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2 weeks ago

Pokémon Go: Track your accidental Pokéxercise with these simple apps

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Pokémon Go

Loveable animated critters have tricked you into leaving the house. Now it's time to put a number to that coincidental exercise.

Across America (and Australia, and New Zealand, and other places unofficially), gamers are being coaxed into exploring the real world in pursuit of Pokémon. Pokémon Go is relatively unique in that progressing and capturing the eponymous critters (mostly) involves leaving the house and moving around.

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2 weeks ago

Mobile Nations Weekly: Pokémon Going

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If you're reading this you're not catching 'em all.

I'm not sure if you've heard, but there's this new game called Pokémon Go and well, everyone is playing it. Everyone. Including you.

Out now for Android and iPhone, Pokémon Go brings the classic Pokémon into the modern smartphone world. Not only do you capture and train your Pokémon to fight others, but you can actually go out into the world and capture Pokémon — it is perhaps the most intrinsically mobile of games.

Apart from that, Verizon fiddled with their data plans, giving customers more data but demanding more money in the process — at least there's now roll-over data and throttled overages. Speaking of Verizon, the launch-exclusive Moto Z Droid Edition and Moto Z Droid Edition are coming on July 14.

BlackBerry killed the BB10-powered Classic, but don't fear — the BlackBerry keyboard is here to stay. And even though it seems like WWDC 2016 was only a few short weeks ago, but the public betas for iOS 10 and macOS Sierra are now available for you to download and try.

New builds and rumors abounded for the Windows crowd, with fresh Windows 10 Anniversary Update builds for PC And Mobile and the addition of double-tap to wake on the Lumia 950. Rumors are continuing to swirl about the next Surface, supposedly due in the fall, and the anticipated HP Elite x3 will evidently come in blingy gold.

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2 weeks ago

Pokémon Go not available in your country? Here's what's going on

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Pokémon Go still isn't officially available in some countries, as devs deal with overwhelming demand in other parts of the world.

You'd be forgiven for thinking the entire world seems to have lost its mind over Pokémon Go. And while the game is now available in many Western countries, some have yet to see an official launch. That's due to developer Niantic's staggered launch for the game, as its servers struggle to hold up to the demands of millions of players around the globe.

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2 weeks ago

Chat for Pokémon Go keeps you in touch with other Pokémon trainers

4

While Pokémon Go is still only in beta, one enterprising developer has already come up with a way for players to communicate with each other. With Chat for Pokémon Go, players can easily chat with one another when they are close by.

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2 weeks ago

Does Pokémon Go work on your phone or tablet?

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So Pokémon Go has had a bit of a rough start. Server problems, mostly. A hijacked APK. (Seriously, folks. Be careful out there.) Limited regional availability.

The burning question for most people? Will Pokémon Go work on my phone. Let's take a look at the official requirements.

Here's what you need to play Pokémon Go:

  • Android 4.4 and up: So you'll need to be running KitKat or higher. Niantic — the company that developed Pokémon Go — says that it'll support Android 7.0 Nougat once it's officially released later this year.
  • No Intel processors: Bad news for those of you using a number ASUS phones, or a couple of Dell tablets. Intel processors are not supported. That sucks. There's a change.org petition making the rounds. (Yes, really.) But the thing is Intel is getting out of the mobile business. Why would a developer spend time and money on it at this point?
  • A strong internet connection: Seriously, this thing's going to suck down the emm bees. Pokémon Go is not an offline game. So keep an eye on your data usage, and your data plan. That means Wi-Fi only tablets aren't really going to work, since you have to walk around ... even adding in a hotspot is sub-optimal.
  • GPS and location services: Pokémon Go also needs to know where you are. So if you've got your tinfoil hat turned up and your location services turned off, this isn't going to work.

That's it for now. Happy hunting!

Pokémon Go

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2 weeks ago

Pokémon Go tips, tricks or dilemmas? Our Pokémon Go forums are now open!

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Pokemons!

Show us your pokey mans.

Pokémon Go is shaping up to be one of the biggest mobile games of the year so far. But the launch hasn't been without its share of issues, with servers struggling to keep up with demand, as well as bugs with refreshing, failing gym battles and lure patches.

