December 31, 2015

huawei-watch-images-leak-7

Even when the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition launched in November, Google’s guidance for when current watches would be updated to the latest version of Android Wear was a vague in the “coming months“. This morning, one Huawei Watch user in a beta tester program received a test build of Wear 1.4 running Android 6.0.1.

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oneplus-champagneWP

It’s New Year’s Eve, so it’s time to crack open the champagne. Champagne version of the OnePlus X that is. They’re now available in limited quantities in Europe and Hong Kong, and will be coming to the US soon. This is our unboxing…

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huawei-building

Following some very strong quarterly results, Huawei today revealed that 2015 was a resounding success. Although it was a little light on details, the company (as reported by WSJ) saw its full-year revenue for 2015 rise to 390 billion yuan (roughly $60.1 billion USD). That’s up more than 35% on the full calendar year previous…

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BlackBerry PRIV could be making its way to T-Mobile on January 26

The BlackBerry PRIV has officially been on the market now for a couple of months, and is seen by many as the device which will make or break the Canadian smartphone-maker. While the first ever Android-powered BlackBerry has been available from AT&T and Verizon for a little while now, the US’ #3 carrier T-Mobile, is yet to start selling the device through its own official retail chains. That could all be about to change according to a leaked roadmap obtained by PhoneArena.

The calendar details retail launches and events T-Mobile staff need to be aware of and prepare for. The January roadmap clearly indicates that employees should be preparing for a ‘BlackBerry Venice Launch’ on January 26.

Having dealt with leaks from T-Mobile like this a lot in the past, I can say it certainly looks like the genuine article, and there’s little to suggest it’s not legitimate. But with every leak comes the usual note of caution. Plans can — and often do — change. T-Mo has been known to change things up because of leaks, or because they’re simply not ready when they thought they would be.

With T-Mobile’s recent comments on BlackBerry, it’s clear the company has a lot of time for the former smartphone giant and plans to offer its products. Following a very public fallout, the two firms finally made up when the carrier officially started selling the BlackBerry Classic a few months back. Now it seems T-Mo is willing to offer more of the manufacturer’s wares on its store shelves.

 

December 30, 2015

lg-g4-options

Last week, a sketchy rumor went around detailing the LG G5’s specifications. Today, the much more reputable VentureBeat is confirming those specs as well as adding new details on the upcoming device’s camera setup as well as other previously unknown hardware features.

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2016

In 2015, the smartphone or, more specifically, the Android smartphone market reached tipping point. What you can get for your money now compared to 12 months ago is pretty astounding. It started with the sub $300 Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 in March, and ended with the $100 BLU phone equipped with a full HD screen. With 2016 almost here, we’re right in the thick of a race to the bottom, and the price drops are being driven primarily by Chinese companies.

If 2016 is the going to be the year of anything, it’ll be the year more western consumers will be handing over their hard-earned cash for something designed and made in China. These are the companies to watch:

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dell-chromebook-13

Looking at the Chromebook market, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s just the modern iteration of the netbook age. Small, cheap, underpowered plastic laptops that offer very little to anyone wanting a higher-end experience in a portable and affordable package. Dell changed that with the Chromebook 13. Now you can get a premium Chrome OS laptop without spending silly money on a Pixel. The Dell Chromebook 13 starts at $429 for the base model, and climbs to $899 for the top-tier. In the UK, it ranges from £484 to £856

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LG adds funky-looking hub to its SmartThinQ home automation system

As home automation devices proliferate, most tech companies seem to have decided that wirelessly connecting them up to a central hub is the best way to enable us to keep them all under control. Apple’s HomeKit platform uses the Apple TV as its central box, and Samsung has its SmartThings Hub.

LG is now following suit, pre-announcing the SmartThinQ Hub it plans to formally launch at CES. Interestingly, the device – which looks similar to the Amazon Echo – has a built-in display, which the company says can display alerts as well as allow direct control of devices without using your smartphone.

