From hilarious to cringe-worthy, we have ‘em all here.

Despite the general public displeasure with all things on the Internet come April 1, the big companies in the tech space just can’t help themselves. Year after year we get tons of April Fools’ Day jokes, gags and pranks. Most are flops and some are worth a chuckle, and no matter how well they go over we’re rounding them all up right here.

Google Photos emoji search

You can search for pictures in Google Photos by typing out a name, place or object … but why not emoji? Well, even though this is a bit of a joke, it actually works in Google Photos. Drop a dog, pumpkin or whatever other emoji you want to search, and you’ll get proper photo results in return.

‘Drop the mic’ in Gmail

Some email threads go on too long, and really need a “drop the mic” moment where you can shut everyone else up. Now with the latest development by Google, you have a specific “Drop the mic” button that’ll put in a well-timed animated gif to put a stop to all of that, and swiftly archive the conversation. Just like the emoji search in Google Photos, this one is actually available to use in Gmail on the web.

Inbox by Google gets emoji Smart Replies

Again with the emoji, this time in Inbox’s genuinely useful “Smart Reply” feature that intelligently selects phrases for you to reply to emails with. Why not let Inbox choose a few poop emoji for you to respond to that terrible email with?

Google Cardboard Plastic

Sure, virtual reality is cool and all, but Google is already gearing up to tackle the next big breakthrough with Google Cardboard Plastic. By being the first headset for Actual Reality, Google Cardboard Plastic offers the most immersive experience yet. Because after all, as Google puts it: what’s realer than real? Probably nothing.

Do you have a favorite Android-related April Fools’ Day joke on the Internet this year? Let us know in the comments!

Go to Source

 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Motorola is currently throwing in a free Moto 360 (2014) with the purchase of a Moto X Pure Edition or Droid Turbo 2. The one caveat with the sale is that you’ll have to pick up the 64GB version of either phone to qualify, which puts your starting price at $499 for the Moto X Pure or $720 for the Droid Turbo 2.

If you’re interested in the offer, you can get started by heading to Motorola’s store and adding your choice of phone along with a Moto 360 (2014) to your cart. You’ll then see a $199.99 discount applied to your order to cover the cost of the Moto 360.

As Motorola notes, this deal is only good through April 1 at 10:59 a.m. CT/11:59 a.m. ET, so you’ll want to act fast.

See at Motorola

Thanks for the tip, Isaac!

Go to Source

 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

The details of the HTC 10’s spec sheet have been floating around on the web for some time now, but the rumors are now being “confirmed” thanks to a new listing for the phone in the GFXBench database.

The benchmark … Read More

Go to Source

 | Posted by | Categories: HTC |

One step closer to shipping, unless you’re charge was declined.

HTC is now one step closer to putting Vive headsets on the faces of early adopters around the world. Users the world over are seeing the $800+ charge for the Vive hit their payment method of choice today, and that’s causing a not-so-unique problem for some financial institutions. In some cases those charges are being immediately declined by fraud protection systems, and that means you’re going to have to call HTC and sort it out.

Users who have had their Vive charge declined are being advised to call HTC at 888.216.4736 to sort out the miscommunication. Several users who have called already are warning that wait times are significant due to volume, but this looks like the most direct route to deal with the problem.

If you are a Vive early adopter who pre-ordered on day one, check your account and make sure you were actually charged for the equipment. Shipping is expected to start next week, and making sure HTC knows you’d still like to pay for yours is the only way to guarantee it gets to you on time.

Go to Source

 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Google has expanded its offer of a 25% discount on its Pixel C tablet to more countries. The new territories include Canada, Germany, Austria, Hong Kong, France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, and China.

From Android Developers on Twitter:

25% Pixel C Dev. Discount is now available in CA, DE, AT, HK, FR, ES, BE, NL and CH. Test your apps for Android N!

— Android Developers (@AndroidDev) March 31, 2016

Google is encouraging developers to take advantage of this offer to get started with testing apps for Android N. As we originally noted, the discount applies to both the 32GB and 64GB versions of the tablet, though it does not extend to the tablet’s keyboard accessory.

Get the discounted Pixel C here

Go to Source

 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

All things must be unboxed. And occasionally they must be filmed at the same time.

Said it before, and we’ll say it again. We’re generally not huge fans of the pomp and circumstance that tends to come with taking phones we’ve already seen out of boxes. But sometimes things are special. There was the LG Optimus Black “Unbooking” way back in 2011. Only a few months later we had the bizarre alien head that was part of a promotion for Verizon’s Motorola Droid Bionic. There have been others, of course.

But LG’s back again with the LG G5. It’s as polarizing as it is intriguing. On its own it’s a more-than capable phone. But throw in that it’s got interchangeable modules and that “Friends” ecosystem of accessories — plus a new user interface , and there’s a whole lot going on here.

So to kick things off, LG’s sent us a good chunk of the family. We’ve got a T-Mobile G5. We’ve got the CAM Plus and Hi-Fi Plus modules. And we’ve got the 360 CAM virtual reality camera. They’re all in boxes, of course, and were sent in a case that you just can’t help but have a little fun opening up.

