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2 weeks ago

LeEco hits another snag in building its global empire, won't acquire Vizio

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This time, regulations have stopped it from acquiring the US's biggest TV maker.

LeEco hasn't had an easy time lately and things don't seem to be perking up. Both LeEco and Vizio have announced that the merger agreement for the former to acquire the latter will not proceed.

Both companies sent out a tandem email with the following statement:

LeEco Global Group Ltd. and VIZIO Inc. announced today that the merger agreement to acquire VIZIO will not proceed due to regulatory headwinds. We continue to believe that there is great synergy between the two companies and are pleased to announce that LeEco and VIZIO have reached an agreement that is a win for both companies.

Under the new agreement, LeEco and VIZIO will continue to explore opportunities to incorporate the Le app and content within the VIZIO connected CE platform and engage in a collaborative partnership to leverage LeEco's EUI (Ecosystem User Interface) platform, along with the brand's exclusive content and distribution channels, to bring VIZIO products to the China market.

LeEco had announced last summer that it would acquire Vizio, the US's biggest manufacturer of televisions, for $2 billion. It would have given the Chinese company a relative entry point into the American gadget market, not to mention helping to proliferate LeEco's ecosystem of devices. But the acquisition was squashed after both companies endured too many obstacles from Chinese regulators.

For now, Vizio will remain a US-based business, though you'll likely see some LeEco services pop up on future Vizio products.

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2 weeks ago

How to use gestures to become an Android home screen expert

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Gestures have been an iconic piece of the mobile computing experience since the beginning — even without an icon.

Slide-to-unlock. Pinch-to-zoom. Double-tap-to-wake. Gestures that work well are invaluable to a user's experience, and Android phone manufacturers are bringing these gestures to the home screen in deceptively simple and astonishingly successful ways.

Case in point: both the Samsung Galaxy S8 — and the Google Pixel before it — are eschewing the app drawer button and instead using a gesture to open the drawer. Google employed a slightly brightened dock background and a swipe from the dock to open the app drawer on the Pixel Launcher, but Samsung's taking this two steps further: swiping up or down anywhere on the home screen will launch you into the app drawer.

So what if you want to open something other than the app drawer? No problem.

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2 weeks ago

You won't want to miss your chance to grab an Honor 8 for just $277

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time scoring you a sweet deal on the excellent Honor 8 smartphone!

Odds are that you've heard of the Honor 8 by now, and if you're in the market for one you won't want to miss this deal. Right now you can pick up an unlocked 32GB version of the popular smartphone for just $277, which is a savings of around $120 from its normal price. With its 5.2-inch screen and dual camera setup, the Honor 8 has features that beginners and advanced users will love. The phone offers great battery life and recharges via USB-C, and it was recently updated to Android 7.0 and EMUI 5.

This price is only available for the midnight black version of the phone, but some of the other colors are on sale as well. Stop delaying and pick one of these up for yourself today!

See at Amazon

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

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2 weeks ago

Best baseball apps for Android

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They say it isn't spring until baseball starts. Well, then, spring is here.

The late winter snows are finally starting to melt, and we can already hear the ridiculously-priced concession stand beers and soft pretzels calling out names. Major League Baseball season has started, and if you're ready to step up to the plate of keeping up with teams, divisions, fantasy leagues, and statistics galore, we're here to help you hit it out of the park!

Take me out to the Play Store!

MLB At Bat

When it comes to baseball, it's little surprise that the MLB's own app is the first stop, and if you're a big-spending baseball fan who has a Premium MLB.tv subscription, then this may be the only app you need, as this app is included in your yearly subscription. MLB At Bat features each and every game outside your market — because the MLB's blackout rules just won't die — for MLB.tv Premium subscribers, while mere At Bat subscribers can watch the Game of the Day.

MLB At Bat has Chromecast support, so you won't have to squint to make out a foul pitch on your smartphone's screen. That said, unless you're already shelling out 130 bucks a year for MLB.tv Premium, MLB At Bat's limited games and subscription model — 3 bucks a month or a yearly subscription of $20 — may seem a bit too rich for many users.

