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2 weeks ago

Molson Canadian and Sportsnet bringing 360 VR experience to Hockey Night in Canada

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Beer, hockey, and virtual reality — a Canadian dream come true!

Sportsnet and Molson Canadian are teaming up to give Canadian hockey fans a front row seat for six upcoming Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts thanks to the power of virtual reality… and beer!

To check things out you'll first need the Sportsnet app and a special VR viewer from specially marked cases of Molson Canadian beer. Load up the VR tab in the app, enter the special pin code from your VR viewer, then load up your preferred camera angle, slip your phone in the viewer and you're good to go!

There are six games on tap for this VR experience, the first an all-Canadian affair against the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks on February 18th. Here's the full schedule:

  • Calgary Flames @ Vancouver Canucks: Saturday, Feb. 18
  • Montreal Canadiens @ Toronto Maple Leafs: Saturday, Feb. 25
  • Detroit Red Wings @ Edmonton Oilers: Saturday, Mar. 4
  • Calgary Flames @ Winnipeg Jets: Saturday, Mar. 11
  • Chicago Blackhawks @ Toronto Maple Leafs: Saturday, Mar. 18
  • Ottawa Senators @ Montreal Canadiens: Saturday, Mar. 25

There's no word whether you need a Rogers subscription to access this content, but you will need to buy a case of Molson Canadian to get pin code — although you have no obligation to drink the beer.

Learn more at Sportsnet.ca

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2 weeks ago

Best ways to use your Android phone with your PC

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Best ways to use your Android phone with your PC

Make your Android phone interoperable with your PC.

Getting your Android phone to seamlessly connect to your PC isn't as daunting as it used to be. There are several services that let you mirror notifications, reply to messages, and sync data between your phone and PC. Here are some of the best options currently available on both platforms.

Pushbullet

Pushbullet

Pushbullet is the easiest way to send files between your Android phone to your PC. The app started out as a way to "push" links, files, and documents between devices, but has since evolved into a robust messaging platform. Along with the ability to mirror notifications from your phone onto your PC, Pushbullet lets you view and send text messages from your computer.

Pushbullet also lets you send files and links to your friends. All you need to do is add the email ID your friend used to register for the service, and you'll be able to share messages, links, and files with ease. Then there's the Channels feature, which offers notification feeds across categories, including news, sports, gaming, entertainment, and tech.

Pushbullet is available as an extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, and you can download the Android app from the Play Store. The browser extensions let you access most of the functionality that Pushbullet has to offer, but if you want to access files on your computer remotely via your phone, then you need to install the Windows client.

Pushbullet is still the service to beat for notification mirroring and seamless transfer of files.

Using the native Windows client lets you remotely access files on your computer through your phone, and vice versa. Setting it up is easy: all you need to do is enable Remote Files access on both the Windows client and Android app, and you'll be able to access files on your computer through your phone.

The service is now offered in two tiers — a free option that has most of the features you're likely to use, and a pro version that costs $4.99 a month or $39.99 yearly that comes with universal copy and paste across all your devices, actionable notifications, and increased storage and file transfer limits. The free tier lets you send files up to 25MB in size and has a storage limit of 2GB, while the paid service lets you transfer files up to 1GB and offers 100GB of storage. You'll also be able to send unlimited SMS messages on the paid plan, whereas in the free tier you're limited to 100 per month.

Of all the pro features, the one that stands out is actionable notifications, which lets you reply to WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Allo messages directly from your computer. Regardless of the tier, Pushbullet offers end-to-end encryption using AES-256 for notification mirroring, SMSes, and universal copy and paste.

Pushbullet offers tremendous value, and while its pricing leaves a lot to be desired, the free tier should be adequate for a majority of users interested in transferring files and syncing notifications between devices.

