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6 days ago

AT&T's Moto Tab is a $300 tablet for watching DirecTV

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Available for AT&T customers starting November 17.

Motorola used to be one of the biggest players when it came to Android tablets, but it's been quite some time since we've seen the company dabble with larger-screened devices. Lenovo recently announced the Moto Tab, but despite having the "Moto" branding, this is very much so a Lenovo and AT&T tablet rather than a true Motorola one.

First, let's talk about specs. The Moto Tab comes equipped with a 10.1-inch Full HD display, dual front-facing Dolby Atmos speakers, Snapdragon 625 processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage (up to 128GB), Android 7.1 Nougat, and a 7,000 mAh battery.

Lenovo is selling the Moto Tab exclusively through AT&T, and as such, it comes preinstalled with just about every carrier app you can imagine. Along with a host of AT&T applications, DirectTV and DirecTV NOW are also installed – not to mention a dedicated home screen and navigation button that take you right to "TV Mode" (aka DirecTV).

Lastly, Lenovo will also be releasing "Home Assistant" and "Productivity" packages to be sold alongside the Moto Tab. The former is an Alexa speaker that you dock the Moto Tab into, whereas the latter is a foldable keyboard case.

You'll be able to purchase the Moto Tab from AT&T on November 17 for either $15/month for 20 months on an installment plan or $299 outright without a contract. That's not an awful deal if you're someone that's completely invested into AT&T and DirecTV's services, but if not, you'd be much better off with something along the lines of the Huawei MediaPad M3 Lite or Amazon Fire Tablet HD 10 for considerably less cash.

Alexa as a Moto Mod is almost a good idea

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6 days ago

Latest Plex update adds Google Assistant support on Android TV

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Available with the new v6.9.0 update.

Plex remains as one of the best ways for accessing your local movies, TV shows, and music files, and in the latest update to v6.9.0 of its Android app, a lot is being added and fixed to make your Plex experience as enjoyable as possible.

The changelog for v6.9.0 is quite lengthy, but one of the biggest additions is support for Google Assistant on Android TV. Google Assistant just debuted on Android TV in late September, so it's great to see that Plex is already updating its app to take advantage of it.

With Assistant on Plex, you'll be able to use your voice for searching through your library of content, skip to the next episode of a series you're watching, etc.

In addition to this, the update also allows you to see the status of your hardware transcoding as an overlay over Plex's video player, background scanning and thumbnail generation for local playback, a personalization screen for Plex News on mobile, and plenty more. Add this together with more bug fixes than we have time to mention, and you're looking at a healthy update.

Plex v6.9.0 is available now on the Google Play Store, but if the update isn't showing up for you quite yet, you can also download the APK file here.

Hulu for Android TV now supports Google Assistant voice commands

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6 days ago

Alexa as a Moto Mod is almost a good idea

4

Your Moto phone can now be a mostly functional Amazon Echo. Cool?

The coolest thing about Moto Mods as a concept is the ability to extend the capabilities of your phone with hardware that would be less convenient as a standalone device. When you look at the Projector Mod, the Speaker Mod, and the Gamepad Mod, you see these things perfected as accessories that genuinely improve the experience on both sides of the equation by making each feel like a better product by adding the other half.

And then there's this Alexa Mod.

See at Best Buy

The idea is fairly simple. Attach the Mod, and your phone is now also an Amazon Echo. It works well, too. There's a notification light ring just like an Echo with microphones that work very close to as well as an Echo and a decent boost in speaker power compared to what the Moto Z2 Force is capable of. There's some solid integration here as well, the speakers in the mod can be used for anything, not just Alexa services, and when the Mod is attached you get an Alexa button you can tap in the notification tray. All things considered, this is an idea headed in the right direction.