Download: MLB At Bat (Free w/ IAPs)

ESPN

If you're looking to keep up with the home team's stats, standings, and maybe delve into their opponents stats during a 'lively debate' at the sports bar, ESPN may be just the ticket. ESPN's app — formerly known as ESPN Scorecenter — keeps up with baseball — and most other sports, for that matter — in grand style. You can customize alerts so that even if you're not watching a Gamecast you'll know when the tide is turning, or when your team is blowing its lead. If you've got a cable subscription from certain providers, you can even tune in to live ESPN shows and commentaries.

Download: ESPN (Free)

theScore

You may remember theScore, we've recommended it before for basketball, for hockey, and it's great for following MLB baseball, too. This lusciously dark material app is easy to navigate and re-arrange to your heart's content. You can follow individual players in addition to teams or events, keep up on the latest in news, and you can even keep up with your fantasy team here as well. Like ESPN, theScore can serve as your one and only sports news/scores app if you're looking for a single, simple app to depend on.

So try it.

Download: theScore (Free)

Yahoo Fantasy Sports

If you take your fantasy baseball team seriously, if your league means more than just bragging rights, then the Yahoo Fantasy Sports app has you covered. Another great dark material app, Yahoo is here for you to manage your team, participate in mock drafts, and — most importantly — smack talk the wimpy teams the other managers in your league have put together. And once the baseball season has wrapped up, you can use the same app to keep up with your fantasy football league.

They have also been voted Best Fantasy Sports Mobile App by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association for four years running. So if you're serious about your fantasy team, this is the app to download.

Download: Yahoo Fantasy Sports(Free)

WatchEspn

It may not have every single game, but if you're not shelling out for MLB.tv, WatchESPN can come through in a pinch. WatchESPN shows many an MLB game — especially those early afternoon games that you would never be caught watching at work — and if you're paying for cable, it might as well earn its keep outside your house. WatchESPN streams games to any of your devices — including your Chromecast, leaving your phone free to live-tweet the game and trash-talk the other team's fans.

Download: WatchESPN (Free)

Google Now

Even without an app, you can follow your home team just fine. And if local businesses run promotions around your team — like Papa Johns and the Texas Rangers — then paying attention isn't just a way to stay connected, it's a way to hunt for deals. You can follow a team from pre-season to world series on Google Now without it being bombarded with constant notifications. If you've got an Android Wear device, following baseball on Google Now is a breeze: you can swipe through the cards on your wrist whenever you have a moment and need to pick yourself up with the thought of your team kicking butt — and earning you cheap food.

Download: Google Now(Free)

How are you keeping track?

There are plenty of great apps that will keep you up to date with every inning of the game, but these are our favorites. DId we miss a must-have MLB app? So, what apps will you be taking out to the old ballgame — or at least the sports bar where you'll be watching that old ballgame? And which teams are you pulling for?

Looking to play baseball instead of watch? We've got you covered, too!

The best baseball games for Android

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2 weeks ago

Google Home app hints at multi-user support

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A new card in the app's Discover tab says multiple users are now supported… but they aren't yet?

If you share a Google Home with multiple people, chances are you've been eagerly awaiting the day your smart speaker is able to offer each user a personalized Google Assistant experience. It seems like that day is very quickly approaching, as some users are seeing a new card in the Google Home app's Discover tab, which purports that Google Home now supports multiple users.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any added functionality to back up this announcement, but it does confirm that the feature is on its way and may be going live very soon.

Adding support for multiple user profiles is expected to expand the Google Home experience to better mirror the same functionality of Google Assistant on your personal phone. Currently, Google Home is unable to perform many features linked to personal accounts such as setting personal reminders, creating calendar events, messaging contacts, and more due to privacy and concerns. This should change once multiple accounts are supported, and we'll be sure to fill you in on all the new features once things have officially gone live.


Google Home

Google Store Best Buy Target

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2 weeks ago

Farpoint for PlayStation VR: Everything you need before the game launches!

Survive the desert, find the scientists, kill the baddies, and do it all with a sweet new aim controller.