LG SmartThinQ Hub serves as a gateway to smart sensors and connected appliances in the home but is more than that, with the ability to display reminders from personal calendars and stream music from its built-in speaker. The elegantly designed SmartThinQ Hub includes a 3.5-inch color LCD display and connects to a smartphone app to facilitate two way communication with smart appliances and smart sensors in the home.

LG also offers SmartThinQ sensors, which aim to turn dumb appliances into smart ones by using things like vibration to allow a washing-machine to signal when a wash is complete.

The company hasn’t yet announced a price, but Samsung’s SmartThings Hub costs $99, so is likely to be in the same kind of range.

December 29, 2015

tilt

Virtual reality is cool, but augmented reality is more practical in day-to-day usage. Microsoft’s HoloLens and Magic Leap are currently the most well-known examples of AR. There are productivity use cases for it, but there are also many fun gaming applications. One developer made an app that turns an Android Wear watch when viewed through a camera into a game.

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9to5Toys Lunch Break: Galaxy Tab A $150, Sharp 55″ 4K UHDTV $600, Nexus 6 $300, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

TODAY’S CAN’T MISS DEALS:

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 9.7-Inch Tablet (16 GB): $150 shipped (Reg. $300) | eBay

Daily Deals: Sharp AQUOS 55-inch Smart 4K Ultra HDTV $600, Logitech MX Master Wireless Mouse $79more

New Google Nexus 6 64GB by Motorola: $300 shipped (Reg. $600) | Amazon

Refurbished Samsung Gear Fit Watch: $50 shipped (Reg. $100) | eBay

Samsung 850 EVO 2.5-inch Internal Solid-State Drives: 250GB $65 (Reg. $90), 500GB $140 (Reg. $150+)

Write-Off Week™: Last chance to write off biz expenses w/ best deals on office equipment, tech, supplies, more

Starbucks $15 gift card for $10: save 30% on your favorite drinks!

MORE NEW GEAR FROM TODAY:

HP Officejet Pro 8610 e-All-in-One Inkjet Printer w/ AirPrint $50 shipped (Reg. $100)

MORE DEALS STILL ALIVE:

 

Macbook Air 11.6″ Core i5 4GB/128GB w/.edu: $700 shipped ($750 without .edu or less)

NEW PRODUCTS & MORE:

Thimble’s DIY robot subscription service launches on Kickstarter to great success

Here are the Holiday Best Sellers from Amazon’s record-breaking year

Samsung’s new ‘Bio-Processor’ is an all-in-one chip for health wearables

Samsung makes a lot of technology on the consumer side, but it also has a semiconductor division that makes chips comparable to Qualcomm. Their new Bio-Processor is meant for health wearables and can compute numerous health data and “bio-signals” without the need for any other chips.

Hitachi’s new tech could double your smartphone’s battery capacity without increasing size

Hitachi Maxell has developed a new lithium-ion battery which could increase a portable product’s capacity without increasing its battery’s thickness. In fact, it has twice the capacity of its current technology, thanks to a newly developed silicon-based material used as the battery’s negative electrode.

The new technology, named ULSiON, uses a composite material made by coating the surface of its Silicon-based layer with carbon. Although typical silicon-based negative electrode layers tend to expand and contract, causing swollen batteries, the new technology reduces that risk significantly by using fine silicon particles.

Using the ULSiON technology, Hitachi will be able to make batteries that are really small, but don’t sacrifice capacity.

“(By using the new material,) we will realize compact lithium-ion batteries that have a width of 13mm or less and an energy density twice as high as that of the existing product of the same size,” the company said.

In practice, this could mean smartphone makers can continue to make slim devices with small, but powerful batteries. Perhaps more importantly, the ability to make small batteries with high capacity is ideal for the rising demand for wearable technology. Smartwatches with 2-day battery life could potentially be much smaller and thinner. Or even better, smartwatches could retain their current thickness and have 4-5 day battery life.

Hitachi expects that the ULSiON-based Li-on batteries will be used in compact devices, like wearables. It also expects demand for this technology to be in high since space is a premium, but long battery life is ideal, and current batteries don’t quite cut it.

