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1 day ago

Google's Arts & Culture face matching doesn't work in Illinois or Texas

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The culprit might be privacy laws in the states.

By now, chances are you've heard about a new feature in Google's Arts & Culture app that scans your face and matches it with a famous painting. It's blown up over the past couple of days, but users in Illinois and Texas have reported that they're unable to use it.

Google confirmed to CNN that the face matching feature doesn't work in these two states, and while it declined to comment about why this is, it would appear that it has to do with privacy laws that exist there.

Back in 2008, a law was passed in Illinois that made it so companies had to let users know when biometric data was being recorded and what it would be used for. A year later in 2009, a similar law was passed in Texas. The Arts & Culture app does tell users that it scans their face and consent must first be given before the feature will work.

Some people are of the mindset that Google is in violation of these laws, but others beg to differ. Speaking to CNN, Director of Georgetown Law Center on Privacy & Technology, Alvaro Bedoya, said:

This app isn't being rolled out in these states because of privacy law. It isn't being rolled out in these states because powerful companies want those privacy laws to go away. They're trying to prove a point by not letting consumers in those states use the app.

It's unclear if Google will remove the restrictions in place for users in Illinois and Texas, but if you live in either of these areas and really, really want to try the face matching feature for yourself, you can download a VPN to get around them.

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1 day ago

Moto Folio is an inexpensive folio case Moto Mod that costs $14.99

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The Moto Folio protects your phone and has a slot for holding a credit card or ID.

Since the first Moto Z came out in 2016, Motorola's been building its Moto Mod collection at a pretty steady rate. Motorola used CES 2018 to show off two of the most interesting Mods to-date, but ahead of that, it's released another one that might be one of its most practical – the Moto Folio.

Folio cases for phones aren't anything new, but since this is a Moto Mod, the Moto Folio easily attaches to the back of your Moto Z handset using its magnetic connection system. The back and front of your phone are protected from any drops or scratches, and on the inside of the Moto Folio is a slot for storing either a credit card or ID.

The Moto Folio is available in three colors, including Super Black, Fine Gold, and Grape Juice. It has a retail price of $14.99 (making it the most inexpensive Moto Mod to date), but you can purchase it now from Motorola's website for just $11.24.

See at Motorola

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1 day ago

How to fix common Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL problems

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Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL

Having trouble with your Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL? Here's where you start.

No phone is perfect. And even though the Pixel 2 and 2 XL seem to be pretty solid devices, there are some issues that have cropped up over time as thousands and thousands of them made their way out into the wild. Some of the problems are inherent in all smartphones, others appear in rare cases and a couple are simply unavoidable in the Pixel 2 and 2 XL in particular.

If you're having trouble with any aspect of your Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, this is a great place to start. We've gathered up some of the most common issues owners are having, and accompany them with some possible remedies.

Screen color is 'wrong'

Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL

How you feel about the color and saturation of your phone display is a very personal decision, and everyone has different thoughts on what looks "right." But the Pixel 2 XL in particular has taken heat for not having the most colorful or saturated display out there, to the point of looking dull to some. If you're not a fan of how your Pixel 2 or 2 XL's screen looks, you have some options.

Go into your Settings, then Display and tap on Colors and choose between the three options. "Natural" will be the most neutral and simple, "Boosted" will be natural still but with a little extra punch, and "Saturated" will go more over the top with colors. Most people will be happiest with Boosted, but those coming from other OLED phones that are often tuned to offer deeper colors will want to switch to Saturated to keep things familiar.

Noticing screen burn-in

Perhaps the biggest hullabaloo surrounding the Pixel 2 XL has been early reports of image retention and full-on burn-in on the screen. The former isn't much more than an annoyance — sometimes things that have been shown on the screen for a long time stay there faintly for a bit after switching away. The latter is more of an issue — burn-in seems the same as image retention at first, but the effects are permanent and typically seen for core interface elements like the navigation and status bars.

Don't go hunting for screen burn-in, but if you see it early you should get a replacement.

The most important thing to say here is that you probably shouldn't go hunting for signs of screen burn-in on your phone. If you don't notice it in the regular use of the phone, you shouldn't have any issue with it — and at the same time, every phone today with an OLED-based screen will have some level of burn-in over time. It's just a characteristic of the display technology at this point.

