Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Deal: Buy two Amazon Echo devices and save $80 at Best Buy

Best Buy has a great deal on the Amazon Echo speaker. If you buy two of them, you’ll save a total of $80. The Alexa-powered device retails for $179.99, which means that you would normally have to dish out $359.98 to get two units. Thanks to the discount the retailer is offering, you can now get two Echo speakers for $279.98. The device is available in black or white.

To get the deal, all you have to do is add two Amazon Echo speakers to your cart and a discount of $80 will be applied to one of them. You can pick up your order in one of Best Buy’s stores or have it delivered to your address for free.

Notifications coming soon to Alexa-powered devices

6 days ago

So, why would you need more than one Amazon Echo? Well, you can place them in two different rooms in your home where you spend the most time in, so you’ll always have one nearby when you need it. If you’re feeling generous, you can also give one as a gift to a family member or a friend. The choice is yours.

Best Buy hasn’t mentioned how long this deal will last for, so it’s probably best to place your order sooner rather than later if you want to secure the discount. You can do so via the button below.

The Amazon Echo is a very popular device that goes head to head with the Google Home. At least for now, Amazon’s Alexa-powered speakers have proven to be a lot more popular than its competition, as they are expected to claim a 70.6 percent share of the US market this year. Google Home, on the other hand, will only grab 23.8 percent of the market in 2017.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Life-like realism, a Pixel AR and going mainstream: catching up with Project Tango

Project Tango has been around for a while, from the developer tablet and demos at MWC and Google I/O to the Lenovo Phab2 Pro and the new Asus Zenfone AR. While we’ve seen it progress quite steadily in that time, we’ve never seen it look as convincing as it did at I/O this week. With the recent announcement that Verizon will carry the Zenfone AR in the U.S., Tango is about to hit the mainstream.

The state of Google’s hardware program

1 week ago

From slightly choppy and unstable demos in years past to something that looks completely consumer-ready, Tango has matured a lot in the last year. Tango’s mainstream possibilities have also blossomed, with obscure home renovation and museum guide applications being supplemented by familiar shopping experiences and edutainment possibilities.

Once the Zenfone AR hits Verizon, the audience and developer support will take off, even if it is likely to be at a relatively slow pace. But while the Phab2 Pro was a massive tank of a phone with a pretty niche audience, the Zenfone AR is a much more manageable device for the regular joe.

Fortunately, there’s already a lot of consumer-level AR experiences available, just waiting for a larger audience to dive in. That’s what Tango’s booth at I/O was all about: showing exactly what the tech is capable of now. Google’s Jared Finder was kind enough to take us through what’s new and where Tango is at right now.

There’s already a lot of consumer-level AR experiences available, just waiting for a larger audience.

The most eye-catching demo at I/O was easily the Wizard of Oz demo, in which you can watch short AR animations of Oz characters overlaid against the real room in which you are standing. You can walk around the characters and see various AR elements interact with the real world (which you can see in the video above) and you can even pose with your favorites. It’s cute, it’s super smooth, and it’s very convincingly done.

Cartoon-style graphics are one thing, but in light of the announcement that cinema quality graphics will be coming to Daydream VR courtesy of the Seurat project, I asked Finder if we could expect to see something similar in Tango.

Choice is the ultimate goal for Tango: from cartoony graphics to life-like realism.

I was told that for the Tango team, choice is the ultimate goal: from cartoony graphics like that in the Oz demo to life-like realism, Tango wants to provide content creators with everything they need to bring their AR vision to life.

This is an exciting prospect. Just for a second, try to imagine how incredible real-time AR that’s indistinguishable from reality will be.

I also asked if we’d be seeing the Google hardware team adopting Tango tech in future on a Pixel AR phone. Surprisingly enough, I was told that Google is absolutely among the list of third-party OEMs the Tango team is targeting, just like any other manufacturer. Even within Google’s empire there are no free rides, but the big difference is that it is in Google’s own best interest to help push Tango when the time is right.

Tango is probably still two or three years away from being ready for a major mainstream push.

But the Pixel is very much intended as a mainstream consumer device, and it is definitely still too early for a Tango Pixel. I was told that Tango is probably still two or three years away from being ready for a major mainstream push. With that in mind, it’s a relatively short leap to assume we might see a Pixel AR phone in the next couple of years. After all, if Google itself won’t commit to a Google-branded Tango device, what kind of signal does that send to other OEMs?

Perhaps the most impressive indicator of just how far Tango has come in recent months is the app Constructor. Seeing just how quickly the textures of a room can be captured, and how much detail is recorded in such a short amount of time, is very impressive. There’s so much you can do with it too: from mapping your apartment for an Airbnb listing to capturing the interior of a holiday destination to show your friends back home.

What we saw in the past felt like a proof-of-concept. What we’re seeing today feels ready for prime-time.

