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2 weeks ago

Never miss another delivery with the Ring Video Doorbell Pro for just $200

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a great savings on the Ring Video Doorbell Pro!

Thrifter deal alert! Who's that knocking at the door? Oh, just a $50 savings on the awesome Ring Video Doorbell Pro? Well, come on in, don't be shy. This savings drops the video doorbell to its lowest price yet, coming in at just $199.99. With the Video Doorbell Pro you'll be able to not only see who is at your door in 1080p from anywhere but also interact with them without having to answer the door.

That's right, you can interact with the delivery guy so you don't miss that important package, catch the kids who keep ringing your doorbell and leaving, and much more. You can also pick one up through Best Buy's official eBay store at the same price, so don't miss out on this awesome savings. Order one now so you don't regret it later. If you're in the market for the basic Ring Video Doorbell, you can pick one up for just $149.99 right now as well.

See at Amazon

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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2 weeks ago

MrMobile's HTC U11 review: A study in contradictions

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In five years reviewing smartphones I don't think I've ever seen one so full of contradiction as the HTC U11. A stunning backplate mated to a forgettable face; fast software blunted by extraneous gimmicks; slick multimedia features without a big battery to back 'em up. Even the name "U11" seems an awkward compromise of last year's simplicity and this year's … peculiar claptrap.

But despite all the flip-flopping, the HTC U11 is a good smartphone with some unique features; find out whether they're enough to make it matter, in MrMobile's HTC U11 Review! And be sure to check out all of Android Central's coverage as well!

Stay social, my friends

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2 weeks ago

All of the PlayStation 2 games that are available to play on your PS4

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Breathe some new life into your old favorites by playing them on your PS4.

In 2015 Sony started bringing PlayStation 2 games to the PlayStation 4 and now the number of games supported is too big to memorize. That means it's time for a list!

There are over 40 games available and they've been updated to include PSN Trophies and other PS4 features like Remote Play, posting to your Activity Feed, and PSN Broadcast just like any other game you might be playing on your PS4. On the graphics side, your PS2 games look better than ever with intelligent 1080p upscaling. What's not to love, right?

Not so fast. You can't just stick your PS2 disk into your new PlayStation and Sony isn't offering any digital download for people who previously bought a title. You'll be paying for each game you want to play again. The pricing is reasonable, though, with titles starting at $8 and most games are under $20.

All this aside, the list does have quite a few favorites in the mix. We'll keep this updated so you know when your favorite PS2 game gets the treatment.

  • ADK Damashii
  • Ape Escape 2
  • Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits
  • Bully
  • Dark Cloud
  • Dark Cloud 2
  • Destroy All Humans
  • Destroy All Humans 2
  • FantaVision
  • Fatal Fury Battle Archives Vol. 2
  • Fu'Un Super Combo
  • Grand Theft Auto III
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
  • Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
  • Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Special Edition
  • Hot Shots Tennis
  • Indigo Prophecy
  • Kinectica
  • Manhunt
  • Max Payne
  • Metal Slug Anthology
  • Okage: Shadow King
  • PaRappa The Rapper 2
  • Primal
  • Psychonauts
  • Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords
  • Red Dead Revolver
  • Red Faction
  • Rise of the Kasai
  • Rogue Galaxy
  • Samurai Shodown VI
  • Siren
  • Star Ocean: Till The End of Time
  • Star Wars: Bounty Hunter
  • Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter
  • Star Wars: Racer Revenge
  • The King of Fighters 2000
  • The Mark of Kri
  • The Warriors
  • Twisted Metal: Black
  • War of the Monsters
  • Wild Arms 3

PlayStation 4

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2 weeks ago

Amazon reportedly working on an 'Ice' smartphone lineup with Play Store access

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Amazon is planning to launch a $100 "Ice" smartphone in India later this year.

After the dumpster fire that was the Fire Phone, it looks like Amazon is planning to re-enter the smartphone segment with a new lineup of devices codenamed "Ice." Citing two sources familiar with the matter, Gadgets 360 states that the Ice smartphones will be targeted at emerging markets like India. Unlike the Fire Phone, they will run the latest version of Android with Google Mobile Services enabled, allowing customers to download apps and games from the Play Store.

