Sony’s next flagship looks very similar to the Xperia XZ.

Sony has a tendency to stick with one design for its flagships as long as it can. 2015′s Xperia Z4 had imperceptible differences compared to 2013′s Xperia Z. Sony tweaked its design language with the newer XZ series, and it looks like that design will carry forward.

@OnLeaks and Comapreaja have shared images of the alleged Sony Xperia XZ1, the sequel to the Xperia XZ. The device is said to have a 5.2-inch display, though there is no mention of the resolution. The device will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Android 8.0 with Sony’s minimal customizations, a 19-megapixel rear camera able to record at 4K, and a 12-megapixel front-facing camera. The Xperia XZ debuted with flagship-level specs at the end of 2016, so this will make for a nice sequel. Here is a gallery of the leaked images:

Are you interested in the Sony Xperia XZ1? Let us know down below!

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a deal on Rachio sprinkler controller system!

If the rest of your home is already smart, why not your lawn, too? The Rachio 2nd gen Smart sprinkler controller is on sale at Woot. You can get the eight-zone controller for $150 or the 16 zone for $180. These prices include Woot’s $5 flat-rate shipping fee.

The eight zone sells for $188 on Amazon and rarely goes below $170. The 16 zone goes for $248 and hasn’t dropped below $210 since February.

It used to be that Smart devices were doing something new. Letting you add convenience to ordinary tasks in a way you didn’t even realize you wanted. But now all the Smart devices do the same thing – change the lights, control your TV with your voice, etc. Rachio is unique because not a lot of Smart systems want to tackle your front lawn.

Rachio adds voice control, a mobile app, and customization options to your yard. It can adapt to the weather and adjust accordingly. It can save you money on your water bill by not wasting water when it isn’t needed, and because of that you might actually even be able to get a discount from your water provider just for installing it.

This system has a ton of positive reviews, including 4.5 stars and an Editor’s Choice from PC Mag. More than 1,800 users on Amazon give it 4.7 stars.

Both versions come with a two-year warranty from Rachio.

See the 8 Zone at Woot See the 16 Zone at Woot

More from Thrifter:

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a one-day sale on Logitech accessories you won’t want to miss.

Amazon is back with another great Gold Box deal, this time saving you up to 30% on some of the best Logitech gear out there. Whether you are in need of a new mouse, keyboard, webcam, or set of speakers for your computer, you won’t want to miss out on this one-day sale.

For the full list of items included in this one-day sale, be sure to hit the link below.

See at Amazon

More from Thrifter:

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!

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This week, Daniel, Andrew, and Jerry follow up on Andrew’s second opinion article about the Moto Z2 Force. They also talk about Bluetooth 5, the LG V30, and the installed base of Nougat, which is now at 13.5% of all Android devices. This brings up a great question: Is it better to buy a slightly older “flagship” phone, or a brand new mid-range device?

Show Notes and Links:

Podcast MP3 URL:

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How do I connect my PSVR to my PC?

Sony’s entry into the virtual reality world has so far been a hit — their head-mounted display is as comfortable as they get, and the library of quality games continues to grow. For some of you, however, PlayStation VR games might not be enough. Thanks to some clever programming by the developers at Odd Sheep Games, you can actually connect your PSVR to your PC. Trinus PSVR is a piece of software that handles all the communication between your PC and PSVR that would normally never happen.

Why would you want to connect your PSVR to anything other than a PS4? If you have a library of Steam games on your PC, whether VR or not, you can play them with Trinus PSVR. If you’d like to watch movies or TV in VR, you can also do so through the PSVR head-mounted display.

If this is something you’ve always wanted to do, we’re here to show you how to get it all set up.

Read more at VRHeads!

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Amazon launches Instant Pickup service to compete with convenience stores.

Having spent the last few days moving into a new apartment, I’ve made about twenty or so trips to local stores to get the one last thing I think I’ll need. Whether it has been hand soap, various ingredients for different recipes, or more of those 3M Command hooks than I thought possible, I’ve spent a lot of time in different store aisles.

Amazon launched a service that would have been perfect for me. Amazon Instant Pickup is another service for Prime and Prime Student subscribers to pick from certain convenience items that can then be picked up within two minutes at a nearby pickup location. Of course, Amazon is also offering their Alexa-powered devices for when you really have to have your smart speaker right this second. The service is launching in Los Angeles and Berkeley California, Columbus Ohio, Atlanta Georgia, and College Park Maryland. From Amazon:

Amazon today introduced Instant Pickup, a free service offering Prime and Prime Student members a curated selection of daily essentials available for pickup in two minutes or less at five of Amazon’s fully staffed pickup locations in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Berkeley, Calif., Columbus, Ohio, and College Park, Md. Items available with Instant Pickup include snacks, drinks and electronics, as well as some of Amazon’s most popular devices.

