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3 weeks ago

Best Android Tablets of 2017

Update, May 2017: The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 remains the best Android tablet you can buy right now.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

See at Best Buy

The two most important things to have in a full-size Android tablet are a great screen and software that uses every inch of it. That's what makes the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 the best Android tablet.

An amazing screen from Samsung is no surprise. The 9.7-inch 2048x1536 Super AMOLED on the Tab S3 carries on the tradition, and it's simply the best display on a tablet. Android and Samsung mesh to provide a great software experience and the new S Pen and its 4096-level pressure sensitivity makes taking notes or producing digital artwork a breeze.

Bottom line: The Galaxy Tab S3 is the best tablet Samsung has ever made, as well as the best Android Tablet you can buy.

One more thing: The internal hardware is also top notch and will keep up with everything you would want to do.

Why the Galaxy Tab S3 is the best

It's exactly what we want from a tablet.

In 2017, a tablet is no longer just a bigger version of a phone. They have to pull extra duty and be a media player, a book reader, a web browser, and a work tool without any complaints or complications. Some tablets are great at some of these things, but the Tabs S3 is great at all of them.

Working, whether it's on a presentation for your boss or a paper for your professor, is very different on a tablet than it is on a more conventional computer. Apps are designed to be more simple and easy to use with a touch screen, while omitting many of the battery-hungry features you would find in their desktop counterparts. The biggest hurdle has always been finding a way to organize the things you're doing on your screen while you're doing them. Samsung has had this figured out for a while and with the debut of native features with Android Nougat, you'll be able to run your apps just how you like to run them.

The S Pen takes things over the top. A tablet with a wonderful screen, a custom-fit keyboard and cover, and powerful hardware is made better with a fully capable digital pen. The excellent Wacom integration makes taking notes or using photoshop a fluid and enjoyable experience that you won't find with any other tablet on the market.

Budget power

NVIDIA Shield Tablet K1

See at Amazon

The Shield Tablet is a gaming powerhouse featuring NVIDIA's cutting-edge 2.2 GHz Tegra K1 processor, but the Shield Tablet's software is what really sets it apart. Built right into the notification tray, for example, is the ability to stream what's on your screen to Twitch. Remote access software combined with the optional hardware gamepad allow you to play games that are running on your PC.

Alternatively, the GeForce Now cloud gaming service lets you do the same with games and computers hosted by NVIDIA. You really can have a great AAA gaming experience on a tablet.

Bottom line: Even for those that aren't hardcore gamers, the NVIDIA Shield Tablet is a powerful tablet and offers excellent value for the price.

One more thing: The Shield Tablet has also been updated to Android 7.0, so you'll have some of the same software benefits as our top pick!

For the enthusiast

Pixel C

See at Google

We liked the Pixel C when it first arrived at the end of 2015. We thought the design was striking and the NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor handled everything well. We really loved the crisp display and thought the package represented the Pixel brand very well. It reached its full potential with Android 7.0 and the native multi-window display feature.

Enthusiasts will love the Pixel C because the hardware is open and unlockable. Third-party Android builds or Linux builds or something nobody has thought of yet can be flashed to the tablet with no worries and the path back is as easy as downloading the software from Google.

Bottom line: The community will continue support for the Pixel C long after it officially ends because of its open hardware and bootloader.

One more thing: Because this is a Google hardware product, the Pixel C will be among the first Android tablets to be updated with new features.

Conclusion

Like most things, there is no one Android tablet that's right for everyone. That's one of the big reasons Google was able to break Apple's dominance in mobile computing — it offers a choice for just about everyone. Whether you want the stylish look and thin profile of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 or the high-powered yet low-priced NVIDIA Shield K1 — or anything in between — someone is making a tablet that will work for you.

Our pick with the Galaxy Tab S3 is tough to beat. Great construction, an awesome screen, and Samsung's unique S Pen experience put it at the top of our list.

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

See at Best Buy

The two most important things to have in a full-size Android tablet are a great screen and software that uses every inch of it. That's what makes the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 the best Android tablet.

An amazing screen from Samsung is no surprise. The 9.7-inch 2048x1536 Super AMOLED on the Tab S3 carrys on the tradition, and it's simply the best display on a tablet. Android and Samsung mesh to provide a great software experience and the new S Pen and its 4096-level pressure sensitivity makes taking notes or producing digital artwork a breeze.

Bottom line: The Galaxy Tab S3 is the best tablet Samsung has ever made, as well as the best Android Tablet you can buy.

One more thing: The internal hardware is also top notch and will keep up with everything you would want to do.

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3 weeks ago

DC Legends gets Wonder Woman update ahead of theatrical release

1

You can play as Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman from the upcoming film!

Wonder Woman is finally getting her own major motion picture, which will see its global debut this weekend. DC Legends is celebrating the Amazon's first solo outing with a new update that adds the movie versions of Wonder Woman, Hippolyta, and Doctor Poison as playable characters. A fourth, unannounced character is also slated to join the Hero roster as part of the June update.

These characters are available in new Hero Packs available in-game. The update also includes two new Hero events for June, including a 9-day event where players will battle in a brand new Gates of Tartarus environment set in Wonder Woman's island paradise. Wonder Woman will also be prominently featured on all of the in-game loading screens.