After months of waiting, Farpoint for PlayStation VR is almost here. With a release date of May 16, 2017 it's right around the corner. There has been a lot of hype for Farpoint, and for good reason. You've got a full length single-player campaign, a mysterious desert planet that wants to kill you, a new controller for shooting things in VR, what's not to love?

If you're anything like us, you want to be prepared when launch day arrives. That's why we've put together list of everything you need to know ahead of launch day.

Read more at VR Heads!

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2 weeks ago

Best Clear Cases for the Samsung Galaxy S8

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What are the best clear cases for the Samsung Galaxy S8?

It's the same debate with the release of every new phone: Do you show it off or protect it with a durable case?

The Samsung Galaxy S8 has a brilliant new design that you'll definitely want to flaunt, but you'll also want to keep all that glass unscathed, right? Split the difference with a clear case and show off your new phone while keeping it protected from harm.

More: The best cases for the Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Clear Cover case

Of Samsung's own cases, the Clear Cover case is the most compelling. This case features a translucent cover that protects your phone's screen, while still allowing you to interact with your phone by answering calls, changing the music, and more.

Planning to watch a lot of video on that shiny new screen? This case also folds over into a stand for hands-free viewing. Samsung has designed a very minimalist case that keeps the slim profile of your Galaxy S8 intact. If you're planning to pre-order your new phone directly from Samsung, you can add this case to your order during checkout.

See at Samsung

Spigen Ultra Hybrid Galaxy S8 case

Spigen consistently designs outstanding cases, and their clear cases are some of the best you can buy.

The Ultra Hybrid is a one-piece case that blends two of the most popular case materials. The bumper is made of flexible TPU to help absorb the shock of a drop and also features a raised lip around the front to protect the screen. The back plate is made of durable, hard PC plastic, which protects against scratches and other damage.

This case is virtually crystal clear, so you'll barely notice that it's there, but you'll be happy it is when it saves your phone from unsightly blemishes or a cracked screen.

See at Amazon

Spigen Liquid Crystal Galaxy S8 case

If you're looking for a clear case that's a little more svelte, Spigen has you covered with its Liquid Crystal case.

The one-piece design fits snugly around your phone and offers basic protection while letting the beautiful look of your phone shine through. Made of lightweight and flexible TPU, this case is easy to pop on and keeps your phone protected with a 0.04-inch lip at the top and bottom of the screen.

This is another great option if you're looking for subtle protection that won't distract from the Galaxy S8's brilliant design.

See at Amazon

Ringke FUSION Crystal Clear case

This dual-layer case features a hard PC backplate held flush against your phone by the flexible TPU bumper to provide a slim case that offers the drop protection you need while giving you the nearly invisible look you want from a clear case.

With extra protection in the corners and a tapered rim around the top and bottom of the screen, this case has been precisely designed to keep your phone safe. Ample cutouts around the speaker, charging port, and headphone jack ensure you have no issues with other accessories while maintaining a very stylish design that's available in three color options for the bumper.

Ringke has included, as always, a free DIY template for slipping a photo in the back, allowing you to change things up with a custom design whenever you want.

See at Amazon

SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle Frosted Clear case

If you're looking to balance rugged protection while still letting your phone's design shine through a bit, the SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle Frosted Clear case is the choice for you.

This case keeps your phone protected with a formidable bumper made of shock-absorbing TPU. Its been designed to feel comfortable in your hand with grippy texture along the sides and firm and responsive buttons. The back plate is transparent, so you can show off your Galaxy S8's true colors while ensuring it stays scratch-free.

Featuring sizable cutouts and a raised bezel around the screen and the camera on the back, this case is designed to keep your phone protected without impeding any of its functions or ports. If you aren't looking to sacrifice rugged protection for a sleek clear case, this is your best option.

See at Amazon

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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2 weeks ago

Who's going for the Galaxy S8+ over the S8?

78

Are you leaning one way or the other?

Last year, there was a clear divide in size and features between the Galaxy S7 and the S7 edge — it was even in the name!

This year, not so much. The Galaxy S8+ is slightly taller and wider than the Galaxy S8, with a 6.2-inch display over the smaller phone's 5.8-inch panel, but both are curved, and both are very compact.

