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Monday, July 25, 2016

Android Match

Android Match


Google's Phone app now shows a warning about spam callers and makes it easy to block and report them [APK Download]

Posted: 25 Jul 2016 03:24 PM PDT

spam_header

There are about a half-dozen countries that have enacted some form of official "do not call" registry and many others that have signed in laws to prevent various types of spammy behavior from running rampant over the telephone system. Unfortunately, little to nothing is done to enforce these laws and the penalties usually aren't steep enough to discourage bad behavior. Google is taking matters into its own hands and giving users a way to fight back.

Read More

Google's Phone app now shows a warning about spam callers and makes it easy to block and report them [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Nexus and Android One devices getting native spam call protection

Posted: 25 Jul 2016 03:11 PM PDT

Spam calls have been a problem for decades, and there's not much we can do about them. Do not call lists are helpful, but they're far from foolproof. Lately they almost seem useless. However, Google is adding another layer of protection to Nexus and Android One devices.

The Google Phone app is being updated starting today, adding spam call warnings. The call screen turns red and warns you that the call might be spam, and if it didn't catch it, you can block the number and mark it as spam in the recent call list.

When you do get this feature, remember that it isn't foolproof. Sometimes it won't catch spam calls, and sometimes it'll mark legitimate calls as spam. But it's a big step forward, so definitely take advantage of it once you receive the update. And if you don't own a device that's getting this feature, there's always apps like Truecaller. Hopefully Google will expand this feature to all devices with the AOSP dialer.


Android Match

Google Store hosting back to college sale

Posted: 25 Jul 2016 03:11 PM PDT

It's almost time for the young ones to head back to school, and with that comes back to school shopping. The Google Store is having a sale aimed at the folks heading back to school, offering discounts on a few good products.

You can save $30 on the Acer Chromebook R11 and the Acer Chromebook 14, both good devices for school work thanks to their long battery life and light weight. You can also get $50 off the Huawei Watch, Huawei Watch Jewel, and Huawei Watch Elegant. The Chomecast and Chromecast Audio are $5 off. Lastly, the Nexus 6P is $100 off.

The discounts aren't huge, but they're good enough to save some cash on back to school shopping. Let us know if you decide to pick any of these products up!


Android Match

Google Maps getting cleaner look for maps with highlighted areas of interest

Posted: 25 Jul 2016 03:04 PM PDT

SS1

Google is in the process or rolling out cleaner maps to Google Maps in an attempt to show more relevant information to users without overcrowding. You'll notice certain elements going away, but there is one new thing coming to your maps—areas of interest. If Google thinks there's some cool stuff in a particular area, you'll see it highlighted on the map.

The new maps will emphasize different labels and elements (right above).

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Google Maps getting cleaner look for maps with highlighted areas of interest was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Wi-Fi-only mode in Google Maps is now in testing

Posted: 25 Jul 2016 02:14 PM PDT

Google Maps can consume quite a bit of data, so for anyone out there that's keeping an eye on their monthly allotment, Google's working on a new feature within the app to help out.

It's a Wi-Fi-only mode, and it works exactly like it sounds. Once enabled, there will be a "WI-FI ONLY" notice that appears at the top of the screen. Users will then be able to only update their map when they're connected to Wi-Fi. What's more, saved maps for offline viewing will work, too. It's worth noting that Google does warn that even with the new mode activated, it's possible that Google Maps will still use a "small amount" of data.

As it stands right now, Wi-Fi-only mode is only available for a select few as Google tests it out, but the company did say a wider rollout is possible in the future.


Android Match

Humble Mobile Bundle 19 includes The Banner Saga, Super Stickman Golf 3, and more

Posted: 25 Jul 2016 02:10 PM PDT

2016-07-25 16_02_16-Humble Mobile Bundle 19 (pay what you want and help charity)

Humble Bundle isn't doing the constant Android game bundles anymore, but when they do a mobile bundle these days, it's a good one. Humble Mobile Bundle 19 is now live with seven rad games and more on the way. You can pay what you want to unlock one, two, or all three tiers of games. The best ones are, of course, in the top tier.

