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3 days ago

Samsung clears the air on red tinted Galaxy S8 displays

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This was so close to being some juicy drama. Rats!

Bad news for people hoping something would go wrong with the Galaxy S8 launch and Samsung would immediately implode, those reports of Galaxy S8 displays with reddish tints to them aren't nearly enough. Not only are these displays extremely rare outside of South Korea, but Samsung says they can be fixed with a simple re-calibration using tools already on the phone and are not an actual defect.

The color balance setting in the S8 will fix this issue, but not before breathless talk of recall came from the Korea Herald.

Industry watchers, however, agree that the display is not safety related, and there is no reason to conduct a recall of the Galaxy S8 smartphones.

As amusing as it is going to be watching every potential issue with this phone return the conversation to the Note 7 recall, this particular issue was never going to be that serious. Every phone release has a couple units that make it off the line with defects which can only be fixed by replacement, and this wasn't even one of those situations.

This red tint thing couldn't be more of a non-issue, and will likely become one of those things where someone leaves an S8 on the table and a friend uses color balance to give its owner a fright the next time the phone is turned on. Not saying you should behave that way, but don't be shocked if there's a YouTube video with this prank in the not-so-distant future.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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3 days ago

New OnePlus promo drops the prices on its sweet backpacks

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Buy a phone, get a discounted bag. Why? Because it's springtime, silly!

OnePlus has announced a new promotion because it's finally warm outside, at least in parts of the world where it was previously cold anyway. This springtime sale isn't for the latest OnePlus phone, but instead for the line of backpacks and messenger bags it sells with the OnePlus branding.

Whether hiking through mountains, strolling along the coast, or cycling through the park, you need a sturdy bag in which to carry your supply of Dash Energy and other possessions vital to survival in the outside world.

So, in order to help all the other intrepid explorers out there, we're running a special spring promotion. From now until 28 April 2017, anyone who purchases a OnePlus 3T will also be entitled to a 50% discount on a OnePlus Messenger Bag or a OnePlus Travel Backpack.

It's a decent little incentive for anyone previously planning on waiting a bit before upgrading. The backpack and two messenger bags OnePlus currently sells are actually pretty decent bags, and like OnePlus phones surprisingly well priced for the quality.

Is dropping $50 off the $100 leather messenger bag enough to get you to grab a OnePlus 3T this week?

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3 days ago

Five important things iOS does better than Android

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Android and iOS have plenty of differences. Here are five places we think Apple is doing better than Google.

The internet is filled with words about Android and iOS and why one is better than the other. It makes for fun writing and reading because everyone likes to hear about why the thing they prefer is better than the thing they don't. but there are some important things each operating system does better than the other.

In a perfect world, Apple and Google would merge and the result (Gapple?) would make software with the best from both sides. Since that's never going to happen, let's look at five important things iOS does better than Android.

First read this: Five important things Android does better than iOS

Updates

The way Android and iOS are updated is very different. Google uses Play Services to handle many of the security and application compatibility parts of Android, and iOS updates don't include every feature for older models. But there is still no denying that updates are handled on iOS better than they are on Android.

Google is responsible because their name is tied to Android.

When Android is updated, only phones from Google that are currently supported can expect an update. Those phones are a very small portion of Android devices in the wild. It's difficult for Google to force another company to send an update because Google doesn't build Android: it only gives the source code to other companies who build it themselves. Once the code is updated Google can do no more.

That doesn't change the fact that most Android phones are using old software. It's the fault of the companies making the phones, but the blame will always fall on Google.

Junk apps

If you buy an iPhone from Verizon you won't have to hide the VZ Navigator app. The same can't be said for a Galaxy S8.

Step 1: Buy Android phone. Step 2: Try to delete all the carrier crap.

The small bits and pieces a phone needs to work on Verizon are built into iOS the same way they are built into Android. But the user-facing apps that you might not want use are not. Google has no say in how Samsung builds the software outside of the things required to use Google Play. That means Samsung and Verizon can make deals that leave you with junk you don't want to use. It's easy to never use the apps and ignore them in the app drawer, but have a look at the data they collect and send back to Verizon, which is now free to sell it to anyone it likes. We're picking on Verizon, but the same goes for every carrier and their junky apps.

Google's phones work on any carrier and don't suffer from the bloatware, but that's because Google builds Android themselves for the Pixel. This one's another of those things Google isn't directly doing but it still gets blamed for because it is in charge of Android. That's part of running a show this big, G.

Support

AppleCare is legendary. When you have a problem with your iPhone you can just walk into an Apple store and have it taken care of (thus AppleCare). Because Android phones come from so many different companies, there is no equivalent on the Android side.

Not that the companies making the phones aren't offering something. They all have their own customer care department, and even the Pixel has a way that lets you talk to a real live human if you have an issue or need some help. Samsung is expanding a retail presence in the west, but it's not even close to the AppleCare experience.

One company is in charge of everything on an iPhone and it offers better support, period. This becomes an important factor when you're buying a phone that costs close to $1,000.

iMessage

Apple's iMessage is both the best and worst messaging app to ever be created. It's a seamless process out of the box that lets you send texts or messages with rich content without installing anything. But it only works on Apple devices.

