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JDS Labs C5D portable DAC review: Big things can come in small packages

JDS Labs is one of those manufacturers that are fantastic at what they do, but don’t have to boast. It has its fans for the right reasons, by pumping out


Hercules Run: Nothing more than a short sprint [Review]

Endless runners are one of the most popular categories in the Play Store. Ignited by some big hits like Temple Run and Subway Surfers, the category has seen a massive


Clash Royale – a deck-building/tower defense hybrid [Review]

Overview Clash Royale is a deck-building/tower defense hybrid that pits you against players from all over the world to battle for crowns, trophies and chests. Developer: Supercell Cost: Free (In-app


OMG I Can Meditate!: Breaking the habit right from your pocket [Review]

Life is hard, we know it. Maybe you haven’t slept well because you stayed up all night yesterday playing The Division, or maybe you have a lot of work to


Capital One customers can keep track of their money with Amazon Echo


The Amazon Echo connected speaker can now be used to pay bills, if you are a Capital One customer. The bank is the first financial institution to support the Amazon Echo, along with other devices that support the Amazon Alexa system like the Fire TV and the recently announced Echo Dot speaker.

According to Mashable, Capitol One has been working for a year to add Amazon Alexa support:

Starting Friday, current Capital One customers will be able to add the Capital One “skill” via the Amazon Alexa app, enter their account info and then ask Alexa on Amazon Echo, Tap, Echo Dot, and Fire TV a series of questions about their personal finance.

Customers can check on their balance, pay bills, keep track of their recent transactions and more. In terms of security, Capitaol One says a customer’s account information will be encrypted and that Amazon won’t be able to access it.

To further manage access and because Alexa is not tied to any one speaker, the Capital One skill will ask bank customers to add a pin number. When they ask Alexa for account information or to make a transaction, it will prompt them for the PIN before completing the task.

See at Amazon

Amazon Echo

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Unpacking huge changes in the Settings menu of the Android N Developer Preview


The new Settings menu revealed in the first Android N Dev Preview a neat change of pace, and this is just the beginning.

Everything in Android N is fresh and new to us, and we’re going through each part of it to find what’s most important and interesting to look at. Beyond the changes to the way notifications work and the inclusion of a multi-window system, the Settings menu is probably the largest visual change we’re seeing in the first Android N Developer Preview.

Knowing that what we see here is very early days, and at this point is only applicable to Nexus devices, let’s check out what the Settings look like in the Android N Developer Preview.

Showing more information


At a glance, the Settings of Android N look basically the same as Marshmallow, but you quickly notice how much more information is surfaced compared to the previous version. The sections and subsections are all the same, but now under each one you get a little snippet of information about the most important feature within that area. For example the Bluetooth menu option will display the connection state of Bluetooth, the Display menu will list whether Adaptive brightness is turned on and the Storage menu will display how much storage is currently being used.

Along with the fear of surfacing too much information, Google is giving some extra glanceable snippets to hopefully save you from making a few unnecessary taps just to see the thing you were going to go a level deeper to see anyway. For example you can scroll down and quickly see your phone’s audio state, or what Wi-Fi network you’re connected to, without leaving the main Settings list.

Mini ‘notifications’ inside Settings


Going further with this idea of glanceable and dynamic information, the top of the Settings menu now has its own little notification area of sorts. That sounds a bit confusing, but it’s really quite useful — a few different areas of the system can surface big turquoise bars at the very top of the Settings to show that a feature is turned on. So far it looks like Do Not Disturb, Mobile Hotspot and Data Saver are the big three that show up — and it makes sense that big features like this that have large effects on the device would be surfaced here instead of a persistent notification in the standard notification tray.

Surfacing more information, saving you taps.

Each notification has a small arrow that you can tap to expand and see just what that feature is (useful the first couple of times), along with a button to immediately turn it off — you can also just swipe away the notification and it won’t have any effect on the feature itself.

A step further, the top of the Settings menu will also show “Suggestions” for you to check out that pertain to things you can do in the Settings. For example you’ll see a suggestion to turn on lock screen security if you haven’t yet. A nice little nudge to get you to check out a new feature, without putting it in the regular notification shade where it may be annoying and not something you want to work on right away.

A couple changes a level deeper


Going a level deeper in the Settings, we’re seeing just a few more changes that are worth noting. The cellular data usage screen, battery usage screen and multi-user area have all received little face lifts that give you more information while also keeping things easy to understand. As you can see the colors are still very much the same as Marshmallow — at least at this point — relying heavily on a primary background of white with black, turquoise and grey accents throughout.

The changes are subtle for the most part, but when you add them all up once again they stand out as big updates from Marshmallow — and at least in this release, they seem like good, useful upgrades.

Android N Developer Preview


The Android N Developer Preview is just that — a developer preview. It is not intended for daily use. That doesn’t mean it’s not cool, and that you shouldn’t poke around. But know that things will break. Tread carefully. (And have fun!)