Trying to use this Mod for any real amount of time is where things get confusing and the connection between the two halves starts to break down. For starters, this Mod completely covers the camera on the Moto Z 2 Force. If you want to use this as a connected speaker and suddenly need to take a photo, you have no choice but to clumsily remove the Mod. The design of the Mod also introduces some limitations. It's designed to be rested on the back, putting the phone at an angle which introduces a ton of glare depending on how you sit. There are no options to adjust this, unless you want to lay the phone down on its face.

This leaning position exposes a USB-C power port on the back of the Mod, which is in theory a great idea. You could effectively leave this plugged in on your bedside table and use it as a dock to charge your phone at night. Just drop the phone in, and suddenly you also have an Amazon Echo in your bedroom when you want it. The downside here is the design of Moto Mods in general. It's not convenient or easy to remove the mod, and when you connect the pins there's an occasional chance things don't line up just so and the phone never starts charging or communicating with the Mod. It looks like it would be a cool bedside dock, but in practice it's not so great.

My biggest issue with this setup is the execution of Alexa through the Moto Z2 Force. First off, it's an incomplete experience. You can't use the "Drop In" feature like you can on an Echo and simple commands for things like radio stations return different results than an Echo would. The thing that makes this extra frustrating? Both of these things work great in the actual Alexa app I have installed on this exact phone. This is a specific disconnect in the permissions Amazon has granted to this Mod as a third-party Alexa device.

It's also slightly slower than an actual Amazon Echo. This isn't likely to be something most people notice, but since I already have Echo devices throughout my house I occasionally found myself in rooms where both the Alexa Mod and the Amazon Echo could hear me. In every test, the Alexa Mod would respond to my request or question at least a full second slower than an actual Amazon Echo.

Finally, there's the price. Motorola is asking $149.99 for this Mod, and in case you're unaware, that's the same price as three Amazon Echo Dot speakers. In fact, you could buy an Echo Dot and the special battery Fremo made to make it portable and a much louder speaker to connect to the Echo Dot and still have at least $50 left compared to the what you would spend on this Alexa Mod for your Moto phone.

Moto Mods are awesome because they are frequently convenient in a way nothing else can be, and this mod doesn't feel like it meets that description yet. The integration isn't quite there, the design is a little questionable, and for what you get it's prohibitively expensive. A lot of this is actually Amazon's fault, as aggressive pricing is a bad business decision for Motorola and Amazon at least part of the reason the integration isn't fully there. Unfortunately, blaming Amazon or Motorola doesn't make this speaker Mod as cool as it could be. Hopefully with a software update or two, that will change, but for now this is one Mod you should probably pass on.

And remember, it could always be worse.

See at Best Buy

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6 days ago

T-Mobile's $200 REVVL Plus comes with a 6-inch display and dual cameras

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T-Mobile's REVVL Plus delivers a big screen on a budget.

T-Mobile unveiled its first self-branded phone — the REVVL — back in August, and the company is now following up with a Plus variant. Like the standard model, the REVVL Plus is aimed at the budget segment, featuring a 6-inch Full HD panel along with dual cameras at the back.

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6 days ago

Should you upgrade from the LG G6 to Pixel 2?

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The LG G6 and Pixel 2 are both solid phones in their own right, and as such, trying to pick between the two can be difficult.

There have been a lot of great smartphones this year, but because devices such as the Galaxy S8 and iPhone X tend to steal a good chunk of the limelight, it can be easy to let a lot of other solid devices slip under your radar. For a lot of people, the LG G6 was one such phone.

You can now pick up the G6 for as little as $399 if you know where to look, and for that price, you're getting one heck of a phone. Along with its 18:9 display and minimal bezels, the G6 also features a solid dual-camera setup, slick design, and snappy performance.

However, as great of a deal as the phone currently is, spending a bit more cash to get the Pixel 2 just might be worth it. Here's what some of our forum users had to say.

*/
Almeuit 11-13-2017 10:14 AM “

I didn't mind my G6 when I had it... except for the camera. In low light and even mild light I had issues with some major lag/blur. Other then that it was fun (especially the wide angle lens). If I had a choice though my Pixel 2 XL would be my choice still simply due to updates + better camera performance.