We’ve seen similar demos like this in the past, but they were patchy, slow, and nowhere near as polished. What we saw in the past felt like a proof-of-concept. What we’re seeing today feels ready for prime-time.

It’s still early days for AR, but there’s no denying the tech is ready. As soon as you watch a demo now you start imagining the possibilities. The best thing is that a lot of these apps are already available in Google Play.

Google has exciting new plans for Augmented Reality

3 days ago

From the GAP app, which lets you “see” and move around items of clothing in three dimensions, to the awesome experiences made possible by Google Expeditions in the classroom, Tango is all grown up. It’ll take a while yet to become truly normalized, but the Tango team ultimately wants to see its tech in all devices. Games like Pokemon Go may have have taken the idea of AR mainstream, but it’ll be custom-built devices that convince regular folks to take the next step.

Apple doesn't always expunge deleted notes older than 30 days

It’s worth noting that ElcomSoft used special tools and software, so nobody will accidentally stumble upon a note you deleted last year. For your old files to resurface, somebody has to be actively targeting you. Still, it’s definitely a security issue that Apple should fix ASAP, and we’ve reached out to Cupertino to ask if it has plans to patch it up in the near future. ElcomSoft seems to be confident that Apple will, since the tech titan quickly fixed the similar Safari and iCloud Photo Library security lapses it found in the past. Since it’s the third time the firm discovered that Apple retains info that’s supposed to be gone, though, it posed some interesting questions that might never get answered:

“Once we made a discovery about deleted photos being kept in iCloud Photo Library for years, Apple was prompt to making those images disappear. Once we discovered that Safari browsing history records are never deleted from the cloud, Apple patched that as well. There is no doubt Apple will fix the current issue. The question is: what other data you don’t want Apple to keep is still retained by the company? And does Apple actually destroy deleted records or simply hides them or moves to a different server? These questions still have no answer.”

Shadow Warrior finally makes the jump from PC to Android

In 1997, 3D Realms, the development team behind Duke Nukem 3D, released Shadow Warrior for the PC. It remains one of the best first person shooters ever made, and now you can finally play it on your Android smartphone or tablet for just $2.99, thanks to publisher Devolver Digital and the game’s Android developer, General Arcade.

Best FPS games for Android

2 weeks ago

The original game has you playing the role of Lo Wang, the “Shadow Warrior” of the title, that has to fight against his own employers, the Zilla Corporation, who are trying to take over the world with the help of some demonic creatures. Shadow Warrior has many of the same features as Duke Nukem 3D, including a main character that likes to make some suggestive one-liners, along with lots of blood and violence (yes, this game is rated “M” for players 17 years of age and older). The game also has some features that were considered revolutionary in 1997, including drivable vehicles.

The Android version of the game, Shadow Warrior Classic Redux, includes the first two episodes of the original 1997 title, along with the content from its two official expansion packs, Wanton Destruction and Twin Dragon. While it does support touchscreen controls, you can also play the Android version with any compatible game controllers as well. The $2.99 game does not have any in-app purchases or ads.

By the way, this game is being released on the same day that publisher Devolver Digital and developer Flying Wild Hog are also releasing Shadow Warrior 2, an all-new game in the series, for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles (it was released for the PC in 2016).

Friday, May 19, 2017

Android 7 Nougat update tracker – May 19, 2017

The Android 7.0 Nougat update is underway! Following its release in August 2016, Nougat began its steady expansion through the massive Android ecosystem.

As it’s often the case, some phone makers are taking their time bringing Nougat to their devices, so we’re here to answer your questions about it. Read on to find out when will your phone be updated to Android 7.0 Nougat and which phones got it already.

Let’s dive right in!

What’s new in Android 7.0 Nougat? Read our in-depth review

Which Android version is the most popular right now? Find out here

Looking for Marshmallow update information? Check out the Android 6.0 update tracker

Before we start

Like it or not, keeping your device up to date with the latest Android version is a waiting game. While Google and its manufacturer partners have made some progress over the past years, it still takes more time than we’d like to get up to date.

The availability of the Nougat update will depend on the decision of the manufacturer, but also on factors like your specific model, your region, carrier, and even where you bought the device from.

Just because your specific phone or tablet is not on the list, it doesn’t mean it won’t get the Nougat update. The opposite is also true.

Key Android 7.0 Nougat update features

The best place to learn about all the features of Android 7.0 Nougat is our full Nougat review. It contains a rundown of all the main changes, the design updates, and other things you should know about Nougat. Below we have our video overview of Nougat and a quick list of key features you should know.

