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1 week ago

How to get the Huawei Mate 9 at the best price using Jet.com

How to get the Huawei Mate 9 at the best price using Jet.com

Jet.com is a website with tons of products and their goal is simple: saving you money. By opting out of certain online "luxuries", you can end up spending less on your purchases.

Save money on the best big Android phone See more

The Huawei Mate 9 is the best big Android phone money can buy, and if you're in the market for Huawei's next flagship, why not save a little cash in process? Here's how!

How to get the best price on the Huawei Mate 9 with Jet.com

Saving on the Mate 9 is simple; you just have to forego free returns and have your debit card handy.

  1. Add the Huawei Mate 9 to your cart. Then the savings start.
  2. Pay by debit card.
  3. Click to opt out of free returns. Don't worry, you can still return the phone — you'll just have to pay $5.99 plus 5% of the price of the phone.
  4. Click the option to do both for the most savings!

How does that save me money?

The way Jet.com explains it is that free returns are actually built into the price of the item, so the return isn't, in essence, "free". You can still make a return, but you'll have to pay $5.99 plus 5% of the phone price.

Get the best price on the Huawei Mate 9 See more

As for paying with your debit card, companies have to pay a certain fee per credit card transaction — there is no fee when debit is used. So, no free returns and no credit card transaction fee means you save money on the best big Android phone around.

Get saving

Check out the Huawei Mate 9 on Jet.com for the best price on the best big'un!

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1 week ago

Galaxy S7 dominates holiday sales, but Android loses ground to iOS in the U.S.

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The iPhone is quickly on the way to dethroning Android's dominance in the U.S., though the platform continues to thrive overseas.

Via Recode, Kantar WorldPanel released data that shows the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and the iPhone 6S accounted for about 31 percent of smartphone sales since Apple's flagship launched in September 2016.

Samsung's Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge were up next with 28.9 percent of sales, while Google's Pixel managed a meager 1.3 percent. KantarWorld Panel refers to the Pixel's numbers as "strong gains," but it's a wonder if it would have sold better had Verizon not confused consumers about its exclusivity.

It's worth noting that Big Red also made some gains over the holiday:

"Verizon booked nearly a quarter of all US smartphone sales during the Black Friday period, playing a vital role for all brands, including Apple and Samsung."

Despite the impressive sales of Samsung and Google's devices, Android's market share is slowly falling in the U.S. The platform has been on a consistent downturn for the past six quarters. It lost about five percent market share in the last year, though it still makes up about 55 percent of all U.S. smartphone sales.

Not surprisingly, Android is maintaining a strong presence in overseas markets, such as China. Chinese iPhone sales dipped below 20 percent during the same period, about five percent less compared to 2015. Kantar WorldPanel reports:

"Nearly 80% of all smartphones sold in Urban China during the three months ending November 2016 were Android, as local brands continued to dominate the market."

Huawei represented about 25 percent of all Android smartphone sales in China, though the iPhone 7 was the best-selling device in Urban China, dethroning the Oppo R9.

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1 week ago

Charge those smartwatches: Android Wear 2.0 arriving February 2017

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Google pushed up Wear's release date to next month!

Just in time for Valentine's Day — because you know you were thinking of getting your special someone a brand new Android Wear device, right? — Google has pushed the release date of Android Wear 2.0 to early February 2017. That's next month!

Originally, Android Wear 2.0 was slated for release sometime in early 2017, but based on a notice sent out to developers, a launch window has been set. The note was sent out to those with apps that are still using the legacy APK installation mechanism, according to Android Police. Developers were warned that apps that have not been updated with the support won't show up on the Wear Play Store when the update goes live.

There is no actual reason mentioned for why Google pushed up Android Wear 2.0's launch window, though it's likely because the momentum on smartwatches has reached a lull. Waiting until later on in the year would have been too late for Google to attempt to reignite a fire under its slowly sizzling wearable branch. This is a better time, especially considering the smartwatch announcements — including the Casio WSD-F20 — that quietly made headway at this year's CES.

Stay tuned for when the update goes live. Until then, check to see if your existing Android Wear smartwatch is compatible.

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1 week ago

Google says phone makers can't ruin Nougat's notifications if they want to get Google services

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A clarification of existing rules means everyone will get at least one feature from Android 7.

It never fails that Google shows off something we think is pretty cool when they give us details about what the next Android version can do, then the people who make the phones don't include it. There is always that one thing. But it won't be the direct reply feature in Android 7 Nougat because Google explicitly says it has to stay.

Android Police noticed a line in the latest Compatibility Definition Document that not only reinforces an existing rule that managed API interfaces can't be changed but explicitly mentions notifications by name.

Handheld device implementations MUST support the behaviors of updating, removing, replying to, and bundling notifications as described in this section.

