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1 day ago

How to change the default launcher on the Huawei Mate 9 and EMUI 5.0

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How do I get rid of the launcher on my EMUI 5.0 phone? Easily!

The Huawei Mate 9 comes with its own pretty good launcher — though it helps to add an app drawer — but if you prefer something different, as many people do, it's easy to change.

The phone ships with EMUI 5.0, which is a big update over what shipped on older Huawei devices, but there are still too many menus. In particular, it's still too difficult to change the default launcher. But with these steps, you can do it in a snap.

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1 day ago

Tips for surviving Inauguration Weekend

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Okay, so we're doing this.

America is inaugurating its 45th President this weekend, and that means a number of important things. People have traveled from all over the U.S. to experience the event, either in support or in protest, and historically that influx of people means a dramatic increase in strain on the cellular networks. Each of the major carriers claim to have beefed up their service in preparation, but there's a lot more to the Internet than just that connection. In a situation where anything can happen and likely everything you're imagining will happen to some degree, it's important to be prepared.

Here are some quick tips for getting through Inauguration weekend with your sanity, and hopefully also your phone, intact.

If you're in Washington DC

Whether you're a DC native or you've travelled in from far away, there are some tools you're going to want handy.

Amazon Prime Now is your friend

Before you head out to any of the events this weekend, make sure you have everything you need for a safe trip. Multiple payment methods on hand, a direct walking path to and from the event so you don't get lost, and a good rugged case for your phone. If you're not the phone case type, or you're rocking a slim folio, upgrade immediately. You're going to be surrounded by hundreds of people with arms that aren't likely to know exactly where you are holding your phone to get that perfect video. Fortunately, Prime Now works well in DC, so you can have a case or a glass screen protector delivered to you before you head out.

Check out Amazon Prime Now

Don't rely on Wi-Fi

Someone else's wireless network is not your friend this weekend. It's way too easy to walk around with the equipment necessary to create hotspots built specifically for snooping your data and stealing your passwords. Crowded events like this are an incredibly common way to have your data stolen and your credit cards used before you even know what happened. Stay on your cellular network, unless you're using a service like Project Fi that secures your connection with a safe VPN.

Record, don't broadcast

As much fun as Facebook Live and Periscope can be, don't bother trying them this weekend. Your network connection is never going to be good enough to establish a high quality stream surrounded by all of these people with their phones trying to rapid fire tweets from the events in DC. If you want to capture something, record it through normal photos and video. If you're concerned about losing that recording, turn on Google Photos and set it to automatically back up photos and video so you can access it from anywhere later.

There are so many apps

The volume of information at your disposal for these events in incredible, but here's a quick list of apps you'll want installed on your phone to help you through the event.

  • Twitter: The Trump Inaugural account on Twitter is going to keep you updated and includes quick glances at details like where the entrances and exits are.

  • DC Metro and Bus: Navigating Washington DC without a map of the mass transit system can be a little intimidating, so keep this handy.

  • Uber: You could also skip the mass transit system in DC and just go Uber, though at the peak of traffic it's likely surge pricing will be in effect.

  • Mobile Justice: DC: The ACLU app for DC makes it easy to record and report events that aren't exactly legal.

  • Trusted Contacts: Make sure people know where you are. Check in regularly, and stay safe.

If you're catching the events from elsewhere

Whether you're interested in viewing the festivities or avoiding them entirely, there are some tools for you.

YouTube Live Stream

The Inauguration and its partner events will be live streamed on YouTube, which means it can be casted to your television with a Chromecast and you can watch all weekend.

Twitter Filters

Not interested in the opinions of others this weekend? Filter them out with Open Tweet Filter. It only works on the web, so you're on your own if you open the app on your phone, but this will either keep the Inauguration out of your feed entirely or keep you completely focused on the events at hand.

Go find something to do

Quoting Patton Oswalt:

Leave your TV tuned to a channel like Turner Classic Movies or National Geographic or any channel that will have zero inaugural coverage. Then turn off your phone. Then shut down your computer. And then -- IF you can afford it -- go find a struggling theater company and pay to see whatever play they're putting on. Or a struggling art gallery or music club or museum. Leave 'em money and see what they're about.