  • Split-screen mode

  • App quick switching

  • Redesigned notifications

  • Notification bundling

  • System UI Tunner

  • Customizable Quick Settings

  • Doze Mode on the Go

  • Multilanguage mode

  • New emoji

  • New Settings menu

  • Do Not Disturb mode

  • Data Saver

  • Seamless updates

  • File-based encryption

  • Improved call management

  • Android for Work

Google Nougat update

In 2016, Google entered the smartphone manufacturing arena with its own brand of phones and, as you’d expect, the Pixel and Pixel XL launched with Nougat onboard. The two Google phones were also among the first to get the following Android 7.1 updates.

If you care about getting updates as soon as possible, Pixel devices (as well as recent Nexus devices) are your best choice. While Google’s track record is not perfect, it’s still a far cry from the performance of Android OEMs. Plus, you can always take matters in your own hands and flash a Nougat update OTA file or factory image on your phone.

The following devices are officially receiving Android 7.1.2 Nougat updates. Click on the links to get the latest factory image.

The following devices received the Android 7.1.1 Nougat update, but will not be updated to Android 7.1.2:

Click here if you need instructions on how to manually flash Nougat factory images on your Pixel or Nexus devices.

A full list of Android factory images for Google devices is available here.

You can also flash just the relevant OTA file zip, which should allow you to preserve your date. Find all the OTA file zips here.

Android 7.1.2

Android 7.1.1

  • December 5, 2017: Android 7.1.1 factory images went live for the Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Pixel C, Nexus 9 (Wi-Fi and LTE), as well as the Nexus Player.

  • January 2017: The Nexus 6 received its final update – to Android 7.1.1.

Android 7.1 Developer Preview

  • October 19, 2016: Factory images and OTA zip files became available for the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X and Pixel C.

Android 7.0

  • August 23, 2016: Nougat began rolling out to Nexus devices and the Pixel C.

Some Android One devices first began receiving Nougat around September 12.

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Samsung Nougat update

As the most popular Android phone maker in the world, Samsung has the final say on how fast tens of millions of people get their Android updates. While the Korean giant improved its update game in the past couple of years, the sheer size of its portfolio means that many devices can go by the wayside.

Devices that will get Nougat across their versions include the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, Galaxy Tab A with S Pen, Galaxy Tab S2 (LTE), Galaxy A3, and Galaxy A8.

Samsung Galaxy S7

  • November 4, 2016: Samsung revealed a beta program for testing Android 7.0 Nougat on the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge.

  • November 28, 2016: This is Nougat on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

  • January 17, 2017 – China and UK: Nougat is coming to the stable version of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.

  • January 26, 2017 – India, Russia, Germany: The Nougat update is rolling out to users in India and Russia, as well as Vodafone subscribers in Germany.

  • February 17, 2017 – T-Mobile US: T-Mobile has started rolling out the stable Android 7.0 Nougat update to the Samsung Galaxy S7.

  • February 21, 2017 – Sprint US: Sprint has begun its rollout of the Android Nougat update for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The update comes in at around 1.2 GB.

  • March 7, 2017 – Verizon US: The carrier has announced that it is rolling out the Nougat update to Samsung’s Galaxy S7.

  • March 20, 2017 – Rogers and Telus Canada: Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge get Android 7.0 Nougat on Rogers and Telus

  • April 21, 2017 – US Cellular US: Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge get Android 7.0 Nougat on US Cellular.

  • May 8, 2017 – Unlocked US: Finally, the unlocked version of the Galaxy S7 is getting Nougat in the US.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 Active

  • March 8, 2017 – AT&T US: AT&T rolled out the Android 7.0 Nougat update to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Active.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung Galaxy S6

  • March 9, 2017 – Europe Unlocked: After a brief delay, the Galaxy S6 began receiving its update to Android 7 in UK, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.

  • March 13, 2017 – India: Nougat rolled out for the Galaxy S6 in India.

  • April 24, 2017 – Verizon US: Nougat is hitting the Galaxy S6 on the Big Red network.

  • May 3, 2017 – AT&T US: Nougat is coming to the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, and Galaxy S6 Active on AT&T.

  • May 4, 2017 – Bell and Rogers Canada: The Android 7 update is now heading to Canadian users.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge

  • March 9, 2017 – Europe Unlocked: The Galaxy S6 Edge began receiving its update to Android 7 in UK, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.

  • March 13, 2017 – India: Nougat rolled out for the Galaxy S6 Edge in India.

  • April 24, 2017 – Verizon US: Android 7 .0 Nougat now available for the Galaxy S6 Edge on Verizon.

  • May 3, 2017 – AT&T US: Nougat is coming to the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, and Galaxy S6 Active on AT&T.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Active

  • May 3, 2017 – AT&T US: Nougat is coming to the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, and Galaxy S6 Active on AT&T.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

  • May 3, 2017 – Unlocked: Samsung has now started rolling out the Android 7.0 Nougat update to the

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

  • April 7, 2017 – Unlocked: Both the 8.0 and 9.7 version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 have started their update process to Android 7 Nougat.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2016)

  • May 11, 2017 – Unlocked: LTE and Wi-Fi versions of the Galaxy Tab A 10.1 are reportedly receiving Nougat.