This means that the folks who make your phone have to include the bundled notifications feature as well as inline and direct replies if they want access to Google Play and all the other Google services. Peeking — think of that as a smart pop-up if you're not familiar with the term — and bundled or inline conversations in peek cards isn't addressed, so that's still going to be up to the manufacturers and app developers to support. As it should be.

Android 7.0: Better and more interactive notifications

It's also worth noting that there is still a slew of options available for customization using message styles and custom views APIs. Samsung can still be Samsung, and EMUI can still be a mess EMUI, but they need to keep the features in place.

Android Nougat

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1 week ago

Get animated with these wallpapers

5

Add a touch of non-Disney animated magic to your home screen.

Animated films allow us to bring any story, any concept to life. Fairytales and fantasies, romances and revenges, animation enables them all! And while Disney will always be tops in my heart (and in my collection), there's more to animation than Disney, and they don't deserve to be forgotten just because they didn't all start with a mouse.

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1 week ago

Android Central Best of CES 2017 Awards!

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AC's CES 2017 award winners are in!

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At this year's CES in Las Vegas, instead of one particular category standing out, we were impressed by a number of existing ones — and updates to old ideas.

But trends did emerge: the Internet of Things is, while still a meaningless generalization, filtering down to consumer products in meaningful ways, like with the NVIDIA Spot. And new takes on a wrist wearable, like the the Lofelt Basslet, feel designed for more specific, and invested audiences.

Still, it was the old form factors that won our hearts this year: the BlackBerry 'Mercury', in its late aughts glory, impressed us, as did the Samsung Chromebook Pro and ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom. All updates to tried-and-true designs, but great products nonetheless.

So without further ado, here are our awards for the best of CES 2017.

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1 week ago

These products and services work with Google Home

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Which products and services work with Google Home?

Google first introduced Google Home to the world back in May at Google I/O 2016, later revealing the final product alongside the Pixel in October. From everything we've seen, Google Home seems primed to eventually link up with any smart device in your home and allow you to control everything with just the sound of your voice.

Google has announced which products and services will be supported at launch, but there's sure to be plenty more to come in the future. Continue to check back to this article in the coming months, as we'll surely be updating this list as more products and services are added. We've broken things down into two categories — home automation products and supported services.

Home automation

Chromecast

It should come as little surprise that Google Home works with Chromecast. Google hit it out of the park with their compact, Wi-Fi enabled dongles for video or audio that you simply hook up to your TV or stereo and allow you to stream media straight from your phone, tablet, or laptop.

Google Home takes things to the next level by allowing you cast video and audio from its supported services using only your voice. As if Chromecast wasn't convenient enough already. I can think of many scenarios where I might want to pull up something from YouTube or change a playlist while I'm busy in the kitchen or otherwise preoccupied. Currently only YouTube is supported for video, but expect more services to be added — Netflix, Hulu and the like — as time goes on. We've linked to the 2015 model below, which remains a fantastic value at only $35... but it only displays at 1080p. If you're interested in some higher definition, Google is set to start shipping a new Chromecast for 2016 — the Chromecast Ultra — which costs twice as much but supports 4K video.

See at Google

Chromecast-enabled TVs and Speakers

If you're looking to upgrade your home theatre setup and would like streamline things with less dongles, there's a growling selection of Smart TVs with Chromecast built right, with 4K sets available from the following brands:


For streaming audio, the biggest gap currently is a lack of support for Sonos. There doesn't appear to be any timetable for adding Sonos into the Google Home ecosystem which is frustrating for anyone who's invested in — or looking to start building out — a Sonos system throughout their home.

But you still have options. Nine brands currently offer Chromecast-enabled speakers, soundbars and subwoofers:

Nest

Nest is one of the best known manufacturers of smart home automation products, which include self-learning, Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, smoke detectors and security cameras.

With Google Home and a Nest thermostat, you'll be able to effortlessly control the temperature of your home using only your voice. Nest also works well with other smart products, such as lights, doorbells, and smart locks.

See at Amazon


SmartThings

Samsung's SmartThings is a very capable and customizable home automation system that features five different smart sensors for home monitoring, all linked together wirelessly via the Hub. The SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit comes with a Hub, two Multipurpose Sensors, a Motion Sensor and an Outlet. You can configure them however you like in your home, then get instant notifications if anything is out of the normal. You can also buy additional sensors, including an Arrival Sensor and a Water Leak Sensor.

SmartThings is incredibly versatile as it is, but we're super excited to see what integration with Google Home will look like.

See at Amazon

Phillips Hue

Phillips is one of the leading manufacturers of wireless LED smart bulbs. The Phillips Hue lineup features a multitude of different lighting options for around your home, which must be configured through the Phillips Hue Bridge via. You're able to connect up to 50 lights to one Bridge and then configure and control them in so many different ways.

