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2 weeks ago

Nextbit may have just revealed a red variant of the Robin [update]

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Update: Taking it all in stride, Nextbit gave us a little bit of extra information as to the legitimacy of an upcoming red Robin ... saying "there are no mistakes," with a jar of red paint spilled on a black phone.

Original story: During a recent Periscope announcement of its new picture Web Client Beta, the team at Nextbit had what appears to be a red variant of its Robin smartphone easily visible. We've already seen Nextbit do a limited edition version of the phone, and this could be one of those, or it could be something that the company plans to sell as a new option shortly.

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2 weeks ago

Where to buy the Moto G4, G4 Plus and G4 Play in the U.S.

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Moto G4 Plus

The latest versions in the Moto G family are headed to the U.S.

After being unveiled in other areas around the world, folks stateside will soon be able to get their hands on the Moto G4 and its sibling the Moto G4 Plus. Later on in the year, we'll get the U.S. details on the launch of the Moto G4 Play as well.

Interested in picking up one of these low-cost high-performing phones? Here's where you can get 'em.

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2 weeks ago

Does the Play Store on Chromebooks make Android tablets obsolete?

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While it's still not perfect, Android on a big screen has been redefined with the Google Play store on Chromebooks.

By now everyone knows that Google is putting Android apps on Chromebooks. If you don't, you can start reading all you need to know right here. And this time, it's not a half-hearted attempt through a weird run-time interpreter that developers weren't interested in using. It's a full operating system that runs alongside Chrome and can integrate seamlessly with things like the native notification system, local files, and the clipboard. That means you can go to Google Play and download an Android app and it will probably work just fine.

This is a pretty big deal. Adding support for Android apps is a turn-key solution for any so-called "app gap" a platform has.Because it's Google that is doing it, that means the biggest Android app repository this side of the moon — the Google Play Store — is going to add a million plus apps all at once. And with "full" Android support and Google Play Services, you can have a great Android experience on something with a big screen, a keyboard, and a big battery. And a much more reasonable price than a high-end Android tablet.

This might mean a Chromebook is the best big-screen Android experience out there.

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2 weeks ago

Snag Michael Bublé's album 'To Be Loved' for free in the Google Play Store

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U.S. residents can download 'To Be Loved', the 2013 album from classics crooner Michael Bublé, for free from the Google Play Store from now until July 15.

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2 weeks ago

Sony Xperia X Performance vs. Samsung Galaxy S7: Same price, different values

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Xperia X Performance and Galaxy S7

If you have $700 burning a hole in your pocket, there are plenty of phones to spend it on.

Sony and Samsung, among others, have phones at the very top of their range that are vying to be the perfect device to drop several hundred dollars on. In this case, it's the Sony Xperia X Performance, and the Galaxy S7. Both are compact, powerful, feature-rich and very much flagship devices for their respective companies.

But for most of us, choosing a phone that's this expensive isn't a coin-toss sort of situation — there needs to be some serious thought about which one is best for your hard-earned money. The Xperia X performance was announced right alongside the Galaxy S7, but is now widely available — and that means it's time to see what $700 gets you in these two phones. Read on.

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2 weeks ago

An exhaustive list of 'OK, Google' commands is exactly what we don't want

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OK-Google.io is an excellent site for getting a feel for what you can ask your phone to do. But it's also something that Google likely wants to make irrelevant.

Someone put some serious work into this. Twenty-one categories so far. I don't know how many different commands. Basically everything you can ask Google, all in one place. It's wonderfully done, and one hell of a tool.

It's also exactly what we don't want.

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2 weeks ago

Nextbit makes accessing your pictures easier with Web Client Beta

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Nextbit has just unveiled its first piece of beta software, Web Client. This will allow you to view your pictures, their metadata and even download them on your computer with ease. Recently, Nextbit put out a call for Robin owners who may be interested in testing unreleased software, and this is the first thing to come from that.

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2 weeks ago

Citymapper can now help you zip around the streets of Seattle and Baltimore

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Citymapper, a handy little app that helps make traveling around the hustle and bustle of the city a little easier, has picked up support for Seattle and Baltimore.

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2 weeks ago

5 things to look for in a budget Android phone

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Best cheap Android phones

There's a lot of cheap crap out there in the world of budget Android phones. Here are some pointers to help you avoid buying a dud.

