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4 years ago

Chromecast review

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Did this $35 dongle just make Google a player in your living room? We think so

Chromecast came out of nowhere and got a lot of people excited about what it had to offer. Everyone had been expecting Google to do something with the idea that was born in the Nexus Q, but the media and the public were both pleasantly surprised when Sundar Pichai showed us the little dongle that held so much power.

Chromecast is not quite Google TV, and it's not quite a Roku. It fills a happy medium between the two, and is a great way to get your content on to your television. With platform support from Android and iOS, as well as the Chrome browser and OS, it's useful for most people. With an open set of APIs for developers to use we can imagine big things from this little stick. If you're tied into the Google ecosystem, it's a no-brainer. Even if you're not, it's a cheap solution to get content from the web to the television without any wires or hassle. Let's have a look at what it is, what it does, and how you can use it.

More discussion in the Chromecast forums

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4 years ago

New Android 4.3 features: Third-party SMS apps for quick replies and 'Notification Listener'

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Two new features that came with the latest update that fix frustrating issues

Google dropped Android 4.3 on us along with a whole bunch of other news last week, and while there were a few headline features of the release, nothing in particular caught our eye. Well we've had time to dig through a few of the new features that came along with Android 4.3 that weren't talked about in its introductory presentation and came up with some interesting finds.

Both improvements to the "Quick response" call rejecting feature and a new service called "Notification Listener" jumped out at us, and we'd like to tell you what's new in each.

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4 years ago

How the Android Central editors rock their home screens

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We Android users love to set up our devices just right, with everything we want or need within easy reach right from our home screens. We also like to share and compare with each other, and enjoy looking at some of the more exotic setups some folks have going on.

Someone asked the other day, wondering what the AC staff's home screens looked like. I sent a shout out to the forum mods and blog writers to send me a quick snap, without doing any tidying up. So here you go, and feel free to give us a few pointers while you're in there.

The AC staff home screen thread

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 series review

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The Galaxy Tab 3 line shares much in common with the Galaxy S4, but non-Samsung fanatics can find better Android tablets elsewhere

For me, the Samsung has consistently been the go-to choice for a quality Android tablet experience. I was an early adopter of the original Galaxy Tab 10.1, and the Galaxy Note 10.1 was the first device to make me feel like tablets were more than just oversized phones. As a Galaxy S 4 owner, I was eager to take the brand new Galaxy Tab 3 line for a spin and see how Samsung has incorporated the brand new version of TouchWiz into its flagship tablet line. 

I recently got to spend a few days with both the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 and the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1, and while I can't say I had a completely negative experience, it's clear the Galaxy Tab line no longer represents the cutting edge of Android tablets.

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4 years ago

'How to use Chromecast' video has a pretty awesome easter egg

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4 years ago

Zagat gets a new look on both the web and your smartphone

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Get the very best restaurants and nightspots right at your fingertips with the all new Zagat

It's been a while since Google did anything with the Zagat franchise they purchased back in 2011, but if you're a fan of the crowd-sourced restaurant rating application genre, you'll likely love what they've done with it. First off, everything is now 100-percent free, and a whole lot of people love free. Mostly though, it's the new modern look and feel they've created in their Android and iOS apps and the website. 

Bright, cheery and card-based, it still ties in to services like Google+ and Google Maps to keep you informed about the best places to get your grub on. With curated lists like Restaurants with the Best Food in Washington, D.C. (Obelisk in DuPont Circle has the best Italian west of Roma -- no lie) you'll have access to trusted opinions and ratings.

Zagat still only serves a handful of cities (Austin, Boston, Chicago, LA, NYC, Philly, San Francisco and DC) but if you're a local or plan on traveling, you should give this one a spin. Your stomach will thank you.

Source: Zagat

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4 years ago

Security camera showdown: Dropcam HD versus Belkin NetCam HD

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Over the last year, I’ve been getting really excited about connected home gadgets, and with Talk Mobile's security week kicked off, now's a perfect time to dig in. To date, I hadn't really taken the plunge on any major phone-friendly home accessories — not even for the Nest thermostat. But I got in on the preorder for Lockitron (which is shipping shortly), and the other week both the Dropcam HD and Belkin NetCam HD landed on my doorstep. These Wi-Fi-connected security cameras are both sitting around the $150 price range and offer access to live video streams from Android, iOS, and web apps. Both can share those streams publicly or privately, and both have night vision.

I was already pretty familiar with Belkin’s WeMo system (the remote light switch works great), so was excited to see what they were doing on the home security side. Meanwhile, Dropcam has been a long-standing leader in consumer security, and I was eager to see if their product stood the test of time. So let’s dive in and see which of these two is the better big brother.

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4 years ago

Editorial: The only secure option is the one that lets us read the code

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Unless you can see what it's doing, you have to trust that the software running on your mobile device is for your eyes only

We're going to spend a bit of time talking security on Talk Mobile 2013 this week. A lot of the discussion is going to be about what you share online, with or without your knowledge, and ways we can keep our mobile devices secured when they leave our hands. It's all very important stuff, but there is one other thing I want to bring up, and that's what I like to call the transparency factor.