You can pay $1 or more to get the basic tier, which includes Chameleon Run, Ys Chronicles II, and Hitman GO.

Read More

Humble Mobile Bundle 19 includes The Banner Saga, Super Stickman Golf 3, and more was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

[Update: Group chat changes] Hangouts 11 for Android finally adds support for video messaging (APK download)

Posted: 25 Jul 2016 02:10 PM PDT

  • Google has announced the various changes to group chats, too. This includes the ability to share an invite to a chat via link, search your contacts for groups to start

hangouts11

Hangouts 11 for Android is here! Can you guess what it adds? No, not Allo, silly: it adds video messaging. Finally. Hangouts for iOS has supported the sending of video messages (or attachments, whatever you want to call them), and Android has mysteriously missed out on this feature to date.

Read More

[Update: Group chat changes] Hangouts 11 for Android finally adds support for video messaging (APK download) was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Review: ASUS ZenPad Z8

Posted: 25 Jul 2016 11:13 AM PDT

When the iPad was introduced, it launched a wave of frenzy in the tablet market. Consumers began scrambling for tablets, while manufacturers that were caught off-guard worked to catch up. During that period, a whole host of hardware and software concepts were launched, giving us some unique devices as well as a great deal of flops. In particular, the Android tablet market took a while to really catch its breath and stabilize. Years have passed since then, and now there remains a vibrant selection of tablets that are certainly different from the early era.

One of these modern tablets is the ASUS ZenPad Z8. ASUS made its name early on with Android tablets, focusing on unique designs and occasionally baffling hybrids to set itself apart. These days, the company takes a more low-key approach, sticking with a standard slab design. The ZenPad Z8 fits into that family, but it also offers the benefit of being connected to Verizon's powerful 4G LTE network. But the question remains, is that enough for a great tablet?

Hardware

Carrier-exclusive tablets generally aim just under the high-end market, and ASUS has followed that trend with the ZenPad Z8. Here's a rundown of the specs:

  • 7.9-inch 2048×1536 IPS display
  • 1.8GHz hexa-core Snapdragon 650 processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of storage
  • 8-megapixel rear camera
  • 2-megapixel front-facing camera
  • Dual front-facing speakers
  • 4680mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 4G LTE support

It's not built to stun, but the ASUS ZenPad Z8 offers decent value for customers who aren't looking to open their wallets quite as wide.

Design and Build Quality

Great design is often found in high-end devices, but it can easily be one of the first things to go when watching costs. The ZenPad Z8 has a design that is functional and unremarkable, making it a perfect fit for an average device, but leaving it lacking any distinction that might give it extra selling power. The front is a black slab with slits for the speakers at the top and bottom. The back of the device is simply textured plastic with the ASUS logo plopped in the center.

A dark plastic band wraps around the edges, with a silver power button and volume rocker offering minor relief from the monochromatic color scheme.

While the design may be uninspiring, it's functional and seems sturdy enough. We didn't detect any creaking or flexing on our review unit, which shows that it's at least built well. It may not win in a design contest, but the ASUS ZenPad Z8 should be fine for everyday use.

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Display

ASUS has quite a bit of experience with displays, allowing the company to fare a bit better than other competitors in the mid-range market. For its price point, the ZenPad Z8 has a great display, offering vivid colors, bright whites, and decently dark blacks. Additionally, ASUS has built in controls over the color temperature and range of the screen. Users can customize their own or choose from options such as Balanced, Vivid, and Bluelight Filter, which is a great option when using the tablet before bed.

One note to take into consideration is that ASUS enables Blur-Free Motion by default, which is designed to smooth video playback. The benefit of such a feature is debatable, and I found my self disabling Blur-Free Motion after just a few minutes of watching video.

For a $250 tablet, the ZenPad Z8 delivers a surprisingly good display.