Hitachi Maxell will show off its new battery tech at the 2nd Wearable Expo in Tokyo between January 13-15.

galaxy-note-5

According to a new report by analytics firm, Flurry, more Android phablets were activated than any other sized Google-powered smartphones. In fact, if the companies app-tracking tools are accurate, half of all Android activations over the holidays were large-screened mobiles…

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Samsung Galaxy S7 dimensions seemingly revealed in new schematics leak

Yesterday, a report stated Samsung would look to make the regular and ‘Edge’ versions of the Galaxy S7 in two different sizes. While the Galaxy S7 would features a 5.2-inch screen, it’s reported that the S7 Edge will have a larger 5.5-inch display with curved secondary screens on either side of the screen. A leaked schematic — created by Shai Mizrachi and published afterwards by Android Authority — reveals a little more detail, and shows the size differences more clearly.

In the leak, the S7 and S7 Edge are shown alongside the current Galaxy S6 and, perhaps of most interest, is that the S7 has the same dimensions as the S6, despite having a larger screen. This would indicate that Samsung has worked a little on trimming down the bezel further. It’s also interesting to note, the S7 appears to have curves near the edges on the back, similar to the Galaxy Note 5, presumably to make it more comfortable to hold.

As for the difference between S7 and S7 Edge dimensions, the schematic indicates we’ll see a 2.5mm difference in width and 8mm difference in height.

There are a couple of other tidbits worth noting. Firstly, the metal frame shown in the top-down view suggests Sammy is changing the design somewhat. The S7, as previously mentioned, has bigger curves on the back, while the S7 Edge has them on the front. What’s more, the camera protrusion appears much smaller on the upcoming models, while the IR blaster seems to have been removed completely.

Otherwise, it’s very much the same from Samsung. As previously rumored, the design doesn’t look as though it’ll change much from this year’s form factor.

 

December 28, 2015

redmi-3

A Xiaomi device likely to be the Redmi 3 has passed through China’s TENNA regulatory agency and the process has revealed photos and specifications of the upcoming device. The Redmi is the company’s more entry-level smartphone and has specs to reflect that.

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PSA: Google’s ‘Ubiquity’ Internet of Things dev summit will take place in January

The Internet of Things will become an increasingly big deal as all consumer technology becomes connected to the web, and by extension one another. Google has several technologies including Brillo and Weave that take advantage of this ubiquitous computing trend. Announced at Google I/O earlier this year, Google is hosting a developer summit for developers focused around those topics. They announced the speaker list and opened registration today.

9to5Toys Lunch Break: Google Nexus 6 (64GB) $300, refurb Samsung Gear Fit $50, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

TODAY’S CAN’T MISS DEALS:

New Google Nexus 6 64GB by Motorola: $300 shipped (Reg. $600) | Amazon

Refurbished Samsung Gear Fit Watch: $50 shipped (Reg. $100) | eBay

Beats Headphones: Solo2 On-Ear $100 (Reg. $200), Powerbeats2 In-Ear $85 (Reg. $150)

Write-Off Week™: Last chance to write off biz expenses w/ best deals on office equipment, tech, supplies, more

iTunes is hosting a rare sale on HD movies, including $5 titles + heavily discounted bundles

Hundreds of iOS/Mac games & apps are on sale for the holidays, these are the best ones you can’t afford to miss

Starbucks $15 gift card for $10: save 30% on your favorite drinks!

MORE NEW GEAR FROM TODAY:

Macbook Air 11.6″ Core i5 4GB/128GB w/.edu: $750 shipped ($250 off, $700 without .edu or less)

Apple 12-inch MacBook w/ Retina display 1.2GHz/8GB/512GB: $1,440 shipped (Reg. $1,599)

MORE DEALS STILL ALIVE:

Google Chromecast v1: $20 shipped (Orig. $35)

NEW PRODUCTS & MORE:

ShiftWear sneakers use flexible displays to showcase custom artwork on your shoes

