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3 days ago

Samsung's Two Piece case is actually kind of perfect


I'm not sure I'd call this a case, but I love it and want one for every phone.

A common thread alongside the unveil of the Galaxy S8 was a critical side-eye at the Two Piece case that would be sold for both sizes of the phone. Samsung didn't spend a lot of time explaining how this case worked, only that it had a top and a bottom that didn't connect and several color options that didn't match would be made available after the phone was released.

While everyone else was laughing, I bought one to see how it actually worked. To be perfectly honest, what Samsung did here is brilliant and I'm eager to see other companies follow suit.

I don't think this really qualifies as a case, but it's a nice-looking bumper.

If you've been reading my stuff for a while, you know I don't use cases. I can't ever stand them for long, something about $40 of plastic and silicone making the phone bulkier and generally not feeling as nice as the actual phone bothers me. It's not that I don't care about the phone, but I place value in the whole experience being enjoyable. Yes, I occasionally regret this choice a little when the phone looks beat to hell a year later. It's an conscious choice on my part, but if I could find a way to keep the phone slightly more safe through day to day use without compromising the design I will always consider it. Which is how I got here in the first place.

This "case" is really two pieces of silicone with a pad of that adhesive stuff you usually see called magic anti-slip material underneath. Each piece adheres to the top and bottom, and once in place neither piece moves unless you really try hard to remove them. I don't think this really qualifies as a case, but it's a nice-looking bumper for each of the four corners. At a minimum, it's enough material that I know I can set the phone down on its back without it sliding around anywhere or scratching the back and lens area.

Technicalities aside, this case offered me some immediate benefits. The grooves in the top half make it much easier to find the fingerprint sensor with my finger. I almost never put my finger on the camera anymore, which actually makes me want to use fingerprint unlock now. The bottom half provides just enough grip that I am comfortable using the phone with one hand in landscape, which means I can more quickly pull the phone from my pocket and take a photo. The edges of this phone made this particular maneuver pretty awkward for me up to this point, but now I'm able to really use the S8 the way I've wanted to from the start.

The biggest benefit for me is how easy you can remove Two Piece from the phone. There are no plastic notches to fumble with, and no worry that I'm going to damage the case by applying pressure in the wrong place. Apply a little force under one of the flat edges, and the adhesive releases. This means I can quickly jump in and out my Gear VR, where most other cases for this phone make this process tedious and time consuming.

For my needs, Samsung's Two Piece case is nearly perfect.

As much as I have enjoyed this bumper case thing so far, it has one glaring flaw. The adhesive pads are not flush with the edges of the silicone, which means the small gap in between your phone and the case quickly fills with whatever small junk is floating around in your pocket or bag. It's a trivial thing to remove the bumper and clean the back of the phone occasionally, but it's important to remember the back of this phone is glass. This means sand particles rubbing against the case over time will score the glass, eventually making it more fragile and prone to deeper scratches and breaks. It's also super gross to look at when you do eventually take the case off.

For my needs, Samsung's Two Piece case is nearly perfect. It gives me grip, a little peace of mind when using the phone, and I still get to enjoy the actual phone Samsung spent so much time and energy designing. It also helps that the asking price, $20 on Samsung's website, is pretty reasonable. Right now the only color for me is black, the pastel options Samsung has available aren't my thing. I'd like to see Samsung release a nice deep blue or green, but I'm very happy with what I have right now.

See at Samsung

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3 days ago

Grab the world's smallest camera drone for only $25!

Drones keep getting faster and smaller, but that usually means they're stripped of extra features, like cameras. The small size usually also means you're paying more for the drone. What if you could have a small drone with a camera attached for under $30?

Get the world's smaller camera drone and a 2GB microSD card for just $25! Learn more

What if that drone was actually the world's smallest drone to have a camera mounted on it? Right now, Android Central Digital Offers has a deal on this little marvel. Instead of paying $50, you'll instead get it at 50% off. That's a final price of $25. Not only do you get the drone, you also get the controller, a 2GB microSD card, extra blades, and cables and adapters to charge the battery and transfer photos and videos.