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2 weeks ago

Android Central is giving away the all new HTC U11!

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Get your hands on this hot new device.

The new HTC U11 is a beautiful phone, with a design that's truly unique to look at and solid to hold. The biggest new feature of the U11 is its "edge sense" technology, allowing you to literally squeeze the phone instead of using convenience keys. Be sure to check out our full review of the U11, because there are truly a lot of awesome new features you'll want to know about. When you're done there, come back here and enter to win one for yourself!

THE PRIZE: One Android Central reader will be taking home their choice (Sprint in blue or black; unlocked for AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon in blue, black, or silver) of brand new HTC U11!

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.

Android Central is giving away the all new HTC U11!

The giveaway is open until June 19th, and the winner will be announced right here shortly after the close date. Good luck!

HTC U11

Amazon Sprint HTC

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2 weeks ago

This rare Sonos discount makes it the perfect time to fill your house with wireless music

4

Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a pair of Sonos discounts you won't want to miss!

If you've been looking into wireless speakers for your house, Sonos is likely a brand that you have seen pop up multiple times. It's no secret that Sonos products are a bit on the more expensive side, but there is a good reason behind that: they are amazing. I got my first two speakers over 6 years ago, and thanks to online updates from Sonos the older speakers have all the same features and functionality as my brand new addition that I got this year.

One thing about Sonos speakers is that they don't go on sale very often, so when they do you want to be sure to pick them up. Right now the company is offering $50 off the 2-pack of Play:1 speakers, and $100 off the Sonos Sub.

These deals are available at a variety of retailers, including:

Both the speakers and subwoofer are available in black and white, and you can mix and match the speakers if you want. Whether you are looking to get your Sonos system started, or want to expand one that you already have, you won't want to miss out on this deal!

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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2 weeks ago

YouTube TV vs. Sling TV: Which one is worth the monthly subscription fee?

58

Should you pick Google's live TV service that's limited by area, or does Sling TV's tiered pricing seem more up your alley?

The greatest gift given to me by Google and Sling is the promise of live TV wherever I am on whatever device I have in my hand — as long as I'm paying the monthly subscription fee, of course. I've missed cable so very much; the on-demand way of life is certainly appealing when your world is upside down and your schedule is constantly in flux, but as I've been adjusting my life to be more serene and scheduled, it means I've also found time to sit down and watch my favorite shows in real time.

At present, YouTube TV and Sling TV are the two over-the-internet television services worth choosing between if you want cross-platform watchability. (Hulu's Live TV is currently available in beta, but we'll revisit it once it's fully launched. Plex also offers a live option, but it's limited to Android TV.) They both offer ways to watch live television while you're on the go or at home, as well as a vast on-demand library and cloud DVR capabilities.

Their pricing structure isn't the same, however, and I found that overall, YouTube TV is the better deal for those who want a fluid television experience with recording capabilities. If only it weren't so limited by region.

Update: A correction has been made to the Sling TV Extra's list to explain that they're only available to Sling Orange subscribers. Also updated to add that Sling TV's DVR capabilities are supported on Apple TV.

The all-inclusive nature of YouTube TV

YouTube TV

There is a definite difference between marketing strategies for YouTube TV and Sling TV. The former seems more positioned as an add-on to your already involved YouTube experience — the fourth thing you see when you scroll through the app on an Android device is original YouTube Red content. But for the most part, the subscription content you view on YouTube and the television you watch with YouTube TV remains mostly segregated.

For $35 a month, YouTube TV offers 46 different channels, including the major network television stations, a bevy of live sports channels, and bilingual content from Telemundo. You won't get all the local channels like you would with regular cable, however, which means you'll miss out on PBS and public access television in the crawl. (Thankfully, PBS is already available to stream for free online.)

If you're aching for more than what YouTube TV currently offers, add-ons are pretty limited.

If you're aching for more than what YouTube TV currently offers, add-ons are pretty limited. You can add on a Showtime package for $11 extra a month, or Fox Soccer Plus, which offers access to all the big matches for $15 a month. If you desire more, you'll have to satiate your desire for more content by subscribing to a third-party video streaming service, like Netflix.

