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Feb

Get your next home with the best apartment-finder apps


Moving to a new city and need to find an apartment? Looking to upgrade to a better place in your current city? Whether you’re relocating across the country or searching for a home in your own town, an apartment-finder app can be a great way to find the perfect place to put down roots. Apps are a convenient way to apartment-hunt because you can browse listings from wherever you are, whether you’re waiting in line at the grocery store or sitting on the subway during your commute. Luckily, both Apple and Android users have plenty of options at their disposal. We’ve rounded up the best apartment-finder apps that just might be able to help you get your new home.

Zillow Rentals

This user-friendly app has information on more than 400,000 rental properties across the United States. You can easily customize your search based on the specific features you’re looking for, whether it’s the pet policy, or whether there’s on-site laundry or garage parking. You can also save searches so that you don’t have to re-enter all the criteria the next time you hop on the app. Another cool feature is that you can use your finger to draw a circle around the area in which you want to search for apartments. See a home you like? Give it a tap, and it’ll show up in your favorites. That way, you can easily call the top candidates one by one to set up a viewing.

Download now for:

iOS Android

Trulia Rentals

As far as apartment-finder sites go, Trulia is one that has been in the market since early on. This Zillow-owned company first started showing up in search engine results back in 2005. Since then, Trulia has established partnerships with CrimeReports.com, SpotCrime.com, and EveryBlock.com, allowing the site to give users specific information about crime rates, school districts, and even commute lengths. Users also like the one-click feature, which puts you right in contact with the property manager — no need to fill out any pesky inquiry forms or look for a phone number online.

Download now for:

iOS  Android

Apartments.com

Where Apartments.com really stands out is the real-time availability it provides users. This ensures you aren’t wasting your time looking at units that have long been rented out to someone else. The database is also very comprehensive, and users are given a wide range of filter options. This includes the usual ones, such as price range and housing type, but it also includes really specific filters that let you search for military housing and student housing, for example. Once you see an apartment you like, you can take a 3-D tour right then and there, before you’ve even set foot in the actual unit.

Download now for:

iOS  Android

Zumper

With more than one million apartment listings in its inventory, Zumper knows local rental markets pretty well. When you search the site, you’ll notice specific details about different properties, including city landmarks, local weather statistics, and neighborhood culture. You can also set the app to alert you instantly once a unit that fits your criteria becomes available. Here’s an insider tip: if a listing is pink, that means it just went live during the past 24 hours.

Download now for:

iOS Android

HotPads

If you’re moving to a major city, HotPads is one to check out. While the app does display rental listings all over the country, HotPads is best known for apartment listings in major metropolitan areas. To give you a better sense of what life is like in the neighborhood, the app also gives you details about nearby schools and the walkability of the area. Interested in seeing what other app users are excited about? The designated “hot” rentals are the ones generating a lot of activity on the app.

Download now for:

iOS Android

Rent.com

Moving costs can really add up without you even realizing it. Plus, a relocation to a different city also brings its fair share of new taxes, rent increases, and other expenses. Rent.com aims to save you money through a special feature called Moving Center. Simply enter the size and location of your home and the city where you’re headed, and Rent.com will provide free moving quotes to give you a sense of how much you’ll be spending. Want to take a peek at a potential rental before you visit in person? Many of the properties conveniently come with virtual 3-D tours.

Download now for:

iOS Android

Realtor.com rentals

Realtor.com is a great across-the-board app to get you started on your apartment hunt. The app interface is intuitive, and you can quickly personalize the search to prioritize special features and amenities. The app also provides a lot of details about the neighborhood where you’ll be moving, including price comparisons to other neighborhoods. You’ll also find a map (powered by Yelp) that will give you a sense of the kind of restaurants, grocery stores, and entertainment options that will be near you.