But if you're noticing screen burn-in on your Pixel 2 or 2 XL early on, such as within the first few weeks, you shouldn't hesitate to contact Google support and get a replacement device. While burn-in is relatively common, it doesn't typically set in on phones so rapidly — and seeing a considerable amount right from the start isn't a great sign for how that display will look a year on. Google will offer you at least a two week return period, and you should take advantage of it. For serious cases, Google has also extended its manufacturer defect warranty to a full two years.

Bad battery life

Google Pixel 2 battery life

"I'm seeing bad battery life" is the holy grail of problems that are nearly impossible to diagnose. But here are some good basic principles to follow when trying to improve battery life:

  • Check for power-hungry apps: One badly coded app can be a nuisance; a handful of badly coded apps can destroy your battery. At the end of the day, go into your battery settings, scroll down and see what percentage of your day's battery life was consumed by which apps. If a single app is using more than 5%, think about if it really needs to be using that much — investigate to see if you can get it to calm down.
  • Uninstall unused apps: A bad app can't drain your battery if it isn't installed. If you started up your new Pixel 2 and just installed all 100 apps from your last phone, chances are there are dozens on there you don't actually need. Uninstall the useless ones — you can always install them later if you decide you need them.
  • Turn off always-on display: It doesn't have a huge effect, but any time the screen is even partially illuminated it's using battery. Go into the Display settings and turn off "Always-on" — a nice compromise is keeping "Lift to check phone" turned on to have it illuminate when you grab your phone.
  • Reduce display sleep time: In the same vein, you can set your display to go to sleep quickly when it isn't being interacted with. By default the phone is at 1 minute, but you can set it as low as 15 seconds if you'd prefer to save the battery instead of the convenience of having the screen stay awake.
  • Use a static wallpaper: Out of the box the phones use a great "living wallpaper" that subtly animates. It looks cool, but also uses up battery. Switch to a static wallpaper, and you'll save some precious juice.

One thing to consider at some point, particularly on the Pixel 2 with its 2700mAh battery capacity, is that you just won't be able to get more battery life out of your phone no matter what you do. Even if you follow all of the above steps, you have to use your phone at some point — and if you use it hard, it's going to drain the battery quickly.

Slow performance

Chances are your Pixel 2 or 2 XL is still zippy, but perhaps 6 or 12 months into owning it you'll notice it slow down a bit. This is normal, but it's also preventable! It's no coincidence that some of the fixes for bad battery life noted above are also applicable to issues with bad performance. The best thing you can do is figure out if there is an app (or multiple apps) running rogue in the background and sapping your processor power or memory.

The best thing you can do is check on misbehaving apps and clear up your storage.

First, go to your battery settings and see if an app is draining an an usual amount of your battery over the course of the day — if it is, there's a good chance it's also using up other system resources. While you're thinking about apps, also consider uninstalling old apps you haven't used in a while — there's no need to keep them around, potentially running in the background, if you have no intention of using them.

Next, go into Settings and then Storage to see if you have enough free space on your phone. Chances are if you're at a critically low storage level you'll have a notification bothering you about it, but if you're pushing up past 90% full storage you may run into other performance issues. The Storage settings give you a readout of what's using up storage, and an option to automatically free up space.

LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS problems

Google Pixel 2 network connections

Dealing with wireless radios is so often referred to as a sort of dark art — something that's difficult to understand but so often extremely frustrating to deal with. But on phones, we rely on mobile networks, Wi-FI, Bluetooth and GPS on a daily basis. If you're having troubles with any of the set, here are a few tips to consider trying:

  • Turn the radio off and back on again. Yes, really — just toggle on airplane (flight) mode, and turn it back off about 15 seconds later. Give your various radios a few minutes to reconnect to everything, and see if that fixes your issues.
  • At the same time, power cycle the device on the other end. There's a good chance the cheap pair of Bluetooth headphones, or the wireless router at home, is what's having an issue. Turn it off and start over.
  • Forget the network or device you're having trouble with. Whether it's a Bluetooth speaker or a Wi-Fi network, go into the network/device list and forget it — start back from scratch and see if it fixes it.
  • Reset network settings by going into Settings, Reset options and "Reset WI-Fi, mobile & Bluetooth." Confirm you want to reset, and it will return all of these areas back to their defaults. Now you can start fresh and reconnect to each device one at a time to determine where the issue may be.

There are so many potential issues here that it's tough to get into the details. But start here — and hopefully you get on the right path to troubleshooting where the issues are and how to fix them.