To put it simply, the only time you can trust any software is when you can read the code and see what it is doing. Maybe you (and often times, me as well) don't understand all of it, but rest assured someone out there does. And they are looking. Putting code online for peer review is the only way independent third parties can see what it is really doing. And that can be pretty damn important.

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4 years ago

Draco Hydra aluminum bumpers for the Galaxy S4 and HTC One

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It's time for a quick look at the Draco aluminum bumpers for two of the hottest Android phones available — the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. These are nicely crafted combinations of plastic and metal that wrap around your smartphone in the usual bumper style, leaving the screen and the back of the phone exposed. 

And they do so with a premium price. You need to know that up front. The Hydra bumper for the Galaxy S4 runs $99 direct, and the Draco One bumper is $79. These aren't cheap. But neither do they feel cheap. That's evident as soon as you pull them from their boxes.

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4 years ago

Google Shopper app reaches its expiration date Aug. 30

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Google encourages Shopper users to instead use Google Search or its shopping webpage

Google Shopper, an app with over 10 million downloads that set out to help consumers find product information as well as organize shopping lists that were sharable with friends, is being shut down on Aug. 30. "Building a seamless shopping experience across all devices" is Google's reasoning behind the shut down, as they push for use of other products.

Shopper users are being directed towards other Google services to replace the Google Shopper functionalities, such as Google's search page, the Google Search app, and google.com/shopping. While these services do not offer a complete replacement for Google Shopper, they will allow users to compare prices, shop on mobile devices, find local products and reviews, and view product photos.

It seems consolidation is the theme around Mountain View lately.

Source: Google Commerce

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4 years ago

Lockdown: How secure is your smartphone? - Talk Mobile

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Look at your smartphone. You likely have at least one email account on it, along with the associated contacts and calendar. You have your memos and to-do list. There's your browsing history. Your phone history and text messages. Years of photos. Probably Facebook, and maybe Twitter or Google+. You might have a banking app, stores you frequent, or a travel app with your airline tickets.

4 years ago

Iterate 51: Tim van Damme after Instagram

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type="audio/mpeg"> Iterate is our Mobile Nations podcast where we talk to the designers who make the apps, icons, and interfaces we love. In this episode, Tim van Damme talks to Marc and Rene about creating 2-bit icons, his time at Gowalla, making card-based interfaces, designing Instagram, and taking it from iOS to Android.

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4 years ago

Lenovo IdeaTab A1000 review

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A solid tablet for the price range that suffers from a bizarre fatal flaw

First announced in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress earlier this year, the IdeaTab A1000 is Lenovo's latest entry into the budget tablet market. While Lenovo has been known for sitting at the sidelines when it comes to the Android smartphone market in the United States, the company is becoming successful in other countries, and does have a presence when it comes to Android tablets in the U.S.

While the IdeaTab A1000 is priced in a range that keeps it relatively safe from comparisons to some of the most recent 7-inch tablets, it has other problems. As the saying goes, "you are your own worst enemy." The amount of internal storage this tablet offers is the Achilles heel of its otherwise solid and sturdy construction. This is where the confusion may set in.

As the specification page for this tablet indicates, it has 16GB of internal memory. This may seem like far too much to be considered the worst feature of a device, especially when other tablets have done fine with half that amount. This is a special situation, one that we haven't seen for a very long time.

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4 years ago

Chromecast-a-day: Win one of our 6 remaining Chromecasts

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Welcome to Day 2 of our inaugural Chromecast-a-day giveaway! If for some reason you've been living under a rock, Google's $35 high-def video/music/browser streamer became a nearly instant best-seller, so we're celebrating by giving away one a day for the rest of the week.

To get in on today's action, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post. And be left-handed. And have at least four toes on your right foot. That's it. And perhaps have lived either in the Eastern or Western hemisphere sometime in the past 12 months. That should just about cover it.

Today's contest will run through midnight tonight, Pacific time. We'll pick a winner tomorrow morning and contact him or her by e-mail. (And we're getting ready to pick yesterday's winner, so stay tuned.)

Good luck!

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom now available on Three UK

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Free from £26 per month or £399.99 up-front on PAYG

UK network operator Three sends word that it's now stocking the Galaxy S4 Zoom in "selected Three stores." The handset, which couples Galaxy S4 Mini-like internals with a 16-megapixel camera and 10X optical zoom, is available from Three on contract and Pay As You Go.

Contract deals start at £26 per month for a free GS4 Zoom and a monthly allowance of 100 minutes, 500 texts and unlimited data. That increases to £32 per month if you're after Three's "One Plan," which includes 2,000 minutes, 5,000 texts, 5,000 Three-to-Three minutes, 5,000 Three-to-Three texts and unlimited data, as well as tethering.

On the PAYG side, you can pick up the Zoom for £399.99 up-front. Three's recently re-vamped its PAYG offerings, allowing those not using monthly add-ons to pay 3 pence per minute, 2 pence per SMS, 1 pence per MB of data.

For more on the Galaxy S4 Zoom, check out our hands-on feature from the London launch event. 

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