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1 week ago

Pokémon Go storage upgrades cost 50% less until Feb. 26

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Upgrade your Pokémon Go storage for half the price.

Niantic is rolling out a huge update to Pokémon Go that introduces 80 new creatures to the game. The update is set to go live later this week, and to celebrate the release, Niantic is offering a 50% discount on storage upgrades until February 26:

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1 week ago

Xiaomi is already working on a Mi Mix successor with even thinner bezels

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Xiaomi is looking to trim the bezels even further with the Mi Mix II.

Xiaomi's bezel-less Mi Mix was one of the most innovative products of 2016, with the phone rightfully receiving accolades from around the world. It looks like Xiaomi has already begun work on the successor to the Mi Mix, which will allegedly be dubbed the Mi Mix II. According to a recent Weibo post by Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun, the company is once again partnering with French designer Philippe Starck for the Mi Mix II.

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1 week ago

Huawei could be developing its own voice assistant for the Chinese market

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Huawei is working on a voice assistant for Chinese customers.

Huawei already develops its own application processors through its HiSilicon subsidiary, and it looks like the manufacturer is now working on a voice assistant to further differentiate its products in its home market. According to Bloomberg, work on developing a voice-based assistant that will rival Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant is underway:

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1 week ago

Huawei P10 leak highlights Leica dual cameras, front home button

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Huawei P10 and P10 Plus break cover ahead of their official debut.

Press renders of the Huawei P10 have leaked ahead of its official unveil at Mobile World Congress, courtesy of Evan Blass. The images highlight an interesting design change from the Huawei P9 in the form of a home button at the front, which is likely to feature an embedded fingerprint sensor. Round the back, the phone sports the now-familiar Leica dual-camera setup, with the overall design remaining largely intact.

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1 week ago

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 vs. Honor 6X: The battle for budget supremacy starts here

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Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 vs. Honor 6X

Two of the best budget phones in India go head-to-head.

Xiaomi has started off the year strong with the Redmi Note 4, offering a feature-rich phone for ₹12,999. Although Huawei's sub-brand Honor doesn't have the same brand recognition as Xiaomi in India, the manufacturer's latest budget handset, the Honor 6X, stands out in several areas.

In fact, the Honor 6X is the only phone that is close to the Redmi Note 4 when it comes to the value proposition. Both handsets offer a ton of features, and in the case of the Redmi Note 4, the highlight is the battery life. For the Honor 6X, it is the dual-camera setup at the back.

The distribution models are also the same, with sales strategy pitting two of the largest e-commerce players in India against one another. Xiaomi has sided with Flipkart for the Redmi Note 4, while Honor is selling the Honor 6X exclusively on Amazon India. With both phones sold via weekly flash sales, there are a lot of similarities both in the feature-set on offer and the targeted audience. Let's see if the Redmi Note 4 can hold its own, or if the Honor 6X manages to pull ahead.

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1 week ago

Latest LG teaser highlights the UI changes coming to the G6

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LG shows off the G6's user interface in short teaser.

With the official unveil of the LG G6 just ten days away, LG is continuing to dish out additional details about the phone. The latest teaser video from the South Korean manufacturer shows off LG UX 6.0, the user interface that will make its way onto the G6. From the short video, it doesn't look like LG will make drastic changes to the UI elements, instead focusing on tailoring the interface to take advantage of the G6's 18:9 FullVision display.

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1 week ago

The Sony Smartwatch 3 is not getting Android Wear 2.0

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You can officially retire your old Sony smartwatch to the Box of Aging Tech Things.

Is this the official end of the SmartWatch 3 as we know it? The square-faced, athletic smartwatch will not be seeing its official update to Android Wear 2.0, much to the chagrin of the few die-hard fans who have stuck around because — well, it's kind of a classic, not to mention it was equipped with one of the biggest batteries available in Android Wear (420mAh!).

The news of the SmartWatch 3's expiration came from its official product page, which Xperia Blog found to contain the following annotation:

SmartWatch 3 SWR50 supports up to Android Wear 1.5. Android wear 2.0 and onwards are not supported

If you're holding out hope, there's still a petition going strong for Sony and Google to revert on their stance. But consider that the SmartWatch 3's square face and bulky body are officially a relic of a different time in Android Wear. Although, let's be honest, the future looks equally as bulky.

Android Wear

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1 week ago

How to customize your avatar in Pokémon Go Gen 2

Pokémon Go has completely changed the way you customize your avatar in Gen 2. Here's what you need to know.

Along with many, many improvements, upgrades and changes to Pokémon Go in version 0.57.2, also known as Gen 2, the game has overhauled avatar customization with a new UI, in addition to a number of new styles and clothing options.

Here's everything you need to know about the new avatar customization in Pokémon Go Gen 2.