YouTube TV is only available in New York, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area (I've tested it as far out as San Jose and as far north as Petaluma), Chicago, and Philadelphia. If you're not in either of these areas, you won't have access to the service, nor can you watch any recorded content you may have set up beforehand. I had to pay Google Play on top of my monthly subscription to YouTube TV while I was in Iceland, for instance, to stay caught up on my shows regardless of the fact that I had programmed YouTube to record them. This isn't live TV on the go.

If you're a television buff, however, and you're wholly devoted to staying on top of your favorite shows as they debut on television, YouTube TV's built-in nearly-unlimited DVR feature is incredible. You can set it up to record any show or movie as it plays on live television, or follow your favorite sports teams for that matter. You can then access those recordings from your TV Library and they'll stay in your crawl for up to nine months or until you've finished watching them.

Perhaps my favorite feature of YouTube TV is the ability to enable family sharing with up to five additional people. My gal pals and I are all enraptured fans of the Real Housewives series, and I shared my account with them so that we can all stay up to date on the various shenanigans without each of us having to pay individually for the varying sessions through an on-demand video service. And if we feel like binge watching, the subscription to YouTube TV also provides access to all of Bravo's on-demand content right from within the app.

The a la carte offerings of Sling TV

Sling TV

Sling TV is a much better alternative to cable for the sheer fact that it offers more choice. In fact, it seems to have built a subscription model based entirely on the fact that it is a viable option to cable. What you pay monthly for Sling TV varies on which package you choose, as there are a multitude of tiers and add-ons to choose from. Here's a sampling of some of what's available.

Sling Orange

At the basic $20-per-month plan, you get ESPN, TNT, TBS, HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Travel Channel, CNN, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Comedy Central, AMC, IFC, A&E, History Channel, Lifetime, Bloomberg, Newsy, Flama, Viceland, AXS TV, and Cheddar.

Note that some of these channels, including Newsy and Cheddar, are already streaming for free on rival apps like Pluto TV.

Sling Blue

For $25 a month, Sling Blue offers access to the same content as Sling Orange — except for ESPN, strangely — as well as access to content from Fox, NBC, and Viacom's respective channels. Some of those channels include Bravo, NBC Sports, Syfy, and Univision. You'll also need to pay for this tier if you want to share your account, and even then you can only enjoy up to three streams at a time.

Sling Blue+Orange

Getting overwhelmed by choice? That's okay — that's often a byproduct when the service is a la carte. If you want to add a fourth person to stream, you can pay $40 a month for the Sling Blue+Orange tier, which also unlocks access to ESPN, the Disney Channel, and Freeform. (And if you've got a teenager in the house, you'll definitely want to subscribe to Freeform.)

The add-ons

But wait, there is quite literally more! If you'd like to watch any of the premium television channels in real time, you can subscribe to them for an additional fee. HBO is $15, for instance, while Cinemax is $10. STARZ is also offering a premium pay package for $9, and that includes STARZ Encore. Lastly, SHOWTIME and its affiliated channels can all be added on for an extra $10 a month.

And then, there are more

If you want even more content, here are a sample of some of the packages you can purchase for an additional $5 with a Sling Orange subscription:

  • Heartland Extra, which adds PixL, Family Net, Sportsman Channel, Outdoor Channel, World Fishing Network, and RFD-TV.

  • Kids Extra, which includes Disney Jr., Disney XD, Boomerang, NickToons, Nick Jr., TeenNick, Sling Kids, Duck TV, and Baby TV.

  • Sports Extra, which adds the SEC Network, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, NHL Network, Universal Sports, Univision Deportes, beIN Sports, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Goal Line, Campus Insiders, and Outside Television.

  • Comedy Extra, which bundles MTV, TruTV, Spike, MTV2, CMT, Logo, TV Land, GSN, and El Rey.

  • Lifestyle Extra, which comes with the Cooking Channel, DIY, truTV, WE tv, FYI, LMN, VH1, BET, Vibrant, Oxygen, and E!.

  • Hollywood Extra, which includes both live and on-demand content from EPIX, EPIX2, EPIX3, EPIX Drive-In, Sundance TV, Fandor, Turner Classic Movies (also known as TCM), and HDNet Movies.

