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19
Mar

These are best Android phones of 2018 for every price range


So, you’re in the market for a new phone and it must run Android — we have you covered. We test countless Android smartphones at Digital Trends to find out exactly what they’re capable of and we love to compare them. We cut this list into four categories based on different budgets. For each one, we offer our top pick and any alternatives we think are worth mentioning.

Best Android flagship — Google Pixel 2 XL

Julian Chokkattu / Digital Trends

For the ultimate, cutting-edge, and refined Android experience, you must go with Google. As the platform’s developer, Google is uniquely well-placed to design a device that can get the best out of Android. The Pixel 2 XL is the best Android phone we ever used. Stock Android is elegant and uncluttered, it’s a smooth performer, and we like the crisp, 6-inch OLED screen.

What really elevates the Pixel 2 XL to the top of the Android pile is the camera. It tops our list of the best camera phones for a reason — excellent dynamic range, incredible detail, and wonderful portrait selfies. Throw in the free cloud storage, timely software updates and security patches, and we have a clear winner.

Read our Google Pixel 2 XL review for more.

See it at: 

Best Buy Verizon Wireless

Worth considering: The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is lightning fast, packed with features, and offers amazing low-light camera performance. We’re also smitten with the Huawei Mate 10 Pro as it combines a beautiful screen with a dual-lens camera and two-day battery life.

Best Android phone for $500 — OnePlus 5T

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

OnePlus has redefined what you can get in a smartphone without paying top-tier prices. The OnePlus 5T is our current pick of the best cheap smartphones, though we realize $500 is still a lot of money. If you opt for this phone you’ll get yourself a 6-inch screen, plenty of RAM and storage, and solid battery life. The performance is also good, and we have been impressed by the camera. If this is your budget, you won’t find a better phone.

Read our OnePlus 5T review for more.

See it at: 

Amazon OnePlus

Worth considering: The Essential Phone kicked off the notch trend in controversial style and remains a very attractive, well-designed phone, though its weakness lies in the camera. The Honor View 10 offers a dual lens camera, big screen, and some A.I. smarts, though we’re not in love with the EMUI software.

Best Android phone for $300 — Moto G5S Plus

Christian de Looper/Digital Trends

The Moto G range has long ruled the budget roost, and though competition has grown stiffer, nothing has knocked it from its perch yet. You can expect solid performance, good battery life, and a light touch with software that adds some valuable extras to stock Android. The design is dated, and the display and camera are not the best around, but for less than $300 you have to expect some compromises.

Read our Moto G5S Plus review for more.

See it at: 

B&H Photo Best Buy

Worth considering: If you can find an extra $50, then the gorgeous HTC U11 Life should be on your radar. We’re also excited about the forthcoming Nokia 6 (2018) which features great build quality.

Best Android phone for $200 — Honor 7X

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It’s not easy to find a good-looking Android phone at this price, so we were impressed by the Honor 7X. There’s a decent 18:9 aspect ratio screen, a dual camera that performs well most of the time, and the best performance we have seen in this price bracket. It’s far from perfect, and it won’t work on Verizon or Sprint, but you can’t buy a better phone right now without spending a lot more than this.

Read our Honor 7X review for more.

See it at: 

Honor

Worth considering: It’s slim pickings in this price range, but you might consider the Moto E4 Plus, which offers terrific battery life. If money is really tight, then look at the ZTE Blade Z Max.

That is it for our list of the best Android phones, you may also want to check out our picks of the best smartphones, and best cheap phones.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Comparing smartphones to find the most bezel-less design
  • Honor 7X vs. Nokia 6: Can Honor beat the Finnish veteran?
  • Honor 7X review
  • Moto X4 review
  • Alcatel Idol 5 vs. Lenovo Moto G5S Plus: Clash of the budget smartphones


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19
Mar

Here’s everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy S10


The dust has barely settled on the Samsung Galaxy S9’s launch, but there’s no rest for the wicked. We all know that Samsung is already working on next year’s model, and since this year saw a refinement of everything that made the S8 special, we’re expecting a radical redesign in 2019.

