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1 day ago

Samsung is rolling out Android Marshmallow to Galaxy S5 Neo in Europe


Samsung has reportedly kicked off its Marshmallow rollout for the Galaxy S5 Neo in Europe. This latest release brings Android 6.0.1 to the handset, adding a bunch of new features and improvements to the overall experience. According to reports, the update build number is G903FXXU1BPD4.

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2 days ago

Wileyfox unleashes the Spark — new Cyanogen OS phones starting at £89


British startup Wileyfox grabbed a lot of attention last year with its competitively priced Storm and Swift, and the company is now announcing its third smartphone, the Spark. Set to be available SIM-free for £89.99, the Spark offers a 5-inch 720p display, 1GB of RAM, 8GB internal storage, a microSD slot, and Cyanogen OS 13.0 atop Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

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2 days ago

Wileyfox Spark, Spark X, Spark+ specs

Wileyfox spark

Affordable new handsets powered by CyanogenOS.

British startup Wileyfox has taken the wraps off its latest handsets at an event in London this morning — the Wileyfox Spark series, which consists of three different variants.

The base model, selling for £89.99, features a 5-inch 720p screen, a quad-core MediaTek processor, an 8-megapixel camera, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. The Spark+ ups the storage to 16GB, RAM to 2GB and the camera to a 13-megapixel sensor, for £114.99. And at the upper end, the Spark X takes the internals of the Spark+ and adds a 5.5-inch 720p display, for £129.99.

You'll find full details down below.

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2 days ago

Google starts showing song lyrics directly in search results


Google has teamed up with LyricFind to display song lyrics directly in its search results. The Toronto-based company signed a multi-year licensing deal with Google, allowing the search giant to offer song lyrics in the U.S. and international markets.

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2 days ago

Cleaning out the storage on your phone is a monthly task


In last week's poll we asked how often you clean out the storage on your phone. Phones have become a hub for everything for keeping photos to being able to quickly check bank account balances. Their storage capacity isn't unlimited though, and eventually you're going to run out of room. That's why we wanted to know how often you clean out the storage on your phone.

In first place, with 25.8% of the vote, was "I like to clean my phone out once a month or so." Second place wasn't far behind, with "When I realize I have apps installed I don't use" grabbing up 18.7%. Just behind in third place with 18.5% is "when performance starts to suffer."

"I only clean out my phone when it becomes necessary" managed to take fourth place with 15.3% of the vote. Fifth place grabbed up 11.1% vote with "when I run out of room." In last place is "I don't clean out the storage on my phone if I can help it," with 10.6% of the vote.

Do you like to clean out the storage on your phone regularly, or do you prefer to put it off? Let us know in the comments below!

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2 days ago

Best wireless mice for Chromebooks

Best wireless mice for Chromebooks

Which wireless mice are best for Chromebooks?

While your Chromebook's trackpad works well enough for most situations, there are some tasks for which a wireless mouse is better.

Whether you need a wireless mouse to scroll through long documents faster, or to perform fine manipulations, there's a great wireless mouse out there with your name on it. Here are a few of our favorites.

Microsoft Touch Mouse

Microsoft Touch Mouse

The Microsoft Touch Mouse is unique in that it has no buttons or a scroll-wheel, yet it functions as though it has them.

Instead of pressing physical buttons or using a scroll-wheel, you tap and swipe, much like you would on the touchscreen of your phone.

It is comfortable to use with either hand and has the benefit of Microsoft's Bluetrack technology, which helps it work on pretty much any surface.

If you're looking for a unique mouse that works well with either hand and on most surfaces, then the Microsoft Touch Mouse might be the one for you.

See at Amazon

Logitech Wireless Mouse M320

Logitech Wireless Mouse M320

Available in black, blue, red, and two-tone gray and yellow, the Logitech Wireless Mouse M320 has received positive reviews from users and reviewers alike for its long battery life and its functionality.

Logitech states that this mouse will last up to two years on a single AA battery. Mileage may vary, but in general, users report that the battery does last a while — maybe a year or more on average.

Another benefit of this mouse is that its curved, asymmetric shape and rubber surface make it comfortable to use for long periods of time.

