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Friday, January 8, 2016

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Tip: Use Micopi To Spice Up Your Blank Contact Photos With Unique Geometric Designs

Posted: 08 Jan 2016 01:12 PM PST

unnamedThe generic placeholder image in your contacts app for people lacking a proper photo is pretty boring, isn't it? Ideally, you'd want to add a photo of each person, but maybe you don't have one. A handy alternative is Micopi, which generates cool geometric designs in place of the boring old silhouette.

1 2 3 Screenshot_20160108-125050

Micopi isn't just using a random number generator to create the images for each contact. It bases the image on the contact's phone number or email to generate a pattern.

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Tip: Use Micopi To Spice Up Your Blank Contact Photos With Unique Geometric Designs was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Top 10 Android app updates this week: LastPass, USAA Mobile

Posted: 08 Jan 2016 01:01 PM PST

Welcome back to our weekly Top 10 Android App Updates column, where we take a look at the most frequently upgraded apps for the week. We've found that one of the best ways to discover useful apps is to find the ones that are actually being updated by the developers rather than selecting the apps with the most installs. As in the past, we're going to filter out minor updates for the super-popular apps that have over 10 million installs, but we'll make exceptions for apps that have had significant updates. We hope you enjoy this weekly feature and that you discover some apps that end up being useful.

Accuweather - Version 4.0.0


What's new in this version:

  • We have completely updated our interface utilising Google's Material Design. Our fresh new design has clean lines, colours, and modern icons, making the digital experience more appealing, intuitive, and easier to read than ever before.


LastPass - Version 4.0.0


What's new in this version:

  • Emergency Access allows you to share your LastPass vault with your loved ones in case of an emergency.
  • Improvements to automatic filling in Chrome, as well as better site matching when filling into apps.
  • Updated appearance, with large icons and Material Design tweaks.


Telegram - Version 3.4.0


What's new in this version:

  • GIF revolution: up to 20x faster downloading, autoplay, dedicated tab for GIFs on the sticker panel. http://ift.tt/1mzGz0j
  • Inline bots: A new way to add bot content to any chat. Type a bot's username and your query in the text field to get instant results and send them. Try typing "@gif dog" in your next chat. Sample bots: @gif, @wiki, @pic, @vid, @bold.


AlarmPad - Version 1.9.1


What's new in this version:

  • Enjoy full Android Marshmallow support, with selective permissions, integrated backup and the ability to dismiss or snooze alarms with your fingerprint when the sensor is available
  • Dismiss alarms by scanning a QR code
  • New action buttons on the alarm screen: use the flashlight or temporarily mute the alarm
  • Ignore your alarms on calendar holidays


AutoNotification - Version 2.9.1


What's new in this version:

  • Button Notifications: have notifications with as many buttons as you want!
  • Replies: Reply to any messaging app directly and in the background
  • Basic HTML Support: format your notifications with HTML
  • Notification Updating: Update only the fields you want in a notification while leaving the rest intact
  • Enhanced Notification Cancelling: cancel by app name, title or text


Camera MX - Version 3.4.0

Camera MX

What's new in this version:

  • Live Shots: Take vibrant, moving photos! (Android 4.3+)
  • New Timeline View (gallery)


Alarm Clock Xtreme + Sleep - Version 5.1.0

Alarm Clock Xtreme Sleep

What's new in this version:

  • Android 6 introduced standby mode that caused some alarm reliability issues. These are now fixed and alarms work as expected
  • Weekends and weekdays are now properly detected for all locations
  • Our sleep diary got a fresh new look making it easier to see your sleep behavior


Kore, Official Remote for Kodi - Version 2.0.0

Kore, Official Remote for Kodi

What's new in this version:

  • PVR support
  • New animations on transitions from list to details screens
  • Added option to play/queue entire album, artist or genre
  • Improve library syncing
  • Various tweaks
  • Bug fixes


USAA Mobile - Version 8.7.0

USAA Mobile

What's new in this version:

  • ​​Now supporting fingerprint authentication for devices using Android Imprint.
  • Full support for Android 6.0 Marshmallow, including permissions management.


Instagram - Version 7.13.1


What's new in this version:

  • Now you can share posts you see on Instagram as messages. Just tap the arrow under the post.
  • Send photos, videos and text messages back and forth to keep conversations going.
  • Name group conversations so they're easy to find.


