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5 days ago

Motorola releasing Nougat for unlocked Moto Z in Feb, Moto Z Play in March

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Nougat for the unlocked Moto Z is coming sooner than you think.

Waiting is never easy, especially when the wait doesn't make sense. In the case of the unlocked Moto Z, sold directly to consumers by Motorola, users have been waiting nearly two months for an update to Nougat that was rolled out to the Verizon variant in late November. Usually, unlocked versions receive updates first because they require purportedly require less testing and don't need to adhere to carriers' strict guidelines for network performance and optimization.

The good news is that Motorola has confirmed to us that Nougat will be rolling out to the unlocked Moto Z in February, though the spokesperson neglected to say when in the shorter month it would arrive. The person also let us know that both the Verizon and unlocked versions of the Moto Z Play, our favorite mid-range phone of last year, would get Android 7.0 in March.

The discrepancy between the Verizon and unlocked versions of the Moto Z is due to the fact that the former was released in late July, while the latter came out at the end of September. It may seem like there's nothing between the two, but they're on separate software paths, with different teams working on them, since the unlocked version is optimized for AT&T and T-Mobile.

The Moto spokesperson hinted, but would not confirm, that the Moto Z Play update would arrive for unlocked and Verizon units at the same time during March.

Moto Z, Moto Z Force and Moto Z Play

Motorola Verizon

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5 days ago

Get regal with these Disney Princess wallpapers!

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It's a good time to be a Disney Princess fan.

We've got a new Beauty and the Beast coming up with a star-studded cast, Tangled's got a new series coming out this spring, and we've got more princesses coming back to the big screen and the Great White Way! There's a lot to cheer on, and we've got some wallpapers to keep that princess pride on your home screen while you wait for your favorite royals' returns.

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5 days ago

Video: Google Pixel vs OnePlus 3T camera showdown!

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The OnePlus 3T is a legit competitor to the Pixel XL, and for a whole lot less money than Google's latest phone -- almost $400 less, in fact. In terms of specs and user experience, they're both pretty similar. However, if you stump up the cash for a Pixel XL, one thing that gets you is Google's legendary Pixel camera.

We've all seen the ads — it's supposedly the "best smartphone camera ever!" And that plays out in real life too — the Pixel does take spectacular photos. So how does the cheaper challenger measure up? It's time to find out, in our Pixel vs 3T camera showdown video!

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5 days ago

How to take light painting photographs with the Honor 6X

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Take the guesswork out of light painting and let the Honor 6X do it for you.

The Honor 6X features a solid rear-facing camera that's equipped with a bevy of fun camera modes to help spark creativity. One of those features is light painting mode, a photographic technique that can only be composed with a long exposure.

Most smartphones now come equipped with "manual" camera settings so that you can control things like the exposure and shutter speed, but the Honor 6X helps take the guesswork out of setting that up. Here's how to use it.

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5 days ago

Google app for Android gets offline search to deal with spotty connections

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The Google app for Android is now better at dealing with intermittent connectivity issues.

Google has been streamlining its search efforts to deal with spotty connections, and today's update to the Google app for Android includes a new offline search feature. If you're looking something up on Google and lose connectivity in the middle of the query, the app will now save your search, and deliver the results as soon as it detects an internet connection.

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5 days ago

OxygenOS 4.0.2 OTA update now rolling out to the OnePlus 3 and 3T

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The latest OxygenOS update has bug fixes and stability improvements.

OnePlus delivered the OxygenOS 4.0 update for the OnePlus 3 and 3T on December 31, and has since rolled out a hotfix 4.0.1 update. The company is now issuing the OxygenOS 4.0.2 update to both the OnePlus 3 and 3T with stability improvements and bug fixes, including additional APN settings, and fixes for Play Store downloads and the proximity sensor.

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5 days ago

Verizon starts redirecting outgoing calls for Note 7 holdouts

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Verizon is taking additional measures to retrieve the Note 7.

Earlier this month, Samsung announced that it recovered over 96% of Note 7 devices sold in the U.S. With the carriers issuing updates to effectively brick the phone, most customers that have bought the device have returned it to Samsung. However, Verizon has revealed to Fortune that "thousands" of its customers are still using the device, posing a legitimate safety risk:

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5 days ago

Google could bring its budget Android One phones to the U.S. later this year

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Low-cost phones with software updates directly from Google.

Google launched the Android One platform in India in 2014, tying up with third-party vendors to offer $100 phones with clean Android and the promise of quick updates. According to The Information, Google is looking to bring Android One phones to the U.S. "before the middle of the year." The phones will be priced between $200 to $300, and will receive software updates and security patches directly from Google for "two years from sale date."

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5 days ago

Here's how to tell your fortune with autocorrect

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The future is now where we don't have to visit a seedy fortune teller to get the scoop. Maybe.

One reason I love reading Leigh Alexander: She always manages to find a connection between the ethereal parts of our culture and technology at large.

In one of her latest pieces on Motherboard, Alexander draws relations between our smartphone keyboard's predictive text feature and how that could be used to tell the future. The article, titled Who Needs a Tarot Reading When We Have Predictive Keyboards? (so true) is a larger look at what our phones know about us and how that keyboard data could be used to essentially predict the future. That's kind of how Tarot works, too!

Your phone's knowledge base about language is generally shaped in part by collective use and ongoing updates to a shared database, and partially by what it learns from you in particular. No two users will necessarily have the same experience of autocorrect or predictive text, which means the system is simultaneously personal and universal. That's also one of the traits that makes tarot such a valuable tool to contemplate one's goals and choices: the system is universal, where each card generally has a particular meaning, but that meaning depends entirely on the context in which the card appears, the interpretation of the person who reads it, and the personal prompt from the querent.

Fascinating, right? Alexander continues on to make the case for how auto-predict has ostensibly become "a new form of traditional folk divination," as a source puts it in the article.

Before you dive through the piece, I thought it would be fun to share our own fortunes from GBoard, or whatever other keyboard app you're currently using.

This year, I will be gone for a while and I will be in touch with me.

Alexander suggests typing out a phrase like "This year, I will," or "My 2017 will be" and then tapping on the words that show up as it make sense for the sentence. Mine were a bit too personal to share, and almost a bit too revealing, but I'm not surprised considering what the keyboard app has witnessed me type. (I bare my heart through text messages to my closest friends — Gboard stores all that!) Here's one I didn't mind sharing, though:

What's your fortune? Share it in the comments!

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5 days ago

The Moto 360 (2015) has officially exited the Google Store

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Tossing out the old to make room for the new.

With Google's smartwatches making headway in the rumor mill, it's likely this won't surprise you: the second-gen Moto 360 is no longer available in the Google Store.

The Moto 360 was one of the first worthy Android Wear smartwatches for the mainstream by virtue of its pleasantly circular watch face. It was then followed up with a second-generation device that was equally as attractive and came in color variations that suited almost everyone. Since there are still plenty of users out there donning the device, they will see Android Wear 2.0 quite soon. But if you were thinking of buying one, you can hit another retailer like Amazon. Or wait for Google to release its own line of circular smartwatches.

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5 days ago

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

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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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5 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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5 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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6 days ago

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

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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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6 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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