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boubazm1 04-06-2017 04:17 PM “

Hi, I just want to know for the ones who will buy the S8+ their reason to buy it.Do u think S8 is really not big enough or just you're used to big phones.I've always had samsund S series phones.But I feel now that my S7 is too small.Is the S8 enough bigger than the S7?

Reply

As the phone gets a bit closer to release, a lot of people are asking whether the S8+, which its 3500mAh battery, is actually a better decision than the S8, which has a 3000mAh cell.

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Arsenio Martins 04-06-2017 05:50 PM “

I just left Best Buy. If you aren't looking at them side by side you almost would think they were the same size. I mean one is obviously larger than the other but it's not that noticeable like it was last year. For that alone I think it's worth going for the slightly larger screen and larger battery.

Reply

Some people look at the S8's smaller size and focus on its one hand-friendliness, since it's small enough to swipe-type and take a photo with one hand. But others just want the biggest phone, period.

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Rumline 04-06-2017 04:23 PM “

Yes, S8 is not big enough. IMHO even the S8+'s size is marginal, to the point that I may cancel my pre-order and wait for the Note 8. I want a 6" screen with a 16:9 ratio.

Reply

Others don't think the S8+ goes big enough, and are waiting to see what the Note 8 brings.

What's your thinking? Are you going for the Galaxy S8 or the Galaxy S8+?

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

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2 weeks ago

Best baseball games for Android

11

Spring has finally sprung, which means America's favorite pastime is back!

With the new Major League Baseball season just getting underway, we're sure all you baseball fans are clamoring for a quick fix between — or possibly even during — watching your favorite team's games. We've got the rundown on the best baseball games that have been updated for the new season.

PLAY BALL!

MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2017

Tap Sports Baseball is a free-to-play game that's been officially licensed by the MLB and features all teams and players from Major League Baseball game.

If you've played previous iterations of this game, you'll be happy to know that the graphics have been improved for 2017. Featuring the same simple one-touch controls for batting, this is a game you can comfortably play one-handed, though you're only tasked with batting.

There are many ways to play, from online exhibition games, home run battles, and tournaments. In multiplayer, teams take turns at bat so you're able to play multiple games at one time. There's also weekly events where you can show off your ultimate team in head-to-head competitions.

Again, this is a free-to-play game that relies on in-app purchases. You should be able to grind your way through things, but if you're frustrated by that style of game you're best to look elsewhere. Otherwise, this game is perfect for casual players and looks really great.

Download: MLB Tap Sports Baseball 2017 (Free w/IAPs)

MLB Nine Innings 2017

The 9 Innings franchise has been a very popular game on Android over the years, and the latest edition might be the best yet. The game features all 30 MLB ballparks and over 800 players, which have been carefully rendered in 3D for a very authentic gameplay experience.

There's a number of ways to play depending on how much free time you have. You can jump into an exhibition game or play your way through a full season with options to play bat/pitch only or take control of both sides of the game. The game also features a unique "Live Player System", which will accurately reflect the real-life performance and value of MLB players throughout the season.

You're also tasked with collecting your favorite players and building your dream team which, coupled with the free-to-play model, means you're going to have to deal with in-app purchases. If you can get past that, you should have a great time playing this game throughout the season.

Download: MLB Nine Innings 2017 (Free w/IAPs)

MLB Line Drive

While the other games on this list do their best to simulate the MLB as realistically as possible, MLB Line Drive is an arcadey take on everyone's favorite event: the home run derby.

Controls are simple: you wait for your pitch, then swipe to hit the ball with your finger (think Fruit Ninja-style). Connect at the right angle and you'll send the ball sailing out of the park for a home run… but that's only the beginning! Each time you play, you're given a goal for scoring points, which you collect by clearing the park and smashing lights, collecting coins, popping balloons, dinging cars, breaking windows and much more.

Developed by MLB.com, Line Drive features six iconic ballparks are featured within the game — Yankee Stadium, Wrigley Field, Comerica Park, Globe Life Park, AT&T Park & Citizens Bank Park — with each new park being unlocked as you progress through the game. To do so, you're going to need to upgrade your swing power and use boosters… which you buy with the in-app currency.