Download now for:

iOS Android

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Music junkie? Here are the 25 best music apps for consuming and creating tunes
  • Sending money? Here are the best apps for that
  • From reading more to eating less, there’s an app to help with every resolution
  • Looking for a house? The best real estate apps will make it easier
  • Use the best car-selling apps to buy your next ride with your smartphone


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1
Feb

Rev up your smartphones, Nintendo says Mario Kart is finally on its way


At last, Mario Kart is heading for smartphones.

While Nintendo’s early smartphone efforts like Miitomo pretty much passed people by, Mario Kart Tour is set to be a hit with mobile gamers when it lands in Android and iOS app stores.

But when, you ask, is it coming? Truth be told, Nintendo is a bit vague on that, saying in a somewhat drably worded announcement that it will be released “in the fiscal year ending in March 2019.”

Having crunched the numbers, checked the calendars, counted the days, and looked up the precise definition of “fiscal year,” we can tell you that it means Mario Kart Tour will land anytime between April 2018 and March of next year. A window of a whole year.

The checkered flag has been raised and the finish line is near. A new mobile application is now in development: Mario Kart Tour! #MarioKartTour Releasing in the fiscal year ending in March 2019. pic.twitter.com/8GIyR7ZM4z

— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) February 1, 2018

Beyond its name, and a release date that suggests developers are still very much in development mode with the game, we know little else about it. But with Mario Kart having been available across multiple platforms and in various guises since 1992, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect.

In other Mario-related news announced on Wednesday, January 31, Nintendo confirmed recent rumors that it’s working with Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Minions) on a movie starring the mustachioed Italian plumber. Co-produced by Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto and Illumination boss Chris Meledandri, fans will be praying for something more watchable than the 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros. flick, which currently has a dismal — though many will say thoroughly deserved — 15-percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Mario is the franchise that keeps on paying, as far as Nintendo is concerned, so it makes sense to expand its presence on smartphones to join Super Mario Run. The Kyoto, Japan-based company this week revealed Super Mario Odyssey as the best-selling Switch game, with more than 9 million units sold, followed by Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which sold more than 7 million units. Work some tempting in-app purchases into Mario Kart Tour and it should have another healthy revenue generator on its hands.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Where to find an SNES Classic
  • ‘Minions’ studio may bring Mario, Luigi back to the big screen in animated film
  • Nintendo Switch passes lifetime sales of Wii U in less than one year
  • Nvidia Shield supports Wii games like ‘New Super Mario Bros.’ — in China
  • The 20 best Nintendo Switch games you can buy today


1
Feb

Uber is getting into the bike-sharing game


Sniffing another opportunity, Uber is taking its first tentative step into the business of bike-sharing.

Curiously, it’s chosen one of the country’s hilliest cities — San Francisco — to launch the scheme, though the bikes do have small electric motors to assist you as you pedal up some of its famously steep inclines. “You’ll feel like a warrior charging up hills,” Uber says.

The company better known for car trips than bike rides has partnered with ebike company Jump for the pilot service, which from next week will appear as an option in the Uber app. Jump secured a permit for San Francisco in January to operate a service using electric-powered bikes, and ran trials in the city in the second half of last year.

How it works

To grab one of its two-wheelers, you simply tap on the bike icon in the app’s menu at the top left of the home screen. A map will then appear showing available bicycles close to your location.

Use the provided PIN to unlock the bike and you’re off, with the ride costing $2 for up to 30 minutes. Once you reach your destination, you can lock the bike to the nearest public rack, also indicated on the map.

As the scheme is a trial for now, Uber and Jump are only offering 250 bikes. If you’re interested in taking part, you can put your name down now on Uber’s waitlist.

To make sure those bikes don’t end up in the wrong places and to maximize their availability, Jump’s own staff will oversee operations.

Looking beyond ride-hailing

The bike scheme is the latest example of Uber looking beyond its car-based, ride-hailing roots in a bid to seek out additional revenue streams. It’s already operating its UberEats meal-delivery service in multiple cities, and last year launched Uber Freight, matching truckers with companies that need goods moved across the country. It’s also investing heavily in autonomous car technology.

