Grate is a shopping assistant app where you can scan product barcodes and have reviews and information shown to you along with Amazon reviews.
Developer: Botond Kopacz
Grate Shopping Guide is advertised as a handy shopping guide for you to use while food shopping. Simply scan the product barcode and up will pop a collection of reviews from users and Amazon about the product, letting you know how it is and if you should buy it. A handy app to have, especially if you may be shopping for something unfamiliar, so Grate is worth the download, right? I’d have to say definitely not right now.
My experience with Grate has been frustrating, to say the least, with the app crashing consistently and most of the features not working properly. The barcode scan works well, when it doesn’t force close the app, and brings up the correct item that I was scanning, but that’s about it. The settings don’t seem to open, and the other features like search also don’t work. Essentially, in it’s current state, the app is simply a barcode reader.
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Grate is supposed to bring up both user reviews and, if applicable, Amazon reviews of the product you scan but neither come up. I suppose that part of the issue with that is that the user reviews are reliant on people actually using the app and reviewing the products. The Amazon reviews, on the other hand, just don’t show. I’ve checked the food I’ve scanned and all of them have reviews available on Amazon, so it must be an app-side issue.
Functionality-wise, Grate isn’t great either. The app consistently crashes after scanning, and won’t work until you close it completely and restart it. I get a few good scans before it fails each time. Nothing else in the app seems to work at all, settings and the individual tabs don’t work at all, just bringing me back to a blank screen. The only things that work are the sharing and review tabs for the app itself. Also, the camera interface isn’t fantastic as it lacks any focus or zoom features to help you get the barcode in frame better. I will say that the app can quickly decipher even poorly framed barcodes, or upside down ones as well, it took only a second or two to get the product page up. Overall, the app is just kind of broken.
I do have some positive things to say about Grate, however. Visuals in the app are nice, with material design and a nice, clean look. Also, the app is quick and responsive when I got it to actually work. There are also no ads to be seen, which is excellent for a free app. I do wish Grate offered a “shopping list” feature where you can save the items you scanned in a list, or make a list of products and let you search for them in the app’s review section.
Conceptually, I like the idea of what Grate offers. It could potentially be pretty useful for people concerned about the products they buy, and could also be a handy shopping list app that also provides handy information about the goods on your list. Unfortunately it just doesn’t work much at all right now, and should be avoided until the developer has had a chance to address the issues in the app and make it functional again.
Download Grate Shopping Guide from the Google Play Store
LG has a lot at stake with the G6. What do they need to do to succeed?
It’s safe to say that LG didn’t take the world by storm with the G5 this year. The phone had a lot of things going for it, but the Korean company, whose mobile division has been in Samsung’s shadow for the past half decade, emphasized its modular ambitions a bit too much without supporting it with actual accessories worth buying.
Judging by the nearly-$400 million loss this past quarter, mainly caused by an underperforming mobile division, LG’s shareholders and management were likely as unhappy as its loyal consumers. The company’s most recent high-end phone, the oversized LG V20, is far less mainstream than the G5, but gets a lot more right, too. Unfortunately, the V20 is also available in only a handful of markets, and nowhere outside North America, leading to the impression for many that LG only released one phone this year, and a not very good one. (Samsung has the same problem, but at least the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are fundamentally great products.)
Now that we’re getting on to 2017 at a fast clip (whoa, it’s December already!), let’s look ahead to LG’s next flagship, tentatively titled the G6. We’re fairly certain about a few things at this point, but let’s talk about what the G6 needs to be successful.
Forget about modularity
This one is a given. LG found no success with the G5’s so-called Friends, especially those that relied on attaching itself to the removable battery. Motorola’s Moto Mods proved itself to be a much more elegant solution, and as we’re learned Lenovo is committed to at least four Mods per quarter, a strategy that LG all but abandoned right after the G5’s release. It’s almost like the company’s heart wasn’t really in it (if corporations had hearts).
At the same time, modularity as a rule isn’t a bad idea, and LG could adapt the Friends strategy to focus on building an ecosystem of high-quality accessories for the G6 that go beyond the average rollout of battery cases, headphones and other knick knacks.
Move on from the removable battery
I know, this one will be controversial for loyal fans of The Removable Battery, but hear me out: it’s far easier, and often faster, to charge a larger internal battery with a wall plug, wireless charger or battery pack, than having to purchase a second battery and a separate proprietary charger and lug it around. Sure, there is safety in knowing that you can replace an aging cell, and quickly replace it should its charge fully deplete, but there are reasons companies have moved to internal batteries: they can be made larger in the same cavity, and the phone itself can be better sealed, both for structural integrity and water ingress.
