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Posts tagged ‘App’

29
Sep

Periscope’s VIP program rewards popular livestreaming users


If you’re popular on Periscope, the livestreaming app will soon reward you as part of its new VIP program. The three-tier initiative is designed to incentivize creators who have invested time in using Twitter’s live video option with tools that will help them make their audiences even bigger. In other words, it gives livestreamers a reason to use the platform more and make an effort to pad that follower total. Gold, Silver and Bronze levels require follower counts of 10,000, 30,000 and 100,000, respectively. There are also benchmarks for average viewer tallies and you’ll need to be broadcasting at least twice a week.

So, what are the perks? All three levels will get badges attached to their profile so everyone will know they’re a VIP. The Bronze tier includes care packages to help you look your best, a boost in search results and a list of tips and tricks. Members of the Silver level gain prioritized support, access to “future discovery products,” private streams with Periscope for a behind-the-scenes look and a Slack channel for fellow VIPs. The top Gold tier includes all the stuff from Bronze and Silver levels with the ability to collaborate directly with the Periscope team.

If you meet the criteria, you can apply for Periscope’s VIP program right here. It’s free, but those are some hefty requirements you’ll need to fulfill in order to gain access. Though the program was announced this week, the sign-up page officially lists it as “coming soon.”

Source: Periscope (Medium)

28
Sep

Twitter opens its Moments story-telling feature to all


Twitter debuted Moments as a means of slowing down the news feed almost a year ago. Back in August, the social network announced that all users would soon be able to employ the tool and today the company is keeping its promise. Everyone is now able to create their own Moments to highlight an event or story with the narrative feature. Whatever the topic or occasion may be, you can now compile a collection of tweets should the need arise. All you have to do is select “Create a new Moment,” add the relevant tweets, select a cover image and publish it for all of your followers to see. The feature is now available on the web and will soon make its way Twitter’s mobile apps.

For everyone who wants to make a Moment – starting today you can! Creators everywhere can now tell stories with Tweets. pic.twitter.com/ZJtNBoTPWf

— Twitter (@twitter) September 28, 2016

Source: Twitter (via Twitter), Twitter Support

28
Sep

MLB’s At Bat app now plays highlight videos on your lock screen


With iOS 10, Apple has expanded its devices’ 3D touch applications from gimmicky afterthoughts to quick feature accessibility. It’s also opened up what kind of interactions are possible from the lock screen. Some savvy developers have already combined the two, like those working on MLB’s official At Bat app. Its latest upgrade pops up videos as notifications on your locked screen, which play with just a bit of 3D touch pressure.

You’ll still have to unlock it to view them, but that’s easier than completely opening your device and go into the app to watch baseball clips. It’s a good example of the newfound freedom developers have with the latest iOS to add new functionality to existing concepts, like 3D touch and iMessage. While adding stickers to text conversations is an ignoble start, there’s a lot of functionality we’ve yet to see app makers take advantage of. But at least we have lock screen highlights for the lucky few among us whose teams will advance to the playoffs.

Via: The Verge

Source: MLB At Bat app (iTunes)

28
Sep

dodocool Solar charger with a built-in 10000mAh battery pack (review)


According to NASA, the Sun generates 386 billion megawatts of energy which is released as light and heat. The most powerful nuclear power plant in the US produces a meager 3,937 megawatts, where one megawatt powers about 1,000 homes. The point is the sun is a great source of free and powerful green energy. Not even nuclear power compares to the energy we fail to harness from the sun every single day.

Harnessing the Sun’s natural energy has become more mainstream and solar panels are now lightweight and efficient enough to power mobile devices. I’ve been using the dodocool Solar charger with a built-in 10000mAh battery pack and think it’s a solid option for those who sometimes need an alternative to wall outlets.

Build and Usage

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The dodocool solar charger is mostly made of a durable ballistic nylon that folds up into a binder sized package. It has two solar panels that manage to draw in 12W of power with full sunlight and outputs the power in the form of dual USB ports at 2.1A (total). This solar charger from dodocool is one of a few with an actual built-in power bank, as many others that cost the same price or more simply have the charging panels with USB out ports.

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Solar panel technology does not convert all of the sun’s power into electricity, and the dodocool charger converts it at 22% efficiency. That’s generally the norm even for home solar panels. 2.1A is certainly not enough power to charge Android devices at Quick Charge speeds, but it is fast enough to charge the entire battery bank in a full day of sunlight. Similar to home panels, if there are clouds or shade, the panels will not convert the sun’s power into electricity.

