1 week ago

Using the new Chromecast app


What once was a kinda boring settings app is now the mobile hub for your television.

For those of us who never put our phones down, Google's Chromecast efforts have been a life-altering. Many of us already had the streaming apps we want on our phones and tablets anyway, and the ability to use that hardware as a remote for your television experience turned out to be amazing. That is, as long as you knew which apps had the content you wanted, where to find apps with new Chromecast-supported content, and what to do if your friend came over with something cool on their phone but no access to your Wifi. If you didn't have an immediate and easy answer to the above scenarios, the Chromecast quickly became a complicated mess.

Google aims change all of that with a big update to the Chromecast app, which was announced alongside the new Chromecast and Chromecast Audio but still plays nice with your existing Chromecast hardware.

Let's take a look.

The first thing you'll notice about the updated Chromcast app is the way it acts as an aggregator for content. Google is pulling suggestions from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Play Movies, Starz, and promises more soon. Oddly, Play Movies doesn't indicate anything you've already purchased in the aggregate, but since everything else in the list requires an account the rest of the experience is fairly standard. From here, you can select a movie or episode and see a big yellow Watch button.

It's a huge step forward for Google's already popular streaming experience, and addresses some of the biggest complaints we've had so far.

Tapping this has a couple of different behaviors. Netflix, for example, takes you to the page in the app where you can start playback the way you normally would, but Hulu takes you to the app and starts playback immediately. This is a little jarring since it doesn't start playing on the Chromecast for either experience until you tap the Chromecast option and select where you want the video to start loading, but it's a fairly small thing to get used to once you are casting on a regular basis.

The middle tab in this new Chromecast app behaves very much like the original setup. You have control over settings for each Chromecast you have connected to the network you are currently on, so you can make changes as needed. It's worth pointing out you will only see Chromecast and Chromecast Audio hardware on this page, since Google Cast devices have their own settings sections for you to adjust via controller. It's an oddly segmented experience if you're rocking a pair of Chromecasts and an NVIDIA Shield TV, for example, but this is only an issue for this one tab. Casting video still works exactly the same way it did before, but in some cases may improve with the new caching capabilities of the new Chromecast.

Your third tab is all about app discovery, and it's about time. This has been a constant problem for folks looking to get access to more things on the Chromecast, and searching the Play Store offers mixed results at best. What you see here are suggested video, audio, and gaming apps that routinely rotate to new things, as well as a direct link to a refined list of apps in the Play Store. All of this works exactly as expect, and it's going to make recommending a Chromecast to less-than-technical folks a lot easier moving forward.

This, in a nutshell, is the new Chromecast experience. It's a huge step forward for Google's already popular streaming experience, and addresses some of the biggest complaints we've had so far about the overall setup Google was offering. Like most of you, what we're really waiting for is the opportunity to use this new app on Google's shiny new streaming pucks.

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1 week ago

Facebook will soon support short videos as profile images


Facebook will soon allow its over 1 billion users to put in a short video as their profile picture that can be seen on their mobile apps. The social network is slowly rolling out this feature, along with other new additions for its profile section.

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1 week ago

Google acquires Jibe Mobile as it commits to Rich Communications Services standard


Google has announced that the company has acquired Jibe Mobile, an early leader in Rich Communications Services (RCS) in an effort to bring the standard to a global audience. With RCS, you will be able to take advantage of features that are often times found in modern messaging apps, like WhatsApp and others. Some of these features include group chats, high resolution photos, read indicators and more.

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1 week ago

Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X — what's the difference?


There are two new Nexuses to choose from this year — here are the differences between them.

Google has finally, officially pulled the wraps off of its latest Nexus hardware, and breaking away from previous tradition we actually have two Nexus phones launching at the same time. The Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X are both heading out to the market at once — so the question is, what are the differences between the two? We're going to break it down.

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1 week ago

Huawei begins accepting pre-orders for the Nexus 6P


While there are already a number of places in which you can order the Nexus 6P, Huawei is also now accepting pre-orders from its own store. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem as though Huawei will be selling all of the models through its online channel, as only the 32GB and 64GB models are listed in both the aluminum and graphite colors.

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1 week ago

Mobile Nations Community Update, September 2015

Mobile Nations Community Update

Greetings all! Time for the Mobile Nations Community Update, your monthly look at the best contests, recent happenings, hottest forum threads, and more from Android Central, Connectedly, CrackBerry, iMore, and Windows Central.

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1 week ago

Photobucket for Samsung app lets you easily manage and print your photos


Samsung and Photobucket have partnered to bring an exclusive Photobucket for Samsung app that will allow users to easily store, manage and print their photos. As an incentive, Samsung customers will get 6 months of unlimited storage for free, but if you order prints from the app that doubles. This means, you get a full year of unlimited, high resolution, storage for all of your precious pictures, at no cost to you.