  • News Extra, which includes channels from Fusion, HLN, News 18 India, Euronews, NDTV 24x7, France24, RT, BBC World News, MSNBC, CNBC , and TheBlaze.

  • And lastly, you can choose from Broadcast Extra, which only available in select cities. This package includes ABC, Univision, and UniMas.

There are also extra tiers if you speak Spanish, Mandarin, Italian, French, German, and Brazilian Portuguese. You can view the entirety of the constantly changing lineup here.

After reading all this, you might feeling a little overwhelmed. I don't blame you: signing up for Sling TV is a bit of an experience, as it's not merely a "tap to subscribe with your Google account" kind of service the way that YouTube TV is. Sling TV does do all of the calculations for you as you add on packages, however, so you can see in real time how much a monthly subscription will cost you. At the very least, the lowest Sling Orange tier seems to offer all the basic channel necessities, including ESPN for the sports buffs.

With so many options, just signing up for Sling TV is a bit of an experience.

Sling TV also has the advantage of working across a variety of devices. Whether you've got several set-top boxes, game consoles, or smartphones laying around, they're all capable of working with Sling TV's apps. However, as Android users you might find that Sling TV works better on a wired, connected device rather than through Google casting. I can report that I had several issues with regards to streaming Sling TV from my smartphone to the Chromecast, to the effect that the app would randomly freeze up during an advertisement or start over the video feed.

Perhaps the biggest caveat, however, is that Sling TV doesn't bundle in Cloud DVR like YouTube TV. It's a $5 add-on, though it's limited to the Sling Blue and Blue+Orange tiers. It also only offers a 50 hour recording limit, though the videos will stick around as long as it takes you to watch them — there is no nine-month limit like there is on YouTube TV.

Sling TV's DVR services are available on Roku devices, Roku TVs, the Amazon Fire TV Stick, Amazon Fire TV, Android devices, and Apple TV. It's a bit more robust than YouTube TV's offerings, too, since you can choose how to record, like whether it's limited to one time or all showings of a specific program. You don't get that kind of control over recordings with YouTube TV.

The apps

From left to right: YouTube TV's front page; your personal library in YouTube TV; the Live TV crawl.

As far as Android app capabilities go, YouTube TV has a number of user interface features working against it. The minute I log into my account, I'm bombarded with all the available content, which can be overwhelming when all I wanted to do was catch one particular show. The Android app also has a propensity to auto start whatever I was watching last, so if the media volume is loud for whatever reason, it can be pretty startling.

I was not a fan of Sling TV's Android app, but that's because of its constant crashing and casting issues, which I mentioned above. I have a Roku box as a backup for when things just don't Chromecast, but I much prefer to be able to grab my phone and send the stream to the television than have to navigate through another system just to watch TV.

Both interfaces have their quirks, but Sling TV's app wasn't as stable as YouTube TV.

Sling TV's user interface is a tad better than YouTube TV's in the sense of how it organizes the content, though I'm not a fan of its droll color scheme. When you start up the app, it takes you directly to your own customizable landing page, the idea being that you're immediately led only to the content you'd view. If it were me, for example, I'd set it up with Bravo and E! as my bookmarks, and HGTV as backup. This way, I'm always privy to what trash television is on when I launch the app. If you need to jump into the main channel guide, it's easily accessible in the overflow menu.

Conversely, YouTube TV requires you scroll over twice to the left. This is fine, and I appreciate the ability to quickly swipe over without even thinking about it to get to what's on TV, but with the aforementioned auto play issue it can be a little slow to load the latest even on my Pixel XL.

I'd wager the reason that Sling TV's app interface is so much more navigable is because the company behind it knows television. There's a bit of a standard to navigating TV; you know how to jump into it wherever there's a Guide button on the remote, for example, and Sling TV sticks to those typical conventions. YouTube TV, on the other hand, seems more designed for smartphone users, which results in one long, giant page that requires you scroll through a massive number of thumbnails to find what you want. The thumbnails are fine because I can more quickly scan what's on TV with them there, but man, they are not pretty to look at.

Which one to choose?

