The Moto X Force — think of it as the international version of the Droid Turbo 2 we know here in the states — launches in India on Feb. 1. While it’ll be the small hours in North America, we’ve still got you covered for this one, both with the above livestream, as well as with our Indian contingent on the ground.

Stay tuned Monday for more!

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‘Unpacked’ event expected to showcase Galaxy S7 series ahead of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

It’s official — Samsung has sent out invites to an “Unpacked” launch event on Sunday, Feb. 21 at 7:00 p.m. CET (that’s 1 p.m. ET and 10 a.m. PT) in Barcelona, Spain. For the third year running, the company will unveil new flagship phones — the Galaxy S7 series — ahead of Mobile World Congress, which this year takes place in the Catalan capital from Feb. 22 to 25.

This time around we’re expecting to see at least two, and possibly three Galaxy S7 models, including a regular flat S7 and a curvy S7 edge. There’ve also been rumors that a larger GS7 edge+ may break cover at the same time as its smaller cousins. Either way, it’ll be a crucial launch for Samsung as it attempts to hold onto market share in the face of increasing competition from Chinese rivals.

But Samsung won’t be alone in Barcelona. Local rival LG is holding its own event in the city on Feb. 21, where it’s expected to unveil its new LG G5 handset.

However things shake out, Android Central will be live from Barcelona on Feb. 21 to bring you full coverage of the new Galaxy S7 phones. In the meantime, be sure to hit the comments and let us know what you’re hoping to see from Samsung. And check out our guide to everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy S7 to get up to speed.

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Need a slim way to protect your HTC One M9 against drops? This flexible plastic case from Amzer provides a matte finish with glossy edges, enhancing grip while keeping a low-profile.

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Vivo India has announced the launch of Y51L in the Indian market. The vivo Y51L is assembled in the company’s new manufacturing plant in India. As one of the top 10 smartphone brands in the world, vivo entered Indian market in December 2014.

Speaking on the newly launched Y51L, Alex Feng, CEO of vivo India, said:

The Indian smartphone market is tech savvy and price sensitive. The affordable segment is the growth driver, as the young generation today looks for a phone which is best in features, beautiful in design and is priced competitively. Last year, we witnessed huge sales and positive demand for products in the budget range across markets, which boosted us to launch the Y51L. The new launch will further strengthen our hold on the market and help us establish ourselves among our consumers.

vivo Y51L specifications

Category vivo Y51L
Operating System Android 5.0 Lollipop-based Funtouch OS 2.5
Display 5-inch (960 x 540) IPS
Processor 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410
Internal Storage 16GB, expandable up to 128GB with microSD
Rear Camera 8MP
Front Camera 5MP
Dimensions 143.8 x 71.7 x 7.52 mm
Weight 157 grams
Battery 2350mAh

Last year, vivo introduced its Y series by launching several major models including Y27L, Y31, and Y15S priced between ?6,000 and ?13,000. With Y51L this year, the company will aim to grow its market share in India. The vivo Y51L is available for a price of ?11,980 ($176).

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With the latest update to OxygenOS 2.2.0, the OnePlus X now properly displays its Android security patch level in the settings separate from the rest of the software information. The phone is currently on the January 1, 2016 release, which means at least for the next few days (assuming Google sticks to the monthly schedule) it’s on the latest security patch.

Though the phone is still running on a base of Android 5.1.1, like many other manufacturers OnePlus has chosen to apply these monthly security patches on its pre-Marshmallow phones. We’ll have to see how well OnePlus can keep up with the monthly cadence of the updates, or if it will start to fall behind as some other phone makers have.

The OTA to the latest update is currently rolling out to all OnePlus X phones.

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There’s a good bit of hype around the Honor 5X — these are the most important things you should know about it.

Whether you’ve seen the Honor phones released internationally or are just getting interested in the Honor 5X on its own, there’s a good amount of information to take in about this budget-friendly device. With a metal body, fingerprint sensor and good screen this isn’t your typical cheap phone, and it’s definitely worth looking at if you’re in the market to spend $200.

But before you go buy one, let’s learn a little more about it.

You’ll only find it unlocked and online for $199

The Honor 5X is only available online and unlocked, which may be a small inconvenience to some but is probably better overall than the alternative. It means you won’t be able to walk into a carrier store and pick it up on a payment plan or with any sort of buying incentives, but you also won’t be able to get your hands on the phone before you choose to buy one.

