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1 week ago

You can now pre-order the second-gen Amazon Echo Dot for $50

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Amazon has officially unveiled the second-generation of its Echo Dot and you can place your pre-order for it now. Refining the hardware a bit, the Echo Dot allows you to play music, control smart home devices and much more with just your voice. The seven far-field microphones allow for it to hear you from across the room or in noisy environments, and the built-in speaker works as an alarm clock, an assistant and much more.

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1 week ago

Best Android phone for kids

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The time has come. You've decided your kid needs a phone. These are their best options!

Russell has been covering Android since the G1, and has had his head in VR headsets since the first Oculus Rift dev kit. Managing editor at VRHeads, video and podcast host, you can follow him on Twitter @russellholly. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at [email protected]

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Best overall

Nexus 5X

See at Amazon

Google's Nexus line offers the latest security updates on the least complicated version of the Android operating system, and the Nexus 5X is one of the best vehicles for this experience. Under that plastic casing you'll find an incredible camera, reasonable battery, and one of the fastest fingerprint sensors available today. It's a little overkill for "My First Smartphone," but given its common price point, and knowing it will last for quite awhile, you can buy it with confidence for your kid.

Bottom line: This is a great phone before you look at the price tag, which makes it that much easier to recommend.

One more thing: Nexus 5X comes in Carbon (Black), Quartz (White), and Ice (Mint Green) depending on where you shop.

Why Google's Nexus 5X is the best

For many people, buying a smartphone is all about getting the most important features at the most reasonable price. When purchasing a phone for their children, parents have a tendency to emphasize price over features. The Nexus 5X is a phone that genuinely lets you have both. While not quite as capable as the more expensive Nexus 6P, LG's partnership with Google has created an incredible phone by just about any standard. On top of guaranteed security updates, so you know your kid is using a phone that will keep their data safe, you're giving your child a great overall experience. This is hands-down the best phone for the money right now, and it's a phone that will work on any U.S. carrier should you decide to pack up and leave your current provider.

Best Value

Moto G4 Amazon Edition

See at Amazon

Maybe you're a parent who believes your children should save up their own money and buy their own phone. Or maybe you don't want that new phone to hit your wallet too hard. Either way, sometimes it really does come down to price. The Moto G4 has always been a decent phone for the price, but Amazon has taken that one step further by offering a special version with their lockscreen ads on board for $50 cheaper than the standard retail version. It means you get a phone for cheap that delivers a decent overall experience, and it works on all of the U.S. carriers.

Bottom line: This is a decent phone on its own, but if price is the biggest feature for you this is where you need to be.

Best on Verizon

Samsung Galaxy J3 V

See at Verizon Wireless

If you find yourself sitting in a Verizon Wireless waiting to add a phone to your account for a little one, there's a good chance you'll have iPhones and Droid Editions and several other phones recommended to you by the folks in the store. Before you put any money down, ask to see the Galaxy J3V by Samsung. It's a simple phone which claims 10 days of standby time and an extreme battery save mode that ensures your child should always be reachable. It's also only $7/month on Verizon's payment plan, so anyone can afford it.

Bottom line: If you need a Verizon phone and aren't looking to spend a lot, this is what you need.

Conclusion

Smartphones give you a little more information regarding where you kids are and what they're doing, but they also give your kid some freedom to have a little fun or get in some trouble. If you want the best for your kid, the Nexus 5X is where you need to be. If price is a real concern, Amazon's version of the Moto G is fantastic. Verizon Wireless subscribers who would rather buy in a store, be sure to ask about the Galaxy J3 V from Samsung.

Best overall

Nexus 5X

See at Amazon

Google's Nexus line offers the latest security updates on the least complicated version of the Android operating system, and the Nexus 5X is one of the best vehicles for this experience. Under that plastic casing you'll find an incredible camera, reasonable battery, and one of the fastest fingerprint sensors available today. It's a little overkill for "My First Smartphone," but given its common price point, and knowing it will last for quite awhile, you can buy it with confidence for your kid.

Bottom line: This is a great phone before you look at the price tag, which makes it that much easier to recommend.