And that's before you actually get down to the nitty gritty of catching them all.

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2 weeks ago

When words just won't do

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There's not a single word I can type here today that doesn't feel trite after the week we all just had.

We've seen us at our worst. We've seen us at our best. We've all got a lot of work left to do.

We won't fix ourselves in a day. There undoubtedly will be more horror. More heartache. We'll allow ourselves to forget just long enough for it to happen again.

But I do have hope.

And I continue to marvel at the importance these little computers in our pockets played this past week.

A few other thoughts on things infinitely less important:

  • Holy crap, who'd have thought Pokemon Go would have blown up the way it did? Maybe I'm just in the wrong generation. (Again.)
  • Apparently there's a change.org petition to get Niantic to put Pokemon Go on Intel devices. Sorry, but if you've got an Intel-powered phone you're basically hosed. Sell it while you still can.
  • I'm using a OnePlus 3 the next few days. It's really good for a $400 phone. Hell, it's really good for a $600 phone.
  • Basically it's what Huawei wants to do in the U.S., but hasn't.
  • If price isn't an issue, though, it doesn't beat the GS7 for me. But HTC has a real problem on its hands here.
  • I can't do it. I tried, but I just can't bring myself to care about Huawei's dumb Google+ post, in which an image attached to an exhalation of the Huawei P9's camera was, in fact, sporting EXIF data showing it was taken with a fairly high-end DSLR. (Nice spot by AP.)
  • Dumb? Absolutely. But is it an indictment of a phone, or of a company? Nah. More likely just a screwup from a marketing agency. It's not the first time that's happened. Or the second. It won't be the last.
  • If you're judging a phone's supposed capabilities by a company's post on Google+, well, I can't really help you anyway.
  • Where I can help you is to point you to our Huawei P9 review. Lots of actual pictures taken by the P9 in there.
  • That was a lot of words for something I don't care about.

We've got a busy week coming up. Y'all be good to each other. See you Monday.

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2 weeks ago

How to save your battery while playing Pokémon Go

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You can't catch 'em all, if your battery dies.

So Pokémon Go is here. You've gotten logged in and created your avatar, you've even chosen your starting Pokémon . Now it's time to go hunting through your neighborhood for PokéStops, Gyms, and of course, Pokémon . Be sure to keep a close eye on the battery of your phone though, otherwise you might lose power right as you are about to catch the next pocket monster for your collection.

Pokemon Go is a high battery use application, which in more general terms, means that it can eat through your battery faster than you would think. So we've spent some time finding the best ways to save, and extend your battery life to get you the most time out there hunting Pokemon. Keep scrolling for the nitty gritty details.

Check your brightness

While this seems like a no-brainer, the first thing that you can do to help with the battery drain is take a look at your screen brightness. By turning it down you can grab yourself up some more time for gameplay. The big problem with this is if you are playing outside in a super sunny area. Turning the brightness down can make it much harder to see your screen much, much harder to see. Depending on the weather though, turning down that brightness can ensure that you can play for much longer.

Enable Battery Saver Mode

This game has a special Battery Saver baked right in! It's designed to dim your screen and slow the refresh rate while you're walking, and it works really well as long as you remember to use it. When this mode is enabled, all you have to do is point the top of your phone towards the ground, like you would do when holding the phone down at your side while walking. By doing this instead of just turning your phone screen off while walking between 'Stops and Gyms, you will still get vibration notifications when a Pokemon pops up on screen for you to catch.

To enable Battery Saver, all you need to do is: 1. Tap your Poké Ball 2. Tap Settings 3. Tap the empty circle next to Battery Saver

Turn off Augmented Reality features

Want to know what drains your battery faster than having the screen on the whole time? Using your camera the whole time. Within Pokémon Go you have a choice between turning your camera on or off. If it is on, then when it's time to capture a Pokémon your camera will open up. You'll see your intended Pokémon in front of you in AR while your actual surroundings are just behind it. While this is awesome, and leads to some fantastic photos, you're bleeding battery in this mode, especially during a Gym battle. However, if you turn the camera off you can ensure that your battery will last at least a bit longer.

