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Monday, May 23, 2016

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Samsung introduces Galaxy S7 accessories partnered with LINE

Posted: 23 May 2016 03:17 PM PDT

LINE is a popular chat app in the US, and it's even more widely used outside of the country. One of the appeals of LINE is its vast collection of stickers, many of which are modeled after LINE's own characters.

Galaxy_LineFriends_Main_2

Samsung has partnered with LINE to create accessories for the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge featuring the LINE FRIENDS Brown and Cony. This will include both cases set in space and wireless chargers with the characters on them.

Galaxy_LineFriends_Main_3

The story behind this is that the LINE FRIENDS planet is dimming, and a Galaxy S7 is the sun and needs recharging. Hence why they're in space. It's silly, but the accessories are nice looking. They're now available in Korea and will launch in more than 10 other countries around Asia and the Middle East soon. It's not very likely they'll come to the US, but I'm sure we'll be able to buy them online.

Galaxy_LineFriends_Main_5_706_1

If you have a Gear S2, you can also download new LINE FRIENDS watch faces.

How many of you use LINE chat?  Leave a comment!


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New app USBCheck checks your USB Type-C cables for compliance

Posted: 23 May 2016 02:32 PM PDT

It's now evident that many USB Type-C cables are just plain dangerous. It's not just that they don't work right, they might even damage your device, as Benson Leung unfortunately learned with his Pixel C. It's important to choose the right cable that's USB spec compliant, and that's gotten easier now that Amazon has banned non-compliant cables.

However, you might still have a non-compliant cable and not even know it. Even reputable companies like OnePlus make cables that are potentially dangerous. Thankfully, there's now an app to check your cable. USBCheck checks current draw when you connect a compatible device to a PC USB port and will tell you if the current draw is following USB spec or not. It's not a 100% accurate tool, but it is helpful.

The app is current compatible with the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Pixel C. The device also has to be connected to a computer USB port, not a wall adapter, for the app to work. If you're unsure about your cable, give it a test!


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T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S5 getting its update to Marshmallow

Posted: 23 May 2016 02:32 PM PDT

Getting support for a device that's over two years old is rare, but Samsung is upgrading its Galaxy S5 to Marshmallow. Twenty-five months after launch, the T-Mobile version of the S5 is getting its update to the latest version of Android.

With Marshmallow, you'll get many new features like Google Now on Tap, Doze mode for better battery life, improved volume controls, customizable permissions for better security, and many tweaks and fixes for a faster and smoother experience. This update also comes with May's security patches and something called a "device slowness fix."

The upgrade is one gigabyte in size, so make sure you either have WiFi or plenty of data left before downloading. You should also make sure your battery is topped off. The update should really improve the performance of the aging device and keep you secure, so definitely download it when you have a chance. Let us know when you get it!


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Android Instant Apps is the feature that will save us time and space

Posted: 23 May 2016 02:32 PM PDT

Can you imagine a world where we had an app that does it all? An app that can do Facebook, online shopping, and more? Well we do, and it's our web browser. However, web browsers aren't all they're cracked up to be, and it's not the fault of the browser developers.

Let's be honest, many mobile sites suck. They're slow, they're annoying to use, and they only know what cookies allow them to know. Apps are almost always better, with support for various APIs and integration with many services. Everything from logging in to paying is easier in a well-designed app.

But there are many apps we simply don't want to install. Whether they take up precious space, kill battery with background processes, or are simply not going to be used often, some apps just don't belong. I uninstalled the Facebook app more than one year ago, and I really don't miss it and neither does my battery life. However, the mobile site (on the rare occasion I use it) is simply inferior.

This is where Android Instant Apps comes in. Google announced the feature at Google I/O 2016, and I think it's a bigger deal than many people realize. If an app supports it, it can be opened without downloading the full application. You can hit a link from Google Search and get the app instantly. Developers will split apps into modules, so only the part you require will be launched.

Let's say you want to buy something. You open a link to a product, and you get the site's app rather than the mobile site. You can then buy the item with ease, logging into your Google account without having to enter credentials and using Android Pay for the payment. It's a big time saver and doesn't require you to have another useless app on your phone that you'll use once a year.

There's also the issue of security. Some apps have security issues or straight up gather data on you. It's not common, but it happens. It's great not to have so many apps installed, along with having to update a few dozen apps weekly.