Reply
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Morty2264 11-13-2017 10:36 AM “

I can certainly understand how you are feeling, OP. With all the great phones out there, it's so hard to land and stick with just one. The G6 is awesome but yes, the Pixel 2 series... That's an amazing lineup of phones. The Pixel 2 (smaller version), to my knowledge, does not have the screen issues that some Pixel 2 XL's have. I'm in the mixed camp when it comes to the Pixel 2 XL. Yes,...

Reply
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Jeremiah Bonds 11-13-2017 12:22 PM “

G6 was my wife's favorite phone and I think she still kind of prefers it over the Pixel 2xl. But that's her, everyone is entitled to their opinions.

Reply
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bhatech 11-13-2017 11:04 AM “

G6 was one of the worst flagships I have owned this year, crappy front facing camera and software. Even Samsung software is 1000 times better than what LG puts. LG is just a wanna be Samsung. If you are coming from G6 Pixel 2 is like a great upgrade. I know G6 gets lots of praise mostly it's priced low and everyone seems to have sympathy for LG because it's an underdog. But personally not a big...

Reply

Now, we'd like to hear from you – Do you think it's worth upgrading to the Pixel 2 from the LG G6?

Join the conversation in the forums!

LG G6

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6 days ago

Amazon offers a sneak peek at some of its best Black Friday deals

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The Amazon Black Friday sneak peek is here, and it doesn't disappoint!

We've seen ads from nearly every major retailer already, and one of the last ones that we have been waiting for is Amazon. The company has teased things already, but never officially revealed any detailed plans, until now. Some deals will begin as early as November 17, but Amazon does not specify which ones will launch on which date.

As expected, Amazon will offer an exclusive window of time for Voice Shoppers to take advantage of Black Friday deals, and that begins at 5 p.m. PT on Wednesday, November 22.

Amazon Devices

Electronics

Toys

Home Furnishings

Smart Home

Video Games

Music, TV, Movies & Books

Pets

Sports & Outdoors

Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs:

More info at Amazon.

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6 days ago

How I turned my Samsung Galaxy S8 into a Microsoft phone

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Microsoft loves mobile, as long as you're using an iOS or Android device. In fact, turning your Android into a Microsoft centric phone is pretty easy.

Microsoft's new mobile effort revolves around bringing the best of Windows 10 to Android and iOS. Now that Windows 10 Mobile is all but dead, it's time to start embracing Microsoft's new goal; making Android and iOS better for Windows users. Timeline, Cloud Clipboard and Continue on PC are all Windows 10 features that aim to tie your Android or iOS device to your PC further, and vice versa.

I recently went out and purchased a Samsung Galaxy S8 with the intention of turning it into my new Windows phone. Now, calling it a Windows phone isn't entirely accurate since it's not running Windows; so I like to call it a Microsoft phone. It's a smartphone that's loaded up with Microsoft software and services, and outside of live tiles and UWP apps, it has everything my Lumia Windows phone had, and that's fantastic.

See Samsung Galaxy S8 at Amazon

Microsoft has made switching from Windows phone to Android or iOS incredibly easy, so much so my Android phone feels even more connected to my Windows 10 PC than my Windows 10 Mobile device ever did. Things such as Microsoft's own Android Launcher, Edge, Cortana, Outlook and OneDrive bring all the features and functions I need out of the Windows experience on my phone.

I've even reprogrammed the dedicated Bixby button to launch Cortana instead, using an app called bxActions. When I press the dedicated button, it launches the Cortana app. If I hold the button down, it takes me immediately to voice mode where I can say commands and have Cortana do things. It's super handy having a dedicated Cortana button on the side, as it makes adding things like reminders or checking the weather super convenient.

I use Edge because it uses my Microsoft account to sync data, not because of the underlying engine.

