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messageLOUD – an app that reads your texts and emails to you, so you can focus on driving

Overview messageLOUD is an app that reads your texts and emails to you in an effort to keep your focus on the road; not on your phone. Developer: messageLOUD Price:


This RAVPower battery bank is the first on the market with Quick Charge 3.0 (Review)

The market is saturated with portable battery chargers. It makes sense since we’re constantly on our phones. We’re a generation that demands instant gratification, and that’s pretty hard to pull off with a


Truecaller helps you shun those spam callers (review)

Nothing is more annoying than spam calls telling you that you’ve won a trip, car, money, or all three. For most of us, these calls are annoying because we know


Samsung Galaxy S7 will be available at Cricket on March 18


Cricket has announced that its customers will be able to purchase the Galaxy S7 beginning March 18. This is just a week after it launches on the major U.S. carriers, but it will be available both in-store and online for purchase. Customers who purchase from Cricket will be able to claim the free Gear VR headset, and games, which is roughly a $150 value.

The carrier will be selling the phone for $649. For more information, see the details below.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

  • Galaxy S7 review
  • Galaxy S7 edge review
  • Galaxy S7 edge with Exynos: A Canadian perspective
  • Here are all four Galaxy S7 colors
  • Details on the Galaxy S7’s camera
  • The SD card is back on the GS7
  • Join our Galaxy S7 forums

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Press release:

Samsung Galaxy S7 Debuts at Cricket Wireless March 18

Purchases made March 18 – April 1 include Samsung Gear VR headset, powered by Oculus, and 6-game bundle free of charge

ATLANTA, March 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Committed to providing a great selection of premium phones customers love, Cricket Wireless will offer the highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S7 for $649.99 in stores and online beginning March 18, 2016. In addition, those who buy a Galaxy S7 from Cricket between March 18th and April 1 can dive right into the exciting world of virtual reality with a free Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus, plus a 6-game bundle – an estimated $150 value.* This promotion will last for a limited time only, while supplies last.

With the first Dual Pixel sensor in a smartphone camera, the Galaxy S7 is packed into a refined, water-resistant design1, providing fast and precise auto-focus, even in low light situations. It combines enhanced performance, fast-charging, and thoughtful usage-enhancing experiences that power users adore. The Galaxy S7 from Cricket Wireless comes with 32GB of internal storage2 and is available in Black Onyx. For photo and video enthusiasts, the device also enables users to insert a microSD card3 that supports up to 200GB of additional storage. More detailed information and feature specifications are available in the product specification sheet.

“Cricket customers are not just value seekers. Many are power users wanting premium devices and service, without the costs associated with mobile contracts,” said Janna Ducich, Cricket vice president and chief marketing officer. “This is just one of the reasons Cricket is one of the fastest growing prepaid wireless companies in the U.S.”

The Samsung Galaxy S7 will be sold in more than 3,800 Cricket Wireless retail stores nationwide and online at

Customers can enjoy one of the hottest devices on the Cricket network, with more 4G LTE coverage nationwide than T-Mobile, MetroPCS, Sprint or Boost**. Everyday benefits for Cricket customers also include:

  • No annual contracts
  • Simple plans starting at $35/mo after $5 Auto Pay credit
  • Plan prices already include taxes and fees– no surprises
  • Unlimited talk, text and data access – in and between the U.S., Mexico and Canada – included in Smart ($50/mo) and Pro ($60/mo) plans
  • Unlimited music with a Deezer subscription
  • Access to Cricket Rewards, the only customer loyalty program of its kind in the prepaid space

To check out the new Cricket or find a store near you, visit



Android N Preview arrives with split-screen view and more

What, did you think that you’d have to wait until Google I/O to see what the next version of Android would entail? In a pleasant surprise, Google is releasing Android N Preview to developers (and curious fans) today. The early release is meant to collect feedback sooner than usual, and even includes a new way to download the update. Instead of installing a drive image (you still can if you like), you can participate in an Android Beta Program that installs pre-release versions over the air. As long as you have a relatively recent Nexus device (from the Nexus 6 and 9 onward) or the Pixel C, you too can try the next big thing months before it’s finished. So what’s new, exactly?