Clicking noise in Pixel 2 earpiece

One of the more peculiar issues on the Pixel 2 in particular is a reported "clicking" or "hissing" noise heard in the earpiece when making a call. It wasn't present on all calls or all phones, but it's happening on enough phones that Google has addressed the problem. According to Google it has rolled out a fix for the clicking sound.

Previously, Google had indicating that turning off NFC would fix the problem temporarily, and though some have reported that this doesn't work, it may be worth a shot if you're still waiting for that November update. If the problem persists beyond that update, that points to a potential hardware problem and you may want to contact Google support and look for a replacement device if you're still within your return window.

How to factory reset the Pixel 2 or 2 XL

Google Pixel 2 factory reset settings

For the software-related issues noted here, if the step by step processes to try and fix them don't work sometimes the only way to go is a full-on factory reset of the phone.

Before going any further, make sure you've backed up any data you want to save. Make sure Google Photos is synced, and you have any other important data offloaded to a service like Google Drive or Dropbox. Then, proceed.

  1. Go into Settings and scroll down to select System.
  2. Tap on Reset options and then Erase all data (factory reset).
  3. Scroll down to acknowledge and tap Reset at the bottom.
  4. Confirm your PIN or passcode, and proceed.

After a brief period and a reboot of the phone, it will come back exactly as it did the first day you took it out of the box. Use this opportunity to start anew — don't necessarily just reinstall all of the same things you had before, because that may be how you had troubles in the first place!

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

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1 day ago

This is what Fuchsia OS looks like on the Pixelbook

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Fuchsia OS technically runs on the Pixelbook, but there's still a lot that's broken.

At the very beginning of the year, it was discovered that Google had added the Pixelbook as an official test device for its mysterious Fuchsia OS. Just about a couple weeks later, the team at Ars Technica managed to get Fuchsia running on the machine with some (expectedly) mixed results.

Unlike an early version of Fuchsia that came out in May of 2017, this is running directly on the Pixelbook rather than just showing a UI on top of Android. You can read Ars Technica's article to learn about all the nitty-gritty details, but what I find most interesting is how the UI works.

Starting first with the lock screen, you'll see the time in the middle with a plus icon near the bottom right. Tapping this brings up shortcuts for Wi-Fi, Login, and Guest, but for the time being, all of these are quite broken.

Fuchsia's lock screen (left) and home screen (right)

Once you move past this and get to the home screen, the time/date, Wi-Fi indicator, and battery information is present in the middle of the screen. Below this is a Google Search bar and notification cards to show contacts' birthdays, how long it takes to get to a restaurant, etc. When you tap on the Fuchsia logo at the top, you'll get volume and brightness sliders, airplane mode toggle, do not disturb mode, and auto-rotate lock.

Any apps or web pages that are open appear at the very top, and you can move these around and open them up in split-screen mode as you like.

Recent apps and split-screen mode in Fuchsia

Fuchsia OS is still in very early stages, and there's a good chance a lot of what we're seeing here could change by the time it's ready for the limelight. Even so, it is interesting to get a glimpse of what Google's working on.

Chromebooks

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1 day ago

Essential Phone giveaway! Enter now at Android Central!

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We've put together a little contest that will give one of you the opportunity to win an Essential Phone, because who doesn't like winning free phones? All the details are below, so get yourself entered now!

THE PRIZE: One Android Central reader will be taking home a new Essential Phone in black!

THE GIVEAWAY: Head down to the widget at the bottom of this page. There are multiple 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. The prize does not include service, and we cannot guarantee that the device will work on all carriers. International winners will be responsible for any customs fees incurred during shipping.

The giveaway is open until February 9, 2018, and the winner will be announced right here shortly after the closing date. Good luck!

Enter to win a free Essential Phone from Android Central!

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1 day ago

These are all the Moto phones Motorola is releasing in 2018

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2018 is shaping up to be a big year for Motorola.

Ever since its acquisition by Lenovo, Motorola's turned into a company that's not shy about releasing a lot of different phones each year. This allows for a lot of choices, but it can also make trying to pick the perfect phone a bit headache-inducing. No matter your opinion on Motorola's release cycle, however, there's no denying that 2018 is already shaping up to be an exciting year for the company.

Our friends at Droid Life recently got their hands on full device renders of Motorola's 2018 lineup, and while we can't yet verify if any of this is legit just yet, some of what we're seeing lines up nicely with another leak that came out before these.

In any case, here's what we might see from Motorola in 2018.