Download Pushbullet (free/$4.99 monthly)

Join

Join

Join is very similar in functionality to Pushbullet, with the service also offering notification mirroring, the ability to reply to notifications from your computer, send and receive texts, share links, files and documents, as well as a universal clipboard. Tasker and Google Assistant integration is baked in as well, letting you extend the functionality of the service.

Join also offers end-to-end encryption, and you can locate your device remotely by making it ring. Join is available as a Chrome extension, a Windows 10 native client, and an Android app.

The main difference is that unlike Pushbullet's yearly or monthly subscription plans, Join requires a one-time fee of $4.99 to unlock all the features. If you'd like to take a look, Join offers a 30-day trial with all the features enabled.

Download Join (free for 30 days)

Syncthing

Syncthing is similar to Lenovo's ShareIt in that both services let you transfer files across devices. That's where the similarities come to an end. Syncthing is a decentralized file sharing service that relies on an open source framework and encryption to secure your data.

With Syncthing, you essentially set up a server, and use it to connect to other devices. For instance, you can run a server on your phone, and connect to the server from your desktop computer to sync files between the two devices. Best of all, Syncthing is a free service, and its interface isn't riddled with ads. You don't even have to create a user account with the service, as it relies on unique identifiers for each device. Just enter the ID of the device you want to connect to, and you'll be able to transfer files between the two with ease.

Download Syncthing (free)

Cloud storage services

Drive

Cloud storage services are different from utilities like Syncthing in that they act as centralized repositories of data. You can pick from a multitude of services based on your needs, including the likes of Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, OneDrive, and so on. Each service has a free tier that gives you a certain amount of storage, and you can upgrade your storage quota by paying a monthly or annual fee.

A free Dropbox account comes with 2GB of storage, and Dropbox Pro offers 1TB of storage for $9.99 a month or $99.99 yearly. You get 15GB of free cloud storage with Google Drive, and you can increase your quota to 100GB for $1.99 a month or $19.99 yearly. If you have more storage requirements, you can get 1TB of storage for $9.99 a month or $99.99 yearly.

All services mentioned above have robust native clients for Windows, as well as feature-rich Android versions. If you're looking for a hassle-free way to sync files across several devices, a public cloud storage service is a good place to start.

Your turn

What service do you rely on to transfer data from your Android device to your computer? Let us know in the comments.

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2 weeks ago

Great Valentine's Day Gadget Gifts at $50, $100, and $200

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Get your tech-centric pal or loved one something new to play with.

Life is full of little gadgets that make life more interesting, so why not help out a friend or family member? We put together a list of neat tech that quickly automates your home or adds a bit of flair to your smartphone. There are great choices at $50, $100, and $200 price points!

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2 weeks ago

Microsoft releases Project Rome SDK for Android

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Easily control your Windows 10 devices with just your Android smartphone.

Ever wish you could control your PC from your Android device without having to finagle some third-party app you found in the Play Store? Microsoft's Project Rome SDK aims to help with the multi-device life that many of us live on the daily.

Project Rome for Android is now available to let you connect to your Android devices. It's limited at the moment, so you can only control Android and not the other way around. But it doesn't enable you do things like control a media player on Windows 10 with the Android device you already have in your hand.

Project Rome was initially announced late last year to help take advantage of experiences beyond the device it's happening on. For instance, if you're listening to music on one device, you should be able to easily "toss it over" to another device without having to interupt the moment.

Curious to try it out for yourself? Read up about it on the official Windows blog.

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2 weeks ago

Here's how Google Assistant works on Android Wear 2.0

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The Pixel and Google Home are the best implementations of Google Assistant, while the Android Wear version still acts like it's in its nascent stages.

It's everyone's vision for the future, right? Talking into an electronic wrist watch to command your every whim. Well, I hate to break it to you, but we're still not there yet — especially not if we're using Android Wear as the example.

Sure, Android Wear 2.0 is the best version of Android's wearable operating system to come forth thus far. And yes, Google Assistant is totally the most coveted feature of the Pixel and Google Home because of its contextual usefulness. But that doesn't change the fact that Google Assistant is still pretty sub-par on a smartwatch, especially if you're sporting one of the more basic ones.