All you need to do in order to disable this feature is flip the little switch with AR next to it the next time you go to catch a Pokemon. You'll see a new background and your battery will thank you.

Invest in a battery pack

If you're really gung ho about going out and hunting down Pokémon for hours, then investing in a portable battery pack might be your best bet. You can find these just about everywhere, and they can make sure that your phone doesn't die just as you are about to capture the Pokémon you've been hunting for hours. All battery packs are not made equal, so be sure to do your homework before purchasing one. This may be the easiest way to ensure that you can get hours of fun out of the app before being forced to head back to home and recharge your phone.

Read: Best external battery packs for Pokémon Go

For now, there isn't a single easy way to adjust the amount of battery that Pokémon Go is consuming. Hopefully in time, we'll see a battery saved added to the app for itself. In the meantime you can use these tricks to help ensure that you can play for as long as possible. Have you had issues with your battery while playing Pokémon Go? Do you have a battery saving trick that we missed and should know about? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Pokémon Go

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2 weeks ago

HTC Desire 10 could emerge as next mid-range flagship

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New standard-bearer for mid-range tipped to launch "end of Q3."

Since HTC unveiled a trio of largely forgettable Desire phones back at Mobile World Congress, there's not been much to get excited about from the company's mid-range brand. But that may be about to change, with early rumors suggesting an "HTC Desire 10" is coming.

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2 weeks ago

Today's your last chance to grab a OnePlus 3 before the UK price hike

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New higher price kicks in July 11 following pound's plunge in value.

If you're on the fence about splurging on a OnePlus 3, now would be a good time to make up your mind. As previously announced, from Monday July 11 the UK price will rise to £329. That's due to the falling value of the British pound following the country's recent vote to leave the European Union. Prices in other regions are not affected, nor are OnePlus's other phones and accessories.

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2 weeks ago

Best Android games of 2016

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Best Android games of 2016

What are the best Android games of 2016?

If you're looking for the best new games available in the Google Play Store, you've come to the right place. Whether you're new to Android and need some fresh, new games to start building out your Google Play library or simply looking for the latest trendy games that are worthy of your time and attention, we'll break it all down for you with recommendations that are sure to ruin your productivity.

Sky Force Reloaded

Sky Force ReloadedSky Force ReloadedSky Force Reloaded

A true candidate for game of the year, Sky Force Reloaded is the latest entry in the vertical scrolling shoot 'em up series. Following the critically-acclaimed Sky Force 2014, Reloaded features frantic gameplay, dazzling graphics, and a deep upgrade system that will have you coming back and playing for hours.

The story picks up after the events of Sky Force 2014 with General Mantis' daughter picking up the cause of her fallen father. Most stages feature an epic boss battle with her in a massive warship, but first you have to shoot and navigate your way through intense waves of laser-blasting tanks, turrets, and helicopters. New missions are unlocked by collecting medals, which are earned by saving all the humans, destroying all enemies, and staying untouched through a mission.

Once you've collected all four medals, you unlock a harder difficulty — first Hard, then Insane, and finally Nightmare mode — with a new set of medals to collect. This leads to some grinding to collect stars and medals before you can unlock the next mission, but it hardly feels like a chore given how challenging and fun this game is to play.

But don't just take my word for it; here's what AC's fearless leader Phil Nickinson had to say about it.

Sky Force Reloaded is a free download in the Google Play Store, with in-app purchases available.

Download: Sky Force Reloaded (Free, IAPs)

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

 A Tale of Two Sons A Tale of Two Sons

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a port of the critically well-received Xbox One and PS4 title from 2015.

It tells the emotional story of two brothers, still reeling from the tragic loss of their mother, who trek out on a quest to save their father who has fallen ill. Working together, they must traverse fantastical lands to collect water from the Tree of Life, the only thing that will cure their father.