Choosing between YouTube TV and Sling TV can seem like a whopper of a choice to make, but the good news is that both services offer trial periods. YouTube TV is currently offering a promotion that gets you a month free of the service, plus a free Chromecast after you subscribe. Sling TV is running a similar promotion with a week free of service, plus a free Roku Stick when you subscribe.

There's another way to look at the two services if you're choosing between the two: YouTube TV is made for smartphone users and those who are deeply entrenched in Google's ecosystem. I like that the app is immediately visible from the Google Home app, for instance, and that all I have to do to log in to the service is link up my Google account. YouTube TV is meant for the Google user, which is also why it works nearly impeccably on both the first- and second-generation Chromecast streaming sticks.

Make your decision based on price and where you expect to use the service most.

Sling TV is made for people who want to ditch their cable companies. It offers the most variety and the most choice, but it's modeled after the way we wish cable companies would operate. Its services really are a viable option to a Comcast or Time Warner account, and the barrier to entry is relatively low. All you need is a little device that supports the service, which you can buy almost anywhere those things are sold.

In the end, your choice will rely mostly on price. I'd suggest tallying out what it is you pay for separate streaming services and attempting to whittle it down to which would be the most cost efficient and which works best in your region and with the devices you have in your home. Note that both services also offer a giant heaping of movies and on-demand video, which could help as you're deciding which streaming services to stick with.

Regardless of whether you choose YouTube TV or Sling TV, It'll be interesting to see how other rival services, like Plex and Hulu, will manage throw a wrench into the live television experience. It's also possible that this particular idea of live television anywhere will become merely another essential add-on to our already constantly-connected lives.

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2 weeks ago

Best Android Tablet Under $100

Best Overall

Amazon Fire HD 8

See at Amazon

Amazon has pretty much nailed what it takes to make a good, low-cost tablet. It's been doing it for a while and what you get in the latest Fire HD 8 is pound-for-pound the best tablet around for less than $100.

It's got a decent screen, all the content you could wish for, Alexa, and enough power even to push some of the latest games. You don't have Google Play, but Amazon's Appstore is much better than in years past.

Bottom line: You can't do better below $100.

One more thing: You can only get the 16GB version for under $100, but it has microSD expansion.

Why the Amazon Fire HD 8 is the best

Not having the Google Play Store is no longer a reason not to recommend Amazon's tablets. The truth is that while some apps, namely Google's, will be missing, for most buying a cheap tablet it's not the end of the world.

Amazon is the best reason not to avoid cheap tablets anymore.

Amazon has cornered the market for affordable tablets with a focus on consumption. Its own services are front and center, of course, but you'll also find the other big services there to add to your tablet.

You're also getting pretty good hardware given the price. The 1280x800 display looks pretty good, 16GB of internal storage is OK but you can also slap in a massive microSD card and expand that by a lot. You're also looking at around 12-hours 'mixed use' battery life and a tablet that's strong enough to take a tumble or two.

It used to be the case that we'd warn you to stay well clear of cheap Android tablets. Amazon is the best reason that no longer applies.

Best for kids

Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition

See at Amazon

Beneath the giant, tough as boots case, this is basically a regular 7-inch Amazon Fire tablet. So why is it twice the price? You're getting double the base model's internal storage, that special kid-friendly case, and one heck of a warranty.

With the Kids Edition comes a two-year warranty where you can literally just cash in for a new one if your kid breaks it. No questions asked. That alone is worth the extra cost. That and the year of Freetime included to give the little ones some great, targeted content.

Bottom line: Everything that's good about the regular Fire tablet but with added kid-friendly bonuses

One more thing: The latest model supports expanded storage up to 256GB and dual-band WiFi.

A dual-booting alternative

Chuwi Hi8 Pro

See at Amazon

This brand you may never have heard of has produced an excellent, low-cost Android tablet that's also a Windows 10 tablet. It also has a 1920x1200 resolution 8-inch display, USB-C charging and a pretty capable Intel Atom x5 processor.

The Android part of this tablet may well fare worse when it comes to updates than the Windows portion, but there's a lot in this package for less than $100. The hardware is basically unrivaled at this price point, and it can be a little PC, too.

Bottom line: Half Windows, half Android, all great, budget tablet.

One more thing: The official keyboard case is also very affordable and can give you a mini laptop on the go.

