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Monday, February 29, 2016

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Samsung reportedly selling edge displays to other manufacturers

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 02:02 PM PST

Samsung's edge displays have been a differentiating factor in the smartphone game, not only offering a unique appearance but having some new features to go along with them. But that may soon change, as Samsung is reportedly going to be selling the edge displays to other manufacturers to use in their smartphones.

The companies allegedly in talks with Samsung are Huawei, Xiaomi, and Vivo (above is a leaked image of the Xplay5). The BlackBerry Priv apparently uses a Samsung edge display, and while it doesn't serve any functional purpose, you have to admit that it looks pretty good.

In the end, it will result in more unique devices and that's great for the customer. A budget Huawei or Xiaomi phone with curved screen edges sounds great, since the edge displays are only on flagships in the Samsung lineup. What do you think about Samsung giving up a differentiating factor like the curved edge displays? Leave a comment!

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ASUS announces Marshmallow rollout plans

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 01:32 PM PST

ASUS has announced its plans for the Android 6.0 update we know a lot of people are waiting for. Though Marshmallow launched almost five months ago, many companies have still not released the update for their devices. We should be used to this by now, though, as it's been a trend with Android devices since the OS came out.

ASUS will be updating a bunch of phones to Marshmallow in Q2 of 2016, so June at the latest. Here's the list of devices to be updated:

  • PadFone S (PF500KL)
  • ZenFone 2 (ZE550ML, ZE551ML)
  • ZenFone 2 Deluxe (ZE551ML)
  • ZenFone 2 Deluxe Special Edition (ZE551ML)
  • ZenFone 2 Laser (ZE500KG, ZE500KL, ZE550KL, ZE551KL, ZE600KL, ZE601KL)
  • ZenFone Selfie (ZD551KL)
  • ZenFone Max (ZC550KL)
  • ZenFone Zoom (ZX551ML)

When these devices do receive the update, the messenger, mail, and calendar ZenUI apps will be replaced with the Google versions. If you'd like to keep the ASUS versions, they'll be available on the Play Store. The updates are still a few months out, but at least the company isn't abandoning these devices.

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Top 5 most popular Android apps from last week: Kaizala, Speedify

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 01:32 PM PST

Every week we cover new Android apps with Fresh Meat on Wednesday, followed by Android Gaming on Thursday and Top 10 App Updates on Friday. When Monday rolls around, we look back to see which apps were the most appealing to our audience. Read on for the five most popular Android apps from last week. These apps are ones that are most likely new and haven't appeared in the top five list more than three times.

1. Battery Time Saver

Battery Time Saver

App info: Extend your battery time to make your battery power last longer between charges with Battery Time, the free app for Android that helps you conserve energy, save power, stop energy leaks and fine-tune settings to optimize and boost your battery time.


2. Rewind: Reverse Voice Recorder

Rewind - Reverse Voice Recorder

App info: Rewind allows you to passively record your surroundings. This app continuously runs in the background and records everything your phone hears, allowing you to save recent recording when you hear something you would like to keep.


3. Kaizala


App info: Kaizala, a Microsoft Garage Project, helps you get your work done by tracking bills, jobs, location and much more – and, it's as simple as chat.


4. Speedify


App info: Speedify is a new kind of VPN that lets you use Wi-Fi and 3G/4G mobile data together for fast, unbreakable Internet no matter where you are.


5. VHS Camcorder

VHS Camcorder

App info: With VHS Camcorder, you'll make home movies that look and sound like video tapes pulled out of storage after 30 years. Realism: the ORIGINAL and BEST app for simulating old videotape recordings.


Note:  To ensure that all apps receive a fair chance to make the list, we will retire any app that has made the list for three consecutive weeks.

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‘Monotune’ Android ad results in free monotune album

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 12:47 PM PST

You may remember the Android "Monotune" ad that recently came out. It featured a pianist playing songs on a regular piano, then playing the same songs on a piano modified to only play the middle C note. It had the tagline "Be together. Not the same.", which showed off Android's variety of devices that all work together, in contrast to everyone using the same phone.

