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1 day ago

How to fix Chromebook battery problems: Power it off before you put it away

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A quick tip for Chromebook users — powering down when you're done using your laptop keeps things running smoothly and makes sure your software is up to date.

Your Chromebook does a good job of going to sleep and staying asleep when you shut the lid, which is the sort of thing you'd want any laptop to do well. But that doesn't reset and recycle your current session in Chrome OS. And those are both things you want to do when you're finished working (or playing) for the day. There are two big reasons why — keeping your software current and resetting what's stored in your memory (RAM).

Shutting down your Chromebook lets stuff happen in the background properly, like installing new updates.

Your Chromebook uses what's called Verified Boot along with automatic updates to keep the software current and secure. When an update is available for the operating system, it gets fetched from the Internet and installed alongside the version you are currently running. Before and during the installation process, the integrity of the software is checked by matching it against the official copy. If the tests performed all match, then your Chromebook knows that the software is official and hasn't been tampered with. (The same process is done each time you start things up, too.)

The next time you shut off your Chromebook then restart it, this new copy of the operating system is what gets loaded. The old copy can then be erased and replaced the next time there is an update. This process also came to to Android Nougat on our phones and tablets because it works really well.

Your Chromebook also manages memory a little differently than most other operating systems. We go into it a little more here, but the short version is that the things you're looking at and the things you recently were looking at are kept in the memory. Your RAM has a 10MB portion reserved for this, and the only way to free it up is to shut your laptop down. This doesn't make much of a difference if you were looking at cat pictures yesterday and are going to look at cat pictures again today, but it doesn't make a lot of sense to keep Google Docs and that boring company spreadsheet in the reserved portion if you're done with it.

You don't have to wipe this cached data away because it will overwrite itself as you do different things, but there could be a small performance hit if you do things that way. Chrome boots so fast it's easier on the system (and your battery) to shut down and start fresh for each session.

To be clear — your Chromebook will work just fine if you never shut it off. Chrome is Linux, and some Linux computers go for years without being power cycled.

But to take advantage of the update system as well as the way Google uses your RAM for great performance, the best thing you can do each night is power down. You can shut down by pressing and holding the power button, or by clicking in the status area (next to your account picture on the tray) and clicking the power icon.

Chromebooks

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1 day ago

All Nest Cams have a dangerous bug, but it will be fixed 'in the coming days'

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Nest Cams are incredibly convenient, but having a permanent connection to the Internet can also be a security risk.

Nest, the Alphabet company that scooped up to take over its smart home ambitions, has a problem. Its Nest Cam line, which includes the (admittedly excellent) Outdoor model, has a dangerous bug that allows a would-be thief or hacker (or hacker thief) to send a signal over Bluetooth to force the camera into a reboot, disabling the unit for up to 90 seconds.

The vulnerability was discovered last October and reported to Nest in October by Florida-based security expert, Jason Doyle, but the cries went ignored, so he felt he had no choice but to make them public in hopes of pushing Nest to do something about it.

There are three issues, all to do with problems in the camera's always-on Bluetooth connection, which end up forcing the unit to either reset or seek out a non-existent Wi-Fi network. All three issues have the same effect: they take down the Nest Cam entirely. Of course, said hacker would need to be within Bluetooth LE range for the connection to be made — some 60 feet in good conditions, but more likely 30 feet — but now that the exploits are out, such antics could become more common.

For its part, Nest has released a statement claiming that it would be sending a patch to all Nest Cam and Dropcam models "in the coming days," after discovering and patching the issue internally. Good news for active Nest Cam users, but let's hope Dropcam has a method of forcing such an update to customers that wouldn't otherwise be aware of the problem.

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1 day ago

Amazon Echo vs. Dot vs. Tap: Which should you buy?

57
 Which should you buy?

Control your music and way more with Amazon's line of Echo smart speakers.