You control both brothers at once using two on-screen joysticks — lack of controller support is a major drawback here — and must utilize each brother's size, skills, and demeanor as you interact with NPCs and objects, solving puzzle after puzzle. There are two control options, but by default you must press the center of the touchpad to have the brother interact with an object or NPC. While the controls do take some time to get used to, once you get the hang of things, you're off and running.

The art direction in Brothers is absolutely beautiful and instantly pulls you right into the game's world. Characters interact in a fictional language with no subtitles, so the story is told entirely through the characters actions and emotions — a bold and well-executed story-telling device. The gameplay is pretty linear — there's little chance of you getting lost or stuck and not knowing what to do — but the interesting control scheme makes the somewhat basic puzzles feel much more interesting and satisfying once you complete them.

Download: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (Free)

Pocket Mortys

If you're both a fan of Pokemon and the Adult Swim show Rick and Morty, then get ready to fall in love with Pocket Mortys.

Set in the multiverse of the show created by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, you play a Rick who's been caught up in the latest craze: Morty training! Yes, the Ricks are at it again, and this time they're collecting and battling over 100 different types of Morty, which run the gamut from the mundane (Moustache Morty, Old Morty, Red Shirt Morty) to the high-concept or absurd (Cronenberg Morty, Mermaid Morty, Evil Rabbit Morty).

If you've never seen the show, all that might sound like gibberish (it kind of is), but at it's core, Pocket Mortys does a great job of porting over the familiar Pokemon-style gameplay of exploring, catching, and battling into the world of Rick and Morty. You're also able to concoct special items by using the game's recipe-based crafting system. This adds to the game's replayability as you work to level up your Mortys and battle to take down the Council of Ricks.

Pocket Mortys is a free download in the Google Play Store, with in-app purchases available but not required.

Download: Pockey Mortys (Free, IAPs)

Slither.io

Simple snake gameplay meets massive multiplayer in this wonderfully addictive casual game that will eat up your free time as you eat up your enemies.

The Snake Game has been a mobile gaming mainstay since the Nokia phones of the 90s, but slither.io updates the format in a big way. Slither.io allows for freeroaming 360 degree movement and a smorgasbord of pellets to eat and grow your snake — and you're never alone. You're dropped into a circular arena with hundreds of other players, all battling for the same pellets.

You start as a tiny snake but quickly grow as you collect pellets. Double-tap and hold to go fast and try to cut off other snakes — if you run into another snake, you explode into energy pellets and must start from scratch.

Don't fret, since the biggest snake can always be taken down by the smallest snake if you get the timing right. Make it into the top 10 and everyone will see your nickname — but everyone will also be gunning to take you down. Manage to get the top score of the day and you get to broadcast a message to all other players.

The controls take some getting used to, but once you're familiarized, you'll be zipping around the arena gobbling up pellets and scaling up until you're the biggest snake in the server.

The developers quietly dropped this game into the app store in late March 2016, and you seriously just have to play it for yourself.

Slither.io is a free download in the Google Play Store.

Download: slither.io (Free)

Ancestor

Ancestor is a really fast-paced game that combines puzzle elements with the action runner genre to create a unique and challenging experience that requires sharp reflexes and quick thinking.

You play as our cloaked hero who must traverse dangerous lands filled with traps and enemies — all with the help of a mysterious orb that shoots lasers. Clear the path ahead by solving quick puzzles and shooting down enemies — including boss battles — as the game adapts to your skills and ups the difficulty as you go.

As you play, you collect currency chips that can be used to buy new cloaks, orbs, and projectiles to customize your experience. You can also buy new inventory via in-app purchases with real money, if you so desire.

Ancestor is a free download in the Google Play Store, with some in-app purchases available.

Download: Ancestor (Free, IAPs)

Clash Royale

From the makers of Clash of Clans comes Clash Royale. Battle human opponents in real time via frantic card-based battles where you must take out the enemy's Crown Towers while defending your own.

As you'd expect, this game really relies on the social aspect of joining a clan, which helps you to upgrade both your King Level and your cards so you can dominate your opponents in the arena.

Clash Royale falls into the category of mobile games with time-delayed unlocking of chests and an emphasis on in-app purchases. Fortunately, there's no time restrictions for battling.

