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2 days ago

Google, LG to unveil new Android Wear 2.0 watches at Feb 9 event

35

The first watches to run on Android Wear 2.0: the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style.

Google and LG have teamed up to produce two new smartwatches, the first to run on the new Android Wear 2.0 platform, according to a new report from VentureBeat. We previously reported that Google was planning to launch Android Wear 2.0 on February 9, and now we know that event will also include the official unveiling of the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style.

Photo credit: Android Police

The Watch Sport is 14.2-millimeters thick with a slightly larger watch face and will be available in titanium and dark blue. The Watch Style is slightly slimmer at 10.8-millimeters thick and, as the name suggests, is available in more stylish color options — titanium, silver and rose gold — with the option of swapping out straps for accessorizing.

Both watches feature circular touchscreen watch faces with a side button for navigation purposes, dust and water resistance — IP68 for the Watch Sport and IP67 for the Watch Style — Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and 4GB of internal storage.

But it's the internal specs where the added bulk of the Watch Sport becomes clear. The Watch Sport has 768MB of RAM (to the Watch Style's 512MB) and also includes cellular connectivity with both 3G and LTE data along with GPS and NFC radios — easily making it the superior option.

And of course, since both will be running Android Wear 2.0, we'll get our first look at Google Assistant integration on a wearable, as well as see Google Play Store access on the wrist and standalone smartwatch apps.

Android Wear 2.0 will be the new standard for future Android timepieces, and will be pushed out as an upgrade to some legacy models.

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2 days ago

NVIDIA Shield Android TV specs

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NVIDIA Shield Android TV

This box packs a ton inside, and manages to offer top-of-the-line specs for just $199.

The Android TV marketplace isn't the most diverse, but there's a clear winner in the high-end here with the NVIDIA Shield Android TV. Its success and superiority start on the inside with its top-notch specs. They blow the competition in the Android TV world out of the water, and it's no surprise that they're capable of handling all of your media tasks but also higher-end gaming. Here's everything that's inside the Shield Android TV, in both its standard and Pro version.

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2 days ago

Thinking about a Pixel 2: How to improve the best Android phone

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What do we want from the Google Pixel 2?

We're well into the new year (happy 2017!) and we've just done an audit of our favorite Android phones, and yes, the Google Pixel still sits atop the list.

Despite much haranguing from a small minority, and a few notable issues people continue to encounter along the way, Google has quite a smash hit on its hands — critically, if not financially.

But that doesn't mean the Pixel is perfect. Far from it. There are many things we thought immediately needed to be changed, and have since lengthened that list, from waterproofing to wider carrier availability. Here are the things we think the Google Pixel 2 — or whatever it's going to be called — needs when it inevitably debuts later this year.

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2 days ago

OnePlus confirms Nougat update uses proper kernel, will remove confusing debug warning

0

After some confusion, OnePlus says there's nothing to worry about in its kernel.

A few tidbits of information swirled yesterday about the Nougat update for the OnePlus 3 and 3T in regards to what kernel it was using. Looking at logs, some users had found messages indicating that the OxygenOS 4.0.1 build was using a debug kernel in what would otherwise be completely release-level software. With a debug kernel, unknowing consumers would be vulnerable to various attacks, as there would theoretically be no checks against modifying the system folder of the phone.

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2 days ago

Google Contributor is well and truly dead; successor yet to be revealed

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Google Contributor website

Contributor accounts have been shut down, and refunds have been issued. It's done.

To quote our previous story about Google Contributor, "this whole thing sounds really weird." After announcing back in December that its pay-to-remove-ads product would be replaced with something new come January, Google swiftly and abruptly shut down the service in a less-than-graceful manor. Now, it's completely dead.

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2 days ago

Best Cases For OnePlus 3 & OnePlus 3T

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Best cases for OnePlus 3

What are the best cases for the OnePlus 3 and 3T?

The OnePlus 3 and the identical, newer OnePlus 3T have an all-aluminum body that looks great, but could use a little protection (and maybe some jazzing up). The ideal case will fit perfectly, keep your phone safe from your daily grind, and look fantastic. We know exactly what you're looking for.

