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5 days ago

How to download Android One launcher with Google Feed on your phone

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It's basically the Pixel 2 launcher with the search bar at the top.

Android One phones like the Xiaomi Mi A1 and Moto X4 are great for a lot of reasons, and one of the main highlights is the stock Android experience they ship with. If you own a non-Android One phone and want to spruce it up a bit, you can now download the launcher that ships with these phones for free.

Amir Zaidi (also known as AmriZ) is the developer responsible for this, and by downloading the APK file he's created, you can get a fully working version of the Android One launcher on your phone right now. There's support for adaptive icons, you swipe up to access your app drawer, and there's even a working Google Feed on the left-most side.

If that sounds a lot like the Pixel 2 launcher, that's because it's incredibly similar. The two main differences are that the search bar is at the top rather than below the dock and there's no At a Glance widget, but depending on who you are, you might prefer that over the Pixel 2's UI.

In order to get the Android One launcher on your phone, just download the APK file to your phone, install it, and you'll be good to go. The launcher won't work if you own a phone with the Android One or Pixel Launcher already installed, but if you're reading this, chances are that's not the case.

You can now download the Google Pixel 2 launcher on any phone

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5 days ago

How to survive a winter storm using tech

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Winter is here, bring nasty storms to just about everybody.

When a nasty storm hits during the summer it can be miserable, but when a winter storm descends onto your house you may have to deal with being stuck indoors behind a wall of ice and snow. Whether this is your first Nor'easter, or you've been making snow angels since you were a kid, we've got some tips for getting through a blizzard using the tech you have (or should have) on-hand.

Track the storm

Weathering out a storm during the winter has its own set of challenges that can start well before the storm even fully reaches you. From icy rain to road closures to knowing how much snow to expect — and for how long — there are many different factors to consider. Your best bet is to keep an eye on the local weather. While you may get automated alerts if a winter storm or blizzard warning is sent out by the state, but having a dedicated app can give you a much better idea of what to expect.

While there are plenty of different apps that can help you out, Weather Underground is one of the best for monitoring precipitation (that's rain, snow and anything else you could expect) in real-time.

More: Best Weather apps for Android

Keep charged

Winter storms can easily knock out your power, and if the roads are iced over you may not get it back for hours — or days — at a time. If you know that there is a storm rolling in, you're going to want to make sure that all of your devices have the best charge possible.

Since many people live on their phones now, chances are you no longer pay for a landline. This means that if something goes wrong, it's absolutely imperative that you have a phone so that you can contact friends or emergency personnel. This also means that if possible, you're going to want to lay off of playing around on Facebook if you're suspicious that the power is going to cut out.

This goes for your portable battery packs, too. It's no good having a spare battery if you forget to charge it up. So make sure that everything is charged up, and things will be easier to deal with.

Stock up

While there is always a run on milk and toilet paper when a blizzard threatens, you may not be considering the tech accessories that can make it easier to weather out a storm. Your battery is what powers all of your devices, and they are going to be the only thing working if you lose power. With that in mind picking up a portable charger, and taking a few precautions can make it much, much easier to ride out the storm with ease.

If you're hoping to download Netflix programs for offline viewing, or watching movies from your tablet, then you'll need as much power as you can get. What we suggest is this 20,000mAh battery pack from Anker with both USB-C and USB-A ports it can easily power all of your devices so you aren't stuck in the dark.

Of course, if you live in an area that is notorious for losing power every winter, then you may just want to pony up for something a bit bigger. This Anker Powerhouse generator has a 120,000mAh capacity which will easily keep you running for a few days while you wait for the plows to rescue you through mountains of snow.

If you plan on using a larger portable battery to allow you to watch your digital movies or shows while you're snowed in then we have another precaution for you. In the case that you get hit with a record-breaking storm — aka Snowpocalypse — then it's very possible that your data may be affected. To avoid that, and stick to your data limit, try to use programs such as Netflix, Spotify, and even Google Maps, that support offline storage, so you don't need a data connection to access critical information and content.

Non-tech necessities

While having the right tech accessories handy can help you get through the storm, there are some regular items that can help you get through things unscathed. Depending on where you live a winter storm preparedness kit is going to look different, but a few stock items are pretty clear across the board.

Extra blankets, flashlights, batteries, and candles are all solid go-tos. You'll also want a portable camping stove to cook some hot meals using just a few replaceable gas canisters. You'll probably need an AM/FM radio, too, just in case.

Are you prepared?

Winter storms and blizzards have already coated the Continental U.S. sending massive amounts of snow dropping from Florida all the way up to Maine. These weather conditions are normal for everyone, so having an easy checklist to make sure you're prepped and ready is a good call. Is there a tip or trick that you think ought to have made our list? Let us know about it in the comments below!