The world of the connected home is still very much a disconnected mess. As Apple and Google each compete with their own standards — and other companies doing the same with their own — Amazon has quietly snuck in the side door with its smart, attractive, and intelligent speaker. Or, rather, speakers. After more than a year with just the Amazon Echo to lead the way, Amazon's line of smart speakers embodies that future. The Echo, Tap, and Dot are very similar smart speakers, in that they perform nearly all the same functions, with some minor differences.

If you're in the market for a smart speaker but can't decide between these three, we'll outline the key differences and let you know which one is best for you.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo

The first of its kind, Amazon Echo is a 9-inch speaker that at first glance resembles a tube of Pringles. However, this unit is far more than just a speaker that can play all your favorite tunes from Pandora, Spotify, Prime Music, and more. (Tell it to "Play the [Android Central Podcast," too!) It can easily become the smart controller for your entire home, connecting to smart lights (like Philips Hue), Nest thermostats, Samsung SmartThings, and much more.

It's basically a smartphone search appliance without the screen. It can answer questions, read audiobooks, check traffic and weather updates, and essentially act as your voice-activated butler (aside from actually bringing you a snack, though you can use it to order pizza from Domino's…).

In a somewhat creepy display of semi-AI, the Echo is always connected to Amazon's Alexa network, which is in the cloud and always getting smarter. The more you use it, the more it learns your preferences, speech patterns, and vocabulary, to better deliver on what you're asking for. It's always learning.

Check out our review for more!

Is it for me?

You'll want the Echo if you want the total package. If you want a whole-home control center coupled with a decent speaker, then the Echo is your best choice. It's an especially prudent choice if you already have your home rigged with smart devices. This one is designed to truly integrate with your home and therefore become a relatively permanent fixture. It comes in white and black.

See at Amazon


Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Echo Dot

The Dot is essentially the Echo's "Mini-Me." It has a smaller, quieter speaker and, in size, is more akin to a hockey puck. It does everything the Echo does, but also has a 3.5mm output jack and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to connect it to your current sound system. Truly, it's as though someone just decapitated the Echo and then scrunched up the full-size speaker and jammed it up into the neck, and boom, the Dot.

Connect to and control all of your smart home devices, as well as your existing audio set-up, making the Dot perhaps the most desirable of the Echo family, especially since it's only $50 (and right now, if you buy a 6-pack, you'll only pay for 5!).

Check out our review for more!

Is it for me?

It is if you have an existing audio setup and several smart devices around your home that you'd like to control with just your voice. Don't go looking for real sound quality from the Dot, though it will do in a pinch if nothing else is available. Like the Echo, the Dot is constantly learning and adapting to your voice and your preferences. Comes in white and black.

See at Amazon

Amazon Tap

Amazon Tap

The Tap is the next in line and brings most of the same features that the Echo has, with the added benefit of portability. With up to nine hours of playback, the Tap is rechargeable and comes with a handy wireless charging cradle.

Since it is battery-powered, the Tap isn't always listening, so — as the name would suggest — you have to tap it to activate Alexa, which only works over Wi-Fi. It's kind of a pain in the keister.

Like the Echo and Dot, the Tap can control your smart home devices, but you'll have to get up and tap it to do so (at that point, you might as well pull out your phone). It can also act as you futuristic assistant, adding items to your calendar and helping with searches. It connects to your phone and other smart devices, like tablets, via Bluetooth, but just for playback.

The Tap is the only somewhat customizable Echo option, with the Tap Sling cover available in six colors.

Is it for me?

It is if you want a portable speaker that also lets you stream music from many of your favorite services. The Tap can still do all of the assistant-related things that the Echo and Dot do; you just have to get off your duff and tap it to get it to work. If you just want a Bluetooth speaker that doubles as a personal assistant (by using the Alexa app), then the Tap is your best choice. Only available in black.

See at Amazon


How do you choose?

If you want the total package — decent speaker, whole-home control, and a personal assistant, all controlled by your voice — then go with the Echo.

If you want the exact same thing, but smaller, since you already have a sweet home-audio setup, then go with the Dot. It's definitely the best value.

