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5 days ago

These are the top Allo features you need to know


'Allo Allo.

Google's smart messaging app Allo is now available. The service competes with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, both of which boast a userbase of over a billion users. Google is looking to differentiate Allo with Google Assistant, a chatbot that provides answers to your queries by drawing on the search giant's machine learning smarts. AI is at the core of Google's strategy, and we'll see the assistant make its way into the Google Home and future products. And it's all kicking off with Allo.

These are the top Allo features you need to know. If you're just installing the app, be sure to check out our setup guide.

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5 days ago

Digital Offers: Bypass geo-restricted streaming services for $39

Every year, more and more people are cutting their cable cords and turning to online streaming for all their TV and movie entertainment — and it's clear to see why. Whether it's for the convenience to watch what you want when you want on whichever device you want, or simply to save some money every month, the trend shows no sign of slowing.

But despite being hosted and streamed from what was once called the World Wide Web, you often lose access to all your favorite streaming services if you leave the US. Sure, you can always use a VPN — if you're savvy enough to know how to set one up and can afford another monthly subscription in your life. And you'll want to have it available on all of your devices, not just your laptop. If you only care about accessing your streaming services, you need to get Getflix.

Getflix calls itself a Smart DNS, because unlike VPNs that reroutes and encrypts your entire connection through overseas servers, it only reroutes the parts of your connections required for online streaming. This means you'll be able to connect to public or hotel Wi-Fi and access a whole bunch of awesome streaming services such as Hulu, HBO GO, Amazon Instant Video and more! Best part, for a limited time only you essentially get lifetime access to Getflix for only $39!

To be clear, Getflix still requires you to have your own active subscription to the streaming services you want to use with it. And ironically, Netflix is not on the list of services supported by Getflix. But well over 60 streaming sites and services are, including popular music streaming services such as Pandora, Slacker and more. And Getflix also includes access to a free, optional VPN & SmartVPN account to encrypt all your traffic with 256Bit SSL encryption for the times when you need that, too.

Officially you get a 30-year licence to use Getflix — a value of over $800 — so you'll want to get in on this opportunity to save 98% on this deal and never worry about get locked out of your streaming services no matter where in the world you are!

See at Android Central Offers

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5 days ago

Xiaomi Mi VR Play review: Bringing VR to the masses


Xiaomi made fitness tracking accessible with its $15 Mi Band. It is now doing the same for virtual reality.

It's an incredibly exciting time for virtual reality. The HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are catering to the enthusiast segment, and for those looking to experience what the medium has to offer on their smartphones, there's the Gear VR, Homido V2, and the budget Google Cardboard.

And now Xiaomi is getting into the fray with its first VR viewer, the Mi VR Play. Like all Xiaomi products, the Mi VR Play is designed to disrupt the segment it is targeting by lowering the barrier to entry for customers looking to try out the platform. The headset costs just $15, the same price as Cardboard. And like Cardboard, the VR Play accommodates any phone with a screen size between 4.7 inches and 5.7 inches.

The shell of the Mi VR Play is made out of Lycra, which minimizes weight and makes it more comfortable to wear for a prolonged duration. It weighs 209g, which is less than the plastic-based Gear VR's 345g. There's a textured button at the top for navigation, and the headset features anti-reflective aspheric lenses. You slot in your phone at the front by undoing the two-way zipper, and there's plenty of foam padding that holds the phone in place inside the headset.

The inside of the headset (the part where you stick your face in) is roomy, and it didn't pose any problems for my admittedly large head. You can use the headset while wearing glasses, but it'll be a tight fit. The viewer comes with a strap that wraps around your head, and a top strap that holds the headset in place and ensures that it doesn't wobble when you move your head around.

For $15, the Mi VR Play offers tremendous value for money.

Xiaomi will introduce customized variants of the VR Play in denim, floral, leopard, camouflage, and user-generated designs at a later date, but for now, the company is selling the default black variant of the headset. Right now, Samsung has the mobile VR segment cornered, and while Xiaomi isn't competing in the same category, it is making smartphone-based VR accessible to more customers, especially in emerging markets.