Of course, all of its benefits hang on its speed. The app launch needs to be pretty close to instant, a few seconds at most. And it's possible! If full apps are a few megabytes, downloading a module on an LTE connection and launching it from RAM rather than installing it should be near instantaneous.

If an app takes 30 seconds to download the proper module and launch, it'll be far less useful than using the mobile site. No one likes long load times, and staring at a blank screen for half a minute won't be appealing to most people.

Android Instant Apps isn't a feature just for the tech nerd. This will benefit everyone who uses an Android device for more than just phone calls. Need to find reviews on a local restaurant? Launch Yelp temporarily and check it out. Yelp is a great example, because its mobile site gets more useless every day.

Who doesn't want more space, fewer processes running, and speedier phones? This fall, Android Instant Apps will launch for devices running Android Jelly Bean and up, and we'll be able to see how great it is. It all hinges on Google's tools and developer's implementations. How many of you are excited for this feature? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment!


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Motorola registers trademark for Moto Z

Posted: 23 May 2016 01:02 PM PDT

Last week, a rumor started circulating that Motorola, or Lenovo, would drop the Moto X name from its flagship Moto devices and instead go with Moto Z. Today, a filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office lends some credence to that rumor, as Motorola has filed for a trademark on the name Moto Z.

According to the earlier rumor, there will be two variants of the Moto Z much like the Moto X from 2015, a Moto Z Style and Play. The trademark filing for the Moto Z name is for smartphones and related accessories, so we're inclined to believe this rumor will be coming true.

As for what the name change means, we're guessing nothing. Smartphone manufacturers change it up all the time for sometimes no reason at all. The move from X to Z isn't an indicator of any drastic changes, but for those who are worried about Moto's future with Lenovo in charge, any change is a bad one. We should know more about the Moto Z this summer.


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A darker night mode for Twitter may be coming soon

Posted: 23 May 2016 01:02 PM PDT

Spotted in a new alpha build of Twitter for Android, it appears Twitter is testing a new feature that would enable a darker night mode for the app that makes night tweeting a little easier on the eyes.

While not much is known about the night mode being tested at this time, Android does allow for developers to implement such a feature, which is automated based on location and time of day. Twitter's night mode appears to change the app to a dark blue instead of white, and is only appearing for some users (our old pal Taylor Wimberly seems to be the first person to post about seeing the change).

It may be a while before night mode in Twitter is more widely available, if it ever is, but there's no denying Twitter is toying with the idea.


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Google wants to bring password-free logins for Android apps by the end of 2016

Posted: 23 May 2016 01:02 PM PDT

Passwords can be forgotten, and while fingerprint sensors have made logging into apps and devices easier, Google sees a future where we don't have to rely on either of them when we want to access things we use every day.

Google's trust system is called Project Abacus, and it was developed within the ATAP division, where short-term projects are created. Google actually showcased Abacus at Google I/O last year, and TechCrunch reports that the company hasn't forgotten about the technology at all. Quite the contrary, as it turns out Google plans to have Project Abacus ready for developers later this year.

With Abacus, users would no longer need to rely on their password, but instead a variety of other different methods or patterns as part of this "trust system." That could include your typing speed, or voice, and your location. Abacus would use these things together to confirm your identify, instead of you needing to input your password.

Google says that multiple "very large financial institutions" are currently planning on running trials for Abacus beginning in June, which means it's finally moving out of the university testing phase it has been in for quite some time.

As is generally the case with Google's services and devices, there's a certain degree of trust the user will have to hand over to Google for the feature to work. It will be interesting to see how much it takes, and if users are ready to give up their passwords in favor of this particular system.


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Pebble is counting down to a May 24 reveal of … something

Posted: 23 May 2016 12:48 PM PDT

Announced on the official Pebble Twitter account and plastered across the landing page for Pebble.com, the platform agnostic smartwatch company is counting down to some kind of reveal set to take place tomorrow, Tuesday, May 24.

According to Pebble, we're all "in for a treat" tomorrow at 10AM Eastern. As for what tomorrow's treat will be, well, we are clueless. It could be anything from a new watch or fitness tracker, to a major software update or even a Memorial Day sale.

Considering the short buildup, we're inclined to think it isn't anything major. We'll know more a day from now. Until then, let us know what you'd like to see from Pebble in the comments below.