Everything you need to know about Pokémon Go Gen 2

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1 week ago

There are so many Moto G5 leaks that we need a napkin

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Mobile World Congress is right around the corner, and that means the products that will be announced are leaking all over the internet. Today we get to see the Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus in just enough detail for us all to talk about it!

We already know what to expect here. The Moto G line isn't a new thing and Moto will deliver a quality mid-range phone at a decent price. We'll all remark how well the inexpensive model runs and point at offerings from other companies in the same price range for comparisons. We've done that every year since the Moto G first became a thing, and the Moto G has always been one of the best cheap phones you can buy.

Thanks to @LSAwesome, @davidteixe and @evleaks we have a pretty good look at the phones themselves. They look similar to each other and have the iconic Moto look around back in what appears to be aluminum. Up front, they look the same as each other (outside of size) and most every other flat slab from anyone else. In other words, no surprises — which most of the time is a good thing.

Android Police has also found specs pages hidden for both models, and that gives us a look at innards to match up with what's outside. While they are in Spanish, it's not hard to see that the Moto G5 Plus has a Snapdragon 625 with 64GB of storage and NFC. The "regular" Moto G5 has a Snapdragon 430 and 32GB of storage. Both models feature 2GB of RAM. There will likely be different models released in other markets, so the storage and memory listings can certainly change.

We still want to have a good look at these once we get to Barcelona, but this certainly makes for a nice preview. Now let's decide if we love 'em or hate 'em in the comments!

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1 week ago

How Phil lost weight and got less fat with the Withings Body smart scale

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A smart scale won't do the work for you, but it makes keeping track of your daily weigh-ins so much easier.

OK, let's get one thing straight. Knowing how much you weigh won't actually cause you to lose weight. The scale is just the messenger, right? But I've been a HUGE fan of the Withings Body scale (it's actually my second one, having upgraded from the older model) for a couple years now.

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The gist: You stand on it. It weighs you and uploads the data to The Cloud™. Weight, BMI, even things like air quality and how much of your body is made up of water. And it's smart enough to handle multiple family members. (My wife and kids all weigh different enough so that we're easily discerned, anyway.)

And then? You follow the trend line. Don't worry so much about the daily numbers. Look at it weekly. If you're losing weight, you'll know it. Same if you're gaining. It's super smart, and super easy. An app for Android. And one for iOS. A web-based dashboard. HealthKit. Google Fit. Withings ties into it all, and made all of this super-easy for me.

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Modern Dad

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1 week ago

Buy Lenovo's Android-powered Yoga Book for $500 and get a free $100 Amazon gift card

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Right now you can score a free $100 Amazon gift card with the purchase of a Lenovo Yoga Book. Since its release, the Android-powered tablet has yet to see a price drop, and while this doesn't mean you are paying less, it is still a great perk. The 10.1-inch tablet comes with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and a unique Halo Keyboard which makes it stand out a bit more. You can pick one up in your choice of gold, black, and gunmetal right now. Once you receive your gift card you could always use it to grab a protective leather case, some screen protectors, or some other accessories you may need.

All you have to do is select the option that bundles the Yoga Book and gift card, and add it to your cart, it's just that simple. This deal should run through February 22, but it is possible it will sell out before that, so be sure to place your order now if you want one!

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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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1 week ago

What is wireless charging and how does it work?

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Qi transmitter coil

Wireless charging isn't magic, but it can be convenient.

Wireless charging, like the Qi charging many Android phones use, isn't new technology. My Panasonic electric razor used it many years ago, and most of us have seen toothbrushes that charge wirelessly in a cradle. And of course, we can't forget Palm and the way they brought wireless charging (though a different standard) to the masses with the Touchstone. Now that size, cost, and efficiency constraints have all eased up a little, putting wireless charging in something like your Android phone or watch makes more sense.

We get more than a few questions about wireless charging and how it works, so let's take a few minutes and talk about the basics — what it is, how it works and why you would want it in your next Android purchase.

This post was updated in February 2017 with the latest information.

What is wireless charging?

Wireless charging comes full circle

Wireless charging isn't magic — you still need a wire. the difference is that the wire is connected to a charging base instead of your phone, so you can just drop your Android onto the charger and things get to work without hooking anything up to your phone. The charging base can be almost any shape or size, and can even be in something like your car dash or the base of a lamp from IKEA. As long as you're able to get the right spot on the rear of your Android on the right spot on the base of the charger, it will work.

A good example would be having a wireless charging base on your desk at work. When you're not using your phone, you set it on the charger. When you need to use your phone, pick it up and it has a charge. Wireless charging isn't as fast as Quick Charging, but it's easy and something you're more likely to use to keep your phone topped off throughout the day (in our example). That's where wireless charging shines — ease of use.

How does wireless charging work?

Let's try to explain the magic so everyone in the room can understand. While there are plenty of cool technical things to discuss, and we totally should discuss them in the forums or the comments, we'll try to keep things basic here.

