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6 days ago

Sneak peek: Google I/O 2016 venue and swag in pictures

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Google IO 2016

The day before I/O 2016 kicks off, Mountain View prepares to host Google's biggest developer festival yet.

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6 days ago

Moto G4 Plus and Moto G4 Play coming to Canada this summer

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Motorola has announced that the newly revealed Moto G4 Plus and Moto G4 Play smartphones will be released in Canada sometime this summer. Pricing was not revealed.

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6 days ago

Android Pay is adding 1.5 million new registrations in the U.S. each month

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Google has revealed that its Android Pay service is currently adding 1.5 million new registrations in the U.S. each month. The company did not state the total number of registrations it has signed up for Android Pay since it launched in 2015.

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6 days ago

Take a look inside the AC editors' Google I/O 2016 gear bags

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Google I/O badge

This is what we'll be carrying to bring you all of the news from Google I/O.

Whenever we get our gear together to head out to an event, trade show or conference, we like to pull back the curtain and show everyone what we bring along with us. This time around it's the big show, Google I/O 2016, that has us all making the trek out to Mountain View, CA for a few days of fun in the sun and learning all about Google's latest innovations.

That means we're all bringing as many Google devices as we can carry, naturally, plus a base line of our computers, cameras, accessories and everything else we could possibly need. We pack an exorbitant amount of gadgetry with us for these sorts of conferences, but we (not so) secretly love it, despite how heavy it makes our bags.

Read on to take a peek inside our gear bags that will be accompanying us to Google I/O 2016.

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6 days ago

BitTorrent Live to offer a different take on live streaming video

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BitTorrent is throwing its hat into the live streaming ring with its upcoming app, BitTorrent Live. The app will offer live video content for news, music, sports, and more. But unlike other live streaming offerings such as Sling TV or Hulu's upcoming product, BitTorrent Live will use peer-to-peer technology.

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6 days ago

Frowny face: Emoji on Android is a crapshoot and it has to change

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Yes, I care about emoji. You should, too.

Emoji may be the national language of 12-year-olds, but that doesn't mean Android manufacturers should be allowed to include whatever emoji they want. It also means that if Google Play is going to allow other emoji keyboards in its store, it should support them at a system level. If I download a Deadpool emoji keyboard, I should be able to put my Deadpool emoji into a text message, they should show up as Deadpool emoji on my screen. Yes, even if they don't show up as Deadpool emoji on the other end, which is a different kettle of beans we can discuss later.

Just because we pretend to be adults who don't care about emoji beyond martini eggplant OK gesture doesn't mean emoji don't matter. And the way Android is handling emoji right now is shit.

These are the emoji on the HTC 10. Confused? So was I.

See, most of these emoji are the ones Google provide, but all the faces and some of the people are these faded lemon monstrosities. The pre-installed keyboard for the 10 is TouchPal, which in its settings has options for 'System' and 'Android' (Google) emoji. Except since the 'Android' emoji have to be downloaded from the Google Play Store, they won't show up in your text box or anywhere else outside the actual keyboard, even if you've downloaded and set them on the keyboard the phone came with. And if you have any other keyboard installed, like Swiftkey, that's the emoji they'll show, too, if not in the keyboard itself then in the emoji that they output.

Emoji on Android are rather haphazard in how they're outputted, actually. If there are emoji included in your system image or system keyboard, it doesn't matter what the smiley face looked like in your keyboard when you typed it: the one you're getting is the one that came with your phone. If emoji are typed that aren't in your system keyboard, they'll be outputted according to the keyboard you used to type them. Or on some phones, they won't be outputted at all, since the system will put a blank for emoji it doesn't have.

So, how do you know what emoji you're gonna get? Unless the keyboard that came on your phone was the Google Keyboard, you really can't tell without walking into a store, turning on a phone and typing one in.

A few years ago, when everyone was shipping phones with their own keyboard, this meant that every OEM had their own emoji for users, and they all looked terrible. Samsung looked one way, LG looked another, HTC looked another.

In fact, that's still the case.

Yeah, emoji still vary (and suffer) on a lot of different phones, including a lot of today's flagships. And while it's not a feature that's going to wind up in a review very often, it is something that everyday users will notice. They may not know that their screen is 2K instead of 1080p, but they know that their smiley faces look different between their phone and their tablet. They may not know that the camera lens is made of polar bear tears, but they will know that when they look at twitter, it doesn't look as good or as funny as it does online, because the emoji look weird.

Moreover, the way emoji are handled on Android leads to a lot of confusion and downright frustration in the Google Play Store. Emoji keyboards on Google Play are practically a lie so long as your device defaults back to the crap emoji they came with instead of the crap emoji you clicked on in your keyboard. In fact, most 'functioning' emoji apps on Google Play aren't emoji at all: they're sticker packs. And that's not (always) the developer's fault, that's the device manufacturer's fault, and it's Android's fault for mishandling emoji.