So whether that means an even more advanced camera, jaw-dropping good looks, or — in Samsung’s most potentially radical move — an increased battery capacity, we’ve gathered all the rumors, leaks, and news into one place so you can quickly find out everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy S10.

Face-sensing technology

While the Galaxy S9 is an impressive beast, the front-facing face-sensing tech on the front of the camera might be its weakest area. While the S9 still has the Intelligent Scan tech that scans a hybrid of your face as well as iris data, it’s not secure enough for purchase verification and a far cry from the highly advanced and secure Face ID that Apple introduced on the iPhone X. As a double-whammy of disappointment, this underpowered facial sensing also means that AR Emoji, Samsung’s AR-powered emojis that follow your facial movements, aren’t anywhere near as accurate as Apple’s Animoji. Tests from across the Digital Trends office led to some — er — fairly disturbing uncanny valley creations.

While seeing Andy Boxall transformed into AR Moby is amusing and disturbing in equal measure, we expect that the Galaxy S10 will see some major improvements in its front-facing camera tech. Samsung is apparently teaming up with 3D camera startup Mantis Vision to provide 3D-sensing camera tech for Samsung’s upcoming smartphones — a list that we assume will include the Galaxy S10. The implementation of this tech will hopefully bring Samsung back up to Apple’s level where front-facing sensor tech is concerned, since the Galaxy S9 is definitely playing second fiddle to Apple’s finest in that regard.

Design

Bezel-less is the new name of the smartphone game and we expect that the Galaxy S10 will break new ground in this area. A patent granted by the World Intellectual Property Organisation has revealed that Samsung is working on phone designs that are as close to bezel-free as possible, with fingerprint scanners placed beneath the display tech.

via IndianExpress

It’s currently unclear whether this tech is meant primarily for the Galaxy S10 or the long-rumored Galaxy X foldable smartphone, but we’re willing to bet that Samsung will be trying to place this tech in as many pies as possible, should it succeed in making it.

Specifications

It’s a fair bet that the Galaxy S10 will feature a new iteration of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip, most likely the Snapdragon 855. Samsung has sunk $5.6 billion into a foundry for rumored 7mn chipsets for the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 phones. Risk trials for those chips will begin later this year, with Samsung expecting that mass production would be possible in early 2019 — just in time for a likely S10 release date.

Name

Numbered iterations are great until you start hitting the big numbers. Then it starts to look a little silly.

While we’ve tentatively named this article the “Galaxy S10”, there’s no guarantee that’s what Samsung’s next generation of S-range phone will be called. Some early rumors point that Samsung will be looking to ditch some of its longstanding branding in favor of a fresher name. Most money would be likely to go on “Galaxy X”, but Apple has already claimed that for the iPhone X, and long-running rumors of a foldable flagship called the Galaxy X continue to persist, making that name unlikely. Still, a lot can change between now and the actual release.

Release date

Are we fools for expecting Samsung to stick to its previous release schedule? Perhaps, but we’d still take that wager.

That said, while Samsung launched the Galaxy S9 at MWC 2018, the Galaxy S8 was launched at its own “Unpacked” event in 2017 — and if the Galaxy S10 is likely to be as big a redesign as the S8 was, then it’s likely that Samsung will choose to reveal its newest at its own special event.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on Samsung in the coming months, so watch for our updates on the latest Galaxy S10 news.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • The Samsung Galaxy S9 has finally arrived — here’s everything you need to know
  • Flagship face-off: Samsung’s Galaxy S9 Plus vs. Google’s Pixel 2 XL
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus review
  • Here are five features we’d like to see on the Samsung Galaxy S9
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 vs. Apple iPhone X: Heavyweight smartphone clash


19
Mar

An office in France is testing Li-Fi technology for the first time


We’re moving one step closer still to a future powered not by Wi-Fi, but by Li-Fi. Philips Lighting, which you likely know best for its bulbs and other illuminating fixtures, is now moving into the internet space by offering Light Fidelity, otherwise known as Li-Fi. And it’s not just presenting this technology as a possibility — it’s actually already testing the new network in a real office. Icade, a French real estate investment firm, is one of the first companies in the world to use Li-Fi in order to provide its employees with broadband internet by way of lights.