Green Bubble shaming can also work on the platform with 85% of the market.

Google has tried and failed at recreating this time after time. The biggest reason is that it wants a solution that works everywhere on everything, not just Android. The Hangouts app was able to do it, but the clunky interface and need to manually install it meant most people using Android weren't hanging out and Google is pushing it away from the consumer side. Allo is a great experience between two Android phones but doesn't include SMS so you can only talk to people who use Allo. And both apps were a tough sell to iPhone users because they have iMessage and it already works.

Google, please forget iOS for once and just make a messaging app that works great on Android and Chrome OS. Toss in a great Chrome extension for desktop users if you can and call it gold. Then force companies like Samsung to include it and put the icon on the home screen so people know it's there. Some things are worth fighting the EU over. You already have a good start with Allo.

Security and privacy

Apple collects data from everyone who uses iOS and does a good job of keeping it anonymous and in-house. Google does the same, regardless of what you might read from other places. But Android has some serious issues when it comes to security and privacy.

Updates are part of the problem. Your Pixel is probably protected against some random data-stealing exploit the latest botnet is pushing across the internet. Your BlackBerry does, too. But any other model — including the ones that sell by the tens of millions and drive Android's market share — might not. Google taking good care of your data doesn't matter when hackers get your bank login because you were tricked into installing something that old software allows.

Google understands internet security and privacy but some of that knowledge seems lost when it comes to Android.

Which brings us to the second part: permissions. Android does a good job at letting you decide what an app can and can't do, but it does a horrible job explaining what those permissions really mean. When an app can create accounts on your phone or read your identity you really deserve some explanation about why and how. A good developer will tell you why and how on their store page in Google Play. A good Google would force every developer to do the same then check to make sure they are telling the truth.

Sometimes being in charge of a thing means you have to have a firm hand. This is one of those times for Google. Strict rules for developers to follow if they use Google's store might cause an uproar on Stack Exchange, but it's better for users who aren't aware of how these things work. Those users are who security and privacy controls should be targeted at.

There are plenty of subjective reasons to like one over the other when it comes to Android versus iOS. But when it comes to core services and the way things are handled, there are some things Apple is doing better than Google. These are just five of them that we would like to see Google address as they continue to develop Android.

A better iOS means a better Android as developers on both sides are forced to fight for our attention.

Android Nougat

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3 days ago

Make your house smarter with TP-Link's smart plug for just $25

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again with another great deal, this time saving you on this awesome smart plug!

Update: The older, bigger, smart plug is also available today for just $17.99, making it the perfect way to try one out and see if works well for you!

Right now you can pick up one of TP Link's smart plugs for just $25 (discount is taken when added to cart), its lowest price yet. If you're looking to make your house or apartment a bit smarter, this is the perfect way to get started or add to your existing setup. From being able to schedule when the power at the outlet goes on and off to having remote access to it, this is an awesome way to make things work better for you.

This deal won't last long, so you should act quickly if you are interested in it. Make your house smarter with only a small investment, you'll be thankful you did later. These are the best prices we've seen on both of these, so be sure to grab one now!

See at Amazon

For more great deals on tech, gadgets, home goods and more, be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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3 days ago

You can spill a cup of water on Lenovo's new $279 Flex 11 Chromebook

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Lenovo's new Flex 11 Chromebook is cheap, rugged and versatile.

It's becoming increasingly difficult for manufacturers to differentiate their Chromebooks in the highly competitive laptop space. Lenovo's $279 Flex 11 Chromebook, which goes on sale this week, has a trick up its sleeve — or its keyboard port.

The Flex 11 has sealed ports and a keyboard that can withstand up to a cup of water spilled on it, with draining channels to ensure that the liquid has something to go. This is a feature Lenovo has been putting to good use in its more expensive Yoga and Thinkpad laptops for some time, but it's good to see it integrated into something a bit cheaper.

Elsewhere, the Flex 11 is powered by a 2.1Ghz unnamed ARM processor — likely from Rockchip — with an 11.6-inch 1366x768 pixel IPS display, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. Like many of Lenovo's other laptops, the Flex 11 has a strong hinge that allows the unit to be contorted into one of four positions, including laptop, tablet, "tent", and "watch".

Compatible with the Google Play Store (in an update coming after launch, natch), the Flex 11 lasts 10 hours on a charge, and comes with a plethora of ports, including HDMI, USB 3.0, headphone port, and SD card slot. It is powered by a USB-C port, which is handy, and weighs just under three pounds.

See at Lenovo

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3 days ago

Watch our Galaxy S8 and S8+ video review!

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Who has time to read a 6,000 word review? I wrote the damn thing and didn't have time to read it (kidding! maybe!). That's why I also made this handy 14-minute video for you about the new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, Samsung's latest flagships.

These are two of the best phones on the market right now, and potentially trounce the Google Pixel as the best Android phone, period. Beautiful, big screens, excellent build quality, awesome cameras, superb battery life, and some really neat unlocking tricks — well, just watch the video.