Conclusion

It used to be the case that buying a cheap Android tablet was a bad thing to do. Thanks to Amazon, that's no longer the case. The best offering is the 8-inch, but you've also got smaller and larger versions, as well as those targeted at providing a great experience for your kids. It's hard to go wrong.

Best Overall

Amazon Fire HD 8

See at Amazon

Amazon has pretty much nailed what it takes to make a good, low-cost tablet. It's been doing it for a while and what you get in the latest Fire HD 8 is pound-for-pound the best tablet around for less than $100.

It's got a decent screen, all the content you could wish for, Alexa, and enough power even to push some of the latest games. You don't have Google Play, but Amazon's Appstore is much better than in years past.

Bottom line: You can't do better below $100.

One more thing: You can only get the 16GB version for under $100, but it has microSD expansion.

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2 weeks ago

AlwaysOnline Wireless debuts on-demand LTE data plan for any device

6

Service when you need it, how long you need it, and where you need it.

In 2015 Otono Networks announced the launch of AlwaysOnline Wireless, a global LTE roaming network exclusively for iPads using Apple's unique and proprietary SIM technology. Today, the service expands to include any compatible device such as a smartphone, tablet, or Wi-Fi hotspot.

The service works with on-demand pricing, meaning you can pay for an hour, a day or a Megabyte at a time. It's available in over 90 countries including the USA, Mexico, the UK, France, China, Spain, Japan, and Italy. You can see all the coverage details at this link. In every country with service, AOW offers a dedicated LTE network so your service is as fast as possible. Rates start at 99 cents per hour in most countries and you can schedule in advance so you're ready to go when you need it.

Plans and pricing:

  • By the Hour with Data SIM  —  from $0.99 USD per hour
  • By the Hour with Apple SIM  —  from $0.11 USD per hour
  • By the Day  —  from $2.99 USD per day
  • By the Megabyte  —  from $0.01 USD per megabyte

Wireless service is competitive and every company is looking to one-up the rest. Offering hourly plans for travelers or in an emergency is really unique, and having the ability to use it in 90+ countries isn't half bad, either. The full press release is below and you can find out more at AlwaysOnline Wireless.

AlwaysOnline Wireless Launches Global Data SIM for 4G LTE on Any Mobile Device in Over 90 Countries

VANCOUVER, CANADA (June 5, 2017) – AlwaysOnline Wireless (AOW), a leader in short-term, on-demand LTE data plans for iPad with Apple SIM users around the world, today announced its newest product, the AOW Global Data SIM.

Prior to today, the AOW service was available only to users of iPad with Apple SIM by purchasing LTE data plans directly on their device. Now with the AOW Global Data SIM, users of all other mobile devices - smartphones, Wi-Fi hotspots, and cellular-enabled tablets - can access the AOW network. This global, high speed LTE network is currently available in over 90 countries, and is expected to grow to over 100 countries by the end of the year.

Each AOW Global Data SIM can be loaded with an LTE data plan for each country being visited. Travellers can choose from a variety of affordable plans, in increments as short as one hour, one day, or larger data plans from 500MB up to 5GB.

International travel is steadily increasing, with destinations like France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and China leading in number of international arrivals annually. AOW offers data plans in each of these countries, offering hourly plans starting as low as 11¢, daily plans for as little as $2.99, and plans with larger data buckets, like the 5GB plan valid for 30 days for only $34.99. Rates and plans vary by country and can be reviewed on the AOW website at alwaysonlinewireless.com/plans.

"Today's travellers need reliable, high-speed mobile connectivity wherever they go, and the demand for affordable options is rapidly growing," said Christian Paul, VP Marketing and CoFounder of Otono Networks. "By adapting the advanced technology we developed for Apple SIM service and combining it with the most competitive rates of any travel SIM card out there, we can keep more people connected at very affordable prices."

To get started with AOW, travellers simply need an AOW Global Data SIM card that can be activated online anytime. They then can purchase and schedule plans for each country, with the ability to specify the exact start date, time, and time zone for each plan. This allows customers to only pay for what they need without any overage fees or contracts. Once travellers return home, they can keep and reuse their AOW SIM for future trips.