Using Edge on Android is a nice addition, as it syncs your bookmarks and form data across your PC and phone. I don't care that it's using the Chrome engine underneath, because I don't have an issue with Chrome's engine. I use Edge because it uses my Microsoft account to sync data, not because of the underlying engine. Being able to continue files and web pages on my PC from my phone is also super convenient, more so than I was originally expecting.

More to come

This will improve over time, too. With Timeline and Cloud Clipboard in Windows 10 Redstone 4 builds, apps and things you copy will also be transferable across devices. Near Share is a new feature in the works for Windows 10 right now too, which will undoubtedly be coming to Android phones; allowing you to share files, photos and more instantly between your PC and phone directly from the Share UI on Windows 10.

The only things I need from Microsoft to complete my Microsoft experience is a dedicated Phone and SMS app. Once I'm able to make cellular calls or send SMS texts from a dedicated app on my PC and phone that sync that data across devices, my Microsoft smartphone experience will be complete. It'd also be nice to see a Movies & TV app on Android or iOS, but that's not a priority for me.

The beauty of Android is that it's an open platform. Sure, most Android phones come bundled with Google services, which isn't ideal if you're someone who isn't into Google's ecosystem; but the good news is you can essentially replace all of that with Microsoft's own offerings. You can set Edge as your default web browser, Microsoft's Launcher as your default home experience, OneDrive as your photos cloud backup solution, Outlook as your default email and calendar client, and more.

The beauty of Android is that it's an open platform.

You can also download package disablers, which I don't actually recommend unless you know what you're doing. Package disablers allow you to disable some software and services that Google and OEMs bundle onto Android devices. For example, I used a package disabler to disable some of the things Samsung includes on the Galaxy S8, including Samsung Cloud, TouchWiz, Bixby and even Samsung's built-in keyboard. I don't want or use Samsung's services. Of course, most people, even Microsoft users, won't want to disable these.

I also personally like to disable pretty much everything Google on my Android, outside of Google Play Services and the Play Store. I disabled everything from Chrome to the Google Assistant, as Microsoft offers alternatives in that regard. If Microsoft has an app that does something Google or Samsung offers, then I'm absolutely going to be disabling the Google and Samsung offering in favor of Microsoft's.

Windows 10 Mobile is no longer the best choice for Microsoft fans

If you're still using Windows 10 Mobile because you think Windows phone still offers the optimal "Microsoft" experience, it's time to re-evaluate that thought process. Microsoft has put so much work into making Android and iOS 'the' platforms for Microsoft software and services on mobile that Windows 10 Mobile simply doesn't hold a candle to the integrations and features Microsoft apps have on other platforms anymore.

If you're still using Windows 10 Mobile because you think Windows phone still offers the optimal "Microsoft" experience, it's time to re-evaluate that thought process.

Redstone 4 will see this trend continue. Microsoft is building features into Windows 10 on PC that tie directly into the apps and services available on iOS and Android. This is not something that is happening on Windows 10 Mobile. As we have reported in the past, Microsoft is leaving Windows 10 Mobile behind with feature2, with no new features in development. Windows 10 Mobile doesn't have an ecosystem to support it anymore.

Sure, Windows 10 Mobile still works today, and it will continue to work for a long time. However, Microsoft isn't going to be building experiences that benefit Windows 10 Mobile and PC integration anymore. That focus is now on Android and iOS, and that's incredibly exciting. If you've decided to remain on Windows phone, just know that your tight integration between your PC and phone is now matched on rival platforms, and will quickly find that over time, Android and iOS phones will have better integration compared to what Windows 10 Mobile can offer.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

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6 days ago

Nougat is now installed on 20.6% of active Android devices

7

Nougat is making steady gains, but Marshmallow is still the most-used version of Android.

A year after its release, Nougat is now installed on 20.6% of active Android devices. Android 7.0 Nougat has a 17.6% market share, with 7.1 coming in at 3%. Oreo made its first appearance last month with a 2% market share, and a month later it's at 0.3%. With few devices outside the Pixels, Nexus devices, and the Xperia XZ1 running Oreo, it'll be a while before we see any tangible gains for the latest version of Android.

