Recent Articles | Android Central

Order Samsung Galaxy S8: AT&T | Verizon | T-Mobile | Sprint | Unlocked

Headlines

1 week ago

The OnePlus 5 is filled with great little software customizations to make it your own

11
OnePlus 5

It's your phone, and you should be able to change things — no matter how small.

The OnePlus 5 receives appropriate praise for its clean software experience, but there's more to it than simplicity. OxygenOS, as OnePlus calls it, integrates a ton of little useful customization options to let your OnePlus 5 look and act just how you like it. Now there isn't so much customization in here as to let you change the entire experience, but there are things you can change on a OnePlus 5 that you typically have to load a custom ROM on your phone to get, and that's great.

Here are some of the little things you can change on your OnePlus 5's software to make it your own.

Status bar

OnePlus 5 status bar customization

Now this is a really nerdy thing, but one that's wonderful: you can choose exactly which icons show up in your OnePlus 5's status bar. Just head into Settings and then Status bar to get started.

Of course most people will keep the usual set of icons for the volume status, Bluetooth connection, Wi-Fi and such ... but the best part about this is being able to turn off the more annoying and relatively useless icons. Things like the VoLTE status, Wi-Fi calling, NFC, and the headset indicator. If you don't want to see them, you don't have to. It's rather magical and we seriously wish every phone did this.

On top of that, you can of course choose what battery indicator you want, show the active network speed, and change the clock to actually show the seconds as well.

Navigation buttons

OnePlus 5 button customization

Probably the best example of the software's customizability is the navigation buttons. Not only can you decide between on-screen and capacitive navigation keys, but you have so many options beyond that simple choice. Head into Settings then Buttons to get started.

If you choose to go with the capacitive keys below the screen, you get the most customization options — and the most screen real estate, of course. You can of course swap the back and recents keys but also enable both a "long press" and "double tap" action for all three buttons. Each of the six actions can do things like open or close the menu, launch Google Assistant, turn off the screen, open your last-used app, and more. It will take a while to learn but can be extremely powerful and save you time.

For the software navigation bar, you can simply choose to swap the back and recents keys (if you're perhaps used to Samsung phones), or enable the hardware home button so it works even though you have an on-screen button. That's useful in full-screen apps. If you turn on the hardware home button, you also unlock the long press and double press actions for that button as well.

Gestures

OnePlus 5 gestures

OnePlus honestly had some troubles with its gesture control system early on, but has refined it to make it relatively useful for those who want extra "hidden" things they can do with their phone. Found in Settings then Gestures, you'll see a few different things you can do by swiping your finger around on the screen when it's turned off.

The basics are double-tap to wake, which we've seen on many phones, and music controls that let you swipe down with two fingers to play/pause media or draw an arrow to skip back or forward.

You then get five more gestures you can turn on and customize. By drawing an O, V, S, M or W, you can choose to perform actions like launching the camera, turning on the flashlight, or just launching any app on your phone. Between all five letters, you can do a whole lot without actually turning on your phone and tapping an app icon. That's powerful.

Launcher, theme, and icon packs

OnePlus launcher icon packs

If you choose to stick with the stock OnePlus Launcher, which closely mimics the Pixel's launcher and is quite nice, you get a few nice features. One hidden nugget is the ability to swipe up anywhere on the home screen to access the app drawer but also swipe down anywhere to bring down the notification shade — no more reaching! In the launcher settings, you can turn off the notification swipe if you want but also turn off the Android Nougat long-press app shortcuts if you find them annoying.

OnePlus includes an important feature for those who love to tweak their phone: full icon pack support. Just pinch in on your home screen and select Settings. The stock launcher lets you choose between three different icon styles — standard, rounded or square — but also supports any third-party icon pacs you may have installed. That means you can get one of the hundreds of custom icon sets out there, install it, and have the OnePlus 5 switch to it seamlessly. They usually take a bit more work than that, so it's great to see native support for this sort of niche tweak.

To complete the look with your icon pack, you can also choose between different themes at a system level as well. Under Settings and Display, select Theme and choose between the default theme, a light theme, or a dark theme. Yes, a default dark theme.

