Metal Slate, Violet, and Shimmery White. Note that the TPU sleeve remains black in all versions except violet, in which the sleeve is a shade of violet to match the outer shell.

Features

 Spigen Slim Armor case for Galaxy S7 edge

This case will allow your phone to charge wirelessly at full speed, great if you're sick of worrying about your phone being knocked off its charger while not in a case. As mentioned, its two-part design offers double protection against the elements. The outer shell features a kickstand that lets you horizontally prop up your phone on any relatively flat surface.

Design

Spigen Slim Armor case for Galaxy S7 edge

The beautiful S7 edge screen does not fare well when dropped on its corner while not in a case. Slim Armor has certified military-grade protection, complete with air cushions on the corners for extra drop protection. Expect it to handle corner drops. The TPU sleeve also acts as a shock absorber to protect your phone's brains from everyday use.

With a raised lip at the top and bottom of the case, your phone can be set screen-down without suffering any damage. Because there are no lips on the sides (to allow full use of the edge screen), dropping the phone on its side or on the edge of the screen could result in damage.

This case covers the side buttons but does not mess with their functionality. The bottom ports and speaker are left open and the entire face of the phone is uncovered. If you're looking for extra water protection this is not the case for you. It is, however, a relatively thin case that offers decent protection.

The Bottom Line

Spigen Slim Armor case for Galaxy S7 edge

Easy to put on and easy to remove, this is a snug and sleek option as far as phone cases go. With the added functionality the kickstand provides, you can save some money by avoiding two purchases.

If this type of case isn't your thing, check out the best clear cases or best overall cases for your Galaxy S7 edge.

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Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

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