According to the [latest rumors](https://www.slashgear.com/lg-g6-rumors-waterproof-wireless-charging-non-modular-06466420/, the G6 will be waterproof, which would likely require a sealed-in battery, and may support wireless charging, bringing it more in line with what we expect from a flagship — and what we’ve seen from Samsung in 2016.
Double down on dual cameras
Cameras are increasingly becoming the backbone of a smartphone. Indeed, it’s not uncommon to see people refer to these devices as cameraphones.
The LG G5, for all of its faults, has an unimpeachable camera setup, with an excellent wide shooter and a fun ultrawide lens that takes amazing landscape photos. Dual-camera setups are becoming increasingly common in the industry, but LG’s take is still relatively unique. There are many reasons why it would double down on this trend, improving the sensors and glass on both cameras and finding ways in software to make them work better together. Less gimmick, more substantive improvement.
Stop kowtowing to carriers
The LG G5 and V20 are some of the worst carrier bloatware culprits in the U.S. LG seems increasingly willing to load up its devices with Asus levels of preloaded apps, carrier utilities and frustrating, difficult-to-remove notifications, all at the expense of the user experience. Sure, this nets them some much-needed capital, but it erodes consumer faith in the brand at a time where that is sorely needed.
Here’s something we don’t often discuss: the $700 market is full. Samsung and Apple have largely wrested it from every other manufacturer, and there just isn’t room for the LGs and HTCs to price their flagships at these levels. If LG wants success with its next flagship, it needs to think about using price as a maneuver. It would cut into the bottom line in the short-term, but there would be plenty of potential to make it up with volume.
What do you think?
The LG G6 is only a few months away from its debut, and the company has a lot at stake. What do you think it needs to do to eke a win from a fickle and saturated Android market? Let us know in the comments!
- LG G5 review
- LG 360 CAM review
- LG G5 complete specs
- LG’s G5 Friends modules are a neat idea, but they won’t matter
- LG G5 Hi-Fi Plus w/ B&O
- Join the LG G5 discussion
Live wallpapers have languished in recent years.
It’s a shame, too, because there is so much potential for beautiful and useful wallpapers rather than a boring static image. Google’s Wallpapers app utilizes a live wallpaper… but only to change out static images every day. Well, there are some developers who are looking to bring back the live wallpaper, and if they all start off as well as Touch Circle, this themer hopes to be swimming in them by summer.
Touch Circle is a live wallpaper with a simple premise: it puts helpful content inside a circle on your wallpaper that you can cycle through and activate with gestures and taps. The free wallpaper puts a material mountain behind your Touch Circle in your choice of colors, but if you pay for the Pro version you can instead opt for a soothing gradient or put your own image behind the Touch Circle.
The content in that Touch Circle is somewhat limited right now, but offers some basic functionality and a lot of shortcuts, as you can launch a different app for each content slide. You can cycle through the following on your Touch Circle:
- Time: This shows the time, date, and the next set alarm, if you have one.
- Time Zones (Pro): Show times for up to four time zones with the ability to pick personal labels for each zone.
- Next calendar event: next single calendar event.
- 3 calendar events (Pro): show the next three events on your calendar in a timeline format.
- Motto: Display a custom phrase. You can also use this to leave yourself a reminder, such as ‘STOP DRINKING SODA AND GET UP!’
- Day countdown (Pro): Count down to a future date. 12 days to Christmas, 12 days to Christmas, plenty of time to do your Christmas shopping!
- Symbol: pick your favorite symbol to display. This is useful to leave up when you might not want others to see other content in your cycle like calendar info or a reminder in Motto.
I kept four of these content slides enabled, and while it would be nice to re-order then at some point, it was easy to find the slide I wanted to look at and easy to trigger the app attached to it. If you’re a heavy gesture user on your launcher like I am, you might have to play around to get the gestures to play nice between the two apps, but once you do, Touch Circle is quite quick to respond to the gestures.
Touch Circle can seem like a glorified widget in live wallpaper form, but it’s a widget that works and can easily replace three or four other widgets on your screen. It’s an app that’s still in its infancy, but one that I’m interested in seeing grow. The base app is free, but the dollar upgrade for Pro can easily justify for the extra content.
Touch Circle (Free, $0.99)
We’re also giving out 50 Touch Circle Pro codes [in our forums!]((http://forums.androidcentral.com/wallpapers-ringtones-themes/752148-touch-circle-live-wallpaper-contest.html#post5596236)
Share your photos and get featured!