For some reason, Google decided to release an album based on the ad with the same name. It's an album full of songs played on the piano that only has the middle C note, so it's quite a monotonous album. Thankfully it's free, so you can give it a listen for fun. At least it's funny.

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Oops! Self-driving Google car may have caused its first accident

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 12:47 PM PST

A Google car may have caused its first ding. Photo: GoogleA Google self-driving car was involved in a collision with a public bus this month, and it could be the first time one of the company's autonomous vehicles was to blame for an accident. Google is proud of the fact that since it started road testing its self-driving cars in 2012, none of them have caused an accident. They've

The post Oops! Self-driving Google car may have caused its first accident appeared first on Cult of Android.

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Motorola offering 16GB Moto G (3rd Gen) for $199

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 12:18 PM PST

Today is Leap Day, which means that all sorts of deals are available. But Motorola is offering a sale that goes longer than just one day. Until March 7, Motorola is offering the 16GB Moto G (3rd Gen) for just $199. This is $20 off the regular price, which already offers immense bang for your buck. At just under $200, the Moto G (3rd Gen) is a steal, packing in a combination of useful and respectable features.

If you pick up the device, you can expect to find a 5-inch 720p display with Gorilla Glass, 1.4GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage plus microSD card slot, 13-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front-facing camera, 2470mAh battery, 4G LTE support and Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, which has already been update to Android 6.0 Marhsmallow in Europe, with the rest of the world following soon.

The Moto G (3rd Gen) is a fantastic phone with a price that's easy on the wallet. It's definitely worth owning if you're on a budget or if you simply want to have a backup phone in case something happens to your daily driver. Remember, this sale only lasts through March 7, so don't take more than a couple of days to think on it.

Buy it from Motorola.

Buy it from Amazon.

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Google self-driving car gets in first at-fault crash

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 12:18 PM PST

Google's self-driving cars have had a spotless driving record so far. After over a million miles of driving in some tough cities (let's be fair, California drivers aren't exactly great), there hasn't been a single crash where the car was at fault. The few times a self driving car has been damaged is either someone running into it or a human was driving it.

Well, that was true until now. A Google self-driving car has gotten into its first crash in which it was at fault. The details are below:

"A Google Lexus-model autonomous vehicle ("Google AV") was traveling in autonomous mode eastbound on El Camino Real in Mountain View in the far right-hand lane approaching the Castro St. intersection. As the Google AV approached the intersection, it signaled its intent to make a right turn on red onto Castro St. The Google AV then moved to the right-hand side of the lane to pass traffic in the same lane that was stopped at the intersection and proceeding straight. However, the Google AV had to come to a stop and go around sandbags positioned around a storm drain that were blocking its path. When the light turned green, traffic in the lane continued past the Google AV. After a few cars had passed, the Google AV began to proceed back into the center of the lane to pass the sand bags. A public transit bus was approaching from behind. The Google AV test driver saw the bus approaching in the left side mirror but believed the bus would stop or slow to allow the Google AV to continue. Approximately three seconds later, as the Google AV was reentering the center of the lane it made contact with the side of the bus. The Google AV was operating in autonomous mode and traveling at less than 2 mph, and the bus was travelling at about 15 mph at the time of contact. The Google AV sustained body damage to the left front fender, the left front wheel and one of its driver's -side sensors. There were no injuries reported at the scene."

It's kind of a mixed bag. On one hand, it would have been nice if the bus had yielded to a car trying to get around an obstacle. But legally, the bus had the right of way, and the self-driving car should have yielded to a bus coming. Human intuition is one thing, and expecting the bus to yield is reasonable, but the self-driving car should have been more careful.

Thankfully, one crash in the history of the many Google self-driving cars out there still means the cars are far safer than human drivers. This bug can be fixed, and hope in these cars should not be lost.

