Latest Android commercial is one of the strangest, but we like it anyway
Ever since its debut back in October last year, I’ve really liked where Google is heading with its “Be together not the same” advertising campaign. The last entry continues the marketing campaign, though it certainly takes it in a much stranger direction.
This time the whole thing is about fingers that are dressed as people doing normal (and some crazy) things, going about their day. All these people, like fingerprints, are different. Have different interests, different styles, and different lives. But at the end of the commercial, they all gather up for a holiday meal together. Reminds me a bit of my own family get-togethers, particularly the part with Dracula and the alien. But I digress.
The latest commercial is a bit weird, admittedly, and yet it still fits in with Google’s theme at the same time. What do you think of it? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments.
Have a smaller bank? Link your physical Google Wallet card to Android Pay
Android Pay is a pretty great service. I wouldn’t know off-hand, though, because I personally use a smaller bank that has yet to add support for Google’s new payment service. If you’re in the same boat (which I’m sure many of you are), fear not! There’s a way around this problem, and it will actually put one of your old and forgotten cards to good use.
A few years ago, Google began giving out physical Google Wallet cards to anyone who wanted one. They’re still available today, and you can sign up for one by following this link. If you happen to own one of these bad boys and are itching to try out Google’s payment service, you can actually link your physical Google Wallet card to Android Pay.
See also: Use Android Pay on your Nexus and receive a $20 Best Buy gift card
To add your card to Android Pay, all you need to do is press the “add new card” button at the bottom left of the app, select “add a credit or debit card”, then click “add manually.” Just enter in your Google Wallet card number, expiration date and CVC code, and you’re all set. We understand this isn’t really the most convenient method of paying with your mobile device, especially since you’ll still need to reload your Google Wallet card every once in awhile. You’ll also be missing out on points from certain retailers if you’re accustomed to that. Still, though, this is a decent way of using Android Pay in the wild until your bank adds support for the service.
If you plan on going through with this method, you’ll want to take a look at the Google Wallet support page to read up on transfers, regulations and more. Has your bank still not added support for Android Pay? If not, will you be trying this method in the near future? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Download Android Pay from the Play Store
Sign up to get your own Google Wallet card
HTC teases a “big technological breakthrough” with the Vive at CES 2016
HTC CEO Cher Wang says she has something big for us to look forward to at CES 2016. At today’s Vive Unbound developers forum in China, Cher Wang said that her team and Valve have made “a very, very big technological breakthrough” with their Vive virtual reality system. While we aren’t entirely sure what this big upgrade is about, Wang did say that it’ll be shown off for the very first time at CES 2016 in early January.
Engadget spoke to Wang about the big advancement, and she gave some comments as to why the Vive pre-order date was changed from late 2015 to early 2016:
We shouldn’t make our users swap their systems later just so we could meet the December shipping date.
We should add that the Vive isn’t slated to be only for consumers. The HTC chief said that next year, Audi will be installing Vives in most of its flagships stores to offer virtual reality test drive experiences. She added that this will be followed by “many of the major car brands that you can think of.” In addition, HTC is pitching this VR idea to hospitals to use for 3D scanning purposes.
Of course, Android Authority will be at CES 2016 in full force, bringing you all of the latest and greatest news revolving around our favorite mobile operating system. We’re really excited to see what HTC is planning on showing off, so be sure to stay tuned for the big announcement that’s coming in January.
Review: Zagg’s Slim Book More Than Doubles the Weight of the iPad Pro, but Keyboard is Great
Zagg’s newest Slim Book is its first product designed specifically for the iPad Pro. Following in the footsteps of its previous Slim Books for other iPads, the Slim Book for iPad Pro features a protective case that snaps around the iPad and fits into an accompanying full-sized keyboard.
The Slim Book is one of the few keyboard cases available for the iPad Pro, and it essentially turns the iPad Pro into a full-fledged laptop, plus it is versatile because it’s able to serve as a standalone case or a case that offers full protection. That might sound appealing, but as I’ve discovered testing it for the last week, there are some downsides to Zagg’s latest offering.
The Slim Book consists of two pieces: a black plastic shell that fits around the back of the iPad Pro and a matching silver aluminum keyboard with black MacBook-style keys and a matching black plastic exterior. The shell piece that fits around the iPad Pro is relatively slim, snapping into place to protect the back of the iPad. It doesn’t feel cheaply made, but it also doesn’t feel as premium as an Apple product given all the plastic.
All of the ports on the iPad Pro are left open with the shell on, leaving everything from the headphone jack to the Lightning port accessible. Because the shell fits so tightly to the iPad Pro, it’s difficult to remove. This is not a shell that I would want to be taking off my iPad on a regular basis, because it takes a lot of force to get it off. It also makes the volume and the sleep/wake buttons on the iPad Pro more difficult to press because it causes them to be recessed.