If you want a portable Bluetooth speaker that can also act as a personal assistant, and you don't mind getting up to tap it when you want to control your smart home devices, then the Tap is your bag, baby.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon

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1 day ago

How to manually update your Nexus or Pixel

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How to manually update your Nexus or Pixel

Get the latest version of Android on your phone on your own terms.

Nexus, the line of Android phones and tablets developed in partnership between Google and various hardware manufacturers, was a program that helps developers to get their hands on a 100% stock Android experience. It can help to develop applications for the platform quicker and easier than using a device with a manufacturer skin onboard, and that's a good thing. Google has discontinued the Nexus line in October 2016 in favor of the Pixel.

The Pixel is Google's attempt at being a company that sells phones and has more control over whats inside them. Think of them as the continuation of the Nexus line in terms of offering a clean software experience handled directly by Google.

These phones aren't just bought by developers. If there's a single reason for consumers to buy a Nexus or Pixel device, it's this: the newest software first. Period.

When Google works on major updates to Android, it's also building them to work specifically on their own devices. This means when Google releases an update to the Android code itself, it will come quickly to these phones first, if not immediately.

And Pixel or Nexus phones actually are among the few that have several ways of receiving updates. Some are easier, some are faster, but all are available to you. Here's how to manually update yours.

This post was last updated in March 2017.

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1 day ago

Deal: Unlimited Calls, Text and 2GB of 4G LTE data for $11.67 per month

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Right now, Mint SIM has an amazing deal on high-speed 4G LTE data in the U.S.!

In the U.S., between the Big Four carriers, it's become a game of race to the top — with that top being unlimited data.

But most people don't need unlimited data. In fact, most Americans don't use more than a couple of gigabytes per month, and even the top percentage rarely go over 10GB. 1

That's why Mint SIM is such a great value proposition. The idea is simple: by signing up for three months of service at a time, you save money every month.

For a limited time, get 2GB of data, plus unlimited calls and texts, for $11.67 per month!

Here's the lowdown on Mint SIM: It cuts through the BS of "unlimited" to provide exactly what you need at a price that no one can match. The company uses T-Mobile's extensive 4G LTE network that covers most of the coverage in ultra-fast wireless connectivity. And features like tethering are free, so if you find yourself with extra gigs at the end of the month, you can connect your laptop or tablet to your phone's data plan and enjoy mobile freedom anywhere.

You could be paying just $11.67 per month for 2GB of wireless data! Learn More

1 Data collected independently by Mobile Nations between June 2016 to September 2016.

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1 day ago

OnePlus is letting anyone buy this slick Midnight Black OnePlus 3T

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There's a new special edition OnePlus 3T, and you may actually be able to buy it this time.

A lot is going right for OnePlus these days. The company was among the first manufacturers to release Android 7.1.1 to two of its devices on the same day, and it managed to make all the nerds swoon in unison with the announcement of a special edition all-black OnePlus 3T in collaboration with Parisian fashion house, colette.

While that particular run was limited to 250 people, OnePlus has bigger plans for its so-called Midnight Black OnePlus 3T: not only is it releasing a limited run of the phone (another 250 units) in a "unique online pop-up sales event" starting at 4pm GMT at Hypebeast, but it will make the shade available to more people in Europe and North America "on OnePlus.net for a limited time at a later date."

In other words, OnePlus is taking advantage of this artificial scarcity tactic.

"Our users have been asking for an all-black OnePlus 3T, so our team worked hard to bring them the most stunning OnePlus phone to-date in the OnePlus 3T Midnight Black," said Pete Lau, OnePlus CEO, in a release. "This new version of our most successful phone so far combines powerful hardware, fast and smooth software and the finest attention to detail."

According to the company, over 30 variations of the all-black design were tested before it (never) settled on this particular look and feel, going through a rigorous manufacturing process that includes "three carefully applied dark coatings 14 microns thick [to] maintain the natural look and feel of metal. Each phone undergoes two sandblasting treatments with various sizes of metal sand to bring out a bright, classy luster. To finish each device, an anti-fingerprint layer is applied to keep the device looking as pristine as the day you first take the phone out of the box." Phew.