Competition between bike-sharing operators has been heating up in the U.S., with more and more companies entering the market. But it’s not always plain sailing for those getting involved. Chinese firm Bluegogo, for example, pulled its bikes from the streets of San Francisco in March 2017 after just a couple of months of operation following a dispute over permits. It’s since gone out of business. And last year in San Francisco there were reports of a backlash against such services by some locals who claim the big tech companies are ruining their neighborhoods by causing a housing crisis and increasing income inequality.

Uber will be watching carefully to see how its offering is received, though it insists it provides “a convenient, environmentally friendly ride even in dense cities where space is limited and roads can be congested.”

The company said that depending on how it goes in San Francisco, the scheme “may” eventually roll into other cities, too.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Uber vs. Lyft: This is the ultimate ridesharing app showdown
  • Uber wants flying taxis to soar above Los Angeles by 2020, with help from NASA
  • It’s deja vu as Uber forms a joint venture in Russia, much like it did in China
  • Google has a problem with its campus bike-sharing scheme
  • If you don’t mind walking a bit, here’s how to save money on Uber


1
Feb

The Land Rover Explore modular phone looks as tough as a real Land Rover


If you’re heading out into the sticks in your Land Rover, whether its a brand-new Discovery or a classic Defender, you’ll likely want a great phone in your pocket in case you get a bit lost. If you would prefer something more rugged than an iPhone X or a Pixel 2, how about a phone by Land Rover itself? That’s the Land Rover Explore, a tough phone that takes inspiration for its headline feature from the Motorola Moto Mods range, but with an outdoor twist.

The Land Rover Explore isn’t actually made by Land Rover. It’s made by Bullitt, a British phone maker known for its expertise in the area of both rugged phones and big-name licenses, because it also produces CAT, and JCB-branded devices, along with those for Kodak, too. The partnership between Land Rover and Bullitt was announced in early 2016, so the resulting phone has been a long time coming. Was it worth the wait?

It’s definitely intriguing. The idea, like Moto Mods, is to add modules to the basic phone and increase functionality. Initially, the Land Rover Explore will come with one module called the Adventure Pack, which works like a separate, more powerful GPS unit, complete with its own battery, and ViewRanger’s mapping app installed on the phone. ViewRanger will also add its Skyline augmented reality feature that works in conjunction with the phone’s camera to identify local geographical features. ViewRanger isn’t a stranger to partnerships like this either, having also worked with Casio on the Pro Trek Android Wear smartwatch.

Other modular packs are likely to be introduced, although no plans have been revealed by Bullitt or Land Rover yet. Modular phones live or die by the availability of these additional packs, and failure to launch more could see the Explore go the way of the LG G5. The phone’s main specification hasn’t been detailed either, although a body that reaches military standards of toughness, and an IP68 water resistance rating seem likely. Bullitt says it will deal with all temperatures, heavy drops, and even salt water.

In its design, you can spot references to the new Land Rover Discovery, including the look of the vehicle’s headlights and grille, along with the style of the instrument binnacle and dials. It doesn’t look like the most compact of smartphones with the Adventure Pack fitted, and we don’t know how it will integrate with the phone yet either. However, all will be made clear at Mobile World Congress at the end of February, when we will see the phone for real. Bullitt says the Land Rover Explore will be available to order in April and will cost 600 British pounds or 650 euros. That’s around $855, but no official U.S. price has been stated.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • 2018 Land Rover Range Rover SVAutobiography is equal parts glitz and go
  • The car that launched Land Rover spent almost 30 years hiding in a garden
  • Wait up, Jaguar! Land Rover wants to launch an electric vehicle, too
  • Range Rover SV Coupe brings Land Rover’s flagship SUV full circle
  • Jaguar Land Rover takes its self-driving cars to public streets


1
Feb

Sharp’s new iPhone 5c copy is called the Android One S3, runs stock Android


The Android One program is slowly but surely growing, and the latest one is sure to appeal to those looking for a decent midrange phone that offers a stock Android experience. The device comes from Sharp, and is called the Android One S3.