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3 days ago

Android Central Photo Contest: Transportation!

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Drive with us.

Humans are always moving around from place to place for one reason or another, and with summer looming, we're soon more likely to be traveling than not. "Transportation" is the prompt for this week's photo contest, but that doesn't have to mean a big hunk of metal moving at high speeds. We all get around more modestly sometimes. If you think about it, there are plenty of ways to express the concept of "transportation."

This week we'll have a single winner for the contest, and for their efforts they'll receive a Samsung Gear 360 camera!

Entering is easy. Just drop your entry in the forums at the link below. Tell us what Android you used to get the picture, and any back story you want to add to it. We'll leave this contest open for 3 weeks and announce the winner on the blog with the next contest. Full guidelines for entering are included in the forums, so be sure to check that out when you enter. Good luck, everyone!

Enter this week's photo contest!

Previous Photo Contest Winner: Events!

Please join me in congratulating Android Central member dohcstunr for his winning photo!

I live in Washington DC, only a few blocks from the Capitol. I decided to take my cameras out to document the Women's March as a casual neutral observer. All politics aside I just wanted to witness a political movement as it descended on my neighborhood. Some of my best shots came from my Pixel XL. I picked this as my favorite shot, taken from my Pixel XL in HDR with light editing in Snapseed. In a sea of political signs that day, my Pixel XL captured a moment of innocence and hope.

Check out the rest of the Event entries here

Enter this week's photo contest!

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3 days ago

PlayStation 4 Slim now comes with a 1TB hard drive for the same price

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PlayStation 4 Slim now offers a 1TB hard drive at the same $299 price point.

Back when the PlayStation 4 Slim made its debut in September, it came with a 500GB hard drive. Sony is now upgrading the storage to 1TB while retaining the $299 price point.

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3 days ago

Spotify's half-price student discount plan goes live in 33 more countries

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Spotify's half-price student discount plan is now available in 36 countries.

Spotify allows students to subscribe to its premium plan for 50% off in the U.S., UK, and Germany, and today the streaming service has vastly expanded the program to 33 more countries around the world.

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3 days ago

How to get driving directions in Google Maps

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Google Maps lets you easily navigate with turn-by-turn directions for various forms of transportation.

Google Maps has a wealth of options for driving, walking, public transit, and cycling. The desktop version of Maps also includes flight information, but that option isn't available on mobile. Whether you're looking for turn-by-turn directions to your favorite restaurant by car or are interested in cycling through a particular area, Google Maps has you covered.

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3 days ago

Some Pixel XL devices receive Google's internal-only OTA of next Android security update

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Google accidentally pushes out internal-only build to a few Pixel XL customers.

The Pixel XL is currently receiving the Android 7.1.2 Nougat update globally, but it looks like a few customers received a Googlers-only dogfood build containing next month's security update. Google tests its builds internally ahead of release in a process called dogfooding, which gives Googlers the ability to share feedback and find any bugs before a wider OTA rollout commences.

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4 days ago

Amazon's Fire TV Stick is finally available in India for ₹3,999

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Fire TV Stick lets you access Prime Video, Hotstar, Netflix, and other on-demand services.

Amazon has launched the Fire TV Stick in India for ₹3,999. The streaming dongle is now up for sale on Amazon India, and you'll also be able to pick up the accessory from 24 retail stores across seven cities.

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4 days ago

Google Wifi UK review: A second opinion

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Google Wifi

Google Wifi is simple, friendly, and most important of all, just works.

A wireless router is not what you'd call an exciting product. When you buy a new one, generally it's a "distress purchase" — you part with your money because your old one broke and a replacement is a necessity. Like most of us, if my Wi-Fi works pretty well, or even adequately, I'm not about to rock the boat.

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4 days ago

Galaxy S8 and S8+ make their debut in India; prices start at ₹57,900

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Galaxy S8 and S8+ will go on sale in India starting May 5.

At a media event in New Delhi, Samsung launched the Galaxy S8 and S8+ for the Indian market. The phones will be available starting May 5, and are up for pre-order later today on Flipkart, Samsung's online partner. The Galaxy S8 will retail for ₹57,900, while the larger Galaxy S8+ will be available for ₹64,900.

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4 days ago

Xiaomi Mi 6 ditches the 3.5mm jack, picks up Snapdragon 835 and dual cameras

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The Mi 6 has everything you're looking for in a 2017 flagship, if you don't care about the 3.5mm jack.

At a massive event in Beijing, Xiaomi unveiled its 2017 flagship, the Mi 6. The phone is the first from a Chinese manufacturer to be powered by Qualcomm's latest 10nm Snapdragon 835, offering eight CPU cores with a max clock speed of 2.45GHz. The Adreno 540 GPU is 25% faster than last year's Adreno 530, and has serious VR chops.

The design itself is fairly conservative, and is an evolution of what we've seen from the Mi 5s. The frame is made out of stainless steel, with the "four-sided 3D glass" rounding out the design, which is now splash-resistant.

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