While spending exorbitant amounts of money on gems and chests is likely the only way to rise to the top of the global rankings (somebody worked it out that it would take something like seven years of constant playing to unlock and max upgrade every card in the game), the gameplay is so well-designed and balanced that you can have hours of fun playing this in the lower level arenas just playing against similarly-skilled opponents.

Clash Royale is a free download in the Google Play Store, with in-app purchases available.

Download: Clash Royale (Free, IAPs)

Galactic Nemesis

Galactic NemesisGalactic Nemesis

This simple top-down space shooter will strike a chord with the nostalgic gamer, especially fans of arcade classics like Galaga or Galaxian. The developers behind Galactic Nemesis have done a good job keeping the retro look and gameplay style intact, while upgrading nearly every other aspect of the game to meet the standards of contemporary mobile gamers.

Controls are dead simple. Tap and drag your finger around the screen to move and shoot at the same time. Power-ups collect along the right side of the screen, so simply tap them when you need a little help.

Blast your way through waves of increasingly tough enemies and collect coins, which can be used to upgrade and buy new ships. Each level is broken into four stages, featuring four waves of enemies.

You get the first world for free but will have to pay $1.99 to unlock 3 other worlds. You'll also get 10 ships to unlock, over 50 in-game challenges, and no ads.

With great pixel art, simple controls, and a winning gameplay formula, you can't go wrong with Galactic Nemesis if you're into classic arcade games.

Galactic Nemesis is a free download in the Google Play Store, with an in-app purchase to unlock the full game with no ads.

Download: Galactic Nemesis (Free, IAPs)

UltraFlow 2

Ultra Flow 2Ultra Flow 2Ultra Flow 2

UltraFlow 2 is the perfect minimalist puzzle game for the casual gamer. Made with the Unity game engine, this game has no scores or timers — it's all about the player's dexterity.

Essentially a mashup between air hockey and mini golf, the goal is to bank the ball into the goal, but you only have as many banks as the number on the ball. Go over and KA-BOOM! Fortunately, you get unlimited replays, so you can continue to tweak your strategy until you get it right.

This sequel features 180 free levels and another 180 premium hard levels you can purchase if you don't want the fun to stop. It's a great time-waster that you can open anytime and play right from where you left off. And, thanks to that Unity game engine, the game runs smooth as butter.

Get UltraFlow 2 for free from the Google Play Store, with in-app purchases available for premium upgrades

Download: UltraFlow 2 (Free, IAPs)

Star Knight

Looking for a challenging action platformer with plenty of things to unlock and upgrade? Star Knight fits the bill and more, with beautiful graphics, tough enemies, and well-designed levels that will keep you playing through the multiple worlds.

No jokes, this game pulls no punches. While you're able to upgrade your weapons and unlock powerful skills to help you on your way, the enemies only get tougher and tougher as you progress. In terms of difficulty, it sometimes feels like a 2D side-scrolling version of Dark Souls. There are some parts where one false step means instant death, and each world ends with a seriously tough boss battle.

But instead of being frustrating and discouraging, it only spurns you to play smarter on your next go. With good controls, beautiful imagery, hours of gameplay, and a low price point, Star Knight is a game you shouldn't sleep on.

Star Knight is available in the Google Play Store for $2.99, but is currently on sale for $.99 in celebration of its global release.

Download: Star Knight ($0.99)

Exploding Kittens

The most-funded Kickstarter game in history can now be played right on your phone.

Exploding Kittens is the brainchild of Matthew Inman, the man behind the wildly popular comic site The Oatmeal. The mobile version of the card game features the same iconic art style Inman built his online empire upon and captures the same anxiety-inducing gameplay that the game is famous for.

If you've never played before, it's essentially a card game version of Russian Roulette. There are three types of cards — Attack Cards, Diffuse Cards, and Exploding Kitten cards — and your goal is to avoid drawing an Exploding Kitten card. If you do, you have 10 seconds to play a Diffuse card, which nullifies the threat and allows you to place the Exploding Kitten practically anywhere you want in the deck.