Also included in the update is a new Alliance and Chat features, a redesigned store that's easier to navigate along with the expected bug fixes, and other gameplay optimizations. You can download DC Legends from the Google Play Store.

Android Gaming

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3 weeks ago

Getting the most out of the PS4 share function

2

Share all your epic gaming highlights with the PS4's Share function!

Video game consoles can let you explore an irradiated planet, or try to survive the night while a pack of murderous Wendigos hunts down you and your friends. No matter what kind of adventures you are diving into, there may come a time when you want to share your epic quests with your friends. That is where PlayStation 4's share function shines. It allows you to quickly take screenshots and video clips, and you can even use it to broadcast your gameplay.

What is the share function

Unlike earlier game consoles where taking a screenshot or video was an involved process that often required extra accessories to pull off, PlayStation 4 has baked everything right into your console. This means that you can snag a screenshot, record a video, or even stream your gameplay, all with just the press of a few buttons on your controller.

This, of course, means that sharing and streaming your best gaming moments is easier than ever on the PlayStation. So the next friends you want to make your friends drop their jaws, be sure to have a few video clips of that epic firefight you've been talking about all week.

How do I use it?

Using the Share function is as easy as you might hope. In order to take a screenshot, all you need to do is press the share the button. A small icon of a photograph will pop up on the screen to let you know the screenshot has been saved.

In order to broadcast your gameplay, take a video clip, or take advantage of Share Play you'll need to press and hold the share button. This will open up a menu on the right side of your screen, with all of your options laid out for you.

To share a video clip all you need to do is select 'Video clip', and then decide where you want to share your video. Use this feature to easily share to Facebook, YouTube, and even Instagram. If you'd prefer to save your video clip instead of instantly sharing it, all you need to do is scroll down and choose 'Save video clip'.

You also have access to broadcast and sharing settings.

If you're more interested in streaming, then you have the option to Broadcast your gameplay directly to Twitch, YouTube, or Dailymotion. All you need to do is connect your account, and you're good to go. For those who like to have control over everything going on, you also have access to Broadcast and sharing settings from this menu. It's here that you can adjust the length of video clips, link with other services, adjust your audio sharing settings, and tweak your Broadcast settings.

You also have access to one final function from within the share menu — PlayStation Shared Play. This allows you to share your game with a friend using the internet, even if they don't have the game that you are playing. Essentially you're able to invite one friend into a private party so that the two of you can game together. You can even play a single player game in this manner, choosing to hand the controller back and forth, even if you aren't using the same console or aren't in the same place. The only catch is that both you, and your friend will both need to be active members of PlayStation Plus.

Have you used the share function for PlayStation 4?

PlayStation 4 makes it easy for you to save, share, and broadcast your gameplay, all with the press of a controller button. Whether you want to share your gameplay with one friend, or the whole of Twitch, that's an option that you can take advantage of. Have you used any of PlayStation 4's share functions? Be sure to let us know about it in the comments below!

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3 weeks ago

Samsung's Connect Home smart mesh Wi-Fi system will be available July 2, starting at $169 each

5

Another smart home mesh Wi-Fi solution for you to consider.

Samsung's new mesh Wi-Fi solution, the Connect Home, was announced back with the Galaxy S8 and S8+ but was understandably overshadowed by the flagship phones. Now a couple months removed from the hype, the Connect Home is finally getting a price and launch date. Best Buy is the exclusive launch partner for the system, and pre-orders will open up on June 4 for a launch on July 2 — a nationwide retail launch will then kick off on July 16.

Like other mesh router solutions, the Connect Home can be purchased as a single unit, for $169.99 each, or in a three-pack for $379.99. There's also a "Pro" version for "high bandwidth demands" that sets you back $249 and offers 4x4 MIMO and a faster processor.

At its core, the Connect Home system is a mesh Wi-Fi experience. A single unit is designed to cover up to 1500 sq ft, and a three-pack 4500 sq ft. The goal is "fast, reliable Wi-Fi coverage for every room in a home." Up to five units can be connected together for 7500 sq ft of coverage in a single network.

The big differentiator is SmartThings compatibility.

Samsung's charging a higher price than the Google Wifi but lands below well-regarded systems like the Eero. For the money, Samsung is attempting to offer more than just a Wi-Fi solution, though — Connect Home also functions as a SmartThings hub for your smart home. That means any SmartThings-compatible devices you own can be routed through the network automatically, without the addition of a separate Hub that would normally need to be plugged in to your non-Samsung router.

SmartThings compatibility with no additional setup may be a big deal for anyone who wants to get started with their smart home setup now and hasn't yet invested in a hub or a fancy mesh Wi-Fi system. But as far as just the networking aspect goes, Samsung may have a bit of an uphill battle fighting the set of well-known names already in the market.

Samsung offers a whole lot of information on the Connect Home over on its product website.

Press release:

Samsung Embarks on New Era of Whole Home Automation with the Launch of Samsung Connect Home Smart Wi-Fi System

All-in-one Whole Home Wi-Fi and SmartThings Hub Offers Ultimate Home Control for Today's Families

Available for Pre-order Exclusively at Best Buy on June 4; launching nationwide July 16th

RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J. – June 1, 2017 – Samsung Electronics America, Inc. today announced Samsung Connect Home will be available exclusively for pre-order on BestBuy.com starting June 4. Samsung Connect Home is the industry's first Smart Wi-Fi System to combine fast, reliable Wi-Fi coverage for every room in a home with Samsung's industry-leading smart home platform, Samsung SmartThings.