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6 days ago

Xiaomi joins Samsung at the top of India's smartphone segment

0

Xiaomi catches up with Samsung to become India's largest smartphone brand.

The Indian smartphone segment is booming. According to IDC, over 39 million smartphones were shipped in Q3 2017, an increase of 40% from the second quarter of 2017 and a 21% uptick from Q3 2016. As a result, India accounted for 10% of all smartphone shipments around the world.

The quarter also saw a drastic uptick in sales from e-commerce stores, with a third of all shipments attributed to online storefronts. Samsung and Xiaomi predictably led the way for sales, with both brands now tied for first place in the Indian smartphone segment.

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6 days ago

HTC Vive Focus is a standalone VR headset powered by the Snapdragon 835

3

HTC's standalone VR headset comes with 'world-scale' tracking.

HTC teased a standalone VR headset for the Chinese market earlier this year, and the company has now unveiled the product at a media event in Beijing. Dubbed the Vive Focus, the headset is the "first commercial standalone device" with inside-out 6-degree-of-freedom (6DoF), which means it doesn't need a base station to track your movements.

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6 days ago

Deal: Pixel C tablet down to £299 in the United Kingdom

12

New savings on an old gadget.

Android tablets (and really, tablets in general) have gotten a lot less popular over the past couple of years. The last tablet that Google ever released was the Pixel C that came out back in 2015, and while it offered a great design and gorgeous display, the high price and soemtimes wonky performance made it hard to justify its $599 asking price (not to mention the extra $150 for its keyboard).

Google never really did come off of that $599 listing, but for our readers over in the United Kingdom, you've finally got a deal that just might make the Pixel C still worth it in late 2017.

Right now on the Google Store in the U.K., you can buy the Pixel C for £299 (normally £479) and the keyboard accessory for £73 (rather than £119). Along with this, buyers in France, Germany, Ireland, and other countries throughout Europe can pick up the Pixel C for slightly more at £349. There's no sale in the United States, but that's because the Pixel C is out of stock there.

Google's likely running this discount to clear out whatever remaining units of the tablet it still has, and considering its age, we can't imagine that there will be a lot to go around. As such, if this sounds like a deal you've been waiting for, we advise acting on it as soon as you can.

See at Google Store

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6 days ago

Pixel 2 and 2 XL exhibit flickering when using the camera under LED lights

58

The issue is only affecting some users, but it's unclear at the time if software will be able to fix it.

There have been more than a few bugs with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL since their release last month, and while display controversy surrounding the XL model received the most attention, we've seen other issues here and there that have proven to be equally annoying. Most recently, users are reporting that the camera on the Pixel 2/2XL exhibits a flickering motion when taking a photo or video under LED lights.

So, what exactly is going on here?

All LED lights have a natural flicker that ranges from 50 to 60Hz, and it's something that's not perceivable to the human eye. However, certain cameras are capable of picking up this flickering and display it over what you're trying to capture. As fate would have it, the sensor on the Pixel 2 is one such camera.

It's a bit difficult to describe exactly what's going on with words, so to make things a bit more clear, take a look at this video that was recently uploaded to YouTube by apa1.

This phenomenon was also discovered by Chazzdjr in the Pixel User Community, with images captured on a plane turning out as follows:

A couple of representatives from Google have stated that they're aware of the issue and will make sure that the right people see what's going on. I personally can't replicate the flickering on my Pixel 2, and according to other users, this is something that's only affecting certain handsets. It's unclear if a software update will be able to fix this, so we'll have to wait and see what the Mothership says.

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Google Store Project Fi Verizon Best Buy

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6 days ago

Android 8.1 will reduce storage sizes of infrequently used apps

15

A new tool to save your precious storage.

Google officially released the Developer Preview for Android 8.1 Oreo in late October, and after getting a chance to go hands-on with the latest build of our favorite mobile OS, we discovered a lot of minor tweaks compared to the current 8.0 release. Since then, a new commit has been discovered in the Android Open Source framework for 8.1 that should greatly benefit phones with lower storage amounts.