I think you see where this is headed. Yes, there are in-app purchases here as well, and the further you progress the harder the challenges become which will, in turn, tempt you with in-app purchases. Of you can get past the pay-to-win mechanics and are looking for a fun and casual game, check out MLB Line Drive.

Download: MLB Line Drive (Free w/ IAPs)

R.B.I. Baseball 17

If you're looking to play full baseball games on your Android device without being pestered with in-app purchase offers, R.B.I. Baseball 17 is your best bet. This paid app was developed by the MLB and is also available on PS4 and Xbox One.

While the game might feel a little lacking on the consoles, it looks and plays quite nicely on Android, featuring beautifully rendered stadiums and all 30 MLB teams available with regularly updated rosters. Choose your preferred game mode and play a quick exhibition game, take your favorite team through a full season, or jump right into the heat of the post-season.

This game is fairly optimized for mobile gaming, allowing you to play a full nine-inning game in under 20 minutes with intuitive two-button on-screen controls. Keep in mind that all those pretty graphics requires a fairly modern phone to play it, which means R.B.I. Baseball 17 only supports devices with memory/processor comparable to the Samsung Galaxy S5 and up.

This game will set you back $4.99 in the app store but in exchange, you won't have to deal with clunky free-to-play game mechanics.

Download: R.B.I. Baseball 17 ($4.99)

Swing for the fences!

What do you think of our picks? Who you got winning the World Series this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Android Gaming

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2 weeks ago

Get a two-year subscription to one of the leading VPN services for only $51

Online privacy is slowly but surely eroding, and it doesn't seem like the general public has much of a say in the matter. Some people don't mind having their activity spied on and sold for profit, but others would like to keep their matters to themselves, no matter how innocent they are.

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2 weeks ago

ZTE Quartz is an affordable Android Wear smartwatch with 3G and a huge battery

26

The maker of budget smartphones begins its foray into the wearables market with the biggest battery in Android Wear.

ZTE isn't quite known for its wearables because it hasn't really offered any — at least, not any running Android Wear. The company is hoping to turn that around now that smartwatches and wearables have become a veritable thing in the mobile industry, and as companies of all sorts are investing in their own devices in this space, ZTE has committed to trying its hand.

ZTE's first smartwatch is the Quartz. It runs Android Wear 2.0 and features 3G connectivity, and it's nearly as polished and preened as some of the pricier fashion smartwatches available. Its main appeal, however, is its price point. When the watch launches on April 21, you can buy it at T-Mobile for $192.

See at T-Mobile

Bang for the buck, but with compromises

The ZTE Quartz isn't a bells and whistles kind of Android Wear smartwatch. It's barebones packed into a pretty well-crafted metal chassis. It's up to speed with all its specifications, too, as it runs on the same Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor and 768MB of memory as the LG Watch Sport. It has 4GB of onboard storage for Google Play Music playlists on the go, as well as a built-in speaker for speakerphone, GPS, and a barometer. It's also IP67-rated for water resistance, too, and features removable watch bands — which is appreciated, considering the default silicone watch band that comes with the Quartz is stylistically limiting.

The ZTE Quartz isn't a bells and whistles kind of Android Wear smartwatch.

There is only one button on the Quartz: a ridged crown located on the left upper corner of the device. It doesn't spin and scroll like the LG Watch Style, but it is placed on a part of the chassis that's easier to access when wearing the watch.

The Quartz's most alluring feature its is comparatively huge 500mAh battery. If a long-lasting Android Wear smartwatch is on your wish list, but you don't want to spend too much, you'll want to give this wearable a look over. ZTE says the Quartz can last up to 36 hours, which is just enough to make it back home for a charge after a rowdy night on the town.

ZTE's first major smartwatch is lacking a few marquee features, though that's the compromise for its cheaper price. To keep its thickness at a minimum — for reference, it's 0.3mm thicker than the LG Watch Sport — ZTE left out a heart-rate monitor and an NFC chip, which would have enabled Android Pay. And though it's compatible with GSM networks, the Quartz is limited to 3G connectivity.