We love taking photos of our stuff — in fact, we do it all the time. We especially love taking photos of all of our gadgets, from phones to tablets to our workstations where all of it takes place.
But we’re tired of looking at our own stuff, and we’d rather look at yours. So we want you to share your favorite Android-related gadget photos with us on Instagram with the hashtag #androidshare. We’re really excited to see what everyone comes up with!
What’s the point? You could be featured on our Instagram page (and get some rad new followers)!
Even Star-lord uses an Android phone! 📷: @russellholly Want your photo featured on our Instagram? Post your favorite Android gadget and tag #androidshare!
A photo posted by Android Central (@androidcentral) on Dec 7, 2016 at 8:28am PST
Hope to see some of your great photos soon! #androidshare
Right now you can pick up a car charger with two Quick Charge 3.0 ports for just $12 at Amazon with coupon code SYLBG7TG. This $5 savings will help you prepare for the future and ensure that you get the fastest charge possible, whether you have five minutes in the car or five hours. As an added bonus, the charger comes with a Micro-USB and USB-C cable, but you can also use any cable that you already have with it.
Remember, you’ll need coupon code SYLBG7TG for the full savings here. Be sure to act quickly though, as we don’t know how long this deal will last!
See at Amazon
A new app called Mylingo lets Spanish-speaking moviegoers listen to audio dubs in real time, using their own smartphone and headphones. According to the developer, users can download the studio-recorded Spanish tracks directly to their device, where they’ll be able to sync them perfectly with the action from the screen. The application, which is only available for iOS right now, uses the microphone on your phone to capture the data once the movie starts, and then deletes the audio file for good after it’s over.
Naturally, in order to be able to do that, Mylingo had to partner with major studios and movie theaters, such as Disney, Paramount, Sony, Regal Entertainment Group and Cinemark Theaters. As a result, the app will work with many of the films scheduled to debut this holiday season, including Moana, Office Christmas Party, Passengers and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
In a press release, Mylingo Co-founder and CEO Olenka Polak said hispanic audiences spent nearly $2.5 billion at the box office in 2015, so he knows how important this tool will be for many people in the US. I, for one, know someone like my mom is one of them, since she doesn’t speak English fluently but often takes my younger sister to the theater. At least now she’ll have a better idea of what the characters on the screen are talking about.
Although the Virgin TV V6 box was far from a surprise when it was announced in London in November, not least because the company itself had tweeted teasers, a partnering 14-inch tablet device most definitely caught us off guard. Virgin Media has never been in the tablet hardware business before so this is an all-new direction.
Now we’ve had some time with the Virgin TV TellyTablet and it makes a bit more sense. It’s not really a tablet in the conventional sense and should be seen more as a 14-inch portable Smart TV, one that complements the new V6 box well. It is possible to use it as a tablet, with Android on board and such like, but the weight and size mean you’re more likely to watch Birds of a Feather on it than play Angry Birds.
- Virgin TV V6 box preview: Is Virgin Media’s 4K HDR TiVo box a Sky Q beater?
- What is Virgin TV? Everything you need to know about Virgin Media’s Virgin TV V6 box, TellyTablet and more
Virgin TV TellyTablet preview: Specifications
It has a Full HD (1080p) 14.1-inch IPS touchscreen, octa-core Mediatek processor and 3GB of RAM running the show, with Marshmallow (6.0) being the particular flavour of Android installed on launch.
It comes with 32GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot for expansion, and there are full-sized USB ports for additional storage or accessory use, such as a keyboard or mouse.
There are four speakers, two at the front, two on the rear, which combine to provide 5W of overall audio muscle, and an HD front-facing camera (5-megapixels) with autofocus is provided for video calling and more.
A 12,060mAh battery provides up to three days of standby time and Virgin Media claims it should last between seven and eight hours for TV viewing.
We don’t have the exact measurements to hand, nor weight, but can say that it is hefty and will be most used sat on a desktop, kitchen surface or cabinet, using the built-in kickstand, than held. Hence our thoughts about the TellyTablet being more telly than tablet.
Virgin TV TellyTablet preview: Software
Being spec’ed especially for Virgin Media use, the tablet comes with Virgin TV Anywhere and the provider’s other streaming apps – Kids and Virgin Media Store – when they become available.
