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23
Dec

YouTube Accuses T-Mobile of Downgrading All Video With Binge On Program


YouTube this morning provided a statement to The Wall Street Journal criticizing T-Mobile’s recently introduced Binge On program and accusing T-Mobile of throttling all video and not just the video of its Binge On partners.

Launched in November, Binge On is a T-Mobile video service that allows T-Mobile subscribers to watch video from content partners without it counting against customer data plans. The catch is that it uses a proprietary data compression algorithm to stream the video in 480p. While Binge On can be disabled, using the feature requires partner video to be watched in 480p, which T-Mobile calls “DVD quality.”

tmobingeon

T-Mobile has 24 partners for Binge On, including Netflix, HBO, Sling TV, and more, but YouTube has not signed up to participate. Despite the fact that YouTube is not partnering with T-Mobile, the company says its video streams are still being downgraded to 480p quality, a problem YouTube would like fixed.

YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet Inc., said T-Mobile is effectively throttling, or degrading, its traffic. “Reducing data charges can be good for users, but it doesn’t justify throttling all video services, especially without explicit user consent,” a YouTube spokesman said.

The Internet Association also backed up YouTube’s claim, stating that T-Mobile’s Binge On service “appears to involve the throttling of all video traffic, across all data plans, regardless of network congestion.”

T-Mobile did not address YouTube’s complaints when questioned by The Wall Street Journal, instead giving a blanket statement about Binge On. Customers love “free streaming video that never hits their data bucket” and “the quality of their video experience and the complete control they have.”

The United States Federal Communications Commission is looking into Binge On along with free data services from AT&T and Comcast. While there is no formal inquiry at this time, the FCC has asked the three companies to answer some questions about their free data practices. YouTube’s accusations could further spark the FCC’s interest, especially as some consumer advocates believe that programs like Binge On violate net neutrality rules.

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23
Dec

[Deal] Google Play’s year-end sale covers all sections of the store


google_play_year-end_deals_2015

Closing out 2015 with great deals on games, movies, television shows, music, and books is none other than Google Play. Google’s digital storefront is selling over one hundred items at a discount for a limited time. With so many items attached to the sale, we’re sure you’ll find something worth spending a few dollars on.

http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Games

Movies

Television

Music

Books

Come comment on this article: [Deal] Google Play’s year-end sale covers all sections of the store

23
Dec

Deal: keep all your passwords handy and secure for only $24.99 (lifetime subscription)


sticky-password

Let’s face it – passwords are among the most annoying things in the internet. Every single site has its own standards, aside from the fact that it wouldn’t be the smartest thing to use the exact same password for all pages. How do we even keep track of all these security measures? I, for one, don’t. I just try to guess and end up resetting my pass codes all the time. Needless to say that’s not the best option.

One way to ease this struggle is to find a program with which you can save and access all your passwords, both conveniently and securely. But where do you find a good option that is also affordable? Lucky for you, the AA Deals Store is currently holding an offer for a lifetime subscription to Sticky Password Premium.

Instead of paying the $100 original value, you can walk out with a secure password management service for only $24.99 (a 75% discount). This will grant you access to their Windows, Mac OS X, Android and iOS apps. And if you choose to go cloud-based, these will all work together to keep your passwords handy from any device.

Security measures include biometric support and AES-256 encryption, which is the same standard used by governments and military organizations. But it is not only secure, Sticky Password is also very convenient. One can easily use it to fill out forms and automatically log into sites.

Interested? Just head over to the AA Deals Store and sign up for Sticky Password Premium. It is the deal of a lifetime (quite literally).

Buy the Sticky Password Premium lifetime subscription for $24.99

23
Dec

Tap My Katamari to bring snowballing fun to the small screen


I’m going to go ahead and undercut your excitement right out of the box. Yes, it’s true that Katamari Damacy is coming to mobile devices, but unfortunately, Tap My Katamari looks quite a bit different than the free-roaming wacky fun of previous Katamari games.