This quadcopter's four blades allow it to zip around in any direction, and the LEDs allow for night flights — no getting lost in the grass. The camera mounted on the drone can take video and still photos, and it takes less than 30 minutes to fully charge the battery.

Take your photography to new heights with this tiny $25 camera drone! Learn more

If you've been waiting to get your hands on a drone, why not grab one with a mounted camera and included storage? This drone is small enough that you won't have to register it with the FAA. Ready to start flying? Grab this deal today; it won't last forever.

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3 days ago

The Best Smartphone Camera, as judged by YOU!


So who makes the best smartphone camera? Here's what you picked.

We've long run camera comparisons on our own, but it's hard to remove our own biases — and frankly, it's just our opinion. With some new high-profile phones on the market, we thought it was again time to pit these cameras against each other and see who came out on top. So we showed you 20 sets of photos taken by four unspecified phones, stripping out all identifying data and presented in a randomized-on-load order, and asked you to pick the best. We did this so you'd judge the photos on their quality alone.

With a wide range of photos, it's time to determine the best.

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3 days ago

For as little as $3.29 a month you can use NordVPN to secure your browser's connection


Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a VPN deal you won't want to pass up!

Have you ever stopped to think about how much of your day you spend connecting to networks that aren't your own? Whether you're working at a Starbucks, trying to finish something up at the airport before your flight, or sitting in the public library, odds are you're connected to a network that isn't the most secure without even thinking about it. Daily we do things like accessing our bank account, pay bills, send personal emails, and much more, all while not knowing if someone is tracking these moves and getting ready to steal your information.

Sounds a bit scary, huh? Well, personal information is something that should be kept personal, and luckily there are some easy ways to protect yourself. Odds are, by now you've heard of Virtual Proxy Networks, or VPNs, but you may be wondering why you would want to invest in one, right? Some of them can be a bit expensive, and others are unusually cheap, leaving you wondering which to end up with. NordVPN is one of the many great services out there, and right now you can save big on its plans.

Start protecting yourself right now Learn More

If you could protect yourself, and the information on your computer, from unprotected networks for just $4 a month, would you be interested? You should be! NordVPN offers double data encryption, which encrypts your data twice (and is the only company offering it), fast speeds, a strict no logs policy, automatic kill switch in case your VPN session drops off, and much more. The company has server locations in 57 different countries and covers every continent except for Antartica (because penguins don't browse the web!).

Signing up for one year of service scores you the discounted $4 a month rate, and signing up for two years can get you an even deeper discount. If you just want to give the one-year plan a try, you'll need to use coupon code NORD70 for the lower price, and for the two-year plan use code 2YSpecial2017. These offers from NordVPN won't last very long, so you'll want to act quick so you don't miss out!

Save up to 72% Learn More

You may be worried about investing in something you've never used before, but don't worry. NordVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee, so there is no risk in trying its service. You won't know if a VPN works for you until you give it a shot. Here is a way to try it without worrying about losing a boatload of cash, and if you like it then you score a sweet deal on the next two years of protection!

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

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3 days ago

Best Kid-proof Cases for Amazon Fire Tablets


What's the best Amazon Fire case for kids? The one that keeps it in one piece!

Update May 2017: With Amazon announcing the new line of Amazon Fire tablets, why not pass your 2015 model down to your kids? Also added the Moko case to our list!

With Amazon recently announcing a new refresh for its Fire tablet line, it's time to consider upgrading to the latest and greatest. But what to do with your old tablet?

Slap on a kid-proof case and let your kids have fun with a tablet of their very own!

Fintie Casebot Honey Comb Series

Fintie Casebot Honey Comb

Bouncy, durable, flexible silicone is totally the way to go if you have kids who can't wait to get their sticky mitts all over your Amazon Fire.

