Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Best Samsung Galaxy J7 Cases (2018)

These are the best Samsung Galaxy J7 cases that will protect your phone and keep it looking nice and new. While Samsung’s Galaxy S9 gets most of the attention, the wallet-friendly Galaxy J7 (2018) is a great alternative at all major US carrier stores. If you bought one, you’ll want a case to keep it safe.

Samsung Galaxy J7 (2018) cases come in a slew of different styles, colors, pricing and materials. Just make sure you get one for the 2018 model, and not last years Galaxy J7 Prime.

This is a budget phone but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great cases available. Our list details some cases as low as $7, which is better than paying $100+ to repair a broken phone. You can spend a little more on cases from a reputable brand, or something extremely durable with extra features like a kickstand.

Some of the top accessory makers often skip cheap budget phones. That said, Samsung’s Galaxy J7 is or will be available from most carriers in the United States. And while the names might differ a little, they all start with Galaxy J7. Like the T-Mobile Galaxy J7 Star, or the J7 V or J7 Refine. They’re all the same.

Read: Best Cheap Samsung Galaxy Phones

After deciding that the J7 is right for you and that you don’t need to spend $800 on a Galaxy S9, the first thing you’ll want is a case. Even a cheap $6 TPU case is better than nothing. Yes, the phone is durable, but a case will protect it from life’s daily hazards. These cases won’t fit the similar Galaxy J2 or the J3.

We have everything from thin clear cases, cheap options, to military-grade protection for the 2018 Samsung Galaxy J7 on all carriers. So, keep your phone safe and get one today from our slideshow below. We’ll update this list once more cases are available.

Dual Layer Armor Kickstand Case

Dual Layer Armor Kickstand Case

First on our list is the Boythink Dual Layer Armor case for the Samsung Galaxy J7 Duo 2018. This is one of the first cases available for Samsung’s new budget phone, and it clearly keeps those cameras safe. 

With a soft inner shell, this case will keep the phone safe from drops and damage. The TPU material absorbs the damage from any impacts. Then, for added durability and strength there’s a secondary hard polycarbonate plastic shell on the outside. 

It has a snap-in design for a quick and simple installation, and a slide-out kickstand perfect for hands-free movies and YouTube. That way you can watch video on your Galaxy J7 with ease. 

Buy it Now on Amazon for $7.89 in multiple colors

Monday, July 16, 2018

Xiaomi confirms Mi A2 on the way, Twitter response is mixed

Xiaomi Mi A1 phone rear

  • Xiaomi has confirmed the successor to the Mi A1 via its Twitter account.

  • The company has all-but-confirmed the phone will be called the Xiaomi Mi A2.

  • Rumors suggest Xiaomi will unveil the device in Madrid, Spain at the end of July.

Xiaomi has confirmed the successor to the Android One-based Xiaomi Mi A1 with a tweet on its official Twitter account.

The tweet (embedded below) includes a poster with a picture of the Mi A1 and the slogan “The Next Gen is Coming.” The poster has Android One branding and says fans of the Mi A1 will love the upcoming device.

While Xiaomi did not confirm the name of the upcoming device in the tweet, it did include the hashtag #2isbetterthan1. This suggests the device will be called Xiaomi Mi A2, as expected.

Xiaomi gave very little info about the phone itself in the tweet. However, we have already heard plenty of rumors including that it could have a Snapdragon 660 chipset, run Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, and have a rear dual camera setup with 20MP and 12MP sensors.

Editor’s Pick

The Xiaomi Mi A1 is a rebranded version of the Xiaomi Mi 5X with the main difference being that the Mi A1 runs stock Android. It is expected that the Mi A2 will be a rebranded version of the Xiaomi Mi 6X. If this is the case, the Mi A2 could also have a six-inch display and USB Type-C port, but no headphone jack.

While the Mi A1 was initially well received, it suffered from buggy updates which eventually led to the company pulling the Oreo 8.1 update. Some of the most liked replies to Xiaomi’s teaser tweet are people complaining about this very issue.

There is still no official news about a release date. However, the device is rumored to be unveiled at Xiaomi’s Mi Explorer Program in Madrid, Spain which takes place between July 23 and July 26.

Next up: Xiaomi Mi A2: All the rumors in one place

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Best Action Games for Android

Are you looking for the best action games for Android to keep you entertained? With thousands of games on the Google Play Store finding quality ones is often difficult. However, Action games are a huge genre with tons of options. Everything from shooter games, fighting titles, battle royale games, racing and more. We’ve combined the best of the best all into one list for you below.