What works

It's not all bad news bears. The Google Assistant you're getting with Android Wear may only offer a fraction of the functionality, but it still works. On the LG Watch Style, which is what I used to test the latest version of Android Wear 2.0, you call up Google Assistant by holding down the exterior crown. Assistant will then ask you how it can help, and that's when you can speak your query.

In many situations, Google Assistant on Android Wear is just as helpful as whipping out your phone and typing it in yourself. You can use it to do things like find out the time somewhere else on the planet, or do a quick conversion for foreign exchange rates. You can use it to send a message as you're running through an airport, or start tracking your actual run through town.

Google Assistant on Android Wear is typically successful with very basic commands. The key to using it on the watches is to keep it simple — anything between the realm of "send a message" and "set a timer." Queries that are more complicated involve specific app commands and you won't always get a desired result if you go that route. For instance, when I ask Assistant to tell me about my next flight, it defaults to the Google Calendar app rather than launching TripIt. Conversely, shouting "launch TripIt" will launch the app, and you can quickly scroll down with the crown wheel to your itinerary. Of course, you can do neat tricks with Google Assistant, too. Ask your watch to tell you a story, for instance, and Assistant will regale you with a tale of most plots.

Assistant is also the binding thread that keeps your device connected to Android ecosystem, so if you're watching Chromecast upstairs, for instance, you can use the device that's already strapped on your wrist as a remote control of sorts. Assistant lets you control any compatible smart home devices, too, like Samsung Smart Things or a NEST Thermostat, but I'm still in a mere "dumb home" and wasn't able to test that on my own.

If you require more context or more granular controls over what Google Assistant can do with on Android Wear, there's a helpful settings panel available in the Android Wear app. Curiously, you can't access this panel from the Home app. There's also a Shopping list option for you to set up a Google Keep post-it so that you can easily dictate your shopping list when you think of it.

"Okay, Google. Add chocolate muffins to my shopping list."

What doesn't work

That chocolate muffin example doesn't actually work so well on the Watch Style. I'll ask Assistant to add the aforementioned to my master shopping list, which is pinned to the top in Google Keep. Once Assistant parses what I'm asking for, it replies, "Oops, I can't do that right now." It's a simple example of why Google Assistant has been frustrating to use, particularly for an early adopter like me, who is trying hard to integrate the functionality into her daily life. When Assistant repeatedly doesn't understand commands, I'm remiss to even try. It's not a fun party trick if no one's impressed.

It's also unfortunate that the ability to command apps and services via Assistant on Android Wear hasn't caught up to our future-facing fantasies. I can't call an Uber through Assistant like I can through Google Home. (In fact, I can't call an Uber, because the app still isn't fully compatible with the Wear platform, even though Google teased the ability to do so at I/O a few years back.) I can't even get Spotify to do something relatively simple, like play a specific playlist. That would be an amazing ability to have while squashed in between people on public transportation. Instead, I can only ask it to play music and then I get to pick from the last few albums I've fired up.

The other issue with Google Assistant on Android Wear is that it doesn't always hear me. Sometimes, I'll have to repeat my request once or twice over before the smartwatch is aware of what I'm asking. I have an inkling that this experience differs depending on the device you're wearing, but the times I've attempted to speak to the Watch Style — in the middle of the grocery store, for example — has been mostly marred by all the failed attempts. It's nice that the built-in keyboard functionality is there for when dictation isn't an option.

Look ahead

In its infancy, most technology is finicky and ripe with hiccups as it susses itself out in various iterations. However, in the case of Google Assistant, which comes off as an effective re-branding of functionality that already existed for some time, it seems like it's still awkwardly learning to walk.