Moto Z3/Z3 Play

Kicking off this list, let's talk about Motorola's highest-end and most premium phones for 2018 – the Moto Z3 and Z3 Play.

Just like last year, we're expecting Motorola to release two entries in its Z-series in 2018. The regular Moto Z3 will be the most powerful of the two, whereas the Z3 Play will come with slightly lower specs and a more affordable price tag. Specifications for these two phones are mostly up in the air, but what does seem like a sure bet is slimmer bezels.

Both the Moto Z3 and Z3 Play will supposedly come with 6-inch FHD+ displays, and like we saw through a lot of 2017, bezels surrounding these panels are going to be cut down considerably. The Z3 (pictured below) has the slimmest bezels of the two, but the Z3 Play still looks a lot more modern when compared to the Z2 Play.

Something that's got our attention with these two renders is the lack of a physical fingerprint sensor. It's possible that Motorola will be opting for one that lies underneath the display like we saw with Vivo at CES 2018, a facial recognition system, or a combination of the two. It's too early to say for certain, but we'll likely see at least one of these things make an appearance.

Along with showing off the phone itself, the image of the Z3 also reveals a new Moto Mod. It may not look like anything at first glance, but the "5G" branding near the bottom suggests that this Mod will allow the Z3 to get 5G data speeds. Furthermore, the monthly data allotment page is taken right from the Project Fi app and could be a hint that more Moto phones will find their way to Google's MVNO.

Moto X5

If you're not about the Moto Mod life but still want a quality phone from Motorola, the X series has proven to be the way to go. Our first look at the Moto X5 shows a very similar design compared to the X4, but there are a couple key differences.

Just like the Z3/Z3 Play, we're looking at a tall display with slim bezels on all sides. However, unlike those two phones, the X5 appears to have a notch near the top just like another phone with an X in its name. This is one trend I was really hoping wouldn't catch on, but if it has to make its way into one Moto phone, so be it.

The screen on the X5 is said to measure in at 5.9-inches with a FHD+ resolution, there are dual cameras on the front and back, and there's also mention of "Moto's Smart AI."

Also, like the Z3/Z3 Play, there's no visible fingerprint sensor. Our guess about the under-display module or facial recognition remains the same, but once again, it's too early to say for certain.

Moto G6/G6 Play/G6 Plus

Motorola's G-series has been its most popular (and profitable) since the very first Moto G that came out in 2013, and this year's entries are shaping up to be the best we've seen yet. There will be three G-series phones in 2018, including the Moto G6, G6 Play, and G6 Plus.

Moto G6 Play

All G6 handsets are adopting the Moto X4's glass design, and it adds a nice premium touch to the budget lineup. Looking first at the G6 Play, there will be a 5.7-inch FHD+ display with a 16:9 aspect ratio, large 4,000 mAh battery, and Motorola dimple that doubles as a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. The phone will be available in Dark Charcoal, Deep Blue, and Gold colors, but other specs are still a mystery.

Moto G6 (left) and Moto G6 Plus (right)

The G6 and G6 Plus will both adopt a new 18:9 aspect ratio, with the G6 offering a 5.7-inch FHD+ display and the G6 Plus going for a 5.93-inch one with the same resolution. The G6 will come with a Snapdragon 450 processor, 3,000 mAh battery, 3GB/4GB RAM, 32/64GB storage, 12MP + 5MP rear cameras, and a 16MP front-camera. The G6 Plus ups the processor to the Snapdragon 630, will offer up to 6GB RAM, and feature 1.4um pixels on the rear camera. All its other specs are shared with the G6.

Pricing isn't mentioned for the G6 Play, but it's said that the G6 will cost $240 and the G6 Plus will go up to $330.

Moto E5

Last but not least, we've got the Moto E5. The Moto E4 proved to be a truly excellent phone for $129 (or cheaper) in 2017, and based on what we've seen from the E5 so far, it looks like we'll have a similar situation this year.

I'm expecting the phone to stick with a traditional 16:9 aspect ratio, but even so, it looks like we'll be getting rounded corners to help give it a little modern flair (and don't forget about the rear fingerprint sensor that's part of the Moto dimple). Exact price and specs are still unknown, but if you're going to be in the market for an affordable phone this year, this will probably be one that you'll want to have on your shortlist.

Updated January 18, 2018: Added new renders for Moto G6, G6 Play, and G6 Plus.