These days gaming on mobile is extremely popular due to huge screens and powerful processors. We’re nearing console-quality graphics. If you love action games and want to keep your skills sharp, read on for some games worth trying today.

Read: Best First Person Shooter Games for Android

Everything from platform titles, adventure games to top-down shooters and more all count. Whether you want to enjoy some easy to play action games or get the heart pumping, there’s something for everyone. There are too many to list and we’ll be adding more as 2018 continues, but these are a good place to start.

There is certainly no shortage of games these days. However, some just simply aren’t worth downloading or paying for. Which is why we’ve gathered a few of our favorites. At the same time, developers continue to deliver excellent titles year in and year out.

In the past, we’ve detailed many different games to keep you entertained. Like the best racing titles for Android. However, here we want to keep the genre broad and offer something that almost anyone can enjoy.

Read: Best Games Like Fortnite for Android

All of the games below are full of fun, action, and adventure. They’ll keep you busy for hours on end, on the edge of your seat, or entertained on a long trip. We have Halo knock-offs, Call of Duty type gameplay and so much more. Without further delay, these are the best action games for Android. Additionally, check out these 100 best Android apps.

Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto

If you’re a fan of the Grand Theft Auto franchise on PC or console, why not play them on Android? Luckily for us Rockstar Games has actually ported five GTA titles to mobile devices. 

My personal favorite still has to be Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, but that’s just one of four others you can try on any Android smartphone or tablet. The graphics are amazing, basically the same as a console, and the controls are surprisingly really good. Not to mention most have Bluetooth controller support. Try Vice City, San Andreas and others, or download them all. 

It’s worth noting that since these are the full games, they take up a very large amount of space. We’d recommend a device with an SD card just to be safe. Additionally, these aren’t all that kid-friendly, but you already knew that. Right? Either way, get one or all from the play store. 

Download Grand Theft Auto

Monday, July 2, 2018

Pixel & Nexus July Android Oreo Update: What to Know

As promised, Google recently released its latest monthly July Android Oreo update for Nexus and Pixel phones. And while these monthly updates are all about security, we do see the occasional bug fix at the same time. This month Google improved WiFi on Pixel devices while boosting security on Android as a whole.

With the Pixel and Nexus July Android 8.1 Oreo update rolling out as we speak, here’s everything you need to know. We’ll explain what to expect, anything that’s new, and give you links to download and install it today. Or, try the Android P Developer Preview 4 instead.

Read: What’s New in Android P: Everything to Know

While the Pixel C updates are still missing, many Nexus & Pixel owners will get an updated version of Android this week. And remember, older devices like the Nexus 5 and Nexus Player are no longer supported. For those with a newer device, this is an important update that could affect your device and its performance.

As usual, we’re seeing new security enhancements and multiple critical security patches in July. Then, Google made some minor changes to WiFi on most devices, but that’s about it.

Supported Devices

  • Pixel and Pixel XL

  • Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

  • Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P

  • Pixel C Tablet

Nexus & Pixel July Android Oreo Update Details

Google confirmed the update on Monday, July 2nd, and immediately posted the files for developers to manually install the latest software. That said, easy-over-the-air updates have yet to begin. Typically those start within 24-48 hours of the announcement, or before the end of the week. Go ahead and tap “check for updates” in settings, or wait for the rollout to continue throughout the week.

Google refreshed the Android security bulletin, as well as the Nexus/Pixel security page with all the details. These links detail all the changes, but we’ll highlight the important ones below. You can get factory images and install it manually too if you’d like.

So far we’re seeing a pretty decent list of changes, but nothing major. Again, this is mostly about security and being better prepared for the future. Typically, there are at least 30+ changes, but this month is very light. As a bonus, that means Google’s doing a good job keeping our smartphones safe.

Before we get into all the changes, we want to suggest you skip manually installing the update. Being such a small software release it’s not worth the risk. Instead, simply wait for Google to send the over-the-air update files to your phone or tablet.

July Oreo Update Fixes & Patches

Lately, Google is taking monthly updates very seriously. For most of 2018, Google added a slew of bug fixes in with these security updates. Function updates, not just software tweaks. The July Android Oreo update is light all around. We only found 12 critical issue patches and a bunch of minor changes elsewhere.

One thing we did notice is that Google improved WiFi consistency with some routers, and that’s all. A pretty light set of changes, aside from the dozens of security patches.