The honeycomb design helps to disperse the force of impact, so that your Fire stays in one piece when dropped from a short height. It wraps around the front of your tablet to protect the bezel and create a bumper between your screen and whatever your kid happens to lay it down on.

Comes in 10 colors and only fits the 2015 7-inch Fire.

See at Amazon

Topsky heavy duty case


These Topsky cases are made of polycarbonate and flexible silicone, so that they're easy for your child to hold and durable enough to withstand playtime, even if playtime means playing with your Fire tablet instead of on it.

The kickstand is perfect to help you set up your tablet for the little ones when they want to watch cartoons or play games.

Comes in seven colors and fits the 7-inch Fire tablet (2015).

See at Amazon

Avawo convertible handle stand


Tablets can be awkward for the kidlets to hold onto without dropping, so having a case with a handle made for little hands is perfect.

The handle folds into a convenient stand, and the case is thick and made with heavy duty EVA foam, which protects your Fire tablet from drops and the odd toss.

Comes in purple, green, red, or black and fits the 2015 (5th generation) Fire tablet only.

See at Amazon

Tinkle One EVA case

Tinkle One

EVA foam is where it's at for shock-proof cases that help kid-proof your Amazon Fire tablet. It's wipeable with a damp cloth and durable enough to survive short drops.

That being said, drops shouldn't be common, since the case is designed with little hands in mind, and it comes in six fun colors (well, five and black) to appease even the most discerning of toddlers.

Fits the 7-inch Amazon Fire tablet (2015).

See at Amazon

EpicGadget hybrid case


EpicGadget's hybrid case is shock-proof and provides great drop protection, thanks to its flexible silicone and hard polycarbonate makeup.

The vertical kickstand lets you stand your Amazon Fire tablet upright or horizontally, so your young'uns can watch cartoons or play games hands-free.

The color combinations are fun and bright, and you can count on the silicone to be grippy and easy to clean.

Fits the 7-inch Amazon Fire tablet.

See at Amazon

Amazon FreeTime

Amazon FreeTime

Amazon's own FreeTime case is totally designed with kids in mind, with a shape meant for little hands, reinforced corners for extra drop protection, fun colors, and made from a material that's kid-safe and easy to clean.

All the buttons and ports are easily accessible for adults and children alike, and raised bumps on the inside help to further disperse impact.

Fits the 7-inch Amazon Fire tablet (2015).

See at Amazon

Moko case

This rugged case from Moko is made of impact-resistant EVA material to protect from drop damage with a convenient handle so your kids can easily carry it around and hopefully prevent it from being dropped in the first place. There's an ample bezel around the screen to keep that protected while keeping the buttons and camera accessible.

The handle also folds over to create a kickstand which is convenient indeed. This case only works with the 2015 edition of the Amazon Fire 7 tablet and is available in seven funky colors.

See at Amazon

What's on your Fire?

Do you have an awesome go-to case to make sure your kids don't destroy your Amazon Fire tablet? Let us know in the comments below!

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3 days ago

BlackBerry KEYone is now up for pre-order at Rogers


Rogers is the first carrier to kick off BlackBerry KEYone pre-orders in Canada.

The BlackBerry KEYone is launching in Canada on May 31, and Rogers is now taking pre-orders of the device. You'll be able to pick up BlackBerry's latest phone for $679.99 CAD outright, or for zero down on a two-year Premium+ Tab plan.

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3 days ago

Here's your first look at the Meizu M5c


Meizu's M5c is all set to make its debut shortly.

Meizu's upcoming phone in the budget segment will be the M5c. An anonymous source shared a screenshot of the device's official listing on Meizu's website with us. The non-final version of the listing doesn't list the specs, but it does give us a look at the design of the phone as well as the color options — black, blue, red, pink, and gold.

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3 days ago

Google I/O 2017: In pictures


Take a photo tour with us through Google's spectacular, outdoor developer conference.

