1 day ago

AC editors' apps of the week: Photofy, Whispering Willows, Active Watch Face and more

Apps of the wwk

Our weekly app picks

It's Appday Sunday and that means we're back with more of our favorites to share. Every week we bring a handful of great apps to the table and share them with everyone. Sometimes they are new apps, sometimes old standards, but every time they are apps we love to use.

Give these a look and then take a minute to tell us all about the apps you are using and love so we can give them a try. We all find some of our favorites right in the comments on these posts!

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1 day ago

Moto X Play video walkthrough


The Moto X Play, is finally upon us — in Europe at least. And while we finish up our full review of the phone, be sure to check out our brand new video walkthrough of Motorola's most affordable Moto X yet. You'll find it right after the break.

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1 day ago

New Moto 360 leaked in two sizes, colors, and bands


We're expecting to see new Moto 360 later this week at IFA 2015 in Berlin, but in the meantime we're being treated to another leak. This time we're seeing Motorola's upcoming smartwatch in two different sizes (as previously captured on camera), as well as two different colors (black and silver) and with two different bands (black metal link and brown leather).

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1 day ago

Huawei teases its Android Wear watch for IFA conference


We've been waiting for the Huawei Watch one since Mobile World Congress last February. Might this finally be the week? Certainly is looking like it.

More: Check out our full IFA preview

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1 day ago

From the Editor's Desk: A decade later ...


There's a 200-mile stretch of the Gulf Coast that shares an incredible amount of culture and history. It starts, of course, with New Orleans, then ventures a little more than 100 miles east to Mobile, Ala., (pronounced mo-BEEL if you've never been down here), and finally another 45 miles or so to Pensacola. The Spanish and French influence starts to taper off a little bit as you get over this way, but it's still around. The food, music — it twists itself all around as it moves east, but the roots are the same.

So it's been pretty hard the past few days to see the replays of of Hurricane Katrina, the 2005 storm that killed 1,833 people. It hammered the hell out of those 200 miles, from New Orleans to Pensacola. The brunt of the storm, of course, was felt by the Crescent City and the coastal communities of Mississippi directly to the east. (No, I didn't forget you folks.) It put water over the beach here in Pensacola, and along the bayfront downtown. Katrina was a big, nasty storm, even by our standards — and we tend to just blink and deal with anything below a Category 2. It's just something we deal with living here.

Ten years ago. I was newly married — and our nuptials came just three days after a strong Hurricane Ivan landed on Pensacola. I didn't have kids then. I didn't have a smartphone. There was no Twitter. Facebook was still limited to a select few colleges. Live video was only really done by those with TV trucks. I remember sleeping alone the night Katrina landed — my wife was covering things from the county emergency operations center. But I'll never forget the pictures that slowly started to roll in the next day over the wire services. This wasn't just a lot of wind knocking things down and a lot of rain making things wet. It was the dissolution of a major American city into a soggy, suffering, well-armed shell of itself. The lack of government response is as maddening now as it was then. (Maybe even more so since former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was here last week trumpeting his response to the Florida storms of 2004-05.)

Imagine now if we had the same sort of gadgets then that we have today. High-def cameras in nearly every hand. Compact, rechargeable external batteries. (Those are going to be worth their weight in gold after disasters now.) A more robust wireless infrastructure to allow anyone to get the news and conditions out instantly. There will be more storms. But there's no way in hell anyone will every be ignored like that again.

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2 days ago

New photos offer up a look at the Android-powered BlackBerry Venice slider


While the rumors surrounding the BlackBerry 'Venice' slider continue to swirl, the device has now appeared once again in some new, clearer images which are pretty on par with everything we've seen thus far. As mentioned previously, there's still a lot of things up in the air surrounding this device and BlackBerry has yet to announce anything officially but judging from these images, the Venice is as was expected, running a customized version of Android Lollipop that brings along with it some BlackBerry 10 influence.

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2 days ago

Mobile Nations Weekly: Sticky S Pens, an iPhone 6s event, and leaky ships


Sure, next week is IFA 2015, but that doesn't mean we can't have news now!

We're still putting the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 through its paces, but we got one surprise this week: if you put the stylus in backwards, it sticks and will probably break your phone when you try to pull it out (if you can). So don't do that. Apple also announced the date for the anticipated iPhone 6s launch event, more photos of the BlackBerry Venice Android slider leaked out, as did the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL and their Continuum dock.

It's time for Mobile Nations Weekly!

Take the State of the Mobile Nations Phones and Carriers Survey for your chance to win $600 towards a new Android phone of your choice! Take the State of the Mobile Nations Phones and Carriers Survey for your chance to win $600 towards a new Android phone of your choice!

