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2 weeks ago

Android 7.0 is now available for the U.S. unlocked Samsung Galaxy S7 edge [Updated: OTA rolling out]

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The phone that time (and Samsung) forgot finally gets a Nougat update.

Update, May 8: According to several users on Reddit and elsewhere, the Nougat update is rolling out over-the-air to most unlocked Galaxy S7 users, which is a bonus for those not wanting to mess with Smart Switch.

Everyone was happy when Samsung decided to sell a factory unlocked Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge last year. First-adopters and enthusiasts wanted it and they got it. But nobody was happy when it was forgotten any time an update rolled around for carrier versions. If you were one of these enthusiasts and bought a Galaxy S7 edge, you need to start looking for your USB cable because Android 7.0 is available through Samsung's Smart Switch desktop software.

The full change log courtesy of userFscC8dPJ4j at Samsung's official forums:

  • OS upgrade - Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Provides new UX and various performance modes
  • Improved usability of the Notification feature and Quick settings button
  • Improved usability of the Multi window
  • Improved setting menu and AOD feature, addition of the Samsung pass feature
  • Efficient space for installation of downloaded apps, improved speed of system upgrade and app installation

According to information at Samsung's forums, there is no OTA update just yet and no specific date when or if it will become available. The same goes for the "regular" non-edge U.S. unlocked Galaxy S7; no news when or how.

The update brings the April 1, 2017 security patch and is ready and waiting if you haven't already flashed a T-Mobile ROM to your GS7 edge. If you give it a try or have already updated, holler in the comments so we all know how things are going!

Thanks to Tom for the tip!

Android Nougat

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2 weeks ago

Bring wireless music to your home with the Sonos Play:1 for $180

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a Sonos discount you won't want to miss!

The powerful and compact Sonos Play:1 speaker is currently $20 off at Amazon, dropping the price of it down to just $179.99. While $20 may not seem like a big discount, it isn't too often that we see any savings on these speakers, so you don't want to miss when it happens. Whether you have Sonos speakers already spread throughout your house or are looking to get started with your first one, taking advantage of discounts when they are available is the best way to do this. You'll be able to add a Play:1 to your existing setup or put it in a room or office to run independently.

Sonos does an amazing job of supporting its speakers and bringing new features to them often. Unfortunately, this price won't last long. If you're in the market for a Sonos speaker, be sure to grab one in either black or white before the deal ends.

See at Amazon

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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2 weeks ago

Learn to code apps for Amazon Alexa with this $19 bundle

There's no arguing that what once was the smart home trend is slowly becoming the smart home norm, and there is high demand for apps that work with virtual assistants, like Amazon's Alexa. The problem is, learning to write these types of apps isn't an easy task, and the cost of doing so isn't usually affordable.

Learn to create your own Amazon Alexa apps for only $19! Learn more

Imagine a course that starts with the absolute basics of coding; a course that works through to the advanced techniques of building voice apps. Right now, Android Central Digital Offers has a deal on an Amazon Alexa coding bundle that covers everything you need to know about building apps for Alexa. Instead of paying the usual price of $316, you'll instead pay only $19. That's 93% off the regular price.

This bundle includes two courses:

  • Alexa Development For Absolute Beginners
  • Advanced Alexa Skills Kit

You will learn to build a whole host of voice apps for Alexa, you'll be able to take a mock exam at the end of each course, and you'll even learn how to create your own Alexa device. Access stays open forever, so you can work these courses into your schedule.

Become an Amazon Alexa coding wizard with this $19 bundle! Learn more

Ready to start coding apps for Alexa? Even if you've never worked with code before, this course teaches you everything you need to know. Don't wait too long; grab this deal and start creating apps today!

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2 weeks ago

No, you don't need root to theme your phone

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"That looks really cool! Did you have to root to do that?" "No, I did not."

When you think about theming, it's very easy to think about root customizations, from theming your nav bar to giving every app a dark mode, whether it came with one or not. Even my editors thought I'd end up writing about root a lot when I started down this path, and I don't blame them. It's easy to think that customization has to be big, involved, complex, and root-only.