Virtual assistants and artificial intelligence still have a journey to traverse before they're the technology of our dreams, but I was hoping that Assistant would be slightly further along on the smartwatch. For now, think of Android Wear 2.0 and its Assistant functionality as an accessory to an already fulfilling Android life, especially if you've got a Google Home and a Pixel in your arsenal. And if you don't, then it's merely an entryway to the future of Android as one circular ecosystem.

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2 weeks ago

Android Nougat update for the Shield Tablet K1 is now live

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The Shield Tablet is still great and the Android 7 update means you won't have to buy a new tablet this year.

Android 7.0 is on the way for your Shield Tablet K1, extending the life of everyone's favorite 8-incher and bringing all the new features of Google's latest.

Besides the Android 7 enhancements — split screen, Doze 2.0, better notifications and those sweet, sweet emojis 🌮 🦄 — we see some extra awesome tossed into the mix with support for the new 2017 controller and an exclusive Shield Rewards loyalty program that we're eager to check out.

The update is pushing out now, so grab your Shield and make sure it's charged up. Now begin mashing that button! NVIDIA's full changelog is below.

SHIELD Controller (2017) Support

  • Updates to SHIELD controller support

New Multitasking Features

  • Split-screen: Run two apps side by side* in Portrait or Landscape modes
  • Quick switch: Double tap the Overview button to quickly switch back to the last opened app

Improved Notifications

  • Multiple notifications from the same app are now bundled for a streamlined experience
  • Reply to messages directly from within the notification*
  • Tap and hold on a notification to quickly silence or block notifications from the app

Improved Power Consumption

  • Doze on the Go: Doze is now smarter & kicks in even when the device is being carried around

Emoji

  • Includes all-new Unicode 9 emojis

Usability Improvements

  • Display & Font size can now separately adjustable to improve readability or screenspace
  • Quick Settings can now be customized directly from the menu by tapping "Edit"
  • The top Quick Setting tiles can now be accessed with a downward swipe from the lock screen
  • Settings now includes a Navigation Menu & Suggestions to improve usability
  • The "Clear all" option in Overview have been relocated to the top right

System wide improvements including:

  • New Data Saver: when enabled, limits access to Cellular data for background apps
  • New JIT compiler: improves the speed of App & System updates
  • Update to Android Security Patch Level December 1, 2016

SHIELD Rewards Program

  • Introducing SHIELD Rewards, the exclusive loyalty program for SHIELD owners

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2 weeks ago

How to enable sidetone volume for PlayStation VR

Hear yourself talk, just like in real life!

We don't usually think about how isolating headphones are for VR experiences, because the overall goal is to be able to immerse yourself in the virtual world by only hearing that world. For exploring something new in VR, immersive audio can be a powerful way to really feel like you're in the game, but there are plenty of PlayStation VR games where being able to hear yourself and other is also important.

Fortunately, your PlayStation 4 has a feature that allows you to tweak your microphone so you can enjoy audio immersion and the reality of your own voice. It's called sidetone volume, and here's what you need to know!

Read more at VRHeads.com

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2 weeks ago

Android Wear 2.0 update for the Polar M600 is on the way

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Get your fitness ya-yas on.

The Polar M600 is a great fitness watch that runs Android, and today they have announced that the Android Wear 2.0 update should be arriving soon. The Finnish company earned was recently named a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree in the Fitness, Sports and Biotech product category and the sleek design of the M600 certainly sets it apart when it comes to looks.

Additionally, Polar says the M600 includes new ways to track data for indoor swimming activities, including distance, number of strokes and swimming style.

Look for the Android Wear update on your Polar M600 soon.

KEMPELE, FINLAND – Feb. 9, 2017 – Polar, the leader in wearable sports technology, introduces Android Wear™ 2.0 compatibility and indoor swimming metrics to their Polar M600 smartwatch. Available soon, the latest Android Wear update enables both Android and iOS users to access the Google Play store via the watch, download apps and operate them directly on the Polar M600.