Download Nexus & Pixel July Updates

If you’d like to get this version of Android for your Nexus or Pixel device now, instead of waiting, you can download or flash it from the links below. Or, read more information about each one of these changes.

  1. Download Factory Images

  2. Grab OTA Update Files

  3. Read the Nexus/Pixel Security Bulletin

  4. Read the Android June Security Bulletin

When Will the Update Arrive?

We’re expecting the update within the next 24-48 hours, if not earlier. Google is always fast to deliver updates, or you can manually download and install it yourself as we speak with the links above. However, we could see upgrades and OTA updates continue throughout the week, and into the weekend at the latest. Just wait for the over-the-air notification to hit your phone.

Some users may choose to manually download the files and update to the July Oreo release themselves. However, we recommend waiting for Google’s OTA update notification to arrive instead. It’s easier that way. I went to Settings > System > System Update > Check for Updates and got it immediately. This pulls the update from Google’s servers to your phone. The entire process took less than 10 minutes. From downloading to installing and rebooting the phone.

Other Details & What’s Next for Nexus/Pixel Owners?

In closing, expect an update on your Nexus or Pixel device in the coming days if you didn’t get it already. Remember, this only applies to Google’s Nexus and Pixel devices. If you have a phone from Samsung, LG, or Motorola, you have to wait for an upgrade from them.

So what’s next? Well, Google just released the 4th Android P beta and its next software upgrade is almost ready. And while it’s only available as an early developer preview, or beta, it is the fourth release. We’ll see one more before Android P is officially released around the globe. Basically, this is one of your last Android 8.0 Oreo updates for Nexus and Pixel devices.

Read: 15 Common Pixel 2 XL Problems & How to Fix Them

Those experiencing issues should check out this post for more help. Stay tuned for more details and drop a comment below with any questions or concerns about the June Nexus and Pixel Android Oreo software.

7 Things to Know About the July Nexus 6P Android 8.1 Update

A new Nexus 6P Android 8.1 Oreo update is available and Google’s July build comes with important security patches for the aging device.

The Nexus 6P won’t get upgraded to the company’s new Android P update, but it will continue to get Android Oreo updates throughout 2018.

Google’s latest update is its July Android 8.1 build, the seventh security release since the release of Android 8.1 Oreo back in December.

The July Android 8.1 update is a small update, but it could have a major impact on your device. Most of you won’t see much of a change from the the previous Android 8.1 build, but some of you will.

The Nexus 6P’s newest Android 8.1 build doesn’t come with a long list bug fixes for the aging former flagship, but there’s always a chance the new build irons out random bugs or performance issues. There’s also a chance it hurts your device’s performance.

The new version of Android 8.1 is causing problems for some Nexus 6P users and we expect complaints to pickup as the roll out picks up speed and more people download the software onto their phone.

Our guide to the July Nexus 6P Android 8.1 update takes a look at these problems. It also shows you how to download the new Android 8.1 build right now, some things you should do before you install the latest version of Android 8.1, and some other details you should know before, and after, you install the latest Android 8.1 build on your phone.

We’ll continue to update this roundup with new information as we push away from the release date.

How to Get the July Android 8.1 Update Right Now

How to Get the July Android 8.1 Update Right Now

The Nexus 6’s July Android 8.1 Oreo build is known as OPM6.171019.030.E1.

The update is slowly rolling out to the Nexus 6P and it could be a few days before it lands for every Nexus 6P model in the United States and other countries where the Nexus 6P is found. 

If you want to skip the OTA you can download the July Android 8.1 build right now by sideloading the correct image onto your device.

If you don’t want to manually install the software right now, head into your device’s settings a few times a day to check for the July build. 

It typically takes a couple of weeks for the roll out to finish up so don’t be surprised if you don’t see the update popup today.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

LPDDR5, UFS 3.0 and SD Express: Next-gen memory explained

SD to microSD card

Memory technology may not be as instantly noticeable as a crisp new display or a faster processor, but it’s key for ensuring a smooth, stutter-free smartphone experience. The industry is pushing towards higher quality images and video, high-fidelity gaming, and machine learning. Memory bandwidth and capacity are under more strain than ever before.

Fortunately, new memory technologies are on the way to alleviate the strain. These include LPDDR5 RAM, UFS 3.0 internal storage, and SD Express portable memory cards. The general gist is that each of these standards will be faster than their predecessors, but let’s take a closer at the finer details and how each will help shape superior mobile experiences.


