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1 week ago

Google I/O Day 2 video roundup — everything you missed

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Hello my friend. Stay a while, and listen.

Google isn't livestreaming every session at their massive developer conference this year, but we do get recordings of each one uploaded at the end of the day. Among other things, that means there's a whole lot of Google I/O for those us who aren't on the ground in Mountain View to enjoy now. We've gone ahead and cherry picked some of the best of day two for you to look at, with the full lineup split between the Android Developers and Google Developers pages over on YouTube for the rest.

Ready? Here we go!

VR at Google

The recently announced Daydream may not be on the scale of Hololens or HTC Vive like many had initially suspected, but Google's plans for virtual reality in the mobile space is more than a little impressive. The presentations given by Google's VR team all day yesterday painted a rich picture of the future, filled with games and movies and a special little controller that will enable many different phones to have the same great VR experience. All we have to do now is wait patiently for the first Daydream phone to ship. Just kidding, there's a developer program for stepping into the beginnings of Daydream right now on your Nexus 6P.

The main event is a great video to watch, but there's a couple others worth following up on if you're eager for more Daydream knowledge.

VR & Cinema - google I/O 2016

Daydream Labs: Lessons Learned from VR Prototyping

Designing & Developing for the Daydream Controller

Bring your Android App to Chromebooks

At long last, the rumors surrounding a blending of Android and Chrome are taking form. Google's plans to make the Play Store and it's 1.5 Billion apps available to Chrome OS users is fantastic, and the wait for this feature to roll out to supported Chromebooks is going to be long and agonizing for consumers. For developers, it's time to get to work. This video is a good starting point for making sure your apps are Chrome OS ready for when the big update finally starts shipping to users.

What's new in Android security

This has been an interesting year for security and Android. We saw the rise of monthly security updates, and have a new appreciation for manufacturers who treat those updates as a priority. There's a lot more going on in this space though, and that's what this presentation is all about. Anything you want to know about the new security features in both Android M and Android N can be found right here.

What's new in Android Wear 2.0

Google's making some big changes to the way you interact with smartwatches in the next update. We've spent some hands-on time with the developer preview already, and there's plenty to get excited about with updates coming to how apps will interact in Android Wear 2.0, but if you want a good breakdown of how these changes work in this update.

If you'd like some additional videos for Android Wear goodies, check these out!

Android Wear 2.0: Watch faces and Complications

Android Wear 2.0: Building Apps with Material Design

Material improvements

A big part of Android N seems to be further refinement of Google's Material Design language, which is now all over the Google ecosystem. This session gives you a look at the changes coming to how users interact with Material elements, and what changes to look out for when building apps that follow the Material guidelines.

What's new with Project Tango

Since we can't all afford the nearly $600 Project Tango developer tablet just to take selfies with virtual dinosaurs, here's a video of someone else doing it for you. What's new with Project Tango takes you on a journey through the evolution of the project, and into the applications the team has already found for the developer kits. There's a lot to like here, even if it's happening on a gadget that is not meant for consumers.

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1 week ago

Xiaomi's first drone will take off on May 25

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Considering the wide variety of products Xiaomi offers, it should come as no surprise that the vendor is getting into drones. The Chinese manufacturer posted a teaser earlier this week showing a Bamboo-copter, and has followed up with a post on Weibo detailing the upcoming launch of its first drone.

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1 week ago

Sony Xperia X, Xperia XA now up for registration in India

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We don't have availability details for Sony's Xperia X or Xperia XA in India, but the vendor has opened up registrations for both phones.

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1 week ago

Coolpad Max debuts in India, lets you use two WhatsApp accounts

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In a press conference in New Delhi, Chinese handset maker Coolpad launched flagship smartphone for the Indian market — the Coolpad Max. This is the second phone to be made available from the vendor, following the launch of the Coolpad Note 3 in October.

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1 week ago

Enpass beta picks up new autofill options, TOTP support, and more

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Enpass password manager's beta client has picked up an update that introduces TOTP (time-based one-time password) support for all categories, new autofill settings, and the ability to generate pronounceable passwords.

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1 week ago

Google I/O 2016 Day 2: Everything you need to know

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After a successful Day 1, here's what happened on the second full day of Google I/O.

The second day of the show is a bit calmer by design in order to let developers get down into the details of everything that was announced the day before, but there's still plenty of newsworthy information coming out regardless. The big headlines of the day were fresh details on Daydream VR and the final announcement that the Play Store is coming to Chrome OS.