The original game in the series was released back in the dusty ancient days of the PlayStation 2. Quirky Japanese visuals and humor combined with a simple but bewildering game mechanic to create a sleeper hit that wooed audiences worldwide.


Android Apps WeeklySee also: 10 best Android games released in 2015!4

The basic idea behind the game is that you are a tiny “prince” who pushes around something that looks like a sticky Everlasting Gobstopper.  The goal is to roll over objects smaller than you, gradually increasing the mass of your ball-of-stuff and enabling you to collect larger and larger objects. You advance gradually from coins to cats to hot dog vendors to skyscrapers to continents in a process that is as strange as it is thoroughly satisfying. Some missions throw a twist into this (e.g. you may have to collect hot objects and avoid cold ones), but in general Katamari gameplay hinges on open world exploration.

Which is why Tap My Katamari’s first trailer is a little bit worrying. Granted, we only see about six seconds of simulated gameplay (the first half of the trailer is naturally devoted to the King of All Cosmos taking a shower), but if what we’re seeing is correct, Tap My Katamari looks like it has set aside the open world aspects in favor of side-scrolling action.

katamari

Perhaps this is just a stylistic rendition of gameplay, but it’s a little bit disconcerting. After all, our mobile devices seem more than capable of handling the kind of sprawling 3D landscapes that are the franchise’s signature, and the simple two-joystick controls are a natural fit for touch screen adaptation.

It remains to be seen what exactly Tap My Katamari will look like. We look forward to learning more as we get closer toward that ambiguous “coming soon” release date.

What do you think of Katamari’s newest foray into mobile gaming? Does side-scrolling action kill it for you, or would you still tap that? Let us know in the comments!

Next: 10 best new Android games of November 2015

23
Dec

Telltale Games launches the fourth episode of Minecraft: Story Mode


Minecraft: Story Mode is one of the better titles Telltale Games has released thus far, which is why it made our list as one of the top ten games that launched on Android in 2015. If you’ve been following the story since day one, we have some good news for you. Telltale has just released Episode 4, entitled A Block and a Hard Place, which means there is only one episode left in the entire series.

Episode 4 ends the story of the Wither Storm, which has been one of the most exciting parts of the entire series. What exactly does it entail? Here’s the episode’s full description, straight from Telltale:

In Episode Four, with the fearsome Wither Storm more dangerous than ever, Jesse, Reuben, and the crew discover there is one thing that can destroy the command block at the heart of the monster – but they’ll need to brave the perils of the Farlands to find it. As uneasy allies and ailing friends threaten to tear the group apart, can they defeat the Wither Storm in their final battle? And what sacrifices must be made to succeed? Find out in Episode Four’s epic ‘Wither Storm Finale’ that will turn the page on one chapter, before adventures may begin anew…


best games like minecraft on androidSee also: 12 best games like Minecraft on Android13

The video game developer says Episode 5 will arrive sometime in early 2016, so be on the lookout for that to arrive. You can normally purchase the first episode from Google Play for $4.99, but right now, thanks to one of Google’s many holiday promotions, it can be yours for only $.10. Seriously, if you have yet to download this game, now is the time to do so. You’ll still need to pay $4.99 for each additional episode, but trust me, it’s definitely worth it.

Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 4 is out now on Android, iOS, PC/Mac, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360. If you’re interested, follow the Play Store link below for the download.

Download Minecraft: Story Mode from Google Play

Next: 10 best Android games released in 2015

23
Dec

Yahoo alerts victims of state-sponsored cyberattacks


Yahoo is the latest tech company pledging to warn users if it appears they’ve been targeted in state-sponsored cyberattacks, Chief Information Security Officer Bob Lord announced today. Google, Facebook and Twitter rolled out similar alert systems earlier this year. Yahoo doesn’t disclose how it determines if an attack is state-sponsored, but promises that it will only send alerts to users when it has “a high degree of confidence.”