Each limited edition Midnight Black OnePlus 3T will have 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, and retail for USD 479 / EUR 479 / GBP 439, "while supplies last." India is one of the first markets where OnePlus has announced availability, with Amazon India kicking off pre-orders from March 23. The phone will go up for sale starting March 31 on Amazon India, OnePlus' online store in the country, and from its Experience Store in Bangalore for ₹34,999 ($535).

In the UK, O2 has announced that it'll be the exclusive stockist of the new color, with prices starting at £32 per month.

See at OnePlus

OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 3

OnePlus Amazon

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1 day ago

Location sharing is finally coming back to Google Maps

9

You will once again be able to share your location without using Google+.

A long time ago, we used to be able to share location data with friends through this app called Google Latitude. When Latitude and other apps were folded into Google Maps, the location sharing feature was migrated over to Google+. It looks like even Google has given up on people using that social network, as the feature is moving back to Google Maps in the next update. Even better, it looks like this feature is getting a huge update.

The UI in the new Maps update shows that some features from the Trusted Contacts app were found to be particularly useful, but this will be deeply integrated into the Maps experience. You'll be able to share to individuals or groups, and have quite a bit of control over how long you are sharing and how often that information is updated.

Best of all, you won't need to be an active Google Maps user to enjoy this feature. In fact, you won't even need to be on mobile. Location sharing will be available on Android, iOS, and both mobile and desktop browsers. This is a deep sign of "about time" for those of us who have been using the feature since the Latitude days, and it's going to be a wonderful addition to Maps when it finishes rolling out to everyone.

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1 day ago

Boost Mode on PlayStation 4 Pro doesn't do much for PSVR

VR is already great though PlayStation 4 Pro, so it's not likely to improve much more.

The 4.5 update to PlayStation 4 Pro consoles added a Boost Mode feature, which was designed to offer more processing and GPU power to existing games that weren't going to update to the more capable "enhanced" mode. For normal PS4 games, this Boost Mode offers a slight stability bump to make things look consistently good throughout the experience. There was some hope this new feature was going to offer a little something extra to PlayStation VR games as well, our research suggests that's not going to happen.

Read more at VR Heads

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1 day ago

10 Best Alexa Skills you can use right now

3

Your Amazon Echo only gets smarter from here.

Once you've become familiar with all of the commands that come included with your Amazon Echo, it's time to make this little bundle of microphones even smarter by adding some Skills. These are like apps you can add to your Echo and control entirely with your voice, and there are thousands of them to choose from. To help narrow things down a bit and help get you started, I've assembled a list of some of my favorites.

Ordering from Amazon

This isn't exactly a feature you have to add, but it's a feature that grows on a regular basis. You can ask Alexa to order something new, repeat and order you've made before, and check on an order that hasn't been delivered yet.

The best part of this? It includes Amazon Prime Now as long as you specify which Amazon you want to order from. That means instead of waiting until tomorrow for your Amazon order to arrive, you can ask for delivery from Prime Now and get it within two hours.

Call for a ride

Ride sharing apps can't really get much more convenient when you're out and about, but at home your Amazon Echo figured out how to make things extra awesome. You can grab a ride from Uber or Lyft by adding the Skill to your Amazon account and linking to the ride sharing app on your phone. That way, when you call for a car, Alexa can hand the request off to the right folks and you can keep your phone in your pocket.

Grab the Uber Skill

Grab the Lyft Skill

Send a text with your voice

My Amazon Echo is most useful when I'm in the kitchen and my hands are covered in something I don't want on my phone, so being able to text through the Echo is a big deal. The SMS with Molly Skill lets you speak who you want to send a message to, turn your voice into text, and send that message without ever needing to touch a phone.

This Skill requires a little set up before you use it, so the app has access to your contacts, but once you get it set the way you want it this is a great tool to have.