If you want a wireless mouse that has a long battery life, is comfortable to hold, and comes in different colors, then check this one out.

See at Amazon

Logitech Performance MX

Logitech Performance Mouse MX

Logitech's Performance MX is meant for people who do a lot of mouse work on a daily basis. Reviewers and consumers alike praise it for its well-crafted, durable design and for its superb functionality.

Made for right-handed users, its sculpted shape fits easily and comfortably in your hand and if you use your mouse a lot, then you'll really appreciate how good it feels to grip. Its Darkfield Laser also tracks on most surfaces, including glass.

This mouse has a rechargeable battery that you can charge either by connecting it to your Chromebook via the USB cable it comes with, or by connecting it to its wall charger, which is also included. If you plug it into your Chromebook, you can continue to use it while it is charging.

If you use your mouse a lot, want one with a rechargeable battery, and you want it to work on glass, then consider the Logitech Performance MX.

See at Amazon

AmazonBasics Wireless Mouse with Nano Receiver

AmazonBasics Wireless Mouse

The AmazonBasics Wireless Mouse is a 2.4 GHz mouse that connects to your Chromebook via a small USB transceiver. Customer reviews state that it works well and is easy to use, providing an amazing value for a bargain price.

This optical mouse comes with a one year warranty, so if anything goes wrong, you can always get a replacement.

If you're looking for an inexpensive wireless mouse that does the job, then the AmazonBasics Wireless Mouse is for you.

See at Amazon

Logitech Marathon M705

Logitech Wireless Marathon M705

The Logitech Marathon M705 is another wireless mouse that has received accolades from reviewers and consumers raving about well it works and how long it lasts on a single set of AA batteries.

Designed to conserve battery power, this mouse can last as long as three years on one set of batteries. Customers who have been using it for a while confirm that it indeed uses less power than comparable mice.

Sculpted for right-handed people, the Logitech Marathon M705 remains comfortable to hold, even after many hours of use.

In addition, its laser-tracking keeps its clicks precise and gives you the ability to whiz through long documents and web pages with ease.

If you are looking for a mouse with a long battery life that is comfortable to hold for long periods of time, then the Logitech Marathon M705 is a great choice.

See at Amazon

Logitech MX Master

Logitech MX Master

The Logitech MX Master is the master of all wireless mice because of its ability to track well even on glossy surfaces and its long battery life. Reviewers and users agree that it's a top-notch wireless mouse.

With a shape sculpted for your right hand, it is comfortable to use all day. In fact, it was designed for people who use their mice a lot, all day, every day.

It has a rechargeable battery, so you never have to replace it. Simply connect it to your Chromebook using its USB cable and continue using it while it charges. If you don't have an extra USB port, you can use its wall-charger unit instead. Either way, four minutes gives you four hours of use and a full charge will last you up to 40 days.

If you're looking for a wireless mouse that will work, even on glass, and has a long-lasting rechargeable battery, the Logitech MX Master is a great choice.

See at Amazon

Which wireless mice are your favorites?

We've looked high and low for great wireless mice that work with the Chromebook, but we're only human, and we might have missed something super-amazing. Tell us all about it in the comments below.


Android Marshmallow

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2 days ago

Protip: Power off your Chromebook before you put it away


A quick tip for Chromebook users — powering down when you're done using your laptop keeps things running smoothly and makes sure your software is up to date.

Your Chromebook does a good job of going to sleep and staying asleep when you shut the lid, which is the sort of thing you'd want any laptop to do well. But that doesn't reset and recycle your current session in Chrome OS. And those are both things you want to do when you're finished working (or playing) for the day. There are two big reasons why — keeping your software current and resetting what's stored in your memory (RAM).

Your Chromebook uses what's called Verified Boot along with automatic updates to keep the software current and secure. When an update is available for the operating system, it gets fetched from the Internet and installed alongside the version you are currently running. Before and during the installation process, the integrity of the software is checked by matching it against the official copy. If the tests performed all match, then your Chromebook knows that the software is official and hasn't been tampered with. (The same process is done each time you start things up, too.) The next time you shut off your Chromebook then restart it, this new copy of the operating system is what gets loaded. The old copy can then be erased and replaced the next time there is an update. This process is also coming to Android N for our phones and tablets because it works really well.