A sports watch at its core, Polar M600 now offers new indoor swimming metrics such as distance and pace, as well as strokes per minute and strokes per pool length. Polar M600's latest metrics will even determine whether a swimmer is swimming freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly.

Recently named an International CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree in the Fitness, Sports and Biotech product category, Polar M600 is built for serious training while also boasting a sleek design for a connected lifestyle. Polar M600 features Polar's proprietary 6-LED optical heart rate technology and industry-leading heart rate algorithms. These advanced technologies deliver incredible accuracy, stability and reliability that distinguish Polar from every alternative on the market. Polar M600 also offers integrated GPS, 24/7 activity tracking and Polar Smart Coaching features.

With Android Wear 2.0, Polar M600 has Google Assistant** built-in. Users can access also customize watch faces, receive calendar notifications, read and reply to texts, scroll through social media feeds and access even more apps via Google Play™. The latest update also includes an improved user interface, a newly designed watch face and additional languages including Vietnamese, Turkish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish and Danish.

The newest update will be available to all Polar M600 users this Spring. Polar M600 is available now in Charcoal Black and Powder White for $329.95. Interchangeable wristband accessories are available in Red, White, and Black for $29.95.

  • Android, Android Wear, Google Play and other marks are trademarks of Google Inc. **Google Assistant is not available in all languages

About Polar: Polar is the innovator in heart rate monitoring, activity trackers and training computers. With nearly 40 years of experience and a proud heritage in physiological and sports medical research, we cater to all levels of fitness by offering a comprehensive product range including cycling computers, wearable sports devices and activity trackers, training apps and online services. Our award-winning training computers are the number one choice among consumers worldwide, being sold through over 35,000 retailers globally. Headquartered in Finland, Polar is a privately held company that operates in more than 80 countries including U.S. headquarters in Lake Success, NY. For more information, please visit polar.com.

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2 weeks ago

Strava's new Android Wear 2.0 app leaves the phone behind

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Popular fitness-tracking app Strava hits the ground running with an Android Wear 2.0 update.

Strava has updated their app for watches with Android Wear 2.0 to support the new features that come with the new operating system.

After an initial setup through your phone, the Strava for Android Wear app becomes a complete standalone experience. Track your runs or your rides and share photos and highlights with the Strava community right from the app.

With millions of downloads and a 4.6-star rating in Google Play, Strava is a fan favorite. Grab it at the link below and check out the press release for more information.

Download Strava (free, in-app purchases)

Strava Available Now for Devices Powered by Android Wear 2.0

Athletes can record and upload activities on Strava via Wear 2.0 watches, untethered from their Android and iOS phones.

SAN FRANCISCO - February 9, 2017 - Strava, the social network for athletes, announces its Android Wear 2.0 app. Athletes can now take full advantage of an enhanced, untethered experience that includes built-in GPS and wireless connectivity, as well as the performance analysis Strava athletes desire such as time, distance, pace, laps and split times, and heart rate, all from their wrist.

"We welcome the highly anticipated release of Android Wear 2.0," said Mateo A. Ortega, Head of Integration for Strava. "Wear 2.0's standalone model is forward thinking and innovative, and pushes the limits of what we thought was possible. This platform introduces many features that benefit Strava athletes, such as the option to record and upload activities independent of their phone."

Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches join more than 100 other GPS devices that work seamlessly with Strava. Athletes can install Strava for Android Wear 2.0 by visiting the Google Play store on their Wear device. The athlete only needs their iOS or Android phone for initial setup; they can then record and upload activities to Strava free of their mobile phone.

Strava makes it easy to connect and engage with other athletes. Download Strava for iOS or Android and upgrade to Strava Premium to access the latest features such as Beacon and Live Segments. To learn more about Strava, visit www.strava.com.

About Strava Strava unlocks potential through the power of sport. Designed by athletes, for athletes, Strava's mobile apps and website connect millions of runners and cyclists every day. For more information visit www.strava.com.