Perhaps the most notable thing about the phone is its design, and, as per GSMArena, it’s got a pretty familiar look. Many will remember the iPhone 5c, a so-called “budget” iPhone that came in a range of different colors, and didn’t last all that long. The Android One S3 comes in four different colors, including green, black, white, and pink.

Under the hood, the phone features some pretty decent specs. The phone has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor, coupled with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage — though you can get more storage through the MicroSD card slot. The display is a 5-inch display with a 1,080p resolution.

Around the back of the phone, you’ll find a 13-megapixel camera, along with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and under the hood you’ll find a 2,700mAh battery to power the whole thing.

There are some features missing though. You won’t get a fingerprint sensor, which is a little strange for a midrange phone these days. It does, however, offer MIL-SPEC water and dust resistance, so that’s perhaps why it costs a little extra than equivalent phones. And, of course, it offers Android One, which is a stock version of Android that only comes with Google apps pre-installed and should get timely updates.

So when and where can you get your hands on the phone? Unfortunately, it’s only available in Japan, where it costs 32,400 yen, or around $300. If you live in Japan, you can get it through the Y!mobile carrier.

For that price there are some other pretty great options, and some of them are even part of the Android One program. For example, we rated the HTC U11 Life as one of the best midrange phones out there, and while it doesn’t offer MIL-SPEC water resistance, it does at least boast an IP67 rating, which should be enough for most uses. Other phones, like the Lenovo Moto G5S Plus, are far better budget options, offering better processing power and more storage than the Sharp Android One S3. Still, the interesting design and stock Android software may be enough to push people into buying it.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Google replacing Project Fi Nexus 5X with an Android One Moto X4 for subscribers
  • Android flagship throwdown: Razer Phone vs. Google Pixel 2 XL
  • Microsoft’s Android apps offer the best Windows mobile experience
  • OnePlus 5T vs. Pixel 2: Battle of the Android superstars
  • Razer Phone vs. iPhone X: Android newcomer takes on Apple’s finest


1
Feb

Singapore is using a group of robot swans to monitor its water supply


Faced with the problem of how best to track pollution in the country’s reservoirs, engineers in Singapore have come up with a unique solution: robot swans. An acronym for Smart Water Assessment Network (although they really do look like swans as well), the robo-swans are designed to take constant measurements of Singapore’s water supply in a way that both saves on human labor and looks aesthetically pleasing in the process.

“​The robotic swans swim around lakes and reservoirs ​and measure water quality parameters,” Mandar Chitre, associate professor in the department of electrical & computer engineering at the National University of Singapore, told Digital Trends. “The data collected is available in real time over the cloud to experts from water management agencies, so that they can respond to any water quality related issues promptly. The swans can also be commanded over the cloud, so that they can be directed to monitor certain areas or bring back water samples to the shore for lab analysis.”

Water measurements which can be taken by the swans include water pH level, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and chlorophyll. Due to the cloud connection, which analyzes the water data in real time, authorities can be alerted immediately if there is some reason why the local H2O may not be safe to drink. This is particularly useful in areas where dry weather prompts greater growth of algae, thereby making it more important to closely monitor water quality.

The remote control swans themselves feature heavy duty construction, allowing them to survive minor collisions with kayaks or other boats. Chitre said that five of the swans are currently being used to monitor water quality in lakes and reservoirs around Singapore.​ He said that the team has also received interest from other countries looking to replicate the system to test their own major bodies of water. They aim to be able to offer this service in the years to come.

“​We hope to see a larger global adoption for the technology,” he said.​ “In parallel, we are working to add sensors and capabilities of the swans, and upgrade the control systems and data analytics. We also aim to have fleets of swans autonomously cooperate to adaptively monitor lakes and locate sources of pollutants.”

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Intel is building brain-like processors that will power the robots of the future
  • Is your street polluted? Bosch’s Climo system measures air quality in real time
  • MantaDroid robot may one day join its inspiration in the depths of the ocean
  • Google and Aclima show you how bad air pollution in California can be
  • The Olfinity will help us gauge, clean, and augment the air that we breathe


1
Feb

Best PlayStation 4 Headsets in 2018


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Up your PS4 audio game with these great headsets.