RAM is an essential part of every computer, but smartphones are particularly sensitive to memory bandwidth because the CPU, GPU, and increasingly AI engines are all located on the same chip and share this memory pool. This is often a bottleneck in gaming, 4K video rendering, and other instances that require lots of reading and writing to memory.

We’re still waiting on the final specifications, but LPDDR5, just like its predecessors, is set to increase the amount of available bandwidth and improve energy efficiency once more. LPDDR5 bandwidth is expected to hit at least 6400 Mbps, doubling the 3200 Mbps that LPDDR4 shipped with. Although, subsequent revisions have seen LPDDR4 and 4X able to hit up to 4266 Mbps.

LPDDR5 evolution Synopsys

According to IC design company Synopsys, LPDDR5 introduces a dual differential clock system using a WCK clock similar to that found in fast GDDR5 graphics memory. Differential clocking increases the frequency without upping the pin count and these two clock implementations (WCK_t and WCK_c) allow for two different operating points at either double or quadruple the command/address clock. LPDDR5 will also support Link ECC functionality for Read and Write operations, allowing it to recover data from transmission errors or due to storage charge loss.

Better still, the standard is still focusing on energy efficiency — a key requirement for mobile products — with a lower operating voltage. Deep Sleep Mode is also implemented to reduce current by up to 40 percent when either in an idle or self-refresh state. Data Copy Low Power also reduces power by utilizing repeating data patterns for normal Write, Mask Write, and Read operations, so the higher performance point shouldn’t drain any more of our precious battery life.

We’re still waiting on manufacturers to announce their first LPDDR5 memory chips. Samsung murmured some plans to accelerate commercialization late last year and rumor suggests that production could start in the second half of 2018. Either way, we aren’t expecting to see our first phones boasting the technology until 2019 at the very earliest.


Fast storage is just as important as fast RAM these days, especially if you want to read and store high-resolution video or load up high-quality assets for AR and VR. UFS is quickly replacing eMMC as the memory standard of choice in smartphones. JDEC has already published the official UFS 3.0 specification for its next-gen memory, giving us a look at the performance and power improvements heading to future high-end mobile device storage.

The headline improvement is that speeds have doubled from UFS 2.0 found in some of today’s high-end devices. Each lane can handle up to 11.6 Gbps of data, up from 5.8 Gbps, which gives a peak transfer speed of a whopping 23.2 Gbps. That said, real speeds will be a bit lower than this theoretical maximum. Fortunately, all UFS 3.0-compatible devices are required to support HS-G4 (11.6 Gbps) and HS-G3 (5.8 Gbps), so they’ll definitely be faster than all versions of UFS 2.0.

The standard’s power consumption has changed too. There are now three power rails, 1.2V, 1.8V, and 2.5V/3.3V, and the introduction of 2.5V on the VCC line will help support upcoming higher density 3D NAND flash designs and lower power consumption. In other words, UFS 3.0 is designed to support larger storage sizes, which will be available with upcoming manufacturing techniques.

Just like LPDDR5, Samsung looks set to be one of the first to offer UFS 3.0 storage. Manufacturing for automotive applications has already begun, so a product suitable for smartphone use probably isn’t too far away either. The technology will likely hit the mainstream in 2019.

SD Express portable storage

Finally, we come to portable storage, a sought-after feature in smartphones for moving large media libraries between devices. The newly unveiled SD Express standard will likely replace future microSD cards, although fast UFS memory cards remain a possibility too. In a nutshell, SD Express boasts the fastest ever SD card speeds and support to use them as portable SSDs.

SD Express incorporates PCI Express and NVMe interfaces into the legacy SD interface, two common data bus standards found across the PC space. These interfaces will be supported on the second row of pins that are already used by highspeed UHS-II microSD cards on the market today.

Supporting PCI-E 3.0 with SD Express means peak throughput can hit a whopping 985MB/s, which is more than three times faster than UHS-II cards which top out at 312MB/s and even faster than UHS-III cards that support up to 624MB/s. Meanwhile, NVMe v1.3 is the industry standard used for solid state drives (SSDs), which means that upcoming SD cards will be able to serve as removable SSDs for plug and play access to large amounts of data, software, and even operating systems.

SDcard bus speed and storage SDcard

In addition to supporting higher speed memory interfaces, the maximum storage capacity of future microSD cards is set to increase from 2TB with SDXC to 128TB with the new SD Ultra-Capacity (SDUC) cards.

SD Express is backward compatible with existing microSD cards and ports, but you’ll be limited to the lower speeds. So a UHS-I device will be capped at 104MB/s, even with an SD Express card. Unfortunately, there are a few compatibility issues with newer card types too that will cap speeds, as a UHS-II or UHS-III card will revert to UHS-I speeds in an SD Express host because the pins are repurposed.