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1 day ago

Huawei joins RCS movement by using Android Messages as default texting app

10

Google's convinced Huawei to adopt RCS; now it just needs to do the same with carriers.

Although we may never get iMessage on Android, that's okay. Google's been leading the charge for RCS for a while now, and in an attempt to help expand its adoption to more carriers and other partners, Huawei is joining Google in this trek.

RCS is essentially the next step up from traditional SMS/MMS texting, and it allows for things like texting over Wi-Fi networks, non-sucky group chats, indicators when someone's read your message, etc.

One of the ways Huawei will be helping Google increase RCS's adoption is by shipping all of its future phones with Android Messages out of the box. Android Messages is Google's main showcase for RCS, and by using Android Messages as its default texting app, Huawei will be following in the footsteps of Motorola, Sony, LG, HTC, and others.

It's really encouraging to see so many OEMs work with Google is expanding RCS, but the real challenge lies with getting carriers to adopt Google's hub model.

Bell Mobility takes a first step in replacing SMS in Canada

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1 day ago

Honor View 10 vs. Honor 7X: Which phone is best for you?

7

Honor is catering to two different kinds of shoppers with these phones.

Honor is starting off the New Year strong with two new devices that tackle the low- and mid-range markets. The Honor 7X is one of our strongest recommendations for budget shoppers, packing a 18:9 display and dual cameras for just $200. Similarly, the View 10 gives the OnePlus 5T some much needed competition in the affordable flagship territory, with incredibly powerful specs and Android Oreo out of the box.

Despite the difference in price, however, both phones look pretty similar. Each has a large display with a high screen-to-body ratio, capable dual cameras, and an all-metal design — so why shell out more than twice the money for the View 10?

Why you should save your money and get the Honor 7X

These days, you don't have to spend $500 or more to get a good phone. The Honor 7X may not pack the powerful internals of its more expensive companion, but it's still a very solid performer.

The aluminum unibody design feels far more premium than that of similarly priced options like the Moto G5 Plus, and the 18:9 display gives the 7X a more modern look. The 2160x1080 LCD panel is a great touch, too — that's the same resolution as the higher-end View 10.

Inside, it packs an octa-core Kirin 659 chipset, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. That's quite a bit more than $200 usually affords, and you can further expand that storage with a microSD card if you don't need the second SIM slot.

The 7X also impresses with its dual cameras. The secondary sensor is only 2MP, but it helps the primary 16MP ƒ/2.2 lens measure depth for nice wide-aperture photography. In addition, there's a wide selection of shooting modes for different photo moments.

See at Amazon

Why you should spend more for the View 10

For all the Honor 7X's merit, the View 10 is simply more powerful. It features the same Kirin 970 chipset as the Mate 10 Pro from Honor's parent company, Huawei, which is one of the highest-end processors on the market. With it comes to Huawei's Neural Processing Unit, which allows for powerful AI enhancements that improve camera performance, instant text translation, and more.

Anything you can do, View can do better.

It also fills in the gaps on some important features the 7X lacks — namely the newer USB-C standard and NFC communication. Unfortunately, it's still missing IP certification for water and dust resistance, and the aluminum design prevents wireless charging compatibility, but there's still plenty to love about this phone.

The View 10 also features more modern software. Where the 7X is still stuck on Android 7.0 Nougat and EMUI 5.1, the View 10 goes all out with Oreo and EMUI 8 to offer the same software experience as on the premium Mate 10 Pro. This introduces a cleaner UI, as well as handy new Android features like picture-in-picture video and notification dots.

See at Honor

Which one's right for you?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer here. Both phones are fantastic offerings for their respective price ranges, beating out the competition in a number of ways. The View 10 is clearly the more premium option, but not everybody will benefit enough from its advantages to justify spending the extra money.

It mostly comes down to whether you prioritize features like Android Oreo, EMUI 8, or the View 10's AI capabilities. If modern software is a must-have, then the decision is easy — you simply won't get that from the 7X. If, however, you don't mind being on a slightly older build of Android, the 7X still has a lot to offer, and in day-to-day operation, you likely won't notice the difference in performance.

Which would you choose?

Which phone would you pick up, and do you have any solid plans of doing so? Let us know in the comments below!

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1 day ago

These are the 20 cities where Amazon's next HQ could be located

37

Chicago, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and NYC are among the contenders.