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BlackBerry continues to beat expectations with security patches on the Priv


BlackBerry has taken to its official blog to pat itself on the back for being able to keep up with pushing security updates to the Priv faster than any other OEM. Since the release of the Priv, BlackBerry has pushed the security update out the same day Google detailed the changes. Other OEM partners range from one to 37 days, with several partners still not even pushing patches for updates from December.

Each month, Google details the security vulnerabilities and pushes patched code to its partners to add to their devices. From BlackBerry’s blog post:

BlackBerry is the first OEM to deliver patches in line with Google’s public disclosure, closing the window of vulnerability exposure to customers. Other mobile device vendors can take weeks, months or even years to deliver security patches, leaving you and your business at risk. BlackBerry’s steadfast commitment to timely security updates is just one of the many reasons why BlackBerry continues to be the undisputed leader in mobile privacy and security.


On the chart above, green means that the update was available for users to download on the day Google announced it. Yellow indicates that it was made available within a week of the announcement, and red is more than a week or not yet at all. While BlackBerry has yet to announce official plans for its Marshmallow update, it is arguably more important that they continue to keep the software on the phones secure with the latest security patches.



How Android Wear and Ambient Display can decrease your phone’s battery drain

Every time you wake your phone is important, and there are ways to control your behaviors every day.


One of the most common explanations for why things like Android Wear and Always-On displays are useful is the way it decreases the number of times users wake their phones for something trivial. Research shows the average active user wakes their phone 150 times every day, frequently to do little more than check the time or glance at the notification they just heard or felt. This isn’t a big deal for most, but every time you wake your phone this way you consume way more battery. If you can drive the number of wakes down even by 20-30 in a single day, there would be a noticeable difference in how long your phone lasted throughout the day.

At least, that’s the theory. To test it, I installed the Checky app and measured a week of usage in different conditions.

Checky is a simple app. It counts how many times you wake your phone, and shows that information to you in a helpful little graph. To test my usage, I went two days with the Moto 360 (2015) on my wrist, two days with just Ambient Display enabled on my Nexus 6P, and two days with Android Wear disconnected and Ambient Display disabled. As it turns out, I’m exactly what these researchers consider an active user, and the difference between not having these features and actively using them is significant.


When I’m not using the watch or Ambient Display, I wake my phone anywhere between 130-160 times per day. It’s for exactly what you’d think, checking the time and peeking at notifications. In this mode, I’m only getting around 12-13 hours of battery in a day. Ambient display adds another hour to that day on average, but because it’s not 100 percent reliable on the Nexus 6P. On something like the Galaxy S7, I’d expect at least another hour in my total usage for a day. Ambient display drops on average 20 wakes from my daily usage.

The biggest difference is when using Android Wear. My average number of wakes dropped into the 100s consistently, and the battery on the Nexus 6P increased to 14-16 hours without a problem. I’m using the screen on the phone less throughout the day, and can interact with a lot of the notifications directly on my wrist, so it makes sense that the difference would be this significant for me.

Your mileage is obviously going to vary, but that’s why apps like Checky exist. You can quickly check your own usage and make some decisions based on how you use your phone. For me, especially now that I see direct evidence of usage and utility, it makes a big difference when I’m deciding whether I need my watch for the day.

Download: Checky (Free with ads)



Samsung will give Galaxy S7 and S7 edge owners a $30 gift card for using Samsung Pay


Samsung is offering new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge owners the chance to snag a free $30 gift card to one of five retailers. All you have to do is add a card to Samsung Pay and make a mobile purchase, after which you will be prompted to select your gift card of choice. We’ve seen Samsung offer a number of other promotional items, but this time the reward is instant instead of having to wait months for it to arrive. Samsung details the promotion as:

From March 11 – 31, when you complete your first qualifying transaction, you will receive a pop-up notification where you may choose a gift card from one of five selected vendors.

If you just got a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge, be sure to get a card added to Samsung Pay and make a transaction before it’s too late. You’ll be able to pick a gift card from Best Buy, eBay, Whole Foods, Nike or Regal Cinema.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge

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Marvel’s STEM challenge gives one teenage girl an internship

Alongside the next installment of its Cinematic Universe, Marvel is hosting a STEM challenge for teenage girls. The studio teamed up with Dolby, Synchrony Bank, Broadcom Masters and the National Academy of Sciences for the Captain America: Civil War Girls Reforming the Future Challenge. The contest seeks submissions from girls age 15 to 18 (grades 10-12) “who are inspired to create a positive world through science and technology.”

Between now and March 26th, students can submit their ideas via video upload for a chance at one of five finalist spots. Each finalist gets a trip to make a presentation in-person at Marvel Studios and walk the red carpet at the premiere of Civil War. One winner will be offered an internship from Marvel, but details are scarce as to what the position will entail. Full details on the submission process and content rules await as the source link below.

Via: Polygon

Source: Marvel

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