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1 week ago

Sprint's unlimited data plan getting a price hike to $70 per month on October 16


Sprint has announced that it will soon raise the cost of its unlimited data plan. Currently available for $60 per month, Sprint's plan for unlimited talk, text, and data will have its price raised to $70 per month for new customers on October 16.

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1 week ago

Top 10 best cases for Moto X Pure Edition


It's wise to protect your investment. These cases for the Moto X Pure Edition are the best for doing just that.

Although the Moto X Pure Edition is still relatively fresh off the shelves, we're not seeing as many big name case manufacturers with options for the device. Popular picks like Spigen and Seidio are opting to take a pass this time around — which is a bummer, but it doesn't mean there aren't great options available to keep you covered. We've selected the best cases for the Moto X Pure Edition that include bumpers, hybrid cases, rugged cases, clear cases, and even some favorites from the forums that are worth checking out.

READ NOW: Top 10 best cases for Moto X Pure Edition

Supcase Water Resistant Rugged Case

This rugged hybrid case from Supcase offers multiple layers of protection for your Moto X Pure Edition. Everything from the built-in screen protector, water resistant coverage, and dual-layer design keeps the device safe from the elements and brutal impacts. Included with this rugged case are 3 interchangeable back covers (gray, silver, and gold) for when you desire a different look around your Moto X Pure Edition.

Buy for $14.99 on Amazon

i-Blason Clear Case

Since Ringke seems to have decided to overlook the Moto X Pure Edition / Style this time, there's a suitable substitute in town that lets the original look of the device shine through beautifully. i-Blason's Clear Case snaps on around the Moto X Pure Edition for a slim fit and transparent look. The 3H hardness rating of the polycarbonate shell helps to resist scratches and enhance grip. The front bezel even elevates the display enough to lay it screen-side down on any table or flat surface.

Buy for $6.99 on Amazon

JOTO Hybrid Armor Case

If you're after a case for the Moto X Pure Edition that's simple, effective, and most importantly — affordable, then JOTO's Hybrid Armor Case is a solid choice. This cover uses an inner TPU layer to absorb impacts while the easy-grip polycarbonate shell that sits on top keeps everything together. There's access to the camera, display, and ports, while the side buttons are raised for an easier press. Available colors include black, gray, gold, green, silver, and orange.

Buy for $3.99 on Amazon

Cimo Flexible TPU Case

You can't go wrong with a durable skin case for the Moto X Pure Edition, and the Cimo Premium TPU Case is one worth its attractive price point. Its slim design makes it easy to handle and slip in and out of your pockets. The glossy edging matched with the matte finish on the back enhances grip, too. As you might expect, there's complete access to everything your Moto X Pure Edition / Style has to offer. Take your pick from black, blue, purple, or smoke.

Buy for $6.99 on Amazon

OtterBox Defender Series Case & Holster

Surprisingly enough OtterBox has stayed in the game with their popular Defender Case for the Moto X Pure Edition / Style. There's the same brute protection we've come to know and love, including the matching rugged holster — not required to purchase separately. Along with its multi-layer design and integrated screen protector are port plugs to keep out dirt and debris. Although this rugged case certainly isn't everyone's cup of tea, it's perfect for those that want the ultimate protection for their Moto X Pure Edition.

Buy for $59.95 from OtterBox

Case-Mate Tough Frame Case

If the OEM bumper case for the Moto X Pure Edition doesn't cut it for you, you may want to opt for Case-Mate's Tough Frame. This slim bumper offers 4-corner drop protection without all the extra layers or built-in screen protectors. Its simple snap-and-go design makes handling your device easier while elevating your display from flat surfaces. It's currently in production, but will be up for grabs very soon.

Get notified when it's available

Incipio Octane Case

The Octane Case from Incipio features a fused dual-layer design that provides optimal shock absorption and grip when wrapped around the Moto X Pure Edition. The back "plextonium polycarbonate" cover is slightly transparent, too. Side buttons are raised through the flexible bumper while the ports, camera, and display remain open.

Buy for $24.99 on Amazon

Supcase Unicorn Beetle Hybrid Case

The Unicorn Beetle is back! This unique hybrid cover for the Moto X Pure Edition adds texture, grip, and amazing impact protection that looks great around the device. It packs both a shock absorbent TPU and a durable, see-through polycarbonate shell. Although it's not the slimmest case of the bunch, it adds a cool aesthetic to the Moto X Pure Edition and does a jam-up job at handling impacts and scratches.