Notification LED

OnePlus 5 notification LED settings

Knowing its target market, OnePlus still includes a notification LED on the top bezel of the phone — it also gives you great control over it in the settings. Under Settings then Display and LED notifications, you'll find all of the available options.

You get to choose between eight different colors — dark blue, light blue, orange, green, red, yellow, purple, and pink — for the LED for basic functions like charging, battery full, battery low, and any general notification coming in. But you can also choose exactly which apps will light up that "general notification" color. You probably don't care about the LED blinking for Android Pay or Dropbox, but you do want to be notified by Gmail or your banking app. Just scroll through the list and pick which ones you want.

Unfortunately you can't pick different LED colors for different apps or get super granular and start addressing different apps with a different flash pattern, but a vast majority of people will be happy with the included settings.

The coolest part about all of these tweaks is that if you don't want to change anything, you don't have to! None of these settings particularly get in the way or interfere with just using the OnePlus 5 right out of the box. That's great design right there.

OnePlus 5

OnePlus

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Why the Huawei Mate 9 is severely underrated

50

The Huawei Mate 9 slipped between the cracks of high-end U.S. releases in late 2016, but I'm here to tell you that, in 2017, you should give it a look.

I've used a lot of phones in the past year, and one device continues to age better than most: the Huawei Mate 9.

For me, the phone kind of came out of nowhere: it was my first interaction with Huawei's flagship lineup, after having suffered through the middling performance and aging software aesthetic of the Honor 5X, and the Mate 9 came out swinging. You can read more about the phone in our review, but the thing that I can't say seven months later about every phone I review is that everything holds up.

Pretty much everything is great except the low-light camera performance.

From the screaming performance of the phone's Kirin 960 chip to the seemingly-everlasting battery life, the Mate 9 impresses as much today as it did in December. Perhaps even more so, actually, given the relatively frequent software updates that cleared up some performance issues and software inconsistencies.

Truly, the one thing that irked me, and continues to do so to some extent, about the Mate 9 is the camera. Not that it's bad, because it's not, but it is easily outperformed in low light by newer devices. Even the separate-but-equal P10 and P10 Plus seem to be a better job in darker situations. But that hasn't stopped Huawei from issuing a bunch of updates to improve how the camera reacts to particular situations, and while I can't say the results are night-and-day improved, they're certainly better.

But I'm not the only one who loves the Mate 9 all these months later. In our forum, people continue to praise the phone for its great value-to-performance ratio:

#mn_oembed_c:before { display: none; } #mn_oembed_c { display: table; width: 100%; max-width: 700px; box-sizing: border-box; cursor: pointer; position: relative; background: #dee9eb; padding: 35px; left: 35px; margin: 0 auto 0 auto; border-radius: 4px; border: 1px solid #dbe1e4; font-family: 'Fira Sans', sans-serif; line-height: 1.5; -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; text-decoration: none; } #mn_oembed_i { padding: 0 13px 0 23px; font-size: 18px; display: table; width: 100%; box-sizing: border-box; } #mn_oembed_a { position: absolute; width 65px; height: 65px; left: -33px; top: 20px; border-radius: 50%; border: 2px solid #dbe1e4; } #mn_oembed_un { color: #ff5200; text-decoration: none; } #mn_oembed_t { color: #858b8e; font-size: 12px; } #mn_oembed_q { float: left; font-family: 'PT Mono', monospace; font-size: 100px; margin: -5px 0 0 -10px; color: #858b8e; } #mn_oembed_p { margin: 20px 0 0 50px; padding: 0; color: #07080a; font-weight: 300; } #mn_oembed_b { margin: 20px 0 0 0; font-size: 16px; float: right; cursor: pointer; background-color: #fff; color: #ff5200; border-radius: 4px; padding: 0 20px; line-height: 38px; text-transform: uppercase; box-sizing: border-box; display: inline-block; text-decoration: none; transition: all ease-in .2s; } #mn_oembed_b:hover { color: #fff; background: #6ab2be; } @media (max-width: 767px) { #mn_oembed_c { margin: 0 auto; } #mn_oembed_a { margin: 0 20px 0 0; float: left; position: relative; height: 65px; left: 0; top: 0; border-radius: 50%; border: 2px solid #dbe1e4; } #mn_oembed_i { padding: 0; } #mn_oembed_u { height: 69px; } #mn_oembed_un { padding: 12px 0 0 0; } #mn_oembed_q { display: none; } #mn_oembed_p { margin: 20px 0 0 0; } }
DamianP 05-22-2017 08:00 AM “