Android smartphones have never been cheaper, and that's mainly a good thing. There are some real bargains out there, making the mobile web, apps and photography more accessible than ever.

But just as there are some great deals out there, there are also plenty of duds — phones that just aren't worth your money at any price. Navigating this mess of cheap Android phones can be tricky, so we've assembled a quick checklist of things to watch out for. Read on.

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2 weeks ago

This portable wireless charging pad is just $10 at Amazon

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Right now you can pick up RAVPower's mini wireless charging pad for just $10 at Amazon with coupon code V3NGLULB. This wireless charging pad has a small and compact design, which makes it perfect for traveling with as it won't take up much space in your bag. All you have to do is plug the USB cable into power, place your compatible phone on the pad and the charging will begin.

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2 weeks ago

Verizon's Moto Z Droid Edition launches July 14 in New York

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Motorola and Verizon have sent out invites for an event on July 14 in New York City. The event will reveal launch information, like pricing and release date for the Moto Z Droid Edition, and likely for its Moto Mods as well. This will be Motorola's first attempt at a modular-style phone so it will be interesting to see how the two handle its launch.

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2 weeks ago

How to track your Android phone

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How to track an Android phone

How do I track my Android phone? There are quite a few tools at your disposal.

Worried about misplacing your phone or (worse yet) having it stolen? Ease your fears and set up a tracking system before your worst case scenario strikes. For best locating results, your phone should be connected to a Wi-Fi signal, but GPS and mobile networks will still manage to pinpoint a fairly accurate location. You must also have a Google account for virtually all of the tracking services available, whether they are built in or downloaded.

How to enable Android Device Manager on your phone

In newer Android phones, the Device Manager is already located conveniently in your Settings app, so there's no need for any extra downloads. This locating service has essentially amalgamated with Google to make finding your phone easier. There are just a couple of things you'll need to activate.

  1. Launch Settings.
  2. Tap Security.
  3. Tap Device Administration.

    Launch Settings, tap Security, tap Device Administration

  4. Tap Android Device Manager so that a checkmark appears in the checkbox.
  5. Tap the back button in the top left corner of your screen.
  6. Tap the back button again in the top left corner to return to the main Settings menu.

    Tap Android Device Manager, tap top left arrow, tap left arrow again

  7. Tap Location in the main Settings menu.
  8. Tap the switch beside Location at the top of the screen so that it turns on.
  9. Tap Mode.

    Tap Location, tap the switch beside Location so that it turns on, tap Mode

  10. Tap High accuracy so the circle is filled in.
  11. Tap the back button in the top left corner.
  12. Tap Google Location History.

    Tap High accuracy, tap top left arrow, tap Google Location History

  13. Tap the switch beneath Location History so that it turns on.
  14. Tap the switch beside your device so that it turns on.

    Toggle on and make sure device is toggled on

How to locate your phone using Google

Should you happen to lose your phone, you can locate its whereabouts by logging into your Google account from any computer or even from another phone.

  1. Launch a web browser from a phone, tablet, or computer.
  2. Navigate to Google if it is not your default search engine or home page.
  3. Type find my phone android in the Google search bar.

    Launch web browser, navigate to google, type find my phone android

  4. Tap on Android Device Manager (usually the first option in the search).
  5. Enter your email address and password just as though you were checking your email.

    Tap the first Android Device Manger option, enter your email and password

When your phone is located, you have three options to choose from:

  • You can Ring your phone so that it makes noise (even if you had it on silent). This feature is helpful if the map indicates that the phone is within earshot and you simply can't see it.
  • You can Lock your phone so that the finder can't access your home screen. This feature is most helpful if your phone wasn't previously secured with a passcode or a fingerprint sensor.
  • You can Erase your phone. This is the best option if you know for certain that you aren't likely to retrieve your phone.

    Choose to ring, lock, or erase phone when located

If you are trying to locate your phone with Android Device Manager and it doesn't seem to be working, the most likely cause is that your phone is not currently connected to Wi-Fi or an available network. In this case, it's important to keep trying; the moment your phone does make that connection, it will appear on the map.

If you want to download a tracking app for fear of a missing phone crisis, there are a number of options to choose from, and we're highlighting some choice picks for you.

