MixBin Electronics has recalled about 263,000 iPhone cases that were filled with liquid glitter, following “at least” 24 reports of users facing skin irritations, being burned, and even getting permanently scarred after the cases broke and the liquids seeped out. The cases were sold by Amazon, Henri Bendel, Tory Burch, Nordstrom Rack, Victoria’s Secret, and MixBin itself, and were for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 7 (via Consumerist).
In the recall notice, MixBin said that customers “should immediately stop using” the cases in question and contact the company for a full refund. The glitter-filled cases focused on in the recall were sold both in physical retail locations and online from October 2015 through June 2017, ranging in price from $15 to $65. On the list of recalled cases, 16 of the units came from Victoria’s Secret.
This recall involves all liquid glitter mobile phone cases for iPhone 6, 6s and 7. The cases contain liquid and glitter that are floating in the plastic case. They were sold in various styles and colors and measure about 5.5 inches by 2.75 inches.
There are 24 reports worldwide discovered so far, 19 of which were in the United States, and they reference “skin irritation” and “chemical burns” suffered by the users. MixBin mentioned that one user reported “permanent scarring from a chemical burn,” while another said she suffered “chemical burns and swelling to her leg, face, neck, chest, upper body and hands.”
Among the 263,000 worldwide units that are being recalled, 11,400 were sold in Canada and 400 were sold in Mexico. To see the full list of the recalled MixBin Electronics cases, including model numbers, UPC codes, and descriptions, check out the notice on the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website.
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Microsoft appears to be working on a Touch Cover smart keyboard for at least one iPad model, according to battery information for products containing lithium-ion batteries shared on its website earlier this year.
Microsoft’s Surface RT with Touch Cover
The documents were published in April, but they were only discovered now by German blog WinFuture, which tipped its information to The Verge. The product is clearly listed: iPad Touch Cover (Model 1719).
Microsoft previously sold Touch Covers for its Surface tablets that doubled as pressure-sensitive keyboards and protective covers.
Those covers magnetically click into place and provide protection for the Surface’s touchscreen. They have a standard keyboard layout, shortcut keys, and a two-button touchpad that supports gestures.
It’s unknown if the iPad version would be similar. All that’s known is that it presumably has a lithium-ion battery, suggesting it could connect over Bluetooth. It could also work with an iPad Pro’s Smart Connector, but that seems less likely.
Of course, Microsoft could have scrapped plans to release an iPad keyboard between April and now, or perhaps even earlier. For now, the single document is all we have to go on. We’ll provide an update if that changes.
Related Roundup: iPad (2017)
Buyer’s Guide: iPad (Neutral)
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In May, Lyft launched a “Round Up and Donate” program where riders can opt in to have the app round up their fare to the nearest dollar, and automatically donate the difference to one of a few participating organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and the ACLU.
This week, Lyft announced that it’s going to match donations made by riders when they pay for their trips using Apple Pay throughout the month of August. The Apple Pay news comes alongside the announcement of three new donation partners: Girls Who Code, Habitat for Humanity and the World Wildlife Fund (via TechCrunch).
Thousands of passengers have opted in to our Round Up & Donate program, and this month, participants can double their impact when they use Apple Pay.
Every time you ride, we’ll round up your fare to the nearest dollar, and all month long your donation will be matched to the cause you choose.
Users can opt in to Round Up and Donate within the Settings of the Lyft app, and afterwards all of their trips will be automatically rounded up with the difference going to their charity of choice. Since the program launched in May, Lyft said that over 100,000 of its riders have joined in Round Up and Donate, totaling $315,000 donations raised for existing partners.
On its website, Lyft has shared a few steps on how to join the donation program, as well as how to pick Apple Pay as the main payment option for the ride hailing app.
Related Roundup: Apple Pay
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Why it matters to you
Don’t trust everyone you meet online. Think carefully before meeting anyone, do your research, and stay safe.
A teenager who was robbed at gunpoint for his iPhone by someone he met on Snapchat used his social media sleuthing skills to track down the criminal, and assist police in bringing him to justice. Although this story has a positive ending, it should be a lesson to all of us: People we meet online aren’t always who they say they are, and it’s essential to be vigilant and stay safe.
The unnamed teen, from Coral Springs, Florida, had been chatting with another teenager, later identified as Andrew Lobaton, over Snapchat and had invited him to his house in the early hours of the morning. However, when Lobaton arrived at the teen’s house, he threatened him with a gun and stole his Apple iPhone.