For a while after I put it on, I wasn’t even sure my iPad Pro would ever come out, so expect a tight fit there. Given the amount of force it took to get that shell off, I’m concerned about future breakage, especially at weak spots near ports. If you get this case, you’re going to want to leave the back shell on all the time, so that’s something to keep in mind. On the plus side, it does offer some rear protection from scratches and dings.
Amazon’s best-selling unlocked Android phones (December 19)
The recently discounted Moto X Pure is this week’s top seller
Motorola’s unlocked flagship smartphone for 2015 has moved into the top spot for this week. The top ten shakes up a little bit, but it’s largely comprised of the same models as last week. Blu’s latest, the Life One X drops a few spots, but it’s still a bargain at $150. You’ll also notice the price dropped a little across some of the devices here – something we’re always fond of.
The benefit of an unlocked smartphone, for those who aren’t aware, is that it can be used on a variety of wireless service providers. Moreover, going this route ensures you don’t have to worry about contracts or long-term obligations. Want to hop from T-Mobile to AT&T or vice-versa? That’s no problem when you’re using an unlocked GSM phone.
We’ve gathered up the 10 best-selling unlocked Android smartphones from Amazon so you can get a sense for what’s available. Indeed, you’ll see a nice mix of big-name vendors and devices from other, scrappy players. Note that we’ve omitted color variations; you might find other colors available. Yes, you’ll also find some iPhones in the mix, too, but that’s not our bag.
So, the next time you need to replace your existing phone, consider scooping up one of these. It’s often a heck of a lot cheaper than going through your carrier in the long run.
- Motorola 32GB Moto X Pure Edition – $450
- Asus Zenfone 2 Laser – $200
- Blu Advance 4.0 – $60
- Blu Life One – $100
- Motorola Nexus 6 – $350
- Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime DUOS – $145
- Motorola Moto G (3rd Gen) – $178
- Blu Life One X – $150
- Blu Energy X – $109
- Samsung Galaxy S5 Unlocked – $322
The post Amazon’s best-selling unlocked Android phones (December 19) appeared first on AndroidGuys.
You’re invited to explore the White House’s Christmas decorations
Every year, the White House decks the halls for Christmas and puts up a magnificent tree with decorations to create one of the best holiday experiences anywhere in the world. Now you’re being invited inside the home and office of the President of the United States to explore the White House’s Christmas decorations. A 360-degree video published this morning takes you from room-to-room over the course of five minutes, showing just how President Obama, his family, and staff get to enjoy the holidays in the nation’s capital.
Click here to view the embedded video.
The narrator explains everything seen in the White House that was captured using Google’s JUMP technology. Viewers can fully immerse themselves in the White House’s Christmas decorations by using a Google Cardboard viewer with their phone or by simply panning around with any viewer at all.
Come comment on this article: You’re invited to explore the White House’s Christmas decorations
BlackBerry’s quarterly earnings are in
BlackBerry’s quarterly earnings report is finally in, and the Blackberry Priv played a role in the charge.
BlackBerry reported a revenues total of $557 million, which is far above the $488.8 million predicted. In the third quarter, BlackBerry launched the long-anticipated BlackBerry Priv, which was the first Android-powered handset in the company’s history. BlackBerry’s report indicated that 700,000 was the number of total Priv sales for the quarter.
The total hardware sales was down year-over-year, however saw a minor increase from the second quarter which increased from $201 million to $222.8 million. BlackBerry’s largest growth came in the area of software and services which rose 183% when comparing to last year’s total revenues. Revenue in this category totaled up to $162 million. This incremental increase led to a surge in the company’s share price which rose roughly 11% today. It looks like BlackBerry won’t have to ditch hardware anytime soon.
Come comment on this article: BlackBerry’s quarterly earnings are in
The myth of Mariana’s Web, the darkest corner of the internet
Chances are, like me, the first time you heard about the Dark Web it was described as a foul and depraved marketplace, where children, drugs, and pirated movies could be bought for mere Bitcoin. Tabloids paint it as a place where a veritable “Top 10” of our biggest fears resides. Opportunistic security companies sell threat intelligence services that allude to hunting for bad guys in dark dens that deal in organ harvesting, involuntary human experiments, and more.
Like most people, I find the siren song of lurid, spooky bullshit to be irresistible.
And the Dark Web’s boogeyman aura is all about spooky bullshit. That’s despite the fact that the Dark Web is host to a lot of communities that aren’t doing anything nefarious (unless you think furries are evil; there’s a huge Dark Web furry social network that simply wants privacy).
But the organ harvesting dramatics are nothing until we get to the “deepest part of the web, where people don’t want you to go,” the so-called “Mariana’s Web.”
The legend of Mariana’s Web appears to get its name from the deepest part of the ocean, Mariana’s Trench. It’s supposedly the deepest part of the web, a forbidden place of mysterious evil — or at least, that’s the mythos a subset of online believers has cultivated.