OnePlus 3 Protective Case

OnePlus 3 Rosewood case

The protective cases by OnePlus are more than just interchangeable backings for your OnePlus 3 or 3T; they really do offer excellent protection that wraps around the corners of the phone and keeps your hardware safe. You can only buy them directly from OnePlus.

The cases are light, thin, and don't add any unnecessary bulk or weight to your OnePlus 3 or 3T. They're available in Sandstone (the iconic look from previous generations of the OnePlus), Karbon, Black Apricot, Bamboo, and Rosewood (pictured here). All the cases are made from the actual material they're named for, as well as PC or kevlar for additional strength and durability.

For a case that's got a unique look and feel and is crafted exclusively for the OnePlus 3 series, the Protective Case in all its variations is the one for you.

See at OnePlus


OtterBox case

OtterBox in Cardinal Red OnePlus 3

OtterBox, the go-to name in phone protection and style, is available for the OnePlus 3 or 3T exclusively via the OnePlus website. The hard outer layer and shock-absorbing inner layer of silicone keep your phone just like new, no matter what your day throws your way.

The newer versions of OtterBox cases are slimmer and lighter, so you won't have significant size and weight added to your OnePlus 3 device. The textured back surface and sides make for secure handling, and the cases come in Saharan White, Dark Matter, and Cardinal Red (pictured here).

For trusted protection of your OnePlus 3 from a brand that's made its name synonymous with durability and damage protection, check out the OtterBox case.

See at OnePlus


OnePlus 3 Flip Covers

Sand flip cover OnePlus 3

Offering style and protection in one great-looking case, the OnePlus 3 flip covers are made of soft, supple PU leather that's made to last. There's even room for a credit card or even a few folded bills on the inside of the front cover.

The flip cover will automatically put your display to sleep when you close it, which is great for battery conservation. The slim design won't take up loads of space, and the front cover protects your screen. The color selection is simple, elegant, and a perfect complement to your OnePlus 3; choose from black, gray, or the sand tone pictured here.

If you want the look of a wallet case without unnecessary bulk or compartments, pick up one of the Flip Covers made just for your OnePlus 3 or 3T.

See at OnePlus


Tudia Ultra Slim LITE case

Tudia clear case

Cases from Tudia are building a strong following, and there's good reason for that: its cases for the OnePlus 3 series have a snug, secure fit and the soft, flexible shell offers just that little extra bit of grip you need to have on your phone.

The TPU case fits well over a screen protector, like the one included with your OnePlus 3 device, and it also features raised edges to keep the screen away from hard surfaces like desks or tables. You'll have access to every button and port, thanks to the precise covers and cutouts, so charge away or plug in your headphones without fidgeting with an ill-fitting cover.

Take your pick from cases in black, vibrant teal, or the clear case (pictured here) to show off the original aluminum hardware of the OnePlus 3 or 3T.

See at Amazon

Orzly Grip-Pro case

Orzly Grip-Pro case

An alternative to the OtterBox style and price comes from Orzly in the form of the Grip-Pro case for the OnePlus 3 or 3T, which offers a two-year warranty and is becoming a popular choice for many people.

The shock-proof internal skin and hard, rubberized exterior protect against bumps and drops, and it maintains a slim profile with cutouts for speakers, buttons, as well as a raised edge around the camera to keep the lens safe.

Grab one (or two, 'cause you can never have too many colors to choose from) in black, blue, pink, silver, or the red version pictured here.

See at Amazon

Love Ying Soft Skin case

Love Ying Soft Skin clear case

For one of the slimmest case profiles you can get, check out the Soft Skin from Love Ying. Minimal bulk, minimal extra weight, and a great fit for your OnePlus 3 series device.

The flexible TPU offers excellent shock and bump protection in spite of its minimalist design. A little bit of extra material around the screen edges keeps it up and away from surfaces, which is helpful if you're someone who's in the habit of placing your OnePlus 3 face-down.

Get your Love Ying Soft Skin case in mint, pink, purple, or the clear version pictured here.