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1 week ago

Samsung Pay expands in China with Alibaba partnership

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Samsung has announced that it is partnering with Ant Financial Services Group, the parent company of Alipay, to expand the presence of Samsung Pay in China. Alipay is the largest third-party payment processing service in the country, boasting a userbase of over 450 million. The partnership gives Alipay users the ability to pay using their Samsung phones to pay for goods and services at over 600,000 retail outlets in China and 60,000 locations outside the country.

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1 week ago

Here are the winners of the inaugural Google Play Awards

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Google has selected the winners of the inaugural Google Play Awards at I/O 2016, highlighting this year's best apps and games. The search giant has picked apps and games from a variety of categories, focusing on metrics like innovation and app quality, or apps that make the best use of Google Play's game services or Material Design guidelines. Interior design app Houzz has picked up the honor of the best app, while popular multiplayer title Clash Royale was awarded the best game.

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1 week ago

Best accessories for the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition

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Best accessories for the LG Urbane Watch 2

Bluetooth earbuds, screen protectors, and chargers are great companions for the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition.

After a short-lived release in late 2015, the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition is finally ready to adorn your wrist! A key difference between the second generation and the original Urbane is the LTE connectivity, which means your watch doesn't need to be connected to your phone. AT&T was the first carrier to begin selling this watch with Verizon following suit.

Once you have your shiny new LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition, you'll want to make sure you also have the best accessories to keep it looking and working its best!

Supershieldz Ballistics screen protector

Supershieldz Screen Protector

That 1.38-inch circular P-OLED display on your LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition is gorgeous! First things first, you'll want to protect that thing from scratches and bumps by getting a top-quality screen protector.

Supershieldz is an established name thanks to their excellent screen protectors for phones and they're bringing their proven designs to the Urbane. Their tempered glass screen protector is easy to install thanks to their "bubble free" adhesive, so you won't see any of those unsightly bumps when you try to smooth out your protector after installing it. The glass film has been precisely cut to match the Urbane's screen perfectly and the anti-fingerprint finish prevents your beautiful screen from getting smudged up as you tap and swipe.

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Jaybird X2 Sport Bluetooth Headphones

Jaybird X2 Sport Bluetooth Headphones

The prime feature of the second generation of the LG Watch Urbane is its LTE connectivity. Sometimes you won't want to speak into the Urbane's tiny microphone (like a secret agent speaking into their wrist) and often, you might want to listen to music off of your phone. Enjoy the best of both worlds by picking up a high quality pair of Bluetooth earbuds like the Jaybird X2 Sport.

These are superior headphones first and foremost. Jaybird has been on the Bluetooth scene for a long time and developed a reputation for their great audio tones and comfort. The X2 sport buds were designed to fit and stay comfortably in your ear for leisure listening or pumping the jams from your Urbane's internal storage during an intense run. These earbuds last for eight hours on a charge, are sweat-proof, and come with a lifetime warranty. In addition to having superior audio playback, the call answer button and microphone are strategically placed so you can flip between music and calls with minimal effort.

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Artifex Charging Stand

Artifex Charging Dock Stand

The biggest feature of the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition happens to be its biggest battery drainer: LTE connectivity. In normal conditions you should be able to make it through a day without problems, but if you're making a lot of calls or in an area with limited cell coverage, you may end up burning through your watch battery faster than you expect, so a second charger for work could be a good idea.

The LG Urbane 2 is still pretty new, which means there is limited selection for really cool charging stands and cradles. However, the Artifex charging dock stand has a really great design and does the job. The primary purpose of a charger is to top up your battery, but why not look cool while you do it? The Artifex tilts your beautiful Urbane faceup, showing it off so you can still monitor the display for notifications, or just admire you sleek new tech accessory.

Note: you cannot use a charger from the first generation of Urbane because the charging pins will not line up with the connector on the watch, so make sure whatever charger you buy, it has been designed for the latest the Urbane.

See at Amazon

Accessorized

The basic things you need to enjoy and use your second generation LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition come with it in the box, but it's always nice to have a few extra accessories to personalize your device for your tastes. If you've been fruitlessly searching online for sweet watch bands to swap in and out and are wondering why you can't find them, that's because the bands cannot be removed from the latest generation of Urbane. That's because the receiver for the LTE connection is built into the band, which makes it important to choose a color you won't grow tired of when you select your watch.

Do you have a favorite accessory for your new LG Urbane watch? If there's something you think should be on our list, make sure to leave a comment below telling us what you have and why you love it!