“LiFi has enormous potential for today’s digital age and as the world’s leading lighting company we are proud to pioneer new and innovative services for our customers,” Olivia Qiu, chief innovation officer at Philips Lighting, said in a statement. “While radio frequencies are becoming congested, the visible light spectrum is an untapped resource with a large bandwidth suitable for the stable simultaneous connection of a vast array of Internet of Things devices. Being a lighting company, we ensure that our customers benefit from the finest quality energy efficient light along with state-of-the-art connectivity.”

So how exactly does Li-Fi work? In essence, it is similar to Wi-Fi, but leverages light waves rather than radio waves in order to transmit data. Philips Lighting’s office luminaires provide Li-Fi that boasts a speed of 30 Mbps, all without creating any flickering or dimming in the light bulbs themselves. As the company notes, at speeds of 30 Mbps, users can simultaneously stream a number of HD videos while engaging in a video call.

In the case of the Philips Lighting luminaires, each is equipped with a built-in modem that modulates the light. This light is then detected by a Li-Fi USB key that is plugged into the socket of either a laptop or tablet (one day, this technology will be built directly into hardware). The USB then returns data to the luminaire through an infrared link.

The real benefit of Li-Fi, of course, is that it can be used in areas where Wi-Fi connectivity may be considerably weaker. For example, while radio frequencies may not be able to reach areas underground or interfere with equipment, lighting can be placed just about anywhere. Furthermore, Philips points out, Li-Fi can be used in situations that require more security, as light cannot pass through solid walls, and in order for Li-Fi to work, you need to literally see the light.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • PureLiFi demos integrated Li-Fi in laptop and phone case at MWC
  • The MyLiFi smart lamp provides speed-of-light internet
  • LightCam is a smart light bulb that is also a security camera
  • These are the best smart light switches you can buy in 2018
  • Your new roommate ‘Kevin’ is a multimedia speaker designed to scare burglars


19
Mar

These are the Wear OS watches that will be updated to Oreo


Google has announced which watches will soon be updated to Android 8.0 Oreo.

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In a support forums thread, Google has listed the following watches that should have Android 8.0 updates rolling out now:

  • Fossil Q Venture
  • LG Watch Sport
  • Louis Vuitton Tambour
  • Michael Kors Sofie
  • Montblanc Summit
  • Hugo BOSS BOSS Touch
  • Movado Connect
  • Tommy Hilfiger 24/7 You
  • Guess Connect
  • Fossil Q Found 2.0
  • Fossil Q Marshal
  • Fossil Q Wander
  • Michael Kors Access Bradshaw
  • Michael Kors Access Dylan
  • TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45
  • Diesel Full Guard
  • Emporio Armani Connected
  • Fossil Q Explorist
  • Michael Kors Access Grayson
  • Fossil Q Control
  • LG Watch Style
  • Misfit Vapor
  • Nixon Mission
  • Huawei Watch 2 (non-cellular versions)

Additionally, most of the other watches released in the last year should see the update as well. Google says that manufacturers are “pursuing” updates for the below models:

  • Casio PRO TREK Smart WSD-F20
  • Casio WSD-F10 Smart Outdoor Watch
  • Mobvoi Ticwatch S & E
  • Polar M600
  • ZTE Quartz
  • TAG Heuer Connected Modular 41
  • Huawei Watch 2 (cellular versions)

As with every Android update, though, the release schedule will vary between manufacturers. Notable devices that won’t receive this update include the second generation Moto 360 and 360 Sport, the LG Watch Urbane and the original Huawei Watch.

Is your watch going to be updated to Oreo? Let us know down below!

This post was updated in March 2018 to list more watches that have received Oreo.

Android Wear

  • Everything you need to know about Android Wear 2.0
  • LG Watch Sport review
  • LG Watch Style review
  • These watches will get Android Wear 2.0
  • Discuss Android Wear in the forums!

19
Mar

How to use gestures to become an Android home screen expert


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Gestures have been an iconic piece of the mobile computing experience since the beginning — even without an icon.