Attack Cards are used to avoid having to draw a card from the draw pile, with extra advantages such as reversing the order of play or forcing another player to draw twice. If you draw an Exploding Kitten card and you don't have a Diffuse Card, the kitten explodes and you're eliminated from the game.

Play with up to five friends in a local match or against strangers online. Either way you play it, with games averaging around five minutes, you're able to get all the fun of the original game in about the same amount of time it would take to set the game up in the first place. Exploding Kittens features playful taunts you can send to your other players and is an absolute blast to play.

Exploding Kittens is available for $1.99 in the Google Play Store, with deck expansions available via in-app purchases.

Download: Exploding Kittens ($1.99, IAPs)

LEGO Jurassic World

Whether you've got a dinosaur-obsessed kid to distract, or you're a big fan of Jurassic Park, LEGO Jurassic World is a fun take on the iconic film franchise and actually includes levels covering all four films.

The game features the same playful cut-scene humor found in other LEGO games based on films. The console versions are still the crème de la crème in terms of graphics, controls, and overall gameplay, but the Android version is jam-packed with things to do, dinosaurs to collect, and characters to unlock. The touchscreen controls can be a bit spotty, but the game supports a wireless controller, which makes the experience infinitely better.

And in case you missed this point, all the films in the franchise are included in one package here, which is a great value at this price point for fans of Jurassic Park.

LEGO Jurassic World is available in the Google Play Store for $4.99

Download: LEGO Jurassic World ($4.99)

MechCom 2 - 3D RTS

The real time strategy (RTS) genre has typically been dominated by PCs, but MechCom 2 proves that the format can be successfully brought over to mobile gaming.

Based on Warzone 2100, MechCom 2 puts you in the boots of a military commander of one of three corporations warring over control of the planetary assets on Tiberius. Mine valuable minerals, build up your base, and build a customizable army of Mechs to defend and attack in this nod to classic RTS games. Your goal is complete domination, accomplished by strategically maneuvering your mechs through the map and capturing rally points and mineral deposits as you wipe your opponents off the map.

There's a lack of multiplayer which is somewhat disappointing, but the gameplay is so tight and the computer AI is so strong that it's not a deal-breaker. And despite the lack of mouse and keyboard, the touch controls are quite serviceable once you get the hang of them — you're able to easily command large groups of mechs when it's time to rush the enemy.

MechCom 2 is available in the Google Play Store for $0.99, with no ads or in-app purchases.

Download: MechCom 2 ($0.99)

Fading Light

This beautiful, minimalist platformer was developed with the Unity engine and plays like a dream. You control a glowing square that needs to make its way through a maze and collect light crystals to avoid your square fading to darkness.

You control your square with Flappy Bird-esque controls, requiring you to tap left or right of the square to jump. Light crystals will always appear in the darkness, but you're only be able to see the walls of the maze based on your square's brightness. Things get complicated as your light fades, often leaving you blindly racing towards the next light crystal.

As you progress, the game gradually ups the difficulty by punishing you for touching the walls or forcing you to contend with black holes.

The creators continue to update the game, including a soccer mode that requires you to juggle one light crystal through the entire maze. There's even settings for turning ads on or off or choosing which style of ad you'd prefer to see — a thoughtful addition from the game's developer. And there's no app permissions!

Fading Light is available as a free download in the Google Play Store,

Download: Fading Light (Free)

Alto's Adventure

Beautiful visuals, intuitive controls, and endless playability.

It's no wonder why this indie game from Noodlecake Studios won so many awards as an iOS game in 2015. Finally ported to Android in February 2016, you'll definitely want to check it out.

You play as Alto, a snowboarding llama farmer who must race down the mountain to collect runaways. This endless side scroller features smooth gameplay and simple controls: tap to jump, tap and hold to do a backflip. Landing tricks — backflips and grinds across buildings and bunting lines — gives you a speed boost to help blast past obstacles. Collect coins and spend them on upgrading power ups that will assist you on your next adventure.

Alto's Adventure includes objectives, which are challenging but fun and greatly enhance the replayability. Overall, it's a fairly relaxing gaming experience, with tight physics and a great sense of speed.