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Google I/O isn't all developer talks and coding sessions. Well, the majority of it certainly is, but it's also a festival speckled with things to see and photograph-worthy shrubbery.

The conference takes place at an outdoor venue in the heart of the Silicon Valley, where it's cool in the mornings and blazing hot in the afternoon. But this year, Google moved most of what's worth seeing inside into air conditioned tents. The result makes it a tiny bit harder to find some of the technologies on display, but the pay off is a cooled room where you can easily relax while bonding over what's new with Google.

Welcome to Google I/O 2017.

The Shoreline Amphitheater, where Google I/O is now held annually, is next-door to Google headquarters and a wildlife reserve. Typically just barren festival grounds, this year Google seems to have added more common areas for people to sit and congregate.

Google is offering a fun scavenger hunt around the I/O fairgrounds. Tap your phone to an NFC terminal four times throughout the week and you can take home one of these Android Pay figurines.

There are two tents devoted just to Android Experiments. The one on the right is called Home Screen Arcade, which lets you play a game of Space Invaders (left) on your Home screen. The one on the right is called Giorgio Cam, and it lets you make a melody by snapping different pictures. It uses Machine Learning to figure out what the object it and then turns those labels into lyrics of a song.

Feel like sending a postcard? You can from Google I/O! Grab one of these and drop it in the mailbox to send to a friend.

There are plenty of areas to sit and relax and grab a beverage — water, Coke, or other — under the shade of a tree or an awning in between sessions or just to escape the oppressive mid-afternoon sun. In case you didn't realize, it's very hot in Mountain View.

And then when you're about to go back to work, you can grab a beverage at the Google Assistant-powered Mocktail kiosk, which will whip up a flavorful fruit drink for you.

I'll never stop taking time out of the day to take selfies with the Android statues.

The sad story behind this photo is that these kiosks are now completely barren. If you didn't buy your souvenirs the first time around, you'll now have to go on the Google campus to the official merchandise store to bring something else home.

The Asus ZenFone AR was subtly on display inside the Daydream and Tango tent. Each demonstration was running on these devices, and I even had a chance to use it for the Expeditions AR demonstration. The ZenFone AR will be on sale at Verizon later this summer.

TensorFlow is one of the quieter, sleeper hits of Google I/O. It's an open-source software library for Google's Machine Intelligence and now it's Lite form will make it easier to integrate into any Android smartphone. This photo shows TensorFlow being utilized in a candy-grabbing robot, which you can command to hand you a sweet treat.

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4 days ago

Google I/O 2017: Assistant and its AI is what's next for all the things


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Android O and 2 Billion users is big news, but the real story from I/O 2017 is how everything will become a vessel for Google Assistant and the artificial intelligence that powers it.

Google Assistant looks and feels like the natural successor to Google Now. In a way it is, but it's also so much more. At Google I/O 2017 we saw that Google Assistant is it's own platform, and one that might be bigger than anything else Google has built.

The front end for Assistant can be in your phone, or your TV or and appliance on your coffee table or in a cardboard box from an electronic hobbyist magazine. While that might be the way to interact with Assistant, the service itself lives and breathes in the cloud running on Google's crazy new TensorFlow-powered Google Cloud TPUs.

Photo courtesy Google

Assistant first came to our phones inside the Allo app. We had seen the demo ot Google I/O 2016, but at first it was a little disappointing. That's changed, and here we are a year later with a very smart Assistant that can run anywhere with an internet connection and a Python (development language) interpreter. It's also branched out into Google Lens, Google Photos, Google Job Search and Tango and Google Play Protect and just about anywhere that a computer's special blend of logic can work out how, why or where. All of this is tied together into an AI, and it's Google's newest platform.