“Instant Pickup is another way Amazon is making life more convenient for Prime members,” said Ripley MacDonald, Director, Student Programs, Amazon. “As shopping behaviors continue to evolve, customers consistently tell us that they want items even faster. Whether it’s a snack on-the-go, replacing a lost phone charger in the middle of a hectic day or adding Alexa to your life with an Echo, Instant Pickup saves Prime members time. While Instant Pickup is available at select pickup locations today, we’re excited about bringing this experience to more customers soon.”

With Instant Pickup, Prime and Prime Student members can use the Amazon App to shop hundreds of need-it-now items like food, cold drinks, personal care items, technology essentials and Amazon devices like the Echo, Echo Dot, Fire TV and a selection of Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers. Prime members can browse the selection, place an order, even add last-minute items to an online order and pick it up from a self-service locker – all within two minutes or less.

Instant Pickup is available at five select pickup locations beginning today and will be available at more locations in the coming months. Amazon operates a total of 22 staffed pickup locations on or near college campuses across the country. All Amazon customers can ship their orders to a pickup location, and Prime members receive Free Same-Day and One-Day delivery on millions of items. Plus, returns are always free.

For more information about Instant Pickup, visit or, if Instant Pickup is available at a location near you, tap the menu button at the top of the Amazon App, then look for Instant Pickup in Programs and Features.

Are you going to use Amazon Instant Pickup? Let us know down below!

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Echo Show is good at showing headlines, but very bad at showing anything that’s actually important. And that’s a problem.

It’s Sunday morning. Past the breakfast hour and closing in on lunch. I’ve been trying to come up with ways to make myself feel better after seeing the carnage in Charlottesville, Va., and the predictable responses on Twitter and Facebook and from our political leaders. It’s times like these that I don’t want to think at all about tech toys. (And to be clear, this is hardly the first time. Or the second. Or the third. And I’m hardly alone in this feeling.)

But something stood out as I stood in the kitchen making breakfast. And it took me a few hours before I realized what it was.

It was the Amazon Echo Show. Alexa with a screen. I’d chuckled a little earlier in the day reading blogger-turned-investor-turned-blogger M.G. Siegler’s “Quick Thoughts on Amazon’s Echo Show.”

What really sold me was that while I was making coffee, it was next to me displaying news headlines. … This sounds obvious. I mean, we all walk around every single day with devices in our pockets that can access any information — including news headlines — at any time. But there’s something profound about having it pushed to you in an ambient way.

I agree. And once you’re bludgeoned with information the way I was at a newspaper starting from 19 years old — it was my job to try to tame the waterfall — it’s a hard habit to give up. Echo Show is perfect for this. Or, rather, it can be. Eventually.

If it’s not timely, and it’s not important, then why is it being pushed in front of my eyes?

I can say this with certainty: The afterglow of Echo Show headlines will wear off pretty quickly. Maybe it’ll be when you wonder why you’re seeing a headline that’s two hours old (an eternity in online news time). Or maybe it’s when you’ve seen 13 headlines in a row that you just don’t care about. The image at the top of this post — promoting a “Game of Thrones” Episode 5 preview, is showing the day after the episode aired. What good is that?

Or maybe it’s the morning after a domestic terrorist event when you’re walking through the kitchen and don’t see a single headline about it on the Echo Show.

That’s right. Not a word about Charlottesville and the racist Nazis who directly contributed to the death of a woman. (And indirectly to the deaths of two law enforcement officers whose helicopter crashed.)

Not a single headline that I saw in the morning. Or in the 10 minutes I left a camera trained at the Echo Show.

Something about the #EchoShow headlines on Sunday morning struck me as odd. … Catch what’s missing?

— Phil Nickinson (@mdrndad) August 14, 2017

As I’m writing most of this piece about 9 hours later, I still don’t see any headlines about Charlottesville. … Fast-forward to Monday morning. … Still nothing. No headlines. No videos. No still images.

Echo Show isn’t exactly a font of information just yet. At least nothing timely. Or of any real import.

Does Amazon worry about our showing us anything remotely provocative? Or is it just bad at this?

The question now is why. I don’t think Amazon’s doing anything nefarious here. And I don’t even think it’s about Charlottesville or the current political landscape. I think it’s probably more a matter of not wanting to surface anything too provocative or potentially upsetting. And there’s something to be said for that.

In fact, that’s pretty much what Amazon said for that when I asked. Here’s a quote from a company representative:

For trending topics on Echo Show, we primarily surface lifestyle, entertainment, and sports news since it’s a communal device that the whole family sees and uses. If customers want to hear business or political news, we offer the daily Flash Briefing which offers a variety of news outlets to choose from. As with everything we do, the Echo Show trending topics experience will continue to improve and evolve over time based on customer feedback.

Fair enough, though I’d still argue the world ain’t always a pretty place. It’s not really protecting anyone here.