Buy for $13.99 on Amazon

Incipio Feather Case

If you're not into multiple layers and only desire the bare minimum when it comes to protecting your Moto X Pure Edition, the Incipio Feather Case fits the bill quite nicely. This ultra-slim snap on case is made of durable polycarbonate that leaves out the frills — just simple security against minor drops. The shell actually adds a bit of grip, too, but can be a stickler for fingerprints.

Buy for $24.99 on Amazon

From the forums: Your favorite cases for Moto X Pure Edition

Earlier this month we asked the members of our Moto X Pure Edition forums what cases they were most looking forward to getting their hands on. We've gotten a bunch of feedback from everyone since then, with cases of all sorts — including some we've mentioned in this article. If you're interested in hearing what others are buzzing about or getting an opinion on a particular Moto X Pure Edition case from other members of the Android Central community, feel free to hop over and join the discussion!

Hit up the forums

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1 week ago

Wuaki.tv offering UK buyers San Andreas with a new Chromecast for one day only


If you're in the UK and looking to pick up one of the newly announced Chromecasts, Wuaki.tv has a limited time deal for you. Until the end of today, September 30, you can pick up one of the new, version 2, Chromecasts for £29.99 including shipping with a free copy of the movie, San Andreas.

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1 week ago

Samsung Gear S2 going on sale October 2 starting at $299


Sales of the Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch will begin on October 2, and you'll be able to purchase it from Samsung, Amazon, Best Buy and select Macy locations. The smartwatch will come in two variants, the standard which is a sportier style, and the Classic which is a bit dressier. Pricing for the two models comes in at $299 and $349 respectively.

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1 week ago

Vodafone launches the affordable Smart Speed 6 with 4G for just £50


Vodafone has launched the Smart Speed 6, a new affordable smartphone with 4G connectivity. The handset, available in Aluminium Silver or Anthracite, will set you back £50 on Pay-As-You-Go, which can be bundled with plans as low as £10.

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1 week ago

NVIDIA's Shield Android TV box will be available for purchase in Europe tomorrow


NVIDIA has announced the company will open up sales of the Shield Android TV box tomorrow in Europe. From October 1, you'll be able to purchase the product in the UK, France, Germany and Scandinavia at select retailers as well as the NVIDIA Shield Store.

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1 week ago

Nvidia makes GRID official as GeForce Now, starting at $7.99/month


Since the initial launch of the Nvidia Shield TV, one of the big features expected to separate this set top box from the others was a console-like gameplay experience in the form of cloud gaming. Nvidia's GRID gaming system has been impressive in beta form, and now that the company is ready to unveil the feature as an official service it's only going to get better.

First things first, though. A name change is apparently in order for this unveiling. Say goodbye to Nvidia GRID and hello to Nvidia GeForce Now.

Nvidia GeForce Now plans to offer an expanded version of what we've seen already through the beta service, bringing more games that can all be played without installation or update. Titles range from old school console favorites to nearly brand new PC titles, with plans to eventually release AAA games on GeForce Now the same day they are released on everything else. As impressive as it was to play through Brutal Legend without issue, seeing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt among the list of games available to users in 1080p at 60fps — loading as a new game in under 30 seconds — is fantastic.

This is going to be something many people start to look at as the future of the modern game console.

We knew GeForce Now wasn't going to be free after it left beta, but surprisingly Nvidia is starting this experience off at $7.99/month. That price gets you unlimited access to most of the games you'll see in the GeForce Now part of the Shield TV, which now has many more titles added from the beta, with some AAA titles available for their full purchase price.

Purchasing these games gets you instant access to the game on your Shield TV, but in most cases it also gets you a download code to play the game on your PC as though you had purchased it from GOG or Steam. The only downside to this purchase experience is your saves from the Shield TV don't carry over to the PC download of the game.

This updated games streaming service is coming to all Nvidia Shield TV owners as part of a system update, which also brings Google's Leanback UI to the store as well as voice search inside GeForce Now and updated support for hardware accelerated codecs and passthrough for DTC Master. If you choose to sign up for GeForce Now after the update, Nvidia is giving you three months free to see how you like the service.

Nvidia has been trumpeting this as one of the big reasons to pick up a Shield TV from the beginning, and with good reason. It's a service that has worked well even in beta form, and if it continues to perform well and Nvidia can keep adding games — especially AAA games alongside their official launches — this is going to be something many people start to look at as the future of the modern game console.

NVIDIA Shield Android TV

NVIDIA Amazon Best Buy

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1 week ago

TAG Heuer will reveal new $1,800 smartwatch on November 9


TAG Heuer's upcoming $1,800 smartwatch will be unveiled at an event in New York on November 9. That's according to company CEO Jean-Claude Biver, who informed CNBC that the luxury watch-making company is pleased with how the Apple Watch makes it possible for brands to introduce more expensive options to the smartwatch market.

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