See at Amazon

Tudia Slim-Fit Heavy Duty

As the name suggests, Tudia's Slim-Fit Heavy Duty is slightly more robust than the Ultra-Thin Lite, bundling an inner TPU wrapper with a stylish polycarbonate shell in one of four colors. Tudia has built up a very good reputation for a reason: its cases are well-made and exact, with precise cutouts for ports while adhering to the proper design of the phone.

See at Amazon

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Spigen Rugged Armor

Spigen has built up a well-regarded reputation for its cases of decent quality and low prices, and the Rugged Armor for the OnePlus 3 is the perfect combination of that worldview.

The Ruggor Armor is a single-layer TPU case with a raised lip to prevent screen impact damage and reinforced corners, along with a spiderweb interior pattern to ensure the phone is snug. It allows for access to all the buttons and ports, and doesn't add much thickness, but the best part about the Rugged Armor is how great it looks on the OnePlus 3 and 3T.

See at Amazon

A case for everyone

Are you using one of our favorite cases for your OnePlus 3 or 3T? Tell us how you like it in the comments below!

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2 days ago

Google+ update adds new comment moderation, brings back events

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Hey, Google+ is still a thing!

The pace of updates to Google+ has dwindled over the last year, but in a reminder that the platform is very much still alive Google has rolled out three solid updates. The changes, which will come via app and web updates in the next couple of weeks, center around handling comments, seeing more in your feed and bringing back events to the community.

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2 days ago

How to hide VR porn on your Gear VR

Hiding VR porn your Gear VR is far easier than you think, and we've got the details on how to do it!

By now, you're probably well acquainted with Gear VR and the fact that you watch and enjoy porn using it. The problem crops up if you don't want somebody to accidentally stumble across your downloaded porn videos while scrolling through your phone. This is especially true if you like to hand over your phone to your children. Thankfully, it's super easy to make sure that this never happens by doing a few small things to hide your porn.

Read more at VRHeads.com

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3 days ago

Kano Computer is the best gift I have ever given!

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This is the educational software overhaul I've been looking for.

It's not hard to get most kids excited about programming. You say "Hey, how cool would it be if you could make your own games?" and watch their faces light up. The problem is often what comes next.

There's a handful of fun and educational apps online that will help a child establish the core thought patterns needed to actually write a program, but most of them really need that guiding hand from someone who has written code before to push those patterns into something useful. If your idea of writing code is that one time you customized a theme for your MySpace page in 2005, chances are you don't have the tools needed to help a child become a programmer. That's not on you, in fact it represents a real problem with accessible education in this space.

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3 days ago

How to save your Vine videos before they disappear

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Vine is going away. Here's how to download all of your loops in video format!

Twitter is doing some housecleaning, and is [getting rid of its Vine social network in the process](http://www.androidcentral.com/twitter-shutting-down-vine-video-sharing-app. On January 17, the app will no longer allow users to upload new Vines, and is purging its extensive database of 6-second masterpieces.

If you're looking to hold onto your Vines, here's how to download them, or get them emailed to you, in video format.

  1. Open Vine for Android.
  2. Log in using your Twitter account or another email.
  3. Tap the Profile icon on the right of the tab.
  4. Tap Save Videos.

  5. Decide whether you want to receive an email with the download link or to save the videos to your phone.
  6. If saving to your phone, decide which videos you want to save.
  7. Tap Save.

That's it! Now your Vines will be saved to a special folder under the same name in your gallery. Each file will have a long string of numbers with no file extension, but they can be renamed to .mov or .mp4 — they're simply H.264 files at 480x480 with AAC audio.

Have fun!

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3 days ago

Google Home vs Amazon Echo: Which has the better speaker for music?

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Which sounds better, Google Home or Amazon Echo?

For those of us without dedicated stereo systems in the house, smaller connected speakers are great. Some of them are portable enough to follow you around the house with its own battery, while others connect to the wall and focus on delivering the best possible audio you can get from a Bluetooth or Chromecast Audio connection (which isn't super great, but that's a story for another time).

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3 days ago

Save $30 on a Daydream View at Verizon right now!

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Right now you can pick up a Daydream View for just $50 at Verizon, a savings of $30 from its regular price. The carrier is offering all three colors at the discount, so you can pick between slate, snow, and crimson. The Daydream View allows you to experience tons of great VR content right from your phone wherever you are, and doesn't have a huge initial startup cost. If you're looking to dabble into the world of Virtual Reality, this is a great way to get started!