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YouTube will show HDR video on your fancy new TV

Posted: 08 Jan 2016 11:47 AM PST

LG's new Signature OLED is one of the first TVs to support HDR. Photo: LGCES has brought us a whole host of new TVs that support HDR video, but like 4K, the content isn't easy to come by right now. Fortunately, Google is going to change that by making HDR video available through YouTube. You're probably already familiar with the term "HDR," because changes are your smartphone camera lets you

The post YouTube will show HDR video on your fancy new TV appeared first on Cult of Android.

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The secrets of design aren’t so secret, you just have to take the right classes [Deal]

Posted: 08 Jan 2016 10:47 AM PST

76958875560476.KmzuzpwOTbLgWcZ6zQIN_height640Everything that is good in the world of tech is designed well. Being able to craft an intuitive, user-pleasing experience or product might seem like magic, but that's probably just because you haven't studied it. This bundle of 9 courses, clocking in at 57 hours of content and worth hundreds of bucks, will get you

The post The secrets of design aren't so secret, you just have to take the right classes [Deal] appeared first on Cult of Android.

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Google Play Music Gets Redesigned Search Bar To Match Other Google Apps, No Update Required

Posted: 08 Jan 2016 10:42 AM PST


Google Play Music's search interface has been a work in progress, as a prompt for it to listen to ambient audio to identify a song was a relatively recent refinement. A tweak coming out now, apparently via a server-side switch, retains the listening feature but brings the entire look in line with other up-to-date Google apps.

Here is a quick before and after:

nexus2cee_Screenshot_2015-09-23-01-46-361 nexus2cee_screenshot_2016-01-07-21-42-30

Newer screenshot comes thanks to our reader, Ben.

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Google Play Music Gets Redesigned Search Bar To Match Other Google Apps, No Update Required was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google boots 13 Android apps for quietly downloading malware

Posted: 08 Jan 2016 09:46 AM PST

Cake Tower looks cute, but it's evil.Google has pulled 13 apps from the Play Store for secretly downloading malware onto users' devices. At least one title had more than 1 million downloads before it was removed, and all had glowing reviews and great ratings. But they weren't genuine. All 13 apps contained malware from the "Brain Test" family, reports Ars Technica. Other apps containing this malware

The post Google boots 13 Android apps for quietly downloading malware appeared first on Cult of Android.

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Lenovo is killing the Motorola brand

Posted: 08 Jan 2016 07:46 AM PST

Goodbye, Moto: Killian Bell/Cult of AndroidLenovo is killing the Motorola brand name almost a year after it purchased the company from Google in a deal worth $2.91 billion. Premium smartphones will use the "Moto by Lenovo" name going forward, while budget devices will be integrated into Lenovo's Vibe lineup. Motorola has attracted a passionate fan base with attractive, well-built smartphones

The post Lenovo is killing the Motorola brand appeared first on Cult of Android.

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TYLT announces a host of next generation charging accessories

Posted: 08 Jan 2016 06:45 AM PST

TYLT is a company that's always been at the top in regards to flash, design, and cutting edge charging technology. At CES 2016, they have not disappointed, introducing several updates to already popular TYLT devices. At Android and Me, we've been using and reviewing TYLT accessories for a while and have always been impressed, so we're excited to get our hands on these new devices.

Here's a list of what TYLT's been showing off at CES 2016:

ENERGIPS3KBK-T_A_lENERGI Desktop Charging Station ($79.99) – Not the best-looking product I've seen TYLT produce, but it's got a fancy feature that most desktop chargers don't: It's a 1 Amp output charger when in the station that turns into a 3,200mAh battery pack when you pull it out. There's nothing better than a battery pack that's charging when you're not using it so that it's ready when you need it.

VU 2.0 Wireless Charger ($79.99) – The original TYLT VU is by far my favorite Qi wireless charger. I have it on my nightstand and I use it every night. The VU 2.0 has an adjustable stand anext a 15W output for three times faster charging than the pre-2016 standard, as well as a pretty aluminum base. I'm assuming it requires a compatible Qi 1.2 device, so I won't be getting faster charging any time soon. But when I do have a compatible device, I know where to throw my money.

