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1 week ago

Final Android 7.1 Developer Preview build released, Nexus 9 added to Beta Program

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The second and final Android 7.1 Developer Preview is here.

Just a couple days over a month since the first Android 7.1 Developer Preview was released, we now have Developer Preview 2 available for Nexus phones and tablets to get a near-final taste of the latest software. Those who have enrolled in the Android Beta Program for their compatible device — which now includes the Nexus 9 — will receive Developer Preview 2 this week via an OTA update.

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1 week ago

Essential Accessories For Google Pixel + Pixel XL

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Perfect partners for your Pixel.

So you've just dropped a chunk of cash on a shiny new Pixel or Pixel XL, and it'll soon be heading your way. But what about accessories for your shiny new Google phone?

Google has a wide range of first-party accessories for its first own-branded handset, and we've also rounded up some top essentials from elsewhere. Take a look!

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1 week ago

Next Google Pixel update adds raise-to-wake, double-tap-to-wake

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So far, only Pixel owners in Canada are seeing the mid-month update to build NPF26J.

It's been just a few weeks since the Google Pixel November security update started rolling out, but already we're seeing a new build hitting some handsets, with the second update apparently hitting Pixel owners in Canada first.

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1 week ago

Nextbit Robin Nougat update released to community testers

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Minty cloudphone company teams up with Paranoid Android devs for faster updates.

Nextbit has announced that the Android 7.0 Nougat update for its Robin phone has officially entered its community testing phase, with builds now rolling out to testers registered through its online form. To help bring the Nextbit Robin right up to speed on the latest stable version of Android, it's partnered with the Paranoid Android development team, the group responsible for one of the most popular custom Android ROMs out there.

Nougat for Robin brings another surprise with it - more help from the community. When we say "our dev team," that now includes members of Paranoid Android. We have joined forces to bring you a faster, less power-hungry OS. We're proud of what we've accomplished together so far, and this cooperation will continue. Stay on the lookout - Robin is going to get even better. For more info, check out our blog post.

Nextbit says over-the-air updates are already going out to testers, and the rollout will continue over the next 24 hours — so don't fret if you've registered but aren't seeing an OTA notification just yet. As you'd expect from a beta build, there might be a few bugs in the mix until the builds become official and stable.

Robin owners can look forward to redesigned notifications, split-screen multitasking, improved battery life and re-vamped Settings controls in Android 7.0, along with a bunch of smaller under-the-hood enhancements.

Image credit: Android Police.

Android Nougat

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1 week ago

T-Mobile Black Friday deals: Free phones, free money and free Wi-Fi

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John Legere

Deals kick off midnight Pacific Time on November 24.

T-Mobile U.S. has announced its Black Friday 2016 deals, with some attractive offers for anyone looking to pick up a flagship phone on the cheap, cash in on a change of carrier, or score some free Wi-Fi on the flight home this Thanksgiving weekend. For Android lovers, the main attraction this year is a free LG V20 or Samsung Galaxy S7.

Highlights include:

  • A free LG V20, Samsung Galaxy S7, or S7 edge (or, ahem, iPhone 7) when you trade in a qualifying device. (T-Mobile ONE or Simple Choice Unlimited, via 24 monthly bill credits.)
  • $200 per line when you switch to T-Mo, up to $2400 total, on a prepaid MasterCard.
  • A free hour of in-flight Wi-Fi for everyone — even if you're not a T-Mobile customer — from today through until November 26.
  • Free Gear VR and $50 Oculus store credit when you buy a GS7 or GS7 edge.
  • $70 off UE BOOM 2 Wireless speaker ($129.99)

The new deals aren't live on T-Mo's page just yet, instead expect them to show up when the carrier's Black Friday sale official kicks off — at 12 a.m. PST this Thursday. More details, along with plenty of marketing speak and small print, over on T-Mobile's official blog.

See at T-Mobile

Anything catch your eye? Let us know down in the comments!

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1 week ago

Galaxy S7 on Nougat defaults to 1080p: A look at Samsung's new display scaling options

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On the current beta release, the Galaxy S7 runs at a lower resolution by default. But that's not as big a deal as it might seem.

Android 7.0 Nougat for the Samsung Galaxy S7 — currently in testing in the form of a semi-public beta build — is the phone's biggest software update to date, featuring not only a brand new OS version, but a host of new Samsung-specific changes, and a significantly updated UI. Among them are major changes to the display settings, allowing you to change how graphics and fonts are shown — and change the phone's screen resolution.

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1 week ago

Huawei CEO Richard Yu announced as CES 2017 keynote speaker

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Huawei CEO to talk about his company's vision for a more global model of innovation.