Wrap up

Memory improvements are heading our way across the board, catering for faster and higher capacity internal memory, RAM, and portable storage. At first, these latest technologies will command a premium, as usual, so we’ll certainly see them appear in flagship-tier smartphones first, before trickling down to more cost-effective price points the following year or so.

Each of these faster memory technologies will likely break through into flagship smartphones in 2019, although it’s possible we might see a phone or two adopt one of these features a little sooner than the pack. We’ll just have to sit tight until memory manufacturers announce the actual chips that will end up in products.

Spotify Lite is lightweight, but probably too bare-bones

  • As the name implies, Spotify Lite is a “lighter” version of the regular Spotify app that removes a few key features and minimizes app size.

  • Spotify Lite is available in certain countries, though you can download and install an APK.

Spotify is not the only service to offer a “Lite” version of its app, though the intent is the same: to offer a lighter app that targets low-end smartphones with slow internet connections. Spotify Lite certainly checks off those boxes, but makes some significant compromises along the way.

As on the regular Spotify app, Spotify Lite greets you with a list of playlists and recently-played music when you open the app. That is where the similarities end, however.

In terms of differences, the navigation bar at the bottom shows the Home, Search, and Favorites buttons. This compares to the regular Spotify app’s navigation bar, which features buttons for Home, Browse, Search, Radio, and Your Library.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Think you could be the next Tiesto? Learn how to be a DJ

DJ courseWe thought you might like something a bit different today readers, so we’ve found a superb offer on an all-encompassing DJ course. If you’re looking for a new calling, or just want to know what the fuss is about, this week you can get this professionally-led tuition for just $29.

Music has the power to inspire. To an amateur it can look like DJing is just starting a playlist on your laptop, but in reality it’s an artform. Learning to DJ can be fun and rewarding. Not everyone will go on to be the next Avicii or Skrillex, but at the very least you’ll get an impressive new talent.

‘DJs are the new rock stars’ – Tiesto

This in-depth video guide is led by veteran DJ and music producer David Pezza. David has 15 years experience in the industry, playing numerous top club locations and doing remix work for major record companies world-wide. His expertise are world-class, and he loves to teach in a fun and simple style.

This instructional DJ course doesn’t just stop at how to produce top music either. It covers all aspects of DJing, including how to play to an audience, and even how to get paid.

The DJ course at a glance:

  • Learn the history of DJing.

  • Explore the gear, mixers, and other tools a DJ needs.

  • Discuss the basics of beat matching, looping techniques, using effects, and more.

  • Get an introduction to scratching and advanced techniques.

  • Understand sound & lighting setups, and how to play to an audience.

  • Learn how to make money as a DJ.

This course usually retails for $399, but for the next few days at Tech Deals you can get access for one year at a cost of only $29. To be fair, it doesn’t sound like Mr Pezza needs the money.

Time for an exciting new venture? Hit the button below to check out the offer.

The AAPicks team writes about things we think you’ll like, and we may see a share of revenue from any purchases made through affiliate links. To see all our hottest deals, head over to the AAPICKS HUB.

Looking for a new phone or plan? Start here with the Android Authority Plan Tool:

This smart tool lets you filter plans by phone, price, data tiers, and regional availability. Stop overpaying for cell service you hate and a phone that you’re tired of. Use our Compare Phones & Plans tool to fully customize your mobile experience and painlessly transition from one carrier to another!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Surface Pro 5 Release Date, News, Specs and Rumors

The Microsoft Surface Pro 5 release is still somewhat of a mystery, but it’s never too early to start thinking about what’s coming next. With that in mind, here’s the latest Surface Pro 5 news, rumors, release details and everything else you need to know.

Considering the last Surface Pro (2017) is over a year old, excitement is starting to build about a potential Surface Pro 5 in 2018 or early 2019. Or is it the Surface Pro 6? This next model is technically the 6th generation Surface.

Read: Surface Pro 2019: 4 Reasons to Wait & 4 Reasons Not to 

Microsoft’s new slate will have to compete with the latest iPad, a slew of Google Chromebook devices, and even Microsoft’s own discounted Pro (2017) and Surface Book. And from what we’re hearing, it’ll do exactly that.