I got the Mate 9 back in Feb and used it as a daily driver for a while and switched to a pixel XL, and LG G6. Ultimately I came back to the Mate 9 for a few specific reasons that are important to me. 1. Radio - it's incredibly strong. It's typically 4-10 db better than my G6 in the same location. I haven't found a phone that I have used that's better. I have been carrying both the G6 and...

Reply

All of this poster's points are true: the phone does have a great, bright screen despite its relatively low pixel density — something that I don't notice at all during day-to-day use. The battery is astoundingly good, and that Huawei fit a 4000mAh cell inside this slim and almost single hand-friendly chassis is amazing. And the black-and-white secondary sensor is one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had with a camera phone in years.

#mn_oembed_c:before { display: none; } #mn_oembed_c { display: table; width: 100%; max-width: 700px; box-sizing: border-box; cursor: pointer; position: relative; background: #dee9eb; padding: 35px; left: 35px; margin: 0 auto 0 auto; border-radius: 4px; border: 1px solid #dbe1e4; font-family: 'Fira Sans', sans-serif; line-height: 1.5; -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; text-decoration: none; } #mn_oembed_i { padding: 0 13px 0 23px; font-size: 18px; display: table; width: 100%; box-sizing: border-box; } #mn_oembed_a { position: absolute; width 65px; height: 65px; left: -33px; top: 20px; border-radius: 50%; border: 2px solid #dbe1e4; } #mn_oembed_un { color: #ff5200; text-decoration: none; } #mn_oembed_t { color: #858b8e; font-size: 12px; } #mn_oembed_q { float: left; font-family: 'PT Mono', monospace; font-size: 100px; margin: -5px 0 0 -10px; color: #858b8e; } #mn_oembed_p { margin: 20px 0 0 50px; padding: 0; color: #07080a; font-weight: 300; } #mn_oembed_b { margin: 20px 0 0 0; font-size: 16px; float: right; cursor: pointer; background-color: #fff; color: #ff5200; border-radius: 4px; padding: 0 20px; line-height: 38px; text-transform: uppercase; box-sizing: border-box; display: inline-block; text-decoration: none; transition: all ease-in .2s; } #mn_oembed_b:hover { color: #fff; background: #6ab2be; } @media (max-width: 767px) { #mn_oembed_c { margin: 0 auto; } #mn_oembed_a { margin: 0 20px 0 0; float: left; position: relative; height: 65px; left: 0; top: 0; border-radius: 50%; border: 2px solid #dbe1e4; } #mn_oembed_i { padding: 0; } #mn_oembed_u { height: 69px; } #mn_oembed_un { padding: 12px 0 0 0; } #mn_oembed_q { display: none; } #mn_oembed_p { margin: 20px 0 0 0; } }
Gayle Lynn 07-05-2017 01:47 PM “

5 hrs sot and 70% left. How many phones can do that? 5.8" screen real estate. Would love to see more but hey. There were 4 updates. Bought it Jan 5th from Amazon. So yes it does. Would like to see 7.11 and EMUI 5.1 but at least seems to get essential security update. Wickedly fast fps. Paying is more reliable fast and easy without even installed Android Pay, even than iPhone 6S...

Reply

The phone also posts battery numbers that are really hard to account for by any other device except, perhaps, the original Moto Z Play.

And though the form factor does seem a bit wide when placed next to the Samsung Galaxy S8+, the perfect placement of the rear fingerprint sensor and high-quality aluminum chassis more than makes up for it in my opinion. Huawei also arguably got on board the slim bezel train before LG debuted the G6 four months later, since despite retaining a 16:9 screen aspect ratio there are barely any bezels on the sides of the LCD panel, and the ones above the screen are impressively tiny.

You may want to wait for the Mate 10, but if you need a great unlocked phone right now, you should consider the Mate 9.

