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5 days ago

How to use Bluetooth headphones with Google Daydream

Audio is an integral part of enjoying Google Daydream, make sure you get the best experience possible.

Being able to clearly hear what is going on around you when you are enjoying yourself in VR is key to really falling into the experience. So it's pretty common to want to invest in an awesome pair of bluetooth headphones so that you don't have to worry about wires getting in your way while you are playing. Unfortunately, bluetooth headphones don't tend to work particularly well in VR. It isn't impossible, and we've got the details for you on how to get the best audio experience.

Read more at VRHeads.com

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6 days ago

The Android launcher experience on tablets is still terrible

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It's not quite a desktop, but it's not quite a normal home screen.

The Android tablet experience is often awkward and awful, and that goes double for the launchers, which are inconsistent, inconvenient, and often times ugly. From third-party launchers to manufacturer versions of tablet layouts, there's a lot to be desired, and while part of that blame falls on developers, it also falls to Google, which has still not quite figured out how tablets should behave.

And it falls on us. Because we just don't know what we want.

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6 days ago

Huawei's next flagship is coming at MWC 2017

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Huawei logo

Huawei P10 likely to break cover in Barcelona.

Huawei has begun sending out "save the date" invites for its Mobile World Congress 2017 press conference, which kicks off on the afternoon of Sunday, February 26 in Barcelona, Spain. The invite promises "the global unveiling of a new flagship device" -- a surprising development perhaps, just a couple of months after the Mate 9's arrival.

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6 days ago

What size microSD card should you buy for your Amazon Fire Tablet?

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It's not always as easy as just buying whatever you see on Amazon.

Sure, it sounds silly. But with the super-cheap Amazon Fire Tablet also comes an important decision on how best to expand the storage capacity. You can slot in a microSD card and make a small, cheap tablet have a lot more space to keep your apps and media.

So, let's try and help you make the buying process a little easier by covering some key points to consider.

READ: Best microSD Cards for Amazon Fire Tablet

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6 days ago

Facebook says new battery issues can be fixed with an app reset, no update on old battery issues

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If your Facebook battery usage has been especially bad recently, it has apparently been fixed server-side.

You don't use Facebook and also get surprised by battery drain issues, especially with the ocean of data to support just how hungry both Facebook and Messenger can be, but recently several users noticed a dramatic spike in power consumption. Some users reported as much a 1% every minute when Facebook Messenger was open, and it turns out that's not the intended battery consumption rate for that app.

Facebook's Messenger lead David Marcus responded to a recent complaint about power consumption on Twitter recently with an explanation and an apology, and it looks like whatever was going wrong has been fixed.

Facebook itself is still a significant battery hog, but even when you're playing games with friends Messenger is usually not too bad. As the tweet suggests, if you're still experiencing higher than usual drain from Messenger, force close the app and restart it so the new connection is no longer affected by the server-side issue that has been addressed recently.

If you feel compelled to do this more than once because of continued battery drain, chances are you're experiencing something entirely different from this problem. Fortunately for you, it looks like the guy in charge is pretty responsive.

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6 days ago

ZTE will launch an Android Wear smartwatch in 2017

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Bucking the trend of other Android manufacturers, ZTE thinks the time is right to launch an Android Wear smartwatch.

With the impending release of Android Wear 2.0, and two accompanying wearables from Google itself, ZTE says that it plans to enter the market, according to CNET. "[ZTE] already has a US carrier partner lined up to sell the watch, which has its own LTE connection and can run independent of a phone," the story says, and that battery life, a primary issue with the last generation of smartwatches, has been improved tremendously.

Whether independent LTE connectivity will be enough to get people to replace their current smartwatches, or buy into the ecosystem in the first place, remains to be seen, but despite the tepid recent response it's clear some phone makers still believe there is always money in the smartwatch banana stand.

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6 days ago

Using VR on an airplane is surprisingly enjoyable with the right apps!

Your next flight should include a VR headset.

I find myself in an airplane a couple of times a year, and every time the experience is the same. I'm in a small space in a seat that isn't uncomfortable but but still a little awkward, and I usually either grab a book or watch a movie I've downloaded to my tablet. This last trip, I decided to download movies to my phone and watch them through my VR headset. There were no expectations, I mostly wanted to see if watching in VR was any different from watching on my tablet.

It was the best pair of flights I've ever had, I can't recommend it enough! Here's a few tips for getting the best possible experience out of adding VR to your next flight.

Read more at VRHeads.com

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6 days ago

Grab a 64GB microSD card for just $16 at Amazon right now!