Alto's Adventure is available for free in the Google Play Store, with some in-app purchases available.

Download: Alto's Adventure (Free, IAPs)

AirConsole

AirConsole

Longing for the days of hanging out with friends and playing fun multiplayer games around the same TV? AirConsole bridges the gap from those nostalgic memories by turning your phone into a controller you use to play a bunch of multiplayer games you can play in any browser window.

AirConsole has been around since November 2015, but they've recently launched support for Android TV, so that's why it deserves a spot on this list. AirConsole features a growing number of independently developed multiplayer games (of admittedly varying degrees of fun or playability) and is the perfect thing to throw on when hanging out with a few friends or at a massive house party, since some games support up to 15 players.

All you have to do to get in on the fun is download the app on your phone, go to airconsole.com on your web browser, and pair your phone with what you see on your computer, tablet, or Android TV. Then it's a matter of picking a game for everyone to play — from party classics like karaoke and a fill-in-the-blanks card game (think Cards Against Humanity), to party mini-games, quirky experimental games, and more. It works with Android and iOS devices, so everyone can get in on the fun.

There's a good amount of variety here already — with more expected to come — and while the games themselves might not be the "best," the concept itself is so strong that we can't wait to see what developers can do with it.

AIrConsole is a free download in the Google Play Store for Android Phones.

Download: AirConsole Controller for Android (Free)

AirConsole for Android TV is a free download in the Google Play Store for Android TV-enabled devices.

Download: AirConsole Controller for Android TV (Free)

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2 weeks ago

Adding a USB Security Key to your Google account is a good idea — and here's how to do it

28

Two-factor authentication can protect your account, and a USB Security Key makes for a great backup if you lose your phone.

We've gone over why using two-factor authentication on your online accounts is a good idea, and showed you how to set it up for your Google account as well as how to get started with Authy if you use more than one phone or computer. But we're not done yet!

There is a third thing you can do to help secure your Google account, and this one also is a cover-your-butt backup in case you lose your phone — and the authenticator app you installed on it. We're talking about USB Security Keys. They're relatively cheap (starting at about $10), easy to set up and can get you into your Google account from any computer anywhere.

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2 weeks ago

Ask AC: What do I need to do when I change my SIM card?

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Going to change your SIM card? It's usually simple, but here are a couple of things to know before you look for a paperclip.

Todd from Belfast writes in:

"I travel a lot with my new job, and the company doesn't like us to use the issued phone for personal calls and texts. Is there anything I need to know when I'm changing the SIM card on my LG Android phone?"

Hi, Todd! Changing your SIM card is mostly a plug and play affair. Chances are that all you need to do is shut the phone off, pull out the old one and pop in the new. You really don't need to shut the phone off if you know how to manually refresh your network connection. But turning things off is usually easier because a reboot is quick and simple. When you reboot, it should just work. But there are a couple things you should know and keep in the back of your mind whilst you're plugging and playing.

  • Some phones, like the single-SIM version of the Samsung Galaxy S7, the LG G5 and many others, share a single slot for both the SIM card and the SD card. When you pop out the tray, be ready for two little things that can get lost easier than you think to come out with it. If your phone is similar, and the SD card will pop out along with the SIM card, you need to either unmount the SD card or just shut the phone off. I suggest the latter.

  • Your phone may not have the right APN (Access Point Name) programmed in the system. If you can't get a connection, or can't send or receive texts, or your data speeds are 2009 slow you need to check out the settings. We have a complete walkthrough for that if you need it.

Read: What is an APN, and how do I change it?

  • Your phone needs to be unlocked. We don't mean the bootloader or root or Cyanogen or anything of the sort, we're talking about network unlocked. If you bought your phone direct from a carrier — especially in North America — it could be locked to their network. If this is the case, you'll not be able to add a new APN or change to another APN, and nothing is going to work. You can talk to your carrier or use a third-party unlocking service to "fix" it.

Read: The best unlocked phones

These are worst case scenario type things. Usually, just shutting your phone off and changing the SIM card will do the trick as long as the phone itself has support for the network you're trying to use. But it's always good to know the what-ifs!