Android Central — A brief moment of panic

Things got a little exciting last week as we all discovered that the combination of the Galaxy Note 5's design and a little user error could well end with the S Pen being stuck inside the phone, or broken, or both. So please, folks. Don't put your S Pen back in the phone backward. That crisis died out pretty quickly, though, so we have a feeling folks got the message loud and clear.

CrackBerry — Slider from the left, slider from the right

This week, we saw BlackBerry CEO John Chen take the stage at the Churchill Club for a candid discussion on how things are going at BlackBerry plus, the BlackBerry Venice slider appeared in some fresh images which show off the device from nearly all angles. In other news, BlackBerry announced a new WatchDox app for BlackBerry 10 Enterprise customers, closing off the question of how they would integrate the service into BlackBerry 10 devices.

iMore — iPhone 6s Watch, Day 208

Invitations have gone out for Apple's annual iPhone event, and that means come September 9, 2015, we should be getting our first looks at the next-generation iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and Apple TV. Oh, and iOS 9 and watchOS 2 as well. It's going to be a big show this year. How big? Just ask Siri for a hint.

Windows Central — New Lumias cometh

Those yearning for new flagship Windows Phones received some nice surprises this week with new renders and another alleged photo. The Lumia phones – codenamed Cityman and Talkman – are expected to be announced in October and so far, audience reaction to the designs is mixed at best. Indeed, in our currently ongoing poll 1/3 flat out think the new Lumias don't look so hot. Will people change when the phones hit shelves in November? Time will tell.

Windows Insiders received a new build of the Windows 10 desktop OS. Build 10532 hit computers this week bringing along with it some menu UI and Microsoft Edge improvements. Speaking of Windows 10, the OS is now installed on more than 75 million computers and should surpass the OS X install base sometime in September.


This week on Kicked we look at chewable coffee cubes, along with a reinvented axe, a GoPro stabilizer, and more! Plus, Drew and Patrick reminisce about an old Canadian heavy metal band while trying to avoid a YouTube copyright strike.

For the coolest crowd funding projects you need to know about (along with a few weekly antics) be sure to subscribe to the Kicked TV YouTube Channel and follow us on social media. We're active on Twitter, Facebook and of course Instagram.


This week on Connectedly, we looked at reasons why you should and shouldn't buy the new Samsung Note 5. We also show you a new wireless home monitoring camera that has been getting a lot of attention. We showed you how to make your own motion-sensing monitoring system using an old Android device. Valve stems that alert you of low tire pressure, bicycle lights that you can lock up, and a new product that turns your older car into a smart connected one.

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2 days ago

IFA 2015 preview


The last of the major trade shows of the year is upon us as we pack our bags and head for the German capital.

The IFA conference takes place every September in Berlin, and in past years has been the home of some huge Android announcements. The big elephant in the room was always the traditional announcement of the Galaxy Note at the pre-show press day. But with that out of the way already, you might think it's set to be a little quieter this year.

How wrong you'd be. Here's a look at what's going down at this years show.

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2 days ago

The Razer Nabu fitness smartband is getting a relaunch in October


Remember the Razer Nabu fitness smartband? Well, Razer wants you to know that the wearable is finally launching, or rather re-launching, in October. The Nabu, which was first announced in January 2014 at CES, will have a few design changes along the way.

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2 days ago

Honor 7 video walkthrough


The Huawei-built Honor 7 is now available in Europe, bringing impressive specs, a capable camera and fingerprint scanning technology to the table, along with a host of new software features. We've got all the details you could want in our Honor 7 review, but if you're more of a visual learner, we've also got the whole thing summed up in three and a half minutes.

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2 days ago

HTC's co-founder gets a second job at the visual effects studio Digital Domain


HTC is hoping to improve its virtual reality efforts in an interesting way. Co-founder and former CEO Peter Chou has just been named as an executive director at the famous movie visual effects studio Digital Domain, and will officially start working there on Aug. 31.

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3 days ago

Head to head: The Alcatel Idol 3 and the Moto G 2015


It's time to pit two smartphones we love against each other. We've picked out four categories — things we think every phone (Android or otherwise) needs to get right before we can recommend them — and squared off the Alcatel Idol 3 against the Moto G 2015.

This is a tough one. Both are great phones, and neither one is the wrong choice. But it's human nature to find the "best" and we're going to dive in and make that hard decision.

Buckle up.