The biggest attraction, by far, is a new multi-window mode — yes, Google is finally taking advantage of all that extra real estate on your tablet or large-screened smartphone. You’ve no doubt seen customized takes on Android with split-screen support, but this will make side-by-side apps part and parcel of the experience. That’s a big deal for the Pixel C and other slates that ship with stock Android. There’s a picture-in-picture video mode, too, so you can keep watching YouTube while you message your friends.

Other improvements in the preview aren’t as dramatic, but they’re still helpful. There are direct reply notifications that let you reply to messages right from an alert, iOS-style. Also, Android N optionally bundles notifications from the same app so that they don’t clutter your view. Marshmallow’s Doze feature has been improved to save battery life whenever the screen turns off, and coders can take advantage of Java 8 features.

As always, the preview isn’t for the faint of heart. Expect bugs, shorter battery life and other signs that Android N is rough around the edges. Nonetheless, this is a rare chance to see where Android is going months before it’s widely available. If you can live with the glitches, it’s likely worth a peek.

Source: Hiroshi Lockheimer (Medium), Android Developers Blog


Chrono is a new game store built to reward streamers

There’s a new games store in town called Chrono, and it’s kind of troubling. Chrono’s business model is to sell one game per day, and partner with “influencers” (Twitchers, YouTubers, bloggers etc.) in order to push that game’s sales numbers. In exchange for driving traffic to the site, influencers get a cut from sales.

On one hand, this happens already. Many perfectly respectable streamers and sites use affiliate links for stores like Amazon to get a small cut of sales. Engadget’s product database also has them. It’s a way to make money, and doesn’t necessarily make something unethical, especially if everything, good or bad, is linked.

On the other hand, Chrono’s a bit different. It only sells a single game, directly from the developer. And it encourages its “influencers” to promote that game. Streamers are likely to be honest with their viewers about their opinions on any particular title — once you break that trust, you’re unlikely to get it back — but that’s not really the issue here. The issue is that it’s pushing streamers towards covering a game. Or, to put it another way, it’s paying for coverage. By using the bait of financial reward, and by only offering a single game, Chrono is offering its partners a singular option: promote this game, or make no money.

Right now Chrono seems to be offering well-known, older games. So far it’s sold 2014’s The Banner Saga and last year’s Broforce, which does temper the issue slightly. Most streamers will have covered these games already, and can simply point to the videos and / or give the relevant affiliate link out. It’s difficult to be upset at someone monetising pre-existing content. But what happens if Chrono starts pushing a title they haven’t streamed — could streamers be tempted to highlight something just because it’s the game of the day?

Chrono has an interesting concept. It’s one that understands that a lot of people get their gaming information from Twitch and YouTube rather than a journalistic entity. And everyone has a different set of ethics, so there’s not really a right or wrong answer here. I’m not particularly comfortable with affiliate links or sponsored content, for example, but I accept that they need to exist to fund sites, and they don’t actually affect my job in any way. Many others feel the same.

That said, buying from Chrono could be a great way to support your favorite streamer. It’s had some huge discounts on two very good games so far, and developers seem super happy with the results. So long as partners are up front about their ties to the site, then it simply exists as another option to get some deeply discounted games. If not, then the potential for ethical quandary is strong.

Source: Gamasutra, Chrono


NASA reschedules Mars InSight mission to May 2018

NASA’s next major mission to Mars, InSight, is officially back on track with a new launch window starting on May 5, 2018, and a landing on the Red Planet planned for November 26, 2018. InSight (which stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) was originally scheduled to launch this month, but the agency announced a delay last December due to a leak in its vacuum enclosure. If you couldn’t tell by its extended name, the mission will focus on a deep interior exploration of Mars, which will help us better understand how rocky planets are formed.

“The science goals of InSight are compelling, and the NASA and CNES [France’s space agency] plans to overcome the technical challenges are sound,” John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said in a statement today. “The quest to understand the interior of Mars has been a longstanding goal of planetary scientists for decades. We’re excited to be back on the path for a launch, now in 2018.”