LG Watch Urbane

Best Buy

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1 week ago

Spigen Wallet S case for the Galaxy S7

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Spigen Wallet S case for the Galaxy S

Spigen aims to combine the best of wallets and phone cases with their Wallet S case for the Galaxy S7

Between Samsung Pay and third party digital wallets there is less need to carry your wallet with you everywhere you go. A few taps with the right app can replace your credit and loyalty cards at many stores with tap-and-pay terminals. If you need an in-between step before you fully embrace a digital wallet, Spigen may have a solution. The Wallet S phone case is designed to hold your Galaxy S7 and the most important cards from your wallet.

Style

front view

The S7 clips securely into a hard-shell, non-removable plastic holder within a synthetic leather case. The leather edge of the folio extends a few millimeters around the inner shell giving your phone an extra buffer protecting it from drops and bumps. A flap opens and closes over top of your S7, which may eliminate the need for a screen protector.

The leather cover is held firmly closed thanks to a magnetic clasp preventing your phone from accidentally flipping open when you're holding it. To get the best access to your phone's screen when texting or using an app, you need to fold the wallet flap all the way to the back of the phone so you can reach all corners of your screen with your thumbs.

The case adds to your phone's thickness, but also helps protect it, so it provides a good compromise between form and function.

Features

Kickstand

If you're shopping for wallet cases then having places to keep your money and cards will definitely be important. The Wallet S has three sleeves on the inside of the cover flap to hold your credit and loyalty cards and your licence. The sleeves are flexible enough that you can double-up and add more than one card into each slot. Beneath the sleeves is a thin pocket, which you can use to hold cash (though it needs to be folded to fit properly).

Aside from the wallet features, this case also folds into a kickstand for convenient media viewing. This case was also designed to work with your Galaxy S7's wireless charging capabilities, but when you place this case on the charger, you might have to make a few adjustments to find its sweet spot.

Design

Front view

There are a few compromises you'll have to make if you want to have your phone case function as a case and a wallet. The inner plastic shell leaves access to all ports, the microphone, the speaker, and the power button on your S7. However, your volume buttons can't be easily adjusted unless your case is open, since the flap of the wallet case covers these.

When the case is open, the magnetic clasp curls slightly overtop of your screen. This could be distracting when you're trying to see itn, but you can tuck the clasp behind your phone and pin it there when the front flap is flipped open.

Your Galaxy S7's camera and health sensor are fully accessible and protected, thanks to tapering around the plastic shell and the thickness of the synthetic leather case.

The bottom line

Bottom view

As far as wallet cases go, the Wallet S has all the features you want. The magnetic clasp can be a little annoying when you have the screen open, but it can be tucked out of the way so it does not hang over your screen when in use. This case works with wireless payment methods through Samsung Pay and third party services (assuming the merchant has a modern tap-and-pay terminal) but also provides a safety net by having a spot to store your payment cards as well. If you're looking for a good wallet case that doesn't significantly impact your phone's ease-of-use, the Wallet S is a good option.

See at Amazon

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon

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1 week ago

Uber offers up $10 in ride credit when you pay with Android Pay

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Now that Uber has dropped in-app support for Google Wallet in favor of a switch to Android Pay, the company is offering users some extra incentive to make make the switch as well.

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1 week ago

Android Central 288: Google I/O 2016 (Part 1)

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Audio-only stream below

What's better than one podcast from Google I/O 2016? How about the first of TWO podcasts from Google I/O 2016.

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1 week ago

Android Wear 2.0 wants to launch apps for you automatically

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No need to launch the app to start your workout. Google's got your back.

Saying that plenty of people use their smartwatches to help them with their fitness goals is a no-brainer. Between running trackers, food trackers, and Google Fit, there are plenty of ways to use Android Wear to stay in shape. It's something Google has been aware of for a while now, and at their big Android Wear session at Google I/O they revealed a fitness feature they're hoping developers jump at immediately.

Google doesn't just want you to have access to a bunch of fitness apps, it wants your watch to be able to launch those apps when it seems like you need it.

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1 week ago

Motorola's June 9 event teaser takes us back to the Razr flip phone days

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Motorola has posted a teaser video for a big announcement on June 9, and it takes us back to the days where its Razr flip phone was all the rage.

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1 week ago

What happens when Instant Apps and Chrome OS inevitably collide?

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Clash of Clans

At Google I/O 2016, we've seen the two parts that could come together to revolutionize Google on the desktop.

So it's official — Android apps on the Google Play Store are coming to Chromebooks. As expected, Google will open the floodgates and bring native Android app support to Chrome OS, complete with its own app market, later this year. That's a big deal in its own right, for a range of reasons we've already explored.

But looking further ahead, another new feature announced at Google I/O might well extend the potential of Android apps on Chrome into the stratosphere.

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