The Quartz also charges on an antiquated MicroUSB-connected dock. This decision was likely made in an effort to keep the overall cost of the Quartz as affordable as possible, but it feels like a stumble backward as the rest of the industry moves forward with USB Type-C. It's certainly not a deal breaker, but it is an annoyance.

Coming soon

ZTE Quartz

A pretty basic smartwatch.

ZTE has made its business on affordable smartphones, and now it's hedging its bets on smartwatches. The wearables market may have slowed down a bit in sales, but ZTE's is hoping its connected watch will attract any early adopters in search for a cheap entry point. For $199, the Quartz offers 3G connectivity on your wrist through T-Mobile, a longer battery life than its competitors, and a relatively abbreviated design chassis that's malleable enough for anyone to style.

The ZTE Quartz is on sale exclusively at T-Mobile on April 21. You can pre-order it starting April 14. And in the meantime, we have a review in the works, so stay tuned.

Android Wear

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2 weeks ago

Google is ready to spend a billion dollars to give the Pixel a curved display

127

Google is looking to better compete with Samsung by partnering with LG on displays.

Google is ready to spend close to $1 billion — around $880 million at today's exchange rate — to LG Display to produce curved OLED panels for its next Pixel phones, according to Korea's Electronic Times (via Reuters).

The report says that LG has not approved the offer just yet, but the move is an indicator that Google understands it needs to follow Samsung, LG and presumably other OEMs in producing thinner, more flexible OLED panels to maximize the screen space of its next Pixels while keeping overall device footprint down.

While the original Pixels use OLED panels, which are ideal for virtual reality and optimized for the Daydream platform, the phones, available in 5-inch and 5.5-inch variants, have been criticized for their bezels above and below the display, making their overall size much larger than other devices with the same usable screen real estate.

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

Google Store Verizon

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

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2 weeks ago

Google Duo's audio calling feature is now rolling out to everyone

18

Everyone can now make audio calls on Google's Duo.

Google rolled out audio calling in Duo last month, starting with users in Brazil. The feature lets you easily toggle between video or audio calls from within Duo's interface, and the app's technical lead Justin Uberti announced today that audio calling is now available to all users globally.

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2 weeks ago

Samsung Gear 360 (2017) initial review: Improvements all around

7
Samsung Gear 360

As early hardware and unfinished software goes, this is actually pretty good.

Samsung stopped in the middle of its big Galaxy S8 unveil to hand out a new Gear 360 to the crowd. With that camera came instructions to have fun capturing the world around us in a new way, and while 360-degree cameras aren't new to me it's still exciting to see what Samsung has in store for the next Gear 360. Here's what I have to say after using this camera for the last week.

For starters, I want to make sure it is clear this is in no way a full review of this camera. The Gear 360 (2017) was delivered in a little cardboard box with no instruction manual, lens protection, or even a charging cable. The only thing I got in the box, besides the camera, was a QR code to download a beta version of the Gear 360 app for handling this new camera. This is hardware given to me before retail packaging with unfinished software, so none of my opinions are final and very little about the overall experience is set in stone.

That having been said, I've had a lot of fun with this camera so far.

Samsung has traded the sphere design for something more like a stick, but instead of a rounded rectangle body we get a nice round body with plenty of grip. The single button on the side of the body is easy to find and press without looking, with the power and menu buttons out of the way up near the lenses. This keeps you from accidentally hitting any buttons, so you can quickly grab the camera and capture with confidence.

It's smaller than last year's version, but the 2017 Gear 360 is still pretty chunky.

Just above that single button is a display, and like the previous version of this camera it's easy enough to read in direct sunlight that you don't need to grab you phone when you're supposed to be enjoying the moment. Through this display you can see how much storage you have left, read to you in photos or video time remaining, and an icon with text for the shooting mode you are currently on. Tapping the menu button on the side of the camera will allow you to cycle through Photo, Video, Time Lapse, HDR Landscape, and Looping Video.