CES 2017 is just over a month away, and news surrounding the event is starting to ramp up. Today, organizers announced that Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, will deliver a keynote address on the afternoon of January 5 in The Venetian's Palazzo Ballroom.

From the release:

During his address, Yu will showcase Huawei's vision for a more global model of innovation, which taps into the strengths of each country and region and encourages collaboration with the adoption of the latest technologies and techniques. Through his keynote, attendees will learn about Huawei's plans for the future of mobile - one that integrates the latest in artificial intelligence, virtual reality and connected technologies and pairs them with elite global partnerships and sustainable product development.

Yu has been with Huawei for over two decades. In his time there, he has held several titles, including CTO of Wireless R&D, and director of the GSM/UMTS technical sales department. In 2006, he was appointed president of Huawei's Wireless Network product line, and was nominated as president of the European region in 2008. During his time as president, Huawei has risen to become the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world.

Other CES keynote speakers already confirmed include NVIDIA Founder, President and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, and Qualcomm Incorporated CEO Steve Mollenkopf.

Android Central will have full coverage of all the best stuff from CES 2017, which runs from January 5 to 8 in Las Vegas.

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1 week ago

Troubleshooting your Samsung Gear VR starts with our Ultimate Guide!

Everything you need to keep your Gear VR running well!

There's a lot of great things you can do inside of a Samsung Gear VR, but like any virtual reality system one small thing can take a great deal away from the experience. It's not always easy to find a quick solution to one of those problems, so we've compiled a complete list of all the things you need to know if something happens. Troubleshooting your Gear VR is easy if you've got a guide handy,and that's where we come in.

Here's the ultimate guide to troubleshooting your Gear VR!

Read more at VR Heads!

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1 week ago

What is Project Fi, how does it work and why do I want it?

280

Google's own carrier offering definitely has some appeal.

If you're an Android enthusiast, you've likely already heard of Project Fi. But that doesn't mean you necessarily know everything about it, so we're here to give you the high-level look at the carrier option that comes directly from Google. Namely, just what the heck it is, how it works compared to other carriers and maybe a few reasons why you'd want to try it.

If you're interested in checking out phone service from Google, be sure to follow along with some of the high points below and get acquainted with Project Fi.

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1 week ago

Google announces major contest for indie game devs in Europe

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Google to European indie game developers: Show us what you got!

One of the hardest challenges indie game developers face is getting publicity and exposure for their finished product. The fine folks at Google are doing their part to help, launching a new initiative for European indie developer teams of 15 people or less — they've put out the call for submissions to the first-ever Google Play Indie Games Contest in Europe.

The European contest is the latest way Google has attempted to support indie game developers, whether it's by highlighting the best new indie games in the Google Play Store — where we've discovered some recent favorites of ours such as Reigns — or by hosting Indie Games Festivals in North America and Korea.

From the announcement blog post:

If you're based in Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France (coming soon), Germany, Iceland, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Poland (coming soon), Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, or UK (excl. Northern Ireland), have 15 or less full time employees, and published a new game on Google Play after 1 January 2016, you may now be eligible to enter the contest. If you're planning on publishing a new game soon, you can also enter by submitting a private beta.

Submissions close at midnight on December 31 with the finalists scheduled to be announced sometime in mid-January. The contest culminated in a final event to be held on February 16 at the Saatchi Gallery in London, where the finalists will get a chance to showcase their games to the public and winners will ultimately be selected by a panel of industry experts.

Google is offering up an impressive list of prizes for winners and finalists alike, which include a Pixel XL for each finalist team, heavy promotion in the Google Play Store's Indie Corner for the top 10 games, and more exposure and promotion for the top three finalists.

Qualifying developer teams can go here to submit a game. If you live in London, you can pre-register to attend the live event on February 16.

And if you're just excited to see what games are showcased, you can keep it locked to Android Central, as we'll surely be keeping an eye on this contest — and can't wait to see what great games are showcased in the new year.

Android Gaming

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1 week ago

Best Cases For OnePlus 3 & OnePlus 3T

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Best cases for OnePlus 3

What are the best cases for the OnePlus 3 and 3T?

The OnePlus 3 and the identical, newer OnePlus 3T have an all-aluminum body that looks great, but could use a little protection (and maybe some jazzing up). The ideal case will fit perfectly, keep your phone safe from your daily grind, and look fantastic. We know exactly what you're looking for.

OnePlus 3 Protective Case

OnePlus 3 Rosewood case

The protective cases by OnePlus are more than just interchangeable backings for your OnePlus 3 or 3T; they really do offer excellent protection that wraps around the corners of the phone and keeps your hardware safe. You can only buy them directly from OnePlus.