LG Nougat update


  • November 7, 2016 – South Korea: The Android 7.0 Nougat update for the LG G5 has started its slow rollout.

  • November 21, 2016 – Sprint US: Android 7.0 Nougat update for the G5 has started rolling out on Sprint.

  • February 20, 2017 – AT&T US: LG G5 owners have been reporting that Android 7.0 Nougat is finally rolling out to their devices.

  • November 29, 2016 – T-Mobile US: Android 7.0 Nougat is now rolling out to LG G5 owners with T-Mobile.

  • November 30, 2016 – US Cellular US: Android 7.0 Nougat is now rolling out to LG G5 owners with US Cellular.

  • May 17, 2017 – Unlocked US: LG is finally rolling out the Android 7.0 Nougat update to the LG G5 in the United States.

LG V10


LG Stylo 2 V

LG Stylo 2 Plus

Huawei Nougat update

Huawei Mate 8

  • November 16, 2016: A Nougat build for the Huawei Mate 8 was leaked online.

Huawei P9

  • March 2, 2017: EMUI 5.0 and Nougat were promised for the Huawei P9 by the end of the first quarter.

Huawei Nova

Honor 8

Honor 6X

  • March 3, 2017 – Unlocked US: Honor 6X Android Nougat beta program begins in the US.

  • May 3, 2017 – Unlocked: Huawei finally starts rolling out the Honor 6X Nougat update

Honor 5C

HTC Nougat update

HTC 10

Read our dedicated HTC 10 update tracker here.

  • November 25, 2016 – International Unlocked: Unlocked versions of the HTC 10 start receiving a software update to the latest and greatest Android Nougat.

  • January 7, 2017 – T-Mobile US: T-Mobile issues the HTC 10 Android Nougat update to its customers.

  • January 26 – The Android Nougat update for the HTC 10 in Europe has been stopped for a second time after kicking off just two days earlier.

  • February 7, 2017 – Unlocked Europe: Android Nougat began rolling out to HTC 10 units in Europe. The rollout initially went out on January 26, but was put on hold temporarily.

  • February 20, 2017 – Sprint US: Sprint starts rolling out the final Nougat build to the HTC. It includes the latest security patches and network performance improvements.

  • March 30, 2017 – Verizon US: Verizon has begun rolling out Android 7.0 Nougat to HTC 10 devices on its network.

HTC One M9

  • December 5, 2016 – Unlocked International – The Nougat over-the-air update for the unlocked version of the HTC One M9 began rolling out.

  • February 2, 2017 – Europe, Turkey and South Africa: Users in these countries began receiving Nougat on their M9s, with more countries to follow.

  • March 21, 2017 – T-Mobile US: Nougat update for HTC One M9 on T-Mobile begins rolling out

  • April 12, 2017 – Sprint US: Sprint users are reporting getting Nougat on their One M9 phones.

  • May 17, 2016 – AT&T US: AT&T updated its support page for the One M9, suggesting that the OTA would begin rolling out in the close future.

HTC One A9

OnePlus Nougat update

OnePlus 3/3T

Asus Nougat update

Asus ZenFone 3 Deluxe

Asus ZenFone 3

  • January 9, 2017 – Unlocked: Asus is rolling out the Android 7.0 Nougat update to the device.

  • March 9, 2017 – Unlocked: After the initial January update was halted due to bugs, ASUS announced that the Nougat rollout has resumed for both the ZE520KL and ZE552KL variants of the ZenFone 3.

Asus ZenFone 3 Max

  • May 16, 2017 – Unlocked: Asus announced on its forums that the ZenFone 3 Max now has a Nougat update ready to rollout.

Asus ZenPad 8

  • May 4, 2017 – Unlocked: Asus is rolling out the Android 7.0 Nougat update to the tablet.

Motorola Nougat update

Motorola officially confirmed that the following devices will be updated to Android 7:

  • Moto G Plus (4th Gen)

  • Moto G Play (4th Gen)

  • Moto X Pure Edition (3rd Gen)

  • Moto X Style

  • Moto X Play

  • Moto X Force

  • Droid Turbo 2

  • Droid Maxx 2

  • Moto Z Droid

  • Moto Z Force Droid

  • Moto Z Play

  • Moto Z Play Droid

Moto Z Play

Read our dedicated Moto Z Play update tracker here.

  • January 27, 2017 – Unlocked Europe: European Moto Z Play units begin receiving Nougat rollout OTA.

  • February 6, 2017 – Unlocked India: Android Nougat starts rolling out to the Moto Z Play in India.

  • March 7, 2017 – Verizon US: Lenovo and Verizon have started rolling out the Android 7.0 Nougat update to Moto Z Play Droid devices.