Software

Software is often the downfall of many devices. Great hardware means nothing if the software doesn't match it in quality. Fortunately, ASUS has spent a great deal of time working on its software, with the result being ZenUI, a smooth and intuitive overlay. The software on the ZenPad Z8 is well optimized for the hardware, allowing it to zoom around tasks like a higher-end device.

ZenUI is also quite intuitive, making it easy for customers to get acquainted with their new tablet. There are a fair amount of pre-installed apps, but most of them serve a reasonable purpose, such as a File Manager and a Reminder app. Verizon also has a few of its own apps pre-loaded, which, unfortunately, can't be uninstalled. Despite that, ZenUI remains quick, attractive and easy-to-use, making it the perfect tablet for those who aren't naturally savvy with technology.

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Performance

Great performance isn't something we expect from a $250 tablet. But when it's there, we certainly appreciate it. ASUS has done a great job of marrying the software and hardware together, leading to great performance through a number of tasks. While it can't necessarily compete with flagship devices in the gaming department, the ZenPad Z8 holds its own in everyday tasks such as streaming video, browsing the web and composing emails. Its prowess continues to extend to more intensive tasks, such as editing slide show presentations and working with spreadsheets.

Kudos to ASUS for creating a tablet that provides excellent performance at a great price.

Battery

In our testing of the ZenPad Z8, we found the battery life to be acceptable, but not incredible. Generally, you could get through one to two days on a charge, depending on how heavy your usage is. A cellular antenna clearly draws extra battery life, but the battery on the ASUS ZenPad Z8 isn't significantly larger than comparable tablets, giving it simply average battery life.

If you're a road warrior who needs a long-lasting battery, you may want to look elsewhere.

Network

Being connected to a cellular network may draw extra battery life, but Verizon's network makes it hard to resist. The carrier has worked hard to maintain great coverage and high speeds, allowing the ZenPad Z8 to shine, even when away from Wi-Fi networks. HD video streams quickly, web pages load in a snap and streaming music is no problem at all. The best part is that Verizon's network extends far and wide, making it rare to find yourself without coverage.

Looking for a tablet that's constantly connected? The ZenPad Z8 on Verizon may just be the tablet for you.

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ASUS Zenpad Z88 / 10

Not everyone needs a flagship tablet. Some are looking for a tablet that's quick, easy to use and always connected. For that group of people, the ZenPad Z8 is perfect. It can handle everyday tasks with ease and is linked up to the nation's largest LTE network, providing you with constant access to the web no matter where you are. Best of all, it's priced at just $250, giving it a fantastic value. With that kind of perk, is there any reason not to buy the ZenPad Z8?

Learn more about purchasing the ASUS Zenpad Z8 here.

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Android Match

OnePlus launching the Soft Gold OnePlus 3 on July 26

Posted: 25 Jul 2016 11:13 AM PDT

OnePlus has been teasing the Soft Gold variant of the OnePlus 3 since last week, and now the handset is just about ready to launch.

OnePlus has announced that the Soft Gold OnePlus 3 will be available starting Tuesday, July 26. Specifically, it'll go on sale on OnePlus.net at 12:00 PM ET, or 9:00 AM PT, in the United States. OnePlus is rolling out availability for this variant, with an international launch timed for August 1. Here's how that breaks down:

  • US – July 26, 12:00 pm US Eastern time
  • EU – August 1, 12:00 pm CEST
  • HK – August 1, 6:00 pm Hong Kong time
  • CA – August 1, 6:00 am Canada Eastern time

Interestingly enough, OnePlus doesn't actually say how much the OnePlus 3 in Soft Gold will cost.Considering the only difference between it and the Graphite version is the color, though, it's reasonable to expect the gold handset will cost the $399 just like the gray model.

Do you plan on buying the new Soft Gold OnePlus 3?


Android Match

Top 5 most popular Android apps from last week: Swiftmoji, M Browser

Posted: 25 Jul 2016 11:12 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 . Dials Calendar

Dials Calendar

App info: Dials' unique clock-based view of your day is easier and faster to view than the standard "list view" format other mobile calendars use.