Not being able to have a carrier help you purchase the phone probably won’t be too big of a deal considering it retails for a great price of $199, and we’ve done our best to show all of the high and low points of the device in our full review. Be sure to do your research before buying, and know when you buy the phone phone unlocked it’s yours to use how you please!

Read: Honor 5x review

See at Newegg See at Amazon See at Honor

There’s a pre-installed screen protector, and you may want it

Though the trend of pre-installed screen protectors has slowed down over time, the Honor 5X comes with one pre-installed out-of-the-box that is intended to remain on the phone. Of course it will protect the glass from scratches, but the screen protector is also the only layer that has an oleophobic coating to it — that great stuff that keeps smudges from accumulating on your screen.

If you choose to remove the pre-installed protector — and we wouldn’t blame you for wanting to — you’ll be stuck wiping off your Honor 5X’s screen more often than other phones that offer oleophobic coatings. How much that will bother you may vary, as will the existence of the screen protector itself, so there’s a trade off either way — no matter what you do, think about it first.

You’re missing out on high-end Wi-Fi

There are bound to be shortcomings in a phone of this price, and one of the missing features here is the highest-end Wi-Fi specs.

The Honor 5X only supports up to 802.11n speeds, rather than the newer 802.11ac, and also only supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi signals, not 5GHz. The former isn’t likely to pose any real-world issues, but for some folks who are required to connect to 5GHz-only Wi-Fi networks on a regular basis, the fact that the Honor 5X simply can’t connect to those networks could be a deal-breaker.

The fingerprint sensor is as good as any

You might expect a “budget” phone to have a sub-par fingerprint sensor (if it has one at all). But we’re happy to report that’s far from the case with the Honor 5X. That’s probably in no small part due to the fact that Huawei has gotten ?really? good at the fingerprint game in the past year or so — just look at the Mate 8 and Nexus 6P.

For the uninitiated, a fingerprint scanner allows you to use your finger another way to unlock your phone. You’ll still have a PIN or password attached, but all you have to do is place your finger on the sensor on the rear of the phone and it’ll wake itself and unlock. And with more apps adopting fingerprint features in Android 6.0 Marshmallow, having a sensor on the phone is becoming that much more important — that is, once the Honor 5X is actually updated to Marshmallow.

But until that update hits, the Honor 5X has a few extra software features that take advantage of the fingerprint sensor itself — not necessarily for security, but for other functions. You can swipe down on the sensor to show your notification shade, hold it to answer calls and more. It’s a nice little bit that makes that extra sensor worth more than just bypassing your lock screen.

The software needs some tweaking to work right

The Honor line (as well as most of Huawei’s own phones) runs what’s called “EMUI” atop Android. It’s not for everyone. It borrows heavily from iOS in that it doesn’t have a traditional app drawer. And it’s ?really? pushy about apps running in the background or doing anything that might otherwise affect battery life. EMUI is also set at the lowest performance settings by default, again for battery concerns, which means it’s definitely going to seem slow unless you crank things back up.

The good news — particularly because this phone has access to Google services — is that Honor has fixed the issues EMUI’s notification center had with Google notifications being unreadable. You can also install your own launcher that offers a different look and functionality.

If you pick up an Honor 5X, hop into the phone’s settings and look for the “Power saving” area — this is where you’ll be able to turn the performance back up to acceptable levels, let apps run in the background and turn off notifications for so-called “Power-intensive” apps. Don’t worry, you’ll still get solid battery life from the Honor 5X, and the phone will work a whole lot better as well.

You get two SIM slots and an SD card

Huawei has historically done well to offer dual-SIM and SD card functionality, and with the Honor 5X you get both features at once. Rather than using one card slot that can take either a second SIM or an SD card, you can use the Honor 5X with two active SIMs and also expand its storage by up to 128GB with a microSD card.

Like most dual-SIM devices you’ll only get LTE data on the primary SIM, and just 2G on the other, but the Honor 5X also has a really good set of settings to let you choose which SIM is active, which is used by default for mobile data, which takes calls primarily and how to handle call forwarding on the backup SIM. If you want to have two SIMs physically in the phone but only have one active at a time, you can easily toggle them on and off, too.

One of the SIM slots is for a Micro SIM and the other Nano, but if you have two Nano SIMs you’ll have no problem using an adapter in the slot.