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5 days ago

Future Samsung phones might be made out of new 'Metal 12' magnesium alloy

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Samsung might be getting ready to kick aluminum to the curb.

Although we don't usually talk too much about them, Samsung's recently been killing it in the laptop space. The company announced its new Notebook 9 for 2018, and while there's a lot to like about the machine, one of its highlights is a new magnesium alloy Samsung created specifically for it. Samsung refers to the alloy as "Metal 12", and it allows the Notebook 9 to be incredibly durable and lightweight at the same time.

How does this pertain to Android, you ask? Samsung just trademarked the "Metal 12" name with the European Union Intellectual Property Office, and as such, there's a strong possibility that Metal 12 will soon be used in more of Samsung's products – such as smartphones and smartwatches.

Samsung notes in the trademark that Metal 12 could be used for these gadgets, and while I don't expect to see Metal 12 make an appearance on the Galaxy S9 or Note 9, it's possible that it could make a debut as soon as the Galaxy S10. Samsung actually toyed with the idea of using magnesium in the Galaxy S7, and while this obviously never came to market, this isn't the first time the company's wanted to try using a new metal.

Aluminum has been the go-to metal of choice with smartphones for a while now, so the potential of magnesium entering the market is rather exciting. The Essential Phone proved that titanium has its place (as long as you don't mind some extra heft), and the prospect of having a device that's both durable and lighter than current aluminum handsets is something I can definitely get behind.

LG is reportedly ditching the G7 and starting over from scratch

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5 days ago

Best Battery Cases for Samsung Galaxy S8

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Double up your Galaxy S8's battery life with protective and functional battery case!

The Samsung Galaxy S8 features pretty outstanding battery life on its own, but you may still be in search of an extra boost of battery life after a long day of use or if you're traveling and will be away from a wall charger for an extended period.

That's where a battery case comes in real handy, offering you essentially an extra battery pack that's attached to your phone and doubles up with some added protection. Before we dive into the options below, we should say from the outset that some battery cases may prevent your phone from using NFC due to their thickness and density — something to keep an eye out for.

With that out of the way, let's take a look at our options!

Mophie Juice Pack (2950mAh)

If you've bought a battery case for your phone in the past, chances are it was made by Mophie. It's one of the leading manufacturers and has a good track record of making quality products. For the Galaxy S8, it's released a version of its classic Mophie Juice Pack, which offers up 2950mAh of extra battery life for your phone, perfect for giving you an extra boost of juice when you're phone's running low near the end of the day.

But that Mophie branding also means it's able to charge a premium price — at $89.99 it's nearly three times the price of other cases on this list. It's also worth noting that despite the added protection in the corners, the drawback from Mophie's low-profile design means the case is nearly flush with the screen so you may want to look into a tempered glass screen protector to add a bit of protection around the front.

The case comes with a USB-C charging cable and wall charger but does not offer compatibility with Samsung's Fast Charge feature. But on the upside, the case itself offers wireless charging, so you can still use it on all of your various wireless chargers around the house. Mophie states on its website that its products are covered by a 2-year warranty, and it also offers a variety of wireless charging docks to keep your phone and your case topped up throughout your day.

See at Amazon


Mophie Charge Force Case

Another great option from Mophie for wirelessly charging your Galaxy S8 phone is its Charge Force series of accessories. Instead of having the battery pack built right into the case, the Charge Force Case is a slim case made of leather with built-in magnets that are used with other Charge Force accessories to top up your phone.

The case itself sells for $50 and is compatible with most wireless charging pads you may already own while being thin enough to not impede Samsung Pay or Google Pay. For wireless charging on the go, you'll also need to pick up a Charge Force Powerstation Mini. It's a compact 3,000 mAh battery pack that securely attaches to the back of the case via magnets and will wirelessly charge your phone whenever and wherever you need it. The advantages here are obvious as you only add the extra bulk of the charging pack when you absolutely need it without blocking the headphone jack or charging port at the bottom of your phone.

Mophie also offers Charge Force charging docks for your home, office, or car, and since everything is modular in nature and would work with other Charge Force cases for the Note 8 or any future Samsung flagships. These accessories, along with the Powerstation Mini, should work with newer Juice Pack cases that are compatible with Charge Force technology.

See at Mophie


Trianium Atomic Pro Battery Case (4500mAh)

The Trianium Atomic Pro case offers a good combination of protection and extra battery life, packing in a 4500mAh external battery on the back panel, with a front-plate bumper that protects the edges and adds a lip of protection for the screen. This case also features quick-charge sync-through technology which lets you charge your phone and your battery pack simultaneously.