The cases are light, thin, and don't add any unnecessary bulk or weight to your OnePlus 3 or 3T. They're available in Sandstone (the iconic look from previous generations of the OnePlus), Karbon, Black Apricot, Bamboo, and Rosewood (pictured here). All the cases are made from the actual material they're named for, as well as PC or kevlar for additional strength and durability.

For a case that's got a unique look and feel and is crafted exclusively for the OnePlus 3 series, the Protective Case in all its variations is the one for you.

See at OnePlus


OtterBox case

OtterBox in Cardinal Red OnePlus 3

OtterBox, the go-to name in phone protection and style, is available for the OnePlus 3 or 3T exclusively via the OnePlus website. The hard outer layer and shock-absorbing inner layer of silicone keep your phone just like new, no matter what your day throws your way.

The newer versions of OtterBox cases are slimmer and lighter, so you won't have significant size and weight added to your OnePlus 3 device. The textured back surface and sides make for secure handling, and the cases come in Saharan White, Dark Matter, and Cardinal Red (pictured here).

For trusted protection of your OnePlus 3 from a brand that's made its name synonymous with durability and damage protection, check out the OtterBox case.

See at OnePlus


OnePlus 3 Flip Covers

Sand flip cover OnePlus 3

Offering style and protection in one great-looking case, the OnePlus 3 flip covers are made of soft, supple PU leather that's made to last. There's even room for a credit card or even a few folded bills on the inside of the front cover.

The flip cover will automatically put your display to sleep when you close it, which is great for battery conservation. The slim design won't take up loads of space, and the front cover protects your screen. The color selection is simple, elegant, and a perfect complement to your OnePlus 3; choose from black, gray, or the sand tone pictured here.

If you want the look of a wallet case without unnecessary bulk or compartments, pick up one of the Flip Covers made just for your OnePlus 3 or 3T.

See at OnePlus


Tudia Ultra Slim LITE case

Tudia clear case

Cases from Tudia are building a strong following, and there's good reason for that: its cases for the OnePlus 3 series have a snug, secure fit and the soft, flexible shell offers just that little extra bit of grip you need to have on your phone.

The TPU case fits well over a screen protector, like the one included with your OnePlus 3 device, and it also features raised edges to keep the screen away from hard surfaces like desks or tables. You'll have access to every button and port, thanks to the precise covers and cutouts, so charge away or plug in your headphones without fidgeting with an ill-fitting cover.

Take your pick from cases in black, vibrant teal, or the clear case (pictured here) to show off the original aluminum hardware of the OnePlus 3 or 3T.

See at Amazon

Orzly Grip-Pro case

Orzly Grip-Pro case

An alternative to the OtterBox style and price comes from Orzly in the form of the Grip-Pro case for the OnePlus 3 or 3T, which offers a two-year warranty and is becoming a popular choice for many people.

The shock-proof internal skin and hard, rubberized exterior protect against bumps and drops, and it maintains a slim profile with cutouts for speakers, buttons, as well as a raised edge around the camera to keep the lens safe.

Grab one (or two, 'cause you can never have too many colors to choose from) in black, blue, pink, silver, or the red version pictured here.

See at Amazon

Love Ying Soft Skin case

Love Ying Soft Skin clear case

For one of the slimmest case profiles you can get, check out the Soft Skin from Love Ying. Minimal bulk, minimal extra weight, and a great fit for your OnePlus 3 series device.

The flexible TPU offers excellent shock and bump protection in spite of its minimalist design. A little bit of extra material around the screen edges keeps it up and away from surfaces, which is helpful if you're someone who's in the habit of placing your OnePlus 3 face-down.

Get your Love Ying Soft Skin case in mint, pink, purple, or the clear version pictured here.

See at Amazon

Tudia Slim-Fit Heavy Duty

As the name suggests, Tudia's Slim-Fit Heavy Duty is slightly more robust than the Ultra-Thin Lite, bundling an inner TPU wrapper with a stylish polycarbonate shell in one of four colors. Tudia has built up a very good reputation for a reason: its cases are well-made and exact, with precise cutouts for ports while adhering to the proper design of the phone.

See at Amazon

A case for everyone

Are you using one of our favorite cases for your OnePlus 3 or 3T? Tell us how you like it in the comments below!

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1 week ago

How to fix apps stuck in Daydream Mode

How do I stop apps from launching in VR mode?

Google's Daydream does something unique in the world of smartphone-based VR platforms. When you install an app, you get both the standard Android version of the app and the Daydream version of that app at the same time. This is super convenient for apps like Hulu, which ask you to log in to view videos. Typing in VR is less convenient, and this all-in-one solution not only works well but is much more respectful of the storage users have on their phones.