Verizon is also offering free shipping on all orders right now, so be sure to get your order in before the price jumps back up again. Which color will you be picking up? Let us know in the comments!

See at Verizon

Google Daydream

Google

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3 days ago

What should you ask for when demoing VR?

What should you ask for when demoing VR?

What are the experiences I should ask for when I demo VR?

Say you've found a demo station near you and you plan to head down — what will you ask to see when you get there? Many demo stations have a set number of experiences you can try, and you'll probably be on a time limit. To help you get the most out of your demo, here are the best experiences to try depending on your taste.

Read more at VR Heads!

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3 days ago

Best Android Phones of 2017

Best Android Phones of 2017

The Google Pixel is the best Android Phone you can buy today. Whether it's the straight-from-Google Android software, top-notch performance or better-than-expected camera, the Pixel — in either size — does it all.

Andrew Martonik Andrew has been a mobile enthusiast since the Windows Mobile days, and covering all things Android-related with a unique perspective at Android Central since 2012. For suggestions and updates, you can reach him at andrew.martonik@androidcentral.com or on Twitter at @andrewmartonik.

*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Best overall

Google Pixel

See at Google See at Verizon

The Google Pixel does almost everything right. Its metal body is well-built and easy to grip — in either the 5-inch or 5.5-inch size — and its spec sheet is top-notch, featuring a Snapdragon 821 and 4GB of RAM.

But Google's Pixel, available in two sizes and screen resolutions, really makes the case for Google owning the hardware and the software. Android has come a long way, but even the best manufacturers can't achieve what Google has with its first-party powerhouse.

Android 7.1 flies through every task, and the small software additions add up to something larger. Then there's the camera, which is one of the best in the business, helped along by Google's exemplary electronic stabilization schemes.

Bottom line: It may cost more than the Nexus line, but Google handily competes with Samsung's best.

One more thing: The Pixel is available unlocked through Google's store in most countries, but if you're in the U.S. may we suggest getting it through Google Fi.

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Why the Google Pixel is the best

Google could have built another Nexus phone with a partner like Huawei, LG or even HTC, but with the Pixel it decided to go it mostly alone. Tapping HTC for the manufacturing, Google's first "real" Android phone hits all the right marks.

In either size, the design is familiar but striking, with a plain front in either black or white and a dual-toned rear finish in silver/white, silver/black, or blue/blue. The larger of the two models, the Pixel XL, is the true enthusiast phone, boasting a large 3,450mAh battery and 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED display, but both devices have largely the same internals and camera setup.

To that end, the Pixel flies: Qualcomm's Snapdragon 821 chip, coupled with Google's own take on Android 7.1 Nougat, is the fastest Android experience we've had to date.

Alex Dobie, in his review, explained it this way:

The chassis is attractive, though some may say it's not as bold as Samsung's glass and metal designs. The software is fast and mostly good-looking. It's always going to be up-to-date with the latest Android software, and exclusive tricks from a new and highly ambitious AI-focused Google. The battery easily lasts a day, and charges quickly. The camera matches the Galaxy S7.

While the phone lacks waterproofing and expandable storage, Samsung's Galaxy S7, our former recommendation, is still two major Android revisions behind, and its software can't match the effortless polish of the Pixel.

And then there's the camera. The cornerstone of any flagship, if the Pixel's camera wasn't as good as the S7's, it probably wouldn't have topped our list — but it is. Despite lacking optical image stabilization, the Pixel's camera takes amazing photos in almost every condition.

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Best for features

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

See at AT&T See at Sprint See at T-Mobile See at Verizon

The Galaxy S7 rocks a beautiful metal-and-glass design that's waterproof while also holding a solid battery, top-end internals and a microSD card expansion slot. Around front you'll find an industry-leading 5.1-inch QHD SuperAMOLED display that's beautiful in every situation, and around back you can capture fantastic photos with the 12MP camera. It's also rated IP68 water resistant, which is helpful in many situations, unforeseen and otherwise.