At this point, many would have reported the crime, put the whole thing down to experience, and perhaps become more careful in the future. This teen, however, began collecting information that could lead to identifying the thief’s real identity. At the time, our sleuth only knew him by his Snapchat username, but had also seen his Instagram account, which was under a different name. Amazingly, using his own network of friends, he found out the robber’s real name, and then through an internet search, arrived at a full name and a mugshot, according to the Sun Sentinel’s report quoting local police.
It didn’t stop there. He went straight to the police, where messages to Lobaton’s Instagram account asking for the phone to be returned were photographed as evidence. The police later arrested Lobaton and recovered the stolen iPhone; but rather than giving it back in its rightful owner, it’s currently being held as evidence. Brad McKeone, police captain at Coral Springs, said that due to the teen’s fast research carried out through social media, “He brought a quick resolution to this case, and an armed robbery suspect was taken off the streets very quickly.”
All this counts as a lesson to everyone. First, don’t invite strangers to your house without initially meeting in a public place during the daytime. Second, at least some personal information about everyone is likely available online, which a simple Google search should reveal. This applies to everything from dating apps like Tinder, to buying something through Facebook Marketplace. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, even if your sleuthing skills rival this impressive teen’s.
Everyone likes apps, but sometimes the best ones are a bit expensive. Now and then, developers put paid apps on sale for free for a limited time, but you have to snatch them up while you have the chance. Here are the latest and greatest iOS app deals available from the iOS App Store.
These apps normally cost money and this sale lasts for a limited time only. If you go to the App Store and it says the app costs money, that means the deal has expired and you will be charged.
Compound Interest Calc
Quickly and easily calculate compounding interest with features like variable length of term in years or months, interest rates, and additional deposits.
Best Essential Oils
Live a healthier and happier life with essential oils. This app makes it easy for you, to get the highest benefit from essential oils.
Do you love the starry night? Do you want to know everything in the sky? Just hold up your iPhone and Star Rover will tell you exactly what you are pointing at.
Ads are the most annoying things in our web browsing experience. They take up space, make web pages load slower, and cost us extra data. This app aims to change all this using Blockr.
TodoCal lets you manage, organize, and control your daily tasks. Organize your tasks with to-dos and sub to-dos, and rearrange them with a simple drag-and-drop interface.
Flowers and Mandala is the new anti-stress coloring books for adults. Promising multi-color, vibrant, and pastel gradients, this could be the app for you.
Unlocking your smartphone: It’s something we do countless times a day without thinking twice. But that doesn’t make typing in a PIN or passcode, waiting for your phone’s facial recognition to kick in, or swiping your finger across your phone’s fingerprint sensor, any less monotonous. If you happen to own a relatively new Android phone, though, you’re in luck: A feature called Smart Lock can automatically unlock your phone without prompting you to do anything. It’s a little more complicated than that, but we’ve thoroughly reviewed the setup process and split it into bite-sized chunks. Here’s everything you need to know about Android Smart Lock, including how it works and how to use it.
How to enable Smart Lock
Google introduced Smart Lock alongside version 5.0 Lollipop of its Android smartphone operating system, and it has evolved slightly since. Smart Lock lets you specify conditions when it’s safe to remove the PINs, patterns, or any other hoops you’re normally required to jump through to unlock your phone.
To enable Smart Lock, head to Settings > Security > Smart Lock. You’ll be required to enter your smartphone’s PIN, pattern, or password before continuing further.
With Smart Lock enabled, you’re ready to start configuring it to automatically unlock your phone. There are four options: On-body detection, Trusted places, Trusted face, and Trusted voice. Note that not all are available on every device, so you’ll have to check with your phone’s manufacturer to see which works and which doesn’t.
How to use On-body detection
On-body detection, perhaps the easiest Smart Lock option to configure, uses the accelerometer and other sensors to keep your phone unlocked when it detects that it’s being carried in your hand, pocket, or bag. The caveat? If you give your device to someone else while it’s unlocked, it might stay unlocked. On some phones, though, On-body detection goes so far as to learn the pattern of your walk and lock your phone if it detects one that seems different.
Here’s how to enable On-body detection:
- In Android’s Smart Lock menu, tap On-body detection.
- Toggle on On-body detection.
On-body detection isn’t perfect. It can take up to one minute to lock after you’ve stopped moving, and between 5 and 10 minutes after you get into a vehicle, like a car, bus, or train.