VU SOLO 2.0 Wireless Charger ($49.99) – Another update to a fantastically-designed charger, the VU SOLO also offers 15W output for three times faster charging.

TYLT-Battery-GroupShotTURBO Portable Batteries ($29.99 – $89.99) - New battery packs from TYLT that range from 5,200mAh to 20,800mAh. These batteries offer Quick Charge 2.0 as well as USB Type-C, so you can charge the lastest phones and laptops super fast. They also have a new DualFuel technology that charges the batteries five times faster for less down time and more up time.

TURBO Smart Chargers ($39.99 – $99.99) – I love the original TYLT Smart Travel Charger; the convenience of being able to leave behind your wall charger and have both a charger and battery pack that pass-through charges is just great. However, it had a low capacity and charged slowly. Not anymore! The new TYLT TURBO Smart Chargers have high capacities, Quick Charge 2.0, and USB Type-C ports with built in microUSB or Lightning Cables. I'm pretty excited about these.

backpack-heroTYLT is also showing off their ENERGI+ Backpack 2.0, which includes a 20,000+mAh battery as well as USB-C RIBBN & USB-C Y-CHARGE Car Chargers. TYLT is staying true to form with new flashy designs to continue to make our mobile experience convenient.

Which new TYLT product are you most excited about?

Show Press Release

January 5, 2016


The company continues to embrace the industry's most cutting-edge technologies with its new VÜ 2.0, VÜ SOLO 2.0, Turbo Portable Chargers and Turbo Smart Chargers.

LAS VEGAS, January 5, 2016-TYLT, a global leader in wireless charging and portable power, today unveiled several new products, including Qi chargers, battery packs and smart chargers, at the 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show (booth #30800 - LVCC, South Hall 3). Additionally, the company is showcasing its CES Innovation Awards Honoree product, the new ENERGI Desktop Charging Station. This marks the fifth consecutive year the company has won this prestigious award.

Kannyn MacRae, Vice President of Product Management & Marketing at TYLT, said: "Since TYLT was founded in 2011, we've made it a priority to deliver products that provide added convenience and power to our users. These new products debuting at CES do just that, with wireless charging that's 3X faster than before, more powerful portable batteries, and the adoption of industry-leading technologies like Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 and USB-C."

ENERGI Desktop Charging Station ($79.99)
The ENERGI Desktop Charging Station charges five devices at once using SmartDetect ports, which provide the maximum charging rate a phone or tablet will accept. Four rapid charging 2.4A USB ports enable users to charge their devices twice as fast as standard wall chargers. An additional 1A port doubles as a removable, rechargeable 3,200mAh battery pack. With a built-in cable management system, this compact charging station only uses one outlet but provides 50W maximum power. Photos | Spec Sheet

Since launching the VÜ Wireless Charger in 2013, TYLT has served as a leader in Qi wireless charging. Now, with the introduction of the VÜ 2.0 and VÜ SOLO 2.0, the company has set a new standard

VU 2.0 Wireless Charger ($79.99)
The VÜ 2.0 boasts a 15W output for 3X faster charging than the pre-2015 standard; a premium aluminum base that enables users to adjust the angle of the stand to fit their needs; and a three-coil system that means you never have to worry about aligning your device to initiate charging – just drop and go. Photos | Spec Sheet

VU SOLO 2.0 Wireless Charger ($49.99)
Perfect for travel or wireless desktop charging, the VÜ SOLO 2.0 charges 3X faster than traditional Qi chargers with a 15W output. The sliding alignment feature ensures your device is always perfectly positioned on the charging coil. Use the VÜ SOLO 2.0 as a flat pad or stand it upright for easy viewing Photos | Spec Sheet

For portable power on the go, TYLT launched its most powerful batteries and chargers to date: Turbo Portable Batteries and Turbo Smart Chargers. With the ability to power smartphones, tablets and, for the first time in the history of TYLT, laptops (that support USB-C charging), the new batteries keep even the most power-hungry gadgets fully charged.