Grab the SMS with Molly Skill

Control your television

Nobody likes fighting over the remote control, and sometimes kids think they're slick and hide it so you can't snatch it up and turn everything off from the other side of the room. Fortunately, Logitech and Amazon have your back with the Harmony Skill.

This Skill requires you to own a Logitech Harmony Hub, but if you make that investment you'll be able to turn the television on and off with your voice whenever you want.

Grab the Harmony Skill

Grab a new recipe for dinner

I'm always looking for new things to try in the kitchen, and more often than not my searches land my on something from Allrecipes. The Alexa Skill for Allrecipes keeps my phone in my pocket, allowing me to ask for new recipes and get a step-by-step walkthrough of what I need to do when I pick something to make.

Grab the Allrecipes Skill

Ask the Mixologist for a new drink

Making the perfect drink for your mood is usually something for veteran bartenders to handle, but the Mixologist Skill is a nice fill-in for when you're at home and need something tasty. This app will break down thousands of different recipes so anyone can make something fun, and if you're truly not sure what to make you can call out for a random recipe and see where Alexa takes you.

Grab the Mixologist Skill

Jump into a quick workout

Guided audio workouts are nothing new, but the 7-Minute Workout Skill makes sure you're able to quickly burn some calories no matter what time of day it is. This Skill runs you through the 7-Minute Workout without needing to turn on a television or prop up a phone, making is one of the best ways to quickly get your sweat on.

Grab the 7-Minute Workout Skill

See if your friend is cheating

I trusted you, Grandma...

That feeling of betrayal when you realize Grandma was just making rules up when you played Monopoly as a kid stays with you for a whole. Whether someone is cheating on purpose or stuck in a "family rules" loop, Board Game Answers will set everyone straight when you ask for the official rules in many different games.

I trusted you, Grandma...

Grab the Board Games Answers Skill

Make everyone laugh

Sometimes it's fun to have Alexa entertain your guests, and the best way to do that is asking for a joke or trying to get your friends stuck in a puzzle. The Gollum Skill will ask everyone to participate in a game of riddles that doesn't end in a twisted Stoorish Hobbit trying to eat you, and is great for a laugh. If all of your friends aren't huge nerds, the Alternative Facts Skill will get a good laugh from everyone paying attention to the news nowadays.

Grab the Gollum Skill

Grab the Alternative Facts Skill

Fall fast asleep

Alexa is great for grabbing music from dozens of sources, but with the Sleep and Relaxation Sounds Skill you can ease that down to the sound of a babbling brook or a distant thunderstorm. It's just enough to chill you out or put you to sleep, and will fade away into silence after playing for a while.

Grab the Sleep and Relaxation Sounds Skill

Amazon Echo

Amazon

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1 day ago

Finally catch yourself a Lapras in the new Pokémon Go event!

9

Put your fishing pole down and grab your PokéBalls. The Water Festival is here!

Pokémon Go will be launching its next big in-game event later today, focused on catching water-type critters everywhere. From the official post on the subject:

Starting today at 1 P.M. PDT, you'll be more likely to encounter Magikarp, Squirtle, Totodile, and their evolutions all around the world. Additionally, when you're out exploring areas where Water-type Pokémon more commonly appear, you'll have a greater chance to encounter several of the Water-type Pokémon originally discovered in the Johto region, and maybe... you might even encounter Lapras.

This event lines up well with an adjustment to the game's 7-Day Streak mechanic, promising an evolution item drop every time you complete a streak instead of just a random chance. The event lasts exactly seven days, which means if you are an active player every day until the 29th you'll not only have an arsenal of new water-type creatures to battle with but you'll also have a decent chance of evolving one into something even better.

Now get out there and catch yourself a Lapras. You deserve it.

Pokémon Go

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1 day ago

Samsung's Unpacked 2017 app is ready to bring you the Galaxy S8

24

The Galaxy S8 countdown clock is now an official Samsung app.