Discovered by the folks at XDA Developers, the commit is designed to decrease the size of applications that are installed on your phone once they've been detected as being inactive for a certain period of time. Inactive apps are essentially those that haven't been used for some time, and this is determined by a field in the OS called sysprop pm.dexopt.unopt_after_inactive_days.

Once an application is detected as being inactive, it's stopped from running through Android's dexopt tool to prevent them from taking up precious space on your device.

No action is required on the user's part to make this happen, and as ingenious of a system as it is, it's not perfect. OEMs are required to enable the feature in order for their devices to use it, and it's only available for 8.1 and not 8.0. In other words, while Pixel and Nexus devices will be able to benefit from it in about a month or so, it'll likely be quite a few more months before other hardware can take advantage of this.

Android Oreo

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1 week ago

Google Home can now be used as an intercom with Broadcast feature

20

And you thought in-home intercom systems were dead.

Alongside the Pixel 2, Pixelbook, and all of its other hardware announcements, Google also used its October 4 event to unveil a host of new features coming to its Google Home speakers. A lot of these were simply said to be "coming soon", but the new Broadcast feature that was announced is officially rolling out now.

You might have had a home intercom system if you grew up between the 70s and 80s, and that's exactly the kind of functionality Broadcast offers. Simply tell your Google Home, "Ok, Google, broadcast" and then whatever message you'd like, and your voice will then be played on all Google Homes connected throughout your house.

For example, you can say "Ok, Google, broadcast it's time for dinner" to get everyone's attention that it's time to eat without having to holler up and down flights of stairs – something every parent has likely had to do once or twice.

Broadcast is available for users in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia.

You can use Broadcast for all sorts of messages, but for common, everyday things, Google Assistant will play a charming message rather than your voice. For example, saying "Ok Google, broadcast it's dinner time" will play a dinner bell sound on your Google Homes.

In addition to using Broadcast while you're home, you can also use the feature on your phone with the Google Assistant to do the same thing. If you're just getting out of the office and want to let your family know you're on the way, get your phone, say "Ok, Google, broadcast I'm on the way home", and your message will be sent to all of the Google Homes back home.

Broadcast is rolling out now to users that have Assistant on their Google Home and phones set to the English language in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia with more languages scheduled to come out "soon."

Google Home

Google Store Best Buy Target

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1 week ago

Enter Android Central & Mint SIM's Ultimate Pixel 2 Giveaway!

63

A hot phone and a year of free service could be yours, FREE!

Android Central is teaming up with Mint SIM for the Ultimate Google Pixel 2 Giveaway!

One lucky winner will receive their choice of either a Google Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL. That's not all! A great phone deserves a service that provides awesome and reliable LTE data along with unlimited text and calls.

Thanks to Mint SIM, the winner will also receive a prepaid SIM card good for one year of paid service that includes 10GB of data per month with unlimited talk and text. We're big fans of Mint SIM, thanks in part to its low-cost plans and nationwide 4G LTE coverage. For savvy shoppers, it's the perfect service to pair with any unlocked phone, including the Pixel 2.

Now on to the giveaway!

THE PRIZE: One Android Central reader will win their choice of Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL and a year of service from Mint SIM!

THE GIVEAWAY: Head down to the widget at the bottom of this page. There are several ways to enter, each with varying point values. Complete all of the tasks for maximum entries and your best shot at winning! Keep in mind that all winning entries are verified and if the task was not completed or cannot be verified, a new winner will be chosen. Please note that while the giveaway is open internationally, Mint SIM only provides service in the U.S., and no substitutions for that part of the prize will be made. It's up to you to determine if the phone will work on your carrier. International winners will be responsible for any customs fees incurred during shipping.

The giveaway is open until November 15, 2017, and the winner will be announced right here after the closing date. Good luck!

Enter Android Central's Ultimate Google Pixel Giveaway!

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