The dodocool solar charger is significantly better than those without power banks mainly because you do not need to leave your portable devices in full sunlight to charge. Leaving your smartphone, especially metal ones like those from HTC or Apple can turn your devices to scolding hot temperatures. That’s not good for your hands and it is definitely not good for the internal components.

With a kickstand built into the back, the dodocool solar charger can easily be left in direct sunlight without having to monitor it. There is also a cable that can be adjusted to stand the charger at an optimal angle.

dsc04236On the corners of the charging panels are metal holes which can be used to attached to the rear side of backpacks. That’s a thoughtful design for those who love to hike or backpack in the back country where solar power is the only option.

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The power bank is rated at 10000mAh which is enough power to charge most smartphone 2-3 times on a single charge. My Samsung Galaxy Note 7 took about an hour to charge from 5%-50% which three quarters of the power remaining. It’s not Quick Charge speed, but it is still fast enough to be highly functional.

You never know when you might run out of power, and having the sun as a viable option for mobile devices is one that wasn’t available to me just five years ago.

I live in San Diego where sun is plentiful, so consider your climate before purchasing a portable solar charger. If you live in northern climates that see more clouds than sun, it might not be a viable option of power for you.

Summary

What’s extremely nice about the dodocool Solar charger is the integrated 10000mAh power bank. The built-in battery allows users to store solar energy without having to leave devices directly in the sun to fry. It’s a great option for those who love the back country, or for those who want a source of back up power in case of power outages. Right now it is priced at $48.44 at Amazon with discount code 25ZW7E5F and is very affordable compared to the competition.

I leave my solar charger on my patio during the day to recharge, and then charge my smartphone and wireless headphones with it at night. It’s not a huge impact on energy consumption, but it is a good place to start. I will also be dragging it along on my annual camping trips as well to power my wireless speaker and other mobile devices.

Check out the dodocool Solar Charger with a built-in 10000mAh power bank at Amazon. Use discount code 25ZW7E5F at checkout to drop the price to $48.44 from $56.99

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Dodocool fast wireless charger: Solid performer for a reasonable price (review)

28
Sep

Call of Duty: Heroes (review)


Not Super.  But a Hero, nonetheless.

Lately game publishers have been eager to spin off their popular console and PC titles onto mobile platforms, in order to broaden their audience and cash in on the popularity of some big name games. Call of Duty: Heroes is a perfect example of this push towards market expansion and big name proliferation.

Created by newcomers Faceroll Games, Call of Duty: Heroes sets players on a path of resource gathering, troop and operations management, and leader of the heroes, as a commander of a military base. As missions are completed, the player is rewarded with fuel and money which brings more items, heroes, and resources to expand. The overall mission structure is fairly strong and the base mechanics work well, as long as you can avoid the occasional network issues.

Being a free-to-play game, you will come across the “pay-to-advance” system that is unfortunately found in many games. Each building you create or troop you train takes time, and in order to skip the wait, you can spend the in game currency, Celerium. However players also have the option to watch video advertisements in order to acquire more Celerium.

4_call_of_duty_heroes.jpgOccasionally you’ll attack bases from a first-person mode

Overall, the base-building and supply gather system can be quite addictive. This is a tactical, real-time strategy game interspersed with short mini-game action sequences. Troops and buildings are discernible from the bland backgrounds and the sounds and music are good, but not quite what we normally expect from a Call of Duty game.

Controlling heroes is where the game gets a little more in depth and consequently a little more entertaining. All heroes are callbacks from the mainline Call of Duty games and fun to watch when they’re out strutting their stuff. Each hero has the ability to go on ‘Killstreaks’ as they progress through their own missions. This is a nice changeup to the otherwise bland mechanics found in basic troops.

cod-heroes-priceCaptain Price makes a return as a “Hero”

As you complete missions you’ll open up new play styles including a PvP mode that lets you play online against others and a survival mode that pits you against waves of enemy forces. Upgrade quickly and effectively and you’ll soon find yourself on the next mission – or make a mistake in allocating resources and you may find yourself scrambling for the appropriate weapons and troops to take down your enemy.

Call of Duty: Heroes doesn’t bring anything new or amazing to the table, but its overall polish, variety and unique callbacks within the franchise, make for a solid game. Any fan of military action or strategy games -or Call of Duty fans in general – will find a solid amount of entertainment and gameplay here. Heroes is a back-pocket call to duty that’s worthy of recruitment.

Check out Call of Duty:Heroes at the Google Play Store.