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Need some more storage space in your phone, tablet, camera, or computer? If so, why not grab a 64GB microSD card for just $16 so that you don't have to worry about how much storage you have left? With 64GB of extra space you can hold a bunch more movies, tons more music and pictures, and plenty of files that you may need at some point. The card also comes with a SD card adapter, so you can easily put it in your computer or card reader to transfer information to and from it.

If 64GB isn't quite enough storage space for you, Amazon is also currently selling the 200GB card for just $65, which is also a great deal. Don't get stuck deleting old pictures to make room for new ones, and instead, be prepared with an SD card to hold them all.

See at Amazon

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6 days ago

Best apps to help you make habits and stick to them

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Make a habit of making habits with these helpful tracking apps.

You're probably sick of hearing the same old clichés about getting a handle back on life. Well, I'm not here to give you that rah-rah speech. Whether you get back on the saddle is ultimately up to you, but I can help you on a journey by suggesting a few apps that are effective at helping implement healthier habits into your daily life.

Whether your goal for the year is to simply text your friends more often or to get into shape, here are a few Android apps worth trying out for yourself.

Habitica

If the standard check-it-off list of things to doesn't work for you, try to gamify your goals with Habitica. This app turns your everyday tasks and weekly goals into a riveting role-playing game. You can sign up with your Google or Facebook account and then create an avatar that looks like you. Every task, habit, and to-do that you cross off rewards you money and experience points that you can redeem for items and upgrades.

Be forewarned that there are quite a few nuances to Habitica. If you're serious about truly turning your daily life into a game, you'll have to stick with the program. There are penalties for not completing daily tasks. If you need help staying on track, you can join a guild with several others to ensure that your character is leveled up with completed tasks before the next boss fight.

Download Habitica (Free, IAP)

Todoist

Having trouble getting the day-to-day in order? Todoist can be a particularly effective aid in managing those daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, whether it's at work or in your personal life. The app is built using the standard Material Design layout, complete with a hamburger menu and floating action buttons. It's also cross-platform, so you can use it on your smartphone, computer, or smartwatch. You can also add tasks with Google Home or by forwarding an email.

Be aware that you'll have to pay an annual membership fee — around $30 a year — to unlock Todoist's full set of features, which also includes themes, push notifications, and the ability to sync up with Dropbox or Google Drive.

Download Todoist (Free, IAP)

Loop Habit Tracker

Loop Habit Tracker is merely a "simple" tracking app because it isn't bogged down by all the extra elements that tracking apps typically require of you. There are no due dates or sprint goals, nor do you have to log in to have others hold you accountable. All you have to do is press and hold when you've completely a task and move on with your day.

As you get through completing tasks, Loop Habit Tracker will aggregate all of that data for you into an easy-to-read detailed graph. The app lets you backup that data to take it with you, and it supports imports from other applications, including the popular app Habitbull, which did not make this roundup because of its confusing multi-tier payment options.

Download Loop Habit Tracker (Free)

Nomie

If you have trouble remembering to complete the minutiae of the day-to-day, Nomie might be your answer for getting it done. You can use Nomie to track anything. If you can assign it an icon and a name, you can track it. For every item you create, you can choose whether ticking the items has a positive or negative impact on your overall score. Best of all, Nomie is completely private. You don't need an account to keep track of your data. When you're ready to switch smartphones, simply carry over that data by exporting and backing it up to Dropbox.

Download Nomie (Free)

What about you?

Trying to implement a new habit this year? Found an app that you like? Share it in the comments!

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6 days ago

The rise and fall of Ara, Google's cancelled modular smartphone

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The story of how one of the most ambitious technology projects in history almost came to be.

Project Ara will always be one of the most fascinating and tragic stories in the history of smartphones. From its strange rise in 2013, boosted by its proximity (and similarity) to competitor Phonebloks, to its eventual goal of being released as a barebones $50 kit to enable low-income families in developing nations access to the internet, its ambition was always evident.

But in September 2016, after Regina Dugan left ATAP, the Google division in charge of Ara, for a job at Facebook, then-new head of hardware at Google, Rick Osterloh, suspended the project.

In the intervening three years, though, Ara developed a loyal and vocal group of supporters, many of whom mourned the project's passing with considerable emotion.

Harrison Weber of Venturebeat has the full story of how Ara came to be and what, with a few different decisions along the way, it might have been.

The sheer audacity that brought Ara to life — a phone you could create, block by block — made it impossible for [it] to succeed.

The dream of Ara: Inside the rise and fall of the world's most revolutionary phone

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6 days ago

Get a lifetime of learning with the eduCBA Tech Training Bundle for $49!

You have to be a lifelong learner in every workplace these days. You can't rely on the skill set you acquired back in school or during your initial training; the word you need to get cozy with is upgrade. If you don't take the time to upgrade your skills, the powers that be just may decide to upgrade to a new employee, and that's a scary thought. You need to have a toolbox that's diverse, but how are you supposed to acquire tech and business skills without the time to devote to a heavy course load? You're not in any position to go back to school, but it doesn't feel like you really have a choice.