With the Mate 10 approaching in October or November, normally recommending this phone would be a cautionary tale, but with its frequent discounts to under $500 on Amazon, its primary sales channel in the U.S., I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the phone right now. Huawei has already committed to an Android 8.0 update, though it's pretty slow on the trigger in general, and the Kirin 960 chip inside the phone is actually faster in many respects than the much-newer Snapdragon 835, for what it's worth. I wouldn't pay its MSRP of $599, but even its current-as-of-writing price of just under $550 is a pretty great deal.

See at Amazon

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

ASUS' Tango and Daydream-ready ZenFone AR debuts in India

4

World's first smartphone with 8GB of RAM lands in India.

When ASUS unveiled the ZenFone AR earlier this year, it became the first phone to feature 8GB of RAM. It's also the first device that can handle both Tango and Daydream — Google's AR and VR platforms. The ZenFone AR is now available for sale in India for ₹49,999 ($775), with the device exclusively sold on Flipkart.

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Grab the 32GB Moto G5 Plus for $199, 64GB model for $249

1

For one day only, get the Moto G5 Plus with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage for $249.

The Moto G5 Plus is one of the best budget phones currently in the market, and you can pick one up for just $199 on Newegg. That's a $30 discount on the model with 2GB of RAM and 32GB storage. Amazon is also getting on the action, offering the variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage for $249, which comes out to a savings of $50 from the phone's $299 retail price.

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Xiaomi Mi Smart Shoes review: Obsessively track your workouts

1

Xiaomi's smart shoes automatically detect and catalog your workouts.

Xiaomi is no stranger to the wearable segment — its $20 Mi Band is immensely popular worldwide — and the brand is once again turning to fitness tracking with its latest product, the Mijia Smart Shoes. Like the rest of its Mi Ecosystem portfolio, Xiaomi's smart shoes offer great value for money.

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

OnePlus 5 vs. OPPO R11: Identity crisis

2
OnePlus 5 vs. OPPO R11

The OnePlus 5 is indistinguishable from the OPPO R11 in terms of external design, but the internal hardware tells a different story.

The OnePlus 5 is one of the best affordable flagships you can buy today, and although it's costlier than previous generations, you still get a lot of value. With the OPPO R11, the spec sheet isn't necessarily the primary focus, with the brand instead focusing on the overall experience.

The OPPO R11 is limited to China, and the phone is unlikely to be available outside a few countries in Asia. As such, the OnePlus 5 will be the default choice in most global markets. But that doesn't make it any less interesting to compare both devices and observe their similarities and differences.

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Google Home will now play your uploaded and purchased music on Google Play Music

14

One of Google Play Music's best features has finally come to Google Home.

Google Play Music is one of the few online music services that allows you to mix your personal uploaded and purchased music with a subscription library with millions and millions of songs. However, when Google Play Music launched on Google Home when the little air freshener lookalike debuted, you could cast any music you wanted to the speaker, but if you asked Google Assistant for your Google Play Music, it wouldn't properly process queries for uploaded and purchased music. Instead, Google Home was offering up music from the All Access library (or the free radio stations if you weren't a subscriber).

No more!

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

LG V30 to debut on August 31 at IFA

37

The LG V30 is happening.

LG has all but confirmed the debut of the V30, its next flagship phone, at an event during the IFA conference in Berlin on August 31.

The company issued a vague but telling press invite earlier today indicating that something would be happening at 9am CST on Thursday, August 31 — it's a "save the date," after all — with a silhouette of a phone making a reflection of a "V". Not very subtle.

The invitation itself also has rounded corners and a resolution of 2880x1440, which would indicate that, yes, the V30 would share the same 2:1 aspect ratio as its G6 counterpart, along with its now-famous rounded edges.

While we don't know exactly what to expect from the announcement, recent leaks point to a device that shares many characteristics with the G6, including an enclosed battery, a tall, narrow screen, and dual cameras. LG is also expected to begin its transition to OLED technology, something that it has been resisting in recent years as it tries to eke out as much as it can from its mature LCD manufacturing facilities.