After taking over most of Seattle, Amazon announced plans in early September last year for building a second headquarters that's being referred to as HQ2. Although a final location has still yet to be determined, we're now one step closer to this with Amazon's shortlist of 20 potential candidates.

When Amazon initially announced HQ2, it said that the new location would have to have over 1 million residents and be within a 45-mile range to an international airport. The 20 cities that have been chosen all meet those requirements, and they include the following:

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Austin, TX
  • Boston, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Columbus, OH
  • Dallas, TX
  • Denver, CO
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Miami, FL
  • Montgomery County, MD
  • Nashville, TN
  • Newark, NJ
  • New York City, NY
  • Northern Virginia, VA
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Toronto, ON
  • Washington, D.C.

Amazon says that 238 total communities submitted proposals to be considered for HQ2 and that "through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation."

Something that Amazon's been very adamant about is the fact that HQ2 will not be a satellite campus and very much be a proper headquarters. Amazon estimates that more than $5 billion will be invested into HQ2's creation and that it'll accommodate 50,000 new jobs and tens of thousands of additional jobs with its construction, maintenance, etc.

If you live in one of the above cities, are you hoping that Amazon chooses it as the location for HQ2?

Amazon's looking to take over a(nother) town near you!

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1 day ago

Honor View 10 update adds face unlock, January security patch, and more

3

The update is rolling out now and should reach everyone by January 24.

The Honor View 10 is an incredible phone, and in case you missed Hayato's full review, you should absolutely check it out. The View 10 packs a serious punch for its price of just £449, and a new software update that's now rolling out to the phone makes it even better.

One of the biggest things this update brings is a new face unlock feature. As you'd expect, this enables the View 10 to be unlocked by just looking at it. It's something that we've seen in a lot of phones since the iPhone X, but where the View 10 goes a step further is by mimicking Apple even more with a smart notification setting that only reveals notification info on your lock screen once it recognizes your face.

The View 10 can also automatically rotate its screen based on the orientation of your face, you can choose to have the display turn on every time the phone's picked up, and the screen will now stay on as long as you're looking at it.

Last but not least, Honor has also added the latest January 2018 security patch and protection against the Meltdown vulnerability.

Honor is rolling out the View 10's update in batches, and it should be available to everyone by January 24.

Honor View 10 review: Shaking up the affordable flagship space

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1 day ago

VeeR VR Editor is the best editing app for your 360-degree photos

3

VeeR VR Editor delivers an excellent editor for your 360-degree photos.

After you've captured the amazing panorama of your vacation spot or an epic shot of a snowball fight in action, you may take a look and decide that you want to make a few adjustments to your 360-degree photos. Whether this means adjusting the orientation of the photo or tweaking the light balance to make sure everything is clear and easy to see, having the right app for the job is integral.

VeeR VR Editor delivers a stellar experience for editing your photos and gives you access to everything you need to get things just right. I've got the details for you here!

Download: VeeR VR Editor(Free)

Why VeeR VR Editor is the best

If you've edited 360-degree videos in the past, then you may already be acquainted with VeeR VR Editor, but it isn't just for videos. You can also take advantage of a robust set of features that will let you tweak your photos as well. While there are a number of other photo editors out there, VeeR VR wins out by virtue of the features it offers and how easy it is to use them.

The features

VeeR VR Editor gives you access to three different sets of features, which you can access via the buttons at the bottom of your screen.

Your first set of features is denoted by button that looks like three interconnected circles. This is where you'll find the tools to adjust what your photo looks like. There are over a dozen filters that you can use to quickly change the tone of your photo without tweaking things individually. There are also the full adjustment options. These include the ability to adjust the contrast, exposure, saturation, warmth, tint, and toning.

The second button looks like an emoji in blue, and under that, you'll find stickers that can be placed on your photo. There are tons of them to choose from, including seasonal stickers, classic emoji, and fun items like glasses or beards. Once you place a sticker on your photo, you're able to pick exactly where you want to place it, whether it should sit at an angle, and best of all, the size of the sticker. This can lead to fun options like putting silly glasses on a friend or covering the sun with a smiling sticker version.

The last button gives you limited text options. While you can add text to your photos and change the color of the text, that's all you can do. There are no options for changing the size or the angle of the text when it is displayed on your photo.

If you've never really edited a photo before, aside from choosing the perfect Instagram photo, then you're going to recognize the filters within VeeR VR. Likewise, picking stickers or adding text is easy and generally just requires a few taps. If you like having more control, then fine-tuning is handled using slider bars. This also means folks new to editing can still play with the adjustments without having to lose their other edits to learn the ins and outs.