Slide-to-unlock. Pinch-to-zoom. Double-tap-to-wake. Gestures that work well are invaluable to a user’s experience, and Android phone manufacturers are bringing these gestures to the home screen in deceptively simple and astonishingly successful ways.

Case in point: the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Google Pixel 2 — two of the most popular flagships on the Android market — eschew the app drawer button and instead use a gesture to open the drawer. On both phones, swiping up on the home screen will take you into the app drawer, but Samsung goes a step further: by default, swiping down on the home screen will open the app drawer, too.

So what if you want to use a gesture to open something other than the app drawer? No problem.

samsung-s8-advanced-options.jpg?itok=Glchtc-10-motion-gestures-screen.jpg?itok=Oevie-launcher-gestures-screen.png?itok=n

Gesture controls on launchers can be generally broken down into two categories: preset and customizable. First-party launchers like the Pixel Launcher, as well as system-wide gestures on Samsung, HTC, and other devices, are preset gestures in that you can turn them off and on, but you can’t change them from their default action. Some third-party launchers like Evie Launcher utilize preset gestures, likely in the interest of simplicity.

The second category of gesture controls are customizable controls, such as those we find on Action Launcher, Nova Launcher, and ADW 2 Launcher. These launchers all offer a series of gesture controls that the user can assign a desired action to, from direct dialing your mother to opening the notification shade to opening Google Maps or launching a Tasker task. Customizable gesture controls let the user create the UI that they want through their taps and swipes.

action-launcher-gestures-screen.png?itoknova-launcher-gestures-screen.png?itok=_adw-launcher-gestures-screen.png?itok=1F

While most launchers put things in different places, customizable gesture controls on launchers are generally in the same place and format. Look for Gestures or Shortcuts on your launcher’s settings menu. You’ll be treated to a list of gestures you can assign shortcuts and apps to. Tap the gesture you desire, then you’ll be treated to a list of all the things you can assign there. While the possibilities are really quite endless, here are some popular and useful ways to utilize gesture controls on your home screen:

  • Swipe up to open app drawer
  • Swipe down to open notification shade
  • Double-tap to open app
  • Double-tap to lock phone 1
  • Two-finger swipe down for Quick Settings
  • Two-finger swipe up to connect to home Bluetooth speaker (Tasker task)
  • Two-finger swipe down to disconnect to home Bluetooth speaker (Tasker task)
  • Tap Home button (on home screen) to open Google app
  • Two-finger swipe up to turn on flashlight.
  • Swipe the Phone app to call Mom

1 A lot of users do this to avoid wearing out their power button, and for phones with double-tap to wake since they start getting used to double-tapping to wake and sleep.

That last one is a swipe action. Nova Launcher allows you to not only assign actions to a gesture to the home screen but to individual apps on your home screen, called swipe actions in the shortcut editing screen. Swipe actions allows us to do things like:

  • Direct dial mom by swiping the Phone app
  • Add a secret app to a folder by making it the shortcut gesture — I use this to avoid blank spaces in folders
  • Begin Navigating home when you swipe on Google Maps
  • Toggle Bluetooth when you swipe on Google Play Music
  • Start playing your drive-time playlist when you swipe on Google Play Music

gesture-controls-shortcut-gesture-edit-c

Beyond Nova Launcher, there aren’t a lot of launchers that support swipe actions. Also, as more and more apps continue to support Android 7.1 App Shortcuts, users are being offered offer multiple options as opposed to the singular action assigned to swipe actions. It’ll be interesting to see how launcher continue to handle this over the next year or two.

So what gestures do you give your phone on a regular basis? Have you hit upon the perfect shortcut system to achieve peak efficiency on your home screen? Share them with us in the comments — I’m always looking for new shortcut combos to try.

Updated March 2018: This post has been updated to reflect changes in flagships, launchers, and some gesture magic.

19
Mar

World of Tanks AR Experience announced at GDC 2018


Get up close and personal with a Soviet T-44-100.