 

2. Swiftmoji

Swiftmoji

App info: Swiftmoji emoji keyboard helps you reach your true emoji potential. Get perfect emoji predictions based on what you've just typed.

 

3. Sunshine

Sunshine

App info: Sunshine learns about you – like what's cold or hot for you. It also learns every time you actively report to the community on sky conditions and hazards, translating this information into weather predictions.

 

4. Battery GO

Battery GO

App info: Pokemon GO does not run when the screen is off which means that the screen must be on and unlocked to be able to catch Pokemon or detect steps for hatching eggs.

 

5. M Browser

M Browser

App info: M Browser is new free, fast and secure browser! This browser provides you to best internet browsing experience that you will not find elsewhere! Hundreds of features make it the best browser ever!

 

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.


Android Match

Wire private messenger goes open source, invites users to build compatible clients

Posted: 25 Jul 2016 09:01 AM PDT

Wire

Wire is one in a growing number of messaging services that promise to keep their users' correspondence private. In this case, the service offers encrypted text, voice, and video calls. And now it's open source.

The company has uploaded the remaining source code that wasn't already available on GitHub. Specially, components related to the user interface of the native and web apps, plus some of the tools the company used internally, are now openly available.

Read More

Wire private messenger goes open source, invites users to build compatible clients was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Google Camera v4.1 from Nougat dev preview 5 has a twist gesture to switch between front and back cameras

Posted: 25 Jul 2016 08:26 AM PDT

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Google Camera v4.1, which has shipped with Android N (Nougat is still a little tough to say) dev preview 5, has been a treasure trove of new features. It introduced UI tweaks and new animations with plenty of little changes, then we also discovered that it has the much requested feature to pause video recording. But now we're finding another very hidden option of the camera: a twist gesture.

When you've got your viewfinder up, you can twist your phone away from you and then back on its vertical axis for a couple of times — think twist gesture on Moto devices — and that will switch between the front and back camera.

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Google Camera v4.1 from Nougat dev preview 5 has a twist gesture to switch between front and back cameras was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Twitter removes its homescreen widget support from the latest alpha

Posted: 25 Jul 2016 07:50 AM PDT

twitter-widget-gone

Twitter is struggling to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up. Life can be tough when you're a social network that almost everyone has heard about but no one knows how to use when they're just joining for the first time.

But despite these tumultuous times at Twitter's headquarters, the Android app has seen some of its best days in the past few months: an overhauled Material Deisgn inspired interface, a test for a night mode, Android N Direct Reply, and more.

Read More

Twitter removes its homescreen widget support from the latest alpha was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Prisma's first update adds the much needed Save button

Posted: 25 Jul 2016 07:14 AM PDT

prisma-save-button

Photo editor app Prisma has been a surprising hit on Android ever since people got wind of the limited beta test and grabbed the leaked APK, then lamented the shut down of the servers when the developers decided the beta test was over, and up until its official release a day or two ago. Even now, the servers often continue to be overloaded with plenty of requests to apply filters on top of images from everyone wanting to give this artsy app a try.

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Prisma's first update adds the much needed Save button was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


Android Match

Pokémon GO lands in Hong Kong

Posted: 25 Jul 2016 05:48 AM PDT

hongkoggohero

After finally launching in Japan last week and France yesterday, racking up 50 million downloads in the process, the world's favorite augmented reality game has arrived in Hong Kong, according to the game's official Twitter and Google+ accounts.

In case you've been living under a rock, Pokémon GO is an augmented reality game where players walk around the real world with a smartphone and attempt to catch 'Pocket Monsters' (hence the name) and then fight players on another team for control of 'gyms.' Pokéstops, real world locations placed in the game, are used to acquire new items, mostly Pokéballs and eggs to hatch new Pokémon.

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Pokémon GO lands in Hong Kong was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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