Wireless charging uses two resonant inductive couplings to transmit low-power signals between two devices. These are specially designed to transmit electricity without touching each other like a normal wired connection does. The base station has a transmitter coil and your phone has a receiver coil. The base station regularly sends a signal out, and when a receiver coil gets close enough a resonance or capacity change happens in the signal. The waveform of the signal is then modulated and inductive charging begins.

Inductive charging uses those two specially designed electromagnetic coils to create a magnetic field between two devices. There is an intricate process involved that allows a magnetic field to produce electricity through the difference of potential and oscillation (we'll simplify this and call it vibration so it makes more sense to everyone).

The coil in your Android is also connected to the battery charging circuit, and your battery is charged using the energy induced by the magnetic field. Excess heat is created as well, and that's part of why wireless charging isn't the most efficient way to transfer power from the wall to your battery. This is also why it takes longer to charge your phone on a Qi pad than it does to plug it into the wall. While new methods and materials use higher frequencies and thinner coils than past iterations, wireless charging is still less efficient and more costly than standard charging over a wire. It will stay this way for the foreseeable future.

To simplify:

  • Your Android and the charger have special electrical coils in them.
  • When the two coils get close enough, they use magnetism and "vibration" to send a small amount of power across the gap between them.
  • This power goes through the charging circuit in your phone and charges the battery.
  • It costs more and takes longer to charge than it would if you plugged your phone in, and creates more heat because this is less efficient than connecting wires the traditional way.

A word about Powermat

Powermat

Qi is not the only wireless charging standard. Other standards like Powermat are used to build wireless charging solutions. These use a different standard than Qi but the science behind them all is the same. Powermat has partnered with companies like AT&T and Starbucks to provide base stations in public places, and using a special case or charging block attached to your phone lets you wirelessly charge. They are also partnered with General Motors and are working to bring built-in wireless charging bases in vehicles.

While the same basic electrical theory applies to both Powermat and Qi, the different standards mean they are not compatible. Your Qi-enabled phone won't charge on a Powermat base because the signals sent and received are different. If you have Powermat equipment, you'll need to be sure you're buying more Powermat equipment to get everything working.

There are exceptions, like Samsung Galaxy phones, which include both Qi and Powermat standards.

Why do I want wireless charging in my next phone?

Now that we have a good standard — we're talking the Qi standard here — we have to remember than any Qi charger will work with any device that is Qi-certified. That means the charger you buy, whether it's a $6 Chinese unbranded unit from Amazon or a name-brand like Samsung or Zens, will work with the device you have now and any devices you buy in the future.

Couple this with the convenience factor — and until you've bought a couple Qi chargers and put them in the places you're likely to set your phone you don't really understand how convenient it is. I have a Qi charger at my desk, on the table beside my recliner in the living room, one in my car and one on my nightstand. My Nexus 6 almost never had less than 50-percent charge. Not because the battery life on the Nexus 6 was great, or because Qi chargers work "better", but because whenever it was not in my hand it was charging.

Of course, there's the initial cost of buying the charging bases, but they are pretty cheap — about the same cost as a good wall wart and USB cable. As more and more handheld devices and smartphones move towards the Qi standard, more and more devices will be able to take advantage of the chargers.

Finally, wireless charging doesn't have to replace removable batteries for those that want or need them. Think of it as a supplement to stretch out the time between battery swaps.

Wireless charging doesn't make your phone work any differently, but it can change the way you use it.

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1 week ago

Save up to 40% on select networking and storage accessories today only!

0

Amazon's Deal of the Day can save you up to 40% off when purchasing select networking and storage accessories. Whether you are in need of a new wireless router, a network extender, or want to get set up with a NAS, you won't want to miss this deal. With items from popular brands like Netgear, ASUS, Linksys, Drobo and more available here, this is a perfect time to make those upgrades that you've been thinking of.

Some of the items available in this sale include:

This is just a small sample of what is available in this daily deal. Be sure to check the rest out at the link below, and remember these prices are only good for today, February 15, so don't wait too long to make your purchase.

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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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1 week ago

Which unlimited plan should you buy: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon?

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All four major carriers in the U.S. offer unlimited data plans. But which is the best?

With Verizon bringing back an unlimited data plan, the big four networks in the United States (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) all carry an unlimited data plan now. That's important for power users as well as anyone who uses their mobile broadband internet as their sole way to stay in touch or for entertainment. The cost of data overages means that unlimited data is a must for many of us.

But just because everyone offers unlimited data doesn't mean that all plans are equal. Pricing is important as are "extras" like tethering and the hidden data cap that pushes you back to slower 3G speeds when you reach it. And of course, zero-rating means we have to pay attention to what unlimited means when it comes to the quality of streaming media as well as the source.