Nothing could be further from the truth. As an avid themer, I can tell you that I don't need root to satisfy my urge to sculpt my Android experience to my tastes, and neither do you.

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2 weeks ago

Our first Galaxy S8 smashed after just five days: How to avoid the same fate

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It's pretty much the worst nightmare of any new phone owner. Just days after you've picked up your shiny new, expensive, state-of-the-art handset, it slides/slips/drops/pinwheels/fumbles its way out of your hands, out of your pocket, off some surface and onto the floor. You look on, dismayed, distraught, in disbelief — grief and terror gripping you as you see the telltale spider-leg pattern in the glass.

RIP new phone.

That's what happened to Windows Central contributor Matt Brown just five days into his Galaxy S8+ ownership experience. Here's what happened, how it might've been avoided, and what your options are should you become as unlucky as Matt. Behold, our first smashed Samsung Galaxy S8, the victim of a drop off a three-foot wall.

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2 weeks ago

Moto Z2 Play leak suggests the phone's battery will be downgraded

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Lenovo is decreasing battery size to make the Moto Z2 Play thinner.

We're due for an update to the Moto Z Play, and a recent leak out of VentureBeat gives us a look at what's coming with the Moto Z2 Play. The render image shows off a design that is reminiscent of the Moto G5 Plus, with a rounded fingerprint sensor up front and magnetic pins at the back for Moto Mods.

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2 weeks ago

How to disable Samsung Pay

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How do I disable or delete Samsung Pay if I don't want it anymore?

When it comes to paying conveniently, Samsung Pay makes using your phone as a bank card an easy process. There may come a time when you don't want to use the app anymore and need to disable Samsung Pay. Thankfully this is a pretty easy process, and we have the details for you here.

How to disable Samsung Pay

To disable Samsung Pay you have two basic options. You can remove all of your bank cards from the Samsung Pay app, so that it can't pull from your bank account, or you can uninstall the app. Both of these methods are pretty easy to work with, and will ensure that you're not accidentally using Samsung Pay when you don't intend to.

If you just want to make sure a specific card doesn't get used with Samsung Pay, all you need to do is delete that bank card from the app. You just open Samsung Pay and then tap on credit/debit to see your bank cards. From there tap on the card you want to see the details of, then tap the overflow icon in the upper right corner that looks like three vertical dots and tap on delete.

You also have the option of uninstalling the app through your Settings menu.

If you're really done with Samsung Pay though, and don't even want to keep it on your phone you can of course uninstall the app. You can do this quickly by pressing and holding onto the Samsung Pay icon from your home screen, and then selecting delete from the pop-up dialog that appears.

You also have the option of uninstalling the app through your Settings menu. Head to your settings, and scroll down and tap on Apps. From there enter the App manager and scroll down until you see Samsung Pay. Tap on the app and then tap Uninstall. Verify that you want to uninstall this app, and it will be gone in just a few seconds.

Remove a card from Samsung Pay

  1. Open Samsung Pay app.
  2. Tap on Credit/debit to see your virtual bank card.
  3. Tap on your bank card to see details.

  4. Tap the overflow icon that looks like three vertical dots in the upper right corner.
  5. Tap delete card to delete your virtual bank card.
  6. Provide a reason to delete your card, and delete at the bottom of your screen.

Uninstall Samsung Pay

  1. Open the Settings menu.
  2. Tap on Apps to open the Apps settings.
  3. Tap on App manager to open it.

  4. Tap on Samsung Pay
  5. Tap on Uninstall
  6. Tap on OK to confirm you are uninstalling this app.

Did you uninstall Samsung Pay?

Samsung Pay gives you the option of having an easy way to pay for items, but it certainly isn't everyone's cup of tea. Thankfully getting rid of it is just as easy as setting it up, making it a painless process when you do the deed. Have you disabled Samsung Pay from your phone? Let us know about it in the comments below!

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2 weeks ago

Original Huawei Watch finally gets Android Wear 2.0 update

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Huawei Watch 2

Major update brings Huawei's first Android wearable in line with latest watches.

Better late than never: Over the weekend, the original Huawei Watch, released in late 2015, finally started to receive its Android Wear 2.0 update. Three months after Wear 2.0 first debuted, the update is rolling out to both developer preview and stable channel Huawei Watch devices. If you were running the previous Wear 2.0 preview build, the final over-the-air update will factory reset your device.