It also has the chance to be Google's most important and biggest platform, and eventually encompass and devour everything else the company has to offer. We already heard how Google's neural network was programmed so that it could build it's own and better neural network, so the functions and features are all there. Everything Google does could benefit from some smarter machinery, and the machinery is ready. Soon we'll have assistant in our Gmail.

The most visual, and therefore most exciting, news is in Google Lens. It's definitely the sleeper hit from I/O 2017, and something that will continue to develop until it becomes part of the everyday experience. The service that can use the power of the cloud to log you onto a Wi-Fi network or tell you about the flower that you're seeing. We're looking forwards to seeing Google Lens, but we're also looking forwards to what Google Lens learns for the next thing.

And that's what we really saw at I/O 17; the future. Google I/O has slowly moved away from announcements of shiny things and become more about what those things can do, and how it makes a difference. The things we buy that use it will come and go, but what we saw at Google I/O is the start of what's next.

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4 days ago

VR and AR experiences are coming soon to Chrome for Android


Developers can now enable virtual and augmented reality experiences to run inside your mobile browser.

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It's an issue I face constantly: the inability to download an app because there isn't enough room on my 32GB Pixel XL. Thankfully, Google's announced that developers can now run web-based virtual and augmented-reality experiences inside the Chrome browser, though it's not clear if this includes full-size apps.

The announcement was made at Google I/O 2017 during the virtual and augmented reality session. It isn't particularly new, as you've already been able to access Daydream experiences through Chrome. But now all developers who are interested can build WebVR-enabled experiences that others can view inside Daydream and Cardboard. You'll be able to launch it simply by navigating to the page and then popping your smartphone inside the virtual reality viewer. Developers can add in Daydream Remote compatibility, too. The experience is built with Javascript.

Google's Andrey Doronichev shows off AR experiences in the Chrome browser.

Phones that support Tango will also be able to take advantage of web-based augmented reality features, which requires multiple . The AR browser options are available in an experimental Chrome build right now. If you're a developer, you can check it out on Github. The VR browser experience will hit Daydream later this summer.

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4 days ago

Google Assistant's new features transform it from product to platform

Google Assistant

Google's next platform is all about machine learning and natural language processing.

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A full year on from its launch at Google I/O 2016, Google Assistant has both expanded to new devices and added dozens of features that truly reposition it as a platform rather than a product. With everything announced at this year's Google I/O conference, Google Assistant is a common backend of knowledge and capabilities that can be accessed through multiple interfaces on multiple devices with limitless third-party extensibility options.

It's no longer just Google Home and an app on Android phones — Assistant is going to be everywhere you use Google.

Google Home getting smarter every day

Google Home

Assistant can do more than just answer your questions and tell you jokes.

Google Home was originally the physical embodiment of the Google Assistant technology, but Assistant has since expanded to be so much more with Home leading the charge. Not only has the number of app and service integrations hit a "larger than you can recall" number, but Google is leading the charge by giving the Assistant control over an increasing number of Google's own products and services.

You no longer just talk to Google Home to have the speaker itself do something, but instead to invoke Google Assistant to do all sorts of things that can then manifest themselves on other devices — all powered by the same cross-device backend. Google Assistant processing and smarts let you ask your Home to send driving directions to your phone, shoot a YouTube video to your TV or control an increasing number of smart home devices.

More: Google Home just leapfrogged Amazon Echo at I/O 2017

Assistant on phones finally makes sense

Google Assistant

Google Assistant is a couple of months into its expansion to just about any modern Android phone, but Google I/O 2017 marked an important change to its functionality to make it truly viable and useful to a wide number of people. The biggest change is the interaction model: you can now just type to Assistant. With this being a feature of Allo it was only a matter of time before it rolled out to the Assistant on every phone. Adding text input increases the chances of interacting with Assistant on a more regular basis, lowering the barrier to accessing its wealth of information.

Assistant on the phone is getting feature parity with Google Home.