As the headset is designed for a Chinese audience, the Mi VR Play comes with a dedicated app that includes a selection of 360-degree videos from YouKu, China's equivalent of YouTube, Conde Nast Traveller, and others. Xiaomi is investing significant resources into expanding its digital content library, which will see the addition of more VR content. Xiaomi is also going to bring VR integration into MIUI shortly, which will lead to a better experience when using the headset with the company's phones.

The VR Play box contains a QR code that lets you download the app, but if you're like me and are interested in using the headset outside of China, you can just download the Google Cardboard app and be on your way.

All apps and games designed for Google Cardboard work just fine on the Mi VR Play. I tried out the viewer with Xiaomi's Mi 5 and Redmi Note 3, and the overall experience was identical on both phones.

Should you buy it? Yes!

The Mi VR Play is not as polished as the Gear VR, but at one-fifth the cost, it doesn't have to be. Essentially, the headset is a much more robust implementation of Cardboard. It is aimed at getting customers interested in mobile VR, and by pricing it for just $15, it will succeed in doing just that. While Lenovo's Ant VR viewer also sells for roughly the same price, it isn't anywhere near as good.

If you're interested in getting your hands on the Mi VR Play right now, you can do so from third-party sites like GearBest for $20. You can pick it up for a limited time for $12.99 by entering the code LHXMVR. The site is also running a sale on other Xiaomi accessories, like the Mi Band 2.

See at GearBest

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5 days ago

How to download and share movies, music, and books on Google Play


Google Play is more than just an app store.

We know that Google Play is where you're downloading most, if not all, of your apps, but there's much more that they offer. There are millions of books and movies for you to escape into, and music for every taste and time. While it may still seem odd to some of us to buy movies on your phone, or to buy an album that doesn't come in a sleeve, there's plenty here to love and enjoy, and we're here to help you make the most of the entertainment side of Google Play.

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5 days ago

Morning brief: Allo arrives, HTC is up to something, and Xiaomi wants us to be healthy


You can now play around with Google Assistant, HTC is working a couple of interesting phones, and LeEco's Snapdragon 821 monster is here.

Today's turning out to be a wacky Wednesday, in large part thanks to the launch of Allo. The messaging service is giving us a first look at what's capable with the Google Assistant, and thus far, I'm liking what's on offer. In other Google news, Maps and Drive have received usability updates, and the company has managed to secure an extra three weeks to respond to EU's antitrust charges.

It looks like HTC is readying a tweaked variant of the HTC 10 for Sprint called the Bolt, which will likely make its debut next month. Another leak reveals that HTC is working on three new phones containing the Ocean codename. Meanwhile in China, LeEco unveiled the Le Pro 3, which is the second handset (after the ZenFone 3) to be powered by the Snapdragon 821 SoC.

Xiaomi is finally bringing its Mi Ecosystem products to India, starting with the Mi Air Purifier 2. Considering the deteriorating air quality levels in most parts of the country, the product could not have come at a better time. It's time for the news!

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6 days ago

Allo can send you messages on Android even if you don't install it

Allo notification

On Android, friends with Allo can bug you even if you haven't installed the app yet.

Update: Google has announced that it's opening up App Preview Messaging, which is the Play Services feature powering these notifications, to third-party developers. Allo is a great use case for this feature, but the documentation makes it clear Google sees uses for it beyond growing Allo's user base.

Google has built a unique trick into its new messaging app, Allo, which may help spread its reach throughout the vast Android user base. Allo can send messages to your Android friends, even if they don't have the app installed.

It'll look a little something like this:

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6 days ago

Allo and phone numbers: Everything you need to know


How Google's chat app handles phone numbers, multiple devices and switching phones.

Allo is tied to both your Google account — for intelligent predictions and Google Assistant — and your phone number, for helping friends and other contacts find each other. But the phone number requirement also introduces a few limitations in the way you can use Allo.

Here's a thorough breakdown of how things currently work.

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6 days ago

Traveling with Allo? You can swap SIMs without logging out

Allo + travel

You can activate Allo on your normal number and still use a local SIM for data.