World of Tanks has become one of the most popular free-to-play games around, and in celebration of its big 1.0 release, developer Wargaming partnered with Google to release World of Tanks AR Experience, a brand-new augmented reality app that’s powered by Google’s ARCore.

world-of-tanks-ar-experience-1.jpg?itok=

Although you won’t be engaging in the same 15 vs. 15 multiplayer battles like in the main game, War of Tanks AR Experience is still worth checking out whether you’re a long-time fan of the game or just have a love for 20th-century tanks.

You can view three different tanks in AR, including the Soviet T-44-100, German Tiger I, and German Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bomber. You can place these tanks anywhere in the real world, choose how large or small you want them to be, view them from any angle, drive them on your road, and even create small battles between tanks that you can witness first-hand.

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The virtual tanks can be dismantled in mid-air so you can get up-close and personal with what makes them tick while learning more about them, and photo/video functions allow you to share your tanks on all of your favorite social media platforms.

World of Tanks AR Experience can be downloaded now from the Play Store, and it works on any Android phone that’s ARCore compatible — including the Pixel 2/2 XL, Galaxy S9/S9+, LG V30, and many more. The app will be available in China this April, and it’s also available for iOS on the App Store.

Download: World of Tanks AR Experience (free)

19
Mar

Google Play Instant allows you to play games before downloading them


Available first for Words With Friends 2, Clash Royale, and others.

The Google Play Store is home to millions of mobile games, and while a lot of them are truly excellent, there are also quite a few that aren’t even worth the time of day. To help you better decide which games are downloading and which aren’t, Google is launching Play Instant on the Play Store.

google-play-store-app-games-hero-pixel.j

Using the Android Instant Apps technology that was announced back at Google I/O in 2016, Google Play Instant enables you to play small portions of games before downloading the whole thing. These previews can include the first level of a game, tutorial, or a small mini-game, with this decision being left entirely up to developers.

There are a few different Play Instant games you can try right now, including Clash Royale, Words With Friends 2, Mighty Battles, NYTimes Crossword, and more. Additional games will be added soon, and you can find them in the Instant Gameplay library on the Play Store and in the Arcade tab in Play Games under “Instant Gameplay.”

play-instant-games-words-with-friends-2.google-play-instant-play-games.jpg?itok=

So far, Play Instant Games seem pretty solid. Titles like Mighty Battles and Words With Friends 2 offer short tutorial-like levels that let you get a taste of what each one has to offer, but on the other hand, the Instant Game for Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire is nothing more than a tapping mini-game that has nothing to do with the real offering. Again, all of what’s offered here is up to developers.

Play Instant Games are available now as part of a closed beta, but Google says it plans on “opening it more broadly later this year.”

How to use gestures to become an Android home screen expert

19
Mar

Best Tempered Glass Screen Protectors for Google Pixel 2


google-pixel-2-hardware-hands-on-1-555a.

What are the best tempered glass screen protectors for the Pixel 2?

The Google Pixel 2 is here and as expected it’s pretty amazing — and if you want to keep it looking amazing, you should be sure to protect that screen with a screen protector. Tempered glass screen protectors are your best option for protecting your phone’s screen from drop damage and general wear and tear. And chances are you will see some wear over time.

Fortunately, there’s a number of great options out there for you to choose from. Let’s dive in!

  • Whitestone Dome Glass Tempered Glass Screen Protector
  • Power Support Tempered Glass Film
  • IntelliGLASS Tempered Glass Screen Protector
  • Supershieldz Tempered Glass Screen Protector [2-pack]
  • Vigeer Tempered Glass Screen Protector [2-pack]
  • ZeKing Tempered Glass Screen Protector [2-pack]
  • InvisibleShield Glass+ Tempered Glass Screen Protector
  • amFilm Pixel 2 XL Tempered Glass Screen Protector

Whitestone Dome Glass Tempered Glass Screen Protector

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The Whitestone Dome Glass screen protector has quickly become one of the more trusted options for keeping your smartphone display safe. Sure, it’s absolutely the most expensive option but it has won over a ton of fans.