TURBO Portable Batteries ($29.99 – $89.99)
With capacities ranging from 5,200mAh to 20,800mAh, TYLT has brought technology back to portable batteries with this new product line. The 10X Turbo Portable Battery has a 50W output and supports both Type C Power Delivery (PD) and Quick Charge 2.0. It can be recharged in just five hours using TYLT's DualFuel™ Technology, which allows users to plug into both the Type C port and the micro-USB port for charging. Capable of charging 75% faster than traditional 1A chargers, the Turbo Portable Chargers are compact, yet incredibly powerful. (All Portable Batteries meet UL safety standards.) Photos | Spec Sheet

TURBO Smart Chargers ($39.99 – $99.99)
With the ability to power laptops that support USB-C connector charging, TYLT's Turbo Smart Charger is the company's most powerful 2-in-1 wall charger and portable battery to date. With a 13,400mAh internal battery, QuickCharge 2.0 integration, one USB Type-C port, one 2.4A USB Type-A port, a built-in micro-USB or Lightning cable and collapsible AC prongs, the Turbo Smart Charger combines the industry's most innovative technologies into one compact device. Thanks to TYLT's PowerProng Technology, fully charging the battery takes only two and a half hours, and with the ability to provide up to 45W of power, it's the perfect accessory for even the most power-hungry smartphones, tablets and laptops. (All Smart Chargers meet UL and CTIA safety standards.)Photos | Spec Sheet

TYLT is also showcasing the new ENERGI+ Backpack 2.0USB-C RIBBN & USB-C Y-CHARGE Car Chargers alongside its most popular flagship products. For a hands-on look at TYLT's complete lineup, visit booth #30800, LVCC, South Hall 3 at CES 2016 January 6-9.


A global leader in innovative wireless charging and portable power solutions, TYLT creates high-quality, well-designed technology accessories that redefine, or "tilt," the norm. Since introducing its stylized line of mobile accessories at the 2012 International CES, TYLT has been named a CES Innovation Awards Honoree five years in a row, garnered thousands of positive reviews from consumers and reporters, and signed distribution partnerships in over 100 countries worldwide, solidifying the company as an industry leader. TYLT's beautifully designed accessories, which include wireless chargers, power cases and portable battery packs, have reinvented on-the-go charging by offering users added flexibility and convenience. For more information, visit https://www.tylt.com/.

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Sprint will stop offering two-year contracts to smartphone customers

Posted: 08 Jan 2016 04:31 AM PST

sprint-logoSprint is set to match Verizon and T-Mobile by stopping offering two-year phone contracts to new customers, although two-year contracts for tablets will remain. T-Mobile started the trend back in 2013 when it introduced its new Un-carrier payment plan, with Verizon following in August 2015, and AT&T announcing that it will do the same from

The post Sprint will stop offering two-year contracts to smartphone customers appeared first on Cult of Android.

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HTC closes out 2015 with a massive drop in sales

Posted: 08 Jan 2016 01:30 AM PST

HTC is getting a lot of good press at CES this week with the launch of the HTC Vive Pre developer kit and its UA HealthBox fitness gadgets, but the company if closing out the show by announcing some pretty disappointing sales number for the December and all of 2015. We will have to wait about a month before HTC releases its full-year earnings report for 2015, but revenue for the month of December plunged 57% when compared to December of 2014. In fact, HTC's revenue for December is the lowest monthly revenue that HTC has posted since 2004.

With December's figures recorded, HTC's total revenue for 2015 is down 35% over 2014. HTC has been undergoing internal restructuring which has led to massive layoffs, but we suspect more HTC employees will be losing their jobs in the coming months is HTC fails to deliver a truly impressive flagship smartphone at Mobile World Congress next month. Rumors surrounding the HTC Perfume (aka the HTC One M10) seem promising, but HTC will need to accompany the phones launch with a massive marketing campaign or undercut the Samsung Galaxy S7′s price by $100 if it hopes to grab any attention.

What do you think HTC needs to do in 2016 if it wants to survive?

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Spigen Cases Reveal Four Different Galaxy S7 Variants

Posted: 07 Jan 2016 08:46 PM PST

Galaxy S7 Plus Render - 4

Various leaks have revealed Samsung's plans to release the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones later this quarter. Now thanks to casemaker Spigen, there's even more.


An Amazon listing for the cases reveal that the company is expected to release not two but four Galaxy S7 variants: the S7 at 5.1-inches, S7 Edge at 5.5-inches, S7 Edge Plus and now the S7 Plus both around 5.7-inches to even 6-inches. The hardware design is expected to be very similar to last year's Galaxy S6 with its aluminum and glass design.