Family Locator

Family Locator app

The Family Locator app by Life360 is essentially a GPS tracker for phones but is especially useful for families with multiple phones in use. Your family members become a "Circle", the app's name for a closed group of people who consent to having their phones tracked in real time. Your family members will appear on live maps within the app as little icons so that you can see where everyone is at any given moment.

The app also allows you to chat with people in your Circle or broadcast a meeting time and location. And, of course, if a phone from within your Circle is ever lost or stolen, the app will track it on the map.

Download: Family Locator (Free with in-app purchases)

Cerberus anti theft

Cerberus anti theft app

This locator app from Cerberus offers an impressive array of remote control features if you find your phone has been lost or stolen. You'll still be able to lock, ring, or erase your phone, but you'll also be able to remotely access your camera or sound a loud alarm from your phone, even if it was on silent mode when you lost it.

The advanced features allow you to hide Cerberus in your app drawer so that it can't be detected if and when your phone is found or stolen. Your missing phone will transmit data to you via the Cerberus website or via SMS text from another phone with the Cerberus app installed.

Download: Cerberus anti theft (Free with in-app purchases)

Prey Anti Theft

Prey Anti Theft app

The Prey Anti Theft app is impressive in that three different devices can be protected through one download. You'll have the ability to sound an alarm from your missing phone, take screenshots if it's in use, and lock down the device the moment you realize it's missing.

Once you've downloaded the app, it will walk you through a series of tutorials to show you how to use your Prey Account to track your phone. The app itself is free and doesn't require additional purchases in order to access the high-end features.

Download: Prey Anti Theft (Free)

Lost Android

Lost Android app

Lost Android will allow you to have remote access to your missing phone via their website. Here, you'll be able to erase sensitive information if you fear that your phone may never be returned, or send messages to your phone in the hopes of someone finding and returning it.

Additionally, you can choose to remotely forward any calls you may be missing to another number and record a running list of any calls or messages made or photos taken with your phone.

Download: Lost Android (Free with in-app purchases)

Where's My Droid

Wheres My Droid app

The basic features of the Where's My Droid app allow you to ring your phone if you misplace it, locate it via GPS on Google Maps, and use a passcode to prevent unauthorized changes to apps on your Android phone. Stealth Mode also prevents anyone who finds your phone from seeing your incoming text messages; instead they'll see a customizable attention word that alerts them of the phone's lost or stolen status.

The Pro version of the app, which you pay to use, lets you remotely wipe data from your phone, use a landline to access your phone, and remotely lock the device.

Download: Where's My Droid (Free with in-app purchases)

The bottom line

If your phone is stolen or found and it's then factory reset, you will not be able to rely on any apps or services to find your it; a factory reset will wipe out any of the original data, accounts, or passwords that are needed to remotely find your Android phone.

As always, exercise caution when retrieving a lost or stolen phone. If you have any concerns about it being lost or stolen, it's best to set up and test your preferred tracking system as soon as you buy it, and contact the police. It can be a bit of extra front-end work to register some apps, but it will be more work trying to locate a missing phone if no safety nets are in place at all.

How do you track?

What app do you use to track your Android phone, if any at all? Let us know in the comments section below!

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2 weeks ago

Honor 5X Marshmallow update with EMUI 4.0 now rolling out

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The Honor 5X is now receiving its Marshmallow update which also brings EMUI 4.0 along with it. As you'd expect, Marshmallow brings great new features like Doze, enhanced permission controls, Now on Tap and more to the phone, but that isn't all.

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2 weeks ago

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge Olympic Games Limited Edition on sale July 18

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Samsung has officially announced the Galaxy S7 edge Olympic Games Limited Edition. The special version of its smartphone will be given to all of the athletes in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, but 2,016 units will be sold to the public starting on July 18.

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2 weeks ago

I rooted my Nexus 5X for themes, and here's what I learned

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Believe it or not, I like simple.

That may not sound quite right for a themer, but I do. I well and truly do love simple. That's why I loved Motorola's phones and the Nexus approach to Android. But there are limits to what you can do in the simple sandbox, while your bootloader is locked and your phone is stock. You can replace your launcher, but you can't replace the blinding white in all the Google apps. You can't bring back that seek bar in the Play Music notification you've missed for two years. And you can't get into the nitty gritty details of choosing how your Android system looks and behaves. For that, you need complete control of your device.

And that's why I've gone back into the chaos theory that is root.

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