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3 days ago

Android Central 251: Death by Stylus


Audio-only stream below

Is it really possible to fend of a rampaging horde of smartphone nerds with a simple stylus? Is Samsung's latest next big thing doomed because of the missteps of absent-minded users? And what is a Wileyfox, anyway? Answers to these burning questions — and a whole lot more — on this week's Android Central Podcast!

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3 days ago

Amazon Echo can now play music and audiobooks from multiple Amazon accounts


The Amazon Echo can now play both audiobooks and music from multiple Amazon accounts, and switching between them is as easy as a voice command. Getting set up for the new functionality is simple as well, just head to the Settings in the Alexa app and add another Amazon user to the household. Switching between the two profiles is as simple as saying "Alexa, switch accounts."

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3 days ago

Living with USB-C


USB-C has started its slow march to dominance, and I'm finally ok with that.

I was working in a mobile tech store when microUSB began its slow dominance of the mobile ecosystem. Everyone I worked with at the time glared at the massive wall of barrel connectors, weird plastic plugs with copper bits on the sides, and those huge 20-pin plugs with equal degrees of hatred. MicroUSB changed all of that, and eventually made it possible for almost every phone and tablet to use the same connector over the last couple of years.

It's been a good run, but after using what comes after microUSB for the last few weeks I am finally ready to say goodbye to this industry-changing port and welcome USB-C as the way of the future.

It wasn't all that long ago I was fairly unimpressed with this new USB connector. The port is physically larger than microUSB, the central connector stem inside the female end of the port looked fragile, and I've never been a part of the group that finds plugging in a microUSB cable frustrating. While the USB-C spec includes some exciting things for data transfer and charging, neither of those things affected me personally. I'm already using and loving Quick Charge 2.0, and because I live in a place where 802.11ac Wifi exists and high speed LTE flows freely, I rarely care about the transfer speed of my USB connection.

The experience was neither revolutionary nor earth shattering. Just a cable and a port, like the thousands I had used before it.

I'm also not a huge fan of the cable most frequently compared to USB-C. I own more than my fair share of Apple hardware, and personally I can't stand Lightning cables. The cables Apple includes with their hardware are often cheap and poorly made, and even the nice Lightning cables have dangerously fragile connectors. I've broken more Lightning connectors than I care to admit, either through accident and clumsiness or poor construction. By comparison, I've broken far fewer microUSB cables and use those cables significantly more frequently than I do Lightning.

Fortunately, I now know the truth about USB-C. Over the past couple of weeks I've used the OnePlus 2 and Asus ZenPad S 8.0 almost exclusively. This USB-C combination required me to replace the cables I use around the house and when I travel with the proper gear, which I did immediately. I didn't really notice any difference in my usage at first. Plug the cable in when I needed it, unplug it when I was done. The experience was neither revolutionary nor earth shattering. Just a cable and a port, like the thousands I had used before it. Also, neither of the devices I'm currently using have any of the extra magic that will make USB-C special in the future. These are essentially USB 2 ports in hardware with no Quick Charge capabilities or faster transfer speeds, so it really didn't seem like a big deal to me.

Halfway through the second week I needed to get something off of my Samsung Galaxy S6 edge, and it was in this interaction that I realized how different things were. It took me two tries to get the microUSB cable into the port, after which I immediately removed the cable to check the port because it didn't feel like the cable had seated correctly. When I re-connected the cable everything was fine, but the connection still felt loose and flimsy to me. I had already become a convert to USB-C.

A big part of what makes this connector special is its internal design. The oval connector is not only slightly wider and taller than microUSB, but longer as well. Inserting this port into a phone or tablet is met with a physical click every time, and the seated position means very little wiggling around. You wont, for example, be able to lean the connector up or down and watch as your hardware stops registering a connection. The connector pins are on both sides of the central stalk in the female part of the port, so as soon as it is connected it stays that way.

Fragility is not nearly as big a concern for me after using these connectors for the last few weeks, but it's still something I'm wary of. The USB-C connection in the OnePlus 2 is solid. Very little wiggle and in many ways more solid than most microUSB connections out there. A lot of that has to do with the metal frame and the position of the port. The ZenPad S 8.0, on the other hand, has a rounded plastic frame and the port is off to the right. This version of the port has a lot more wiggle to it, and feels as though a good drop on the cable would yield the same kind of breakage as microUSB. Since there's going to be a ton of hardware with this port in the not-so-distant future, it's clear overall quality will vary for some.

The bottom line is this — I'm a whole lot more interested in USB-C taking over the world nowadays. I like the way the cable feels when seated in the port, and when we start to see USB-C ports on phones with the USB 3.1 spec behind it, the doors will open for some interesting new features. We'll probably also start seeing more in the way of standardized USB accessories, but that's another matter for another day.

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