Yahoo’s alerts include instructions for suspected cyberattack victims to secure their accounts, including establishing two-step verification, a strong and unique password, and checking mail-forwarding settings.

“It’s important to note that if you receive one of these notifications, it does not necessarily mean that your account has been compromised,” Lord writes. “Rather, we strongly suspect that you may have been a target of an attack, and want to encourage you to take steps to secure your online presence. In addition, these warnings to our users do not indicate that Yahoo’s internal systems have been compromised in any way.”

Facebook’s warning system tipped off the United States State Department to a cyberattack from Iran in November.

[Image credit: Flickr/Thomas Hawk]

Via: ZDNet

Source: Yahoo

23
Dec

Researchers show off a working light-based processor


The year has been chock-full of scientific breakthroughs, but the University of Colorado is determined to finish 2015 with a bang. Its researchers have created what they say is the first full-fledged processor to transmit data using light instead of electricity. The design isn’t entirely photonic, but its 850 optical input/output elements give it the kind of bandwidth that make electric-only chips look downright modest — we’re talking 300Gbps per square millimeter, or 10 to 50 times what you normally see. The key was finding a way to reuse existing conventional processes to put optics in places where regular circuitry would go.

The design isn’t a powerhouse with a tiny size (3mm by 6mm, or 0.1in by 0.2in) and just two cores. However, it shows the potential for dramatic improvements in computing power without having to completely reinvent the wheel. You could have networking gear that copes with massive amounts of data, for example. And there’s plenty of room for optimization, too, so the possibilities for this technology remain wide open.

[Image credit: Glenn Asakawa, University of Colorado]

Via: Phys.org

Source: University of Colorado, Nature

23
Dec

ASUS to add built-in ad blocking to its default mobile browser


ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser-5

Blocking advertisements is pretty easy to do on just about any device that you own, whether we’re talking about your smartphone or your computer. If you happen to buy an ASUS smartphone sometime next year, though, ad blocking will be easier than ever. According to a report from Motherboard, AdBlock Plus will be “baked in” to ASUS’ own mobile browser starting early 2016. These ad blocking features will be turned on by default for all users.

While blocking ads by default in the built-in browser might be a tad controversial, it’s worth noting that the ASUS Browser has a relatively small user base – ‘only’ 15 million estimated users. This is compared to the hundreds of millions of folks out there using other browsers on their mobile devices, and this essentially has no effect on the users who immediately head to the Play Store to download Google Chrome or Firefox for their browsing needs.


Adblock Browser AARelated: Adblock Browser for Android now officially available in the Google Play Store26

AdBlock Plus co-founder and CEO Till Faida says:

We’re extremely happy to team up with Asus, the first major hardware manufacturer to integrate ad blocking into their mobile devices. This is another call for innovation in the ad industry—a call getting louder by the day.

It’s not clear at this time as to when these changes will take place, though we do know it will happen sometime in early 2016. What are your thoughts? Are you okay with adblocking software being turned on by default, or is this wrong? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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23
Dec

Our Best of Android devices, apps, OEMs and innovations of 2015: the winners are…


Best-of-Android-Overhead-Graphic

What a year it’s been! Arguably the year that’s flown by the fastest, 2015 has seen companies expand their portfolios in a bid to capture customers at every price point imaginable.

From the ever more competitive low-end to the mid-range – which has now become the affordable flagship – and the ultra high-end, along with the devices that aim to bridge the gap between these different sections, this year has seen hundreds of Android smartphones released. But which have stood out from the rest of the crowd?

While we’ve used our Best of Android 2015 comparison to help decide which flagship smartphone is the best of the year, we also want to recognise the other smartphones, tablets, apps, games and wearables that have helped expand the mobile industry.

Introducing the first annual Android Authority Awards – it’s time to find out what’s been the Best of Android this year!

We’ve categorised the devices into several different sections and as a team, we’ve picked our winners for each of the sections along with two honourable mentions, i.e. the devices that stood out, but didn’t quite win the main prize!