Another massive barrier destroyed is the Assistant's move to the iPhone. Argue all you want about Assistant's seamless integration into Android and how much more powerful it is, but if you want a platform to succeed today it has to be on the iPhone in addition to everything else. Just as importantly, Google Assistant on the iPhone has the same backend powering it as on Android, and within reason it has the same capabilities. Millions more people will soon have access to Google Assistant, completing the loop of using the platform across all of their devices.

The future is bright as well, with the new Google Lens system promising image recognition technology to make Assistant even more powerful. You'll soon be able to leverage Google's image recognition and machine learning in a single place — inside Assistant — rather than having the feature spread out across disparate platforms like Google Now on Tap and Google Goggles. Even more important is Google's expansion of proper "Assistant actions" support on phones — letting you control devices and make device-specific queries of Assistant on your phone the exact same way you can on Google Home.

A platform, not a product

It's becoming increasingly apparent that Google Assistant is being positioned as the glue that holds together all of Google's devices. Whether you're using a connected speaker, phone, smartwatch, car, or TV device, the goal is to have you interacting with Google Assistant in a consistent way with seamless transition between those experiences.

Functionally there are some hurdles to overcome and features yet to hit critical mass, but it's clear that Assistant is the future of consumer interaction with Google.

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4 days ago

Best microSD Cards for Galaxy S8


What are the best microSD cards for the Galaxy S8?

Following in the footsteps of the Galaxy S7, the Galaxy S8 offers support for microSD cards so you can increase the storage of the phone. This time around, however, Samsung has increased the onboard storage from 32GB up to 64GB, so many people may find that more than enough. But if you're worried about filling that 64GB up with music, video or pictures, you should grab a microSD card and put it all there so you can easily access it.

Here are some of the best options to put in your new Galaxy S8.

Update May 18, 2017: Replaced some older cards with newer, U3 options. These cards are better for handling 4K video and often have faster read / write speeds.

SanDisk Extreme 32GB

If the 64GB that Samsung gives you inside the Galaxy S8 isn't enough for your daily needs, adding a bit more doesn't have to cost a ton. SanDisk's high-performance card offers transfer speeds of up to 80MB/s and with its U3 rating it is capable of handling 4K video. To make syncing files to and from your computer easy, Lexar includes a USB 3.0 reader in the packaging.

Adding 32GB of storage to a 64GB phone may seem a bit weird, but if you aren't looking to spend a lot this may be the way to go at under $20 for the card.

See at Amazon

SanDisk Ultra 128GB microSD

SanDisk is a well-known company when it comes to memory cards and storage products, and cards like this show you why. It comes with a 10-year warranty and has quick transfer speeds (up to 80MB/s), so it should check many of the boxes that you look for in a microSD card. The price is great as well at just over $40 most of the time.

See at Amazon

Samsung EVO 128GB microSD

This is not Samsung's top-end offering but it comes with decent speeds and a price tag to match. With up to 48MB/s for read and write you can keep the card updated easily, and it can handle 1080p video without a problem. If you want a Samsung-branded card that doesn't break the bank, this is the one to go with.

See at Amazon

PNY PRO Elite 128GB microSD

If you're planning to do a lot of 4K video recording, you'll want a fast and reliable card in your phone. PNY's PRO Elite 128GB card adds plenty of storage, and the speeds you need. Being U3 it is great for video, and it is capable of up to 95MB/s on the read, and 90MB/s on write. At around $70, this isn't a cheap option but it is a highly-rated, reliable one.

See at Amazon

SanDisk Ultra 200GB microSD

If you're looking to add a ton of extra storage at a relatively low cost, SanDisk's 200GB microSD card is the way to go. This card from SanDisk provides transfer speeds of up to 90MB/s and can record Full HD video. If you like to keep your digital library with you at all times, you'll want one of these.

We've seen the price drop significantly over the past year, and most of the times you can find it for under $80.