Also expected is a Snapdragon 835 platform and 4GB of RAM and, perhaps, Android 8.0 out of the box. Whether LG also does away with its strange regional differences, or tones up its software, remains to be seen.

More will be revealed shortly, so stay tuned.

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

AT&T offering 2 months of prepaid phone service for free starting July 14

22

GoPhone is now AT&T PREPAID and you can get two months of service for free.

We like prepaid service because of the flexibility and freedom it offers, usually for a lower price than you will find for a postpaid plan. When a company throws in freebies, we really love it.

AT&T has a new promo starting July 14 where you can get two months of prepaid service if you keep using it.

Starting July 14, simply activate and keep a new line of service on select plans, and you'll receive an account credit for the 3rd and 12th months.

This promo applies to the $60 unlimited and $45 6GB plan that used to be GoPhone service. You don't even have a lot of fine print to sift through — read the full press release below.

Prepaid is becoming the most competitive category in wireless. And AT&T1 is stepping up with an exciting offer of 2 months of FREE wireless service on AT&T PREPAID, formerly AT&T GoPhone. Starting July 14, simply activate and keep a new line of service on select plans, and you'll receive an account credit for the 3rd and 12th months.2

With AT&T PREPAID we're offering the same great service, network and value with no annual contract.

"AT&T PREPAID is our branded prepaid product for customers looking for ease of use, no contract and convenience," said Bob Bickerstaff, vice president, Wireless Voice and Prepaid Products. "This two months free offer is our best promotion to date."

Monthly prices eligible under this promotion are:

  • $60/month ($65 before AutoPay3)– Unlimited talk, text and data4
  • $40/month ($45 before AutoPay)– Unlimited talk and text with 6GB of high-speed data5

Both plans also allow you to use your service in Mexico and Canada, making it easy to travel and stay connected.6

AT&T PREPAID provides customers with the flexibility and convenience of wireless service on their terms with no annual contract, no credit check and no activation fees. With easy activation and account management right from your phone or online, AT&T PREPAID customers can make changes to their service at any time.

Entertainment is everywhere these days and with AT&T PREPAID's Unlimited Data plan3, you can stream, watch and listen all you want on one of our affordable premium smartphones, like LG and Samsung. We even offer smartphones for under $50.

After all, it's summer – save your cash for new pool toys, ice cream for the kids, or a weekend road trip. To learn more about AT&T PREPAID, visit www.att.com/prepaid.

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Google introduces new desktop app to back up all your photos

26

Never lose a photo again with this new desktop app from Google.

Google Photos is one of the best online services any company has built. You can save any and every photo or video from your phone to Google's online servers and access them from anywhere else with an internet connection. It's a perfect way for keeping those pics somewhere they won't be lost or deleted. Today, it just got easier for people with a Windows PC or Mac.

A new desktop app from Google will back up your pictures with Photos and Drive without any fuss. Install the app, sign in with your Google account and tell it where the find photos, and it's done. This is an awesome replacement for folks who only use the Google Drive app for photo backup, and expanding it to Google Photos is icing on the cake.

You can also use the app for full two-way sync with Google Drive, so it's a complete replacement for the existing Drive desktop app. This is also great, as the Drive app was getting long in the tooth and offered less that stellar performance on macOS — something I'm not seeing (yet) with the new version.

Download: Backup and Sync for Google Photos and Google Drive

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Motorola's #hellomotoworld invite all-but-confirms shatterproof Moto Z2 Force announcement

14

Get ready for the latest in Motorola's shatterproof technology.

Motorola already sent out a "save the date" for its #hellomotoworld event on July 25, but now proper invites are coming out and they give us a great indication of what we can expect to see announced. The tagline "get ready to shatter your expectations" is breaking through all sorts of glass and the silhouette of two shattered phone screens.

That's about as good an indication as you'll get that the Moto Z2 Force will be announced on July 25 as a follow-up to the shatterproof Moto Z Force Droid Edition launched in mid-summer 2016.

Motorola's Shatterproof screens are no longer filled with compromises.