On the back, you'll find an LED indicator for how much battery life is remaining in the case. Trianium has also included a headphone jack extender so you don't lose that functionality on your phone. Get this battery case for $36 in your choice of black or white.

See at Amazon


Vproof Power Bank Cover (5000mAh)

So if you were to search for battery cases for the Galaxy S8 on Amazon, you'll find a seemingly endless list of lesser-known brands offering essentially the exact same battery case for about the same price. So instead of linking to five nearly identical products, we'll point to one of the better reviewed of the bunch from Vproof.

Offering a 5000mAh battery, this case is as beefy as you would expect it to be but in exchange, it offers an extra 24+ hours of talk time (if you still do that) or up to 13 hours of added web browsing. It's designed with ample cutouts around the speakers, charging ports and headphone jack so the bulkiness won't interfere with your phone's functionality (aside from the NFC issue mentioned above). There's protection for your phone around the corners, but the case sits pretty flush with your phone's screen so you'll want to be aware of that going in. It's also available on the cheap, for just $25.99.

Vproof also offers a 12-month hassle-free warranty as well which is always nice.

See at Amazon

Planning to pick up a battery case?

Do any of these battery cases stand out to you? Which one are you getting? Let us know in the comments!

Update January 2018: Added Mophie Charge Force case and updated pricing information.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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5 days ago

Try one of these royally dark Disney themes

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Call me a princess. I dare you.

I'm a child of the 90's, and as such, I was raised on Disney Princess movies. Everyone thinks princesses — and everything around them — should be light, bright, and saccharine. Well, we've got a princess theme that brings our favorite royals into the lovely embrace of the dark. Whether you kick it old-school with Snow White or rock the harem pants with Jasmine, we've got you covered for the six "original" Disney Princesses. Sorry, Raps, we'll get to you later.

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5 days ago

Someone made a YouTube app for Android Auto, and that's a terrible idea

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The app's called 'YouTubeAuto' and you can download it now.

Android Auto had a surprisingly big presence at this year's CES. Wireless connectivity and full Google Assistant support are the two main features that are coming to Android Auto, and now there's an app you can download that lets you watch YouTube videos while in the car.

The app is called "YouTubeAuto" and it was created by developer Kiran Kumar. You can browse all the latest trending videos, check out new uploads from channels you're subscribed to, and search through YouTube's entire catalog of clips. It's essentially a port of the regular YouTube app for Android phones and tablets, and while some of the UI looks a bit stretched off and janky, you do have access to just about every YouTube feature that you'd find in the mobile app.

I certainly don't recommend watching YouTube videos while driving, and this something you'll see a warning for every time you open the app. With that said, if there's a podcast, song, or other video that you can just listen to in the background, this might be worth checking out.

YouTubeAuto isn't available in the Play Store as it violates Android Auto's guidelines — and in fact sideloaded apps don't work by default on Android Auto, which is why you have to jump through a couple hoops to get this to work at all. But if you still want to take a look, you can download the APK file now from Kumar's website.

Android Auto is fantastic with the addition of Google Assistant and wireless connectivity

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5 days ago

What can you do in ARCore right now?

ARCore is for developers right now, but there are some fun things for us laymen to try out.

ARCore is a new set of API's, Frameworks and tools to allow real-time Augmented Reality(AR) apps to work on a standard Android device. What is AR as opposed to VR? Great question! It's a program that will put digital objects and visuals in your view of the actual world through your VR Headset. Based on the work they've done with Project Tango, ARCore removes the need for specialized hardware making room scale VR in reach of the common Cell Phone.

Latest ARCore News

December, 2017 - ARCore Developer Preview 2 has been released

As of December 15th, 2017, Google released an update to their ARCore Developer Preview with a few awesome improvements to SDK! This includes a new C API for Android NDK that helps improve your experiences with Java, Unity, and Unreal SDKs. Also, now you can pause and un-pause your AR sessions! Then they also improved accuracy and run-time for the anchor, plane finding, and point cloud APIs.

Followed with all of these exciting updates Nikhil Chandhok, the Project Manager for Google AR & VR, has said within the next few months they'll be releasing ARCore v1.0! When this happens, Google says that it'll support more than 100 million devices with numerous ARCore apps scheduled to launch in the Play Store at the same time. Now, there is a bit of sad news as well. Based on what in his new update, they will be stopping the support on Project Tango.

Already have it installed?

If ARCore is already installed on your device, check out these games and apps to see what you can do! If not, continue to learn how to get ARCore on your phone!