  • Surface Pro 5 Release Date (or 6): Early-Mid 2019

  • What is the Surface Pro 5: Microsoft’s next powerful 2-in-1 laptop/tablet computer

  • What to expect?: Upgrades across the board: Display, battery life, connectivity (USB C), Surface Pen, processor, RAM and more.

  • How Much Will it Cost?: Starting at $799, so the same or more than previous years

Now that you know a few of the basics and we’ve answered some important questions, read on for the latest news and rumors.

Latest Surface Pro 2019 News

Nearly two years ago we were certain a new Surface Pro 5 was coming. That never happened, and eventually the aptly named “Surface Pro” arrived in 2017. Now, over a year later, rumor mills are starting to churn over what Microsoft is planning next.

According to reports from ZDNet, Microsoft is planning a major redesign for its next Surface in 2019. However, Bloomberg suggests the company wants to offer a low-cost tablet to rival the iPad and compete with Chromebooks. We could see both. A beautiful high-end Surface Pro 5 or 6 with tons of upgrades, then a more modest option for those on a budget. The cheaper model might even arrive in 2018.

And while we don’t have too much to go on or even a name, information from Thurrott.com claims the new Surface is known internally as “Carmel”. Either way, this will be an extremely important launch for Microsoft.

Just know that a new Surface will likely have a beautiful OLED display, the latest processor and GPU, improved battery life, more connectivity options, built-in 4G LTE, and more all along with a stylish new design.

Microsoft Surface Pro 5 (2019) Release Date

In June of 2017 the company released a Surface Pro (2017) and that’s the last one. And while Microsoft has made some smaller updates to the Surface Pro like LTE support for mobile data and more memory, we expected more. More that will finally come early next year.

When will enthusiasts or Windows 10 fans actually get another one? We’re not really sure. Multiple sources seem positive that it’ll be here in early 2019, but ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley said she was told mid-2019. If a mid-arrival is accurate, that means Microsoft took two years to make another 2-in-1. Here’s a timeline of release dates to help you make up your own mind.

  • Surface Pro: February 2013

  • Surface Pro 2: Late October 2013

  • Surface Pro 3: June 2014

  • Surface Pro 4: October 26, 2015

  • Surface Pro (2017): June 15, 2017

Could we end up waiting until Microsoft Build 2019 in May? We’ll have to wait and see.

New Surface Pro: What You Need to Know (The Important Stuff)

While it’s too early to start talking about a complete redesign, or the specs, a new 2-in-1 is on the horizon and there are some obvious places they can and will improve. In fact, one Surface Pro 5 rumor suggests the company will use a new Qualcomm Snapdragon processor typically reserved for smartphones, like the upcoming Snapdragon 855. This will allow the device to wake instantly, yet sip on battery for days while on standby. That’s just one of many models.

What we do know is that with a 2-year wait you can expect a major design overhaul, tons of improvements across the board, and one powerful device.

We’re talking about a new OLED display with smaller bezels, an even thinner low-profile design, better battery life, and more connectivity. When we say more connectivity we mean multiple USB Type-C ports or even a few Thunderbolt 3 ports to hook it up to an external display. Microsoft will also deliver more storage options, additional RAM (memory), and Intel’s latest 8th generation processors.

A lot of this simply makes sense, especially because Microsoft adopted it on the Surface Book 2. Like USB Type-C or 4G LTE for mobile data.

Then, expect a massive upgrade to the Surface Pen. From potentially a retractable tip, haptic feedback, or even a display with more points of sensitivity for a more accurate digital pen experience. We even saw a rumor (and patent) that claims the Surface Pen will never need a recharge again. That’s because it’ll suck battery from the Surface screen as you use it. Wouldn’t that be neat?

A Smaller & Cheaper Second Surface Mini

Earlier we mentioned a report from Bloomberg that states Microsoft wants to compete with the iPad. They could potentially do this by offering two different sizes of the Surface. Essentially a Surface Pro for 2019, and a smaller Surface Mini. The Surface Book 2 comes in two sizes, so this does make sense.

Hype suggests the smaller Surface would target emerging and education markets, and come in around $400. This will likely have a smaller 10-inch display. We’re hearing codenames of Libra, Lex, and Andromeda. The last one is potentially Microsoft’s new affordable and “pocketable” Windows device.

New Surface Pro 5 Price

With rumors suggesting at least 1-2 new Surface devices within the next 8-10 months, pricing is somewhat up in the air. That said, Microsoft typically asks the same price for its entry-level device. Based on previous years the Surface Pro 5 (or 6) will cost around $799 for the base model but quickly reach to over $1,000 and counting once you add a few things to the package.