Go see an indie film that's got stellar reviews and no audience. Or a new restaurant or other small business that needs friends and customers. Download a new band. Go to an independent bookstore and buy something from a small press. Go to an open mike. Or see any comedian. Tip your barista or barkeep a little extra.

In other words, do all of the cultural and aesthetic things that Trump thinks are worthless. Make a whole big chunk of existence suddenly spike in importance. And then keep doing that, if you can.

Above all, be safe!

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2 days ago

How to stop Google Play from automatically adding new icons to your home screen

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Turn it off.

App shortcuts are great, but can quickly overwhelm your home screens.

There's nothing worse than getting overwhelmed on a new device, but thanks to one pesky setting in Google Play Store, while you're installing all your apps on your new Android phone you might go into Google Play with an empty home screen and come out to find it completely covered with apps. It's a bit annoying if you're not the type to put every app you use on the home screen — but don't worry! The setting is called "Add icon to Home screen" and it's really easy to turn off.

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2 days ago

Star Wars: Force Arena Tips and Tricks

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How to dominate your opponents in Star Wars: Force Arena.

So you've got the game, you've read through our Beginner's Guide, and you're working to upgrading your favorite cards. Now it's time to talk a little strategy!

We've got some tips and tricks that will help you to go from a young Padawan to a legendary Jedi Master — or a Sith Lord if that's more your thing.

It all starts with picking the right Leader

Each Deck you build is based around a Leader, so it's important to pick ones that fit the play style you're most comfortable with. At the most basic level, you'll be choosing between a Leader that focuses on melee attacks or one with a ranged weapon. Whichever you choose will greatly affect how you build your deck and plan your attacks.

Leaders like Luke Skywalker, Ezra Bridger, Darth Vader, and The Grand Inquisitor all use a lightsaber as a weapon, meaning you'll need to be right in the fray to use them effectively on offence. To balance that out, they also have higher health than most other leaders, making them great for taking the enemy's focus and absorbing some damage while your troops work on the turrets. Once they get in close, these melee leaders can deal out some serious damage quick, making them ideal for rushing in to take out a damaged turret for the win.

Meanwhile, Leaders like Princess Leia, Han Solo, Boba Fett, and Dengar are better for players who would rather sit back behind their wave of troops and deal out damage with ranged attacks. Ideally when attacking a turret, you'll want to send in some troops to take the turret's (and any defending troops') attention, then come in and deal damage from afar with your leader.

You'll also want to consider each Leader's special ability and skill. A special ability typically gives the Leader a stat boost in certain game scenarios — for example, Emperor Palpatine gets a 15% power boost for 14 seconds whenever an enemy or ally Leader is defeated, which can be a decisive edge in a 2 vs. 2 match. Other special abilities might affect troop cards such as Captain Cassian Andor, who increases the attack range of his ranged troops.

Unique cards make the difference

As you progress through the Tiers and continue to unlock and open card packs, you'll start to unlock Unique cards. These are super-charged troops that are linked to a specific leader, meaning that if you want to use them, you'll need to have and use the Leader they're associated with.

Not only are they total game-changers when you've got them in your deck, but on the flip-side if you don't have one in your deck and your opponent does, you're in for a bad time. Having said that, once you get into Tier 3, you're absolutely going to need to roll with a Leader with a Unique card linked to it. Unique cards have higher health and typically deal out much more damage in more ways than your average troop, so you'll also want to play them strategically as part of a larger attack rather than potentially wasting them by throwing them down a lane all by themselves.

Managing your energy

Just like other PvP card casting games like Clash Royale, finding success in Force Arena is all about spending your energy wisely. This starts with building balanced deck that keep the average energy cost relatively low. It's always important to have a couple low-cost cards in your deck so that you can both throw something down if you need a quick counter, or are looking to cycle through your deck to find the perfect card for the situation you're in.