How to set up Trusted places
If you’re not thrilled at the prospect of your phone unlocking whenever you’re out and about, Trusted places is a good compromise. It uses geofencing — or geographic boundaries defined by your phone’s mapping software — to detect when you’re at home, work, or another location where you feel comfortable leaving your phone unlocked. As long as your phone has an internet connection and access to your location, you’ll never have to worry about unlocking it again.
Before you can enable Trusted places, though, you’ll have to meet a few prerequisites.
First, enable location mode on your phone. Here’s how:
- Tap Settings.
- Find the Location section (may have a different name, depending on your device).
- At the top, tap the On/Off switch.
Here’s how to switch location mode in Android:
Find the Location section (may have a different name, depending on your device).
Tap Mode. Then choose between these three location modes:
High accuracy uses GPS, Wi-Fi, cellular networks, and other sensors to get the highest-accuracy location.
Battery saving mode uses sources that use less battery, like Wi-Fi and mobile networks.
Device only uses GPS to determine location
Once you’ve enabled and selected a location mode, you’re ready to enable Trusted places.
- Add your home location by tapping Trusted places from the Smart Lock menu. Tap Home, and then tap Turn on this location.
- Add a custom location by tapping Trusted places from the Smart Lock menu. Tap Add trusted place, and a map will open to your current location. (Pick a different location by tapping Search.) Name the trusted location, and tap OK.
Switch jobs or move to a new house? Not to worry. Here’s how to edit or remove a place:
- In the Smart Lock menu, tap Trusted places. From the list of trusted Smart Lock options, pick the place. Next, choose whether you want to delete it, rename it, or edit it.
How to assign Trusted devices
Trusted devices lets you use a paired watch, fitness tracker, or car speaker system as a kind of wireless key. When you designate a Bluetooth device as “trusted,” your phone automatically unlocks the moment it pairs to it.
Here’s how to add a trusted Bluetooth device:
- In the Smart Lock menu, tap Trusted devices.
- Tap Add trusted device > Bluetooth.
- On the list of connected devices, tap a device. The list will show only paired devices.
Oftentimes when you pair a new device via Bluetooth, you may get asked if you want to add it as a Trusted device.
Trusted devices isn’t without limitations. Someone could keep your phone unlocked by imitating your Bluetooth connection, and if your phone determines that your connection isn’t secure enough, Trusted devices will fail altogether. There’s the issue of range, too. If someone takes your phone and Trusted device with them, they could gain access to it. If your paired Bluetooth device’s range is long enough, a person might be able to unlock your phone from up to 100 meters away.
Trusted near-field communication (NFC) tags, which have a range within inches rather than tens of feet, offer a more secure alternative. For example, you could set up an NFC sticker in your car or bedside so that when you tap the sticker with your device, your device unlocks.
Here’s how to set up a Trusted NFC tag:
- In the Smart Lock menu, tap Trusted devices.
- Tap Add trusted device > NFC.
- Tap your device to the NFC tag.
- Add a name for the NFC tag.
- Tap OK.
How to configure Trusted face
Facial recognition might not be the most secure way to unlock your smartphone, but it’s certainly one of the most convenient. After you set a trusted face, your phone’s front-facing camera will search for your face and unlock it if it recognizes you.
Here’s how to set up a Trusted Face:
- In the Smart Lock menu, tap Trusted face.
- Tap Set up and follow the on-screen instructions.
- When your phone starts looking for your face, you’ll see the Trusted face icon. If your phone doesn’t recognize your face, you can unlock it with the PIN, pattern, or password you’ve saved.
In some cases, your phone might have trouble distinguishing your face from someone else’s. Luckily, improving facial recognition is a cinch.
- In the Smart Lock menu, tap Trusted face.
- Tap Improve face matching.
- Tap Next and follow the on-screen instructions.
How to add a Trusted voice
Want to unlock your smartphone with nothing more than your voice? Smart Lock makes it possible. Trusted voice recognizes the unique intonation of your phrasing and automatically unlocks your phone without you having to lift a finger.
First, you’ll have to set up “OK Google.” Here’s how.
- Update to the latest version of the Google app by going to the Google app page on the Play Store and tapping Update.
- Open the Google app.
- At the top left, tap Menu > Settings.
- Tap Voice > “OK Google” detection.
- Turn on “From any screen” or “Always on,” if your phone supports it.