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2 weeks ago

LG Watch Sport video review!

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The newly launched LG Watch Sport is the new head of the Android Wear family, with version 2 of Google's wearable platform and a loadout of features including LTE, GPS and NFC for Android Pay. It's also a big, chunky watch that's going to look out of place on smaller wrists. And, with all that technology ticking away under the hood, it's a device which won't last much beyond the one-day mark if you're using LTE.

On top of that, Android Wear 2.0 (finally) brings a more mature software experience to the wrist, with improved notifications, a re-vamped app drawer, more options for replying to messages and the ability to install apps directly from the Play Store. And naturally for a "Sport" watch, this thing has a bunch of cool features for tracking your workouts through Google Fit.

Andrew has the lowdown on the LG Watch Sport in our video review of the new Android Wear flagship. Check it out above, and be sure to hit the comments and let us know if you're picking one up!

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2 weeks ago

Best Wireless Mice for Chromebooks

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Which wireless mice are best for Chromebooks?

While your Chromebook's trackpad works well enough for most situations, there are some tasks for which a wireless mouse is better.

Whether you need a wireless mouse to scroll through long documents faster, or to perform fine manipulations, there's a great wireless mouse out there with your name on it. Here are a few of our favorites.

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2 weeks ago

Best Multiplayer Games for PlayStation VR

Best Multiplayer Games for PlayStation VR

PlayStation VR's library of games grows every week, and it continues to attract some gems. One thing about virtual reality, mostly due to the physical nature of the headset, is that it can be a bit of a solitary experience. If you'd like your gaming experience to entail meeting some new friends or duking it out against human intelligence, we've rounded up the best multiplayer games for PlayStation VR.

Read more at VR Heads!

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2 weeks ago

Cribbage With Grandpas review: A charming intro to a classic card game

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Search for any traditional card game in the Google Play Store and you're bombarded with so many results, it's easy to assume that all card games for Android are a dime a dozen.

But then you find a hidden gem like Cribbage With Grandpas and realize not all card games are created equal.

Cribbage is one of those games that has endured, largely unchanged, for centuries. It's a game that's passed down from generation to generation through games played on rainy Sunday afternoons or lazy summer days at the cottage. If you've never played before, in short it's a two-player game where you try to find pairs, runs, or groups of cards that add up to fifteen to score points, which are marked on a board with pegs. It's fairly easy to learn but takes time and an astute mind to master.

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2 weeks ago

Ooniprobe is a silly name for a new way to combat censorship and surveillance

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How much do you know about your Wi-Fi network?

There's no arguing the convenience of a well-placed wireless network when you're not at home, and many businesses around the world are discovering the benefits of offering a free connection to their consumers for this very reason. While some of us may do the work to ensure our home networks deliver a specific experience, when you're out and about those networks are usually maintained at a corporate or local government level. That means you don't make the rules, and not every problem can be solved by switching on a VPN.

The Tor Project has a new tool to help you be better educated when it comes to the networks you use with your phone, and it has one of the sillier names you'll see today.

Ooniprobe is designed to test the network you are currently on and give you as much information as possible. This starts with basic network performance information, but also includes detection tools for censorship and surveillance methods that may exist on the network. If this network doesn't allow you to reach a certain kind of website, or separately tracks your activity while on the network, Ooniprobe reveals this information to you and offers strategies for circumvention.

This app also publishes all of the data you collect on the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) Explorer site, which allows third parties to independently verify and analyze it. As expected from The Tor Project, this app is not only free but open source. Enjoy!

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2 weeks ago

What color LG Watch Style should I buy?

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It's time to decide which color of the LG Watch Style is best.

The LG Watch Style has arrived with Android Wear 2.0 and is available in three different colors. Before you jump into the car or desperately try to order one online, there is a very important choice that you need to make: which color should you buy? It's a big decision, and we're here to help you make the choice that you'll be happiest with!

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