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2 weeks ago

Telus and Bell rolling out Galaxy S8 and S8+ 'red tint' fix

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The Great White North gets less red.

Telus and Bell, two of Canada's biggest network providers, have announced that they are rolling out the so-called "red tint" fix for the Galaxy S8 and S8+, which began hitting European and U.S. devices over the past week or so.

Shortly after the Galaxy S8 series was launched, some users found their Super AMOLED screens were redder than they should be, which Samsung said was a calibration misalignment that could be solved using software. An update adds new settings to the phone's white balance options, along with manual controls for those who want to more specifically control the way colors appear on the phone's screen.

No word on whether other Canadian carriers will launch the same update this week. Has your Galaxy S8 seen this issue?

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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2 weeks ago

Troubleshooting your Samsung Gear VR starts with our Ultimate Guide!

Everything you need to keep your Gear VR running well!

There's a lot of great things you can do inside of a Samsung Gear VR, but like any virtual reality system one small thing can take a great deal away from the experience. It's not always easy to find a quick solution to one of those problems, so we've compiled a complete list of all the things you need to know if something happens. Troubleshooting your Gear VR is easy if you've got a guide handy,and that's where we come in.

Here's the ultimate guide to troubleshooting your Gear VR!

Read more at VR Heads!

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2 weeks ago

From the Editor's Desk: Google I/O 2017 and beyond

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Google IO

Get ready for the most interesting I/O in years.

In just over a week's time, we'll be heading out to Mountain View for Google I/O, the annual developer conference where we'll see, in broad terms, what's next from Google. At its core, I/O is a developer conference, but it's also been a platform for other major announcements from the firm, and sometimes the occasional product launch. Looking back at last May's conference, Google foreshadowed its big push into consumer hardware with Google Home and Daydream, showed us the next evolution of Android Wear (which, incidentally wouldn't actually be ready until the following February), and laid the foundations for Android apps on Chrome OS and Instant Apps across all Android devices.

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2 weeks ago

Best Wallet Cases for the Google Pixel

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What are the best wallet cases for my Google Pixel?

Update May 7: Added the BornTech case and removed the Abacus24-7 folio case which is no longer available.

Wallet cases offer and an elegant and functional way to keep your phone, cards, and cash around in one place while cutting down on the amount of stuff one needs to carry around.

The cases we've assembled here are for the 5-inch Pixel, so you won't want to get one of these if you've got the larger Pixel XL.

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2 weeks ago

Get Mom $50 worth of flowers for $35

Mother's Day is right around the corner. Did you remember? You forgot, didn't you?

It's OK. Android Central Digital Offers has you covered.

$50 worth of flowers for $35Learn more

Ordering flowers online is the perfect way to surprise Mom this Mother's Day, since Bouqs will have them delivered right to her doorstep. At Android Central Digital Offers, you can get a $50 credit for just $35 and send Mom a beautiful bouquet of spring flowers from the Bouqs Company. Registration with Bouqs is free and every purchase is backed by the Happiness Guarantee, so if you get some sad flowers, you'll be taken care of.

The Bouqs Company gets all of its flowers from eco-friendly, sustainable farms, so you can purchase a bouquet for your mother or any other mothers in your life in good conscience. Flowers from some florists can cost you an arm and a leg and aren't as sustainably sourced, but through Android Central Digital Offers, you can get a $50 credit for just $35.

$50 worth of flowers for $35Learn more

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2 weeks ago

Why you should care about Android malware and the importance of security patches

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Android is secure, but your phone probably isn't. 3.5 million pieces of malware in 2017 means that matters.

When you're king of the hill you are a target for everyone and everything. Sometimes that's great — LG's G6 is an awesome phone that wants to compete with the Galaxy S8 because the GS8 will be the king of the Android hill. Other times it's not, and security company G Data takes a look at one of those not-so-great times.

When you're on top you are a target.