The Samsung Connect Home Smart Wi-Fi System is available as a three-pack or single. Ideal for homes up to 4,500 square feet, the three-pack has an MSRP of $379.99. A single Connect Home is for homes up to 1,500 square feet and has an MSRP of $169.99. For homes with high bandwidth demands for gaming, streaming or home offices, a single Samsung Connect Home Pro is available at an MSRP of $249.99. A consumer can connect up to five Samsung Connect Home devices at once.

"Today's smart homes have the power to deliver simple and efficient automation, but as families stream more content and buy more connected devices, it's a struggle to get fast, reliable and extendable Wi-Fi coverage," said Bill Lee, Vice President, Smart Home Product Marketing, Samsung Electronics America. "With Samsung Connect Home, we're redefining the whole home network to finally offer families a simple solution that expands Wi-Fi coverage throughout the home while offering the ability to monitor, automate and control smart devices using Samsung SmartThings. All of this with just a few taps on a smartphone."

Samsung Connect Home Features

  • Works As A SmartThings Hub – Samsung Connect Home is the only whole-home Wi-Fi system that works as a SmartThings Hub, making it compatible with hundreds of Works With SmartThings devices. With no monthly fees or subscriptions, Samsung SmartThings makes it easy to automate and manage your smart home, and gives you the flexibility to expand your smart home with lights, door locks, cameras, voice assistants, thermostats and more.
  • Expandable mesh Wi-Fi network – Samsung Connect Home is easily expandable. Each router has a range of 1,500 square feet, and users can wirelessly connect up to five Samsung Connect Home devices for mesh network coverage of 7,500 square feet.
  • Safe & secure – Consumers can rest easy knowing that Samsung Connect Home is protected by hardware-based security technologies. Automatic firmware updates provide additional safeguards to keep smart devices secure.
  • Simple setup and unified management – Samsung Connect Home can be set up with easy-to-follow instructions using the Samsung Connect app. The app will guide placement of each Samsung Connect Home device throughout a home for optimal performance. Samsung Connect simplifies smart device management with automatic connectivity, convenient device integration and easy set-up. Using Samsung Connect, users can easily see and manage connected devices, set parental controls and allow guest access.
  • Compact design – Samsung Connect Home replaces larger, antenna-laden routers with a simple, sleek and compact design that can be placed anywhere and everywhere in the home, even in plain sight.

"As we work with customers in stores and in their homes, we know how important it is to have fast, secure and reliable whole-home Wi-Fi, especially with more smart devices now connecting to the web," said Mary Ortizcazarin, Vice President of Smart Home at Best Buy. "Samsung's Connect Home Smart Wi-Fi System accomplishes this with strong Wi-Fi access in every corner of the home, and as a hub for the rest of your smart home."

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3 weeks ago

Microsoft has redesigned Skype with new 'Snapchat-like' features

8

Android users will get the first look at the redesigned Skype app.

Since acquiring Skype six years ago, Microsoft has done a good job taking over the ongoing development of the popular video calling service, adding new features for both Skype and Skype for Business over the years. Today, Microsoft announced its biggest update to Skype yet, offering a trendy new design with new features to help you connect and share moments with friends like never before — assuming you've never used Snapchat or Instagram Stories, that is. You can check out the preview of the new app in the Google Play Store.

Microsoft has completely overhauled Skype, with the mobile app offering users three tabs to choose from at the top: Find, Chat, and Capture. The "Find" tab allows you to use plug-ins to search for concert tickets, recipes, and a whole slew of other things, then conveniently share the information in a chat with your friends or family all without leaving the app. "Chat" has also been given a fresh, trendy coat of paint, as Microsoft seems to have liberally borrowed popular features from other messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and iMessage.

But arguably the biggest addition is the "Capture" tab, which appears to function very similarly to Snapchat or Instagram Stories. Tapping the "Capture" tab will instantly launch the camera and allow you to capture a photo or video clip of whatever you're doing, let you slap a few emojis on it and then share with your friends or add to your "highlights" for others to check out later.

Video calling, which now feels like a secondary Skype feature, has also been upgraded to allow you to share photos, messages, emojis and stickers in real-time in one-on-one or group video calls. All these features will start rolling out to Android users first in a new update before becoming available across all other platforms.

You can learn more about the new Skype features and then head on over to the Google Play Store to see if the new update is available for you.

This seems like a move by Microsoft to try and rebrand Skype to appeal to Millennials, who apparently want Snapchat features in every app on their phone. What do you think of the new Skype? Let us know in the comments.

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3 weeks ago

In a world of ordinary wallpapers, these are Wonder Woman wallpapers!

3

"In a world of ordinary men, I am Wonder Woman!"

Batman seems to get a new movie every few years, and Superman gets a new movie frequently enough. There's a new superhero movie every three or four months, it seems, but the only time a female superhero gets anywhere near top billing is during ensemble films like Avengers. We haven't had a female superhero get their own live-action movie, and that streak ends at midnight with the release of DC's Wonder Woman.