One more thing: Nexus 5X comes in Carbon (Black), Quartz (White), and Ice (Mint Green) depending on where you shop.

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1 week ago

Grab Seneo's fast wireless charger for 50% off right now!

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Right now you can pick up Seneo's fast wireless charging pad for just $20, a 50% savings with coupon code 8WXEUCWC. The charging pad stands the phone in an upright position so you can easily see notifications as they come in, and other stuff on the screen without having to lift it up. Being a fast wireless charging pad, this will get your battery powered up around 1.4 times faster than a standard pad.

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1 week ago

Honor 8 in blue facing UK stock shortage

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Other colors unaffected.

Fresh from the news that 1.5 million units have been sold worldwide, there's word that the Honor 8 will face stock shortages in the UK — at least in the popular blue color option.

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1 week ago

Digital Offers: Get a year's worth of movies and TV shows for only $19!

 Get a year's worth of all the movies and TV shows you can handle for only 9!

There's Netflix, there's Hulu, there's CraveTV, there's Crackle, there's Shomi – there's too many! If you subscribe to only one streaming service, then you're probably missing out on reliving many of your favorite shows and you may not be discovering all the new favorites that you don't even know you have! Sure, you could subscribe to all of them, but then you might as well pay for cable!

You need a streaming service that has it all: every TV show you could ever want, every movie you never even knew you wanted to see, and even some live channels and pay per view options. How about radio stations too? You need a one-stop shop so that you're not having to create a bunch of accounts and having to keep track of passwords and login information. And wouldn't it be great if that service worked with just about every browser you can think of?

SelectTV has it all. Formerly Rabbit TV, SelectTV features over 10,000 movies, 250,000 TV episodes, 50,000 radio stations, and much more, from over 150 countries. If you feel like listening to some latin music, don't settle for local AM radio – listen to radio stations from Mexico or Cuba! Don't limit yourself to North American programming; SelectTV opens you up to a literal world of TV and movie possibilities. You can even stream concerts, live sports, right from a full calendar, all provided with your subscription.

Usually, a 1-year subscription to SelectTV is $36 (even compared to $9 a month at Netflix, that's still a great deal), but right now through Android Central Digital Offers, you can get access to global entertainment for a year for only $19. If you want to save even more, go for a 3-year subscription for only $49.

The most popular streaming services are fine – until you run out of things to watch. Subscribe to SelectTV and never be left wanting for TV, movies, live sports, world radio, and concerts ever again.

See at Android Central Digital Offers

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1 week ago

Gmail: Boost your productivity with these tips and tricks

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Master your inbox with these Gmail tips and tricks.

We covered the basics of Gmail for Android in an extensive guide, and now it's time to take a look at features that extend the functionality of the email client. Whether it's creating labels to categorize your email or using filters to automatically sort incoming mail, Gmail offers a variety of tools aimed at managing your inbox clutter.

If you haven't already, you should enable two-factor authentication on your Gmail account. Two-factor authentication works by combining something you know (a password) with something you have (your phone), effectively doubling your account's security.

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1 week ago

Qualcomm introduces new Clear Sight dual camera system

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Qualcomm is taking the wraps off their latest imaging product today, and the new Clear Sight system promises "astonishing results that mimic human vision."

We've seen dual-camera setups on phones before, and Qualcomm has been at the front of the pack with phones like the LG G5 and its excellent dual camera configuration. Today's news promises to improve the next generation to make things even better. Clear Sight will use two camera lenses — one color and one black and white — along with new software to allow the Spectra image signal processor to grab both images simultaneously and merge them instantly. The camera sensors are identical, outside of one important difference — a color filter. By doing this, you'll be able to take great pictures with even less available light than we can today.

One lens and its corresponding sensor has been designed to capture full-color image data, while the other takes a black and white version of the same view. Without a color filter, the black and white sensor is able to capture more of the available light. This image data will be sharper, have less noise and faster to focus. Once the two sensors are fired and the Spectra ISP gets to work, data from both cameras is combined to produce a picture that has vibrant color and is also very sharp. The package has both camera sensors and lenses on a single integrated module ready to drop in and get to work.