Moto Z Play Droid

  • March 7, 2017 – Verizon US: Verizon’s Droid variant of the Z Play started its journey to Android Nougat.

Moto Z/Droid

  • November 18, 2016 – Verizon US: The upgrade from Marshmallow to Nougat has begun.

  • November 21, 2016 – Unlocked International: Lenovo confirmed the worldwide rollout of the Nougat update for the Moto Z and Moto Z Force. The update brings with it Daydream VR support.

  • February 5, 2017 – Unlocked US: The unlocked Moto Z’s Android Nougat update is starting now.

Moto Z Force/Droid

  • November 18, 2016 – Verizon US: The upgrade from Marshmallow to Nougat has begun.

  • November 21, 2016 – Unlocked International: Lenovo confirmed the worldwide rollout of the Nougat update for the Moto Z and Moto Z Force. The update brings with it Daydream VR support.

Moto G4

  • December 29, 2016 – India: Owners of the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus in India can now finally download the latest version of the OS.

  • April 3, 2017 – Unlocked: The Moto G4 finally got its Nougat serving.

Moto G4 Plus

Moto G4 Play

  • April 20, 2017 – Unlocked: A Lenovo spokesperson announced that “Consumers will start to see Android Nougat on Moto G4 Play in June”

Moto X Style/Pure Edition

  • February 2, 2017 – Motorola Germany said the Moto X series would get Nougat from May.

  • March 20, 2017 – Users in Brazil reported receiving soak tests for the Nougat update for the Moto X Style.

Motorola Droid Turbo 2

  • February 24, 2017 – Verizon US: The Motorola Droid Turbo 2, which launched in the fall of 2015, is finally getting that update from its exclusive carrier, Verizon Wireless.

Sony Nougat update

Sony Xperia X

  • December 16, 2016 – International: Android 7.0 Nougat rolled out to the Xperia X.

  • January 2, 2017 – Beta: Sony has become the first third-party smartphone maker to release an over-the-air Android 7.1.1 Nougat update to one of its devices.

  • April 19, 2017 – Beta: The Concept team over at Sony announced that the Android 7.1.2 update is available for the Experimental track.

Sony Xperia XZ

Sony Xperia X Performance

Sony Xperia X Compact

  • December 16, 2016 – International: Android 7.0 Nougat rolled out to the Xperia X.

Sony Xperia Z3+/Z3+ Dual

Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet

Sony Xperia Z5/Z5 Premium

Xiaomi Nougat update

ZTE Nougat update

ZTE Axon 7 Mini

  • March 30, 2017 – Unlocked: The ZTE Axon 7 Mini is about ready to get its big Nougat update, the company announced.

ZTE Axon 7

  • December 9, 2016 – Unlocked: ZTE offers Nougat preview program for Axon 7 owners in the US.

  • February 7, 2017 – Unlocked: ZTE Axon 7 update brings Nougat, Daydream View support, and more

  • March 16, 2016 – Unlocked US: ZTE Axon 7 gets Android 7.1.1 Nougat update in US

Nextbit Nougat update

Nextbit Robin

Nvidia Nougat update

Nvidia Shield TV (2017 & 2016)

  • January 26, 2017: Owners of both the 2017 and 2016 versions of the Nvidia Shield TV got Nougat.

Nvidia Shield Tablet

  • February 9, 2017: The Shield Tablet moved over from Marshmallow to some tasty Android 7.0 Nougat goodness with the Shield 5.0 upgrade.

Nvidia Shield Tablet K1

  • February 9, 2017: The Shield Tablet K1 moved over to Android 7.0 Nougat with the Shield 5.0 upgrade.


Nokia 6

  • April 15, 2017 – International: The Nokia 6 is reportedly getting an over-the-air update to Android 7.1.1 Nougat.


Wileyfox Swift 2x

  • April 10, 2017: Moving away from Cyanogen OS, now dead, Wileyfox began updating the Swift 2x to a new Android Nougat-based operating system.

That’s the wrap-up of our Android 7 Nougat tracker. We tried to catch all major devices, but if we missed something, just let us know!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

With Android O, Google gives Android TV a fresh coat of paint and more

Google first unveiled its Android TV platform during its 2014 Google I/O developer conference. As such, it is appropriate for Google to have unveiled what is next for its smart TV platform today, the day of Google I/O 2017.

Slated for release “later this year,” the revamped Android TV interface places an emphasis on content. To realize that focus, a revamped user interface sits front and center. Favorite apps are now positioned at the top, which gives Android TV a Netflix-like aesthetic for those who like such an interface. Content recommendations, meanwhile, are split up by service. This means that apps like Netflix, YouTube, and others automatically get their own row, or “channel,” as Google calls it.

Best Android TV devices – what are your options?