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Top 5 most popular Android apps from last week: S Note, Notifly

Posted: 23 May 2016 11:46 AM PDT

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. S Note

S Note

App info: S Note is a note taking application which allows you to efficiently create, edit and manage notes. It provides a number of user-friendly features that differentiates it from other note taking applications.

 

2. Dark Sky – Hyperlocal Weather

Dark Sky

App info:  Dark Sky is the most accurate source of hyperlocal weather information. With down-to-the-minute forecasts, you'll know exactly when the rain will start or stop, right where you're standing.

 

3. Assassin's Creed Identity

AC Identity

App info: Play now the first ACTION RPG game of the acclaimed ASSASSIN'S CREED Franchise. Explore the ITALIAN RENAISSANCE through the eyes of your OWN ASSASSIN, complete dozens of missions and unravel the epic mystery of The Crows.

 

4. Notifly

Notifly

App info: Notifly offers a new way to read notifications and also reply to notifications. Just from anywhere you want. By receiving a notification Notifly will open it's content in a small bubble. By clicking this a bounded popup with the content will appear.

 

5. fooView – Float Viewer

fooView

App info: fooView – Float Viewer is a magic floating button. It's a system enhancement tool to help you access your favorite websites, apps, games, files, music, photos, and video by a gesture using one hand.

 

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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Samsung Galaxy S7 Active said to feature 4000mAh battery, 12MP camera, and more

Posted: 23 May 2016 11:46 AM PDT

While Samsung has yet to make the Galaxy S7 Active official, the leaks have been coming in with a regular pace. We've already seen the device out in the wild, with its beefy bumpers and digital camouflage aesthetic, as well as seeing what the device will look like in gold. Now the specifications for AT&T's and Samsung's upcoming rugged handset have leaked.

The VentureBeat report states that the Galaxy S7 Active will boast a 5.1-inch 1440×2560 Super AMOLED display, matching what's present on the standard Galaxy S7. The Galaxy S7 Active will also boast a 4000mAh battery, which is a nice increase from the Galaxy S6 Active that launched last year.

The new handset will also reportedly boast a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor under the hood, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of built-in storage. It will support a microSD card and run Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box, too. Finally, there will be a 12-megepixel camera on the back with dual pixel sensor for improvements in low-light photography, as well as a 5-megapixel camera on the front.

The report suggests AT&T and Samsung could launch the Galaxy S7 Active on June 10. Are you getting excited yet?


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Spotify updates its family plan to add more value

Posted: 23 May 2016 11:14 AM PDT

Summer is upon us and Spotify is getting into the spirit by updating its family plan to give everyone more bang for their buck. Families can now purchase a Spotify family plan that offers six Spotify Premium accounts for just $14.99/month. All of the accounts include unlimited ad-free streaming on both desktop and mobile, just like a standard Spotify Premium account.

All of the accounts are kept separate, so you don't have to worry about your music overlapping with the others on your account. This plan is available for new customers around the globe (excluding Canada), though local pricing may vary slightly. Additionally, existing customers on a Spotify family plan will receive this update on their next payment date, resulting in lower prices and the ability to add more members to their plan for the same price.

Do you use Spotify's family plan?


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Samsung Gear Fit 2 appears in new promotional materials promoting maps

Posted: 23 May 2016 11:14 AM PDT

Earlier in May, we got a few glimpses at the Samsung Gear Fit 2, with the first time being a clear look at the device from Samsung itself. The next day we saw the Gear Fit 2 in pink, black, and blue thanks to press renders.

Now there are reportedly even more promotional materials out there that show off the Gear Fit 2 wrapped around people's wrists as well as how maps might look on the curved AMOLED display. These new renders seem to confirm, once again, that the new wearable will have a sleeker profile with a display that'll sit flush with the wristband itself.

Nothing is confirmed at this point, but the rumors says the Gear Fit 2 will boast a 1.84-inch curved AMOLED display, 4GB of built-in storage, and built-in GPS. This new report also suggests that the Gear Fit 2 could be unveiled, and perhaps launched, in June.

Samsung Gear Fit 2 wild

The original report also includes two images of what's believed to be the Gear Fit 2 out in the wild, which we saw first leaked back in April alongside two wireless earbuds as well.

Are you planning on picking up the Gear Fit 2 from Samsung?


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Opera Max v2.0 Appears In The Play Store Under A New Listing With Mysterious 'Boost' Feature

Posted: 23 May 2016 09:53 AM PDT

max

Opera was once just a maker of browsers (a browser that cost money in fact), but more recently it's branching out into other areas. For example, the Opera Max VPN service. Opera Max compresses data before it gets to your phone to lower your usage, and there's a new version out today. Opera Max v2.0 is in the Play Store, but it's got an entirely new listing.

This is actually the third listing for Opera Max.

Read More

Opera Max v2.0 Appears In The Play Store Under A New Listing With Mysterious 'Boost' Feature was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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AT&T Next streamlined to two installment options

Posted: 23 May 2016 09:41 AM PDT

With traditional two-year contracts dying out, phone financing options are becoming immensely popular. Every carrier has their own selection, and today, AT&T is updating its AT&T Next program to simplify and refresh it. Previously, AT&T Next featured four different installment options, but this update slashes that in half, and brings it down to two simple options.

The first installment option allows users to upgrade to a new device every year. Users sign into a 24-month financing term and select a device. Then, they make 12 monthly payments that equate to 50% of the device cost. Once the 50% mark is reached, users can trade in the device and select another device for the rest of the 24-month installment period.

The second installment option allows users to upgrade to a new device every two years. With this option, users pay 80% of the phone's retail price over 24 months. At this point, they can upgrade to a new phone and restart the cycle, or they can continue to pay off the current phone, which will be fully paid off after 30 months.

While these two options are nothing new or revolutionary, it makes it simpler and easier for customers to finance and purchase new devices. The new program will come into effect on June 9, so there are still a couple more weeks until the program is officially official.

What are your thoughts on the refreshed AT&T Next program?


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OnePlus handing out 30,000 Loop VR headsets to let you buy the OnePlus 3 in ‘space’

Posted: 23 May 2016 07:55 AM PDT

To bolster last year's launch of OnePlus 2, the company sent out 30,000 OnePlus Cardboard viewers to interested fans. The result was a VR launch for the OnePlus 2, allowing viewers from all over the world to feel like they were sitting in right there as the new phone was announced.

This year, OnePlus is upping the ante and going to space in VR. The company has announced a big new push into virtual reality in the form of the new Loop VR headset, which was made in partnership with the folks at AntVR. This is a more refined VR headset that should be a lot more comfortable to wear and will hopefully provide a more robust experience for those who take advantage of the deal.

OnePlus is offering the Loop VR headset for free, too, as long as you're one of 30,000 that orders one before the limit is reached. Because it's free, the headset will probably go through stock pretty quickly. You can order yours right here.

OnePlus is also not just making this another phone launch in VR. No, the company is also opening up its VR shopping experience on what it's calling "the Loop," which is a space station. By visiting the Loop with the Loop VR headset, you'll be able to buy the new OnePlus 3 before anyone else, all in a VR environment.

As far as when the OnePlus 3 is launching, the announcement of the Loop VR headset doesn't include any dates. However, it sounds like the company is gearing up for an announcement soon.

OnePlus sure does love VR. How do you feel about the technology? Do you plan on ordering a free Loop VR headset?


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Android N Feature Spotlight: Exposure Settings Make A Return In The Camera App

Posted: 23 May 2016 07:07 AM PDT

exposurehero

The camera might be, overall, the most complained-about feature in stock Android. While other flagship devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S7, the iPhone 6S, and the HTC 10 have gratuitous features provided in their camera apps, the Nexus devices have none. No white balance adjustments, shutter speed corrections, or different filters. Maybe the most obvious option that has been missing is exposure settings, which just about every other device worth its salt has.

Read More

Android N Feature Spotlight: Exposure Settings Make A Return In The Camera App was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Latest Play Store 6.7.12 Enables The Beta Testing Features For Some Users [APK Download]

Posted: 23 May 2016 04:37 AM PDT

app-store-beta-tab

Last week, the Play Store rolled up some beta testing features in its version 6.7 update, but they quickly disappeared as Google reverted them back in a server-side change. The company later announced these features at I/O as part of a series of improvements to Google Play that also include lots of developer console changes.

Now it seems that the beta testing options have started showing up again for users on version 6.7.12 of the Play Store.

Read More

Latest Play Store 6.7.12 Enables The Beta Testing Features For Some Users [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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