Even better, Wonder Woman actually looks like it might be a good film.

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3 weeks ago

Amazon Echo vs Google Home: Where today's best voice assistants fall short

12

Tell me about the things Amazon Echo and Google Home don't do.

We talk a lot about the cool things Amazon and Google have pulled off with the Echo and Home speakers, but the one big thing these speakers have in common is room to grow. Neither system is perfect, and the things these speakers get wrong or just plain can't do are an important metric of what the teams working on these gadgets see as a priority.

With that in mind, we've got a quick guide for you to see what exactly these connected speakers are missing or don't get quite right.

Feature Home Echo Multiple Wake Words ❌ ✔️ Multi-room music ✔️ ❌ Sleep Timer ❌ ✔️ Audiobooks ❌ ✔️ Track Packages ❌ ✔️ Separate voice recognition ✔️ ❌ Chromecast support ✔️ ❌ Custom shortcuts ✔️ ❌

Multiple Wake Words — Echo has it, Home does not

While the world waits for the ability to set whatever word you want as the trigger for waking up a connected home speaker, Amazon Echo speakers have multiple options while Google Home only has one.

It's slim pickings, but being able to choose between Alexa, Echo, Amazon, and Computer is way better than choosing between Hey Google and OK Google.

Multi-room music — Home has it, Echo does not

The only thing better than one Google Home is two Google Homes, at least when you're trying to play some music throughout your house.

Google Home is part of the Google Cast system, which means you can connect to any Google Home and play as one speaker and even add in Chromecast Audio speakers if you use the Chromecast function on your phone. Amazon Echo doesn't do anything even close to this yet.

Sleep Timer — Echo has it, Home does not

Listening to music or podcasts is one of the best parts of having a connected speaker nearby. Having that podcast continue on without you because you fell asleep halfway through is considerably less cool.

If you feel yourself getting tired, you can ask an Amazon Echo to set a sleep timer, which means when the timer ends whatever you are listening to stops. Google Home doesn't do this yet, and it really should when you consider how many things you can play through it.

Audiobooks — Echo has it, Home does not

Despite both Amazon and Google having book services which include the ability to read the book aloud to you, only the Echo supports audiobook playback through the speaker.

This is probably because Audible is the most popular audiobook service on the planet and an Amazon exclusive, but Google should still consider offering up an alternative.

Package tracking — Echo has it, Home does not

You can order things from both Amazon Echo and Google Home, but only one of these speakers lets you ask "where's my stuff" and get tracking information in response.

Amazon's tracking information is tied directly into its shopping system, which means the Echo is able to offer detailed explanations for order status that Home doesn't have access to right now.

Separate voice recognition — Home has it, Echo does not

Amazon and Google both support multiple users in Echo and Home now, but if you want to switch between users on an Echo you need to ask specifically for an account switch.

Google Home is far less limited, using voice detection to switch accounts just by picking up your voice and attaching it to your account.

Chromecast support — Home has it, Echo does not

You can control your television with an Amazon Echo and some additional accessories, but Google Home gives you control over the Chromecast.

Through the Google Chromecast support, it's possible to pick a video and send it to the television with just your voice. While it is playing, you also have the ability to play and pause with your voice. Currently, Amazon Echo can't do any of this.

Custom shortcuts — Home has it, Echo does not

For the most part, commands on Amazon Echo and Google Home are simple and easy to remember. That doesn't mean they're convenient, which is why Google allows for custom shortcuts when creating your own commands through IFTTT.

Where Amazon would have you say "Alexa, trigger lights out" to access your Light Out command in IFTTT, Google Home lets you not only simplify this to "Hey Google, lights out" but also set multiple custom command for this same action.

Amazon Echo

Amazon

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Google Home

Google Store Best Buy Target

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

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3 weeks ago

These are the Oculus Rift games launching in June

These are the Oculus Rift games launching in June

What Rift games are coming out in June?

Updated May 29, 2017: We will continue to refresh this list at the beginning of a new month to ensure you're in the know when it comes to the Rift games being released soon!

The library of Oculus Rift games continues to grow each month, both on the Oculus store and on Steam. To help you decide what to save up for, or just to give you something to look forward to, here are the Rift games confirmed to be coming June 2017.

See the full list of June Oculus Rift games at VR Heads!

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3 weeks ago

How much did you pay for your Galaxy S8?

32

A little? A lot? Did you get a deal through a wholesaler? Share your secrets with others in the Android Central forums.

The weird thing about smartphones is that despite the manufacturer's original price tag, not every device is equally priced. It's too bad, too, because that means that some of you are paying incredible prices for the same technology your friend maybe saved a few bucks on. Pricing configurations can be strange.

That's why this is your chance to help another person out — more specifically, one of your fellow Android Central forum members. Have you received an amazing discount on Samsung's Galaxy S8 or S8+? Or perhaps you've seen a bundle sold somewhere else online that seemed too good to pass up? Or maybe your carrier isn't holding out on you, and you want to spread the good word?