In addition to being linked to your Google account, Allo is tied to your main phone number. That makes things tricky if you use multiple devices — unlike Hangouts, there's no easy way to use it on multiple phones at the same time right now. And the phone number tie-in might seem to make things difficult for travelers too — specifically being stuck on one phone number with the associated roaming costs when traveling abroad.

Fortunately, there's a simple workaround.

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6 days ago

How to install and set up Allo


A chatbot that leverages Google's machine learning and AI skills. Welcome to the future!

Google's smart messaging service Allo is finally available. The app differentiates itself from the plethora of messaging clients by integrating Google Assistant, which calls upon the company's vast machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities to provide contextual information as and when you need it. Here's how you can get started with Allo.

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6 days ago

Allo is now available from the Play Store!


Google's smart messaging app Allo is finally becoming available to the public. The app is now available on Android and iOS. Announced back at I/O 2016, Allo is the first app to integrate Google Assistant, a chatbot that leverages the company's machine learning and AI smarts to provide answers, suggest replies to conversations, retreive your travel information, and so much more. Think of it as an evolution to Google Now.

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6 days ago

Verizon, Sprint start selling new Galaxy Note 7 as recall continues


Well it turns out those new Note 7s aren't just for exchanges; they're also for new sales.

Right on the heels of the announcement that 500,000 brand new Galaxy Note 7s have arrived in the U.S. for customer exchanges, Verizon and Sprint have started offering up the new phones for sale. Verizon's page places a larage notice on the product page indicating that these are new "safe" units, while Sprint simply picked up where it left off with no notice.

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6 days ago

Evening brief: Samsung releases millions of green battery icons, Google approves


Replacement Note 7s are here, and Google is totally okay with their battery icon color.

How about some more Note 7 recall news? Samsung announced that 500,000 new safe phones have arrived in the U.S., ready to be exchanged. They'll have new software that makes the battery icon green, which Google's Hiroshi Lockheimer says is just fine considering the circumstances.

Now, Samsung news that doesn't have to do with exploding phones! Several carriers in the U.S. and Canada have started to push the September security patch (fixing the QuadRooter vulnerability) to the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, while Samsung Pay now has cloud syncing capabilities when you switch to a new phone.

Google quietly updated the beta version of the Google app (which powers the Google Now Launcher), changing the redundant names of Google Now on Tap and Google Now to "Screen Search" and "Feed," respectively. The functionality remains unchanged ... for now. Here's the full breakdown of today's Android news!

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6 days ago

Samsung now has 500,000 new Note 7s in the U.S. waiting to be exchanged


Last week, coinciding with the official U.S. CPSC recall, Samsung claimed it would have replacement Note 7s available by Sept 21.

Samsung now says that a whopping 500,000 brand new Note 7s have arrived in the U.S. and have been distributed to various carriers and retailers, ready to be swapped out for the recalled phones that are still out in the wild. Getting beyond what must have been a logistical nightmare of distributing the phones, this should relieve some of the frustration Note 7 owners have been experiencing trying to exchange their phone only to be greeted by a lack of available new stock.

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6 days ago

PS4 vs PS4 Slim vs PS4 Pro: Which should you buy?


Which PlayStation 4 should I buy?

By the time family members roll into stores to buy their loved ones a PlayStation 4 this holiday season, there will be three options that look very similar. You've got the original PlayStation 4, the new slimmer PlayStation 4 with the exact same branding on the box, and the soon to be released PlayStation 4 Pro. It's confusing by anyone's standards, so your best bet is to know what you need before you head into the store.

What's the difference?

Sony has a history of releasing a "slim" version of the PlayStation a couple of years after its initial release. In the past, those consoles have been labeled a little differently at launch to make it easier to tell the new version apart from the old one. These slimmer versions typically offer more a physical difference than a functionality difference, and this year is no different. The significant feature and performance difference comes with the PlayStation 4 Pro, and even then the difference isn't huge.