Samsung's Unpacked app for Android an iOS was updated this morning with all kinds of new Galaxy S8 goodies. If you're lucky enough to go to the events in NYC or London, this app serves up a QR code so you can gain entry. For everyone else, this app will offer up a live stream of the events as they happen, and some additional information and videos surrounding the launch of this phone.

Samsung Galaxy S8: Everything we know so far

It may be unfair to say this phone has been leaked more than any phone in the history of phones, but it certainly feels like it sometimes. We've had videos from every quality of camera, not to mention screenshots and press leaks and just about anything else you can imagine. There's little about the outside of this phone we're not already incredibly familiar with, but the actual presentation is going to be about the big picture. Samsung is going to show us all how this phone is more than the sum of its parts, and if history is any indicator that will be quite the spectacle.

Just like last year, the app is free if you want it now, but it's not going to do too much more than offer a countdown to the launch if you choose to install it today. If that's all you need to have fun, though, knock yourself out!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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1 day ago

Where to buy the LG G6 in the U.S.

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LG G6

The U.S. carriers have kicked off pre-orders for LG's latest ahead of April 7 street date.

Our favorite phone of 2017 so far is now up for pre-order on American shores. The big four U.S. carriers have started taking orders for the LG G6, meaning you can secure yours in time for the April 7 release date. All three are offering a free Google Home, courtesy of LG, if you order your G6 before April 30.

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1 day ago

This is your last chance to enter our Google hardware giveaway!

Interested in all of the new stuff from Google this year but don't have the cash to purchase it all for yourself? Wouldn't it be sweet if there was some way you could try and win a bunch of it that didn't cost you any money? Well, there is, and your chance to do it is here now!

Enter now to win! Learn More

That's right, you can enter now to win a sweet Google hardware giveaway from Android Central Offers. The process is super simple, and should only take a few seconds to complete, so there is no excuse to not enter to win now!

Entering now will score you a chance to win:

  • Google Pixel
  • Google Daydream View
  • Google Home

Don't miss your chance to win this giveaway! Learn More

The prize pack is worth over $850, but entering it is completely free! All you have to do is hit this link, sign up to enter, and wait for the drawing. There isn't much time left before the winner is announced, so be sure to get your entry in sooner than later so you don't miss out!

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1 day ago

The Huawei Mate 9 now has Alexa built in

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There's a new feature on the Huawei Mate 9, and it may just push some people over the edge.

Huawei's excellent Mate 9 is now capable of talking to Amazon's Alexa assistant through an app that will be loaded after the phone receives an over-the-air update.

Hitting devices starting at noon ET on March 22, this will be the first (but likely not the last) Android phone in the U.S. to have direct access to Alexa through an app. But that's just it — Alexa is not available throughout the entire OS, from anywhere, like Google's Assistant. Instead, Huawei and Amazon worked on a custom app that's unsurprisingly called Huawei Alexa, which offers, simply, a single button to press to access the cloud service.

"At CES we shared that Amazon Alexa would come to the Mate 9," said Zhendong Zhu, president of Huawei Device USA, in a press release. "With the new Huawei Alexa app, we add intelligent voice control to the rich features already available on Mate 9. We look forward to collaborating with Amazon to further develop more voice-activated mobile experiences."

Presumably, whatever is available to users of the incredibly popular Amazon Echo is available through the app, though the lack of always-on listening lessens the usefulness somewhat. At the same time, its availability speaks to the lengths that Huawei is willing, and able, to go to differentiate its nascent product line in the U.S.

See at Jet.com

Press release:

AMAZON ALEXA NOW AVAILABLE ON HUAWEI MATE 9

Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa gives consumers access to Alexa Voice Service on-the-go

PLANO, TX – March 22, 2017 – Today, the highly-acclaimed Huawei Mate 9 includes Amazon Alexa. Delivering on a promise made at CES in January, over-the-air (OTA) updates will commence today, pushing the Huawei Alexa app to Mate 9 customers in the United States.