What you can see is only a part of the gaming experience and for the best time, you need some quality audio.

For the most immersive action you should consider getting yourself a good headset. If you need some help choosing, here are six great choices covering all different budgets.

  • SteelSeries Arctis 7
  • Sony Gold Wireless
  • Astro Gaming A10
  • Razer Thresher Ultimate
  • Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament
  • Plantronics RIG 400HS

SteelSeries Arctis 7

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The wireless Arctis 7 from SteelSeries is one of the finest pieces of gaming audio you can ever put upon your head. It’s certainly one of the most comfortable thanks to its innovative “ski-band” design which suspends the headset using a taught fabric band.

This allows the weight of the headset to be distributed much better and as such you can wear the Arctis 7 for long periods without getting fatigued. It hooks up to the PS4 or PC via the included USB dongle and features a retractable microphone with noise cancellation.

You lose the 7.1 surround sound by using it with a PS4 over a PC, but you still get a rich, full sound that isn’t overly bass heavy but still allows you to feel the rumble when necessary.

It’s available in a variety of colors for $150, and for more check out a full review over on Windows Central.

See at Amazon

Sony Gold Wireless

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Sony has two wireless headsets, but it’s the lower cost Gold that gets our nod. It’s substantially cheaper than the Platinum wireless model while offering much of the same experience.

This is a large headset but also easy to store and travel with thanks to its folding design. The ear cushions are huge and soft and completely cover the ears, while the whole thing is nice and light so you can comfortably play for extended periods.

The party piece is the companion app on the PS4 that allows you to tune the headset specifically to certain games. You’re getting 7.1 virtual surround sound, too, which for the price is astonishing. Just don’t lose the USB dongle, because you can’t buy a replacement. And a new headset will cost you just under $90.

See at Amazon

Astro Gaming A10

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Astro makes a bunch of great headsets but its new entry-level model, the A10, is one of the most compelling. For starters, it’s really affordable at around $50, and it’s also wired for folks who prefer that. It’s also made from “damage resistant polycarbonate” so it should be able to take a beating in your gaming bag.

The design definitely fits within Astro’s family, with large cups that cover the ears and nice big comfy memory foam cushions. The microphone isn’t retractable or detachable, but does have a neat trick where it’ll auto-mute when you flip it up against the side of your head.

At this price, you’re not getting much in the way of fancy features or surround sound, but you do get a solid, well made, great sounding headset with an inline volume remote so you never need to take your eye off the game.

See at Amazon

Razer Thresher Ultimate

razer-thresher-ultimate-gaming-wireless-

One of the more expensive headsets here, the Thresher Ultimate for PS4 from Razer is packed with features, quality and style. This wireless headset will deliver you Dolby 7.1 audio for an incredible, immersive experience in your games. It’s crisp and clear and you’ll hear every detail you need.

It provides lag-free audio and voice at distances up to 12m (40 feet) and is designed to be worn by pro-gamers for long periods. The ear cups are large and trimmed in a leatherette material while being super soft and extremely comfortable.

The included base station also allows you to quickly switch between playing on PS4 and PC with the same headset. It isn’t cheap at $250, but it’s called ultimate for a reason. Be sure to check out the Windows Central review of the Xbox One version of this headset.

See at Razer

Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament

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The Elite Pro Tournament headset delivers stunning, crystalline audio combined with next-level comfort. The headset’s generous cushioning across the headband and earcups allow you to forget you’re even wearing a headset, reducing the physical delta between you and complete immersion.

If you throw in the Elite Pro Tournament’s Tactical Audio Controller, you’ll end up with unprecedented control over your game. Adjust audio levels, surround sound modes, mic feedback and more without interrupting play.

Every aspect of this experience simply screams premium. Turtle Beach has outdone itself with the Elite Pro Tournament headset. It will set you back around $150, or $300 if you throw in the audio controller, which is a lot, but you have supreme sound quality and ultimate control.