The new iOS-connected Hamwells e-Shower recycles your water with eyes on saving energy

google glass enterprise edition

Earlier this year, we told you across several exclusive reports that new Google Glass hardware was on the way, namely a device Google has been working on for more than a year aimed at the workplace. Now, several months later (and with many interesting reports about Google’s mysterious Project Aura having surfaced since), we have our first look at the device in the flesh…

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Google search data shows what people in each state searched for most in 2015

The Google searches people make can reveal a great deal about their interests and concerns. When that data is aggregated, it can reveal general trends in society. For a long time, Google used such trend data to monitor for flu outbreaks for instance. Estately, a real estate blog, mined Google Trends to reveal what terms people in each state search for the most this year.

Android’s Do Not Disturb ‘until next alarm’ option has randomly disappeared

When Google released Android 6.0 Marshmallow, it removed one of the most useful Do Not Disturb features, and that was the ‘until next alarm’ option. For those unfamiliar, it allows you to turn off all notifications until your morning alarm goes off and saves you being woken up at a ridiculous time. With 6.0.1, the feature returned, but recently it seems to have vanished again.

A thread on Reddit deals with the issue and claims that even users who aren’t running Android Marshmallow have experienced it. Some claim to have seen it disappear from the options while looking at them. I’ve tried to set Do Not Disturb myself, and like the complainants, I don’t see the ‘until next alarm’ option anymore.

Thankfully, there is a sort-of fix: change your phone’s date to before or after the holidays. If, for instance, you change your phone’s date to January 1st 2016, it seems to reappear, suggesting this is a really weird bug, or Google was trying to make sure you spent less time looking at your phone during the holiday period. You’ll get the same result if you change your phone’s date to before December 25th, according to Android Police.

If you don’t want to mess with your phone’s date, the option should return automatically in the new year, once the phone’s date changes to January 1st on its own.

galaxy-s6-camera-back

According to a report from Korean publication, ETNews, Samsung is planning to launch two versions of the Galaxy S7. Similar to this year’s Galaxy S6, there will be a regular version and a dual-curved ‘Edge’ model, but they won’t be the same size…

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letv-le-max

We’ve seen a huge rise in the number of affordable smartphones come to market with premium design and specifications over the past 12-18 months. It’s no coincidence that this has lead to a rise in the number of relatively unknown Chinese manufacturers push out of their national borders to sell their branded products overseas. Companies like Huawei, OnePlus and Xiaomi have all launched competitive smartphones at budget-friendly prices. Following in their trail is Letv, a company which has just announced its intention to launch a high-end smartphone in India for the first time.

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December 26, 2015

oppo-a35-lead-tenaa

With Samsung having launched its Galaxy A-series phones for 2016 and BLU launching the first sub-$100 1080p smartphone at the end of this year, it looks as though the trend of releasing premium-looking smartphones at affordable prices is set to continue in to 2016. One company known for releasing great, affordable smartphones is Oppo, and the Chinese smartphone manufacturer is about to launch its next small, powerful and budget-friendly smartphone…

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December 24, 2015

HTC One X9 officially announced, features all-metal body, full HD 5.5-inch display, 3000mAh battery, more

HTC has finally launched the long-rumored One X9 in China, and it boasts some pretty decent specs in a package which costs 2399 Yuan, or roughly $370 USD when converted. There’s very little revealed about the device that we didn’t already know, and we’re unsure if/when the phone will be launched in the US or other international markets.

Like the One A9, the latest smartphone from HTC features an all-metal body, but with a separate pill-shaped panel housing the camera on the back. The manufacturer claims it takes over 300 hours of work and more than 50 individual processes to make the unibody metal chassis. The company is  also keen to boast the return of capacitive buttons on the front panel, which avoids the virtual buttons onscreen taking up valuable display real estate.

Other key specifications include:

  • 5.5-inch full HD display
  • Front facing stereo BoomSound speakers
  • 64-bit MediaTek octa-core Helio X10 processor
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB storage (expandable to 2TB via MicroSD)
  • 13MP rear camera with OIS
  • 5MP front camera
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Dimensions: 153.9 x 75.9 x 7.99 mm
  • Weight: 170 grams (approx)

The HTC One X9 was leaked a number of times prior to today’s launch. Most recently, it showed up in a hands-on video and in a TENAA listing. Most of the details shown off in those, and in a more detailed pre-release overview, gave us a good idea of what to expect from the newly announced mid-tier phablet.