Forum member mrwally is all about that discount from Sprint:

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mrwallyy 05-29-2017 11:46 AM “

Hey all, I've been ready to upgrade to a new phone and finally decided to pull the trigger on the S8+. Of course, the price threw me off and made me look at other phones, until I decided to contact my phone company Sprint and ask if they had any specials. Well, the customer service rep gave me a deal of $35.xx per month for 24 months - $16 monthly credit for 24 months = $19.xx per month *...

Reply

There are a few caveats with regards to getting the phone through the carrier, however, and that's the fact that you don't actually own the phone until it's paid off. But some people, like vjh425, still think it sounds like a "pretty good deal!"

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vjh425 05-29-2017 02:40 PM “

When you lease, you have the option to pay the remaining payments (6 more to equal 24) I believe so that you own the phone. Otherwise, you can upgrade and return the leased phone, I believe. OP that sounds like a pretty good deal!

Reply

What about you? Have you received a great deal from your carrier or favorite brick and mortar store? Or perhaps you managed to find a bundle somewhere that's worth the deal? Leave a comment in our forums or leave a comment below!

Join the discussion in our 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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3 weeks ago

Google and KISS made Live Cases, and you can buy them

21

This marketing opportunity was totally a coincidence.

Gene Simmons owns, and according to a blog post from Google really loves, Google's Pixel. It's a solid phone to be sure, and it looks like he's a big fan of the camera which makes a lot of sense. The thing he really loves about his Pixel nowadays? The money he and his bandmates are going to make from the new line of Live Cases with Kiss artwork all over the back.

It's not really clear how many people fall into the venn diagram of Pixel or Nexus owners and hardcore KISS fans, but if you head to the Live Case creator tool you'll see 12 KISS designs you can set up on your case however you choose. And, because it's a Live Case, you set whatever you want on the hot button on the back of the case when it arrives. It's in the Artwork section, just in case you get lost looking for it.

Do these cases give you Reason to Live, or are they something out of the Psycho Circus? Sound off in the comments!

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3 weeks ago

Moto Z2 Play review: Midnight in the garden of good and sequel

82
Moto Z2 Play

The Moto Z2 Play is a great phone, but it's not a great sequel.

The quick take

Motorola went iterative for its Moto Z Play sequel, announcing it just nine months after the original. It's not a complete overhaul, and in two major ways is a downgrade, but it's also one of the most well-rounded and enjoyable-to-use Android phones on the market.

The Good

  • Excellent performance
  • Beautifully made and well-designed
  • Good battery life
  • Commendable camera quality
  • Moto Mods support

The Bad

  • Higher price than its predecessor
  • Choice of aging processor isn't great
  • Worse battery life than previous generation

Last year was tough for Motorola. It fundamentally altered the way it approached building, marketing and selling phones, upending its traditional flagship X lineup for something more exciting and far less traditional: a series of ultra-thin phones with add-on capabilities.

Moto Z. Moto Mods. A distinct and predictable design and screen size for at least two years to ensure compatibility. We're now into the second year of the Moto Z line, beginning with the Moto Z2 Play, and despite a few deserving criticisms, I could not be happier with the device.

Moto Z2 Play

About this review

I, Daniel Bader, am writing this review after using the Moto Z2 Play for one week on both the AT&T network in the U.S. and the Rogers network in Canada. It was running Android 7.1.1 build NPS26.74-34 with the May 1, 2017 security update. It was not updated during the review period.

Moto Z2 Play

Thin, at the cost of battery

Moto Z2 Play Hardware

If you've used a Moto Z or Moto Z Play, you'll know what to expect here. In fact, the Moto Z2 Play is a hybrid of those devices, thinning out the girthy frame of the original while replacing its scratch-prone glass back with the same smooth aluminum of the higher-end flagships.

That alone can't justify the extra $50 base — the Moto Z2 Play will cost $499 when it debuts unlocked in the U.S. later this summer — but there are a few choice upgrades that do.

Still great, but more expensive.

For starters, the Snapdragon 626 that powers the phone is 10% faster than the 625 in the Z Play, and the phone now comes standard with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Its 5.5-inch 1080p AMOLED display is not changed from the original, which is fine: the 626 can't support higher-resolution displays, and doesn't need to, since I've found this size and density to be a long-term sweet spot for battery life.

Moto Z2 PlayMoto Z2 Play

Underneath the screen, you'll find the only major aesthetic difference between the Z2 Play and its predecessor: the front fingerprint sensor is now rounded, and much wider, making it easier to find and activate. There's also the optional One Button Nav feature, which I don't care for but understand many people, including our own Harish Jonnalagadda, have fallen in love with since it debuted on the Moto G5 series. To be honest, I'd update to the Moto Z2 Play for the improved fingerprint sensor alone, but there is more.

Moto Z2 Play

The phone is a full millimeter thinner than the Moto Z Play, owing to a 17% smaller battery cell that the company hopes you'll augment with one of the company's new high-capacity battery Moto Mods. Yes, there's only a 3000mAh battery in here now, and while it doesn't completely decimate the superior uptime of the original, it definitely cuts into its legacy a little bit.

The phone is a millimeter thinner than the Moto Z Play, but that doesn't make up for the loss in battery life.