We should expect Google Home to work just as well with Phillips Hue lights as it does with Apple Home Kit, meaning you'll be able to set and adjust your Phillips Hue lights throughout your house without leaving the couch, or easily turn off all the lights when you're leaving the house or it's time for bed.

See at Amazon

IFTTT

IFTTT is a free web service that lets you create chains of conditional commands, called "recipes," to automate processes between apps and smart home devices. IFTTT is an abbreviation of "If This Then That", and that's exactly how the recipes function. For example, say you're concerned about your teenager getting into the liquor cabinet when you're away. If you have a SmartThings Multipurpose Sensor on the liquor cabinet door, you can create an IFTTT recipe that goes "if the liquor cabinet door is opened, call my phone," so you'll know instantly if something's up.

IFTTT is compatible with a ridiculous number of IoT devices, applications, and online services — including Google's OnHub router — and is something you should definitely check out with or without Google Home.

Check out IFTTT recipes created for Google Assistant

Supported services

Spotify

Over 100 million people use Spotify for all their music streaming needs. Of those, 40 million are paid subscribers. The point here is that Spotify is massively popular and if you aren't already using it, you probably know a bunch of people who do.

With Google Home, simply say "OK Google", followed by your favourite artist, album, song, or playlist, and your music will almost instantly start playing through the Google Home speaker. This is absolutely perfect for playing music in the kitchen when your hands are too messy to be handling a phone, or for setting the right mood for a party or intimate evening. We're also eager to see how smooth it is to use Google Home to cast your Spotify music to your Chromecast Audio-enabled speakers for an even better audio experience.

Pandora

Pandora is a fantastic music recommendation platform which is used by over 200 million people in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand. It's a customizable internet radio streaming service that allows you to curate your own streams using algorithms that recommends new music it knows you'll love based on your musical tastes and how you've rated other music.

With Google Home, you'll be able to throw on your favorite Pandora station using just your voice. In its current iteration, Google Assistant is unable to identify songs like Shazam or other apps of that sort, but we'd hope to see your Google Assistant give you the information about a song you've just discovered on Pandora, just by asking "what song is playing?" as well as an option to rate songs and skip if necessary.

Google Play Music

Kind of a no brainer, but Google Home will obviously play well with Google Play Music. And that's great news, since Google has slowly build its core music app to encompass a full-fledged streaming service featuring 35 million songs available on-demand (with a subscription) along with mood- and activity-based stations (you may have known it as Songza), along with being a great option for podcasts. A natural fit with Google Home, you'll definitely want to get a Google Play Music subscription if you don't already have one.

TuneIn

Believe it or not, but some people actually prefer to listen to the radio. TuneIn is absolutely the go-to app for accessing online radio, music, and talk stations. Even with the free version, you get access to over 100,000 radio stations from around the world, along with over five million podcasts as well. If you decide to upgrade to the premium subscription, you'll also get access to live NFL and MLB play-by-play, along with a large library of audiobooks.

It will be really interesting to see how third-party streaming services such as TuneIn are integrated into the Google Home experience via the Google Assistant, whether you'll be able to make a broad request ("Play a top-40 radio station from the UK in TuneIn") or stick to more specific requests based on your app usage ("Play my favorite local radio station in TuneIn").

YouTube

YouTube is another obvious starting point for Google to incorporating video search and playback controls with Google Home. Some might be disappointed with a lack of support at launch for Netflix, Hulu and other video services, but with so much content available on YouTube and natural alignment within Google's existing ecosystem (hello, Chromecast), it's a great place for Google to fine tune their voice searching capabilities before opening things up for other video services.

Google Assistant on the Pixel currently only works well with YouTube for video — you can ask to open up Netflix or other apps, but have to navigate the rest of the way from there. But we're likely not too far off from being able to come home, say "OK Google, cast The Office on Netflix to the living room" and binge watch the night away, for better or for worse.

YouTube is also the world's largest music streaming service, becoming such a primary destination for lovers of music that they came out with the YouTube Music app. A subscription to YouTube Red is required.

The YouTube Music app isn't available for everyone just yet, but it too is listed as being compatible with Google Home. The Pixel's Google Assistant frequently completes music requests using YouTube, so we'd imagine it to be just as smooth an experience with Google Home.

What do you think?

Are there any services or products you're hoping to connect and control via Google Home? Let us know in the comments!

This article was originally published in October 2016. It was updated in January 2017 with list of Smart TVs and speakers with Chromecast built in.

Google Hardware

Google Wifi:

Google Amazon

Google Home:

Google Best Buy

Chromecast Ultra:

Google Best Buy

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1 week ago

Spectacles review: 5 things to know about Snapchat's glasses

8

MrMobile loves his tech wearable and his social media sociable, and the Snapchat Spectacles are the perfect confluence of those ideals. He ambled around all of CES with the spectacles on his face, getting stopped with questions about them. Since he's been asked about them many times already, he's put together this great list of information you should know about Spectacles.