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Rocking Ball – web slinging adventure game will make Spider-man proud

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 11:47 AM PST

Rocking Ball – web slinging adventure game will make Spider-man proud

Rocking Ball takes a concept from the web-slinger comic book hero but in more simpler format. It's an addictive arcade game to get the rocking ball to the end exit by slinging a grappling hook to the walls. Swing, jump or bounce off walls… collect yellow rings to add seconds to your adventure as time runs... View Article

Rocking Ball – web slinging adventure game will make Spider-man proud is a post from: AndroidTapp

The post Rocking Ball – web slinging adventure game will make Spider-man proud appeared first on AndroidTapp.

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LEAGUE is the app that’s changing healthcare

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 11:47 AM PST

Healthcare is a controversial subject in many countries, notably so in the US, which is dealing with a healthcare system that's proven to be inefficient and costly. Alternate solutions have been proposed, suggesting everything from state-run healthcare to nearly non-existent regulation. But a new solution for the healthcare system is emerging in a different way than many expected.

LEAGUE is a new app-based service that aims to change the healthcare system in both the US and Canada. The service was founded by a team led by Mike Serbinis, the founder and former CEO of Kobo, the e-reader company. I was able to chat with Serbinis last week about LEAGUE, learning more about the service and how it aims to solve parts of the complex issue surrounding healthcare.

Essentially, LEAGUE is a service that aims to personalize healthcare for each user. It began with a focus on prevention, going after the everyday issues that lead to chronic diseases and other health issues. With many health issues stemming from lifestyle diseases, it was shocking to find out that an average of just one percent of spending goes towards prevention of these diseases, with the rest simply going to treatment.

I asked Serbinis about the founding of LEAGUE and whether there was a specific event that began the process. Unfolding from that was an remarkable story, in which Serbinis recounted a trip to Los Angeles where he met two extremely important people: Bill Clinton and Patrick Soon-Shiong. Clinton and Soon-Shiong were engaged in a discussion about "the future of medicine, and in particular, how it would be genomics-based and more personalized."

Serbinis' attention was caught, however, by how little discussion there was about prevention and everyday health. There was also little talk of the issues in the healthcare system regarding insurance and how consumers deal with medical providers. From this, Serbinis saw an opportunity to improve and thus, the concept for LEAGUE was born.

What was that initial concept? Serbinis describes it as "extremely broad, transforming the consumer experience so that people could be empowered to be healthy every day."

From that, the team began to look at the problems that were standing in the way of everyday health. Using the problems that it identified, the team began to solve them and quickly found itself involved in something much bigger than it'd ever anticipated.

Serbinis and team began to build LEAGUE in 2014, with the first launch of the service in Toronto in June 2015. Since then, the company rolled out to its first US city of Seattle with a launch in November 2015. As of the writing of this article, LEAGUE has expanded to Vancouver and will continue to roll out across the US and Canada over the coming year.

Mike Serbinis, Founder and CEO of LEAGUE

Mike Serbinis, Founder and CEO of LEAGUE

What the company recently realized is that it had built something far more expansive than it had ever anticipated. In Serbinis's words, LEAGUE "built a provider network, a marketplace, an Amazon-like place to go find health and wellness providers, services and products that were rated, reviewed and geo-specific, a consumer experience to discover, schedule and pay, and an employer experience so that employers can easily on-board their employees to use [LEAGUE]."

"When you put all those things together, what you've got is an end-to-end way to move money that is far more efficient."

This sentence strikes at the heart of what LEAGUE is about: efficiency. The service is essentially designed to trim off all of the excess offerings and inefficiency of traditional insurance and healthcare, rather allowing individuals to pick and choose their own personal health needs and then giving them the power to seek out solutions to those needs, without having to go through the complicated and often frustrating experience of using a middleman insurance provider.