Here’s the nominations and the all important winners!


best-of-android-intro

Flagship of the Year

For this, we picked six ultra-premium phones from six OEMs and conducted the Best of Android 2015 comparison! After lots of in-depth testing – which you can read the summary of here – which flagship smartphone stands out above the rest?

The nominees:

flagship of the year award

The winner is: Samsung Galaxy Note 5

As the Best of Android series showed, the Galaxy Note 5 is a very consistent performer; while other smartphones do excel in certain categories, the Note 5 comes in the top two in five out of the six categories (and it was third in the other). From a refreshed build and much improved software to an excellent camera – albeit not the best – and under-the-hood optimisations, there’s a lot to like about Samsung’s latest Noteworthy smartphone.


note-5-thumb Samsung Galaxy Note 5 review40

nexus 6p review 2 aa (15 of 30)

Honourable Mention:
Nexus 6P

Google’s flagship for 2015 certainly bought a lot to the table, with the Huawei-made handset bringing a metal build, one-touch Nexus Imprint fingerprint sensor and Marshmallow OS. The 6P beat out a couple of devices to come second in our Best of Android comparison.

Nexus 6P review
All Nexus 6P articles

blackberry priv review aa (4 of 32)

Honourable Mention:
BlackBerry Priv

At the beginning of the year, you’d probably have laughed if we had said that BlackBerry would make one of the hottest Android handsets of the year, but they did, and although it’s not perfect, the BlackBerry Priv is definitely one of the most unique devices this year.

BlackBerry Priv review
All BlackBerry Priv articles

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Buy the Samsung Galaxy Note 5!


Mid-range Smartphone of the Year

What makes a mid-range smartphone? A year ago, it would be the smartphone that aimed to offer as close an experience to the flagships as possible but at a lower price, but this year, we’ve seen the mid-range evolve so the mid-range is now the affordable flagship that offers most of the experience of the ultra-premium category without the large price tag. Here’s the phones that made the cut:

mid-range smartphone of the year 2015 - lg nexus 5x

The winner is: Nexus 5X

Google’s Nexus lineup bounced back with a bang this year and the Nexus 5X is unanimously our Affordable Flagship smartphone of the year 2015. Bringing premium specs, the Nexus Imprint fingerprint sensor and the latest Marshmallow OS, the LG-made Nexus 5X aims to deliver bang for your buck and it certainly succeeds!


nexus 5x Nexus 5X review22

oneplus x first look aa (34 of 47)

Honourable Mention:
OnePlus X

OnePlus might have had limited success with its OnePlus 2, but the company’s OnePlus X was announced just this past month and offers impressive specs at a very affordable price. As far as affordable flagship’s go, this is right up there.

OnePlus X review
All OnePlus X articles

Moto-X-Play-Hands-on-review

Honourable Mention:
Moto X Play

Motorola introduced not one but four Moto X devices this year and the Moto X Play aims to bring the Moto X appeal at an affordable price, and it mostly delivers. While it’s not perfect, the Moto X Play delivers an almost-stock experience for those who don’t quite like the Nexus.

Moto X Play review
All Moto X Play articles

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Buy the Nexus 5X!


Budget Smartphone of the Year

From the affordable flagship to the budget – which smartphone offers the best experience at the sub-$250 price tag? The budget range is becoming a fiercely contested market so which smartphone is the best to buy if your budget is limited? Here’s the few handsets that we nominated for this category:

budget smartphone of the year 2015 - asus zenfone 2

The winner is: Asus Zenfone 2

When it comes to looking for a smartphone on a limited budget, there’s no better place to start than the Asus Zenfone 2, which brings an impressive 5.5-inch 1080p display, 3000 mAh battery, 4GB RAM, 13MP rear-facing camera, powerful 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 processor and Android 5.1 Lollipop. At either $199 or $299 depending on the version, it’s certainly offers a lot of value for money and is a worth winner of our budget award.