Now, you can enable Trusted voice.
- From the “OK Google” settings menu, look for Trusted voice.
Why it matters to you
If you frequently find yourself juggling between your email and a work messaging system like Slack, you may want to look into Redkix. It merges the two for a seamless experience.
Email is hardly the only work-related tool many people use every day. There is likely an instant messaging service, like Skype or Slack, along with a handful of job-specific apps and programs. Redkix is the latest communication tool vying for your attention — but instead of trying to kill off email, it is merging it with instant messaging.
“Redkix is team messaging powered by email,” Oudi Antebi, co-founder and CEO of Redkix, told Digital Trends. “So we take the best of modern messaging and collaboration and the best of email, and we bring them together in a very unique way to build something from a completely new point of view.”
At a quick glance, it is easy to mistake it for Slack — that is how similar it looks when compared to the popular messaging service. But Redkix’s killer feature is its ability to have 100 percent participation from email users because you don’t need to use Redkix to message someone on the service.
On Redkix, you can have a dedicated channel for a team, as well as direct messages with individuals. If all parties are using the Redkix app, the service is akin to most modern day instant messaging systems. You can send attachments, GIFs, create memes, add reactions to messages, create threaded conversations, and more.
So what happens when you need to message someone who does not use Redkix? Add their email address. The message you type and send offers the same instant messaging experience. The person on email not using Redkix will receive an email with the message from the Redkix user — it looks exactly like a normal email, and the Redkix user can even choose to add an email signature.
You may be thinking about all the emails you will get bombarded with when someone sends multiple messages at the same time — fret not. Redkix has an adaptive algorithm that learns the way users type, so if you send multiple messages at once, the email user will only get one email with the entire conversation a few seconds after you send the last message. It is not as instant as instant messaging but in our demo, we received emails within a minute or two after they were sent. Emails also come as replies to one email chain, so you don’t need to worry about getting multiple emails.
It can get a little hectic on channels with a large number of team members, which is why it may be simpler to just join Redkix. Still, it’s a great way to message people not on the service without needing to leave the messaging app and go to your email.
What is more is you technically never need to leave the service because you can connect your email inbox to the app. It offers the same features your email does, whether you use Gmail, Exchange, or Outlook. If someone is responding to your email, you can even see a typing indicator like in instant messaging services.
Redkix has been available in a private beta since July 2016, but it is now available as a public beta along with an iOS, Windows, and MacOS app. The Android app is still in private beta, and a web version is on the way. The service follows a similar pricing model to Slack — there is a free version but you have to pay to see message history. The Teams premium version starts at $6 per user per month.
Some phones have quirks, and others have core issues.
Many are questioning several decisions made in the Moto Z2 Force, mostly coming down to its battery size, screen components and camera configuration. Those are all valid on some level, but we can discuss them at another time. There’s a far simpler core issue with the Moto Z2 Force that’s apparent the moment you take it out of the box: it’s downright awkward to hold without a Moto Mod on the back.
This shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise considering the phone is just 6 mm thick and perfectly flat across the back. But you also have to realize that its smooth metal exterior gives you no grip, and its 5.5-inch display with typical bezels makes the Z2 force rather wide — 76 mm, or 3 inches, across. Yes its light weight helps, but the only real fix for this is a Moto Mod.
So you’d think considering these usability issues, Motorola would’ve included a Moto Mod in the box, right? Wrong. You’ll have to buy one, with the cheapest official Mod being Motorola’s Style Shell at about $15 (which actually retails for $20). Understandable for a sub-$450 Moto Z2 Play, but the Moto Z2 Force is at minimum a $750 phone — buy it from AT&T in a state with a high sales tax, and you’re approaching $900 out the door.
And when you take that phone out of the box it feels incomplete, like it’s missing something, like it’s difficult to hold and you need to spend another $15-20 just to make it feel “right” in your hand. Thankfully the Z2 Force has a shatterproof display, because your chances of dropping this phone are dramatically higher until you get a Mod on the back. But that’s just quick money up front, before you go through the consideration of a $79 TurboPower Pack, or maybe even a $299 Moto 360 Camera or Hasselblad True Zoom, which presumably you’ve considered if you’re buying a Moto Z2 Force.
I completely understand Motorola’s desire to want to spur its Moto Mods sales, as it’s surely a nice profit center stemming directly from the design of the Moto Z line. But the Moto Z2 Force, at this price point, feels downright unfinished out of the box. Like it’s missing a required piece. While some companies are going out of their way to include a basic case with their phones as a value-add, Motorola isn’t including what I’d consider an integral part of the device.
