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4 days ago

90% of Nexus phone users now have a secure lock screen, thanks to fingerprint sensors

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The fantastic fingerprint sensors in the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X have been a revelation when it comes to simplicity of unlocking your phone, keeping apps secure and authenticating payments, and it turns out a lot of Nexus users have jumped on board. Speaking at the 3rd Annual Google Security Update session at Google I/O 2016, Stephan Somogyi from Google dropped an interesting statistic on us — since the launch of the Nexus 6P and 5X, 90% of Nexus users have a secure lock screen on their phone.

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4 days ago

'Pearl' is Google's latest touching Spotlight Story

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Google has released another new Spotlight Story, simply titled Pearl.

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4 days ago

Google's modular smartphone Ara is still breathing and will launch in 2017

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During the Google I/O 2016 developer conference, the company gave an update on its "Project Ara" modular smartphone. Google says the consumer version of the phone will launch sometime in 2017.

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4 days ago

Google's Science Journal app helps kids explore the world around them

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In an effort to help kids explore the world around them in a scientific way, Google has launched a new app called Science Journal.

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4 days ago

Google demonstrates Project Soli running on a smartwatch

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Google has unveiled a new chip for Project Soli, which reduces the footprint of the chip and makes it more efficient. The technology is being demonstrated inside of a smartwatch. Since you don't have to actually touch the display more information is able to be shown on it.

Soli allows you to expand the interactions beyond just the watch. You'll be able to interact around the watch as well, which is split into two different zones. With this, you'll be able to navigate the elements of the watch by simply moving your hand closer to the watch. Rubbing your fingers together will let you change the time, move between messages and more.

Moving your hands closer or further from the watch will change the amount of information that is displayed, with more appearing as you get closer to the watch.

Beyond wearables, Google worked with JBL to show how Project Soli could work in the living room. You'll be able to control the speaker by moving your hand closer or further from the speaker. Virtual knobs can be used to turn it on, change the tracks, and waving at it will turn it off.

Development kits for Project Soli will be available in 2017. They will be low-power module designs, and allow you to bring Soli to your hardware and see what it can do.

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4 days ago

Levi's Commuter Jacket is the first piece of clothing to use Google's Project Jacquard

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Google has announced the first Project Jacquard item to come to life which is made in collaboration with Levi's. The Levi's Commuter Jacket will let bikers navigate their smartphones by simply using their sleeve as a touch sensor. It works by attaching a sensor to the jacket which will allow the smartphone app to communicate with the phone.

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4 days ago

KnowRoaming now offers unlimited data in more than 80 countries

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KnowRoaming has announced that those who use its global SIM sticker to save on cell rates when traveling around the world can now take advantage of unlimited data in more than 80 countries.

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4 days ago

Spigen Neo Hybrid for the Galaxy S7 edge

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Spigen Neo Hybrid for the Galaxy S7 edge

Get a grip with Spigen's Neo Hybrid case.

Your Galaxy S7 edge is worth around $1,000. You should probably protect it with a decent case.

We went hands-on with Spigen's Neo Hybrid for the Galaxy S7 edge to help give you determine whether this is the right case for you and your phone. We'll explore the Neo Hybrid's style, features, and design.

Style

Spigen Neo Hybrid for the Galaxy S7 edge

This case is for all you folks who don't really care about maintaining the original look of your S7 edge. It's made of black TPU with your choice of a Gunmetal, Champagne Gold, or Satin Silver plastic rim.

The best part of the Neo Hybrid is its texture. It's got matte-finish TPU, unlike its clear Spigen counterparts, so it doesn't feel like you're going launch it like a shotput if you whip it out of your pocket too quickly. The back is also textured with hundreds of teeny plus signs to prevent any slippage when you're hands are sweaty or greasy.

All three colors of the plastic outer rim look sharp against the black TPU, so you really can't go wrong. Pro tip: the Champagne Gold looks best on the gold S7 edge; Satin Silver looks best on the silver one; Gunmetal looks pretty good on either the silver or black S7 edge.

Features

Spigen Neo Hybrid for the Galaxy S7 edge

As mentioned, the back of the Neo Hybrid case is textured, which some might tend to overlook, but it really improves how secure your S7 edge feels in your hand.

The inside of the TPU shell is also textured into a wide, rounded grid pattern, which helps distribute the shock from a fall to the ground throughout the entire case.

Design

Spigen Neo Hybrid for the Galaxy S7 edge

The Neo Hybrid is really well-designed to protect, but not hinder, the uniqueness of the Galaxy S7 edge's build. The outer bezel come up just enough to secure the edge if the screen without hindering the edge functionality at all.