Your Chromebook also manages memory a little differently than most other operating systems. We go into it a little more here, but the short version is that the things you're looking at and the things you recently were looking at are kept in the memory. Your RAM has a 10MB portion reserved for this, and the only way to free it up is to shut your laptop down. This doesn't make much of a difference if you were looking at cat pictures yesterday and are going to look at cat pictures again today, but it doesn't make a lot of sense to keep Google Docs and that boring company spreadsheet in the reserved portion if you're done with it. You don't have to wipe this cached data away because it will overwrite itself as you do different things, but there could be a small performance hit if you do things that way. Chrome boots so fast it's easier on the system (and your battery) to shut down and start fresh for each session.

To be clear — your Chromebook will work just fine if you never shut it off. Chrome is Linux, and some Linux computers go for years without being power cycled.

But to take advantage of the update system as well as the way Google uses your RAM for great performance, the best thing you can do each night is power down. You can shut down by pressing and holding the power button, or by clicking in the status area (next to your account picture on the tray) and clicking the power icon.

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2 days ago

Android Pay officially launches in Singapore

2 days ago

The best board games for Android

The best board games for Android

What are the best board games for Android?

Board games have been experiencing a renaissance in recent years, and it doesn't take a lot of digging in the Google Play Store to see it reflected on Android as well. If you're having trouble getting everybody together under one roof or just don't have any more shelf space for another box, pick up your Android phone or tablet to grab these fantastic board games.

We've put together the very best board games for Android for the consideration of long-time board game fans.It's worth noting in advance that a vast majority of the Android board games on our list employ in-app purchases for expansions, and thanks to their established physical counterparts, they tend to be well-balanced and lots of fun.

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride board game screenTicket to Ride board in play

Ticket to Ride gets players to build sprawling rail empires by gathering colored cars to connect cities. Every turn, a player gets to either pick two cars, claim a line by spending cars, or take on a new ticket, which challenges players to connect two cities before the first player runs out of cars. The farther these two cities are, the more victory points they're worth, plus the player with the longest line gets an additional victory point bonus.

On the whole, Ticket to Ride is a fine combination of competition and construction. The in-app purchase grants you access to a new bundle of maps and boards, all of which are totally worth the price.

Download Ticket to Ride ($6.99 with in-app purchases)


Catan opening boardBegin to build your empire

Catan is not just a classic board game; it is the classic board game. Players harvest resources and connect their villages by roads, accumulating victory points along the way. It doesn't sound like much, but between the inter-player trading (or scheming) and the cramped real estate, Catan can be a very tense game. Players also use their harvested resources to purchase cards which can provide them with useful resources. Pass-and-play multiplayer is available, as well as many of the original game's expansions.

For a tense game of wheeling and dealing, check out Catan.

Download Catan ($3.99)


Cards on the board in AscensionAscension cards to the Void to to discard

Ascension is a well-established fantasy card game. Players dynamically build their deck over the course of gameplay, and attempt to acquire the most victory points from a limited pool. When the pool is empty, the points are tallied up. Gathering these honor points is done by building a force with sword and sorcery, acquiring constructs, slaying a constantly-shifting selection of monsters on the board, and recruiting new heroes to your cause. There are expansions and promo packs which introduce new cards to the set as well.

Ascension's fast and fluid gameplay are bound to catch the attention of even occasional board gamers.

Download Ascension(Free with in-app purchases)


Carcassonne playersCarcassonne game play

Carcassonne is a tile-based kingdom-building game in which players each take turns trying to complete roads, cities, and cloisters. Each turn, players also drop a limited number of their meeple onto those landmarks in an attempt to claim points once the feature has been completed. If you can't fully enclose a city or finish a road by the end of the game, you can still get a few points. A handful of expansions are also available through in-app purchases.

Carcassonne is a polished adaptation of a classic board game. If you haven't tried it yet, now is the time.