This is a vexing and, in my opinion, ill-conceived move by the company; the Moto Z Play built a legacy on incredible multi-day battery life, and now I'm lucky to finish the day with 15% remaining in the tank. There are other reasons to buy the Moto Z2 Play, for sure — the camera is a huge upgrade, for instance — but the $449 original grew into an low-key battery darling through word of mouth and effective advertising.

Moto Z2 Play

Standard slick Moto

Moto Z2 Play Software

Though the older phones in the series may receive the same upgrade at some point this year, right now the Moto Z2 Play showcases the best of Motorola's understated software effectiveness. Nowhere is that better conveyed than the updates to Moto Display, which now support image thumbnails quick replies without having to unlock the phone.

Here's what I wrote about Moto Display last year, in the Moto Z Play review:

Moto Display. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: If you value notifications — and if you're using an Android phone, you likely do — Motorola's screen-off implementation is the best there is.

It's amazing how, despite improvements in always-on display technology from Samsung, LG, and even Google, nothing can touch what Motorola continues to do here.

Moto Z2 PlayMoto Z2 PlayMoto Z2 Play

Another interesting, but far less useful, feature this year is something called "Show Me." Inserted as part of the Moto Voice suite, it allows you to launch a number of screen overlay widgets, or any app on the phone by saying "Show Me X" when the display is off. The whole thing is remarkably, annoyingly simple: it uses Google's Voice Search API to recognize that single phrase paired with a host of commands like "Show me the weather" and "Show me my schedule," or "Show me Twitter." Of the commands that are pre-programmed, a fullscreen widget sits on top of the screen until you dismiss it; when asked to open an app, a small graphic shows up near the top beckoning you to pull it down.

Moto Z2 PlayMoto Z2 PlayMoto Z2 Play

I don't anticipate anyone will really find much use from this extremely limited and poorly-implemented feature, and it's worrisome that something so ham-fisted and half-baked was included on a Moto device, but I hope that Motorola takes it back to the engineering team with plans to either drastically improve it, or eliminate it altogether, especially since the Moto Z2 Play also supports screen-off "OK Google" prompting.

Moto Z2 Play

That brings me to the launcher, which is adapted from the one found on the Moto G5 Plus and is about as close as you'll find to the Pixel Launcher without Google's name on it. Google's Feed (formerly Google Now) is a swipe to the right, while the app drawer is a swipe up from the translucent icon dock. Thanks to Nougat's improved screen scaling options, you can now fit more icons on the screen at a time, and the entire thing just flies. I love this launcher, and hope that older Moto devices inherit it in a future update.

Moto Z2 Play

Questionable decisions

Moto Z2 Play Performance and battery life

The Moto Z Play is well known to be one of the biggest battery surprises of 2016: it just keeps on going. It's easily a two-day phone and can be, with a Moto Mod battery attachment, a long weekend phone if you're careful with use.

The Moto Z2 Play shaves 17% from its predecessor's battery capacity while adding 10% of clock speed to a chip that has otherwise no additional energy efficiencies. So while I would not say that the Z2 Play disappoints when it comes to uptime, I would quickly follow up by saying that it no longer impresses, either. It's just good, and in 2017, that's not good enough.

Performance, on the other hand, is demonstrably improved over the Moto Z Play, particularly in app load speeds. Coupled with that additional performance from the Snapdragon 626 SoC, Motorola has upped the base RAM amount to 4GB (though a cheaper 3GB option will be available if you care to save $50 from the unlocked MSRP, though I wouldn't bother). I really tested this phone, and came away impressed each time: despite the lack of high-powered Cortex-A72 cores, the Snapdragon 626 is a fine chip, and one that managed to keep up with my demanding workload every time.

Moto Z2 Play

Much better

Moto Z2 Play Camera

The front-facing camera on the Z2 Play is identical to its predecessor's, and it's good. Fine.

The rear camera, however, has been G5'd, dropping from 16MP to 12MP while expanding the aperture to f/1.7 and adding Dual Focus Pixels to make the laser-assisted and phase-detection autofocus options even more accurate.

In daylight shots, I came away impressed with what this shooter was capable of. And despite it not coming close to the lifelike sharpness and accuracy of the Galaxy S8, it did a great job taking digital photos that, well, look digital.

In low light, the Moto Z2 Play really impressed me: it managed to find the right exposure and focus in even the most challenging of lighting situations. And unlike the Moto G5 Plus, which on paper has an identical camera setup, I came away from the Moto Z2 Play with a bunch of great low-light shots that I wanted to share.

Moto Z2 Play

The problem with the Z2 Play's camera is its speed: its aging image signal processor just can't keep up with the latest-generation stuff from Qualcomm. That angst is exacerbated by the fact that the phone doesn't run Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 630 SoC, which features a much-improved image signal processor.

If you don't use a Style Shell back cover, the camera hump can get annoying to avoid, and distracting.

There were more than a few situations I found myself with a photo of action past, or action blurred. The camera just doesn't know when to ramp up light sensitivity (ISO) in order to preserve a higher shutter speed and avoid a blurry subject. Anyone with a dog or a kid knows how crucial that intelligence is, and newer phones, like the Galaxy S8, do a far better job in this respect.