Basically, you can expect Microsoft to stick to its usual pricing whenever it gets around to releasing a new Surface. If they do bump up the price, they’ll need some serious upgrades over earlier generations. We’re talking about more than just a spec bump and a slightly better display.

At the end of the day we’re expecting a cheaper or smaller Surface sometime in the near future, then a high-end true Surface Pro 2019, Surface Pro 5, or Surface Pro 6 sometime next year with all the bells and whistles.

Final Thoughts

In closing, we still don’t know too much about what’s coming next from Microsoft. If they want to release a smaller budget device soon, they better start in time for the back-to-school season. We’re also assuming the company wants to integrate things like a fingerprint scanner, Cortana, Windows Hello, and more to make this the best Surface Pro yet.

As 2018 continues and we inch toward 2019 you can expect more Surface Pro 5 news, rumors and leaks. Once they arrive we’ll update this post with all the details.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

¿Cómo será mi día? Google Home finally understands and speaks Spanish

Google Home

  • Google confirmed that its Home devices now support Spanish.

  • You can pick from three Spanish dialects, including Spain, Mexico, and the U.S.

  • Google also announced that the Home and Home Mini are available in Mexico.

Even though Spanish was available as part of Google Assistant, the language was not available for the Home, Home Mini, and Home Max. That is no longer the case as Google formally announced that all three Home devices can speak and understand Spanish.

It’s compatible with three localized versions of Spanish: Spain, Mexico, and the U.S. To switch to Spanish, tap Menu in the Google Home app. From there, select Preferences in the Settings menu and then select Español.

In related news, Google also announced that the Home and Home Mini are available in Mexico. The pair of devices launched in Spain last week.

Editor’s Pick

It is unclear why Google took this long to roll out Spanish to its Home devices. Even though the company quietly rolled out the option over the last two weeks, Assistant technically supported Spanish since May 2017 when it still lived in Allo. Whatever the reasoning may be, it is nice to see additional languages for Google’s smart home devices.

Speaking of additional languages, Google confirmed that Assistant will support over 30 languages by the end of the year. The company will also reportedly launch its Home devices in many more countries, though we do not know which countries those might be.

Finally, Google confirmed that Assistant will automatically detect the language you speak and respond in kind. That is particularly helpful for multilingual households, though the feature has yet to roll out.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

How to Change the LG G7 Lockscreen & Wallpaper

In this guide we’ll show you how to change the LG G7 lock screen and wallpaper image. These steps include adding your own images and photos, or themes, instead of just using the backgrounds that came on your phone.

LG’s G7 ThinQ has a big 6.1-inch Quad HD display that looks great, even with the notch. Getting a high quality and high-resolution wallpaper will look better and give you the best experience. We’ll show you all the customization options, how to change it, then recommend the best places to get a wallpaper.

Read: 10 Common LG G7 Problems & Quick Fixes

One of the reasons to change your lock screen and wallpaper is customization. Making your phone more unique and personal. We like that LG has multiple options, including setting a different image for the lock screen and the background wallpaper. Here’s how to get started.

How to Change the LG G7 ThinQ Lock Screen & Wallpaper

There are a few different ways to change the lock screen or background wallpaper. The easiest way is to simply press and hold a blank area on the screen, then tap on wallpapers. Simply follow our instructions below. You can even set your own image for the lock screen, one that’s different from the background.

  • Push and hold on a blank area on the screen (display)

  • It will zoom out to a customization menu, select Wallpaper

  • Tap on My Photos or scroll through the image gallery or collage gallery

  • Now select the image you want, crop to fit, and hit Apply Wallpaper

  • Choose home screen, lock screen or both

Like most manufacturers, LG adds pretty landscape photography shots and other images with the phone. This way you can choose from a wide selection of images without taking photos or downloading new wallpapers. Tap My Photos to select from your own gallery or the collage for even more image choices. This is how people use a photo they took of their family, kids, or pets on their screen.

You can always go to Settings > Display > Lock screen for more options or to change the background.

To find some beautiful wallpapers like you see online download the app called Zedge and browse their collection. Make sure you get at least a 1080p HD image or bigger so you can crop it without losing any quality. We recommend a full 2560 x 1440 Quad-HD (or bigger) image for the best results.

Lock Screen Wallpaper

In case you didn’t notice during our instructions above, adding a wallpaper to the lock screen is just as easy. Follow the same steps but choose to use any particular image on the lock screen, not the home screen. When you find the image you’d like to use and hit apply the phone will ask, “Do you want to apply this to the home screen, the lock screen, or both?”