The good news is that this is an easy problem to fix. In lieu of actually improving the headlines feature itself, Amazon could let the user tailor the options. More news, less fluff. More from one source over another. It’s limitless, really.

The problem right now is that the Echo Show headlines are extremely limited. And dated. And that just makes Echo Show — and Amazon — look silly and out of touch.

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Samsung’s next Gear Fit fitness band will include standalone GPS and offline Spotify playback.

Like its phones and tablets, Samsung makes different wearables to fit different roles. One of these roles is the traditional watch, filled by the Gear S line. The other is that of a fitness band, filled by the Gear Fit line. The first Gear Fit tracker was announced in early 2014, and Samsung has been steadily improving the line since then.

Most of the time, Samsung announces a new Gear device when it announces a new Galaxy flagship, and it looks like that will be the case again. According to VentureBeat, Samsung will announce the Gear Fit2 Pro alongside the upcoming Galaxy Note 8 on August 23. The wearable is said to be IP68 dust- and water-resistant, an important factor for a fitness-focused device. It will also be submersible to 5 atmospheres of pressure (5 ATM), or approximately 130 feet. So you should have no problem using it at the local pool.

Another great addition is the ability to download and listen to your Spotify playlists without needing your phone, which will be great for users who want to leave their phone at home or in the car during their workout. There’s also the standard step and workout tracking, as to be expected. The fitness band also includes standalone GPS for tracking long runs without a phone. VentureBeat claims this data backs up to the Speedo On application, but that application does not currently exist in the Play Store. It’s also hard to imagine Samsung wouldn’t use its existing health app. Finally, it looks like the clasp will provide a much more secure fit (pun intended).

There’s no word on availability or pricing just yet, but we should find out soon enough. Are you looking forward to the new Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro? Let us know down below!

Learn more about the Samsung Gear Fit2Pro!

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Sprint adds new calling feature to its version of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+.

Sprint has released an over-the-air (OTA) update for its version of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. In addition to the usual round of bug fixes and security improvements (not that those aren’t important), the company also took the time to add its new “Calling Plus” feature.

The feature allows users to use voice and data at the same time, no matter if the user is on LTE or calling over Wi-Fi. The previous “WiFi Calling” feature has now been rolled in as well. From Sprint:

Calling PLUS combines two features: one old and one brand new!
WiFi calling – our VoIP calling feature that lets you make and receive calls over WiFi [sic]
Voice and text on the Sprint LTE network, allowing simultaneous voice and data

Calling PLUS is delivered to your device by software update. Once your device has received the software, set up is easy!

  1. On the phone, select Settings > Calling PLUS.

  2. Slide Calling PLUS to On.

  3. Customer can view Tutorial pages to learn more information about the service.

  4. View pre-populated address.
    If the Country field says Non-USA, Select the Country and choose USA.
    Enter a USA address manually.
    If address is not shown or is incorrect, enter the address manually.
    Address must be within the USA.

  5. Select Save.
    Your phone will validate the address required for E911 service and completes the enablement of Calling PLUS.

6.Select Calling PLUS options to enable each feature:
Wi-Fi Calling is On by default.
LTE Calling is optional but recommended to allow both Simultaneous Voice and Data and call handoffs between Wi-Fi Calling and LTE Calling.
Call handoffs will go from Wi-Fi to LTE even if the LTE Calling switch is Off. LTE Calls require the Wi-Fi Calling switch to be turned On for a handoff to Wi-Fi.

That’s it! Your phone is now enabled for Calling PLUS. You can call anyone using Calling PLUS, the person or party that you’re calling does not need to have Calling PLUS in order for it to work.

Sprint has also added the Calling Plus feature to the LG Stylo 3 and the Samsung J7 Perx.

Has your phone received this update yet? Let us know down below!

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“I’m back! Uncharted territory! Bold new discoveries!”

Scrooge McDuck is back, and he’s got his great-nephews in tow. A golden jewel of Disney Afternoon is coming back on Disney XD, who is offering the opening double-episode special “Woo-oo” for free on Google Play. Say it with me now: WOO-OO!

DuckTales new series has a new art style that pays tribute to its comic-book roots, more diversified personalities for its cast, and a lot of great voice talent. David Tennant, aka The Tenth Doctor from Doctor Who, makes for an utterly delightful Scrooge McDuck, seamlessly switching from crotchety to cocky to charming as his great nephews drag him into peril after peril. The triplets are back, and Donald Duck’s nephews are more than a different color this year, from the reckless, adventure-seeking Dewey to the organization-obsessed goody-goody Huey to smooth-talking slacker Louie, who are all eager to escape from Donald’s overprotective watch and go have some fun. Even Webby has gotten a geek-girl upgrade.

If you’re wanting to check out the special before adding it to your carefully curated Google Play library, the special is also free to watch on YouTube right now, too. But really, why would you stream it there when you can own it for free?

DuckTales on Google Play

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |