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Friday, July 15, 2016

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Love is for the birds in Hatoful Boyfriend, a pigeon dating simulator now on the Play Store

Posted: 15 Jul 2016 03:19 PM PDT

hatofulThe dating simulator genre is still somewhat niche, so here's a quick breakdown if you haven't heard about it. In a typical anime-style dating simulator, you play as a young man or woman (often high school or college age) looking for love. This usually means talking to a bunch of different characters and potential romantic interests in branching dialogue. It's like an old-school adventure game, but the stakes are your love life instead of saving the world.

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Love is for the birds in Hatoful Boyfriend, a pigeon dating simulator now on the Play Store was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Google Search will better answer voter registration questions for the upcoming US election

Posted: 15 Jul 2016 12:34 PM PDT

Screenshot from 2016-07-15 15-16-21

In case you missed it, there's a national election approaching here in the US. I know, it's understandable if you mistook the nonstop campaigning for our idea of good TV. It might as well be. But one way or another, years of campaigning is about to come to an end... for a few days before starting back up again.

Despite holding elections every year or so for hundreds of year, the process is still a messy one.

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Google Search will better answer voter registration questions for the upcoming US election was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Kyocera Hydro SHORE launching tomorrow on AT&T GoPhone

Posted: 15 Jul 2016 10:38 AM PDT

AT&T has officially announced the Kyocera Hydro SHORE, bringing a new device to its GoPhone lineup.

The Hydro SHORE will exclusively available at Walmart and will retail for only $79.99. As far as specifications go, the Hydro SHORE boasts a 5-inch display, and there's a 1.1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon professor under the hood, coupled with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of built-in storage. There's a microSD card slot, which can help expand storage by another 64GB. On the back of the device there's an 8MP camera, and around front a 2MP camera.

The Hydro SHORE is IPX5 and IPX7 certified, so it will survive an unexpected shower or water immersion for up to 30 minutes in up to 3.28 feet (1 meter) of water. It also boasts an IP5X dustproof rating for good measure. It's running Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box.

For $80 and with a rugged design, it could be a good backup device.


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Moto Z and Moto Z Force Droid Edition first impressions

Posted: 15 Jul 2016 10:38 AM PDT

Hot on the heels of our Moto G4 and G4 Plus review, we've just got our hands on both the Lenovo Moto Z Droid Edition and Moto Z Force Droid Edition. So what are our first impressions? How do they immediately stack up against the former flagship in the Moto lineup, the Moto X Pure Edition?

The new Moto Z looks something like you might expect when you first open the box, with nothing but a square fingerprint scanner (a new Moto trademark) near the bottom of the phone with subtle "moto" branding right above it. But as soon as you lift it out, in the words of George Takei, oh my.

The Moto Z is indescribably thin. It's shocking, but in the best way possible. Gripping the cool metal body feels fantastic. Some might find the device uncomfortably thin, but with a Moto Mod, it feels completely normal. Though, truth be told, we're going to use the phone without one as often as possible.

It really feels incredibly high-end, a departure from the Moto X Pure Edition which certainly feels nice, but honestly can't stand up to the Moto Z. As you might imagine, the screen and speed of the device both feel equally high-end, but you'll have to wait for our full review for more details. For now, we'll just say we haven't been this excited about a phone in a long time.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below. We will try our hardest to answer them when we can.

moto-z-side-by-sidemoto-z-cameramoto-z-layeredmoto-z-side


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Top 10 Android app updates this week: Pokémon GO, TIDAL

Posted: 15 Jul 2016 09:38 AM PDT

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.

Pokémon GO - Version 0.29.2

Pokemon GO

What's new in this version:

  • Support for Android N
  • Support for Intel x86 hardware

 

TIDAL - Version 1.11.0

TIDAL

What's new in this version:

  • Chromecast Support
  • Play Queue Improvements
  • Bug Fixes

 

Google Keyboard - Version 5.1.0

Google Keyboard

What's new in this version:

  • Slide finger across space bar to move cursor
  • Slide left from delete key to gesture delete words
  • Long press suggestions to remove learned or dictionary words
  • Settings to add key borders or symbol hints

 

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom - Version 2.1.0

Adobe Lightroom

What's new in this version:

  • New and improved in-app camera. The new interface makes it even easier to capture photos at their best, providing a modern mobile capture experience. When supported by the device, take control over the shutter speed, ISO, white balance, and focus.
  • Improved full resolution output. Images that were added through Lightroom on the web or Lightroom mobile can be exported at their native resolution.
  • Support for latest Adobe Camera Raw functionality

 

Accuweather - Version 4.2.2

Accuweather

What's new in this version:

  • Added Dark Theme
  • Added Graphs
  • Added Future Radar (Available only for US locations)
  • Added Pull Down to Refresh
  • Added Advanced Settings
  • Added Map Key Scrolling

 

Clock - Version 4.5.1

Clock

What's new in this version:

  • Android N support
  • Multi-window support
  • Direct Boot support: alarms can now ring before the device has been unlocked
  • Warning when alarms are silenced by device settings

 

Google Hangouts - Version 11.0.0.

Hangouts

What's new in this version:

  • Added Video Messaging
  • Removed merged conversations

 

Camera MX - Version 4.0.0

Camera MX

What's new in this version:

  • Brandnew design!
  • Live Shots: Take vibrant, moving photos!

 

Textra SMS - Version 3.22.0

Textra SMS

What's new in this version:

  • Auto Night Mode. See Settings > Customize Look > Screen Color.
  • When sending or receiving just emojis, we show the emojis MUCH BIGGER and without a bubble.
  • We now support converting long SMS messages into MMS.

 

theScore eSports - Version 2.3.0

theScore esports

What's new in this version:

  • Now featuring Smash Bros and Street Fighter results and news!
  • Design tweaks, bug fixes and performance enhancements.

 


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[Update: Italy, Portugal, and Spain too] Pokémon GO is go for launch in the United Kingdom

Posted: 15 Jul 2016 07:19 AM PDT

  • It looks like the developers are expanding quickly. According to this Google+ post, players in Italy, Portugal, and Spain can now download Pokémon GO directly from the Play

pikabusThe United Kingdom seems considerably less, well, united than it used to be. But if there's one thing everyone can agree on, it's that they want a chance to play Pokémon GO. Niantic's augmented reality take on the classic Nintendo franchise is a smash hit in its first week, though a limited launch means that only those in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and just yesterday Germany have been able to play it so far.

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[Update: Italy, Portugal, and Spain too] Pokémon GO is go for launch in the United Kingdom was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Play Music v6.11 adds 'play' buttons to album and radio station cards, prepares to add a sleep timer, and more [APK Teardown + Download]

Posted: 15 Jul 2016 05:49 AM PDT

music

Updates to the Play Music app have been steadily rolling out, but there hasn't been much to tell for about the last six weeks, ever since podcast support was added to Android Auto at the beginning of June. Bug fixes and very subtle tweaks seem to be the theme. The latest update to v6.11 doesn't deviate too far from this trend, but there is a small addition to the UI and a few clues to discuss in a teardown.

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Play Music v6.11 adds 'play' buttons to album and radio station cards, prepares to add a sleep timer, and more [APK Teardown + Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Hangouts 11 lets you invite more people to groups with a shared link (before WhatsApp, for once)

Posted: 15 Jul 2016 05:04 AM PDT

hangouts-11-grou-link-sharing

Hangouts 11 has been around for a couple of days, but with no official changelog yet, we've had to figure out by ourselves that it enabled video messaging and removed merged SMS and chat conversations. There was another undiscovered feature lurking though, but it was just waiting for a server-side switch to start showing up for users.

Hangouts is adding the option to create and share a link to any group conversation.

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Hangouts 11 lets you invite more people to groups with a shared link (before WhatsApp, for once) was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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New Galaxy Note 7 Shows Iris Scanner In Action

Posted: 14 Jul 2016 07:08 PM PDT

gn7_iris1

The Galaxy Note 7 leaks just keep on coming and this time it is about the phone's new Iris scanner feature.

gn7_iris2

According to a post on Chinese site Weibo, the Galaxy Note 7 name has just been reconfirmed, thanks to a picture of the phone's bootloader. Not only that, we finally get to see a glimpse of the iris scanner in action. Although this may very well change significantly at the time of release, so far the procedure to authenticate yourself is to first have your eyes be around 25-35 cm away from the phone, and have them aligned correctly as shown by the guidelines whenever the feature is in action on the lock screen.

gn7_iris3

Overall this seems a bit tedious (and maybe even gimmicky) compared to mainstream fingerprint sensors, but for those that would like an extra sense of security on their phones, this seems to be a good solution.

[PlayfulDroid]

The post New Galaxy Note 7 Shows Iris Scanner In Action appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.


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Lenovo Moto G4 and G4 Plus review

Posted: 14 Jul 2016 06:34 PM PDT

When the first Moto G launched in 2013, it brought with it a shift in the mobile landscape. It wasn't the first affordable phone with decent specs, but nothing before it felt quite as nice, in so many ways, for such little money.

Fast forward three years and Lenovo has just released the fourth generation of Moto G, the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus. Ranging in price from $199 to $299 with various configurations of memory and storage, can the Moto G still keep up? In a world where Google is selling Nexus devices on the low, brands like Blu are dominating Amazon and OnePlus is on its third generation device, does the Moto G still have a competitive position? Let's dive in.

Hardware

The Moto G4 and G4 plus are pretty similarly spec'd, but there are some key differences:

  • 5.5-inch 1080p display
  • Android 6.0.1
  • Snapdragon 617 with Adreno 405
  • 2GB (G4/G4 Plus) or 4 GB (G4 Plus upgrade) of RAM
  • 16/32GB (G4) or 16/64GB (G4 Plus) or storage
  • MicroSD expansion
  • 3000mAh battery with Turbo Charge
  • Water repellent coating
  • 13MP (G4) or 16MP (G4 Plus) f2.0 rear-camera
  • 5MP front-facing camera
  • Bluetooth 4.2LE
  • Headphone jack

These specs probably look pretty familiar for a low to mid-range phone released in 2016, so as you would expect, the only way a device is really going to stand out these days comes down to how it looks, feels and works in real life.

Design and Build Quality

Motorola has long embraced what is probably the friendliest design in Android handsets. Rounded, ergonomic corners; soft, grippy rubber back panel; minimal branding; and the small divot on the back make for a very comfortable in the hand feel.

After spending some quality time with phones like the Nexus 6P, HTC 10 or even the Moto X Pure Edition, you might think the Moto G4 feels a little plasticky, but the overall user experience is very nice. In fact, given the choice, there are a lot of situations where we might actually prefer the G4 over some of the sharper, more slippery and easily damaged competition.

One aspect of the G4 Plus that sets it apart is the fingerprint scanner on the front of the device. There's a lot of good to say about it, and only a couple bad things.

The small square sits on the bottom edge of the device, our preferred location for a fingerprint scanner, and works very quickly and accurately. It's especially nice when you can pick up the phone, rest your finger on the scanner, and it will simply unlock. No need to press the power button or wait for the screen to wake up. As far as performance goes, you really can't ask for much more.

When it comes to the negatives of the fingerprint scanner, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the fact the it kind looks a little out of place. The entire phone, the camera and flash ring on the back, the earpiece and the footprint of the device are all very round. And then there's this metal square on the front. It's totally a personal preference, but we would've loved to see it fit in with the overall aesthetic of the Moto G4 a little better. The same could be said for the mismatching radiuses of the other cutouts on the device, but again, we're nitpicking. Speaking of which, our only other issue with the fingerprint scanner is that it really looks and feels like a button, but it's not. Valid complaint? Maybe, maybe not.

At the end of the day, the Moto G4 is a slim, solid slab of glass that, while possibly less inviting than previous generation Moto devices, gets out of the way when you need it to. It feels and looks like a Motorola phone, and if you ask us, that's a good thing. There's simply no denying the fact that it feels like a $199-$299 phone, though.

moto-g4-layeredmoto-g4-bottommoto-g4-cameramoto-g4-moto-g4-plusmoto-g4-sides

Display

At 5.5 inches and with a 1080p resolution, the 401ppi LCD display on the G4 and G4 Plus is fantastic. There are sharper displays out there, but there are also lesser displays out there that cost more money.

Colors are accurate, bright and crisp. The choice not to go overboard on the pixel density keeps the device running smoothly (more on that later) and adds to battery performance (again, more on that later). We're honestly at a loss to find anything bad about it.

This is entirely reviewer subjective, but next to the the Nexus 6P, iPhone SE and Moto X Pure Edition, only the display on the Moto X Pure looks noticeably better than the G4′s. And even then, it's not a huge difference. You'll almost undoubtedly disagree if you're a big fan of AMOLED, but our reviewer today is not.

Software

The software that Moto phones come with is possibly one of their biggest selling points. That's because Motorola…err, Lenovo…stays out of it. And what they do add only improves the Android experience, unlike some other devices.

There are two custom apps, one for gesture control and one for connecting smart devices like the Moto 360. That's it. For this reason alone we'd instantly pick the Moto G4 as our device of choice over many more expensive and better spec'd devices.

If you're still a champion of stock, pure or vanilla Android, the Moto G4 will instantly be a strong contender if this is the price point you're looking at.

Performance

There are two ways to look at the performance of a device. You can run it through benchmarks, test it running apps and games compared to other devices, and put every aspect of it under a microscope, or you can just use the damn thing. As you might have guessed, we're taking the latter route.

Performance on both the Moto G4 and G4 Plus were, as you might imagine, very similar. I know on paper it seems like the G4 Plus should perform better, but in real use scenarios that's really not the case. And it's pretty much exactly what you'd expect for a a phone in this price range.

Zipping around the phone is just that, zippy. Placing calls (which sounded alright), sending text messages, downloading apps and checking social media caused little more than a stutter on rare occasion. Lighter games played fine with no issues, while games like Angry Birds 2 definitely showed the phone's power, or lack thereof, when too many objects were moving at once. It was still playable, but certainly not ideal.

The camera app caused some of the worst performance, where at certain times the viewfinder would stutter behind real world movements. Switching from the viewfinder to photos wasn't exactly pleasant, either.

In some of these cases, the G4 Plus may perform slightly better than the G4, but honestly, it's practically negligible. If you were hoping to see a huge performance boost thanks to a doubling of RAM, it's really not there. There is a difference, and if you can afford the jump by all means do it, but don't feel like it will totally compromise the experience if you don't.

Camera

moto-g4-camera

Let's just go ahead and get this over with: The camera quality on the G4 and G4 Plus isn't bad. Yes, the phones have different cameras. No, that does not make a world of difference.

Since the release of the original Moto X, Motorola has struggled to get a good camera together. The Moto X Pure from last year was the closest thing yet. Thankfully, Lenovo carries on the work from last year and puts serviceable cameras in the Moto G4 and G4 Plus.

Can it keep up with flagship devices? Not exactly, but it's surprisingly close. And besides, did you really expect it to? Under less than ideal conditions, photos are less than ideal. That's really pretty normal for any smartphone, though. While devices like the Nexus 6P, Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6s have made huge strides in camera performance, Lenovo still deserves recognition for its efforts. For a phone in this price range, you can do much worse.

The photo-taking experience is probably the worst aspect of the camera, but chances are it won't hinder you from using it, especially with that neat twist gesture.

It is worth pointing out that one feature of the Plus that is noticeably better is the auto-focus. The Plus has laser autofocus, and it works very well. It makes it easier to get shots off quickly and is a valid reason to consider the Plus over the plain G4. It's also worth pointing out that in many of our test shots, we actually prefer the Moto G4′s camera over the G4 Plus. Sometimes colors just looked better.

Moto G4 Plus Gallery
Moto G4 Gallery

Battery

With a 3000mAh battery, you'd expect the G4 and G4 Plus to have decent battery life. You'll be happy to know they do.

With normal app usage, web browsing, social media and a little video watching and game playing, the G4 can make it through a day. You'll need to charge it before going to bed or hitting the bar (or whatever it is people do these days), but thankfully Turbo Charging has your back. As with other Moto devices, it works very well.

Both phones use micro USB as opposed to USB-C, and to be honest, that doesn't bother us. USB-C is awesome and it's becoming mainstream, but micro USB is still much more popular. Imagine you lose your charger on a trip or forget to pack it. You won't have a problem finding a micro USB cord at almost any gas station or general store. Good luck finding a USB-C cable.

Just in case you were wondering, Lenovo does include a Turbo Charging block with both devices.

Lenovo Moto G4 and G4 Plus8.5 / 10

If you're trying to spend between $199 and $299 on a smartphone right now, you're probably facing a tougher situation than at any other price bracket. If you can live without NFC, which means you can live without Android Pay, then the Moto G4 or G4 Plus should tick all the right boxes.

If you're stuck trying to decide between the two, the only major differences come in autofocus speed, some slight performance increases and storage capacity. If you can live without those, pick the cheaper G4 over the Plus.

If you can live with ads on your lockscreen, there is a very interesting promotion available at Amazon. If you let Amazon show you special promotions on your lockscreen, they will sell you a Moto G4 for $149, $49 off its regular price. At $149, the Moto G4 is an absolute steal, and the best phone you can get for that price.

Head on over to Motorola's website to snag your Moto G4.


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