Download Carcassonne ($4.99)

Shelter Free

The premise of Shelter FreeMap of Shelter Free zoneThe card playing board in Shelter Free

Shelter Free combines deck building card games and castle defence strategy. You wake up to find that the world is overrun with zombies and you have to continuously fight them off in order to make your way out of the danger zone. You move through hazards, seeking cards to build and strengthen your deck, and duelling with zombies who have equally powerful card decks.

The graphic novel artwork style is enough to keep you coming back for more gameplay, but the storyline and intense card battles will keep you hooked for sure.

Download Shelter Free (Free with in-app purchases)

Monopoly: Here and Now World Edition

Monopoly boardLand on more exotic locations

It's not a real board game collection until Monopoly shows up, but this isn't the Monopoly you grew up playing. Sure, you roll the dice and move your chosen token around the board, but the newer version of Monopoly uses famous landmarks (like the Eiffel Tower) for tokens, and you land in Istanbul instead of on Park Avenue. You can opt to join a live multiplayer game online or create your own custom game with a combination of computer-generated opponents and real people.

It's easy, it's fun, and if you can't remember the last time to took out a Monopoly board, it's time to get this one downloaded.

Download Monopoly Here and Now (free with in-app purchases)

Sea Battle 2

Place your ships on the gridSeek out the ships placed by your opponent

Don't let anyone sink your battleship! This reimagining of the classic game lets you play against an AI, a random online opponent, or the person sitting next to you. It goes beyond mere battleships to include planes, radar, mines, submarines, and all the while you're climbing the ranks from a lowly recruit to an admired admiral. Name your proud fleet, watch your scores on the global leaderboard, and use the in-app chat feature to discuss strategy.

The old-school graph paper design will take you right back to playing sneaky Battleship rounds during junior high study hall.

Download Sea Battle 2 (Free with in-app purchases)

Mahjong: Beautiful Orient

 Beautiful OrientMatch two tiles to remove them from the boardLevel completed and points earned

The 20 boards of Mahjong: Beautiful Orient feature beautiful backgrounds and a lovely soundtrack to listen to while you master Mahjong. The premise of the game is simple enough: match two tiles to remove them from the board. The boards increase in complexity as you advance, and you need to attain a preset minimum score to move on (not so simple now). Speed, accuracy, and a sharp eye are your must-have Mahjong tools.

If you love board games but you'd just rather play solo, Mahjong: Beautiful Orient is the game for you.

Download Mahjong Beautiful Orient (Free with in-app purchases)

Your favorite Android board games?

Those are our picks, but there's a lot of great games in the Google Play Store. Leave a comment with your favorite board game or board adaptations for Android!

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2 days ago

Google Expeditions can take whole classrooms on virtual field trips


Google has launched is Expeditions educational virtual reality app for Google Cardboard for everyone, following a preview release last year. Expeditions is aimed at students and schools, and allows teachers to take their students on virtual field trips. Teachers act as guides, controlling the experience for a classroom-sized set of devices on the same Wi-Fi network.

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2 days ago

Google Cast SDK Version 3 released for Android and iOS


Google has released the 3.0 version of its Google Cast SDK for Android and iOS app developers. The updated tools will allow app creators to add more features in their Google Cast-enabled products.

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2 days ago

How, exactly, would a 'Google phone' fix what Nexus hasn't broken?

Nexus 6P

Google already makes its own phones. It's called Nexus. So what would taking the manufacturer partnership out of the equation actually help?

At least once a year or so we get rumors about Google "building its own smartphone." That is, one not named Nexus, and presumably one without any sort of branding (and marketing support) from the usual manufacturing suspects.

The Information, citing "people who work at Google," raised the mostly toothless idea back in November 2015. "There is debate and discussion about the topic right now—as there is with myriad ideas at [Alphabet] ... But the fact the issue is on the table at all is noteworthy and shows how Google's Android strategy remains in flux."

Today, we've got another anonymously sourced pieced with the same sort of cliche headline and opening paragraph we typically see on this sort of thing.

From The Telegraph, under "Google to step up smartphone wars with release of own handset":

Google is planning a shake-up of the smartphone market by releasing its own handset, a move that would tighten its grip on mobile software and see it compete directly with the iPhone.