Clear Sight is available for the Snapdragon 820 and 821, but we have no word on which company will be the first to use it. Google has a couple of phones to show us soon, and CES is right around the corner, so chances are we won't have to wait too long to give Clear Sight a closer look.

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1 week ago

I stand by my Galaxy Note 7 review

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Galaxy Note 7

I haven't changed a word in my Note 7 review, and I won't.

Samsung's global recall of the Note 7 is easily the biggest recall of a single phone model, and one with a serious amount of danger behind it. In the past two weeks we've seen this story progress from theoretical small possibilities of failing batteries up to legitimate damage being done to people and property in dozens of cases around the world.

And as the news surrounding the Note 7 recall escalated, so have the calls for Android Central (among other sites) to revisit our review of the Note 7 in light of the new information. In short, I completely stand by every single word I wrote in my Note 7 review — the only change that has been made to it since the recall began was a notice at the top pointing potential owners and buyers to the recall information.

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1 week ago

Amazon Echo + Echo Dot now available to pre-order in the UK!

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Amazon Echo

Order before 5 p.m. September 16 and get a £50 off your Echo.

Amazon is bringing its Echo and Echo Dot smart speakers to the UK and Germany, two years on from the gadget's U.S. launch. The speakers, equipped with Amazon's "Alexa" assistant AI, are now available to pre-order ahead of the September 28 launch date for the Echo. The Echo Dot will arrive October 20, and both speakers will be available in a new white color option.

Both Echo models allow you to interact with Alexa using your voice, and connect to a wide number of supported devices and services. The new European Echo benefits from many of the partnerships Amazon has struck up over the past two years, including integration with Uber, Philips Hue, WeMo and SkyScanner. When it comes to the UK it'll also support popular British services like Just Eat and Sky Sports. If Alexa's U.S. presence is any indicator, there'll be more to come in the future. And that's all in addition to basic functionality like music playback, news and weather updates.

More: Amazon Echo review

The Echo's arrival in Europe this month could be significant — we're expecting Google Home to be officially launched within weeks, and Amazon will be looking to get out ahead of Google's Assistant-powered competitor. Check the links below for the UK listings of Amazon Echo.

New and existing Prime members who purchase before 5:00pm on 16 September save £50 on Amazon Echo at checkout (offer limited to one unit per customer).

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1 week ago

Morning news briefing: September 14, 2016

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Marshmallow is now on 18.7% of Android devices, Galaxy S8 may get an early launch, and is Samsung working on a proprietary audio jack?

In today's news, Samsung may accelerate its launch window for the Galaxy S8. If you like model numbers as much as me, there's an interesting story waiting for you regarding the naming convention for the S8. Also, China has started recalling 1,858 Note 7 units that were sent out to customers as part of a "testing scheme" before the official release. In news that makes no sense whatsoever, Samsung is rumored to be working on a proprietary audio jack to replace the 3.5mm port (Hey Samsung, put those engineering resources to work on updates for the Galaxy A5 and A7).

Meanwhile, Marshmallow is steadily gaining ground, and is now on 18.7% of all active Android devices. Xiaomi is finally launching its first Mi Ecosystem product in India on September 21 (our take: Hugo Barra has had enough of India's pollution), Sony has started rolling out Marshmallow to the mid-range Xperia C4, and we may get to see the Xperia XZ in pink. Here's the latest Android news from around the web.

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1 week ago

China recalls some Galaxy Note 7 handsets, bans use in-flight

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Galaxy Note 7s

No suggestion of a wider Chinese recall yet, as a different battery supplier is said to have been used in the country.

The Chinese authorities have recalled 1,858 Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones partly sold "through an official Samsung website before the Sept. 1 launch, as part of a testing scheme," according to Reuters.

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1 week ago

Galaxy S8: Model numbers revealed as analysts predict early launch

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Samsung phones sign

Samsung reportedly skipping 'unlucky' model number for next flagship, which may launch earlier in 2017 due to the Note 7 recall.