Select both if you only want one image, or which area you want to apply it to. I have a Packers logo on my lock screen and something else when I unlock my phone.

Other Details and Lock Screen Customization

Sadly that’s about all you can change on the LG G7 lock screen. The company puts a microphone and camera shortcut icon in the bottom corners, but you can’t change these for something else, like a text message app. You can, however, enable the always-on display, add owner information, or change the on-screen keys.

If you’d like to fully change and customize the lock screen on the G7 you’ll need to replace your home screen launcher. The most popular app for this is NOVA Launcher, which is highly customizable. Give it a try today or enjoy the stock images on the LG G7. We also recommend owners head to Settings and search for themes, then try a new look and theme from the LG theme store.

While you’re here, check out these 10 best LG G7 cases.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

6 Reasons to Wait for the Galaxy Note 9 & 5 Reasons Not To

This guide will take you through some reasons why you should, and shouldn’t, wait for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 release later this year.

If you’re hunting for a new Android smartphone, the Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note 8, and the new Galaxy S9 should be on your shopping list.

The Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, and Galaxy Note 8 are cheaper than they once were and they’re also getting upgraded to Samsung’s Android 8.0 Oreo update. Android 8.0 Oreo brings a long list of new features, enhancements, fixes, and patches with it.

These Galaxy devices and others, like Samsung’s Galaxy S7, should have your attention, but don’t forget about the other Galaxy flagship Samsung’s reportedly working on for 2018.

Galaxy Note 9 Rumors

Developers digging through Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 Android 8.0 Oreo update discovered a collection Samsung product code names.

Among them, names like “astarqlte” (Galaxy S9 Active w/ Snapdragon), “star” (Galaxy S9), “star2” (Galaxy S9+), and “crown.” The device known as “crown” is reportedly the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

Well-known leaker Evan Blass has corroborated this leak and says the Galaxy Note 9, model number SM-N960U, is indeed called “crown.”

At Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona, Samsung confirmed a “Galaxy Note 9” launch to ZDNet. The company’s also filed for a “Galaxy Note 9” trademark in Colombia. The trademark doesn’t mean a release is close, but it’s an important piece of the puzzle.

The Galaxy Note 9 has also been certified for launch in China well ahead of its expected release date. The SM-N9600 and the SM-N9608 have both passed through the China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The device is also starting to show up in benchmarks confirming potential features like a Snapdragon 835 chipset from Qualcomm. The Snapdragon 835 also powers the Galaxy S9. Unsurprisingly, there will also be a model powered by Samsung’s in-house Exynos processor.

There’s also talk of an early launch date. Nothing is confirmed, but it sure sounds like we’ll see the Galaxy Note 9 before IFA 2018 in late August.

The fact that Samsung’s working on a successor for the Galaxy Note 8 shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Samsung’s released a new Note model every year since 2011.

We’re starting to see Galaxy Note 9 rumors firm up which means some of you still might want to consider holding out for this year’s Note flagship.

There are also a few reasons why you might not want to sit through several months of Samsung Galaxy Note 9 rumors and speculation.

Wait for More Horsepower

Wait for More Horsepower

If you want a ton of horsepower from your next smartphone, consider holding out for the Galaxy Note 9 launch later this year.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is a powerful device, but if you need more, the Galaxy Note 9 will probably have what you’re looking for.

Galaxy Note 9 rumors are scarce, but you can expect the usual round of hardware upgrades: A more efficient processor (improved battery life, better gaming, etc), more RAM (the Galaxy S series got a bump this year), and some changes (a microphone?) to the Galaxy Note’s unique S Pen stylus. 

In response to a question about the next Galaxy Note model, BJ Kang from Samsung Electronics’ Global Product Planning Group says the team is “already considering how to approach the development of the next Note by evaluating the latest model and looking for ways to improve upon signature features like the S Pen.”

Rumors point to Samsung bundling a brand new S Pen with the Galaxy Note 9 so if you aren’t a huge fan of the current experience, we suggest you wait for the next iteration. 

Galaxy Note 9 rumors also point to a larger 3,850 mAh battery. The Galaxy Note 8 features a smaller 3300 mAh battery. There’s also chatter about a 4,000 mAh battery. 

If you aren’t impressed with the hardware on the Galaxy Note 8 or this year’s Galaxy S9 flagships, you might want to take a raincheck and wait for Samsung’s Next Big Thing. It might have what you’re looking for. 


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