The phone, CAM Plus and 360 CAM go on sale this week. (Some operators have already shipped, actually.) The Hi-Fi Plus — well, we don’t have availability details on that just yet. And, in fact, because it’s not yet cleared for use by the FCC, it won’t work in U.S. models of the G5 just yet. (It sounds great on the European phone we’ve been using, though, and it’ll work when connected to a separate source.)

Now, without further ado: Our LG G5 unboxing.

Go to Source

 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Sony has unveiled the batch of free games that PlayStation Plus members can look forward to in the month of April. On the PlayStation 4 front, gamers will be able to take on their friends in the space shooter Dead Star. If the undead are more your style, you can take on Zombi, a PlayStation 4 port of the Wii U launch title ZombiU.

Meanwhile, Playstation 3 owners will get a crack at Savage Moon and survival title I Am Alive, while PS Vita gamers can check out Shutshimi and the puzzle action of A Virus Named Tom.

All of the above titles will be available as free downloads for PS Plus members throughout the month of April.

Why is there PlayStation stuff here?

PlayStation on Android Central?!? We use our Android phones to interact with the PlayStation 4 — especially if you have a Sony Xperia phone. We’re also talking a lot more about VR, and PlayStation VR is just as big a part of that conversation. It stretches things outside of Android a little, but it’s also going to be a lot of fun. Enjoy!

Go to Source

 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Google just made it a whole lot easier to show off VR photos on just about everything.

Anyone who has successfully taken a 360 degree photo with Google’s Cardboard Camera app or any of the 360 degree cameras that are available to purchase today know that the act of capturing these photos and video is a lot of fun. Where the fun seems to stop is when you want to share those photos. The recipient either needs the app installed that can view the photo, or you have to pass your phone over so the photo can be fully appreciated. To address this sharing problem, Google has implemented multiple methods for sharing 360 degree photos both in apps and all modern browsers.

Starting very soon, sharing VR photos is going to be something just about everyone can appreciate.

Google’s calling this new photo option VR View, and as the name suggests it lets you click a button in your browser or tap a photo in an app and be taken to a photo that is happening all around you. The combination of an update to the Google Cardboard SDK and an open-source JavaScript solution for browsers means VR view can be implemented with relative ease on just about anything.

Out of the box, VR View supports photos taken with Cardboard Camera and Ricoh Theta cameras natively. Anything else is going to require some adjustment on behalf of the developers responsible for those cameras. Since the JavaScript embed option is open sourced, any manufacturer can adopt this software to suit the images taken by their cameras.

Go to Source

 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

We’ve been using the best Android smartphone on America’s largest operator for a month. Here’s what we’ve found …

Not every Samsung Galaxy S7 is created equal. OK, they’re mostly created equal. That is, you’re going to get the same hardware no matter which U.S. operator you go with. Same Snapdragon processor. Same 32GB of on-board storage. Same look and feel.

Like so many (or too many, depending on how you look at it) phones these days, it’s what’s on the inside that changes things. Especially when the U.S. operators get involved.

First place to start: Read our comprehensive Galaxy S7 review, which goes more in-depth with the phone itself. And we’re now taking a loser look at each carrier model. I’ve been using Verizon Galaxy S7 (two of them, actually) for a month. Let’s take a look at where Verizon’s version stands out from the rest.

Software differences

Let’s talk bloatware! Like the other carrier variants of the Galaxy S7, the core software experience remains the same. Samsung’s user interface is, for the most part, consistent whether you’re using Verizon’s or T-Mobile’s or Sprint’s or whatever.

Verizon does have a few additions, however, mostly in the settings menu. A longstanding feature is a full icon glossary, which is great if you’re new to smartphones or spot something that simply doesn’t make any sense. (The NFC icon comes to might, right?) You’ll also find links to the My Verizon Mobile app (for all your account needs), and there are a few other settings that Verizon has tweaked for whatever reason. The emergency alerts section (at Settings->Privacy & emergency->Emergency Alerts) is another one that tends to deviate, but not in a bad way.

Where things definitely change is with bloatware, which the carriers pronounce “pre-installed applications.” These can come in a couple forms. The Amazon suite of apps is pre-installed by Verizon, and those arguably can be helpful and may well be something you’d install anyway. Kindle, Amazon Music, Shopping, etc. On the other hand, if you don’t want to use them (I never use Amazon Music, for example), they’re just in the way. You can disable them, which I do, but not uninstall them — which wouldn’t save any space anyway because of the partition they’re on in the first place. (While apps pre-installed to the System partition are annoying, that’s not space you can use for your own stuff anyway.) Verizon also includes the Slacker app, which is a pretty good audio (music and news and such) application. But, again, it’s not one I use, so it’s in the way. And Verizon still has the exclusive on the NFL Mobile app, which sucks for anyone not on Verizon. It’s a decent app, though, so it stays. (That doesn’t mean it’s not bloatware, of course.)