This is a two-piece case and, generally speaking, the outer plastic rim adds nothing to the overall feel; however, with the TPU's matte finish, it feels like the plastic rim fits better and holds tighter, making the phone feel sturdier all around.

The volume and power buttons are completely covered by the TPU shell, but the necessary ports and sensors are all left open, so your S7 edge can operate fully and unfettered.

The bottom line

Spigen Neo Hybrid for the Galaxy S7 edge

This is a great case. It feels strong in your hand and won't be slipping out like glossy-finish cases. The body of your S7 edge will be completely protected from scratches and drops, while maintaining all of its functions without hindrance. You'll definitely want a screen protector as well for total protection.

If you like the Neo Hybrid, but you don't love it, then check out our roundup of the best cases for the Galaxy S7 edge.

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Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

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4 days ago

AT&T expands its BOGO offer to include Galaxy S7, LG V10 and more

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AT&T has expanded its BOGO (Buy One, Get One) free phone offer to include a number of Android phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, the LG V10 and many more.

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4 days ago

Google OnHub router: A second opinion

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Google's OnHub router saved my marriage.

The importance of simplicity cannot be overstated. It's the reason GUI-based Windows 95 was exponentially more popular than command line-based DOS, and why the confusion of early PDA operating systems were subsumed by the confluence of capacitive screens and apps.

In the smart home space, a similar trend has been taking hold, popularized by the powerful simplification of the thermostat through Nest. The home router, too, has been awaiting a similar disruptive force, which we got last summer in the form of Google's OnHub platform, a series of products from TP-Link and Asus that reduce the typically-frustrating workflow of maintaining a router to "download-and-plug-in".

Of course, the above intro is facetious, but there is truth to it: a router is the central nervous system of a home network, and a misbehaving box in the corner can be a constant source of frustration. From buffering streams to dropped Skype calls to interrupted FaceTime sessions, I was desperate for something that just worked. I spent dozens of hours with different routers, loading new software, custom firmware, and more. Eventually, I pegged the problem at the source: my Hitron modem, which is known for poor handoff with routers. But after replacing the Hitron and seeing no relief, my options were thus: change ISPs (and risk the same thing happening again), or try to find a router that would work harmoniously with the demon box. I chose the latter, which led me to OnHub.

After spending years with routers that would require daily reboots, or a monk-like commitment to maintenance, transitioning to an Asus OnHub router was nothing short of breathtaking.

A nice Camry

I've tried routers from D-Link, Linksys, Netgear and TP-Link — even Asus — and none of them have been as consistently reliable as the OnHub. While the latter doesn't boast the ultra-powerful tri-antenna compositions of many of its competitors, like a dependable four-door sedan (with a sunroof) it gets the job done, day after day. Would you rather have broken-down Boxster that can't go anywhere over a brand new Camry? Call me old, but I don't think I would.

Don't get me wrong, OnHub is fast: it supports the latest Wireless-AC standard, with 13 antennas for MIMO (multiple-in, multiple-out) for speeds of up to 1900Mbps, and wonderful whole-home coverage. Even with the aforementioned beastly routers from companies like Netgear and Linksys I was never able to get a reliable signal in my bedroom, two stories above the box. I even tried repeaters, but they too would peter out after a few days, requiring a reset of the entire system — the more links in the chain, the easier it is to break.

Indeed, my ISP gives me 100 megabits down and 10 megabits up, which the OnHub maxes out in all but the farthest reaches of my house. Even in that bedroom my Galaxy S7 gets 25 megabits down and seven or eight megabits up, more than adequate for all but the most onerous of video streams.

The app just works

The OnHub is administered through an app, available on iOS or Android, that just works. It's ultra-simple, perhaps to a fault, but it gets the job done.

One of my favorite things about it is that it maintains a single access point for both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz signals, offering the most appropriate one depending on a number of circumstances, including signal quality and potential throughput. Most routers divide their SSIDs between those two networks, forcing devices to cycle between them.

Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, those two networks are not always transparent to peripherals; on my Linksys router, I often had to manual revert back to my 2.4Ghz AP because an AirPlay speaker here or connected light there wasn't compatible with 5Ghz. With OnHub, that experience is invisible to the user.

The app experience makes administration particularly easy. Guests to my home have a separate network, the password of which is generated by and can be shared from my smartphone. Features like NAT control, and enabling DHCP, are not entirely hidden from the user, but Google wisely deemphasizes them in favor of a cleaner, more approachable user experience.

Instead, the app lets you do what's necessary to ensure enjoyment; a network map shows the devices connected, along with the option to prioritize a particular one to ensure smooth streaming performance — helpful when up to 30 phones, tablets, laptops, wearables, and smart home accessories are connected at once.