Expectations are that the Moto Z Force will once again be the top-of-the-line flagship for Motorola, but unlike last year it won't have a "standard" Moto Z2 anchored underneath it. Because of this, we can expect the Moto Z2 Force (if that is its name) to have more generalized appeal rather than simply being the bigger, more expensive phone with a shatterproof display.

To its credit Motorola has greatly improved its "ShatterShield" screen technology in recent iterations, dramatically cutting down on the compromises typically associated with the screen tech. It no longer requires a funky plastic layer on the screen that makes it feel horrible, nor does it include an inordinate amount of glare or separation between the screen and glass covering. Presumably the 2017 version will be even better, and that's one of the reasons why Motorola sees it appropriate to simply have the Moto Z2 Force and no standard flagship below it.

There's also a rumor that Motorola may take this opportunity to introduce the mid-range Moto X4, though the invite doesn't give us any additional clues there.

Whatever the combination of announcements ends up being, we'll all find out on July 25 — the event is at 11:00 a.m. ET in New York City, and we'll be there to cover it live.

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Google is using deep learning and data analysis to curate the Play Store

0

Machine learning plays a big part in how apps are monitored in the Play Store.

Google has released some details from the Security and Privacy team about how Google Play is being curated, and machine learning plays a big part.

Google has two basic goals for applications in the Play Store: safety and exposure. The Security and Privacy team wants to weed out apps with malware, but they're also concerned about applications that ask for broad permissions that might not be needed. In turn, when good apps that follow good practices are found, the team wants them to be featured in the Play Store.

Machines build peer groups to study what apps can do and if they should be doing it.

One of the ways they do this is by using what is called "peer groups". Applications with similar capabilities are grouped together. Apps like Spotify and Pandora (for example) are different from each other, but they have the same basic functions and are designed to stream music to your Android using details from your account with each service. The same goes for Twitter and Facebook or apps like coloring books. When they do the same basic things, they get lumped together. This makes it easier to study what the apps are doing, how they are doing it, and if they should be doing it at all.

They are then analyzed to see what they request from your device when it comes to personal data. Ideally, every app in a peer group will request the same types of information and have a good reason to do so. But sometimes, one will be an outlier. Google gives the example of a coloring book app that requests fine location details through GPS. Other coloring book apps don't do this, so one that does would be subject to further review by the Security and Privacy team.

There are too many apps in Google Play to do this by hand.

There are too many apps in Google Play for humans to do this effectively, so Google has employed some machine learning techniques to automate much of the process. Deep learning algorithms study the language in the app, data about what the app does and how it does is analyzed by computer, and the peer groups themselves are built by these machines based on things like app metadata and text descriptions as well as metrics like user installs.

Google does plenty to keep malware from getting on your phone through Google Play, but this is also to educate developers about the complex (very) permission model Android uses. this is a pretty cool way to use computers that help users and developers, and it's great that Google is willing to share some information about how it's being done.

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Google Play Movies can now display HDR content over Chromecast Ultra

24

Chromecast Ultra just got a color boost.

Did you wonder why you spent more on that Chromecast Ultra almost a year ago? It wasn't just for the 4K resolution support but the promise of greater things to come.

Well, today, that greater thing is HDR support. According to Google, 4K content that is also encoded with HDR (high dynamic range) will automatically begin playing on TVs that support both standards — as long as you're in the U.S. or Canada. Google says of the update:

With HDR, users can now buy and watch movies, like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, with better contrast, greater brightness levels and sharper images than HD. We're launching HDR for Chromecast Ultra users (when connected to an HDR capable display), with many of our major studio partners including Sony and Warner Bros.

While all the pieces have to line up for HDR content to play — you need the right TV, the right Chromecast, the right movie and to live in the right country — this is just the beginning of more vivid, lifelike content over Chromecast.

Chromecast vs. Chromecast Ultra: Which should you buy?

Google Hardware

Google Wifi:

Google Amazon

Google Home:

Google Best Buy

Chromecast Ultra:

Google Best Buy

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

These are the accessories your PlayStation VR needs right now!

0

There's more to owning a PlayStation VR than being Batman.