Just as you can set different keyboards and language packs in Android, you should be able to switch emoji, too. If I can download a pack with the stock Google emoji and apply it to my keyboard, the system should accept and output those characters, just as they would special characters in a language pack.

Or, Google could tell manufacturers to give up the ghost on their trash emoji and force them to include the stock Android emoji. Little yellow blobs for all! Whatever their solution, this is a problem that Google should fix. It's not a big problem, like the continued delays in security patches for carrier devices, but it's a problem that Google has the capacity to solve.

They just choose not to. And I have an emoji for that.

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6 days ago

Moto X may rebrand as the Moto Z this year

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According to a new report, the Moto X branding may be a thing of the past. It is being reported that this year's phones will release as the Moto Z Style and Moto Z Play, a similar naming convention to the current phones except for the Z. This new report follows the one that said the upcoming phones may step into the modular game.

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6 days ago

SoundHound now lets you control your music with your voice

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SoundHound has launched a important new capability with its latest update, and now allows you to use your voice to control the app. By saying "Ok, Hound," you can ask the app to identify songs, get the latest song by your favorite artist, or even play a particular track in Spotify.

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6 days ago

Move to the beat with this jammin' Wallpaper Wednesday

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Yeah, yeah. We know it's Tuesday. Google I/O is tomorrow, so lets get some wallpapers early!

You don't have to pull out a complex new theme like Deadpool to bring a breath of fresh air to your home screen. A new wallpaper can do wonders, and launchers like Action Launcher can re-theme your entire home screen around a good wallpaper. In our effort to help brighten your device — and maybe your day — we're compiling some wallpapers for you to try out.

If you've got a wallpaper you use everywhere, share it in the comments below! We're always looking for something new. Now get your wallpaper picker ready and see what's in store this week.

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6 days ago

Huawei MediaPad M2 10 now on sale at Currys PC World

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If you happen to live in the UK, you can now get your hands on the Huawei's MediaPad M2 10 tablet at Currys PC World.

Originally announced at CES, the 10.1-inch tablet packs a 1920 x 1200 display, 16GB of internal storage and a microSD card slot to expand storage even further. Powering the tablet is a 2GHz Kirin 930 processor, 3GB of RAM and a sizable 6660 mAh battery. Lastly, the tablet packs a 13MP camera on the back, a 5MP shooter up front and runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop.

Check out our Huawei MediaPad M2 10 review

If you're interested, the Huawei MediaPad M2 10 runs £249.99 at Currys, and you can order one from the retailer's website at the link below.

See at Currys PC World

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6 days ago

AT&T Galaxy S6 Marshmallow update is now rolling out

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AT&T is finally pushing the long-awaited Marshmallow update out to those who are sporting the Galaxy S6. That's right, the wait is over, and you can now start downloading the nearly 1.5GB update on your phone. A number of reports from users around the country have surfaced on Reddit, (thanks, XDAdam!) so odds are if you checked for the update you'd be able to grab it as well.

If you have yet to receive the notification for the update, you can check manually for it on your phone. To do so, head into the Settings, then About device and finally check for updates. Once you've received it, be sure to hop in the forums and let us know how you like it!

Discuss the update in the forums

Samsung Galaxy S6

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6 days ago

WatchESPN brings a sports explosion to your Android TV

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The WatchESPN app is now rolling out to a number of Android TV products, allowing sports fans with a cable TV subscription access to tons of video and content. It will also be included on all new Nexus Players going forward.

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6 days ago

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs. OnePlus 2: Killing the flagship killer

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Samsung Galaxy S7 edge vs. OnePlus 2

Two phones not particularly in direct competition with consumers, but definitely in the minds of Android enthusiasts.

On the face of it, it seems downright unfair to compare the brand new top-end Galaxy S7 edge to the 10-month old less-expensive OnePlus 2. Most folks looking to spend $350 on the latter aren't also considering dropping $750 on the former. But let's remember the OnePlus 2 marketing message — "2016 Flagship Killer," they called it when it launched mid-summer last year.

So we're going to compare the OnePlus 2 to what is arguably the leading flagship of 2016, the Galaxy S7 edge. Let's see who does the killing.

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6 days ago

T-Mobile adds Google Play Music, Spotify, Qello Concerts and more to BingeOn

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T-Mobile has announced that it has once again added a number of new BingeOn partners. This marks the fifth expansion of the service in the six months since its release, and it holds some big name additions. While some of these previously allowed music streaming under Music Freedom, they now offer unlimited video streaming as well.

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6 days ago

Moto G4 and G4 Plus specs

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At a media event in New Delhi, Lenovo unveiled the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus. Both phones are aimed at the budget segment, and offer Full HD displays for the first time. The octa-core Snapdragon 617 SoC powers both handsets, with the key differentiator being the fingerprint sensor, which is present on the G4 Plus. The standard G4 comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB storage, while the G4 Plus is available with 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage.

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