AOW Global Data SIM cards are currently available online at alwaysonlinewireless.com for $14.95 USD with free shipping.

For more information on AOW, visit alwaysonlinewireless.com, find us on Facebook as AlwaysOnlineWireless, or follow @AOwireless on Twitter and Instagram.

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2 weeks ago

Moto Z2 Play is going up for pre-order in India on June 8

3

Motorola is rolling out attractive financing schemes to incentivize the Moto Z2 Play in India.

Motorola unveiled the Moto Z2 Play earlier this month, and the phone is all set to make its way to India later this week. The company confirmed in a tweet that the Z2 Play will be going up for pre-order in the country on June 8, with several offers available for customers looking to pick up the mid-range handset.

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2 weeks ago

Essential's uphill battle, and its mixed message on how to fight it

38
From the Editor's Desk

You can do everything 'right' in launching a new phone company ... and still not make it work.

Andy Rubin's new consumer electronics brand, Essential, had a pretty well-executed launch last week. There was a little bit of hype ahead of time, but also no real leaks or expectations. So when everyone saw the Essential Phone and Essential Home, and listened to CEO Rubin talk about his plans, people felt generally positively.

But of course, we've seen this play out plenty of times before. It's relatively easy to design a really neat-looking phone, source some typical high-end components, and tell a compelling story about what the ethos of your device is. It's a whole other level of commitment, execution and luck to actually turn that into a real, successful, sustainable product in the market.

My biggest concern is the mixed message — it's not clear how big Essential expects to be.

On the face of it, the Essential Phone clearly looks like it's a niche product for a very specific subset of consumers. It's expensive, stylish, and runs near-stock Android. It's priced like a flagship from Samsung, but at the moment has no carrier or retail partners in the U.S. — and unless Essential is willing to open up deep pockets on advertising, nobody is going to know it exists in the first place. But Rubin doesn't see the Essential Phone as a niche product ... he sees sales reaching a large scale relatively quickly.

It adds up to feeling like a mixed message. Is the phone a niche, well-made and interesting phone with features you can get anywhere else? Or is it a general consumer flagship that has a really wide potential customer base? It almost seems like Essential wants to start with the former to build a small dedicated early adopter group, then go to the latter strategy to actually make money. That transition is going to be very difficult to navigate.

And with that, a few more thoughts on the week that was:

  • The U.S. unlocked Galaxy S8 and S8+ are finally fully available, and a lot of people will be on the fence about whether or not to get one.
  • On one hand, I'll always recommend people go unlocked. On the other, Samsung's track record for updating unlocked phones is weak.
  • Apple's WWDC keynote is on Monday at 10:00 a.m. PT. It's worth watching, even if you're not a fan of Apple — you can't deny the pull that company has in the technology world.
  • Still super happy with the HTC U11, and I keep on using it despite it being an unlocked Taiwanese model missing a few radio bands. Can't wait to get a U.S. unlocked model.
  • Another phone in my arsenal, as we talked about on the latest podcast, is the Sony Xperia XZ Premium.
  • In typical Sony fashion it's beautiful, huge, spec-filled and has really good battery life. First impressions are the camera doesn't seem to be up to the quality of the price tag, though.

Have a great week, everyone.

- Andrew

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2 weeks ago

How to manage the microphone and camera privacy settings on your Chromebook

1

Because nobody wants to accidentally see you in your underwear.

The WebRTC protocol is a really cool thing. It's that thing a website can do that lets you use your microphone and camera on any website without installing any extra plugins or using Flash. This is the kind of stuff we need if we want everything on the web to just work everywhere.

But having a microphone and camera active is one of those things that you probably want to only happen when you want it to happen. It's important to make sure your privacy settings are in order here since every Chromebook has both a mic and a camera. Thankfully, it's also easy to do once you know where to look.

Finding the settings

By default, your Chromebook is set to ask you when a web page wants to use the mic and camera. That's good because the setting is buried in the "advanced" section of the settings page. But you still might want to have a look to see what sites you've allowed or blocked and change things if they need to be changed.

  1. Click the Notifications symbol inside the status area. That's the bell in the bottom right corner where your account picture lives.
  2. Click the Settings symbol (the gear), then click Advanced settings.
  3. Click Privacy, you'll see Content settings.
  4. In the pop-up window that appears, scroll down to find Camera and Microphone. They each have their own settings page, but adjusting things is exactly the same for each.