 

25
Sep

UNITEK 60W 6-Port USB Smart Charging Station (review)


It’s very commonplace for me to see people who move their single port chargers with them whenever they need a charge. Most people stick with the chargers that came with their phones or tablets, only to be forced to swap it out when another wireless device needs power. There are only two plugs per wall outlet, and single port chargers take up half of the plugs even though there’s more than enough power to supply multiple devices at the same time.

It’s time you consider upgrading to a multi-port charging station.

The verdict is in – UNITEK makes solid and reliable chargers. Two weeks ago I reviewed a massive 10-port charging station from UNITEK and since then my desk has been organized and much more pleasant to look at. I’ve been using UNITEK’s 60W 6-Port USB Smart Charging Station and have come to the conclusion that it offers great chargers at excellent prices.

Build and Usage

UNITEK’s 60W 6-Port USB Smart Charging Station has enough ports to satisfy even the most tech savvy consumer. Six ports is enough to charge a smartphone, tablet, wireless headphones, speaker, power bank and smartwatch all at the same time.

UNITEK’s 6-port charger has one Quick Charge 2.0 port for charging smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 at the fastest possible speed. No wireless accessories are capable of charging at QC 2.0 speeds so having more than one QC USB port would add unnecessary cost. This is a well thought out decision by UNITEK considering most people only have one smartphone capable of Quick Charge speeds.

The UNITEK charging station has five 2.4A charging ports with integrated smarts to take advantage of charging most devices at the maximum speed. iOS devices come to mind when I think of 2.4A as the maximum amount of power they can take at any given time.

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The UNITEK 6-Port charging station is compact for its capability of charging six devices at simultaneously. It measures in at 4.5” L x 3″ W x 1.1″ thick. The Amazon description lists it at 6″ x 6″ x 3″, but that is a reference to the product packaging. I didn’t quite think this charging station was anywhere near as long or as wide as six inches, so I measured it myself with a calibrated set of digital calipers. The station is made of high quality plastic, which keeps it light weight at just .8 ounces.

There’s a small vent on the back for releasing heat when it is under full load. The front is where the six USB ports are located, and the one QC 2.0 port is clearly labeled and separated from the rest. It’s a simple yet effective charger.

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One nice feature I came across is the built-in rotating stand. All other multi-port charging stations I have used in the past include a stand, but it is usually a separate piece that can easily be lost.

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This kind of feature normally shouldn’t make news, but it shows UNITEK’s commitment to perfecting its products. The integrated stand is very effective at keeping the charging station upright and is a detail I appreciate. It simply proves to me that while others may consider it an afterthought, UNITEK does not, and that gives me even more confidence in the internals.

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The QC 2.0 port is perfect for charging my Note 7 from 5%-50% in just over 30 minutes. It’s nice to have this feature when I am in need of quick power, although the other five ports suit me just fine 98% of the time.

Being so compact makes this a great travel companion, as the last thing I want to bring along is more than one charger. I can easily fit this into a laptop bag or backpack and set it on my hotel desk to recharge all of my devices at the same time.

Summary

It’s a fact that most of you have more than one wireless USB device. Rather than sticking with single USB chargers, upgrade to a multi-port version. UNITEK hooked up AndroidGuys’ readers with an exclusive discount code so you can grab it for just $16.99 at Amazon with discount code LQCABGRV at checkout. 

You can search for multi-port charging stations on Amazon, but you have to be weary of low-quality versions. They have the potential to fry your devices. UNITEK sits on my desk and nightstand with its multi-port charging stations, and I wholeheartedly recommend both, especially at the prices they are listed for.

Check out the UNITEK 60W 6-Port USB Smart Charging Station at Amazon.

If you would like to read my full review of the UNITEK 10-Port Charging Station, click on the link below.

UNITEK 60W 10-port Charging Station with QC 2.0 (review)

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25
Sep

GekoGrip xM3 Series Modular Magnetic CD slot car mount for smartphones (review)


A couple of weeks ago I reviewed a smartphone mount for your automobile from GekoGrip. It was a modular magnetic vent mount that certainly met a high level of quality for a reasonable price. I can’t emphasize enough how dangerous it is to talk or text with your smartphone in your hand while driving. It’s against the law for a reason, and for your own sake you should obey the rules so you can make it safely no matter your destination.

I’ve switched out my vent mount from GekoGrip for its CD slot mount for those of you who prefer to keep your air vents free of distraction. The GekoGrip CD slot mount is a solid option for those of you who want to keep your windshield free of distraction while giving your antiquated CD players a whole new purpose.

Let’s check it out.