Unspoken potential

For all of its benefits as a router, Google has a nascent connected home platform in OnHub. Not only does the router have an LED light and a speaker, but its USB port can interface with any number of unannounced accessories. As promised with Google Home, OnHub could be included as part of Google's Trojan Horse strategy in the living room, something that Amazon is seeing so much success with in the Echo.

A connected home is a happy home

Most people don't realize how many devices connect to their network. Even as someone who does what I do I was surprised to see 29 active devices, each requiring cycles of bandwidth at different times. That the OnHub obviates the need to constantly oversee the process is not only appreciated, but worth the $199 or so investment.

See Asus OnHub router at Amazon See TP-Link OnHub router at Amazon

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4 days ago

Google I/O Day 2 video roundup — everything you missed

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Hello my friend. Stay a while, and listen.

Google isn't livestreaming every session at their massive developer conference this year, but we do get recordings of each one uploaded at the end of the day. Among other things, that means there's a whole lot of Google I/O for those us who aren't on the ground in Mountain View to enjoy now. We've gone ahead and cherry picked some of the best of day two for you to look at, with the full lineup split between the Android Developers and Google Developers pages over on YouTube for the rest.

Ready? Here we go!

VR at Google

The recently announced Daydream may not be on the scale of Hololens or HTC Vive like many had initially suspected, but Google's plans for virtual reality in the mobile space is more than a little impressive. The presentations given by Google's VR team all day yesterday painted a rich picture of the future, filled with games and movies and a special little controller that will enable many different phones to have the same great VR experience. All we have to do now is wait patiently for the first Daydream phone to ship. Just kidding, there's a developer program for stepping into the beginnings of Daydream right now on your Nexus 6P.

The main event is a great video to watch, but there's a couple others worth following up on if you're eager for more Daydream knowledge.

VR & Cinema - google I/O 2016

Daydream Labs: Lessons Learned from VR Prototyping

Designing & Developing for the Daydream Controller

Bring your Android App to Chromebooks

At long last, the rumors surrounding a blending of Android and Chrome are taking form. Google's plans to make the Play Store and it's 1.5 Billion apps available to Chrome OS users is fantastic, and the wait for this feature to roll out to supported Chromebooks is going to be long and agonizing for consumers. For developers, it's time to get to work. This video is a good starting point for making sure your apps are Chrome OS ready for when the big update finally starts shipping to users.

What's new in Android security

This has been an interesting year for security and Android. We saw the rise of monthly security updates, and have a new appreciation for manufacturers who treat those updates as a priority. There's a lot more going on in this space though, and that's what this presentation is all about. Anything you want to know about the new security features in both Android M and Android N can be found right here.

What's new in Android Wear 2.0

Google's making some big changes to the way you interact with smartwatches in the next update. We've spent some hands-on time with the developer preview already, and there's plenty to get excited about with updates coming to how apps will interact in Android Wear 2.0, but if you want a good breakdown of how these changes work in this update.

If you'd like some additional videos for Android Wear goodies, check these out!

Android Wear 2.0: Watch faces and Complications

Android Wear 2.0: Building Apps with Material Design

Material improvements

A big part of Android N seems to be further refinement of Google's Material Design language, which is now all over the Google ecosystem. This session gives you a look at the changes coming to how users interact with Material elements, and what changes to look out for when building apps that follow the Material guidelines.

What's new with Project Tango

Since we can't all afford the nearly $600 Project Tango developer tablet just to take selfies with virtual dinosaurs, here's a video of someone else doing it for you. What's new with Project Tango takes you on a journey through the evolution of the project, and into the applications the team has already found for the developer kits. There's a lot to like here, even if it's happening on a gadget that is not meant for consumers.

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5 days ago

Xiaomi's first drone will take off on May 25

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Considering the wide variety of products Xiaomi offers, it should come as no surprise that the vendor is getting into drones. The Chinese manufacturer posted a teaser earlier this week showing a Bamboo-copter, and has followed up with a post on Weibo detailing the upcoming launch of its first drone.

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5 days ago

Sony Xperia X, Xperia XA now up for registration in India

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We don't have availability details for Sony's Xperia X or Xperia XA in India, but the vendor has opened up registrations for both phones.

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5 days ago

Coolpad Max debuts in India, lets you use two WhatsApp accounts

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In a press conference in New Delhi, Chinese handset maker Coolpad launched flagship smartphone for the Indian market — the Coolpad Max. This is the second phone to be made available from the vendor, following the launch of the Coolpad Note 3 in October.

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5 days ago

Enpass beta picks up new autofill options, TOTP support, and more

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Enpass password manager's beta client has picked up an update that introduces TOTP (time-based one-time password) support for all categories, new autofill settings, and the ability to generate pronounceable passwords.

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