Quick Look at Microsoft’s new Arrow Launcher beta for Android [Video]

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A couple of days ago, Microsoft pushed out a beta version of a new Android launcher out to testers. Arrow Launcher aims to give you all the most important people and apps as efficiently as possible. Apps are on one screen, notes and reminders on another, and contacts on a third.

It’s still in its early beta stages, but Arrow Launcher reminds me a little of Yahoo’s Aviate launcher. It’s not the most customizable launcher ever developed, but it does seem efficient and I can see, with time, it’ll be really productive. I’ve put together a quick video to give you an overview of all the features of Arrow Launcher.

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Opinion: The flawed reality of Google Contributor — paying for fewer ads, not a cause

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Yesterday I wrote about the general availability of Google Contributor, a service through which consumers can choose to be billed an amount between $2-10 on a recurring monthly basis in exchange for seeing less display advertisements around the web.

Contributor is an interesting service that I likened to the Patreon and Kickstarter crowdfunding platforms, but that could make the web browsing experience a little less frustrating. Here’s how I concluded that post: Read more

Poll: OnePlus 2 and Moto X Pure Edition compared – which is your pick?

Both the OnePlus 2 and the Moto X Pure Edition were announced this week, showcasing the best that these two Android OEMs have to offer this year. Both of these devices were horribly-kept secrets in their own ways, so there weren’t many surprises — we already knew almost every detail about both phones before they were announced.

But now that they’re here, which one do you think you’ll be getting? Or if you’re not in line for an upgrade right now, which one would be your pick? Let’s take a look at a few of their differences… Read more

Motorola’s SVP of Software talks about the new Moto X and future development

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In an interview in Engadget, Motorola’s SVP of Software Seang Chau spoke briefly about the focus the company had chosen for the development of its latest Moto X smartphone, and where he saw the next generation of smartphones heading.

Chau said that Google “levels the playing field every time” by adding to Android features that were once device-specific. It’s for this reason that Motorola has chosen to focus on the ‘always on’ capability of the Moto X Style (or Moto X Pure Edition, as it is known in the U.S.).

We’ve got Moto Voice, where you just talk or make motions and gestures or you just approach it and [it] wakes up — those kinds of things, you can’t copy in software and if you try, you’ll just kill your battery. We put a lot of effort into always-on, and I think that’s where we’re going to continue focusing a lot of our software efforts.

The future would, he said, be in making intelligent assistants like Google Now, Siri and Cortana significantly more capable. So far, he considers them to be at the “getting there” stage …  Read more

IDC: Samsung loses tablet share to Lenovo and others while overall market shrinks

IDC Tablets

While Apple’s iPad continues to lead the tablet market, according to new data from IDC, its marketshare has dropped a few points year-over-year, and the overall market for tablets saw negative growth, based on units shipped globally. That’s according to second quarter 2015 unit shipments and marketshare over the same quarter a year ago, as Apple shipped 10.9 million units versus 13.3 million units during the second quarter of 2014. While the iPad continues to lead in the tablet space, IDC’s data shows Apple’s market share dropping nearly 3 points from 27.7% to 24.5%.

Samsung, the number two player in the tablet space, similarly saw declines in both units shipped and market share from Q2 2014 to Q2 2015. The Korean company slipped by a million tablets during the quarter year-over-year, falling from 8.6 million units to 7.6 million units, while its market share dropped a point from 18% to 17% … Read more

Get a free $10 Amazon gift card when you buy a Chromecast for $30 Prime shipped

From 9to5Toys.com:
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Amazon is throwing in a free $10 gift card with the purchase of a Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player for $29.99 Prime shipped. This combo carries a street value of $45 since the Chromecast usually sells for $35 by itself. Assuming you use the credit, today’s deal nets you the best HDMI streaming player for an effective price of just $20. Prime members (free trial) receive free 2-day shipping, while all other buyers will need to spend $35 or more to lock-in free standard shipping. To qualify for this deal you’ll need to add the Chromecast and $10 gift card to your cart via this promo page.

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Chromecast streams Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go, Hulu Plus and tons of other apps to your TV over Wi-Fi using your iOS/Android device or laptop. Get even more value out of your Chromecast by taking advantage of special offers like a free Google Play movie rental. It’s rated 4.1 out of 5 stars from 35,264 Amazon reviewers.

Other retailers are also discounting Chromecast: Buy two and save $15 at Google Play or Best Buy, $20 for refurbished at Groupon. Read more

LG cites “extremely challenging environment” and iPhone competition as mobile division barely breaks even

LG cited “an extremely challenging environment” for premium smartphones as the reason for posting a net operating profit of just 200M won ($172k) for its mobile division – a number put into stark perspective by Engadget as a profit of just 1.2 cents per phone. LG specifically singled out competition from the iPhone as a factor.

While year-on-year smartphone shipments were down 3%, it did achieve a tiny 1% increase in revenue, but said that profitability was hit by weaker demand in the premium sector in its home market of Korea. There was better news in the U.S. and Canada, however …  Read more