As gaming VR systems go, PlayStation VR has been a hit so far. The initial launch left many hunting for games that were out of stock for days and controllers that were out of stock for longer, but now that things have settled down and you've started pushing through the lineup of launch titles, it's time to take a look at what you need to enjoy this headset long term. Outside of a fresh controller and the new PlayStation Camera, this is what you need to fully enjoy your PlayStation VR!

Read more at VR Heads!

Read more and comment

 
1 week ago

Best accessories for the Samsung Galaxy S8

9

The Galaxy S8 is a big deal on its own, but it's even better with some fantastic accessories. Here are some of the best you can find!

A phone, naked, is just a phone. A phone, accessorized, is a... well, it's a phone with a bunch of awesome stuff connected to it. From cases to battery packs to chargers, camera add-ons and other cool stuff, here's what you need to know.

Samsung Clear View Standing Cover

A case that doubles as a kickstand isn't anything new, but Samsung's Clear View Standing Cover does it right. Not only does the folio case protect the screen when not in use, but the cover is translucent, so you can see and interact with the phone while it's docked to answer calls and see notifications. When you want to watch some sweet music videos on the train home, the cover opens up and docks to a kickstand. Perfect.

See at Amazon

Spigen cases

Spigen is always on point with its lineup of cases for the latest smartphone releases, and it's rolled out a full line for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+.

If you've tried and loved one of their cases before, you'll be able to find the style that's right for you.

A deep dive into Spigen's Galaxy S8 case lineup

See at Amazon

Samsung Wireless Charger Convertible

Samsung has completely revamped its wireless charger for the Galaxy S8 and it's pretty great.

The plush pad can charge the Galaxy S8 or S8+ wireless from pretty much any position, but the beauty of this new charger is in the name: you can prop up the phone on a desk to charge vertically, allowing you to peer at (and get distracted by) the Galaxy S8's awesome new always-on display while you work. It's really simple to change positions, and in either orientation the phone charges fast — almost as quickly as it would when plugged in.

And if you're not all that interested in a convertible charger, last year's fast wireless charger can be had for a steal over at Amazon.

See at Amazon

Anker PowerCore+ 21000

Your Galaxy S8 already comes with a pretty big battery, but if you're the type to carry a backpack wherever you go, putting this slim, lightweight Anker PowerCore+ 21000 pack in there is a pretty good idea.

The charger comes with two USB-A ports and a dual-direction USB-C port for charging your phone and the charger itself. Genius! And because there's so much room in the battery, it should top up your Galaxy S8 five or six times without needing to be topped up itself.

See at Amazon

Mophie Juice Pack

If a battery charging case is more your thing, Mophie has you covered. The Juice Pack line has been powering Galaxy devices for years, and this year's model is slimmer and more intelligent than ever.

The Juice Pack plugs into your Galaxy S8's USB-C port to top it up with 2950mAh of additional juice, and the case itself, like the phone, charges wirelessly using Qi technology, so you can use the same wireless charging pad you do for your phone.

Or, if you're looking for something a bit more unique, you can grab the Mophie Charge Force battery case and wireless battery charging pack, which is a little harder to buy right now, but if you should find it, it's probably a better product overall.

See at Amazon

Gear VR w/ new Controller

If you've never tried Samsung Gear VR before, you're in for a real treat. Samsung partnered up with Oculus to provide one of the best mobile VR experiences you'll find, with compelling games to play alone or with friends, tons of streaming video apps and VR exclusive experiences, along with its own functional social media platform.

Making things all the sweeter is the inclusion of the new touch controller, meaning you won't need to hold your hand up to the headset like you're Cyclops from the X-Men.

Everything you need to know about Samsung Gear VR

See at Amazon

Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch

The Gear S3 doesn't get enough love. It's an amazing smartwatch with tons of features that work really well with the Galaxy S8. And, if you're running it with Samsung's latest smartphone, you get things like Samsung Pay, which isn't available on other devices.

But more than that, Samsung has created a relatively affordable, long-lasting and feature-filled smartwach in the Gear S3, and one that, unlike most Android Wear products, will last more than a day on a charge.

See at Amazon

Which accessories have caught your eye so far?

What are your go-to accessories for a new phone? Anything you'll be picking up for your new Samsung Galaxy S8? Let us know in the comments!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
Show More Headlines

Pages