With the One X9 and One A9 both featuring premium all-metal build, and being obvious mid-tier devices, it’s clear HTC is moving away from its insistence on releasing plastic devices in the mid-range market. Whether or not this means the death of the Desire range is yet to be seen. It seems an obvious move given the rise of cheaper metal alternatives from manufacturers like Huawei, Xiaomi and BLU.

galaxy-s7-plus-case

With only a couple of months (or possibly weeks) left until Samsung reveals its Galaxy S lineup for 2016, a bunch of cases for the unreleased phone have shown up online. Some cheap cases now on sale from DHGate.com allegedly fit the S7 and S7 Plus…

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December 23, 2015

galaxy-s6-edge-exquisitely-crafted-desktop

It’s been a long time coming for owners of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, but Samsung is now rolling out a beta of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Samsung recently started looking for testers of the new software, and now it appears that owners of Samsung’s latest flagship S-series phones in the UK (but only those that opted in to the program, of course), are now getting the beta firmware…

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Purported specs for the upcoming LG G5 appear via sketchy Reddit leak

There are many leakers who use Twitter to dispense information, but there is now a leaker on Reddit who claims to know the LG G5’s specifications. While this is definitely sketchy, the rumor is given a small amount of validity as it features a purported picture of the G5’s dual-camera setup…

galaxy-a9

Having only recently been leaked online through unofficial and official sources, the largest of the Galaxy A-series family of devices has now been announced by Samsung. The Galaxy A9 has been unveiled and features a collection of impressive specs which should easily satisfy the desires of any consumers looking for a (presumably) inexpensive phablet…

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the-beatles-streaming-lead

At long last, The Beatles music is going to be available to stream on many of the most popular music streaming services from tomorrow, December 24th. Whether you prefer to use Spotify, Google Play, Apple Music, Rhapsody or one of many others, you’ll be able to sing along to the Fab Four’s most popular tunes anywhere you like, without having to pay to download individual songs or albums …

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Android 6.0 Marshmallow rolling out for unlocked HTC One M9 today, 6.0.1 for One A9

Earlier this month, a leaked roadmap suggested when each HTC device could expect to receive its update to Android Marshmallow. In it, the One A9 and One M9 were allegedly due to get their next updates in the first quarter of next year. While that may be true of some variants internationally, others should start seeing the update land today.

Mo Versi, the company’s US head of product management, tweeted to say that Android 6.0 for the unlocked HTC One M9 and 6.0.1 for the unlocked One A9 should be rolling out at some point over the next 24 hours. Being based in the States, we’re pretty confident this rollout only applies to the US models and — as always — those with carrier-locked, bloatware-laden versions will have to wait a little while longer before they see the newest software on their smartphones.

[tweet https://twitter.com/moversi/status/679481121604808704 align=’center’]

HTC’s One A9 was the first non-Nexus smartphone to launch with Android Marshmallow out of the box. Today’s update for users with that phone just brings some minor improvements, along with new emoji, to the Android-powered iPhone-lookalike.

For One M9 owners, this is the firs time they’ll be able to get a taste of the latest operating system from Google. Marshmallow brings a number of new features to the M9, most notable are the ‘Doze’ mode, which effectively stops the battery from running down during standby, plus the ability to ‘adopt’ a MicroSD card as internal storage.

galaxy-a9-tenaa

A short while ago a hands on video and promotional poster leaked indicating that Samsung will be launching a bigger version of its Galaxy A-series smartphone for 2016. It shared the same design language and some of the same specifications of the recently launched Galaxy A3, A5 and A7, albeit in a larger package. Although it’s yet to be officially announced by Samsung, the A9 has appeared on TENAA, suggesting a launch is right around the corner…

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December 22, 2015

YouTube on a smartphone: the company is accused of playing Goliath to small indie music labels. T-Mobile’s latest UnCarrier offering “Binge On” claims to allow unlimited video streaming from supported sites, including Netflix, but YouTube says that T-Mobile isn’t playing entirely fair. YouTube has not signed up to be included in T-Mobile’s Binge On service and says that the carrier is throttling its traffic.

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Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 7.35.19 PM

Google introduced us to the holiday season last week with a humorous ad starring characters from The Simpsons, but now its robotics branch has given us a slightly more terrifying look at the future of this joyous time of year. Google’s Boston Dynamics robotics company has shared a video of a trio of robotic reindeer pulling a sleigh, and it’s grade A creepy.

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google

Hangouts is widely criticized in the Android community for being slow and buggy. According to a rumor last week, SMS support is being stripped out of Hangouts in order to make the app a better chatting service. Perhaps on a related note, The Wall Street Journal is today reporting that Google has grander ambitions for the chat field and plans to infuse their artificial intelligence technology into it.

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chromecast

When we first exclusively leaked the 2nd generation Chromecast, we were dumbfounded by its design. Ditching the dongle-like look of its predecessor (that many other streaming sticks have come to mimic), the new Chromecast is more like a miniature hockey puck with a long HDMI cord attached, and comes in three bright colors. Many asked why a streaming device that sits behind the TV would need three colors, and Google has come out to answer this question and many others in a new interview…

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9to5Toys Lunch Break: 64GB Nexus 6 (New) $300, Google Play movie & music deals, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

TODAY’S CAN’T MISS DEALS:

New Google Nexus 6 64GB by Motorola (might not arrive for Christmas): $300 shipped (Reg. $600) | Amazon

Google Play Discounts: Save 75% on a movie rental or 50% off one music album

Nexus 6P is $50 off at the Google Store with free overnight shipping

Amazon’s Xmas shipping cutoff for Prime is today, take advantage of last-minute deals & gift ideas

Apple 13-inch MacBook Air 1.6GHz/4GB/128GB (newest version): $800 or $750 w/ .edu (Reg. $999), more

9to5Google Gift GuidesStephen, Abner, and Cam’s favorite Chrome and Android-powered products

MORE NEW GEAR FROM TODAY:

Get 12 months of Adobe’s Creative Cloud plan with Photoshop for $96 (20% savings)

MORE DEALS STILL ALIVE:

SanDisk Connect Wi-Fi iOS/Android Flash Drive: 32GB $25 (Reg. $40), 64GB $40 (Reg. $60)

Headphones: Philips Over-Ears w/ Lightning Connector $199 (Reg. $240+), SoundPEATS Bluetooth Earbuds $9more

NEW PRODUCTS & MORE:

The new iOS-connected Hamwells e-Shower recycles your water with eyes on saving energy

Hult blends copper and concrete in a stunning modern take on the Bluetooth speaker

Searching ‘bubble level’ in Google Search now presents you with an interactive level

One Googler took to Reddit last week to tell the world about a new feature that his team (presumably) added to Google search. Now, if you search for “bubble level” in search from the Google app or Chrome on your mobile device (yes, including the iPhone), you’ll get access to an interactive bubble level mini-app directly from the results page itself.

And that’s about it. This doesn’t need much explaining, does it? Personally, I think this is a pretty nifty little feature to have whenever I need it. That said, I wouldn’t use this for any professional jobs that need exact precision. At least in my experience, this little widget isn’t nearly as accurate as the standalone apps on the Play Store or the iOS Compass app.

Screenshot 2015-12-22 at 12.03.53 PM

Google is a very security conscious company and always working on ways to keep users safe. They are currently testing a new way to sign into your Google account without needing to enter a password. One user on Reddit was invited to test the new method and posted detailed screenshots of the process.