VeeR VR Editor makes adjusting your photos easy

While there are a few other options for editing for 360-degree photos, VeeR VR Editor does the best job by a long shot. It gives you access to plenty of features, but never overwhelms you with too much all at once. Saving and sharing your edits is just as easy, which means you'll be able to show your friends the amazing sights you're capturing. It's easily the best app for editing your 360-degree photos.

Download: VeeR VR Editor(Free)

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1 day ago

This is what the Google Pixel 2 could have looked like

14

Google's lead hardware designer Ivy Ross shares early design concepts for the Pixel 2, Pixelbook, and more.

If you're a fan of the design for any of Google's latest products that were announced last October, the woman you'd want to thank is Ivy Ross. Ross is in charge of Google's design team for its hardware division, and Google's official blog 'The Keyword' recently interviewed her as part of its The She Word series.

I highly recommend checking out the entire interview as it's an excellent read, but one of the most interesting tidbits to come out of it are early design concepts for the Pixel 2, Pixelbook, and Daydream View headset.

As you can see above, Ross and her team tested a ton of different designs for the Pixel 2 before settling on the final version. All of the concepts have a two-tone design with the glass and metal back, but some of them had bodies that were wider, blockier, and had different-sized camera sensors.

We also have a look at a couple different designs for the Pixelbook, both of which feature glass that took up about half of the front as opposed to the smaller glass window Google ended up choosing. It also looks like Ross toyed with the idea of having the window in a black paint job, meaning we could have gotten a panda Pixelbook alongside the Panda Pixel 2 XL.

In the photos below, you can also see early designs for the Daydream View (one of which had holes on the front...yuck), color swatches that were tested for the Home Mini, and different fabrics that were considered for the Pixel 2's fabric cases.

I'm more than happy with the final products Ross and Google chose, but it's still interesting to get a look at what could have been. What are your thoughts on these early design concepts?

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Best Buy Verizon Google Store Project Fi

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1 day ago

Best Game Controllers for Android in 2018

4

Best Overall

SteelSeries Stratus XL

See at Amazon

If you want a no-compromises controller, something that feels just like the controller you use when you're sitting in front of your television, SteelSeries has what you need. These controllers look and feel solid. No cheap buttons, wiggly joysticks, or any of the typical problems you find with cheap mobile gaming controllers. You're getting what you pay for here, which means you're paying a little more than you would for the average gamepad.

Bottom line: If you want the best controller for your gaming, SteelSeries built the Stratus controller for you.

One more thing: This version of the controller only comes in black. If you see a white version of this controller, it's the iOS-only version and won't work with your Android phone.

Why the SteelSeries Stratus XL is the best

It's basically an Xbox Controller, which is exactly what you want if you're gaming for extended periods.

Microsoft and Sony spend an insane amount of money engineering controllers, because research shows how the different grip design and button placements lead to longer gameplay sessions. When you're looking for a controller for a phone, it doesn't make a ton of sense to drift very far from what you know works. SteelSeries borrows quite a bit from the Xbox One design, and it shows when you're able to comfortably play for extended periods of time.

This controller delivers plenty of battery, a strong connection to the phone, and a quality feel when playing. It's the perfect gamepad for playing games during a long flight, or during a lunch break at work. It's comfortable, durable, and capable, exactly what you want if your goal is to own the best possible controller for your gaming needs.

Best for portability

Moga Hero Power

See at Amazon

Playing games when mobile frequently means not having the best place to put your phone when playing. The natural solution is to have a controller that actually holds your phone, and the Moga Hero Power is the best controller for that ultra-portable experience.

It's designed to be more flat than a standard console controller, so it easily slides into a bag and doesn't take up much space. When it's time to play, lift up the center section and drop your phone into the grip. You now have a controller you can take anywhere that lets you play just about anything.

Just don't walk and play, or video of your epic wall smash will absolutely make it to YouTube.

Bottom line: If portability is what you need, Moga offers the best with the Hero Power controller.

Best Value

8BitDo Zero

See at Amazon

Can we all take a moment to stop and appreciate how small and functional this controller is? It's a classic SNES format in a package small enough that you could hang it from your car keys. That's damned impressive.

8BitDo has a history of making quality hardware that appeals to Nintendo nerds, and this latest version if no exception. The buttons are nice and tactile, the battery will last for several days of gaming, and it even comes with a wrist strap just in case.