The software may take some getting used to if you haven't used a Samsung phone before, but that's hardly a reason to look away from all of the fantastic features that the Galaxy S7 has to offer. It's compact, powerful, easy to use and takes wonderful photos — it really is one of the most complete packages in the Android world.

Bottom line: The Galaxy S7 has the best hardware in Android, but its software keeps it behind the Pixel.

One more thing: If you don't want to buy from a carrier, Samsung offers a U.S. unlocked model of the Galaxy S7 for a cleaner experience.

Best for a budget

OnePlus 3T

See at OnePlus

OnePlus took an interesting approach in 2016, choosing to bump the internal specs of its flagship OnePlus 3 and make a new model the OnePlus 3T. The new version has a slightly faster Snapdragon 821 processor, optional 128GB of storage, a larger 3400 mAh battery and new front-facing camera.

The update keeps the OnePlus 3T relevant for that much longer, and it still stands as an excellent option that competes with the rest of the flagships at a much lower price — even though it is a tad more expensive than the original, at $439. The hardware, camera and software can all stand up to the competition that retails for $200 more.

Bottom-line: Though it doesn't have some of the fringe features you'll find elsewhere, the OnePlus 3T offers the best value in a high-end Android phone today.

One more thing: The OnePlus 3's Dash Charge fast charging solution isn't compatible with any other quick charging standards, so you'll need to invest in new chargers if you want to top up quickly.

Best "big phone"

Huawei Mate 9

Huawei Mate 9

See at Amazon

Huawei's Mate series has a sizeable following that love its big screen, big battery life and full set of features. With the Mate 9 Huawei has kept that all around, but dramatically improved the software experience with EMUI 5.0 to complete the package. The new software has removed many of the annoying idiosyncrasies and bugs that burdened previous Huawei phones, and it lets the Mate 9 shine.

The 5.9-inch display is only 1080p, but it looks fantastic and makes the battery life amazing. The rest of the internal specs add up for great performance, and while the "Leica" name on the back is mostly for show the camera is still great.

With its recent expansion to the U.S., the Mate 9 is a top-end phone we can recommend right alongside the rest. It also has an attractive price of $599 which compares favorably to the big competition.

Bottom line: A big phone with all of the modern features power users want can be yours for just a hair under $600.

One more thing: Huawei's fast charging standard can be hit-or-miss in its interoperation with other fast chargers — it's best to stick with the included brick if you want the fastest speeds.

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Conclusion

The best overall Android experience right now can be obtained by either the Google Pixel or Pixel XL. Regardless of which size Pixel, you're getting a great design, excellent build quality, incredible performance, and one of the best cameras on the market. That, combined with Google's simple-but-beautiful interpretation of Android 7.1 Nougat, and always-first updates, makes the Pixel the best option for most people right now.

Best overall

Google Pixel

See at Google See at Verizon

The Google Pixel does almost everything right. Its metal body is well-built and easy to grip — in either the 5-inch or 5.5-inch size — and its spec sheet is top-notch, featuring a Snapdragon 821 and 4GB of RAM.

But Google's Pixel, available in two sizes and screen resolutions, really makes the case for Google owning the hardware and the software. Android has come a long way, but even the best manufacturers can't achieve what Google has with its first-party powerhouse.

Android 7.1 flies through every task, and the small software additions add up to something larger. Then there's the camera, which is one of the best in the business, helped along by Google's exemplary electronic stabilization schemes.

Bottom line: It may cost more than the Nexus line, but Google handily competes with Samsung's best.

One more thing: The Pixel is available unlocked through Google's store in most countries, but if you're in the U.S. may we suggest getting it through Google Fi.

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3 days ago

ZTE's $199 eye-tracking Hawkeye phone will have 2016 specs in late 2017

9

Here's what Hawkeye will have.

ZTE will be bringing its crowdsourced Hawkeye smartphone to the U.S. and much of the world in September if it can hit its enormous $500,000 Kickstarter goal (as of writing, it's raised just over $30,000). When ZTE revealed the eventual name of 'Project CSX', it gave us some ideas of how the phone would separate itself (eye-tracking technology), and what it would cost ($199), but we were without most of the other relevant specs. Now we have them.

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