How do You Install The ARCore App?

Setting up your Android Studio

These steps are to be completed on your computer, not your android phone.

Android Studio which includes the SDK (Software Development Kit).

  1. Install Android Studio by following this link.
  2. Launch the .exe file you downloaded. This will open a Set Up Wizard. Follow the instructions for it and allow the application to install on your computer. Opt to run Android Studio when it finishes downloading.
  3. If you have Studio settings to import, select the folder where they reside and hit "OK". If you don't this step is not detrimental, so you can keep "Do not import settings" selected and hit "OK".
  4. The next prompt will have you choose settings and preferences for your actual app. Select the ones you want and the app will then begin to Download the Components. This will take a bit of time.
  5. Select "Finish".
  6. Select to open an existing project, which will prompt you to load "Hello". Do just this. Don't dismiss the tips that pop up. You want to read them, especially if you are new.

Preparing Android Native Development Kit (NDK)

These steps are to be completed on your computer, not your android phone.

NDK is a set of tools that will allow you to use C and C++ codes with Android. This is good for reusing other's C or C++ libraries or run computationally intensive applications, such as games or physics simulations.

The process is complicated because there are so many steps, but they are all pretty simple, so don't let it intimidate you. I've included the video above to help walk you through the steps ina visual process.

Now you'll go here to prepare CMake with the SDK Manager. Follow this link to install ARCore SDK for Android Studio.

Get your device ready

Supported Android devices include Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, and Samsung Galaxy S8 (SM-G950U, SM-G950N, SM-G950F, SM-G950FD, SM-G950W, SM-G950U1).

These next few steps are to be completed on your phone, not your computer.

First, enable developer options.

  1. OpenSettings.
  2. Select System.
  3. Select About phone.
  4. Find the build number and tap those worse 7 times. If you have a pin set up to your device, it will prompt you to enter it. If this was completed properly a message will appear at the bottom saying you are now a developer. Now, when you go back to the System screen there will be a new option labeled Developer.
  5. Scroll down and enable USB debugging. This will allow your phone to work with Android Studio.
  6. Follow this link to install ARCore to your phone.
  7. Connect your phone to your computer via USB.
  8. Install ARCore by running the following ADB command:
adb install -r -d arcore-preview2.apk 

Opening your sample project

Go back to your computer where you should still have Andriod Studio, Hello AR open. If your required dependencies are not installed, Android Studio will ask you for permission to download and install them on your machine.

  1. Connect your device to Android Studio by clicking app in the Project window, and then select Run.
  2. In the Select Deployment Target window, select your device, and click OK. Android Studio installs the app on your connected device and starts it. You should now see "Hello World!" displayed in the app running on your device.

What Apps are Available?

Precious few right now, but you can see the potential in some of them. Here is a brief synopsis of each.

AR Stickers

AR Stickers is the most fun you can have in AR without having to go through the trouble of turning your phone into a developer device. After you download this device to your phone, it's time to change the world around you into whatever your hearts' desire.

You want Storm Troopers to invade your home? You want the Millennium Falcon to swoop in through your window? You got it! Download the app straight from the Google Play Store and rock the world around you however you want.

See on Play Store

Horizon Explorer

Horizon Explorer allows you to view parts of the world you normally can't in two cool ways. The first one takes you to a point on the map where you can then move your phone around to see the different parts of the street view. Imagine using google street view, except actually moving around instead of just swiping your finger to see the next part.

The other cool experience it can do is what I've shown in the picture above. It gives you a satellite view of the selected area that is dumped right into the environment around you. From here you can chose to view the environment from a birds-eye view and scale the area! If you're into seeing all parts of the world this app is a recommendation.

See on Play Store

ARCore Solar System

Solar Systems, space, stars, planets, death-defying black holes. There's nothing about space that isn't as equally interesting as it is dangerously fun. But alas, not everyone is a astronaut or just, you know, have a space ship at their disposal. That's okay! ARCore now has an app where you can plop that gorgeous galaxy down right in your living room and interact with it from the comfort of your lazy chair.

A lot of people seem to be having problems with getting the app to work, but I found using my Pixel 2 that I didn't have any issues at all. The two compatible devices they have listed are the Pixel and Samsung 8, so be sure you are working on those devices if you wish to try this app.

See on Play Store

99 Snowballs for ARCore (Preview)

The best time for a snowball fight is usually when there is actually snow on the ground. But maybe you're one of those whose heart perpetually lives in Christmas. Well, 99 Snowballs for ARCore has brought you Christmas in July (or whenever the heck you wanna play it) with this fun game you can play with your friends. So grab your phone, punch that snowman and get ready for a right and proper snowball fight. You know, without the hassle of frozen fingertips.