See at Amazon

Plantronics RIG 400HS

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The only difference between the RIG 400HS (PS4 version) and the RIG 400HX (Xbox version) from Plantronics is the color of the box, the console badge on the box and the color of the tag on the left side of the headset. Otherwise they’re exactly the same and it doesn’t matter which you snag, you can use both with both consoles.

What you get though for $40 is a really comfortable, superb sounding wired headset with inline volume and microphone mute controls. The microphone detaches, too, even if you’re not that likely to use this as a pair of headphones.

The ear cups are trimmed in fabric, thick and delightfully soft and they’re light enough that you’ll not be worried about fatigue at the crucial moment. There’s an awful lot of headset here for very little money.

See at Amazon

PlayStation 4

ps4-controllers.jpg

  • PS4 vs. PS4 Slim vs. PS4 Pro: Which should you buy?
  • PlayStation VR Review
  • Playing PS4 games through your phone is awesome

Amazon

1
Feb

Today’s the day to pick up a new bag for your everyday carry


How many gadgets do you carry with you in a single day? A tablet, laptop, smartphone, headphones, chargers, wearables, fitness trackers, handheld gaming systems…it’s hard to define what’s essential for every day when all your tech is so cool.

Take it all and then some with one of these discounted travel bags.

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The AmazonBasics Carry-On Travel Backpack is down to $35, which is the best price we’ve ever seen for this item. It normally sells for around $10 more and received tons of great reviews. It has an internal zippered laptop sleeve, a ton of space in the middle, and a bunch of organizational pockets for important documents, keys, and the like. It’s also designed to be the perfect airplane carry-on companion.

Alternatively, if you’re traveling light, this AmazonBasics Ultralight Packable Day Pack is what you’re looking for. It’ll only run you $11. It’s more of an everyday bag, with enough room for your essentials. As long as you’re not taking the kitchen sink with you, it’ll be perfect for daily use. When you’re done, it can be tucked away into itself for neat storage.

Speaking of everyday essentials, have you seen this one-day Anker Bluetooth speaker sale?

See at Amazon

1
Feb

The beauty and frustration of using Android Auto


Android Auto is a fantastic way to get important content from your phone onto your car dash. But it’s not without problems.

Android Auto is a wonderful way to get the important parts of your phone — navigation, music, phone calls, and (limited) notifications — onto your car’s head unit or as a simplified interface on your phone. It’s super cool, and miles ahead of every car manufacturer’s built-in dash interface. Having said that, Android Auto isn’t without its pitfalls.

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I’ve been using Android Auto since late 2015 on both a Pioneer 4100NEX and Sony XAV-AX100 and with six different Android phones from various manufacturers. In this time, I’ve gotten very comfortable with having all of my important phone features in an easy to tap format to use while driving. But I’ve also had my share of issues.

I got 99 problems…

Android Auto is rather complex and some problems have cropped up for me over the past two years. This applies to Android Auto being projected onto car head units, not the interface running on a phone.

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Android Auto requires a few components to all work together correctly to actually get an image from your phone onto the head unit. Those pieces are:

  • A compatible head unit
  • The USB cable from the head unit to your phone
  • The wiring of your phone’s USB port
  • The Android Auto application on your phone
  • The latest version of Google Play Services installed on your phone

If any of those pieces misbehave, you’re in for a bad time. What’s worse is that all of those pieces mean it’s hard to diagnose exactly which one is causing the problems. Worse still, just because Android Auto is working perfectly when you leave your house doesn’t mean you won’t have problems when you’re driving down a highway. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been driving when all of a sudden, my music stops, my head unit is back to its standard interface and my phone is unresponsive.

Buy Sony XAV-AX100 In-Dash Receiver

And no solutions

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I get that technology is hard at times, and I can sympathize with Google trying to come up with a solution that it can update on its own when smartphone manufacturers refuse to update phones. But that doesn’t help me when I’m just trying to safely drive to an open mic night and my navigation system goes out 8 times in 20 minutes. Any technology related to driving needs to be rock solid, and over the past two years, I’ve come to the conclusion that using Android Auto on a head unit isn’t.