Depending on where you get your Mariana’s Web myths, it’s where you’ll find “the darkest secrets humanity has in its history,” the secret location of Atlantis and “the Vatican secret archives,” or a database of archives belonging to the most powerful intelligence agencies on Earth. Many believe that Mariana’s is home to an all-powerful, female artificial intelligence entity.
Mariana’s Web is certainly the definition of spooky BS, especially because it’s technically impossible; it’s supposedly only accessible through quantum computers — which currently only exist in science fiction.
Yet to the chagrin of people who love facts, it’s slowly starting to be reported as fact.
That’s probably not a surprise if you’ve been watching infosec-challenged traditional media try to cover the finer points of hacking, let alone anything outside Google’s reach. But seeing anecdotes and myth start to bubble up into areas that may affect people’s actual decisions about risk and safety … Well it’s entertaining, but also worrying when anecdote is substituted for data in an area that often involves law enforcement.
That infosec firm clients are asking for threat intel packages to include Mariana’s Web is information that is also anecdotal, though it’s my anecdote, and one I recently heard first-hand.
But that new twist, my friends, isn’t just the result of clickbait or security company sales drama — it’s the result of this fake infographic. An epic troll that people have interpreted as fact.
I don’t know why people don’t read things carefully, or avoid fact checking, or want to believe in Atlantis and invisible beings.
But I’m glad they do, because it sure makes doing research on dry-as-desert threat intel services way more entertaining. Fingers crossed that the TV take on the very fictional Mariana’s Web comes from The X-Files, and not CSI: Cyber — or CNN.
[Image credit: Shutterstock]
Play ‘Threes’ for free in your browser right now
Threes, the adorable number-squishing, tile-sliding puzzle game, is available to play for free (and without ads) in browsers via desktop and mobile devices. The game is otherwise free (with ads) on Android and iOS, or you can spend $2 for a version without commercial breaks. Designer Asher Vollmer and illustrator Greg Wohlwend announced the browser edition during a Reddit AMA on Thursday.
Threes debuted as a $2 mobile game in February 2014 and accidentally incited a flurry of clones, including 2048. When the developers launched the free, mobile version in June this year, Wohlwend reflected on Threes‘ clones and its premium pricing structure.
“After the clones started to crop up there were certainly discussions of, ‘Should we just put out a free version now?’ but I’m glad we didn’t,” Wohlwend said. “It would have been rushed and we would have made mistakes and probably treated the player poorly in some way like so many free games do.”
This isn’t the first time Threes has made its way to browsers — shortly after the game’s launch, fan Angela Li created a free, developer-approved version of the game for the web.
so nice to finally have Threes exist outside of unity :3 https://t.co/e0RCf1zB87
— Asher Vollmer (@AsherVo) December 17, 2015
Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes update adds new characters from ‘Force Awakens’
Fresh off of watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens last night, I was hoping I could find some way to sneak it into the news for the day. My wish has been granted, as Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes has now received a new update, bringing in characters from the latest Star Wars movie.
New unlockable characters include the movie’s villain, Kylo Ren, as well as hero characters such as Finn and Rey. Just for signing in after updating between the 18th and 24th of December, you’ll automatically get Captain Phasma and a Resistance Trooper.
Here’s the full list of Force Awakens characters that can be unlocked with the update:
- Finn: Resistance Tank that keeps the pressure up with a balance between offense and defense
- Kylo Ren: Versatile First Order attacker that evades projectiles and can reuse special attacks when damaged
- Captain Phasma: High damage leader that can grant First Order allies many extra attacks
- Poe Dameron: Resistance Tank with a Taunt that inflicts Expose for big reversals
- Rey: Risky Attacker with high damage and evasion, but is vulnerable to debuffs
- First Order Stormtrooper: First Order Tank that uses Advantage to disrupt enemies
- First Order Officer: First Order support that grants Advantage and can manipulate both ally and enemy Turn Meters
- First TIE Order Pilot: First Order attacker that can deal extreme damage in a single turn with Advantage
- Resistance Pilot: Resistance attacker that can use Expose, Foresight, and Turn Meter gains to surprise enemies
- Resistance Trooper: Opportunistic Resistance attacker that can deal heavy damage to debuffed enemies
See also: 32 Best RPGs for Android
If you’re unfamiliar with Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, the game is a turn-based RPG that lets you fight using iconic Star Wars characters from the movies, television shows, and more. This includes Han Solo, Luke, Darth vader, Ahsoka, and much more. The goal is to build up a team of great players and win as many battles as you can on various planets across the galaxy. The more you play and win, the higher chances you have of unlocking new characters. You can also buy new characters as in-app purchases of course.
For those that have the update already, what’s your favorite new character so far?
Next – Best Android games