See at Amazon

Samsung 256GB EVO+ microSD

Samsung's own 256GB option is one of the best to go for if you are ready to just go all out on storage. With read speeds of up to 95MB/s and write speeds of up to 90MB/s you can quickly and easily transfer files to and from the phone. With the speed and storage capacity comes a larger price tag on this card, but if you want the biggest on the market this is the way to go.

See at Amazon

Your favorite?

Do you have a favorite microSD card that isn't listed here? Be sure to drop a comment below and let us know which card it is, and why you like it!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

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4 days ago

Daydream's next update is bringing Cast, Notifications, and Social


There's a huge update coming to Google Daydream, and it's going to be great for everyone.

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Separate from all of the awesome things coming to Android in the O update, Google has some big things coming to Daydream. While the overall purpose of this update is preparing the platform for the upcoming Standalone Daydream launch, existing Daydream-ready phones are going to benefit in several huge ways.

This new version of Daydream is codenamed Euphrates, and this is what we know so far!

New UI, New Dashboard

The big visual changes coming to Daydream will be immediately obvious. The starting launcher screen is being adjusted with more visual backgrounds that move with you and a new system for making your apps front and center. From here, you'll be able to access a dashboard by pressing the Home button.

This dashboard will give you quick access to settings and friends, but also offer a look at notifications on your phone. It's the first time notifications have been available through daydream, but currently its not clear what kinds of actions users will have within Daydream when interacting with a notification.

Casting and Sharing

This new Euphrates dashboard will also make it easier for you to capture screenshots and record video. The core function looks similar to what is currently available on the Gear VR, where you get a notification letting you know video is being recorded and you can share to your connected social networks. Screenshots will happen on a timer, so you ask for a screenshot and take a moment to frame your shot before the capture happens.

The big thing happening here is sharing through Google Cast. This will let you share what is happening in your headset to a nearby Android TV or Chromecast, making it so people in the same physical space as you can see what is happening on the screen. This sounds an awful lot like cheating for games like Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, but lets just say you're all on the honor system from here on out.

YouTube VR Reimagined

The final change coming with Euphrates isn't within Daydream core, but instead within the unique YouTube VR app available only in Daydream. YouTube VR will make it possible to share VR videos with friends in a way that allows everyone to watch something together at the same time. It's part of a significant UI overhaul for the already impressive YouTube VR experience, and it's also the first real attempt at social VR we've seen from Google directly.

Google isn't saying when exactly Euphrates can be expected, but we know the new standalone headsets are coming this holiday season so it's likely we'll see this huge shift around the same time. Are you excited about the Euphrates update? Share your thoughts below!

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4 days ago

Verizon will be the first U.S. carrier to sell a Tango phone


Verizon will sell the ASUS ZenFone AR later this summer, and that's a great thing for AR.

Later this summer, Verizon will be the first U.S. carrier to sell a Tango-enabled device, which also happens to be the second ever phone to support Google's nascent augmented reality platform.

During a VR keynote at Google I/O, Johnny Lee, program lead for Tango, confirmed that the ASUS ZenFone AR will be coming to Verizon later in the summer, and will likely be sold alongside an unlocked model for other users who want to pay full price for the AR experience.

The ZenFone AR is much smaller than the first Tango phone, Lenovo's Phab 2 Pro, that debuted last summer. In his hands-on, Russell Holly said that the phone is nicely-designed and well built, and will work really well with Tango when it's available at launch.

The things that are most interesting about this phone, as the name suggests, are on the inside. This is the first phone with a Snapdragon 821 processor that has been optimized to handle Google Tango, complete with a camera array that differs wildly from Google's first Tango partner, Lenovo. As the first phone that can handle both Daydream and Tango, there's a lot of testing to be done to see how well all of this comes together.

That testing is coming to a close as we near the phone's launch, and while we don't know how much it will cost, it's likely to be a little more expensive than the $499 list price of the underpowered and oversized Phab 2 Pro. And given that the ZenFone AR will also be Daydream-compatible, it will be far more of a consumer-focused phone than its spiritual predecessor.