More: Full Honor 5X specs

Charging up is a slow process

Though the Honor 5X model that launched in China supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge, the one we get here in the U.S. unfortunately doesn’t have that capability. In fact, there isn’t any sort of fast charging tech on-board on the U.S. Honor 5X, which is a bit disappointing considering there’s a rather large 3000 mAh battery to fill up.

Making the situation a little worse, Honor only includes a lowly 5V / 1A charger in the box, which is rather slow by today’s standards.

Now the battery will almost always get you through the day, and any charger can handle getting the battery filled overnight, but if you need a fast top-up during the day you’ll want to go with a higher output charger. The Honor 5X will be able to handle more power than the charger brick in the box can offer, so plug it into another one you have if you need to fill up that battery quickly.

Hop into the Honor 5X forums!

Now that you’re getting to know the Honor 5X, be sure to hop into our forums for any further discussion, questions or help you may need. There are already dozens of awesome threads going talking about this new phone.

More: Join the Honor 5X forums

Honor 5X

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You know the drill by now. HTC is now pushing out the Android 6.0 update for Sprint’s HTC One M8 and HTC One M8 Harman Kardon. Like all of HTC’s other Marshmallow updates, the main update is quite large – … Read More

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Some thoughts on why Samsung may have skipped USB Type-C in its 2016 flagships — and how it might actually make sense.

The recent leakage of apparent press renders of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, along with corresponding hardware specs, have given us plenty to think about. Sure enough, the physical design of these two closely resembles what we’ve seen out of Samsung for the past 12 months. And for the first time it seems we’re getting new Samsung flagships in two screen sizes — and with significantly larger batteries to address one of the GS6′s biggest pain points.

However there’s one hugely important detail hidden away in the bottom right corner of these Galaxy S7 renders. The Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are pictured with what appears to be a plain old microUSB port, as opposed to the newer USB Type-C connector.

USB Type-C is the future of connecting stuff to other stuff.

That’s a big deal because the reversible Type-C port is what’s next. When all mobile devices and other computers eventually adopt the USB 3.1 standard — with the faster data speeds and quicker charging that entails — Type-C will be the port that enables it. We’ve already seen Type-C connectors in a few Android phones in recent months, most notably in forward-looking devices like Google’s 2015 Nexus phones and the OnePlus 2, as well as in the Nextbit Robin. It’s also used in Apple’s new MacBook, Google’s second-generation Chromebook Pixel and the Pixel C tablet.

Simply put, USB Type-C is the future of connecting stuff to other stuff. But it’s going to be a painful, annoying transition — and that’s just one of many reasons why Samsung may have decided to stick with a tried-and-true microUSB connector in the GS7.

Let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment. Sure, USB Type-C is technically superior and less frustrating to plug in, as anyone who’s fumbled around with the wrong end of a USB cable will appreciate. The reality of Type-C and USB 3.1 is muddy and nuanced, however. Just because something uses USB Type-C doesn’t mean it’s also USB 3.1.

None of the Android phones currently using the new connector really take full advantage of it.

This is why none of the Android phones currently using Type-C really take full advantage of the new connector — the OnePlus 2, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P all use Type-C, but with USB 2.0. The only real benefits are the more convenient reversible cable, and faster charging without the need to license Qualcomm QuickCharge. (The 5X and 6P both charge at up to 5V/3A with the bundled power brick.)

MORE: What is USB Type-C?

It’s probable we’ll see Android phones that do feature USB 3.1 in 2016, but there’s no guarantee that any of the Galaxy S7′s immediate competitors will be among them. And in any case, the argument in favor of faster wired data transfers to a smartphone is weakened by the fact that many of us now use the cloud, not a USB cable, to get stuff on and off of our phones.

As for faster charging, Samsung already has this through its Adaptive Fast Charge capability, which is its re-badged version of Qualcomm QuickCharge 2.0. So from a purely practical point of view, Samsung isn’t really missing out.

There are a lot of incentives for Samsung to stick with microUSB — at least in the short term.

That being the case, let’s look at the potential disadvantages of a fast switch to USB Type-C for the company.

The first hurdle is potential confusion from Galaxy S 3, 4, 5 and 6 upgraders who find that none of their existing cables work with their new phone. Most normal consumers aren’t even aware of this new, slightly different kind of USB port. And if people will put their S Pens in the wrong way around, you can bet some of them will break a Type-C port trying to jam a microUSB cable in there. Delaying the move to USB Type-C allows Samsung to wait for public awareness of it to grow, avoiding a wave of customer support calls in the process.