We took a look at what each carrier has to offer so we can decide who delivers the very best unlimited data package. Let's start with a look at the details for each carrier.

AT&T

  • Cost for one line: $100 per month1
  • Additional lines: $40 per month12
  • Data limit for potential throttling: 22GB per month
  • HD video included: Yes3
  • Tethering package: Only for smart vehicles

Notes:

1AT&T's pricing does not include taxes, surcharges or other fees.

2Customers with four lines will receive a $40 bill credit each month, starting on the third month.

3AT&T defaults streaming video to 480p but this can be disabled at no cost.

Sprint

  • Cost for one line: $55 per month1, 2
  • Additional lines: $40 per month for a second line, $30 per month for lines three through five1, 2
  • Data limit for potential throttling: 23GB
  • HD video included: No. Requires Sprint Premium Unlimited plan for $75 per month
  • Tethering package: 5GB per month

Notes:

1Sprint's pricing does not include taxes, surcharges or other fees.

2Promotional pricing of $50 per month for one line, $40 per month for a second line, and up to three additional lines for $0 per month is available until March 2018.

T-Mobile

  • Cost for one line: $70 per month
  • Additional lines: Two lines for $100 per month. A third line is $40 per month and a fourth line is $20 per month
  • Data limit for potential throttling: 28GB per month
  • HD video included: Yes1
  • Tethering package: 10GB/month (additional tethering options available with T-Mobile ONE Plus)

Notes:

1As of February 17, all T-Mobile One customers can enable HD video.

Verizon

  • Cost for one line: $80 per month1
  • Additional lines: Minimum 2, $110 + $20 for each line ($150). + $20 for each additional line (up to 10)1
  • Data limit for potential throttling: 22GB per month
  • HD video included: Yes
  • Tethering package: 10GB per month

Notes:

1Verizon's pricing does not include taxes, surcharges or other fees.

Verizon also allows any smart devices to be added to the plan for $5 per month.

The best unlimited data plan

As always, you have to choose the carrier that provides you the best coverage in the places you spend your time. Saving a few dollars for better perks is not worth struggling to find a signal. What works for someone else who might be hundreds or thousands of miles away should have little influence on your decision. Since everyone's coverage will be different, we have to treat each carrier equal on that front and base the decision on other criteria.

T-Mobile offers the best unlimited data plan in the U.S.

This is based on cost, data available for tethering and the "real" monthly allotment before you are throttled. One important thing puts it ahead of Verizon, and that's the notion that an $80 plan should cost $80. Not $80 with added fees and taxes. It sounds like a gimmick, but two lines on T-Mobile is going to cost about the same (or less) as a single line with a $5 connected device because of those fees. If we focus only on cost — which you should if you have equally good coverage — T-Mobile wins.

T-Mobile also beats Sprint's promotional plan because Sprint limits your ability to stream HD. We think a good data plan has to be able to entertain us in all ways, so we have to disregard anything that doesn't allow us to do just that. AT&T's offerings simply fall short and we hope recent changes from Verizon and T-Mobile get them to follow suit.As of February 17, 2017 AT&T now offers an unlimited data plan for up to four devices without the requirement of being a DirecTV subscriber. The new pricing is reflected above, and is considerably more expensive than T-Mobile or Sprint's plans.

If you have equally good coverage from all carriers and want to get the most value from your phone company you only have two real choices right now: T-Mobile or Verizon.

Recent user-data through Open Signal suggests that there is little difference in network speeds or total coverage, and pricing is very similar now, too. These two companies want your business and have been bickering for a while. They've also been adjusting their policies and rates to "out-do" each other which is awesome for us as consumers.

See plans at T-Mobile

See plans at Verizon

See plans at AT&T

See plans at Sprint

Your turn

What carrier do you subscribe to, and are you thinking of switching to either T-Mobile or Verizon? Let us know in the comments!

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1 week ago

You may soon be able to use Google Home or Amazon Echo to make phone calls

26

Hey Alexa, get me the operator!

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that both Google and Amazon are looking into ways to add phone call functionality — remember that? — to the Home and Echo, respectively.

The tech giants could launch the feature this year, the people said -- but the effort is hung up over concerns about privacy, telecom regulations and emergency services. And they are aware of the inherent awkwardness of having phone conversations on a speaker.

While one would think that having phone call functionality on such a product would be equivalent to using the speaker on a phone, but both the Home and Echo are stationary products that plug into a wall, and the companies would have to figure out how to seamlessly transition a call from one room to another, or back to a phone, without interrupting the call.

Amazon would also have to contend with the fact that it doesn't own the operating systems the Echo would connect to in order to facilitate the phone call, something that Google, with Android, can more easily overcome. Amazon is looking into call forwarding or even providing the Echo with its own virtual number to get around that limitation.

Would you use a Google Home or Echo to make phone calls? Let us know in the comments below!

Amazon Echo

Amazon

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