"At CES we shared that Amazon Alexa would come to the Mate 9," said Zhendong Zhu, president, Huawei Device USA. "With the new Huawei Alexa app, we add intelligent voice control to the rich features already available on Mate 9. We look forward to collaborating with Amazon to further develop more voice-activated mobile experiences."

"We're excited to bring Amazon Alexa to the Huawei Mate 9, helping customers easily perform everyday tasks while on the go – using just their voice," said Steve Rabuchin, vice president of Amazon Alexa. "From controlling their smart home and checking the news to shopping and listening to Audible content, we think customers are going to love interacting with Alexa while on the go. We can't wait for customers to try this out."

Huawei Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa

Using the Huawei Alexa app on Mate 9, consumers can bring Amazon Alexa with them, taking advantage of its natural user interface. Since Alexa was designed based on the assumption that users are not looking at a screen, it is a primarily voice-driven experience, ideal for people on the go. The Huawei Alexa app offers mobile access to features and scenarios consumers expect from Amazon Alexa including:

  • Home Automation: Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa makes it possible to manage your smart home even when you're on-the-go by controlling lights, thermostats, locks, fans, sprinklers and more.

  • Games/Trivia: Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa can make every trip more entertaining with games like Jeopardy, Magic Door and Twenty Questions.

  • Shopping: Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa makes it easy to get more done using just your voice -- Quickly create lists, order items to be sent to your home, get food delivered or have your favorite coffee ready with Amazon voice shopping, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Dominos, Amazon Prime restaurants, and more.

  • Fitness/Health: Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa helps travelers stay fit with access to skills like 7-Minute Workout, FitBit and Stop, Breathe & Think.

  • News: Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa is a convenient way to stay informed with access to news anytime via Flash Briefings from NPR, CNBC, Reuters, Fox News, The Skimm, WSJ, AP, BBC, CNN, and many more.

  • Entertainment: Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa puts entertainment in reach with access to a wide array of podcasts and Audible content.

To use Alexa voice commands on Mate 9, users must first initiate the Huawei Alexa app. Once the app is launched, users can ask Alexa various things, including:

  • Get information by asking about famous people, dates, and places

  • Find a restaurant, movie or local business

  • Order from Amazon Prime

  • Control connected smart home features such as lights, temperature and appliances

  • Hear weather or traffic updates

  • Check your calendar

  • Hear the news through personalized Flash Briefings

Alexa has more than 10,000 skills, and new Alexa skills are added all the time, delivering even more capabilities. However, not all capabilities will be applicable at this time, including Timer/Alarms, Music and Tunein (in flash briefing), but these abilities will come later this year.

About Huawei Mate 9

Huawei Mate 9 features a dynamic interplay of industry-leading hardware and advanced software including the new Kirin 960 chipset and an intelligent Machine Learning Algorithm that ensures Mate 9 stays fast, even after 18 months. Featuring a second-generation Leica dual-lens camera, the intuitive EMUI 5.0 user interface, and now with Alexa Voice Service, Mate 9 is a step ahead of what consumers expect in a smartphone.

Huawei Mate 9 is available in more than 600 Best Buy stores and on BestBuy.com, as well as on e- retailers Amazon, Newegg, B&H, and Jet.com.

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1 day ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 review: The next great Android tablet

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The Galaxy Tab S3.

The Android world has been patiently waiting for the Next Great Android Tablet. Samsung's third-gen Galaxy Tab S3 may very well be it.

The quick take

The Galaxy Tab S3 is a solid Android tablet with a high definition 9.7-inch display, a stylish metal-and-glass body, and a robust pressure-sensitive stylus that proves — yet again — what a fantastic piece of technology the S Pen really is. If only its battery life were a bit better for those of you planning to multitask the heck out of life with this tablet device in tow.

The Good

  • A bevy of multitasking software features
  • The S Pen is everything
  • Stylish hardware
  • Available with an optional, comfortable keyboard

The Bad

  • Battery life is fine when the screen isn't on
  • No water resistance
  • It's not a replacement for a laptop

See at Best Buy

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