Let's be perfectly clear here — companies are always discussing doing all sorts of things. Some come to fruition. Others don't. If Google never discussed making an unbranded phone without the visible help of an established hardware partner, the folks running that end of things wouldn't be doing their jobs. It's not a very difficult proposition to come up with.

Nexus 6P and Nexus 5XThe Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X are as Google as it gets already.

And The Telegraph ticks all the boxes of a piece trying to make a meal out of something while there's barely any meat on the bone. "Shake-up of the smartphone market?" "Tighten its grip on mobile software?" "Compete directly with the iPhone?"

I don't know what the hell any of that means. The last phone to shake up the smartphone market was the iPhone. It's going to take something truly revolutionary to do it again. And Google simply "making its own phone" likely isn't it.

And how, pray tell, would an unbranded Google phone tighten Google's grip on open-sourced software? Nexus devices (and the Pixel C tablet) are direct targets of Google and the Android Open Source Project. (The software that Google actually ships with those phones is a little different, however, contains code different than what you or I could build for the Nexus phones. Welcome to open-source software.)

And "compete directly with the iPhone?" As opposed to what?

If Google really wants to 'control' Android, it needs to sell more of its phones. Not just give them a different brand.

None of that is to say that Google couldn't do it. Or that it won't. (Though it's our understanding that the Nexus program isn't going anywhere for a couple more years, at least.) But Google "building its own phone" would almost certainly still mean that it contracts with someone like Foxconn (or whitelabels a device from, say, Huawei or LG or HTC) to actually build the thing, as just about any other phone company does. And building a phone is a good bit different from building a tablet.

Nothing in The Telegraph piece gets anywhere close to addressing how a Google-branded phone would be anything beyond an exercise in rebranding. And there's absolutely no proof that simply switching from "Nexus" to "Google" would do anything to steal away marketshare from Samsung, which maintains a huge lead over pretty much everyone.

And Google's own Nexus phones already lead the way on software updates. That's (sadly) telling when some eight months after both the release of Android 6.x Marshmallow and the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, a mere 10% of all current devices (and that's including updated devices as as well as a handful of older Nexus phones) are on the most recent software. There simply aren't that many Nexus phones in the world when you take that sort of context into account. Is a rebranding really going to move that needle any more than a Nexus phone already doesn't move it?

Maybe Google's making some sort of non-Nexus smartphone. Maybe it's not. For sure it's been talked about at some point. And maybe it's all a behind-the-scenes thing, that it'd just be easier to not work with an established manufacturer that has its own hangups and ideas about how to do things.

But you can bet every last byte that if Google does "build its own phone" instead of building its own phone in partnership with an established manufacturer, it's going to be far more than tightening the software grip it already enjoys on the Nexus line.

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2 days ago

U.S. Cellular support now officially available in Project Fi


U.S. Cellular support is now officially available for Project Fi customers. You'll need to update the Fi app to ensure that everything is working properly on your end with connecting to the new network. With this addition, Fi customers will now have three different networks to bounce between to ensure they always are using the best network in the area they are in.

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2 days ago

The Honor 5C and MoDaCo show that responsible modding doesn't have to be a fight


A safe and secure phone often means one that makes things hard on the folks who like to tinker with their toys. But it's not always a cat-and-mouse sort of game.

Our Android phones are more secure than ever. We've got things like SELinux and Samsung's KNOX and all sorts of behind-the-scenes things that keep our data safe and sound, out of the hands of, well, anyone who's not us.

But that sort of safety net doesn't always jibe with the modding community, without whom smartphones may well still be stuck in the Stone Age. The other side of making our phones more secure is that it's not always easy to crack them open in the first place. A scant few offer unlockable bootloaders. And even kernel sources aren't released as we'd expect them to be.

There are manufacturers that don't completely lock things down, of course. And I was a little intrigued to see the recently announced Honor 5C immediately see support from longtime modding community MoDaCo, just as soon as the phone went official.

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2 days ago

HP's new touch-enabled Chromebook 11 G5 is ready for Android apps


HP has announced the latest addition to its Chromebook lineup, the Chromebook 11 G5.

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