Virgin TV Anywhere is already available for Android tablets, smartphones and iOS devices, so if you’ve ever used it on any of those, you’ll know what to expect. It gives you access to live TV, catch-up and on demand services from Virgin Media and all of its channels, also sending you to the dedicated apps for Sky Sports and Sky Movies, if you subscribe to either.
What’s been recently added is the ability to also view recordings stored on a Virgin TV V6 box in your household (and on the same home network). Alternatively, you can download the recordings to watch offline, but we doubt you’ll be lugging the TellyTablet around on the Tube with you.
As you can even set recordings from the app, it effectively turns a TellyTablet into a Full HD portable Smart TV, one that can catch-up with pretty much any show you care to name, access box sets and movies on demand, watch live TV from the same channels your V6 or TiVo box offers, or even watch your recordings in the home.
And as it is Android based, you can also download plenty of other streaming apps, games or anything else Google Play has to offer. We found, for example, that we couldn’t watch Netflix through the Virgin TV Anywhere app but we could always download it separately anyway.
There’s no denying the fact that the TellyTablet won’t be for everyone. It isn’t really suitable as a family tablet device and you’re not going to spend time browsing the internet, reading an ebook or shooting zombies on one.
However, as a modern alternative to a bedroom TV it is ideal. It’d be even better if it came with a remote too.
As it stands (pun entirely intended) it will suit teenagers and younger family members superbly. They can enjoy a personal TV experience around the home, without the constraints of another Virgin Media box.
The TellyTablet, for our brief play, is speedy enough to serve its purpose well and reasonably priced – at £299 – to be attractive. Yes, there are cheaper standalone televisions out there, but you’d have to match them with a decent media streamer to get anywhere near the same functionality – and even then you lose out on many of the Virgin TV integration features.
It won’t replace an iPad, Surface or dedicated Android tablet in a household, but we do see where Virgin Media is coming from with the TellyTablet. And should it ever come bundled with specific top level plans and packages in future, we think it would be a nice extension of the overall Virgin TV offering.
Apple rumours never stop. No sooner has one device hit the shelves than the next is being speculated upon. The latest rocking the mill is a new iPad – or iPads – with a couple of new tablets rumoured.
The one that seems to be getting the most attention is the slab that could bridge the gap between the iPad Pro 9.7 and the iPad Pro 12.9. Here is everything we know about what we’re calling the iPad Pro 2.
Apple iPad Pro 2: Release date
Apple is rumoured to be announcing its new iPad, or iPads, in early-2017. The company held an event on 21 March 2016 for the launch of the iPad Pro 9.7 so we’d place our bets on March 2017 being the month the new range of iPads will also debut.
As usual, Apple has confirmed absolutely nothing but we will let you know as soon as we hear any details regarding a specific date.
Apple iPad Pro 2: Design
Rumour has it the new iPad will ditch the Home button. According to a report by Japanese site Macotakara, the new iPad will be almost bezel-free, fitting into the same footprint as the 9.7-inch iPad Pro despite its purported larger display.
The site claimed the new model will still feature a bezel at the top, where the FaceTime camera will be, but the rest of the device will be bezel-less, meaning the Home button will need to be removed.
It has also been claimed the new iPad will be a little thicker than the current 9.7-inch Pro and iPad Air 2 models at 7.5mm compared to 6.1mm. Other rumours suggest the headphone jack will remain on the new iPad, rather than follow in the same footsteps as the iPhone 7, while there have also been reports of quad mics and quad speakers rather than dual like the current iPad Pro 9.7.
- Apple iPad Pro 9.7 vs iPad Air 2: What’s the difference?
Apple iPad Pro 2: Display
There have been numerous reports surrounding the next line-up of iPads, with a new 7.9-inch model, a new cheaper 9.7-inch model and a refreshed 12.9-inch model all floating about. The device we are concentrating on in this feature is the 10.9-inch model however.
The display size is currently a little up in the air, with both 10.9-inches and 10.5-inches having been reported. Either would represent a new size for iPad and either would bridge the gap between the huge 12.9-inch model and the regular 9.7-inch.
Rumours suggest the new iPad will offer the same True Tone display as the current iPad Pro 9.7, as well as the P3 wide colour gamut, but it is not clear whether the resolution will stay the same or see a bump.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a 2732 x 2048 pixel resolution, while the 9.7-inch has a 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution, both of which result in a pixel density of 264ppi. Chances are Apple will offer the same pixel density at the very least, meaning if the 10.9-inch size is accurate, a slight resolution increase will be necessary.