When you're in the heat of the battle, you'll also want to avoid foolishly burning energy such as wasting an X-Wing or Tie Fighter attack to take out only a couple of low-level troops that would have been taken out by your turret anyways. Also, if your opponent is overwhelming you with powerful troops, resist the urge to spam out as many low-level troops before your Leader is defeated. All that will do is temporarily slow down your opponent.

Instead, take your lumps, let your Leader fall, and use the cool-down period to build up more energy so you can come back fresh with a full energy bar and ready to mount a proper counter.

Sneak attacks with a long-range troop

This one is just a classic strategy that can be absolutely devastating for your opponent when executed to perfection.

The idea here is to draw all of your opponent's attention to one lane by mounting an all-out assault on their turret ... while sneakily placing a long-range troop on the other lane to quietly deal damage to their other lane turret. This strategy works best while playing as the Empire with the Rocket Stormtrooper, as they can make short work of a turret if left unnoticed.

Ideally, you're going to want to wait until you've got an army of troops working away at the first turret. Once your opponent has been alerted that their turret is taking damage, they'll likely rush over to counter your attack. That's when you spring the trap and place your Rocket Stormtrooper (or Dressellian Sniper if you're fighting for the Rebels) just outside the range of the other turret. Now you can actually let up a bit and let your opponent counter and push down towards your turret, as long as they keep their focus on you and away from the other lane.

This is a frequently used strategy, and the best counter for it is to make a habit of checking the map in the top-right corner. If you see a solitary red dot working its way up the opposite turret, you'll want to drop a troop to counter, or run over their yourself to cut them off before too much damage is dealt.

Steal your opponent's health when the opportunity arises

This might be categorized as a dick move, but all is fair in love and Star Wars. Health boosts are located behind turrets on both sides of the arena, and can be grabbed by either player in the heat of the battle. When you've got momentum on your side and have taken down one of your opponents lane turrets and are moving on towards their base, take a quick detour and take their health boost. They take forever to respawn and stealing them will make it harder for your opponent to fight back as you make your final push.

It's even more effective if the base turret's focus is already locked onto another one of your troops, as you'll actually replenish your own health, but grabbing the health while taking a hit from one turret is still a net-gain.

What are your best strategies?

Hit us up in the comments with your own tips and tricks. Also, if you're looking for a guild, you're welcome to join ours! Search for AndroidCentral.

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2 days ago

Samsung will reveal Galaxy Note 7 investigation findings on Jan 23

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We will finally get a definitive statement from Samsung on the Note 7.

Samsung has announced that it will hold a press conference on January 23 in Seoul to reveal its findings after concluding an investigation into the Galaxy Note 7's failure and recall. The findings will be a culmination of Samsung's investigation over the past few months, as well as information from external organizations.

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2 days ago

TAG Heuer CEO hints at new high-end Android Wear piece for 2017

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TAG Heuer CEO says the company will release a new smartwatch in May.

If the smartwatch is supposedly a dying product, someone forgot to tell TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver. In an interview with Swiss paper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (brought to our attention from TechCrunch), Biver shares his positive outlook on the future for smartwatches and says the Swiss timepiece manufacturer plans to release a follow up to the $1,500 TAG Connected, announcing they hope to release the new smartwatch in May.

Biver's confidence in smartwatches comes mainly from his company's success with its first attempt at creating a high-end smartwatch. He states that TAG Heuer saw strong sales for the pricy wrist piece, selling 56,000 units over the past 14 months — well exceeding the company's initial goal of 20,000 units. But he also cited optimism from a Reuters interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook, in which Cook boasted about the Apple Watch's strong holiday sale numbers. Biver says he still considers smartwatch technology to be in "the Stone Age" (if we're to trust Google Translate), with plenty of future potential just waiting to be tapped.

The timing for a new high-end smartwatch couldn't be better, with Google set to release Android Wear 2.0 in early February alongside a pair of new watches they've been developing in partnership with LG.