See on Play Store

Gnome Cam

There was far more excitement than I'm willing to admit when I saw this app in the Play Store. It seems like such a small thing, but it's always those little things that bring us the most joy. Like, I don't know, attaching gnome stickers into your world and taking cute pictures with him?! It's like all of the prayers I didn't know I had were answered.

Gnome Cam allows you to chose from a few different gnomes and place them into your environment. After a picture is taken, you can add a boarder to resemble a Polaroid picture with a cute hand-written note at the bottom. Let me tell you, my social medias are about to get a LOT more interesting.

See on Play Store

ARcore GR and ARCore Experiments

ARCore GR is the most basic thing you can do with ARCore, but it does show the mechanics hiding in the background. As the App scans for surfaces, you see the little pixels dotted around the screen. Once they have found your surface, you get a yellow grid pattern, very similar to a holodeck floor, that you can then place little Bugdroids on.

That's about all there is to it though, you can move the phone around to see the Bugdroid from all angles but not interact with it in any other way.

ARCore Experiments is exactly the same as ARCore GR but with a few added extras. One shows a spinning logo that help shows how movement works in ARCore, again it's basic but at least it moves! The last experiment is a drawing tool. Although it's very rudimentary, you can see how a drawing tool in AR could paint different surfaces in different textures.

Atom Visualizer

So far Atom Visualizer is the most fully-realized app using the ARCore framework. It's still simple, it scans the area, finds surfaces, and lets you place objects on it. The objects, in this case, are all the elements of the Periodic Table. Placing a Hydrogen atom on a surface shows an electron spinning around a proton that can be viewed from all angles like the Bugdroids in the other apps.

What sets Atom Visualizer apart hower is the excellent way it allows atoms to be placed in space. This gives you the chance to lay the elements out as they would look in a molecule. Not to get to into the science, but as a learning tool this could be invaluable. It gives you a glimpse at how this kind of Augmented Reality could help in schools and workplaces.

Conclusion

The simple answer is, if you are a regular consumer, not much can be done with ARKit right now. If you are developer there appears to some amazing applications to this Framework, Niantic for example could benefit from this. Pokemon GO is still a huge game for a lot of people. Showing Pokemon in the real world is a large part of the game and would be enhanced greatly by having surface recognition. Seeing a Pikachu on a table or on top of a car instead of randomly floating in the air would add a lot to the experience.

So watch this space, folks, ARCore is coming fast and our phones may never be the same. Is there anything you would like to see from ARCore? Pitch us your best AR ideas in the comments!

Update, January 2018: We've updated this article with new information on ARCore.

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6 days ago

Nest Secure vs. Ring Alarm: Which DIY security system is best?

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Two well-known tech companies have competing — but also different — home alarm systems. Which one's right for you?

For as smart as our homes have become — with damned near every device you can buy today connected to the internet, and probably with some sort of smart assistant baked in — alarm systems have sort of lagged in the past. Legacy companies continue to dominate, in no small part because there traditionally was very little for homeowners to do other than sign a check.

But advances in networking and in the simplification of the technology itself means that it's gotten easier for anyone with a screwdriver to install all sorts of cameras and sensors in and around their home. In late 2017, Nest — already known for its thermostats, smoke detectors and cameras — announced its "Nest Secure" system. And upstart Ring — which has made quite the name for itself with a series of connected doorbells and lights, each with cameras built in — has followed suit with its "Ring Alarm" system.

Nest Secure is available today. Ring Alarm is coming sometime in the spring of 2018. The two systems aren't really a 1:1 comparison, whether it's in price or products. If you're looking to deck out every point of entry in your home, one will cost significantly more than the other, at least on paper.

But it's still worth taking a look at them side by side, which we'll do now.

Nest Secure ($499, available now)

What you get: For the base price you get a Nest Guard base, two Nest Detects, and two Nest Tags. The Nest Guard includes a keypad and is how you'll arm and disarm the system. (You also can do so with your phone.)

The Nest Detect looks like a typical door or window sensor to alert when something's been opened, but it also serves as a motion detector. Or, it can do both. (It also provides path lighting.)

Nest Tags are little keyring-size pucks that you can tap on the Nest Guard to arm and disarm the system.

Add-ons: An additional Nest Detect will cost $59 each. That'll get expensive real fast if you're looking to monitor every door or window in your home. But remember that each one can also serve as a motion detector. Additional Nest Tags cost $25 each, and you can pick up a Nest Connect range extender for $69.