Occasionally, you may find yourself trying to access a standard app on your phone, and instead of getting the normal interface you get the split-screen VR mode meant for when your phone is in the Daydream headset. Here's how to keep yourself from being stuck in Daydream mode!

Read more at VR Heads!

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1 week ago

What is LeEco's EcoPass actually worth?

39

As of now, the Le Pro3's content offerings aren't enticing. Not even a little bit.

Last month, Chinese smartphone maker, LeEco, announced the Le Pro3, an Android device that promises to be thinner, faster, and more powerful than the competition. For $400, you get the phone, which features top-of-the-line specifications, in addition to three months of LeEco's EcoPass, which is what ostensibly unlocks a subscription to LeEco's video content services.

There's a catch, however. Since it's all still in "beta," there is no word on how much the EcoPass will cost to continue reaping the benefits of its content library. And that got me thinking: How much is LeEco's content library even worth in the first place? As a dedicated subscriber to a number of free and premium on-demand entertainment services, I decided to venture in and gauge it myself.

LeWhat?

There are two ways to play LeEco's content. The first is to launch the Le app, which showcases all the content you can watch on demand. Then there's Le Live, which aggregates all that watchable content into channels that are easy to peruse.

Remember when Netflix first started offering streaming video and a majority of the available titles were mostly low-budget horror movies and arty indie flicks? LeEco's offerings are a little like that. To dig out gems like Chris Rock's Good Hair and Benny & Joon, you'll have to sift through some slightly jarring movie titles and hokey web series.

It took a long time for me to find anything worth watching.

It took a long time for me to find anything worth watching. I was surprised at how little "on demand" content is actually offered and then subsequently annoyed that it was outdated. The Vice channel on Le, for instance, lets you watch episodes from series like Munchies and Noisey, but most of the episodes are already available on YouTube. Where's the exclusivity?

Here's another bold move on LeEco's part: Charging for channels with content that's free somewhere else. If you want a children-only entertainment channel, for instance, you'll have to fork over $3.99 a month, or 399 EcoPass tokens. This unlocks shows like Sonic the Hedgehog — yes, that one — Sabrina The Animated Series, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros 3, and Inspector Gadget. These shows are already free to watch on Pluto.TV, another live mobile TV app. Granted, you won't get them on-demand like you do with a subscription on a LeEco smartphone, but it's still free somewhere else! The kid's channel offers other content, too, and some shows I've never heard of, but I'd much rather pull from the free YouTube Kids app if I were a parent than pay another monthly subscription price.

What is worth paying for?

Have you heard of Seeso? It's a curated comedy channel. On its own, it costs $4 a month for a subscription. You can watch a library of Saturday Night Live" and *Monty Python clips, in addition to seasons of shows like Parks and Recreation and original content from both indie and mainstream comedians. It's available as an app on every major set-top box and streaming device.

Now, you can already subscribe to this channel on your own time, without the help of LeEco. It's even included in your package if you're an Amazon Prime subscriber. So why, then, is LeEco attempting to advertise Seeso as exclusive content, especially when it's already offered as a standalone app? It's not even a part of the EcoPass subscription — You have to pay the extra $4 a month on top of what you'd already be paying monthly. That's not exactly a deal.

And then there's Tastemade, which is basically the web's Food Network. It's cute, it's kooky, and most of the content is already shown for free on Pluto TV. The only benefit of paying the $3.50 monthly subscription price is to get access to Tastemade Plus, and that's if you find a personal benefit from this Internet food channel. Still, it's not inspiring me to buy into LeEco's content ecosystem, especially when I can already purchase this on my own.

Is the EcoPass even worth it?

There's a reason LeEco didn't announce its monthly subscription prices for the EcoPass at its big event back in October: It's not worth much. What you'd be paying for is scrap content from the Internet. You could very well curate your own YouTube playlist with more interesting clips and clandestinely uploaded television shows if you wanted. (Let's be honest: We all scour for those from time to time.) And here's the worst part: You can't even cast the shows from a LeEco smartphone to your television unless you've got a LeTV in the house.

What you'd be paying for is scrap content from the Internet.

In all fairness, I pay monthly for content on Hulu and Netflix that I will never watch, but the difference is that both of those services offer something else that I find worth the value. I watch so much of ABC and NBC's content on Hulu, for instance, and I like that I can do so on demand. I can also watch it on any TV set I want, or my tablet, or my computer.

LeEco's offerings don't entice me to buy its products. All I see are libraries of movies I've never heard of before, and web content I've already seen. It's possible that once LeEco's partnerships with Lionsgate and MGM come to fruition, that the EcoPass will be more worth the money. But don't bank on that as a reason to buy into LeEco's ecosystem.

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