January 3, 2017

These channels highlight TV shows, movies, and other content, and it is up to an app’s publisher to determine what content is shown. If those recommendations do not jive with what you want to see, publishers can allow folks to install several channels, which allow people to build different recommendation rows for live and on-demand content. Google Assistant will be available to help folks move through the interface and get to content quicker, though the clean aesthetic of the upcoming Android TV update should help matters on those fronts.

As for when the revamped Android TV will be available, Google did not offer anything other than the aforementioned “later this year” timeframe. We would not be surprised if it launches alongside Android O, seeing how it is Android TV’s underlying software.

mophie juice pack Doubles Galaxy S8 Battery Life

Mophie’s new juice packs for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ almost doubles the phones’ batteries. The two battery cases are available now at mophie.com for $99.95.

The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ can last most users a full day on a single charge, especially if they select one of the battery-saving modes. However, users that want to keep their Galaxy S8s in high-performance mode, watch videos in 4K, or play games all day will have to pause and recharge. The new juice packs mean that pausing to charge doesn’t mean you need to sit still while your Galaxy S8’s tethered to a wall outlet or sitting on a charging pad.

Read: Best Galaxy S8 Cases

The below video is a quick walkthrough of the new mophie juice packs.

The mophie juice pack for the Galaxy S8 includes a 2,950 mAh battery, which is just a tad smaller than the phone’s internal 3,000 mAh battery. The mophie juice pack for the Galaxy S8+ includes a 3,300 mAh battery, which is shy of the Galaxy S8+’s 3,500 mAh battery. 

These cases are more than just simple battery packs. They can charge on just about any charging pad, including those found at Starbucks, airports and in newer cars. They also have a built-in magnet that allows the phone to mount to mophie’s magnetic accessories, including a car mount and desktop stands. It can even stick to mophie’s 10,000 mAh charge force powerstation battery.

The mophie juice packs do add a bit of heft to the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, but a slightly bulkier charged phone is a lot better than a dead one. Thankfully, the Galaxy S8+ is narrower than other phones with big displays, such as the iPhone 7 Plus.

One area of concern with the new juice packs is that it makes the already hard-to-reach Galaxy S8 fingerprint scanner even more difficult to reach. If you buy this battery case, be prepared to use a pass code or iris scanner to unlock your phone.

5 Things to Know About the iOS 10.3.3 Update

The iOS 10.3.2 update is only a few hours old but you can already try out its successor.

Apple’s confirmed a new iOS 10.3.3 update for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The iOS 10.3.3 update isn’t as exciting as the rumored iOS 11 update but it’s certainly worth monitoring as we push closer to Apple’s announcements at WWDC 2017.

Today we want to rundown the most important things to know right now about the iOS 10.3.3 update. This guide includes a glimpse at the iOS 10.3.3 beta and a few things we expect from the iOS 10.3.3 release date and time.

Let’s start with the most important things to know, right now, about the iOS 10.3.3 beta for your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

iOS 10.3.3 Beta

If you want to try out the iOS 10.3.3 update ahead of its official release you can.

Apple’s released an iOS 10.3.3 beta to paid developers. The beta isn’t available to the general public just yet but we expect the beta to land for those in the Beta Software Program.

The company’s Beta Software Program is available to anyone with a working Apple ID.

If decide to try early version of iOS 10.3.3 ahead of its official release date, proceed with caution. Early iOS software can and probably will, cause problems on your device.

In order to combat these problems, we recommend doing some prep work before installing the iOS 10.3.3 beta on your device.

If you do notice issues on your device, you’ll want to report those issues to Apple. This way, the company can improve the final release.

You Can Downgrade from iOS 10.3.3 Beta

If you decide to try the iOS 10.3.3 beta on your device you’ll want to get familiar with the downgrade process.

If you run into problems with the iOS 10.3.3 beta you might want to downgrade to an official version of iOS 10.

Apple is currently signing off on iOS 10.3.2 and iOS 10.3.1 which means you can drop back down to either one of those if your device struggles with the beta on board.

The company will close up the iOS 10.3.1 downgrade path but you’ll always be able to downgrade to iOS 10.3.2.

Once you make the move to iOS 10.3.3 beta there’s no going back to anything older than iOS 10.3.1.

So if you are running iOS 10.2.1, iOS 9, or (god forbid) iOS 8, you should be extremely careful with iOS 10.3.3 beta. For many of you, it probably isn’t worth it.

iOS 10.3.3 Update

One of the reasons iOS 10.3.3 isn’t worth the trouble is because those testing the iOS 10.3.3 beta haven’t discovered anything of note.

The iOS 10.3.3 beta 1 doesn’t appear to have any new features. And based on the version number, iOS 10.x.x, we can assume iOS 10.3.3 (and future betas) will focus on fixing bugs and improving device security.