Monitoring: Just like with Nest's other products, everything will ping into your phone. For $50 a year (or $5 a month) you can add a cellular backup option, so you'll still be alerted even if your home internet is down. And there's full 24/7 professional monitoring available through MONI, starting at $25 a month with a three-year contract — $900 over the life of the plan.

Our take: Nest Secure certainly looks like an expensive option. But that also fits into Nest's product range — function and style, along with ease of use, and a price tag to match. Arming every single point of entry would get very expensive — we might just concentrate on strategic locations instead.

See at Nest

Ring Alarm ($199, not yet available)

What you get: The bottom-line price gets you a base unit and separate keypad. Also included is a single door/window contact sensor, and a single motion sensor.

Add-ons: The basic Ring Alarm system is a lot less expensive but comes with fewer sensors. However, it also has more products available to tie in to the system.

An additional keypad runs $50. Each additional motion detector is $30, and additional contact sensors are $20 each. A flood/freeze sensor is $25, as is a smoke/CO sensor.

Monitoring: You can shell out $100 a year (or $10 a month) hooks you in to Ring's "Protect Plus" plan, which gives full playback and sharing from all of your Ring devices, lifetime warranty, and discounts on future devices. Ring Alarm also will have a battery backup and cellular LTE backup option, should your Wifi go out.

Our take: Ring Alarm was pushed back due to legal issues, and we don't know exactly when it'll be available, or what might change in the interim. It's more of a DIY home security thing and lacks the sophistication of other systems. But it's far less expensive and should still be a good option.

More info at Ring

The bottom line

If you're looking for alternatives to the legacy alarm vendors, both Nest Secure and Ring Alarm should be intriguing options — especially if you're already using products from either ecosystem.

Nest Secure is more expensive. I could rig up all of the doors and windows of my home with Ring Alarm and have money left over for more motion detectors. On the other hand, Nest Secure may make more sense if you've got a Nest Thermostat or Nest Cam and want to have products in as few ecosystems as possible.

I've got Nest products in my home. I've got Ring products in my home. Both work well, though Nest's software tends to work a little better in my experience (your mileage may vary), and often is easier to set up. On the other hand, I love my Ring doorbell.

I'd look at this as a couple of good options for different budgets. And, again, we'll have to see how the thing actually work once Ring Alarm is released.

Updated Jan. 16: Ring Alarm will have battery and LTE backup options, the company tells us.

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6 days ago

TAG Heuer announces Connected Modular 41 smartwatch, starts at $1200

7

The price of luxury ain't cheap.

CES 2018 was home to a couple Android Wear announcements from Kate Spade and Skagen, and following this, TAG Heuer is launching its all-new Connected Modular 41 – a smaller and cheaper version of the Connected Modular 45 that launched in March of 2017.

Similar to the Modular 45, you can customize just about every aspect of the Modular 41, including the watch band, buckle, lugs, and bezel (aka module) surrounding the screen. Pink, blue, and white leather straps are also launching alongside the Modular 41. The screen is made out of scratch-resistant sapphire, and you've got your choice of materials such as gold and titanium for the body itself.

Moving over to the technical side of things, the Modular 41 has an AMOLED 390 x 390 display, GPS, NFC for Google Pay support, 1GB RAM, and 8GB of internal storage. The watch ships with Android Wear 2.0, but it's unclear at this time if Oreo is present out of the box.

The TAG Heuer Connected Modular 41 has a starting price of $1200, and while there's no denying that that's a ton of cash to throw down on a smartwatch, the craftsmanship that's present here is on an entirely different level compared to watches such as the LG Watch Sport and Huawei Watch 2.

See at TAG Heuer

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6 days ago

Android Oreo released for Nokia 6 (2018) and Nokia 7

7

8.0 Oreo is available now for both handsets.

There are a lot of OEMs that could learn a thing or two from HMD Global – the company responsible for all of the current Nokia-branded Android phones. Following Oreo updates for the Nokia 8, 6, 5, and 2, Oreo is now officially on its way to the Nokia 6 (2018) and Nokia 7.

Nokia 6 (left) and Nokia 7 (right).

The 2018 version of the Nokia 6 was just announced on January 5, and one of our biggest complaints was that the phone was shipping with 7.1.1 Nougat. However, seeing as how pre-orders just opened on January 10, it looks like most folks will be able to start playing with Oreo from day one.

While the Nokia 6 (2018) will likely make its way to other markets outside of China later this year, the Nokia 7 is still exclusive to the country following its launch this past October. That phone also shipped with 7.1.1, so the Oreo update should come as a nice treat and breath of fresh air for its owners.

As per usual, the Oreo update includes picture-in-picture, notification dots, overall better performance, and more.