Typically sold for $60, you can get one for the Pixel 2 for just $45. Check out this review and installation guide to get an idea of how this tempered glass screen protector uniquely adheres like no other screen protector you’ve seen before. If the worst case scenario has already occurred and your screen is cracked, think of this as a second chance screen before dropping hundreds of dollars on a proper replacement screen. The packaged UV light required to complete the curing process makes this a bit more of an involved process, but if you spend the time to install it right the first time you should have one of the most reliable screen protectors for your Pixel 2!

See at Amazon

Power Support Tempered Glass Film

Power-Support-screen-protector-press_0.j

Next, we’ll shift gears and look at the tempered glass accessory Google sells alongside the Pixel 2 on the Google Store. It has a black border at the top and bottom to help with lining it up during installation and also has cutouts around the front-facing speakers. Curved edges ensure a good in-hand feel, and the oleophobic coating will ensure you’re not constantly wiping fingerprint and grease smudges off of your screen.

Google is selling this screen protector for a whopping $39.95, but for that money, you can be sure that it’s a quality product and designed precisely for your Pixel 2.

See at Google

IntelliGLASS 3D Tempered Glass Screen Protector

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IntelliARMOR is a trusted brand in phone protection, and right now they’ve got a great deal on their IntelliGLASS 3D screen protectors. Regularly sold for $45, you can get one for just $20.

The IntelliGLASS screen protector is incredibly thin and features the ever-important oleophobic coating to prevent oils and dirt from sticking to your screen. It’s a great option that is super thin and lightweight but tough when it counts. IntelliGLASS uses a silicone-based adhesive that makes for an easy installation, and if you have any problem the IntelliARMOR customer service will work to make things right. It’s available with a white or black border, or you can opt for the IntelliGLASS HD that’s fully transparent and starts shipping the first week of December.

See at IntelliARMOR

Supershieldz Tempered Glass Screen Protector [2-pack]

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If you like screen protectors with a border around the screen (which helps with installation), you should check out this affordable offering from Supershieldz. This two-pack of tempered glass screen protectors includes all the features you’d expect, such as hydrophobic and oleophobic coatings to keep your screen clean.

The kit includes alignment stickers and Supershieldz guarantees a bubble-free installation. If you run into any issues, you can contact Supershieldz customer support as it offers a no-hassle lifetime replacement warranty on its products. Available for just $7.99, this is a premium option at a budget price.

See at Amazon

Vigeer Tempered Glass Screen Protector [2-pack]

Vigeer-pixel-2-screen-protector-press_0.

Vigeer has opted for cutouts around the front-facing speakers at the top and bottom, which will leave those bits of the screen exposed. But otherwise, this screen protector will cover the entire flat portion of the screen (damn those curved edges!) and should be fully compatible with cases.

The kit comes with two protectors along with a microfiber cleaning cloth, an alcohol wipe pad, and some dust removal stickers to ensure you get a clean installation. Get this 2-pack for just $7.99.

See at Amazon

ZeKing Tempered Glass Screen Protector [2-pack]

ZeKing-Pixel-2-screen-protector-press_0.

If you like the price of the Vigeer option but don’t like leaving the top and bottom edges of your phone exposed, ZeKing’s screen protector is for you. Opting to provide precise cutouts around the front-facing speakers instead, this two-pack of tempered glass screen protectors will offer good protection for the entirety of the display up to the curved edge of the screen glass.

It’s a basic kit but includes all the standard features including an oleophobic coating for fingerprints along with alcohol wipes for a clean installation. At just $5.99, you aren’t likely to find a better deal on a tempered glass screen protector.

See at Amazon

InvisibleShield Glass+ Tempered Glass Screen Protector

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Zagg is a trusted name in phone accessories, and especially screen protectors.

The InvisibleShield Glass+ provides ample impact protection for your screen and is designed to withstand shattering itself. If it does, you can count on its limited lifetime warranty in which it’ll replace the screen protector if it gets worn or damaged for as long as you own the phone (you only pay shipping and handling costs).

It’s also smudge- and scratch-resistant, too, so it will hold up nicely to daily wear and tear — and you wouldn’t expect any less from a product that costs $39.99.