Good luck, Todd, and enjoy your travels!

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2 weeks ago

Prime members can save 20% on Amazon Warehouse deals today

25

Amazon Prime members can save an extra 20% on Amazon Warehouse Deals today with coupon codes WDEARLY20 or WDEARLY.

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2 weeks ago

Best accessories for ASUS ZenWatch 2

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Best accessories for ZenWatch 2

Which accessories are best for ZenWatch 2?

Whether you're looking for different watch bands to wear with your ASUS ZenWatch 2, or you want a screen protector for that sweet AMOLED display, these are the accessories we recommend for you.

Barton Quick Release Watch Bands

Barton Watch Bands

Barton Quick Release Watch Bands are well-liked by customers for their comfort, how easy they are to put on and take off, and their versatility.

Since these watch bands fit any watch that takes either an 18mm or a 22mm watch band, you will have no trouble getting them to fit your ASUS ZenWatch 2. They come in a number of different colors, too, so you can find the perfect one to match your wardrobe.

Made of silicone rubber with a textured interior, they are comfortable to wear all day and are waterproof and washable, so that you can clean them after a long day to get rid of accumulated sweat (and the stink).

If you're looking for a colorful replacement watch band for your ZenWatch 2 that's comfortable to wear, look no further than Barton Watch Bands.

See at Amazon

Caddy Bay Collection Watch Band Display Case

Caddy Bay Collection Display Case

If you love wearing a different watch band with your ZenWatch 2 every day, you'll need a case to store all of your watch bands when you're not using them.

The Caddy Bay Collection Watch Band Display Case is an attractive case made with a dark walnut wood finish and a soft interior that holds 12 watch bands in two layers of six.

Customers love how well this case protects the watch bands from scratches, and how easy the first layer is to take in and out. Likewise, they praise the fact that the case comes with a notch in the center of the lip that makes it easy to open and close

If you're looking for an attractive display case to store your additional ZenWatch 2 watch bands, this may be the one for you.

See at Amazon

Armorsuit Military Shield screen protector

Armorsuit Military Shield screen protector

The Armorsuit Military Shield 2 pack screen protector is great for protecting that nice AMOLED display from scratches.

Made of a self-healing material that's similar to what is used in military aircraft, this screen protector is very thin and clear — it protects without marring the aesthetics of your watch or interfering with the function of its touchscreen.

Customers praise Armorsuit for making a screen protector that's easy to install and that works well. One customer said that they couldn't even tell they had a screen protector on their ZenWatch 2 at all.

If you wear your ZenWatch 2 every day, you'll need a screen protector, and this one is a good choice for you.

See at Amazon

Artifex Charging Dock Stand for ZenWatch 2

Artifex Charging Stand

The Artifex Charging Dock Stand for ZenWatch 2 makes charging your watch a simple affair while doubling as an attractive and sleek display stand. Customer reviews are positive for both function and form.

Made in the United States of America fresh off a 3D printer, this stand has rubber feet so that it stays where you put it and a magnetic top that keeps your ZenWatch 2 securely on the charging elements. The top is also Microsuede for preventing scratches.

If you're looking for a charging stand for your ZenWatch 2 that's attractive and works well, give the Artifex Charging Dock Stand a try.

See at Etsy

GGI Spring Bar Tool Set

GGI Spring Bar Tool Set

Although the ZenWatch 2 comes with quick release watch bands, if you want to use third-party bands that aren't quick release, the GGI Spring Bar Tool Set can make the process easy and painless. Even with quick release watch bands, this tool can still make the process easier.

Made with nickel-plated brass, this tool has two ends: one has a large fork while the other has a small fork on one side and a push-pin on the other side. The small fork is good for bracelets while the larger one is good for spring bars.

If you're looking for an inexpensive tool to help you quickly put on and remove the watch bands from your ZenWatch 2, this one could work well for you.

See at Amazon

What do you think?

We've told you our picks for great ZenWatch 2 accessories, but what about you? Tell us all about what you're using with your awesome ASUS smartwatch in the comments below.

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