Android Oreo

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6 days ago

What is Chrome 'Site Isolation' and how does it keep me safe?

11

Chrome's Site Isolation feature is a brand new way to keep your web session more secure, but you'll need to enable it.

The web is a scary place. There are scams, malicious links and other vulnerabilities hiding everywhere. Most users don't see this because of protections built-in to their web browser or email client, and with Chrome 63, Google has brought another key feature to keeping users safe: site isolation.

What is site isolation?

The Chrome browser is known for using a lot of system resources, but with good reason: each tab in the browser is dedicated a single process. This uses more resources, but if a website causes one tab to crash, the other tabs continue working without issue and without crashing the entire web browser.

When one tab — for this example, an email client — has an action that opens a new tab — clicking on a link inside an email — both of those tabs share a single process. Another example is if you have one tab for the Android Central home page and another tab for the (awesome) [Android Central forums](https://forums.androidcentral.com — because these share the same domain, they are also been sharing on single process.

That changes with site isolation in Chrome 63. Each tab will get its own process, no matter what. This does have an impact of system memory: the Chrome browser will use 10%-20% more RAM. Having said that, I've used site isolation on Windows machines with 4GB of RAM and didn't notice any performance impact.

How to enable site isolation

Unfortunately, site isolation is not (yet) enabled by default, but can be easily turned on inside Chrome on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and Chrome OS. Here's how to enable it on your computer.

  1. Type chrome://flags into the Chrome address bar.
  2. Press Ctrl + F on your keyboard to open the search window.
  3. Search for "Site Isolation." You should see the option listed as "Strict Site Isolation."
  4. Click Enable. The browser will restart, and that's it!

IT administrators can enable Site Isolation for their organization by enabling the policy within the Google Administrative Console.

Should you use site isolation?

Yes. The only (potential) downside is a performance tax, but the protections that come with site isolation are well worth it. It's another layer in the security ogre that will keep you safe in the online world.

Have you started using site isolation? Let us know down below!

Chromebooks

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6 days ago

LG is reportedly ditching the G7 and starting over from scratch

63

LG's CEO issued the order right after CES.

The year of 2018 has been an odd one so far for LG. A report came out on January 3 that the G6's successor wouldn't be called the G7 and instead replaced with all-new branding, and this was followed up on January 11 during CES 2018 where LG's Vice Chairman confirmed that the company was moving away from yearly flagship smartphone releases.

Now on January 15, a report from The Investor says that LG's Vice Chairman and CEO, Jo Seong-jin, has issued an order to the company's mobile department to halt all current development of the G6's successor and start over from scratch. We were initially expecting this phone to be announced during MWC this February, but this announcement now means we're looking at an inevitable delay.

LG is said to decide on a new launch date during the Lunar New Year holiday (February 15 - 21), and as such, the phone likely won't launch until April or later.

What does this mean for the G7 (or whatever it's called) when it finally hits store shelves? Prior to this announcement, we were anticipating pretty minor upgrades compared to the G6, such as an OLED display with slimmer bezels, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845, improved cameras, etc. The source that The Investor spoke to says that LG "hasn't been able to find a strong selling point for the G7", so it'll be interesting to see what LG changes in order to make its phone more appealing over the likes of Samsung's Galaxy S9.

Until then, what feature does the LG G7 need to have in order for you to consider buying the phone?

LG will stop releasing new phones every year

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6 days ago

Zolo's $40 Halo Bluetooth speaker has Amazon Alexa built right in

1

Sounds like savings!

Zolo's Halo Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Smart Speaker is down to $39.99 on Amazon. This speaker sells for around $51, and it has never dropped directly from that price.

This speaker works with Amazon Alexa, but you don't have to hook it up to your Echo to get it to work. It has Alexa built right into it, and she can access whatever place you stream music from the most.

Features include:

  • Professionally tuned 5W high-excursion speaker and bass port deliver exceptional sound quality and rich bass from Halo's miniaturized body.
  • Voice-activated Alexa functionality with over 10000 life-enhancing skills. Stream audio and music services (including Amazon Music Unlimited, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Audible ); Check news, traffic, and weather; find answers; control smart home devices; and shop with your voice.
  • With simplified Wi-Fi connectivity, link up to 6 Halo speakers simultaneously for house-wide audio and Alexa communication.
  • Not only a Smart Speaker, Halo works as a stand-alone high-fidelity Bluetooth Speaker.

Zolo backs this speaker up with an 18-month warranty.

See on Amazon

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6 days ago

The biggest VR and AR announcements of CES 2018

0

This year was all about polish, and that's a very good thing.