Design and Build

The GekoGip xM3 series modular magnetic CD slot car mount is just as its name describes – a cd slot mount designed to hold your smartphone in place while keeping you safe while driving. It’s designed to fit in the CD slot, without actually intruding into the CD player where the internals can be exposed to dust.

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It has a solid plastic build, which minimizes the weight while offering high durability. There is a screw on the bottom which leverages the center piece of the mount to grip in between the top and bottom part of your CD slot.

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When inserted into the slot and tightened down, the center piece moves several millimeters to position itself neatly in between the top and bottom of the slot. It doesn’t have unlimited range, meaning it won’t destroy your CD player no matter how tight you make it.

Once tightened, which takes a matter of seconds, you can see the Gecko shaped magnetic head in the front of the CD slot that protrudes about 2.5 inches giving you access to the buttons behind it.

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If you still use CDs while you drive to listen to music, this isn’t the mount for you. You will always find yourself pulling it out to listen to a CD, but the reality is most people have gone away from compact disc technology.

I tend to prefer this mount style over windshield mounts, as the latter can create blindspots in your field of view. Depending on the state you live in, some windshield mounts might even be illegal due to that distraction. Or they may be limited by where you can actually mount them to a windshield, like the lower left hand corner of your window. Failure to comply with proper windshield mount placement can result in an expensive ticket, or worse an accident which you will be at fault for.

The GekoGrip CD slot mount offers two styles of magnetic attachment – one rectangular piece of metal for placing between your smartphone and its case, or the second is a very sticky circular disk for those of you who prefer to go case free. What I like about the rectangular metal piece for sandwiching between the case and phone is the ultra soft felt like material which prevents scratches on your phone.

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The magnet is strong enough to hold up to 300g of weight, which is more than enough strength to hold up heavier phones like my Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (169g) in a BodyGuardz case. You’re also free to rotate your smartphone 360 degrees, giving you the freedom to position your device in whatever way you prefer. There’s a swivel too so passengers can turn the smartphone towards themselves if they want to help with the music selection or navigation.

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I particularly like this mount mainly because it is placed where the auto manufacturer decided the safest place for the radio would be. It’s not too low or too high, which may seem like a small detail, but it helps me keep my eyes on the road at all times.

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In a city like San Diego where we have millions of tourists each year who don’t always know where they are going, that little detail goes a long way in keeping me safe. It literally only takes seconds of taking your eyes off the road to get into a bad accident out here.

The magnet is the same as found on the vent mount I reviewed before, which is strong enough to keep my phone in place even with my bouncy off road suspension and pot hole riddled roads in San Diego. This mount is ultra convenient because I never have to tighten my phone down into a mount, instead I just stick it to the magnet and get on my way.

Summary

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I am thoroughly impressed with GekoGrip’s CD slot mount. It’s build very well and will not damage your CD slot. The triangular magnet is strong enough to hold any of my smartphones in place while keeping my windshield free of blind spots.

Priced at $24.95 at Amazon, I can’t think of a more important investment in your safety for when you drive. Personally I don’t care if you get a ticket because if you are using a smartphone while driving you should consider yourself lucky. But I care about your safety first and foremost. $25 is a bargain if it prevents you from being injured or if it prevents you from injuring others. The stories of people crashing while driving distracted are real. There is absolutely no reason with today’s available accessories, for these accidents to occur. A death over a text message is just not worth it.

As we rely more on our mobile devices, accessories like the GekoGrip mount become even more important. If you don’t have a car mount, get one today. I highly recommend the GekoGrip xM3 Magnetic CD slot Car Mount where you can get it from Amazon with free Prime Shipping.

If you would like to read my review of the GekoGrip xM3 vent mount, check it out in the link below. Be smart and stay safe.

GekoGrip Modular magnetic air vent car mount (review)

23
Sep

ARCHEER 2-port 17W wall charger (2 pack): Great value for quality chargers


Admit it. You probably move your single port wall charger with you when you need a charge. Or if you have a family, there is always one member of the household who seems to have all of the chargers, leaving everyone else to fend for themselves.

It’s time you added a few more chargers in your life. The quality of third party chargers is superb these days, while the prices have come down to very affordable levels.

I’ve been using ARCHEER’s dual port wall chargers and think they’re perfect for those who don’t need bulky power stations.

Build and Usage

Admittedly, writing reviews about chargers isn’t the funnest thing to do, but without chargers all of our mobile devices would be useless. They’re essential, even more so now with the explosion of wireless headphones, speakers, smartwatches, power banks and other gadgets that rely on battery power.

I’ve been using ARCHEER’s 17W/3.4A 2-port wall chargers (2-pack) from Amazon and think they are suitable for most needs.