If we, or beta testers, find anything we’ll update this post.

iOS 10.3.3 Release Date

Apple hasn’t confirmed an iOS 10.3.3 release date so there’s no telling how long the update will stay in the company’s beta program.

Apple only confirms specific iOS release dates on stage during media events but we don’t expect iOS 10.3.3 to play a role at WWDC 2017. Instead, we expect the company to focus on its upcoming iOS 11 update and beta.

It’s impossible to predict a precise release date for iOS 10.3.3 but you can expect the company to release a few more betas before the software pushes out to the general public.

The company’s last maintenance release, iOS 10.3.2, went through a six-week beta process before Apple released it for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

iOS 10.2.1, another recent bug fix update, went through four betas before it arrived for the public.

iOS 10.3.3 Release Time

The iOS 10.3.3 release date might be difficult to predict but the iOS 10.3.3 release time isn’t.

Apple’s iOS 10.3.3 update will almost certainly arrive around 10AM Pacific on release day. You can expect the same from Apple’s iOS 10.3.3 beta releases.

Here’s what that will look like for other regions in the United States and countries around the world including Australia and Japan:

  • Eastern – 1 PM

  • Central – 12 PM

  • Mountain – 11AM

  • London – 6 PM

  • Moscow – 9 PM

  • New Delhi – 10:30 PM

  • Shanghai – 1 AM

  • Tokyo – 2 AM

  • Melbourne – 3 AM

  • Auckland – 5 AM

Apple never releases iOS updates on the weekend and it typically releases new software on Monday and Thursday.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Google I/O 2017: everything you need to know

Google I/O 2017, this year’s instalment of Google’s annual developer conference, is less than a day away now. It will feature a vast array of announcements from Google divisions from across the spectrum, Android being just one of them. We won’t get updates on every single Google project that’s made news or been leaked over the preceding year, and while the announcements that are made will primarily be targeted at developers, there will be plenty to keep regular folks interested too. That’s because whether you’re a dev or not, I/O is a precious sneak peek inside the sprawling Google empire and all the cool things the company is working on. And just like every year: we can’t wait.

“Everything announced at Google I/O 2016

May 21, 2016

google io 2016 6

Google I/O 2017 dates and location

Google I/O 2017 takes place between May 17-19, once again at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California. If you don’t know the location, it’s right next to the Googleplex, covering the amphitheatre and several outdoor car parks. Last year the event suffered some criticism due to a lack of overflow areas, adequate seating, shade and so on. We expect this year will be much better organized.

For the second time since 2013, Google I/O will be a full three-day event, with the all-important keynote kicking things off, followed a developer keynote and then breakout sessions, code labs, 1:1 time with various Google teams, product and software demos, presentations, and much more. Even though some chided Google last year for doing a “Burning Man” event with very few hands-on opportunities for the announcements made, it was still a ton of fun, and we expect this year to be no different. Just with more shade.

Google I/O 2017 – what can we expet?

For many folks, the keynote is pretty much the whole draw of the conference. After all, this is the biggest presentation and sets the stage for the whole event. This year’s keynote starts at 10 AM on May 17 and, in two hours, will cover all the major things we’ll be seeing in finer detail over the coming days (we’ll share the livestream link as soon as we know it and remember to keep an eye out for the #io17 hashtag). All the major sessions will be live streamed and later posted to YouTube so you can catch up any time you like.

What exactly do we expect to hear about during that keynote? Good question. Obviously Android O will be a big part of it, including the recently announced Project Trebel. For those that haven’t heard about it yet, Treble aims to help speed up update cycles by making it possible for device makers to directly access the hardware-specific parts of Android O. In theory, this should allow those companies to update their Android smartphones and tablets directly, without the need to go through their silicon partners first. In other words, it’s one less hoop to cross, and should result in at least a bit of a faster updating process. For more details, head here. 

Beyond Treble? Google also recently announced Android Auto is coming directly to cars. Unlike earlier solutions that kept the Android Auto experience on the phone and only linked up with a car’s infotainment system, Audi and Volvo’s will now be Android-powered themselves. We expect to hear more about these plans, and perhaps we might even learn about other potential auto makers that are aim to get onboard.

Honestly, from what we hear, while there may be a few hardware surprises (new Android Wear watches perhaps? or the rumored stand-alone VR headset?) this show is shaping up to be very software-centric with Google particularly taking an interest in pushing forward its AI efforts. One thing is sure, Google tends to be much better at keeping secrets than its OEM partners and so there is a lot about Google I/O we still don’t know about with any certainty.

Google I/O 2017 sessions – what’s on the agenda?

Google always trickles out Google I/O session details in waves. The first and second waves have already hit, with a clear focus on Firebase, Progressive Web Apps, Accelerated Mobile Pages, Google Assistant and the Mobile Web. Other common threads in the schedule include teasers for Android O to help developers get ahead of the curve in targeting their apps for the new API level, as well as updates on Android TV, Android Wear and Android Instant Apps. AR and VR are key focial points and even audio gets a special look in.