Category PlayStation 4 (2013) PlayStation 4 (2016) PlayStation 4 Pro Price $349 $299 $399 Dimensions 10.83in x 12.01in x 2.08in 10.43in x 11.34in x 1.54in 11.61in x 12.87in x 2.17in CPU AMD Jaguar 8-core (x86-64) AMD Jaguar 8-core (x86-64) AMD Jaguar 8-core (x86-64) GPU AMD Radeon (1.84 TFLOP) AMD Radeon (1.84 TFLOP) AMD Radeon (4.2 TFLOP) Storage 500GB / 1TB 500GB / 1TB 1TB Optical out Yes No Yes AV out AV/HDMI 1.4 HDMI 1.4 HDMI 2.0 Power consumption 250w max 165w max 310w max 4K Streaming No No Yes USB USB 3.0 (x2) USB 3.0 (x2 ) USB 3.0 (x3) PSVR support Yes Yes Yes (Enhanced)

The biggest functional difference between the original PS4 and the new slimmer PS4 is power consumption. Sony claims the new PS4 has a max power draw of 165 watts, which sounds impressive next to the original 250w max of the first PS4 until you see most benchmarks. The original PlayStation 4 had an average power draw of 150w during its heaviest gameplay sessions, and never pushed anywhere near that 250w max. It is slightly smaller though, so there's that.

As you can see, Sony is using the same CPU and a GPU that's a little more than twice the performance in the new PlayStation 4 Pro. There's also an updated version of the HDMI standard in the PS4 Pro, but there's no immediate difference in performance out of the box for video output. PlayStation 4 Pro exists to offer 4K video streaming and enhanced graphics on supported titles. Game developers will have the option to offer higher quality graphics to PlayStation 4 Pro gamers, but it's not yet clear how many will take advantage of this or how significant those differences will be.

Bundles and sales

The default pricing for these consoles can and frequently are augmented by sales and bundles. Each of the PlayStation 4 consoles comes with a single game, usually marked with a giant photo on the packaging, so you have everything you need to get started. Many retailers have already placed the original PlayStation 4 on sale, so it's just under the $299 slim PlayStation 4 in order to help get rid of the older stock. The $399 PlayStation 4 Pro will of course also come with a game.

Is the PlayStation 4 Pro $100 better than the PlayStation 4 or its slimmer brother? Only if you have a 4K television or are planning to purchase one soon. If you're happy with your existing television and have no plans to upgrade, you aren't going to see any significant difference between the PlayStations 4.

Many retailers like to create their own bundles as we get closer to the holiday season, combining extra gamepads or recently discounted games to the package to help you feel like you're buying everything you need. A big part of this year's offering will no doubt include PlayStation VR. There are plenty of people who already own a PlayStation 4, but if you're looking to go all in for the first time and get everything you need, expect those same retail stores to have everything you need to get going.

Which should I buy?

Now that you know everything you need to know about the differences between these consoles, lets break it down!

  • PlayStation 4 — This is the PS4 most likely to be included in some kind of extra bundle with more accessories and games. This is also the only PlayStation 4 that comes in white right now. If you're looking for a PS4 and price is a big point of concern, you probably want to stick with the original.

See on Amazon

  • Slim PlayStation 4 — This is the PS4 you will see the most of on shelves this year, and it's the nicer looking of the three. If you care about that sort of thing, or you're just rushing in to grab a PS4 and nothing else, this is the version you want.

See on Amazon

  • PlayStation 4 Pro — If you own a 4K television, or you plan to own one before long, this is the PlayStation 4 you want. It'll last the longest, and be able to offer the most over time.

See on Amazon

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6 days ago

Best Accessories For Galaxy S7 And Galaxy S7 edge

Best accessories for your Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge

There's a ridiculous amount of choice out there when it comes to Galaxy S7 and S7 edge accessories — let us offer a few top picks.

Samsung's best-selling phones of the year, the Galaxy S line, always command attention from accessory makers. Samsung itself has stepped up its game in first-party accessories as well, with lots of great Galaxy S7 and S7 edge options. From batteries to cases to car mounts, we have narrowed things down to a solid handful of accessories that you should consider for your phone.

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