The specs for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Plus can be found here.

[9to5Google / Phone-probe]

Spigen Cases Reveal Four Different Galaxy S7 Variants is a post from: Android in Canada Blog

The post Spigen Cases Reveal Four Different Galaxy S7 Variants appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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Lenovo and Google will launch first consumer Project Tango phone this summer

Posted: 07 Jan 2016 08:45 PM PST

After spending a couple of years as a developer-only effort, Project Tango is finally ready to go mainstream.

Lenovo and Google are collaborating on the first consumer Project Tango smartphone, and they're going to release it this summer for less than $500. Little is known about the device, including its design, but Lenovo does say that it'll be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.

With Project Tango, Google hopes to help map indoor areas using a phones cameras and sensors. This can help you to navigate indoor areas, similar to how applications like Google Maps help you navigate the outdoors. Project Tango can also overlay information and objects into the real world, giving a sort of augmented reality experience on your device's display.

Google has already released a smartphone and a tablet as part of Project Tango, but those were primarily aimed at developers. This new smartphone from Lenovo will be made available to us regular consumers, and the good news is that it won't be crazy expensive for those of us that like to be on the bleeding edge.

Oh, and if you're wondering what kind of app support this consumer Project Tango device will have, you'll be glad to hear that Lenovo and Google are accepting developer proposals for Tango apps. Some devs will get funding to create their apps, and Lenovo says that it'll even feature select apps on its Tango smartphone.

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Get your app featured on the first smartphone with Project Tango from Lenovo

Posted: 07 Jan 2016 06:37 PM PST

Originally posted on Google Developers Blog

Posted by Johnny Lee, Technical Project Lead, Project Tango

Today, at CES, Lenovo announced the development of the first consumer-ready smartphone with Project Tango. By adding a few extra sensors and some computer vision software, Project Tango transforms your smartphone into a magic lens that lets you place digital information on your physical world.

*Renderings only. Not the official Lenovo device.

To support the continued growth of the ecosystem, we're also inviting developers from around the world to submit their ideas for gaming and utility apps created using Project Tango. We'll pick the best ideas and provide funding and engineering support to help bring them to life, as part of the app incubator. Even better, the finished apps will be featured on Lenovo's upcoming device. The submission period closes on February 15, 2016.

All you need to do is tell us about your idea and explain how Project Tango technologies will enable new experiences. Additionally, we'll ask you to include the following materials:

  • Project schedule including milestones for development –– we'll reach out to the selected developers by March 15, 2016
  • Visual mockups of your idea including concept art
  • Smartphone app screenshots and videos, such as captured app footage
  • Appropriate narrative including storyboards, etc.
  • Breakdown of your team and its members
  • One pager introducing your past app portfolio and your company profile

For some inspiration, Lowe's is developing an app where you can point your Project Tango-enabled smartphone at your kitchen to see where a new refrigerator or dishwasher might fit virtually.

Elsewhere, developer Schell Games let's you play virtual Jenga on any surface with friends. But this time, there is no cleanup involved when the blocks topple over.

There are also some amazing featured apps for Project Tango on Google Play. You can pick up your own Project Tango Tablet Development Kit here to brainstorm new fun and immersive experiences that use the space around you. Apply now!

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Sprint looks to be ditching contracts

Posted: 07 Jan 2016 06:30 PM PST

We've seen a lot of carrier shake-ups recently, with Sprint making plenty of changes on its end. And according to a new leak, it looks as though Sprint is making another big move. A leaked internal document reveals that Sprint is ditching the traditional two-year contracts for smartphones. The company has moved further and further away from two-year contracts over the past couple of years, but customers have always had the option if they so desired. With this change, new customers will be required to lease, use a payment plan or pay the full retail price of the smartphone they're looking to get.

Interestingly enough, Sprint is still offering a two-year contract option for tablets. That could change in the future, though that remains to be seen. The move to ditch two-year contracts for smartphones comes as part of Sprint's timeline of changes designed to revitalize the carrier. Sprint promised that two-year contracts for smartphones would be gone by the end of 2015, so it came very close to meeting that deadline.

Which carrier are you currently using?

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