While Biver made no direct reference to Android Wear 2.0, he did outline some specs to expect from the new TAG Connected, including better GPS (accurate to within one meter), longer battery life, and a more powerful display. TAG Heuer also plans to leverage it's strengths as a traditional watchmaker by offering more sizes and colors to accommodate the variety of styles and wrist sizes found in the different markets it services.

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2 days ago

What color Daydream View headset should I buy?

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Which color is the best for Daydream?

It may seem a little odd to be picky about the color of your VR headset, but the truth is you're wearing this thing on your face for extended periods of time so you might as well choose the one that works best for you. Google's Daydream comes in Slate Grey, Crimson Red, and Snow White. Perhaps more important than the names of the sweatpants-like fabric that covers the headset is the accent materials found where you rest your face.

Pick something that looks nice, but be aware of what this headset is going to look like after a few dozen uses.

The inner fabric

Each Daydream View headset has inner padding to cushion your face so there's less discomfort over time. It works well, but also means this fabric is up against your skin while you binge watch something on Netflix and excitedly slash away at monsters. That means either you or someone you share the headset with is likely to sweat.

The Snow variant of Daydream includes a much lighter inner fabric than the dark grey that comes with Slate or the black that comes with Crimson. That means it's more likely to show things like sweat stains easily, which can quickly make the headset visually unappealing.

The good news is this inner fabric is held in place with velcro, which means it can be removed and washed with relative ease. Either way, you're going to want to make sure you chose your color wisely.

Read more: How to clean Daydream View

The outer material

The texture for each of these colors is exactly the same, and the color of your Daydream controller is exactly the same, so no matter which color you choose the feel and gameplay are going to be the same. That having been said, there's a few style notes to consider:

  • The plastic parts that hold the phone look nicest on the Snow and Slate versions, as they mostly blend in with the fabric.
  • Slate will be the most commonly found publicly, as it was the first available.
  • Crimson is going to stand out the most, which could be important if you frequently misplace things.

Which is your choice?

Is the color of your VR headset important to you? Are you more likely to ask someone to try their VR headset if you see the Crimson or Snow versions in public? Do you wish there was a different color available for you to buy? Let us know what you think!

See at Google Store

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2 days ago

Android One in the U.S. could signal the rebirth of 'Nexus'

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Nexus 5X

Glitzier mid-range Android One phones for the U.S. might be 'Nexuses' in all but name.

Android One is supposedly coming to the U.S. this summer, according to a report from The Information. On the face of it, that doesn't seem all too exciting. Android One — the range of low-cost phones from less-known brands, aimed at emerging markets — hasn't been a huge success. So who cares about a handful of low-specced, plasticky, entirely forgettable telephones arriving on U.S. shores, even if they do run stock Android and come with fast updates and do other nerdy things.

The U.S. market, though, is nothing like the countries Google has targeted with Android One thus far. India, for instance, is much more price-conscious, with dual-SIM and FM Radio seen as a necessity. The U.S. is less focused on super, super-cheap handsets, and to move phones in any meaningful number, you need to play within the carrier system and back it up with marketing money. (You'd also imagine Project Fi would range the phones, since Google will eventually need something less expensive to replace the Nexus 5X/6P in that lineup.)

The U.S. market, though, is nothing like the countries Google has targeted with Android One thus far.

According to The Information's report, Google is indeed planning to spend serious dough selling Android One when it arrives in the U.S. Like existing Android One devices, the U.S.-bound models will almost certainly be co-branded (LG is a rumored partner), even if Google has final say on internal hardware and control over the software.

So what do we have so far, then...

  • A co-branded phone from Google and a manufacturer partner.
  • Stock Android, with updates straight from Google.
  • Prices likely to be "affordable" for the U.S. market — so perhaps between $250-400 outright.
  • Probably some kind of limited carrier tie-in, complementing direct sales via the Google Store and Project Fi.

Well toast my marshmallows if that doesn't sound an awful lot like a Nexus.