LEAGUE is designed to make healthcare "consumer-centric," which involves removing the system that's been used by traditional insurance companies. Rather than offering a swath of benefits to employees, most of which are never used, LEAGUE instead allows employers to offer employees an array of choices that they can pick and choose from, ensuring that the benefits package is only offering benefits that are useful to each individual.

By cutting out the other inefficiencies in the process, LEAGUE is able to offer this enormous benefit in a way that offers substantial savings for both employers and employees, while also improving overall long-term health of users by gearing many services towards prevention.

Think of it this way. Perhaps you're carrying too much weight and you recognize that it's due, in large part, to a lack of exercise. You don't know where to start with exercising and you'd like to have a few sessions with a personal trainer to help you get started. Unfortunately, your insurance package from work doesn't cover personal training or exercise classes, and the cost is too high for you to sign up otherwise.

LEAGUE solves this, because rather than employers telling employees what benefits they have and don't have, it allows employers to offer spending accounts for employees, who can then use LEAGUE to find and purchase the service that they need. If you need personal training sessions, you can simply find a provider through LEAGUE and purchase it through your employer-provided spending account, no hassle involved.

This ties in to the way in which LEAGUE saves money. With traditional insurance, it requires several rounds of communication, transfers of information and multiple channels all trying to accomplish something as simple as paying for a dental appointment. LEAGUE eliminates all of those excessive channels, and by doing so, saves the immense amounts of money that are needlessly spent during that process.

Serbinis put the process into a good example:

With LEAGUE, what you do is you go to the LEAGUE app, pick your dentist, you say, 'I'll take Tuesday at two o'clock for a cleaning,' and it's $130. You schedule the appointment, you go in for the appointment and at the end of the appointment, there's another $20 charge, so now it's $150. It's like the first time you walk out of an Uber cab and you have that funny feeling of, 'Wow, I guess I don't have to pay,' because you paid through the app. You walk out of the dental office and your 'claim' has automatically been handled and you get a debit against your health spending account for $150 and that's it. LEAGUE pays the provider and you're done.Mike SerbinisLEAGUE

Part of the beauty of LEAGUE is that it offers advancements for both employees and employers. An employer can sign up for LEAGUE in as little as 10 minutes, and by the end of that time, it can already begin offering health benefits to its employees through LEAGUE.

Not only is it fast, but it's also very useful for employers, as LEAGUE offers data and analytics to employers on what services employees are actually using, allowing employers to see how those services tie in to employee performance and wellness. With LEAGUE, employers can find out the best ways to motivate and improve the health and wellness of employees. These improvements in health will, in turn, likely improve employee performance and in a larger scope, company performance.

The question is, will LEAGUE replace traditional insurance companies? Serbinis says that it depends on the customer. For some customers, LEAGUE will take the place of traditional insurance companies. The company has expanded beyond just health and wellness and now offers a full array of dental, vision and medical benefits, allowing it to cover all of the same categories as traditional health insurance.

For other customers, LEAGUE functions as an add-on to insurance policies that don't offer health and wellness benefits. With the flexibility of LEAGUE spending accounts, the service doesn't need to be the exclusive provider for a company, and as such, it can function as an add-on, offering extra benefits that employees can choose to use if they so desire.

LEAGUE is a company that's been founded to help consumers, which is the base on which all successful companies must be founded. After finishing our chat, I came away enlightened and excited about the future of LEAGUE. Serbinis and his team have struck into something incredible, and if the company's growth is any indicator of success, LEAGUE is going to forever change the way we think about healthcare.

For more information about LEAGUE, click here.

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Samsung warns users not to charge a wet Galaxy S7

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 11:17 AM PST

This is safe, but charging it wet isn't. Photo: PhotoGetting your new Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge wet is perfectly acceptable, but be sure it's completely dry before topping up its battery. Samsung is warning users that charging with a cable while the port is still wet can cause damage to their shiny new smartphone. "If you charge the device while the multipurpose jack

The post Samsung warns users not to charge a wet Galaxy S7 appeared first on Cult of Android.