As NASA explains it, InSight’s seismometer needs to work in a vacuum chamber to be sensitive enough for measuring things “as small as the half the radius of a hydrogen atom.” The agency plans to have the new instrument completed by 2017. It’s unclear how much the two-year delay will cost, but NASA expects to have an estimate ready in August.


DirecTV’s first live 4K show is the Masters golf tournament

DirecTV has been talking about 4K broadcasts for a long time, and now it’s finally ready to make them a practical reality. The satellite TV provider has revealed that its coverage of the Masters Tournament in Augusta will include its first-ever live 4K broadcast on the company’s new DirecTV 4K channel… in fact, the first live 4K show in the US. When the 4-day golf competition kicks off on April 7th, you should see every last detail on the green — important in an event that revolves around whacking a ball hundreds of yards through the air.

You’ll need a very specific set of equipment to make the magic happen. Beyond the Ultimate or Premier subscription necessary for tuning in, you’ll also require a 4K Genie Mini set-top box and (of course) a 4K TV. Provided your pocketbook is that deep, though, it could be worth tuning in. You’d be participating in a small but important piece of TV history as 4K transitions from pre-recorded content to a mainstay of live broadcasting.

Source: AT&T


Dear Veronica: Smartphone life expectancy

If we weren’t all obsessed with getting the “Next Big Thing” all the time, how long would that smartphone of yours actually last? To help answer this question, we turn to Engadget Senior Mobile Editor, Nicole Lee!

Also, do you love taking notes? Are you a hand-written person, or more comfortable typing? One of these makes you smarter, but you’ll have to watch to figure out which one!

As always, keep sending those questions in using the hashtag #DearVeronica! Subscribe in iTunes, RSS or YouTube!


Coachella helps festival-goers prep for the desert with VR

VR has become a key marketing tool, especially when it comes to big events. When Coachella attendees receive this year’s Welcome Box containing the requisite wristbands and more, a special edition Google Cardboard headset will be in the package, too. The festival teamed up with on a Coachella VR app that’s available for viewing on Google’s virtual reality accessory and the Samsung Gear VR. Inside the app, there’s plenty of 360-degree photos from previous years alongside interviews and performances from artists that’ll hit the stage at this year’s soiree.

Perhaps most importantly, the application also offers a virtual tour of the festival grounds so folks making the trek to the desert can get familiarize themselves with the locations of the restrooms ahead of time. With the library of performances, you can get to know unfamiliar artists without having to hunt all over YouTube or Spotify to listen to them. As you might expect, new content will be added to the iOS, Android and Gear VR apps on the regular in the lead up to the event.

While this app is meant for attendees, anyone can take a look at the virtual goods through the apps. And those of us who are staying home will be able to livestream Coachella performances, of course. We can expect to hear those details as we get closer to the festival in April. There’s no word on if those streams will offer VR or 360-degree video just yet, but can handle VR livestreams. We’ll be curious to see if that is indeed in the works.

Coachella says that it hopes to boost the pre-festival experience the same way it made livestreams a part of at-home viewing. A number of the other big name music festivals, like Bonaroo and Lolapalooza, also stream live performances so that folks who can’t attend. Perhaps we’ll see similar events employ VR ahead of the festivities as well. Ultra Music Festival offered 360-degree views of the 2015 event via YouVisit, so Coachella isn’t the first to make use of the tech for a more immersive viewing experience.

By employing a Google Cardboard headset to drive the content, Coachella joins a number of companies and organization using VR as a marketing tool. Last week, the US Soccer Federation used 360-degree video and the cardboard viewers to reveal its redesigned crest. Before Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters last year, Disney released virtual reality content to further build the hype for the film. There were even Star Wars-themed Google Cardboard headsets to complete the look. Not only is the platform a boon in gaming and entertainment, but it looks like marketing departments are champing at the bit to use VR in campaigns as well.

Source: iTunes, Google Play

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