*/ /*-->*/

As virtual reality and augmented reality continue to grow in popularity, CES remains one of the best places to see what we can expect in the coming year.

This year, in particular, we got a look at some very cool new headsets aimed at improving the overall experiences we have today. Lots of companies are eager to ditch the cord, remove the phone, and generally make it so VR headsets are self-contained wonders. In the augmented reality world, it feels more and more like we're returning to the notion that "smart glasses" for specific use cases are the way of the future.

Curious to see what made CES extra awesome for VR and AR fans? Here's what we've found.

Lenovo Mirage Solo

Daydream Standalone is real at last! No more messing around with putting your phone in a headset if you don't want to. This headset is its own computer with its own display, and not only will it play every Daydream game at launch but there will also be new and more immersive experiences to take advantage of the ability to move around quite a bit. It's a massive step forward for Daydream, and we will surely be hearing lots more about this soon.

Everything you need to know about the new Lenovo Mirage Solo

HTC Vive Pro

The second most popular "full" VR headset in the world now has a cooler, more mature brother. The Vive Pro is designed to be an upgrade over the Vive, but not a replacement. It comes with higher resolution displays, a significantly more comfortable head strap, more capable built-in headphones, and an overall lighter frame.

On top of all of this, there's a new wireless accessory from HTC that allows you to ditch the big cable entirely and spend a couple of hours in VR with no restrictions.

Check out our hands on with the Vive Pro

Huawei VR2

While not strictly speaking a new headset, Huawei bringing its tethered headset to the US is kind of a big deal. This headset can connect to multiple sources with a cable, which could potentially mean you have a VR headset that will offer up fun from a PC and a phone separately. The headset has a fairly familiar look and feel, and could easily be confused with a Daydream headset with some of the software inside.

We'll be learning a lot more about this headset in the future, but it's very cool to see Huawei bringing more tech to the U.S.

Arsenz Thermoglass with FLIR

Being able to pop a FLIR camera onto your phone and get a quick thermal readout is fun, but in a professional environment it takes time and relies on the user to keep the software up to date on the phone. Now FLIR is working with Arsenz to stick its miniaturized thermal smarts into a headset you wear almost like Google Glass. This design gives the user a thermal readout of the world right in front of them without obscuring their view or occupying their hands.

As augmented reality products go, this is both technically fascinating and one of those things that will make certain jobs infinitely easier to do.

Vuzix Smart Glasses with Alexa

While we've seen Vuzix at CES for several years now, there's never been much about its smart glasses that really feel like something most people would benefit from. This year, the new Vuzix Blade glasses pay closer attention to aesthetics by looking more like a standard pair of glasses and now also feature Amazon's Alexa service. This means you have Alexa available everywhere and you don't need reach into your pocket to get it, which can be a huge plus for anyone who is all in on the Alexa ecosystem.

It's a solid step forward and demonstrates how dedicated Vuzix is to the wearable computer concept.

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6 days ago

Do you plan on getting the Samsung Galaxy S9?

49

The Galaxy S8 and Note 8 are great, but the S9 is shaping up to be a beast of a phone.

Following months of leaks and rumors, we're finally getting close to the announcement of the Galaxy S9. We have a pretty good idea of what the phone will look like and what major features it'll be shipping with, and all that remains is for Samsung to officially unveil it.

The Galaxy S9 will look a lot like the S8, but thanks to things like a repositioned fingerprint sensor, even slimmer bezels, and possibly a camera with a physically changing aperture, there's plenty to be excited for. Some of our forum users recently got into a discussion about whether or not they'll be picking up the S9 once it's available, and this is what they had to say.

*/
cwbcpa 01-12-2018 09:14 AM “

While I have no doubt that the S9/S9+ will be awesome, I'll wait for the Note 9. The Note 8 will get a refresh with Oreo. Even if it didn't, the Note 8 does everything I need it to and more. Then we will see how much of a leap the Note 9 is from the Note 8.

Reply
*/
jamezr 01-12-2018 09:41 AM “

I love my Note 8...but there is a S9+ with my name on it. Just wish I could get it in Pearl White!

Reply
*/
strikeIII 01-12-2018 10:06 AM “

S9+ features definitly look nice but that just means the N9 will be even better. Of course I'll be getting the S9+ tho.

Reply
*/
bassplayrguy 01-13-2018 03:46 PM “

The more I read about the S9 series, there's just no real upgrades over the note 8. There are some minimal things but that's it. Less ram, smaller screen, no S pen for $1000? It's def a no for me. The Note 9 is the only phone that can take the note 8 off of the throne.

Reply

How about you – Will you be upgrading to the Galaxy S9?

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Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

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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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