It’s a simple fix: just give customers a little credit toward any Moto Mod of their choice.
I know Motorola isn’t going to change its entire packaging and supply chain to include a Style Shell in the box at this point. But I actually don’t think including a generic Style Shell Mod is even the right solution to this problem. The real solution here is to give people a $25 credit toward any Mod of their choice when they buy a Moto Z2 Force. Sure some will just buy a $20 Style Shell to make the phone complete and feel like they got something for free that likely costs Motorola about $5 to manufacture; but sometimes it will also make $55 to $275 off of others who choose to splurge on something nicer for their first Mod.
Having that first Moto Mod purchase experience to be an undeniably positive one is the absolute best way to get customers on Motorola’s side from the start. Sure it won’t make as much money off of that first Mod when handing out a credit — but Motorola just sold a $750+ phone, and plans on selling each customer many more expensive Mods over the next two years. It seeds the idea of buying Mods while also keeping people from being upset that they just dropped big money on an incomplete product.
It’s a simple equation. Get rid of the bad optics of asking customers to buy something just to comfortably use their new phone, and you’ll be rewarded with satisfied customers who come back looking to buy other Mods — and hopefully more Moto Z phones in the future.
Moto Z2 Force Edition
- Moto Z2 Force hands-onl
- Moto Z2 Force specs
- This is the Moto 360 Camera Mod
- The ultimate guide to Moto Mods
- Join the discussion in the forums!
Having initially launched for Android TV, the regular app on phones and tablets is now getting live TV support.
When Plex live TV first launched it was made clear it was a staggered rollout where device support would get added over time. That time is now for Android phones and tablets with the mobile app joining the Android TV app in getting the new feature available to Plex Pass subscribers.
The update comes alongside a similar one for the Apple TV, and enables your Plex server to stream your favorite shows over your local network to any of the Android devices in your household. The only thing you need is a network TV tuner like the HDHomeRun Connect and a suitable digital TV antenna.
More: Plex live TV comes to Android TV
That’s not all, though. Plex is also announcing that as of today the DVR function is out of beta and you’ll be able to use this directly from your Android mobile devices too. Once the feature is set up on your Plex Server you can browse and schedule recordings as well as watch them back from all your devices.
And don’t forget if you’re an NVIDIA Shield TV owner, you can set up Plex Media Server on that.
More: How to set up Plex Media Server on NVIDIA Shield TV
With the expanded rollout of live TV, Plex is also introducing time shifting. Rewind, pause and fast forward live shows so you “don’t have to time your snack quests during commercials” (their words!)
If you’re an Android Plex user, the circle is now complete. You can enjoy your favorite TV alongside your own media content whenever you like on whatever device you choose. If you also use Plex on other devices, there’s also a heads up on what will get this update next.
Roku, the Plex web app, Amazon Fire TV and Plex Smart TV apps are all next on the slate to get live TV, so if you’re using one of those, sit tight a little while longer. The updated Android app should be rolling out to your phone or tablet imminently.
Download Plex from the Google Play Store
Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a set of certified Solar Eclipse Viewing Glasses so you can safely watch it!
The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse is right around the corner and if you plan to watch it, you’ll want to make sure your eyes are protected. This may seem like something trivial, but looking directly at it could actually blind you. Luckily, spending just a few bucks can keep your eyes safe, and allow you to enjoy the sights of this can’t miss event. B&H Photo is offering a 5-pack of Eclipse Viewing Glasses for $4.99, a savings of $3 from their regular price.
You can find these glasses in tons of places right now, but not all of them are created equal. You’ll need to ensure they have an ISO 12312-2 certification, otherwise, they may not be providing the protection you need. For many, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so you’ll want to make sure you are prepared for the event, and that your family is as well.
- ISO 12312-2 for Safe Solar Viewing
- Blocks 99.999% of Intense Visible Light
- 100% Protection from UV and IR Radiation
- Scratch-Resistant Lens Material
These glasses do ship for free, but it says to allow up to 7 business days for them to be delivered. If you want to ensure you have a pair in time for the event, be sure to get your order in now! If you want to go all out on this event, B&H also has an 8-piece solar observing and imaging kit for $30, which includes a filter for your camera so you can safely photograph it.
See at B&H Photo
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For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!