ASUS-Zenfone-2-20 Asus Zenfone 2 review139

Moto G 2015 -24

Honourable Mention:
Moto G 2015

Motorola arguably kicked off the premium budget category with the first Moto G and this year’s edition continues that trend, offering impressive specs, customisable colours and a water resistant build at an affordable price.

Moto G 2015 review
All Moto G 2015 articles

MEIZU-M2-Note-4-(1)

Honourable Mention:
Meizu M2 Note

Chinese companies are beginning to dominate at all price points and Meizu has steadily been releasing a range of impressive affordable handsets, including the M2 Note, which improves the already-impressive M1 Note.

Meizu M2 Note review
All Meizu M2 Note articles

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Buy the Asus Zenfone 2!


Wearable of the Year

From smartphones to the other smart devices that are proving to be ultra popular: this year has seen some very interesting smartwatches released. Which devices are the best for your wrist? Here’s the few wearables we think stand out from the rest:

wearable of the year 2015 - Samsung Gear S2

The winner is: Samsung Gear S2

Since the first Galaxy Gear, Samsung has released a total of 7 Gear smartwatches, but the Gear S2 is the first that really stands out. The new circular bezel combines with the custom Tizen interface to offer an unrivaled experience that’s polished and well thought-out. Android Wear should take note.


gear-s2-thumb Samsung Gear S2 review65

huawei watch review aa (16 of 33)

Honourable Mention:
Huawei Watch

It took a long time to come to market, but it was worth the wait, with the Huawei Watch offering sleek curves, timeless style and a choice of finishes to suit every discerning taste and budget.

Huawei Watch review
All Moto X Play articles

moto 360 2nd gen review aa (21 of 27)

Honourable Mention:
Moto 360 2nd Gen

How do you take one of the sexiest wearables of last year and make it better? This was Motorola’s challenge and a range of customisations coupled with design tweaks certainly deliver.

Moto 360 2nd Gen review
All Moto 360 2nd Gen articles

 

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Buy the Samsung Gear S2!


App of the Year

It’s not just the hardware but also the software that makes your smartphone experience and in particular, apps play a large part of how we use our smartphones. Here’s the top apps we’ve come across this year, the ones that truly allow us to advance the overall smartphone experience:

To find out which app we’ve crowned as the best of Google Play this year, head over to our Best Apps of the Year roundup!

Check out the Best Apps of 2015 roundup!


Game of the Year

While apps help advance what we can do with our smartphones, games provide the release of actually enjoying the powerful devices we carry in our pockets. With the internals advancing at an ever-increasing rate, these portable devices can prove to be powerful gaming beasts and there’s a slew of new apps that aim to take advantage of the capabilities. Here’s our top Games of the Year:

To find out which game we’ve crowned as the best game on Google Play this year, head over to our Best Games of the Year roundup!

Check out the Best Apps of 2015 roundup!


OEM of the Year

From smartphones to the companies behind them. The OEM of the Year award is designed to recognise the company that has proven to be the most innovative this year. This award is designed to recognise the company that made the biggest improvements this year, which has built devices that have spurred innovation from others, and which OEM has generally had the most impressive year in our opinion. Here’s the shortlist:

OEM of the year 2015 - Huawei

The winner is: Huawei

What a year it’s been for Chinese company Huawei: this time last year, the company had just launched the Mate 7 and was looking forward to 2015, and one year later, the company has had an outstanding year. From its P8 flagship in April to the Mate S in September coupled with a new Honor 7 flagship, Huawei has made some outstanding devices, not least Google’s 2015 flagship, the Nexus 6P. The quality of the Nexus 6P means Huawei just edges Samsung into second place.

All Huawei articles
Huawei Mate S review
Huawei Honor 7 review

samsung-logo-x-x-mwc-2015 (1)

Honourable Mention:
Samsung

There’s no doubt that Samsung has transformed itself this year with the company’s product portfolio last year looking significantly inferior to the quality produced this year. With devices like the Galaxy S6 Edge, Note 5, S6 and more, Samsung has produced some very impressive handsets this year and 2016 should hopefully bring more of the same.