That's not to say Google will resurrect the moribund (but fondly remembered) brand name. Android chief Hiroshi Lockheimer himself said there were no plans for any new Nexus devices, in interviews given around the time of the Pixel announcement. Let's assume that's still the case — these new phones could still turn out to be Nexuses in all but name.

With LG rumored to be involved, a mid-range Android One phone could emerge as a modern successor to the Nexus 5X.

They wouldn't necessarily be Nexus 6P-level "Nexuses" — or even anything high-end enough to tread on the toes of the Pixel range. Instead, imagine a series led by modern re-interpretation of the Nexus 5 or 5X, perhaps powered by one of the promising mid-level Qualcomm chips like the 625, or the rumored 660. That could be complemented by Moto G/Honor 6X-level competitors at a lower price point.

This kind of approach would have a few important benefits for Google. Just as it used the Nexus series to guide the Android ecosystem, it could use Android One to influence the (currently rather sorry) state of mid-to-entry-level Android phones, as sold through carrier stores. If it's willing to spend the effort and money required to get Android One phones on store shelves alongside — let's just pick one at random herethe LG X Power, it could nudge everyone in this "affordable" segment towards doing a better job on software.

That's how Google will cater Android One to the U.S. market, not by selling dirt-cheap Android phones directly to consumers. (As an aside, you also don't spend serious marketing money, as Google will reportedly do, on phones like the current crop of low, low end Android One devices. Android One phones for the U.S. will have to be different.)

Not a Nexus 6P mini

Huawei would be a natural Android One partner for the U.S.

I also want to mention Huawei here, because I'm almost certain the Chinese manufacturer will be an important player in Android One in the United States. In fact, I'll just go and call it: I predict Huawei will release an Android One phone in the U.S. before the end of 2017.

Huawei, if you remember, was originally in talks to build the Pixels, before it found out there'd be no co-branding opportunity. That opportunity would surely exist for an Android One handset, and Huawei is still desperate for an inroad into the U.S. market. (Sure, it's released the Mate 9 SIM-free and unlocked, but it lacks the carrier partners necessary to shift the phone in large numbers.) Through Google and Android One, Huawei could get Huawei phones on carrier store shelves — which could be the key to the brand establishing an American foothold.

And look no further than the Honor 6X and Nova for examples of Huawei making compelling hardware at less expensive price points.

Whatever brand name the resulting phones bear, the core experience will have a lot in common with Nexus. At one time, that series of phones was all about affordability and a clean, fast software experience. By bringing Android One to the U.S., Google and LG (or Huawei) will be able to push for mass market sales via carrier stores, while also providing a less expensive upgrade path for folks using a Nexus 5 or 5X.

Will any of that actually happen? Stay tuned in the months ahead!

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2 days ago

Essential accessories for Moto Z Force

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Essential accessories for the Moto Z Force Droid

What are the essential accessories for the Moto Z Force?

Now that you've got your shiny new Moto Z Force, it's time to shop around for the must-have accessories to match it. Not to worry — we've done the digging, and we have a rundown of the absolute essentials for your Moto Z Force!

Moto Mods

Motorola wins the mod game with the first three Moto Mods that are available for the Moto Z Force. Using powerful magnets, they snap right onto the back of the phone and then snap off when you want to attach the next one. Get one or get them all!

Incipio offGRID Power Pack

Incipio offGRID Power Pack

This slim power pack will add to the battery life of your Moto Z Force – up to 20 additional hours before the phone's internal battery needs to kick in.

It also adds a little bit of weight and protection to the back of your phone, which is helpful since it's a slim and slightly slippery fella. Keep it nearby for those long days (that turn into long nights) when you know you'll be using your Moto Z Force nowhere near an outlet or computer.

See at Amazon

JBL SoundBoost

JBL SoundBoost speaker

Forget about having to pair a portable Bluetooth speaker to your Moto Z Force; the JBL SoundBoost is a powerful speaker that's automatically recognized by your phone when you snap it into place.