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The charger itself is made from plastic and has a matte finish which resists fingerprints. It’s rather small, measuring in at 1.9 x 1.5 x 1.2 inches making it very portable and unnoticeable when plugged into wall outlets. The prongs are in a fixed position and do not fold into the charger, however they are extremely tight and have minimal chances of breaking. There’s also a small LED light on the front to indicate the charger is receiving power.

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The total power output of the charger is at 3.4A, which means if you have two devices plugged in, it will split the power evenly. When a single device is plugged in, it is capable of Quick Charge 2.0 speeds, as well as charging iOS devices at the maximum speeds they are capable of at 2.4A. For those times when you need a fast charge, simply make sure you only have one device plugged in at a time.

ARCHEER’s dual port charger is capable of charging newer devices like my Samsung Galaxy Note 7 with USB type C since it has built-in circuitry to manage proper charging. It doesn’t have the power output to charge my Note 7 at full speed, but it still gets the job done safely. I also tested the charger with the LG G5, Xiaomi Mi5, iPad Pro, Bose Soundlink II and a whole host of other accessories without issue.

Summary

What is particularly nice about the 2-pack of chargers from ARCHEER is the great price at $16.99 with free Prime shipping. The chargers are well built, smart, and offer dual ports which is a nice option to have with the variety of devices I own that run on battery power.

There’s nothing particularly fancy about the chargers, but in an age where so many devices need USB power, the ARCHEER dual port chargers are essential to staying powered and on the go. Reliability and safety are vital when it comes to chargers and ARCHEER’s deliver on those essentials at an excellent price of just $16.99 for two.

Looking for value? Head on over to Amazon and get the two pack of the ARCHEER 2-port wall chargers.

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22
Sep

Flywheel’s phone-based taxi meter arrives in NYC


Flywheel is giving taxis in New York City the modern touch. The company is bringing its software meter and app-based hailing system to the Big Apple after its initial release in a handful of cities last year. TaxiOS puts a cab’s navigation, payment, meter and dispatch system on a single phone. It can automatically calculate fares, including tolls, split the total amount between passengers, accept credit card and cash payments and email receipts to customers. Plus, it will allow taxis in the city to accept app payments made through Flywheel’s Uber-like ride-hailing app even if you flag them down in the street.

“New York City is the heart of the taxi industry in the U.S., but its drivers and passengers have been left in the dark with outdated technology for quite some time,” the company said in a statement. “Now that TaxiOS has been approved for citywide operation, we’re giving NYC Yellow Cabs the tools needed to compete with rideshare giants. By providing drivers with a smartphone, we’re getting rid of the outdated, and frankly, annoying technology currently in cabs.”

Flywheel is rolling out TaxiOS to a thousand cabs in the Big Apple by the end of the year, making NYC its seventh location after San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego, Sacramento and Portland. Besides modernizing the taxi meter, the startup also plans to launch a backseat entertainment system for cabs that will allow passengers to enjoy “personalized content, social channels and more” later this year.

Source: Flywheel

22
Sep

Vizio’s SmartCast soundbars don’t work well with Spotify for now


Vizio’s line of SmartCast soundbars and speakers tout Google Cast for wireless audio streaming from a variety of apps. One of those apps is Spotify, a massively popular music streaming service. Unfortunately, the Cast functionality with that particular library of tunes isn’t working like it should. There are a number of posts in both Spotify and Google’s forums from users who say Vizio’s latest soundbars don’t show up as an option for Casting in the streaming app. Spotify’s software isn’t recognizing the speakers as available gadgets for playing music. Reports of the issue go back as far as late July, over a month after the SmartCast soundbars went on sale.

While the situation is certainly a headache for folks who already bought Vizio’s audio gear, the company says a fix is on the way. “Vizio, Google and Spotify are aware of an issue on the soundbars and are working closely on improvements via a firmware update,” the company told Engadget. “Once available, the product will update automatically. In the meantime, we recommend using Bluetooth when streaming from Spotify.”

Bluetooth isn’t the best option in terms of audio quality, but at least the secondary connectivity offers a way for owners to still use Vizio’s soundbars with Spotify in the interim. Vizio doesn’t have a timeline for when the fix will be available, so Bluetooth may be the only option for using that particular music service for the foreseeable future. Users report that Cast functionality works well in other audio apps, so the issue appears to be limited to using Spotify with Vizio’s group of soundbars. The company didn’t mention any issues with the recently released Crave 360 speaker that went on sale earlier this month.

[Thanks, Dan]

Source: Spotify Community, Google Product Forums

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