All Samsung articles
Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Review

Galaxy S6 Edge Review

lg logo mwc 2015 3

Honourable Mention:
LG

The LG G3 was one of the highlights of last year and this year, LG aimed to keep it up with an improved handset that was certainly impressive. The real highlight this year has to be the metal-clad dual-screen wielding LG V10, which comes complete with a fingerprint scanner. Here’s hoping 2016 brings more of the same.

All LG articles
LG G4 Review

LG V10 Review

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Innovation of the Year

Every so often, a device comes along that is truly innovative and the Innovation of the Year award is designed to recognise the handset that has truly shocked the market? When considering this, we’re asking which handset has inspired other OEMs and consumers at large while also attempting to push the boundaries of what is possible for smartphones as we know them.

Here’s the devices that have inspired the market and pushed the technological envelope:

innovation of the year 2015 - samsung galaxy s6 edge

The winner is: Galaxy S6 Edge / Edge+

Curved displays are certainly not new but this year, Samsung aimed to prove that they could be useful. While they certainly succeeded in some elements, the Edge screen isn’t perfect but did prove that curved displays could have a place in the market. Hence, BlackBerry used a similar curved panel in its BlackBerry Priv and showed that more than just Samsung can make a dual curved smartphone that’s functional and stylish.


editorschoice-edgeplus Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ review79

blackberry priv review aa (5 of 32)

Honourable Mention:
BlackBerry Priv

Let’s be honest – at the beginning of 2015, no-one believed that BlackBerry could make a functional, yet stylish and premium Android smartphone, yet the Priv is exactly this and more. Combining a physical QWERTY keyboard with a stylish dual curved display and impressive specs, the Priv is certainly an impressive and innovative smartphone.

BlackBerry Priv review
All BlackBerry Priv articles

huawei-honor-7-review-2

Honourable Mention:
Honor 7 / Mate S

One of the best things about last year’s Mate 7 was its fingerprint sensor and Huawei in 2015 took it up a step with the Mate S and Honor 7. The latter is arguably the best fingerprint sensor ever on a smartphone and Huawei has inspired other OEMs to use one-touch sensors. Coupled with Nexus Imprint, Huawei certainly deserves plaudits for its fingerprint sensor.

Huawei Honor 7 review
All Honor 7 articles

What a year it’s been

2015 has been truly amazing, but tech in 2016 shows no signs of letting up. With so many possible winners, picking the best devices, wearables, games, apps, OEMs and innovations was certainly a challenge, but the winners and nominees are, in our view, the best that Android had to offer this year.

What do you think of the nominees and the winners? What do you think we’ll see in 2016, which is fast approaching? Let us know your views in the comments below!

23
Dec

Futuristic online shooter Space Jet soars into Google Play


There are plenty of great space-themed shooters available on Android, but not many of them have a ton of online or multiplayer capabilities. If you’re looking for one to fit that bill, you might want to try out this new game that comes to us from Extreme Developers. Space Jet is a futuristic shooter that’s played entirely online, allowing you to constantly compete with other folks around the world in real time. There are plenty of daily challenges to complete that will help you win in-game currency so you can upgrade your ships.

The premise of Space Jet is simple – team up with other players and try to eliminate the enemy by any means possible. You can choose from 20 unique ships, and each one is upgradeable by using in-game gold and silver. You can upgrade your ship’s weapons, engine, shield and armor. Over a dozen camouflages and decals can also be added to your ship, allowing you to personalize it a bit more. There are tons of maps as well, so you probably won’t get too bored with this title very quickly at all.

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Android Apps WeeklySee also: 10 best Android games released in 2015!4

It should be noted that a permanent internet connection is required to play this game, so keep that in mind before you try to play it without a Wi-Fi connection. Space Jet is free from the Google Play Store with optional in-app purchases. Interested? Follow the Play Store link below.

Download Space Jet from the Play Store

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