It has up to 10 hours of independent battery life, so the party can go on and on. The built-in kickstand lets the speaker have its full sound range without you placing your Moto Z Force face-down. It's also great for speakerphone conference calls with multiple listeners in the room.

See at Amazon

Moto Insta-Share Projector

Moto Insta-Share Projector

Why crowd around your phone screen to watch a video when you can turn your Moto Z Force into a stellar projector? The Moto Insta-Share Projector will do just that in any space.

The integrated kickstand means you can watch videos hands-free and this tiny projector will make any flat surface into a flat screen that can measure up to 70 inches; hang a sheet in the backyard or use that blank wall space in the living room for a massive movie night anytime you like. It also adds up to an hour of projection time beyond your phone's battery life.

See at Amazon

Vinsic USB-C car charger

Vinsic USB-C car charger

Always in the car and concerned about keeping a strong battery charge? Not to worry; the Vinsic USB-C car charger has you covered.

It features over-voltage and short circuit protection, so you have very little (if anything) to be concerned about. It also has 5V/3A output, so your Moto Z Force will charge quickly while you're on the go. The additional USB-A port allows you charge a second device while you're at it and it's small enough to tuck into the glove compartment when it's done.

See at Amazon


APLUS desktop charging cradle

APLUS desktop charging cradle

Keep your desktop organized and your Moto Z Force always in your sights with the APLUS desktop charging cradle, designed especially for your new phone.

This USB-C dock charges your Moto Z Force and makes it easy to sync the phone to your computer. How's that for multitasking? It also keeps your phone at an ideal angle for viewing and hands-free usage, whether it's charging, or you just want to use it as a hands-free helper and safe place to put your phone so you don't misplace it.

See at Amazon


Cambond 6.6-foot USB-C to USB-C cable

Cambond USBC cable

An extra cable is always a good idea, and whether you just need another one around the house because you can never seem to find one, or you'd like to have a spare at the office, the Cambond 6.6 foot USB-C to USB-C cable is a great choice.

The cord is wrapped in nylon fiber, which helps to prevent fraying over time. It's also a little longer than some standard cables, so you don't have to feel stuck while your Moto Z Force is plugged in.

See at Amazon

Headphones

You have a couple of options when it comes to headphones for the Moto Z Force. You can opt for Bluetooth connectivity, or you can use the headphone jack adapter for a wired pair. You choose, and we've got an excellent pick from each category.

Jaybird X2 Sport wireless Bluetooth headphones

Jaybird X2 Sport Bluetooth headphones

There's much to love about the Jaybird X2 Sport wireless Bluetooth headphones. Let's start with the lifetime sweatproof warranty; that's a great feature by itself, but we're not going to stop there.

These headphones give you up to eight hours of music and talk time with your choice of over-or-under ear fit. They ship with a variety of in-ear tips so you're virtually guaranteed to find a comfortable fit. They also come in a wide range of colors that will be as subtle or stand out as you like.

See at Amazon

Ghostek Turbine Series wired earbuds

Ghostek Turbine Series earbuds

If you prefer a wired headphone option, have a look at the Ghostek Turbine Series earbuds. They're available in either black or white (so they match everything) and they come with a one-year warranty.

The built-in microphone and remote controls mean you don't have to go fishing around in your bag for your Moto Z Force to take a call or bump up the volume. They come with several variations of in-ear comfort tips so that you find the fit that works for you, and they're made of a durable ceramic material that gives them a solid, well-constructed feel.

See at Amazon

PLESON ultra slim crystal clear case

PLESON ultra slim clear case

Show off the original hardware of the Moto Z Force with PLESON's ultra slim crystal clear case. The flexible TPU case is anti-watermark and anti-fingerprint, so say goodbye to that foggy, muddy look your last clear case had.

This case offers some extra grip and drop protection for the slender Moto Z Force. The precise cutouts give you access to buttons and ports while protecting the camera lens and and screen edges.

See at Amazon

For more case options, including the Moto Style Shells, take a look at our rundown of the best cases for your Moto Z Force.