What if you could learn from accredited professionals, at your own pace, when it's convenient for you? What if you had lifetime access to hundreds of online courses that cover such a broad range of tech and business topics that you'll never run out of new things to learn and add to your growing list of credentials? Forget the what if and just go for it!

The online learning experts at eduCBA have a Tech Training Bundle for $49. That's an incredible 97% off the regular price! This one-time, extremely low price grants you a lifetime subscription to over 500 courses in a wide range of fields. Your journey to a longer list of credentials and a greater set of employable skills is a simple click away.

Pick up a new skill in 2017! Learn More

Your lifetime access subscription gives you access to courses such as:

  • Ethical Hacking Certification
  • PHP Web development
  • iOS Mobile App testing and development
  • Bootstrap coding masterclasses
  • Linux systems and apps
  • Python code
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  • Business analytics using R Programming
  • Hadoop Ecosystem masterclasses
  • Adobe Premiere Pro
  • ...and many, many more!

Online learning is the way to go when you're a working professional or just starting out and looking to make your mark. Become the tech and business guru you were meant to be with the eduCBA Tech Training Bundle for just $49 right now with Android Central Digital Offers!

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6 days ago

Will there be a Samsung Galaxy Note 8?

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Did you hear? Samsung made a phone. It exploded. It got recalled. Then it exploded again. The Galaxy Note 7 will go down as perhaps the worst smartphone launch in history, but does that mean the long-running series is dead and buried?

In the first in a new series or videos, we're answering your Android-related questions, and here's the first:

Will there be a Samsung Galaxy Note 8?

Check out today's video for my thoughts on this most flammable of burning questions, and hit the comments with questions of your own. If you're lucky, we might just tackle them in a future Ask AC video!

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6 days ago

Google Home is the perfect example of how to make technology for women

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It's all about the way it interacts, says Johna Paolino.

Have you ever thought about the fact that there are bigger implications to how you personally interact with your devices? Johna Paolino certainly thinks about it, and thus, has thanked Google in a Medium post for "paying closer attention...to the female users."

Paolino writes that Google Home is the first major at-home gadget that she's taken a liking to. A user experience designer at TODO, she attributes it to the fact that Google Home is the complete package: a well-named product that requires an element of conversation.

Paolino writes:

I've learned throughout my career that the most significant UX performance gains often come down to microcopy. This could not be more true here. Amazon is the name of a pioneering e-commerce platform and revolutionary cloud computing company. Echo is its product name, first to market of its kind. Alexa? Alexa is just the name of a female that performs personal tasks for you in your home.

Google Home, on the other hand, "is simply triggered with 'Google'. Google, a multinational, first-of-its-kind technology company. Suddenly a female's voice represents a lot more."

Paolino continues by explaining that Google Home's conversational nature, by extension, is more accessible.

The advancement of feminism requires awareness from both genders. It isn't isolated to how men treat women, but extends to how women treat each other. I am constantly making an effort to change my behaviors towards other women, and in this effort certainly prefer how I am asked to greet Google.

As a Google Home adopter myself, I have to agree. I love Home's conversational nature, and the fact that I can program it to talk back to me. And while Alexa is seeing quite a bit of proliferation, that's because it exists to extend Amazon's services rather than appeal to the user. "The smallest of user experience details matter."

That's why Paolino's believes Google Home is a more personal platform.

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6 days ago

Nokia teases Feb 26 unveil for upcoming Android phones

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Nokia will announce new products at Mobile World Congress.

HMD Global launched the first Nokia-branded Android smartphone over the weekend in China, called the Nokia 6. The phone is exclusive to the Chinese market, with Nokia stating that the decision to launch its first Android phone in the country was an "obvious choice" considering China is the largest smartphone market in the world.

In a video highlighting the Nokia 6, the company has mentioned that "more announcements" will follow on February 26, a day before Mobile World Congress officially kicks off in Barcelona.

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6 days ago

What is HDR?

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Your phone takes HDR pictures and your TV shows HDR video. Here's what that means.

HDR is a term that gets tossed around a lot, and it seems like it never really gets explained. It stands for High Dynamic Range, but it means different things depending on what exactly is being discussed. Let's break it down into simple terms so we all can understand what it means — and why it matters.

You'll see HDR being used as a descriptor in a lot of different products — cameras, televisions, microphones, and even industrial and medical equipment. In the generic sense, HDR means a thing has a wider range of acceptable input or output when compared to standard equipment. What we're going to focus on is HDR as it applies to camera and displays.

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