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4 days ago

MetroPCS Buyer's Guide: Everything you need to know

 Everything you need to know

Here's everything you need to know about the T-Mobile MVNO.

MetroPCS is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) or "alternative carrier". MVNOs lease coverage from the Big Four networks (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon) and sell it to customers for less. The benefit of an MVNO is that you experience the same level of service as a customer on one of the larger networks, but you can often find talk, text, and data plans for a fraction of the cost.


MetroPCS is owned by and leases coverage from T-Mobile. If you go with MetroPCS, that means you get T-Mobile's fast 4G LTE service, as well as unlimited data plans.

If you like T-Mobile's coverage, but you'd love a cheaper cell phone bill every month, then consider an MVNO. Here's what you need to know about MetroPCS.

Individual plans

MetroPCS offers simple talk, text, and data plans in four tiers. There are no annual contracts required and all plan pricing includes taxes and regulatory fees. Every plan comes with unlimited talk, text, and 2G data, as well as tethering (at 3G speeds), voicemail, Wi-Fi calling, and caller ID. Prices differ based on the amount of 4G LTE that comes with each plan.

Its base plan is $30 per month, which includes 2GB of 4G LTE. For $40/month, you get 3GB of 4G LTE data, and $50/month gets you "unlimited" 4G (up to 30GB). For $60/month, you get unlimited data and you get tethering at 4G LTE speeds.

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Family plans

MetroPCS offers discounts on multiple lines depending on your monthly data allotment for up to 5 lines.

If you go with the $30/month 2GB plan or $40/month 3GB plan, you get $5 off per line, so you can get 2 lines for $50/month, 3 lines for $75, and so on. If you mix any of the four plans, you can get a $5 discount on all of them.

If you go with the $50 or $60 plans, you get a $10/month discount per line, so long as all lines are on an unlimited plan.

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Best MetroPCS phones

Since MetroPCS is on T-Mobile's network, you can bring just about any smartphone over, but if you'd rather buy from MetroPCS, pickin's are somewhat slim for top-notch devices, though they do have Samsung's latest and greatest, as well as Apple's.

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung's latest flagship is the best Android phone around, with it's awesome camera (front and back!), smooth software experience, gorgeous infinity display, and lightning-fast fingerprint sensor, as well as an updated iris scanner and its Snapdragon 835 processor.

If you love Android and want to stick with it, then the Galaxy S8 should definitely be on your list. It's $729 from MetroPCS.

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iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

The latest iPhones bear Apple's fastest processors and some of the best smartphone cameras available. MetroPCS offers the iPhone 7 in 32GB and 128GB and the 7 Plus in 128GB. If you're a fan of Apple, then the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus are the best of the bunch. If you're into photography, you'll love the iPhone 7 Plus' dual camera setup, which makes for some cool effects with Portrait Mode.

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How to cancel MetroPCS

Since there are no annual contracts, you can just cancel whenever you want. Know that if you cancel in the middle of your month, you'll have to pay off the rest of the month and anything you might owe on any devices.

Call 1-888-863-8768 or *611 on your MetroPCS phone or head into the nearest MetroPCS store to talk to a customer service rep.

How to unlock a MetroPCS phone

To unlock your MetroPCS phone, the phone must have had active MetroPCS service for a minimum of 90 consecutive days from the phone's activation date. Most MetroPCS phones come with a Device Unlock app that lets you simply request a code. For all other phones from MetroPCS phones, you'll have to contact MetroPCS customer service either by phone (1-888-863-8768) or at a MetroPCS store.

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Finding another MVNO

If you like T-Mobile's service and are considering MetroPCS but want other options, then you might want to consider another MVNO that uses T-Mobile's network or one that uses multiple networks.

There are over 20 MVNOs that piggyback on T-Mobile's network, so you have your pick of the litter. Major players include Mint SIM, Straight Talk, and TracFone.

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