MicroUSB isn’t going away anytime soon.

Samsung also has a diverse accessory ecosystem built around microUSB, including GS6-targeted add-ons like the first-party fast charging battery and wireless chargers. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to maintain accessory compatibility between the GS7 and its immediate predecessors. (As much as Samsung would probably like to sell you a bunch of new accessories as well.)

Another big consideration is Gear VR — the current version of the headset was released just two months ago with an internal microUSB connector. A new Gear VR for a new Samsung phone wouldn’t be unprecedented, but it would be a little weird for yet another SKU to launch so soon after the last one. (But that’s also assuming that new phones would fit in the current Gear VR.)

Or maybe it’s just not economical to switch yet. It might be as simple as a matter of money.

Again, Samsung will have to deal with the many annoyances of the jump to a new USB connector eventually, but delaying this push for a year or so means competitors will instead bear the brunt of inevitable Type-C teething issues.

MicroUSB itself isn’t going away anytime soon, even after high-end phones make the switch to Type-C. Gadgets like wireless headphones, mice, keyboards, wearable gadget docks, digital cameras and storage devices all use this connector. It’s going to take a long, long time — maybe a decade or more — for microUSB’s presence to start to fade.

USB Type-C is better, and it’s what’s next. The eventual move over to this new standard is as inevitable as the confusion that’ll go along with it. In the meantime, maybe it’s not such a big deal if Samsung’s not chomping at the bit to bring the new port to its high-end smartphones.

What do you think of the possibility of Samsung skipping USB Type-C in the Galaxy S7? Shout out in the comments!

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Things may look a little different, but they still sound the same.

So, Jan. 31 is the day. Songza is no more. It is now completely integrated into Google Play Music, and in fact has been for quite some time. (Since October 2014, in fact.) The only difference is starting today you’ll actually need to shift over to Google Play Music if you haven’t already. (And chances are you have, because Songza has been prompting you for some time.)

So what’s the big deal? What’s the difference between Songza proper and its migration to Google Play Music?

We’ll walk you through it real fast.

First things first: Google Play Music is good. Real good. New music drops every Friday, just like everywhere else, and you generally get the same releases across the board. (Exclusivity sometimes will mess with that, but that’s the exception and not the rule.)

Songza ruled when it came to playlists based on moods or activities — ”Pole Dancing Rock” was always a hair-metal favorite of mine — and that same sort of functionality is in Google Play Music. In fact, you’ll find the same lists — from Barbecuing to Yoga & Meditation — in Google Play Music that were in Songza. The only real difference is that you’re using a different app or going to a different website. Things look different, but they sound the same.

You’ve got a couple ways to get your Songza fix in Google Play Music. The easiest is front and center. “It’s Friday afternoon. Play something for … ” From there you choose what you want to listen to.

For the more traditional Sonza lists, you’ll open the side drawer, choose “Browse Stations,” and then drill through the lists for playlists based on genre, activity, mood, decades or kids.

Songza has been asking if you want to export playlists to Google Play Music for quite some time as soon as you log in. A couple clicks and that’s all done.

And that’s really all there is to it. Songza has been integrated in Google Play Music for quite some time. If you’re just joining the rest of us, welcome. It sounds great in here.

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A new set of renders shown off by prolific leaker Evan Blass give us a look at what we may expect from the upcoming Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, which are expected to be revealed at Mobile World Congress in February.

In the renders above, we can see a similar design language as 2015′s Galaxy S6 and S6 edge. The most obvious changes look to be taller fingerprint sensors, and the corners of each device look to be a bit more rounded. Blass also provided another set of renders (seen below) giving us a head-on look at both devices. While there’s not much more to note in these renders, eagle-eyed readers may notice the date on the screen, which happens to be the day before Mobile World Congress begins.

According to previous rumors, the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are said to pack larger batteries than their predecessors, possibly bumping up to 3000mAh and 3600mAh, respectively. Inside, the devices are said to be powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 8 Octa processor and 4GB of RAM. It’s possible we may see Snapdragon 820 variants in some regions, however. Finally, the S7 and S7 edge are said to also herald the return of the microSD card slot on Samsung’s flagships.

As with all leaked renders, it’s best to take these with a big grain of salt. However, we’ll know much more once Samsung takes the wraps off of its next set of flagships.

Sources: Evan Blass (Twitter), Venture Beat

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