Moto Z2 Play

Chip questions

Moto Z2 Play Odds and ends

Like last year's model, the Z2 Play features maximum LTE download speeds of 300Mbps and 150Mbps, with 2x carrier aggregation. That's far behind the incumbents, and half the potential of the newer Snapdragon 630 and 660 chips, the latter of which is coming to phones very shortly and will eat up a lot of space in this $500 price point.

It may have been a mistake not to wait for the Snapdragon 630, or opt for a slightly higher price with the Snapdragon 660.

While I had no connectivity problems at all, and managed to find LTE-Advanced in a number of areas around New York and Toronto, I can't help but feel that Motorola did itself a huge disservice not waiting for the Snapdraogn 660, even if it meant eating some of the profit from this new phone. The Snapdragon 626 is old news from a network standpoint.

But I did use the phone to make calls and listen to music over Bluetooth and connect to Wi-Fi and do a bunch of other things people do with their portable computers and loved how reliable everything was. Not a dropped call nor a stuttery connection. And the single front-facing speaker? Pretty darn good.

Moto Z2 Play

The bottom line

Moto Z2 Play: You should probably buy it

I love this phone. I don't even want to go back to my Samsung Galaxy S8 right now because the Moto Z2 Play does everything I need it to, and has the deep (and growing deeper) Moto Mods ecosystem to help do what it can't out of the box. That's great.

But I am also partial to many things Motorola does, including (especially) Moto Display and a low-fat version of Android. I am also not overly concerned about the diminished battery, despite the fact that I no longer get the same astronomical uptime as I did on the Z Play. That's because I always have a portable charger with me, and the Z2 Play still — even without anything external — still manages to last the whole day with room to spare. That room is just a little more cramped this time around.

Finally, I love the little things, like the speed and placement of the fingerprint sensor, and the way the camera takes reliable photos in basically any lighting condition. I appreciate the aluminum back, which means I don't have to wear a Style Shell if I don't want to. I love the well-calibrated side buttons.

I am also aware that the phone is probably too expensive, at $499 unlocked, for most people, and that when it's available at a carrier (for an unknown price right now) it's once again going to be a Verizon exclusive for a while before an unlocked model comes available. I know that the chip inside the phone is already old, and will get older quickly. And I know that the 3000mAh battery is going to turn off the very people that made the Moto Z Play such a cult hit in the first place.

I know all these things and yet, after using the phone, I don't really care. After using the phone yourself, you probably won't care, either.

See at Motorola

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3 weeks ago

Motorola's GamePad Moto Mod is arriving this summer for $79.99 alongside other fresh Mod options

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Game better, charge better and listen better with new Moto Mods coming soon for the Moto Z lineup.

Back at Mobile World Congress, Motorola announced a number of interesting Mods for its Moto Z line, and we now know how much they'll be and when they'll be available.

If you're not familiar, Moto Mods are Motorola's take on augmenting smartphone features by magnetically attaching accessories through very strong magnets to a high-speed data port on the back of the phone. Exclusive to the Moto Z series, the accessories run the gamut from simple batteries to a Hasselblad-branded camera and portable pico projector.

Now, there are three new ones coming in July, with a fourth, the much-anticipated GamePad accessory, arriving later in the summer. And remember, these aren't exclusive to the new Moto Z2 Play — they're backwards-compatible to the rest of the Moto Z line as well.

The ultimate list of Moto Mods

JBL SoundBoost 2

Not sure that this one needed a sequel, but JBL's second SoundBoost speaker Mod is rounder and considerably more portable than the first, with the same excellent bassy sound and 10-hour battery life.

It now comes in black, red, and blue variants, with a reinforced metal kickstand that props it up when listening on the go. It's also splashproof, which is nice that, along with the Moto Z line's water resistant nano-coating, it can stand up to being by the pool or caught in the rain.

Coming in July for $79.99.

Moto TurboPower Pack

Love this one. A 3490mAh battery that's barely thicker than all of Motorola's previous battery Mods, the TurboPower pack charges using Moto's fast charge spec — up to 15 watts — which should bring any of the Moto Z products up to very, very quickly. It's also easily rechargeable using USB-C independent from the phone, which is a bonus.

Coming in July for $79.99.

Moto Style Shell with Wireless Charging

This one is fairly simple: it's a regular textured Style Shell that, for $39.99, adds both Qi and PMA wireless charging to your Moto Z. Looks pretty good but adds too much thickness to keep it permanently attached to the back of my Moto Z or Z2 Play. Maybe just leave it next to the bed and swap it in every night.

Coming in July for $39.99.

Moto GamePad

I got to try an early prototype of this one, and it's really neat. There are two analog sticks and nice, clicky buttons, and while Motorola won't currently comment on whether it is working with developers to optimize specific games for the GamePad, all games with built-in controller support will work out of the box.

We don't have a specific shipping date other than late summer, but we know that it's coming soon for $79.99.

More: Moto Z2 Play review

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3 weeks ago

Moto Z2 Play announced as Verizon exclusive in July, coming unlocked 'later this summer' for $499

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The Moto Z2 Play is a solid upgrade over the Z Play in all but one area, and offers one of the best software experiences on any Android phone right now.

The rumors are true: Motorola has no intention to release a "plain" Moto Z this year — or at least it isn't talking about it right now. What it is talking about is the follow-up to the successful and surprising performant battery leader, the Moto Z Play.