  • Keynote

  • Developer keynote

  • What’s New in Android

  • Mobile Web: State of the Union

  • Building Apps for the Google Assistant

  • Android Wear: What’s New

  • What’s New in Google Play

  • What’s New in Android Security

  • Home Automation with Google Assistant

  • Future of Audio and Video on the Web

  • Notifications UX: What’s New for Android O?

  • Android Apps for Chromebooks


The “What’s New in Android?” session is always high on our hit list, and not surprisingly, Android O gets a direct mention. Considering the timeline for Android O developer previews Google has already shared, we’ll likely get the second dev preview during I/O and the return of the Android Beta Program for those that like living on the tip of the Android spear. The listed streams currently available include Ads, Accessibility, Mobile Web, Firebase, Android, Google Assistant, Machine Learning and AI, VR, Design, IoT, Search and Google Play.

You can expect to hear plenty on Assistant, especially now that it has rolled out to third-party devices, in dedicated sessions called Home Automation with Google Assistant and Building Apps for the Google Assistant. Android O’s new notifications, shortcuts and launcher icons have two sessions, and we’re sure to hear more about picture-in-picture mode, peripheral support and Android O security improvements too.

The next phase of Daydream VR will be covered as well as a session on developing VR for the web via WebVR, plus it looks like we might finally get the official launch of Android apps on Chrome OS. There’s even rumors that a stand-alone Google-powered VR headset could be making an appearance at the conference — with a possible announcement during the Keynote, as mentioned above.

There’ll also be updates on Android Things, the 2017 Google Play Awards, the success of the Pixels, and much more, possibly including some new features for Google Home. We don’t see anything (yet) about Project Fi, but we’re hoping for some updates and expansion of the service.

What got announced at Google I/O 2016?

To quickly refresh your memory, the big announcements from last year’s Google I/O – some of which have very much taken over the Android discourse in the interim – included Google Assistant, Google Home, Allo and Duo, Android Instant Apps, Daydream VR, Android apps on Chrome OS, Project Ara (which got demoed and later scrapped entirely), Project Soli and Project Jacquard, Android Wear 2.0, Firebase and Android Studio 2.2, and the inaugural Google Play Awards. Android Auto was there, so was Project Loon, Android N showed up and so did Project Tango. If you want a refresher on all the Google I/O 2016 highlights just hit the link.

Google I/O 2017 tickets

As usual, Google held a glorified raffle for tickets to Google I/O 2017, with the “winners” able to purchase a ticket. This year, prices have gone up though: general admission tickets are $1,150 and academic tickets cost $375 (up from $900 and $300 respectively last year). The ticket application window ran from February 22 – 27 and the chosen few were notified via email on February 28.

The price increase could mean one of three things: a) it’s going to be an even bigger production than last year, b) the I/O “goodie bag” is making a return, or c) inflation. Google also offered developers the chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to Google I/O 2017 via its “Experiments Challenge” competition, whereby devs could create an experiment based around Android, Chrome or AI.

Don’t miss: All our Google I/O 2016 video coverage

Monday, May 15, 2017

Sony Store sites in UK and Europe start Xperia XZ Premium pre-orders for June launch

A couple of months after a few third-party retailers in Europe started accepting pre-orders for the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, the upcoming high-end phone can now be purchased on Sony’s own store sites in the UK and parts of Europe. At least two of those sites are also offering some bonus accessories with those pre-orders.

Photo Fight: Galaxy S8 vs LG G6, Xperia XZs, Huawei P10, Pixel XL, OnePlus 3T

3 weeks ago

In the UK, you can purchase the Xperia XZ Premium for £649. If you pre-order the phone before May 31 from the UK site, you can also get a free pair of Sony’s MDR-NC750 headphones, which are normally worth about £60. For the rest of Europe, the price for the phone is €749. The Sony Store site in Germany is including an even nicer pre-order bonus. Customers can get a free pair of high-end Sony MDR-100ABN headphones, which are normally worth €299. Again, the pre-order must go in by May 31 to take advantage of this offer. The phones come in black and “lumious chrome” colors on Sony’s sites.

Sony expects to start shipping the Xperia XZ Premium phones in early June in those markets. Just a reminder: It will have a 5.5-inch 4K LCD screen with Gorilla Glass 5, along with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, Android 7.1 Nougat, 4 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of onboard storage, with a microSD card slot to add more storage. The phone will also have a 19 MP rear camera with the ability to capture slow-motion video at 960 fps. It will also have a 3,230 mAh battery and a side-mounted fingerprint sensor. So far there’s no word on when the Xperia XZ Premium will make it to the US.


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