It’s not like Verizon ruined the GS7 or anything — but its bloatware doesn’t make the product any better.

More annoying is Verizon’s own suite of duplicative apps. There’s VZ Navigator, which I’d never in a million years use instead of Google Maps. Disabled. Message+? Disabled. There’s already a text messaging app from Verizon. (And I use Hangouts in any event.) Verizon has its own voicemail app, too. Fine. I’ll deal with that one, not that I’ll ever use it. Go90? I’m told that’s Verizon’s mobile video app. Disabled. Verizon Cloud? Hell, no. Disabled. Support & Protection (aka VZ Protect)? Nope. I’ll handle that one myself. (Though I will allow that if you’re not going to use something like Google’s Android Device Manager or a third-party app to do this sort of thing, then maybe Verizon’s app is fine. Virus scanning, however, is still mostly snake oil.)

Samsung’s got its share of things that I won’t use, too. Milk Music? Disabled. Samsung Gear (for its smartwatch)? Disabled until I decide to use a Gear smartwatch again. S Health? Disabled. Memo? Disabled. (I’ll use Google Keep, thanks.)

Point is, there’s still a lot of stuff on the GS7 that you might or might not use. And that’s before you get anywhere near the crap Verizon’s loaded on there. It’s not a deal-breaker. It’s just (unfortunately) something we’ve had to deal with because Samsung doesn’t directly sell the GS7 outside of carrier control in the U.S. Again, we call for Samsung to do something about this.

One thing that’s missing out of the box, strangely, is Samsung’s own browser — which a lot of folks like. Odd that a single duplicative app would be left out, but you can download it from Google Play just fine.

And seriously, Verizon — just how much time do you think I’ll be spending in your stores? This is not OK.

Call quality and features

This one’s a bit subjective and a good deal anecdotal — you don’t live where I live or work where I work. And I haven’t had any major complaints about the GS7 on Verizon. It still seems to be a little more power hungry than GSM phones — that’s par for the course, though — and what Wifi wonk I’d seen appears to have been cleared up with a recent update. (There are a lot of variables in that sort of thing, though.)

Verizon still has Wifi calling, of course. I’m not a big fan of the feature in general, but it’s there if you want it. And now’s a good time to remind folks that if you want simultaneous voice and data, you’ll need to have Advanced Calling turned on.

One call-related thing I wouldn’t bother with is the included “Caller Name ID” app. Oh, it works great for showing you who’s calling, even if they’re not in your contacts, during the free trial. But for Verizon to want $36 a year for the pleasure of using what should be standard on every phone. This is a basic piece of functionality that Verizon’s trying to make an extra buck off of, and it’s ridiculous.

Pricing and financing

Verizon offers the Galaxy S7 a couple ways. If you’re buying outright, it’ll run you $672 off contract. That’s comparable to the other carriers — just about in the middle, actually.

If you want to do the monthly payments thing, it’ll cost you $28 a month on you bill. If you’re not normally a fan of paying for phones this way, Verizon’s got a bit of an incentive. If you’re paying for the GS7 monthly, you’ll be able to trade it in for a new model after a year. (Technically, after 50 percent of the cost has been paid.)

As for which plan is for you, it depends on how much data you’re going to use. Verizon starts at $30 for 1 gigabyte and goes up to $18GB for $100 a month. That’s for new plans — there are myriad options. Don’t be afraid to adjust things to better suit your usage. You might well find out that you’re paying for more than you’re actually using.

The bottom line

Verizon is still the largest mobile operator in the United States. You don’t get to be that by not doing a lot of things right. And like the other U.S. operators, that means Verizon’s going to do things how Verizon wants to. Bloatware, for sure. App that you’ll never use, and that you can only push out of sight and out of mind.

Verizon’s also broken one feature that’s still pretty niche, but important — we’re having major issues getting this Galaxy S7 to connect to Android Auto. Other models work great, but not Verizon’s.

One final perk, however, is that Verizon’s phones are all SIM unlocked. That’s less of a benefit while you’re in the U.S. because of how radio bands work — but it can be great when you’re traveling overseas, especially since Verizon’s international plans remain unimpressive. But pick up a local SIM once you’re on the ground, and you’re good to go. No worrying about SIM unlocking. (That’s a big reason why I’ve been taking a Verizon phone with me while I travel, actually.)

In about a month of use on Verizon, I’ve not seen anything I’d consider to be a showstopper — even with the software headaches. You’re going to find that on any carrier, really. If Verizon’s your jam, and the Galaxy S7 beckons, this is a match we can easily recommend.

See at Verizon

Go to Source

 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Google Play is hosting a pretty sweet deal for Star Wars fans, offering up to 80 percent off comics based on the iconic franchise. In all, there are 17 titles on offer, including one bundle of four comics, with most coming in at just $4.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set to hit digital stores on April 1, so this is a good time to catch up on other stories in the broader Star Wars universe in the mean time. If you’re interested, you can check out all of the deals at the Google Play link below.

See at Google Play

Go to Source

 | Posted by | Categories: Android |