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gear s2 classic

This is definitely in the realm of “unsubstantiated rumors,” but it looks like the popular Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch — which runs a custom build of Tizen and sports a rotating dial on its bezel — is getting a couple new colors. This comes from a WinFuture.de writer on Twitter, suggesting that the two new variants will be in “platinum” and “rose gold” colors for the Gear S2 Classic version of the watch…

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genius app

After Rap Genius rebranded to just plain ‘Genius’, their mission expanded beyond one genre of music to annotating every piece of text in the world. However, they still maintain a vast and up-to-date collection of music lyrics. An update to their Android app recently added the ability to know what song is playing on your phone and display the accompanying lyrics.

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PSA: First CyanogenMod 13 nightly for Nexus 4 released

CyanogenMod 13 nightlies — which are based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow — have been rolling out for a couple of months now, and now you can grab the custom Android ROM for the Nexus 4. While this may not be a vanilla build of Android Marshmallow, it is yet another method of bringing the latest that Android has to offer to a phone that’s more than three years old…

Google Play Movies Update: You can also grab a 3-month trial of Google Play Music Unlimited for $1. That’s access to over 35 million songs on demand and ad free plus you can try out YouTube Red with this offer as well. Google regularly charges $9.99 a month for this service.

For a limited time Google Play is taking 75% off one movie rental of your choice. That’s the largest discount we’ve seen on rentals from Google Play. To redeem this offer go to the movies page then scroll down and click on the red banner. All the popular movies above are available for this promotion plus a slew of other titles. The offer expires January 4th. Terms & Conditions

Also, Google Play is offering any one music album of your choice at 50% off the regular price. This special year-end savings is good until midnight January 4, 2016. Your discount will be shown at checkout. Just look for the orange banner on the music page to redeem this offer. expand full story

oneplus-x-champagne-lead

Forgetting OnePlus’ annoying invite system, the OnePlus X is actually a pretty solid option when it comes to budget smartphones. Our own Dom Esposito went as far as to say that it’s the “best budget phone available.” Now, as expected, OnePlus says that you can buy both Ceramic and Champagne variants via open sale in Europe and Hong Kong for a limited time…

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Cortana for Android just got a whole lot less useful as it loses ‘Ok Cortana’ feature

We said when we tested the beta of Cortana for Android that it wasn’t that useful when you had to open the app and touch the microphone to voice a query. Microsoft later fixed that in time for the public launch, but an update this week took us right back to square one as the company removed the ‘Hey Cortana’ feature in the U.S. market.

Engadget reports that the feature apparently conflicted with ‘Ok Google’ in a way that could render the phone unable for many tasks – including making phone calls.

spotlight

It’s a little over two years since Motorola launched Spotlight Player, an app that could be used to view a 360-degree interactive animation. Initially limited to the Moto X before being rolled out to other Android devices, you move your smartphone up, down, left and right to choose which part of the scene to view – and can also view through Google Cardboard.

Google held onto the team when it sold Motorola to Lenovo, and it has now launched Special Delivery, a holiday-themed Spotlight Story from Aardman Animations, the creators of Wallace & Gromit. While you have to pay for some stories, this one is free as a holiday gift from Google …

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December 21, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 11.20.48 PM

Google Play is offering 50% off any album purchase to celebrate the end of the year. Go through this special link to activate the coupon and then the discount will be automatically applied at checkout. With so much new music having recently come out, this deal comes at a perfect time. Popular choices may include Coldplay’s new album, Adele’s new critically acclaimed album, and much more. Deal expires at midnight on January 4, 2016. If for some reason Google Play does ask you for a coupon code, just enter ALBUM2015.

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google-car

Google’s self-driving car initiative has been gaining momentum over the past year, but now it looks like the company has at least one more big piece of news up its sleeve. According to a report from Yahoo Autos, Google and Ford are planning to announce a joint venture to build self-driving cars.

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Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 8.39.17 PM

Flux Factory Inc. was founded back in 2010 in the Google X Labs. Shortly thereafter, the moonshot candidate was spun out into a private company. For those unfamiliar with it, Flux Factory provides collaborative design software for the architecture design and construction industry. Now, 5 years after being founded as a moonshot in Google X, Flux has raised $29 million in Series B funding.

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