Michael Fisher lays down some great tips, tricks, info and things you should know about the Snapchat Spectacles. If you're the kind of person who just can't help documenting everything and anything, you're probably already intrigued. Watch this video, and follow mrmobilesnaps on Snapchat!

Stay social, my friends

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1 week ago

Brag about your Chromecast Ultra with this 4K YouTube playlist

0

You don't have to look any further than YouTube for some great 4K.

The Chromecast Ultra can handle 4K streaming like a champ, and if you have a 4K TV you'll be looking to get as much 4K content as possible. The problem is most of what you'll find today is still 1080p. The @Chromecast account has your back, though, pointing out that there's a great 4K-only YouTube playlist available that'll show off your great Chromecast Ultra and 4K TV.

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1 week ago

How to use Bluetooth headphones with Google Daydream

Audio is an integral part of enjoying Google Daydream, make sure you get the best experience possible.

Being able to clearly hear what is going on around you when you are enjoying yourself in VR is key to really falling into the experience. So it's pretty common to want to invest in an awesome pair of bluetooth headphones so that you don't have to worry about wires getting in your way while you are playing. Unfortunately, bluetooth headphones don't tend to work particularly well in VR. It isn't impossible, and we've got the details for you on how to get the best audio experience.

Read more at VRHeads.com

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1 week ago

The Android launcher experience on tablets is still terrible

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It's not quite a desktop, but it's not quite a normal home screen.

The Android tablet experience is often awkward and awful, and that goes double for the launchers, which are inconsistent, inconvenient, and often times ugly. From third-party launchers to manufacturer versions of tablet layouts, there's a lot to be desired, and while part of that blame falls on developers, it also falls to Google, which has still not quite figured out how tablets should behave.

And it falls on us. Because we just don't know what we want.

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1 week ago

Huawei's next flagship is coming at MWC 2017

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Huawei logo

Huawei P10 likely to break cover in Barcelona.

Huawei has begun sending out "save the date" invites for its Mobile World Congress 2017 press conference, which kicks off on the afternoon of Sunday, February 26 in Barcelona, Spain. The invite promises "the global unveiling of a new flagship device" -- a surprising development perhaps, just a couple of months after the Mate 9's arrival.

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1 week ago

What size microSD card should you buy for your Amazon Fire Tablet?

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It's not always as easy as just buying whatever you see on Amazon.

Sure, it sounds silly. But with the super-cheap Amazon Fire Tablet also comes an important decision on how best to expand the storage capacity. You can slot in a microSD card and make a small, cheap tablet have a lot more space to keep your apps and media.

So, let's try and help you make the buying process a little easier by covering some key points to consider.

READ: Best microSD Cards for Amazon Fire Tablet

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1 week ago

Facebook says new battery issues can be fixed with an app reset, no update on old battery issues

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If your Facebook battery usage has been especially bad recently, it has apparently been fixed server-side.

You don't use Facebook and also get surprised by battery drain issues, especially with the ocean of data to support just how hungry both Facebook and Messenger can be, but recently several users noticed a dramatic spike in power consumption. Some users reported as much a 1% every minute when Facebook Messenger was open, and it turns out that's not the intended battery consumption rate for that app.

Facebook's Messenger lead David Marcus responded to a recent complaint about power consumption on Twitter recently with an explanation and an apology, and it looks like whatever was going wrong has been fixed.

Facebook itself is still a significant battery hog, but even when you're playing games with friends Messenger is usually not too bad. As the tweet suggests, if you're still experiencing higher than usual drain from Messenger, force close the app and restart it so the new connection is no longer affected by the server-side issue that has been addressed recently.

If you feel compelled to do this more than once because of continued battery drain, chances are you're experiencing something entirely different from this problem. Fortunately for you, it looks like the guy in charge is pretty responsive.

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1 week ago

ZTE will launch an Android Wear smartwatch in 2017

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Bucking the trend of other Android manufacturers, ZTE thinks the time is right to launch an Android Wear smartwatch.

With the impending release of Android Wear 2.0, and two accompanying wearables from Google itself, ZTE says that it plans to enter the market, according to CNET. "[ZTE] already has a US carrier partner lined up to sell the watch, which has its own LTE connection and can run independent of a phone," the story says, and that battery life, a primary issue with the last generation of smartwatches, has been improved tremendously.

Whether independent LTE connectivity will be enough to get people to replace their current smartwatches, or buy into the ecosystem in the first place, remains to be seen, but despite the tepid recent response it's clear some phone makers still believe there is always money in the smartwatch banana stand.

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