Changing the settings

  • At the top of the window that opens you can choose which device you're changing settings for. If you have a separate mic or camera plugged into your Chromebook, make sure to adjust the settings for both it and the built-in one.
  • Next, you see a switch that says Ask before accessing (recommended). If this switch is on it will be blue and when a website wants to use your mic or camera it will prompt you with a dialog popup that asks for permission before going any further. This is probably what you want to happen, so make sure it's switched on.
  • Next is the Block list and the Allow list. These are websites that you have previously blocked or allowed access to your mic and/or camera. You can remove websites from either list by clicking the X on their list entry.

Unfortunately, there is no setting to allow or block a site just once. When you choose to do either that site is put on the corresponding list and you're not prompted the next time you visit and the site wants to access your mic or camera. This is convenient for a website like Google Hangouts, but not so great for privacy in general. We suggest that you have a look and which sites can have access every once in a while and remove any that you feel shouldn't be there.

Chromebooks

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2 weeks ago

How hot does your Galaxy S8 get while it's charging?

67

Several forum members have reported concern over how hot their devices are while plugged into the wall.

Following the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, it seems admittedly easy to cry wolf when any Samsung smartphone becomes even a little warm. But the way forum user, amyf27, describes how hot their Galaxy S8+ got while charging via a USB-C adapter, it's hard not to be a little curious.

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amyf27 05-31-2017 10:05 AM “

Yesterday I was charging my S8+ with a Samsung Micro Usb cord with UsbC adapter, Samsung wall end. Changed fine but got hot. Temp according to the app went to 104.5°. It's been fine since but that raises a little concern.

Reply

One user noted that the cause for all this might be due to Samsung's apparent use of QuickCharge 2.0, which is less efficient than later versions and causes more heat to build up.

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flyingkytez 06-01-2017 08:26 AM “

It's using the old version of quick charge, and the old version does got hot from what I remember. If you're concerned, turn off quick charge and just leave it charging overnight.

Reply

Of course, it's possible that the reason this user's Galaxy S8+ is feeling hot is that it is physically hot outside. We're nearing summertime, after all, and as the weather increases in heat, so will the electronics around us. Here's your PSA to always use the charger that comes inside the box with your device.

What about you? Have you tried checking the Galaxy S8 or S8+ with an app like CPU-Z, which offers a readout of your device temperature?

Join the discussion in the forums!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Unlocked

About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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2 weeks ago

Digital Offers: Light the way for $30

Have you ever been filling your butane lighter or picking one up from the convenience store and been like, "man, I wish you could light things without flames and accelerant?" No? Me either, but wouldn't it be nice to carry around a handy lighter that doesn't require fuel?

Set all the things on fire for $30 Learn more

The Plasma Torch lighter is a lighter that uses plasma wave technology to create a "flame" that's even hotter than fire and can't be snuffed out by the wind. It looks basically like a mini-taser. This is a two-pack, which usually retails for around $200, given the complex technology involved, but at Android Digital Offers, you can get it for $29.99, a savings of 85%.

The Plasma Torch runs off a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and it's good for over 300 uses. Once dead, it charges up again in about an hour. The best part is that these convenient devices are TSA-approved, so travel is a breeze (you won't have to chuck it out at security).

This lighter is chemical free, so there's no harm to you or the environment (unless you touch the hot plasma, so don't do that). You could pay $200 retail, or you could check out Android Central Digital Offers and save 85% and pay only $29.99.

Set all the things on fire for $30 Learn more

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2 weeks ago

Jump into virtual reality with a friend with these WebVR-enabled experiments

Bored of being in virtual reality by yourself? Ask a friend to join with these easy-to-play Chrome-enabled experiences.

Virtual reality is still a relatively nascent technology that's yet to really storm the mainstream. As a result, it's not in everyone's home the way, say, a television set or a desktop computer might be. But as long as one of you has a virtual reality headset you can put to use, there are a couple of web-enabled virtual reality experiments you can play together to help pass the time until both of you are equipped with the proper headgear.

Read more at VR Heads!

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