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Square Introduces Cash Drawer To Store Your Money Between Transactions

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 10:58 AM PST


There are many ways to send money to a friend using your phone. PayPal, Venmo, Facebook, Google. Not long ago, Square introduced Cash as its own personal method for you to take money that's in your bank account and stick it in another's. Now the company is introducing a feature that lets you set aside money specifically for this purpose.

It's called the Cash Drawer, a place for you to save money you receive from other users or store cash that you've added from your own bank account.

Read More

Square Introduces Cash Drawer To Store Your Money Between Transactions was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Android Pay is taking its fight against Apple Pay international

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 10:47 AM PST

Android Pay is expanding its reach. Photo: GoogleAndroid Pay, which made its debut in the U.S. just five months ago, is already gearing up to take its fight against Apple Pay international. The U.K. will be the second market served by Google's mobile payments system, according to a new report — and Britons will be able to sign up by the end of March.

The post Android Pay is taking its fight against Apple Pay international appeared first on Cult of Android.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2016), Galaxy Tab E 7.0 get revealed in leaked images

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 10:02 AM PST

Last year, Samsung launched a pair of tablets under the Galaxy Tab A brand with displays that measured 8 and 9.7 inches. Leading up to that the one-year anniversary of that reveal, new images have surfaced that reportedly show off a brand new, 7-inch Galaxy Tab A as well as a new Galaxy Tab E.

The images, published to Twitter via Evan Blass (@evleaks) recently, show off the pair of tablets right next to each other in black and white color schemes. The tablet on the left is allegedly the 7-inch Galaxy Tab A (2016), while the tablet on the right is the Galaxy Tab E 7.0.

Unfortunately, there isn't any additional information to go along with the pictures. Both tablets seem to have 7-inch displays, and it seems clear that both devices will have a physical home button under those display and a camera on their backs. It doesn't look like the Galaxy Tab E 7.0 has a front-facing camera, but the Galaxy Tab A appears to.

There's no telling how much these will cost right now, but it's likely that they won't be high-end tablets. If you own a tablet now, how often do you use it and which one do you own?

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T-Mobile has already started shipping Galaxy S7, S7 edge

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 09:47 AM PST

Some lucky customers will get Galaxy S7 early. Photo: SamsungWith seemingly zero respect for their official launch date, T-Mobile has already begun shipping the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge to pre-order customers in the U.S. The first deliveries are expected to take place before the end of this week. Samsung's new devices aren't scheduled to make their official debuts until March 11 in

The post T-Mobile has already started shipping Galaxy S7, S7 edge appeared first on Cult of Android.

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PSA: WhatsApp Adds Link Copying, Shared Link History Tab, And Granular Control Over Chat Clearing

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 08:43 AM PST


Between the multiple beta and release versions, WhatsApp goes through so many iterations that we sometimes miss a few features here and there. We often get tips about additions or changes to the app, but in certain instances we can't exactly pinpoint when they were implemented. That is unless we went back and reinstalled every version of the app to find the one that triggered it, which we'll all agree is an unnecessary waste of time.

Read More

PSA: WhatsApp Adds Link Copying, Shared Link History Tab, And Granular Control Over Chat Clearing was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google teases us by showing off Android without an app drawer

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 08:17 AM PST

Android no app drawerIf you're concerned that Google is about to kill Android's app drawer, look away now. The beloved feature, which has been baked into Android since its inception, is nowhere to be seen in a new video released to promote Google Maps. Earlier this month, one rumor claimed that none of the Android N builds Google is currently

The post Google teases us by showing off Android without an app drawer appeared first on Cult of Android.

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You can now pre-order the HTC Vive for $799

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 07:47 AM PST

HTC is now accepting pre-orders for the HTC Vive. For $799, you get the Vive head-mounted display, two motion controllers, two laser tracking base stations, link box and a pair of earbuds in addition to three VR titles (Tilt Brush by Google, Fantastic Contraption and Job Simulator). The price does not include shipping or taxes. Those pre-ordering the HTC Vive in Europe or the UK will have to shell out €899 and £689, respectively, but those prices do include local VAT charges.