I haven’t used a car that came with Android Auto in its stock head unit, but Google’s product support forums are filled with issues for those as well. There doesn’t seem to be one single culprit behind the connection issues, just like with the third-party head units. Again, no tech is perfect, but when a user just spent $1,000 on a head unit — or worse, tens of thousands of dollars on a car — it’s only right for everything to work. Especially when the technology is supposed to keep people safe while they’re barreling down the highway.

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There may be some hope coming, but it will require even more money from the user. Wireless Android Auto units are on their way, and these will eliminate two of the five pieces that go into projecting Android Auto onto a head unit. But I’m not ready to call these new head units a magical fix until people start getting them installed and get some real world use. On a more subjective matter, none of the wireless Android Auto head units are appealing to me since none have a volume knob or hardware forward/back buttons. It will also be a few years until new cars come equipped with wireless Android Auto.

Again, Android Auto is miles (pun intended) better than any interface that comes loaded on head units. And when it works, it’s fantastic. Over the last two years, I had a mostly seamless experience using Android Auto. But on a tool I need to use when I’m driving, any hiccup could be life threatening. I’m currently monitoring Google’s support forums for solutions, but if there isn’t a solution in the next few months I’m going to move back to a dumb head unit, aux input, a good car mount and the Android Auto app on my phone. The Kenwood unit I’m looking at is simple, has a nice big volume knob, and won’t cause my phone to crash while I’m driving down the highway.

Buy Kenwood DPX502BT In-Dash Deck

Do you use Android Auto?

Have you had your fair share of Android Auto issues? Sound off in the comments below and let me know if you were able to fix them!

1
Feb

How to recover photos from a deceased loved one’s Android phone


The death of a loved one is never easy. Here are some ways to recover their old photos and look back on the good times.

Death is hard to cope with. Wakes and funerals bring a flood of memories — good and bad. Naturally, you may want to look back on photos of those old memories in order to bring yourself some closure. In the old days, you may have had a photo book to look through (and you may have one today), but in the digital age that’s increasingly rare.

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All is not lost, though. Depending on how your loved one had their phone and online accounts set up, you may be able to get the photos back.

  • Pull the SD card from their cell phone
  • Sign into their Google account
  • Request the data from a deceased user’s account
  • Other options

Pull the SD card from their cell phone

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While internal storage has increased in recent years, Samsung — which sells the majority of Android handsets — LG and other manufacturers still include a microSD card slot in their phones. There’s a good chance your loved one was using the SD card to store photos. In that case, take the card out, plug it into your computer, and see if the photos are there. If not, read on.

Sign into their Google account

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Your loved one may have left their account information in their will. Or you know their email address and can guess their password. In either case, you can use that information to then sign into their Google Photos library and download their photos.

Did they forget to backup their pictures to Google Photos? First, tell everyone else to start backing up their pictures, then read on.

Request the data from a deceased user’s account

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Google lets third parties request the content from a deceased user’s account, but this must be requested by the deceased person’s legal representative. The legal representative must upload a copy of their government-issued ID and a copy of the death certificate. Even then, there’s no guarantee the legal representative will gain access.

If this works, the legal representative would be able to access data from the deceased user’s Drive, Gmail, Blogger, Google+, Google Photos, YouTube and other services. But again, if the deceased user didn’t back up any photos in the first place, getting into the cloud backup won’t do any good.

Other options

Unfortunately, there aren’t many other ways to get into someone’s phone to get their photos. While that’s going to sting, any method that would be used to get into a deceased person’s phone by someone they loved could also be used by an attacker to get into your phone. It hurts, but that’s the reality of the world we live in.

If you can’t recover the photos of your loved one, sit around with your friends and family, crack open some brews and reminisce. And tell everyone to start backing their photos up to the cloud.

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