We've already heard how the Galaxy S8 might come in two edge-screen models with 4K displays, and now further details on Samsung's internal designation for the new flagships have come to light. SamMobile, which has a pretty good track record for these things, says the big and small GS8s (Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, perhaps?) are in development under the codename "Dream" and "Dream2."

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1 week ago

Xiaomi is launching the Mi Air Purifier 2 in India on Sep. 21

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Xiaomi is all set to launch its first product in the Mi Ecosystem in India. The company has sent out invites to the media for an event on September 21, where we'll see the Mi Air Purifier 2 make its debut in the country.

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2 weeks ago

Evening news briefing: September 13, 2016

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Android Central

Samsung may cap Note 7 batteries at 60%, Lenovo delays its Tango phone, and some good news for Canadians!

I meant to get up out of this chair today, but the news wouldn't quit. As Samsung was busy announcing controversial OTA updates for the remaining Korean Note 7s that have yet to be replaced, it was also putting up and taking down an IMEI checker site to help people figure out which version Note 7 they have.

Meanwhile, Apple has a big day, launching iOS 10 — though it wasn't without its own problems — and OnePlus got caught up in a bit of a controversy of its own.

To be honest, I feel a little bad for Samsung. The company has been criticized of mishandling this recall process, but the scale is enormous, and the logistics equally so. On the other hand, we're hearing from people still having trouble returning their phones to carriers or getting replacements when promised, which is quickly exposing the sometimes frayed relationship between manufacturers, carriers, and their customers.

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2 weeks ago

LG V20 is the first phone compatible with Wind Mobile's upcoming LTE network

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A new era for Wind Mobile approaches.

Canadians in the large cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary are used to paying a premium for wireless data. Thanks to a system that limited price-lowering competition to regional markets in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and to a lesser extent, Quebec, many have held out hope that one company in particular, Shaw-owned Wind Mobile, would offer the relief they so desperately need.

Though Wind Mobile has talked about its burgeoning LTE network for over a year, it has been constrained by one major factor: a lack of handsets that support the AWS-3 spectrum it purchased (for a steal) in early 2015. Phones have supported the well-used AWS-1 band for five years now, but AWS-3 uses a different pair of frequencies in the 1700/2100Mhz range. Instead of creating a separate band for that pair, the governing body behind international spectrum allocation, 3GPP, combined AWS-1, AWS-3 and AWS-4 (owned by Dish Network in the U.S. and yet to be auctioned in Canada) into a single Band 66.

Read more: Is Wind Mobile worth it?

Now, the LG V20, which is expected to be released in Canada next month, is confirmed to be the first device approved for use with Band 66, which will let it be tested and ultimately used with Wind Mobile's LTE network when it is launched either later this year or in early 2017. The company has been overhauling its HSPA+ networks throughout Canada, beginning with the western-most provinces and moving east, in anticipation of its LTE network, partnering with Nokia to replace aging tower equipment.

Not only does the V20 provide Wind Mobile with its first LTE-capable device, but it builds a platform on which the carrier can advertise its new high-speed capabilities.

Not only does the V20 provide Wind Mobile with its first LTE-capable device, it builds a platform on which the carrier can advertise its new high-speed capabilities when it does launch, offering tier one devices that take advantage of the network. And the V20 is likely the first of many products released in the next few months that support Band 66, though notably the iPhone 7 is absent from the list.

For those in the U.S., the LG V20 also supports T-Mobile's new 256QAM, triple-carrier aggregation LTE network, supporting theoretical speeds of up to 400Mbps on its combination of Band 4, Band 2, and Band 12. Cellular Insights, in their preliminary tests with the V20 in New York City, found T-Mobile spitting out speeds of around 180Mbps, something that Canadians have only recently experienced with Bell's 3xCA in big cities like Toronto. T-Mobile, which is Wind Mobile's main roaming partner in the U.S., is also expected to roll out its first sites with AWS-3 support in the next few months.

So this is great news for those anticipating Wind Mobile's LTE network, and while the company won't promise a firm launch date, it won't be long now.

LG V20

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