The big feature here, aside from the physical size, is the price. This controller is available for under $20, so you can grab one cheap and not be terribly concerned with what happens if it doesn't survive the washing machine because you forgot to check your pockets again.

Bottom line: It's small, cheap, and sturdy. You want this controller.

Conclusion

There is no such thing as one kind of gamer. If you want a controller for your phone that feels like a console controller, get yourself the SteelSeries Stratus. If portability is the most important feature, the Moga Hero Power is what you need. For those on a budget, or just want something pocketable, 8BitDo nails it with the Zero. Either way you win, because each of these are exceptional controllers delivering quality gaming experiences. Have fun!

Best overall

SteelSeries Stratus XL

See at Amazon

If you want a no-compromises controller, something that feels just like the controller you use when you're sitting in front of your television, SteelSeries has what you need. These controllers look and feel solid. No cheap buttons, wiggly joysticks, or any of the typical problems you find with cheap mobile gaming controllers. You're getting what you pay for here, which means you're paying a little more than you would for the average gamepad.

Bottom line: If you want the best controller for your gaming, SteelSeries built the Stratus controller for you.

One more thing: This version of the controller only comes in black. If you see a white version of this controller, it's the iOS-only version and won't work with your Android phone.

Updated January 2018: We've refreshed this page with our favorite gaming controllers for Android!

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1 day ago

Here's the first teaser trailer for 'Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery'

3

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is shaping up to one of the most personal games in the Wizarding World yet.

The year of 2018 already has a lot of promise for Harry Potter fans. In addition to Niantic's Harry Potter: Wizards Unite AR game that's coming out at some point over the next 12 months, we'll also be getting a mobile RPG title in the form of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. This game was first announced in mid-December, and now we have an even better idea of what it'll offer thanks to the first official teaser trailer.

Hogwarts Mystery takes place between Harry Potter's birth and his first year at Hogwarts, and you'll create your own character and live out the wizard or witch life you've always wanted. There's full avatar customization, skill upgrades, and (of course) the ability to choose your own pet.

After being placed in one of Hogwarts' four Houses, players will attend classes, learn new spells, unlock new locations to visit, and even battle with other students.

Jam City (the developer of the game) promises that Hogwarts Mystery will offer "both large plot arcs and smaller stories", and if all of this pays off the way it's being promoted, we could be in for a real treat.

There's still no final release date for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, but until we learn more about that, what are your initial thoughts about the game?

Pokémon Go developer announces Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

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1 day ago

What's your favorite keyboard app?

73

With so many keyboard apps to choose from, picking just one can be a challenge.

We all know that user customization is one of Android's highlights, and one of the areas where this is seen is with the ability to download third-party keyboard apps. This is something that Apple eventually added to iOS in 2014, but even today in early 2018, third-party keyboards are still the best in camp Android.

The Google Play Store is filled with different options to choose from, and while there is some garbage here and there, there are also a lot of excellent ones available. Our forum users recently shared their thoughts on which keyboard app they like the best, and these are a few of the top answers.

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MooMooPrincess 01-16-2018 10:25 PM “

Gboard, swiftkey, go keyboards are the ones I recommend. Fleksy is alright, touch responsiveness is meh at times

Reply
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sanyka78 01-16-2018 10:43 PM “

BlackBerry keyboard made a huge difference for me. Love it comparing to stock.

Reply
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amyf27 01-17-2018 05:56 AM “

I'm currently using the stock keyboard, but have had good luck with Touchpal's Leather keyboard. Only issue with them is they have some ads. I haven't really messed around much with keyboards, but may try a few other ones out. I'm very picky with how they look I like the stock keyboard because it will show my theme behind it - currently have a leather theme that shows on my backgrounds -...

Reply
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Aquila 01-17-2018 01:45 PM “

Gboard by a long ways, distant second choice would probably be SwiftKey, but it's been going downhill over the last 3 years and Gboard is widening the gap.

Reply
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BaconDanny 01-18-2018 12:55 AM “

I've been using Fleksy for the last couple years and I love it. It has swipe gestures for deleting the last word and for swapping between autocorrect suggestions, and I've gotten extremely accustomed to it and when I use a keyboard without it I feel frustrated. The autocorrect works well and the keyboard is fast and customizable. Try it out :)

Reply

How about you – What's your favorite keyboard app?

Join the conversation in the forums!

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