It may not be directly related to Android, but the Vive is a critical new product for HTC and will likely shape the future of VR development over the next few years. If the HTC Vive is a commercial success, it will be the first product in HTC's portfolio that is not tied to a smartphone is some way.

Let us know in the comments if you're planning on buying the HTC Vive.

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Create Time-stamped Multimedia Notes on Your Android Device

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 07:03 AM PST


micnote icon Mic Note is a free Android app that allows you to create voice recordings, text notes, and image-based notes on one concise notebook page. The notes that you record with your voice can be time-stamped by clicking on your Mic Note note page while you're recording. You can also take notes without recording any audio. All notes support inclusion of images and links. The best part of Mic Note is that you can sync all of your notes to your Google Drive or Dropbox account.

Mic Note could be a good tool for students who want or need to record a teacher giving a short presentation. Students could let the recorder run while they type their own notes about what the teacher is saying to the class. And because Mic Note supports pictures, students could insert images of slides and or diagrams that their teachers display.

Mic Note also has potential to be a good tool for students who are conducting interviews as they can write time-stamped notes while recording.

Parts of this post originally appeared on one of my other blogs, FreeTech4Teachers.com.

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14.4 million people set to buy the Xiaomi Mi 5 tomorrow

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 06:32 AM PST

With less than 24 hours to go before the Xiaomi Mi 5 goes on sale, the company has announced that more than 14.4 million people have already registered for the opportunity to purchase the phone when it goes on sale tomorrow morning in China. While the number is staggering, there's no guarantee that all 14 million people will actually fork over their hard earned cash to buy the phone.

Priced at RMB 1999 ($306 USD), the base level Mi 5 will have a 1.8GHz Snapdragon 820, 32GB of storage, a glass back, and 3GB of RAM. The RMB 2299 ($352 USD) tier will have a 2.15GHz Snapdragon 820, 64GB of storage, and 3GB of RAM. The RMB 2699 ($413 USD) tier is the Pro model, offering a 2.15GHz Snapdragon 820, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 3D ceramic back.

The phone itself may not look as appealing as Samsung's Galaxy S7 edge, but it's definitely worth considering since it's only half the price of what Samsung will be asking for its flagship smartphone. Samsung and LG has the advantage of being available in North America and Europe, but Xiaomi has been hinting that its 2016 flagship may make an appearance outside Asian markets sometime this year.

Would you consider buying the Xiaomi Mi 5 if it were to go on sale in Europe or the US?

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NBC’s Android app gains Chromecast support

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 06:32 AM PST

After years of sitting around and twiddling our thumbs, the team behind the NBC app for Android have finally released an update that's actually useful. That's right, the latest update to the NBC app finally integrates Chromecast support. The app itself isn't much better than previous iterations, but at least you now have the option of tapping the Chromecast icon and enjoying your favorite NBC shows on your Chromecast-connected flat screen TV.

If you have already received an update notification for the NBC app, we recommend uninstalling and reinstalling the app through Google Play so that you can start casting NBC shows as soon as possible. What mainstream media app do you hope will get Chromecast support next?

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The Official NBC Android App Now Supports Chromecast Video Streaming

Posted: 29 Feb 2016 02:28 AM PST

2016-02-29 10.03.26The adoption of Chromecast as a de facto streaming standard was rapid, helped in no small part by the fact that it was the cheapest streaming gadget on the market which was immediately compatible with both major mobile phone systems. But not everyone leaps to support new tech, and old media giants like the National Broadcasting Company have never been accused of being nimble. So it took NBC the better part of three years to support Google's streaming standard, so what - it's not like they're a multi-million dollar entertainment company backed by an international supercorp.

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The Official NBC Android App Now Supports Chromecast Video Streaming was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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