While the Gear 360 has stepped away from the orb shape with all of the computer bits in between the lenses, it's still a little chunkier than most other 360-degree cameras. This camera is more pocketable than its predecessor, but still a little on the awkward side. Ricoh, LG, and Insta360 all have less physical space between the two fisheye lenses that work together to take a photo. The farther apart the lenses are, the more work software has to do to make the sphere seamless. In its current state, the sphere created by the Gear 360 is far from seamless.

SAM_100_0018

The blurry line splitting the two halves of the sphere appear in every photo, but are most apparent when using the HDR photo mode shown in the above image — which is a shame, because it otherwise does a great job addressing the biggest problem with 360-degree cameras in difficult lighting. On most consumer 360-degree cameras, this photo would have been completely blown out on one half of the sphere due to the sunlight.

Samsung's HDR Landscape handled it much better, though it takes significantly longer to take these photos when compared to the normal button press. As the name suggests, this mode is only really useful if you're taking photos of a landscape with little or no movement. You're also going to want a tripod or something to keep the camera steady.

Samsung Gear 360

You have a lot more flexibility when it comes to shooting video on the Gear 360, but only if you use the app to set things up the way you want. The Gear 360 app lets you choose between 4K video at 24fps and 720p video at 120fps, with a number of options in between. These options are incredibly important for a number of reasons, but VR is the most important. By offering 360-degree video at 60fps or 120fps, you ensure the videos are much easier to watch inside a VR headset.

The Gear 360 does a great job addressing the biggest problem with 360-degree cameras in difficult lighting.

The general rule of thumb here is based on motion: increase your FPS when you increase motion, or you risk nauseating some of the people watching. Samsung doesn't do a great job explaining this anywhere, but the options available are very easy to switch between. What would be especially cool here would be a quick button to send the video you're looking at directly into a Gear VR app for you to quickly view, but right now that's not an option.

Everything you do on this camera is stored initially to the microSD card in the camera. This unit came with a 32GB card from Samsung, which is enough for thousands of photos and hours of 360-degree video. When you're ready to view or share what you've captured, it's time to head to the app on your phone.

The Gear 360 app establishes a Wi-Fi Direct connection with the camera, and lets you either transfer files to your phone or use the app as a remote shutter for the camera. Like the original Gear 360, using Wi-Fi Direct means a faster and more stable connection to the camera than the usual Bluetooth. It also means you're going to drain your battery if you leave the app open for particularly long, which is why there's a notification warning you to turn it off.

While the app works well enough in its beta form, it only works on modern Samsung phones and no update is going to fix that. Which is a bummer, because while you don't need a Samsung phone to take pictures you need the app in order to stitch the two halves together to make a sphere. To make things even weirder, there's eventually going to be an iOS version of the app, so in relatively short order there will be more iPhones able to use Samsung's camera than Android phones. There's also a YouTube live streaming feature in the app, but it only works on Android 7.0 or greater and in its current form isn't particularly stable.

SAM_100_0008

As it stands right now, there's a lot to like about the Gear 360. The camera is easy to use, the software offers a lot of useful new features, and the battery will get you at least four hours of fairly constant use. It's small enough to be reasonably portable as long as you have something to protect the lenses, and it just plain looks nice. Assuming Samsung is working on making the stitching a little smoother while we wait for release details that are a little more specific than "sometime in April or May" this will be a great camera to use just about anywhere.

See at Samsung

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2 weeks ago

How to quickly launch the Galaxy S8 camera with the power button

17

The Galaxy S8's camera shortcut has moved from the home button to the power button. Here's how it works!

On the Galaxy S6 and S7, the camera app was easily accessible by double-pressing the physical home button from anywhere — screen on or off, and in any app. But the Galaxy S8 has no physical home button, which necessitated a change of strategy.

By default, the Galaxy S8 will launch the camera app if you double press the Power button. You can choose whether to Turn Off or Keep On the first time you use this shortcut.

But let's say that, perhaps, you were too quick to dismiss the helpful shortcut feature at the beginning. The good news is that you can go into the phone's settings panel to turn it back on.

How to enable Galaxy S8 camera quick launch

  1. Open the Settings panel.
  2. Tap on Advanced Features.
  3. Tap the Quick launch Camera shortcut to enable it.

Now you're back in business with the Galaxy S8's quick launch camera shortcut.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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