Android's market dominance means it is the main target for people writing malware. Just like Windows for your PC, the fact that more than 70% of smartphone users worldwide use Android means it's where you want to focus if you're trying to steal user data. There is certainly malware for iOS, and probably Windows 10 Mobile, but to increase the odds, Android is the target.

G Data forecasts that it will see 3.5 million cases of malware for Android in 2017. A look at the numbers since 2012 shows that it's not making an outrageous claim, either.

Image courtesy G Data.

There's a reason why malware is successful with Android, and it's one that still hasn't been addressed: most phones are using old software and haven't been patched against it.

Google does a lot of work to make Android secure and keep it that way. It pays people to find security exploits, works with hardware vendors like Qualcomm or NVIDIA to fix them if needed, then writes a patch that can be injected into the existing version with no fuss. If you have a Pixel or Nexus or BlackBerry product, you'll then get these patches. If you have any other phone you roll the dice and hope the people who made it care enough.

More Androids run Gingerbread (2010) than run the current version.

Forget about the Pixel or a Nexus for a minute. They have to be updated because there is no way Google can say that these updates are really important if they aren't. Google may be silly sometimes, but not that silly. But BlackBerry? It's hard for me to imagine any scenario where you can set the bar lower than using BlackBerry as the example.

BlackBerry (the software company from Canada) is a company that operated a month away from bankruptcy for a year or so and has found a way to stay afloat and reinvent itself. It's not in the black (pun intended) because it can ship a security patch 30 days after it received it. Security may be BlackBerry's "thing" but as far as resources, Asian phone manufacturers dwarf it. My take is that it does it because it has found a way to streamline the process and not have to spend hundreds (or more) man-hours on the patches. And whether a model sells a million units or 50 million units, you're only writing one patch.

Android 7.1 is on 0.5% of the 1.5 billion+ Android phones that are in use worldwide. The number with the May 2017 patch is likely to be close to this because the only phones that have it are running 7.1. And remember, the company that made your phone has had that patch for at least a month before it was released. Even worse: more phones are running Android 2.3.3 — which was released in 2010 — and no longer see any security updates than are running up-to-date software.

Not everyone wants one of these.

Real talk: there has not been a security apocalypse for mobile devices. Yet. But this is a recipe for one, and it could happen tomorrow. Isn't preventing a massive data breach that affects millions and millions of us better than crossing fingers and hoping it doesn't happen? Not everyone wants a "boring ass" Pixel or a BlackBerry. People want the things a Galaxy S8 or LG G6 give them. One of those things needs to be a little protection against the shitware that very smart people are making and looking for ways to give to everyone.

Security updates need to become a feature along with a great camera and slinky glass body.

Usually, security companies write blog posts to push their products and a specific agenda. While G Data's post may serve to those goals it also highlights the very real and very serious problem of having software that's easy to hack storing your credit card numbers and user passwords.

We wish there was better news here, but as usual, we can only offer the advice to be careful what you install and get all of your apps from Google play. Stay safe.

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2 weeks ago

Get chatty in this weekend's comments thread!

65

Sit back, relax and chat about stuff because it's the weekend!

I 💖weekends. I know I'm not alone here. Even if you work Saturday and Sunday or both, you gotta love it when the boss isn't around to keep you from pressing buttons and doing things and everything is just a bit relaxed.

And if your weekend is on different days because you're busting your butt today and tomorrow (shout out to servers and bartenders and retail workers and everyone else who makes life great), we hope you get to come home and relax at least a little bit on the days that start with S and think about the rest of us when you're off through the week.

So who is doing something cool this weekend? I'm going to balance working and writing with time trying to find out what's needed to build my own Pi Hat board, because I want Google Assistant in a cardboard box (or a plastic Oscar the Grouch trash can!) and Google is being Google again and making the actual kits impossible to find unless you're Richard Devine. (loveu hatchu Richard). But it's cool, my Pi Hat might just have huge blinking lights and sirens and make noises that only the dogs can hear. Or something. (Take that, Richard!). Yeah, this is pretty much what a giant nerd does on the weekend. And it's freaking awesome.

Scroll down to the comments and let loose with whatever cool thing you have planned or anything else you want to talk about. You can even drop a pic somewhere like Imgur and drop the text link in a comment so we all can see it. Let's do this thing!

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