IQ Shield LiQuid Skin

IQ Shield LiQuid Skin

No matter how hard you try to keep it pristine, your phone's screen is going to acquire a scratch or two. Even constantly pulling it out of your jeans pocket can eventually cause tiny scratches. A good screen protector can be difficult to find, especially for the Moto Z Force, which is why I recommend the IQ Shield LiQuid Skin protector, which is a self-healing film, capable of smoothing over small scratches and dings.

The wet-install method used to apply this screen protector is optimal, since it makes the protector flimsy all the way through, allowing it to fully bond with your phone's screen for perfect application and 100% touch functionality.

If you're worried about your screen getting marked up, then invest in a screen protector like IQ Shield.

See at Amazon

How do you accessorize?

What do you consider an essential accessory for your Moto Z Force? Already a fan of some of our picks? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

Moto Z, Moto Z Force and Moto Z Play

Motorola Verizon

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2 days ago

Tilt Brush creations can now be exported to other projects

1

Now what you make in virtual reality can be exported into real life.

Google announced that it's released the Tilt Brush Toolkit, an open source library that lets you bring those Title Brush creations over to other projects.

Tilt Brush is one of the more creative apps available for the HTC Vive — after all, it essentially allows you to paint your world. The toolkit comes equipped with Python scripts and a Unity SDK that enable you to turn those creations into movies, interactive stories, games, music videos, or whatever else you can think up with the apps and services in your arsenal.

The brush shaders, audio code, and file format conversion utilities are all a part of the package so that you have a relatively stress-free transition over to a new project. Now get to painting! Virtually, that is.

Watch a man virtually recreate a car from memory using Tilt Brush

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2 days ago

NVIDIA Shield Android TV: Top tips and tricks for your set top box

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 Top tips and tricks

The NVIDIA Shield Android TV is a powerful set top box with plenty of advanced capabilities.

You may initially buy the Shield Android TV for a basic set of tasks, but it's almost a guarantee that you'll want to do more with it when you discover all that's possible with this box. Between its expandable ports, extra software, solid peripherals and gaming capabilities, the Shield Android TV can grow with you.

To help you make the most of your box, we have a great list of tips and tricks for you to check out and put to good use in your entertainment system.

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2 days ago

Every Daydream app you can install right now, and a look at what comes next

Just go ahead and install all of them. You know, for fun.

Google's first Daydream headset is finally shipping to people who purchased the first Daydream phone, and are quickly finding it's not easy to locate the whole list of Daydream apps from the Play Store. While we've been having a lot of fun showing you the best free Daydream apps and the Daydream games everyone should have installed, the act of browsing for apps and then waiting for them to install while in VR isn't a good time.

To make it a little easier, we've tracked down the first wave of Google Daydream apps that are available to install now, so you can load up your Pixel with VR goodness and see what this new experience is all about.

Read more at VR Heads!

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2 days ago

Score an unlocked Galaxy Note 4 for just $349 right now!

40

Daily Steals is currently offering the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 for just $349 with coupon code GALAXYSALE. This deal is for a new in box unlocked T-Mobile unit. While it may not be the latest and greatest Android phone, it is the last in the Galaxy Note line to feature a removable battery, something that many still desire in a phone. It comes with 32GB of internal storage with the ability to expand it with a microSD card, a 16MP camera and much more.

Remember, you'll need coupon code GALAXYSALE to get the additional savings. Will you be picking one up in black or white? Let us know in the comments!

See at Daily Steals

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2 days ago

Best Android Phones Under $300

Equip yourself with a solid set of specs for the bare minimum.

Best overall

ZTE Axon 7 Mini

See at Amazon

The ZTE Axon 7 Mini's price tag has finally dipped below $300. This stylish aluminum device is essentially a mini-me of its regularly-sized flagship, the Axon 7, but don't expect to move mountains with its mid-range hardware.

At the very least, the Axon 7 Mini's 16-megapixel camera is capable enough to capture the dazzling colors of a winter sunset. Its vibrant 1080p display and capable stereo speakers will also fool anyone into thinking this thing costs more than it does. But before you bring home this seemingly all-for-less package, remember that you'll have to contend with is ZTE's MiFavor UI, which isn't the best translation of the Android operating system.