See at Zagg

amFilm Pixel 2 XL Tempered Glass Screen Protector

amfilm-pixel-2-xl-screen-protector-press

One of the few options available for the Pixel 2 XL, this tempered glass screen protector from amFilm should do the trick. It’s been specifically designed for the larger model and claims to offer edge-to-edge protection. The glass has a black trim around the perimeter of the curved corner display, and notches cut out of the top and bottom to accomodate the front-facing speakers.

This is a case-friendly screen protector that features an invisible dot matrix to simulate fingerprint contact most accurately. It also has an olophobic coating to prevent fingerprints which is always important.

There may be cheaper options to come, but for $12.99 you’ll get everything you’ll need to ensure a clean installation and quality protection for your new phone.

See at Amazon

Which screen protectors do you trust?

Are you going to grab something off our list? Eyeing a different brand? Let us know in the comments!

Update March 2018: Added the Whitestone Dome Glass screen protector and updated the pricing information.

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

  • Pixel 2 FAQ: Everything you need to know!
  • Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL review: The new standard
  • Google Pixel 2 specs
  • Google Pixel 2 vs. Pixel 2 XL: What’s the difference?
  • Join our Pixel 2 forums

Best Buy
Verizon
Google Store
Project Fi

19
Mar

Google app being updated with podcast management tool


You can subscribe to podcasts, resume playback, view trending ones, and more.

The Google Play Store is home to tons of different podcast apps, but for whatever reason, Google still doesn’t offer an out-of-the-box solution for Android. Sure, you can listen to them with Play Music, but the experience is embarrassingly barebones and leaves a lot to be desired. Thankfully, it looks like this is starting to change.

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First spotted by Android Police, searching for a podcast from the Google app or from the Google Search widget and tapping on the “More episodes” tab will take you to a brand-new page dedicated for that podcast. You can subscribe to it, view past episodes, and add an icon for it right to your home screen.

However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you tap on the icon at the very top left, you’re taken to screen titled “Podcasts” that shows any podcasts you’re subscribed to, top and trending ones, top podcasts by category, and a card for continuing podcasts you were previously listening to.

Tapping the three dots in the top right lets you add a shortcut to this page on your home screen and change how your subscriptions appear at the top of it.

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Once you start playing a podcast, you’ll have controls for play/pause, jump 10 seconds back or 30 seconds forward, set the playback speed anywhere from 0.5x to 2x, and jump to any part in the episode using the progress bar.

This new podcasts page doesn’t appear to be entirely rolled out just yet, but I’ve been able to use it just fine on my end. It’s not quite as feature-rich as something like Pocket Casts, but it’s already world’s better than what’s offered with Play Music.

Do you have access to this new podcasts page yet? If so, is it something you think you’ll use? Let me know in the comments below!

Google Play Instant allows you to play games before downloading them

19
Mar

Machine learning could lead to smarter mobile notifications


Push notifications on phones are both a blessing and a curse. After all, it’s important to get information you need when it happens. But some apps send way too many push notifications, which often leads to turning off notifications for the app or deleting it altogether. The question is, how do you balance between necessary and extraneous push notifications? A new AI, outlined by Ton Ton Hsieng-De Huang and Hung-Yu Kao on arXiv.org, may be able to do just that.

This machine learning, which the developers call C-3PO (heh), worked by analyzing a person’s browsing history, shopping history and financial details. The data was provided by Leopard Mobile, a Taiwan-based internet company. The neural network then analyzed the pop-up notifications people were getting and which ones they clicked on. As a result, the AI was able to make push notifications “smarter,” reducing the number of overall notifications and increasing the click through rates on the ones that did appear, according to the article.

The team still has work to do. The next steps are to improve the neural network model by decreasing the number of complex tasks it has to perform. Additionally, they would like to apply this model to a system that advertisers could use to optimize when and how often they are delivering ads.

Anyone who’s struggled with the sheer number of push notifications on their phones can see why this could potentially be a good thing. The easiest solution to decreasing push notifications is to turn off notifications or delete an app altogether. This gives users and app developers both a potentially better option.

Via: MIT Technology Review

Source: arXiv.org

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