Aptly called the Moto Z2 Play, it will be available sometime in July once again as a Verizon carrier exclusive in the U.S., though this year it is wisely doing without the "Droid" addendum. It will also be sold unlocked through Motorola.com later this summer for $499, which amounts to a $50 premium over the Moto Z Play when it debuted last October.

More: Moto Z2 Play specs

The phone isn't particularly different than last year's Moto Z Play, and in one big way is a downgrade, but it's still an impressive and well-rounded handset that achieves the company's goal of consolidating two devices into one. We now have a smaller 3000mAh battery (compared to the original's 3510mAh), but it's also thinner, at 5.99 mm, and manages to maintain the beautiful aluminum back of the Moto Z and the popular headphone jack that phone went without.

The design is almost the same, but the new fingerprint sensor more than makes up for it.

While the design is largely unchanged from all of the other Moto Z products, the Z2 Play adopts the much-improved oblong front fingerprint sensor (and the useful One Button Nav feature that debuted on the Moto G5 earlier this year). It also features a slightly faster Snapdragon 626 processor, and a standard configuration of 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage — slight bumps over the 2016 version.

On the back, a 12MP sensor with Dual Autofocus abilities and 1.4-micron pixels, along with an f/1.7 lens, promises vast improvements in the optics department. But camera aside, the real story this year is actually in the software: Motorola has done a fair amount, along with its upgrade to Android 7.1.1, to make the Moto Display and general Android experience that much better for the average user.

More: Fresh set of Moto Mods announced alongside Moto Z2 Play

Along with the announcement of the Moto Z2 Play, Motorola is launching a bunch of new Moto Mods, including a $79.99 JBL SoundBoost 2, a $79.99 Moto TurboPower Pack charger, a $39.99 Wireless Charging Style Shell and, later this summer, a very exciting $79.99 GamePad, which adds physical gaming controls to any Moto Z device.

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3 weeks ago

Moto Z2 Play specs

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The Moto Z2 Play is here, and this is what's inside!

The Moto Z2 Play is Motorola's first Android flagship of the year, and while it bears a close resemblance to its predecessor, it has a few tricks up its sleeve. First and foremost, the Snapdragon 626 processor is 10% faster than the Snapdragon 625 in the original, and additional RAM and storage make for a more flagship-like experience. The rear camera is considerably improved — a 12MP sensor with an f/1.7 lens and 1.4 micron pixels — and the software has been given a bump up to Android 7.1.1 with a brand new Moto Display experience.

But the battery has taken a hit: the 3510mAh battery has been reduced 17% to 3,000mAh, reducing the thickness by a full millimeter.

Category Moto Z Play Operating system Android 7.1.1
Moto Display, Voice, Actions Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 processor
Octa-core Cortex-A53 @ 2.2 GHz
14nm process GPU Adreno 506 GPU @ ~650 MHz Screen 5.5-inch Full HD (1920x1080, 403 ppi) AMOLED RAM 3GB
4GB (Moto Maker) Storage 32GB
64GB (Moto Maker and international) Expandability microSD up to 2TB Rear camera 12MP, Dual Autofocus Pixel
phase-detect, laser autofocus
1.4-micron pixels
f/1.7 lens
dual-LED flash Video capture 720p (120fps), 1080p, 4K (30fps) Front camera 5MP
1.4-micron pixels
f/2.2 wide-angle lens
front-facing flash Connectivity USB-C
3.5 mm headphone jack Moto Mods support Yes Water resistance Water-repellent coating Security One-touch fingerprint sensor Battery 3000mAh
TurboPower charger (8 hrs battery in 15 min) Colors Lunar Gray, Fine Gold, Nimbus Blue, Super Black Dimensions 156.2 x 76.2 x 5.99 mm Weight 145g LTE Bands CDMA 850, 1900 MHz
GSM/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
HSPA+ 850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100 MHz
LTE Band 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 38, 41, 66

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3 weeks ago

Another new Pokemon game is coming to Android, but you can't play it yet

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Pokéland is out for Android now, as long as you're one of the lucky few to have signed up already.

Nintendo and The Pokémon Company are pulling out all the stops with Pokémon on mobile this year. Immediately following the launch of the simpler Magikarp Jump, a new game called Pokéland has hit the Google Play Store. Before you get too excited, the game is currently in a limited beta, initially available only to the first 10,000 people to sign up. As you can imagine, that number was reached quite quickly, so the rest of us will be waiting a while.

Instead of wandering the real world in search of creatures to catch or swimming around with a single Magikarp, Pokéland is all about combat. The game is very much in the style of the Pokémon Rumble game, only aimed at phones instead of Nintendo products.

For the uninitiated, Pokémon Rumble features more polygonal, toy-shaped versions of Pokémon which break out of quarter vending machine-style capsules for you to collect and fight with. Matches are usually quick, and the "story" mode usually features increasingly complex battle mechanics with larger "boss" versions of the toys later on.

The most interesting thing we know so far about the game is that your Nintendo Account will be a part of the login process. This means your Nintendo Mii will be a part of the game and allow you to interact and fight with other players, but it may also mean some form of connection with previous games in this style.

We'll be keeping a close eye on this one, but if you were one of the 10,000 to get in be sure to sound off in the comments!

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