- Apple iPad Pro 9.7 review
Apple iPad Pro 2: Camera
Reports claim the new iPad will have the same 12-megapixel iSight camera as the current iPad Pro 9.7, which will mean it will be capable of recording 4K video.
It has also been suggested the True Tone flash will be on board so we suspect the other features, such as the ability to capture Live Photos, will also be present.
In terms of the front facing camera, we’d expect to see the same as the iPad Pro 9.7. Apple may increase the resolution for the new model, but if not, expect a 5-megapixel front-facing snapper with the Retina Flash.
Apple iPad Pro 2: Hardware
According to the rumours, the new iPad will feature a new processor. No surprises there. It has been claimed it will be called the A10X, which follows the naming convention of the previous iPad models.
Both the iPad Pro 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch feature the A9X chip, while the iPad Air 2 has the A8X so the A10X in the new model makes sense. Whether the new model will also sport an increase in RAM and battery size is currently not known.
We suspect storage options will be the same as the iPad Pro 9.7 though, meaning the new iPad should come in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB storage options, none of which will offer microSD.
- Apple iPad Pro 12.9 review
Apple iPad Pro 2: Software
As the rumours suggest the new iPad will launch in Spring 2017, it will arrive on the iOS 10 operating system. This means it will offer the same experience to the current iPads and if it slots into the Pro range, Apple Pencil support.
Apple’s new software build, which will no doubt be called iOS 11, won’t be previewed until WWDC in June, likely followed by a September release so the new iPad will arrive too early to feature it if reports are to be believed.
Apple iPad Pro 2: Conclusion
As with all rumoured devices, everything needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, but a 10 to 11-inch iPad would make a lot of sense.
The rumours and speculation will no doubt increase over the next couple of months and we will keep this feature updated as they do.
For now, we’re placing our bets on a couple of new iPads at a March event but as nothing is confirmed, it’s anyone’s guess.
- Which iPad is best for you? iPad mini 2 vs iPad mini 4 vs iPad Air 2 vs iPad Pro 9.7 vs iPad Pro 12.9
- Apple iPad Pro 9.7 vs iPad Pro 12.9: What’s the difference?
As virtual reality matures as a medium there are going to be fewer firsts for it. But for now, at least, we have news that for the first time, Major League Soccer will be broadcasting a championship game in VR. That match is none other than Saturday’s battle between Toronto FC and the Seattle Sounders. How’s a “virtual suite” rife with player rosters and live stats sound? Somehow, the developers managed to fit a model of an Audi car in it because, well, this is an Audi-sponsored broadcast. There’s a “magic window” experience too, whatever that is.
Folks on iOS (it’s also available on Android and Gear VR) have exclusive access to replays in VR where they can rewind 30 seconds at a time, as far back as 30 minutes. Even if you don’t have a mobile VR headset though, you can still watch the game from five different camera angles. If this sounds like your type of party, grab the Fox Sports VR app from the links below.
Source: Fox Sports, iTunes, Google Play
Following years of pining after GameCube games on the Virtual Console, it looks like Nintendo fans will soon be getting their wish. According to a recent report by Eurogamer, the Nintendo Switch is rumored to be the first Nintendo console to offer GameCube games on its Virtual Console. Citing several sources within the company, the article states that Nintendo already has classic titles like Super Mario Sunshine, Luigi’s Mansion and Super Smash Bros. Melee running on the Switch.
The article goes on to suggest that Nintendo is also prepping popular GameCube lifestyle sim Animal Crossing for the Virtual Console. It seems as though the company is also looking into making the console compatible with the Wii U’s GameCube controller adapter.
Given Super Smash Bros Melee’s evergreen popularity at fighting game tournaments and the Switch reveal trailers focus on eSports, its inclusion is an easy win for Nintendo.
The GameCube emulator is rumored to be developed by Nintendo’s European Research Department – the people responsible for this year’s Christmas sell-out, the NES Mini. While the NES Mini has a few issues, its game emulation runs flawlessly, meaning that if true, GameCube emulation on the Switch looks rather promising indeed.
Frustratingly, it looks like old Virtual Console purchases won’t transfer over to the Switch, requiring users to pay a small ‘upgrade’ fee to unlock the rom on Switch. In an age where account purchases on mobile transfer seamlessly to your next handset, if true, it’s hard not to see this as a cheap cash grab.
While none of this has been officially confirmed, Eurogamer’s previous rumors about the system proved to be true. With Nintendo holding a press event revealing more about the Switch next month, we won’t have long to discover how much truth is in this reports.