Bottom line: All the basics are available in the ZTE Axon 7 Mini if you're aching to upgrade but you're desperate to avoid spending an arm and a leg.

One more thing: Unfortunately, the ZTE Axon 7 Mini does not work particularly well with CDMA networks like Sprint and Verizon.

Why the ZTE Axon 7 Mini is the best

One of the bummers of purchasing a budget device is that you're often trading in form for functionality. The ZTE Axon 7 Mini gives you the best of both worlds, however: It comes outfitted in a stylish silver or gold aluminum dressing, complete with perforated speaker grills for added flair. And not only is it actually pocketable, its 5.2-inch display is just as watchable as the one your friend looks at on her iPhone.

The Axon 7 Mini may not be the kind of workhorse you'd find exhibited by its flagship counterpart, but it is a worthy consideration precisely because it can keep up with everyone else. And sure, it may not have the most user-friendly interface available, but with a little love from a third-party launcher, you can easily fake the Google experience while relishing in the fact that you paid a fraction of the price.

Best for naval-gazing

Honor 6X

See at Amazon

If your lifestyle is living loudly, wildly, and all over the internet, the Honor 6X should be your first choice for a budget smartphone. It's equipped with all the necessities, including a dual rear-facing 12-megapixel and 2-megapixel camera that's packed with a bevy of camera modes, a substantial 3000mAh batter pack, and a 1080p display for editing all those photos before posting them online.

Bottom line: The Honor 6X is truly a smartphone made for the kids: It has great battery life, camera hardware that's substantial for social media, and a non-partisan design that will blend in with the rest of 'em.

One more thing: Like the Axon 7 Mini, the Honor 6X is not compatible with the major CDMA networks in the U.S.

Best for really tight budgets

Moto G4 Plus

See at Amazon

Here's a phone that's truly unlocked: the Moto G4 Plus boasts compatibility with all four of the major networks, including Verizon and Sprint. You won't get near the kind of performance you'd get with a pricier device, but you will get plenty of storage, a 5.5-inch 1080p display, a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 3000mAh battery pack.

Bottom line: The Moto G4 Plus is the practical way to go if you're interested in just the basics.

One more thing: There are two options for the Moto G4 Plus: a 32GB variant, which only comes with 2GB of RAM, and a 64GB variant, which comes equipped with 4GB. At the time of writing, there is around a $30 price difference between the two on Amazon, but we'd suggest springing the cash for the extra memory.

Best overall

ZTE Axon 7 Mini

See at Amazon

The ZTE Axon 7 Mini's price tag has finally dipped below $300. This stylish aluminum device is essentially a mini-me of its regularly-sized flagship, the Axon 7, but don't expect to move mountains with its mid-range hardware.

At the very least, the Axon 7 Mini's 16-megapixel camera is capable enough to capture the dazzling colors of a winter sunset. Its vibrant 1080p display and capable stereo speakers will also fool anyone into thinking this thing costs more than it does. But before you bring home this seemingly all-for-less package, remember that you'll have to contend with is ZTE's MiFavor UI, which isn't the best translation of the Android operating system.

Bottom line: All the basics are available in the ZTE Axon 7 Mini if you're aching to upgrade but you're desperate to avoid spending an arm and a leg.

One more thing: Unfortunately, the ZTE Axon 7 Mini does not work particularly well with CDMA networks like Sprint and Verizon.

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2 days ago

VR experiences that work no matter what headset you own

Cross-platform games and apps are slowly being introduced to make them more accessible no matter what VR headset you own.

There are tons of amazing apps, games, and experiences just waiting for you to enjoy in VR. It can be frustrating when you find an awesome new game that isn't available for your VR headset. That's where cross-platform apps come in to make things easier for everyone. While there aren't a ton of cross-platform apps that are currently live, more of them will be cropping up moving forward!

Read more at VRHeads.com

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