Hide your wallet and your sanity, April Fools’ Day is here again.

April Fools’ Day is kind of like a marketer’s Halloween. They get to dress up and play tricks on their customers with sometimes elaborate and obviously time-consuming gags. We can’t ignore April Fools’ Day because there are things on this day that really do happen, or are deep-teasing future releases, like Pokémon in Google Maps teasing Pokémon Go. There are also April Fools’ Day gags that we wish could stick around, like the year YouTube added a light switch to make the UI go dark while you’re watching your videos. So, love it or hate it, it’s back again.

Just be careful rolling your eyes at these.

Google Maps Mrs. Pac-Man

Google is breaking out an old April Fools’ gag this year with a bigger and better version of the original: it’s Mrs. Pac-Man on Google Maps! Tap the Pink Mrs. Pac-Man symbol above the location button in Google Maps on the app (or the Insert Coin box on the Google Maps website), and Google will take you to a random location around the world for a round of Mrs. Pac-Man, where you get five lives to outrun and out-eat the ghosts.

Roku SnackSuggest

Roku, one of the most popular set-top boxes on the market, has unveiled a service on their devices to help you pair the proper snack with your favorite shows with Roku SnackSuggest. You can even limit your snacks based on dietary requirements and allergies, which is something my dairy-intolerant twin would appreciate. There’s also some fun stats from Roku’s press release, and while I doubt their validity, they sound about right to me.

  • The average time paused for a snack run to the kitchen is 27.53 seconds
  • The frequency of snack runs surges after exactly 3.785 episodes of a TV show
  • The average streamer snacks on at least 3 types of snacks during a single streaming session
  • Spicy treats are preferred for dramas while sweet goodies are preferred for sitcoms
  • A streamer will ask someone watching a show with them if they are hungry 12.2 times during a binge marathon

Excuse me, I need to go pop some popcorn.

OnePlus Dash Energy Drink

OnePlus has launched a new energy drink to help you Dash Charge your body the same way you Dash Charge your OnePlus 3. Dash Energy, like the Dash Charge charging bundle they have 15% off today, is an apparently real drink that OnePlus is going to give out on the streets of London and online in Europe and India.

No comment on the “electrifying” taste, however.

T-Mobile ONEsie

T-Mobile is never one to shy away from a chance to poke fun at its rivals, and the carrier is kicking things off with the T-Mobile ONEsie, “the world’s first full-body wearable.” According to T-Mobile’s CEO and “lead fashion designer” John Legere, the T-Mobile ONEsie is a “quantum leap forward for wearables, for wireless networks and for fashion” that embodies the “very meaning of unlimited coverage.”

If you wear this near me, I will set it on fire with you in it and ask why not just opt out of the fire while you roll around and scream. https://t.co/DicNS2igJE

— Russell Holly 📎 (@russellholly) March 31, 2017

This eye-burning pink monstrosity will be available for $40 online, but please be warned our own Russell Holly will set it (and you) on fire if he catches you wearing it. Or you could buy something more stylish with that money, like one of our own stylish Team Android tees on Teespring. Just in time for baseball season!

Google Gnome

This April Fools’ Day joke is from Google and it faux introduces a product called Google Gnome. But we’re wondering why this isn’t something we can pay money for? We have gardens. We grow our own vegetables. Who wouldn’t want to know how their potatoes are doing? It’s devastating that this isn’t real.

Amazon Petlexa

We all know Alexa from Amazon, but why shouldn’t pets get their own version? Introducing Petlexa, the best way for your pets to talk to your Echo at home and get things done even when you’re not around. Ground-breaking technology here.




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The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ are here! These new phones are feature packed and make a perfect upgrade if you’re interested in pairing a new phone with the Gear VR and Controller. In fact, they’re such a great combo that Samsung has partnered with carries and retailers to give away a free Gear VR with Controller bundle when you preorder the Galaxy S8, which is pretty awesome.

But we thought we’d go one step further and give you all a chance to win not only the Gear VR and Controller, but your choice of Galaxy S8 or S8+ to go with it! Keep reading for all the details and to get entered!

Read more at VR Heads!




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Say what you will about Samsung’s software — and I can say plenty — it’s a very distinctive look.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is here, and with it comes another update of Samsung’s software UI. This year, we’re seeing more of an overhaul than the usual spit-and-polish Samsung gives its flagship’s UI, from the nifty new animated wallpapers to the wireframe nav buttons and system icons to a new color scheme that ditches that long-stale blue from previous versions.

Even if you pre-ordered a Galaxy S8, it’s not showing up for three weeks, meaning you’ve got a while to wait. While you’re waiting, why not get some of that modern sleekness on your own phone with our very own Samsung-inspired theme?

Launcher magic

Now, we can’t get the Samsung launcher on non-Samsung phones the way that we can get the BlackBerry Launcher or the ZenUI Launcher from ASUS, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get what we desire from other, more customization-friendly launchers. There are a few things we’re looking for here.

Gesture controls, Page indicator styles, and Icon layout settings in Nova Launcher

  • Swipe for app drawer: The Samsung Galaxy S8 ditches that hideous nine-dot app drawer icon for a swipe gesture, just as the Google Pixel did last fall. Rather than having it be a dock gesture, though, Samsung lets you open the app drawer by swiping up or down anywhere on the home screen itself. Gesture commands are available in several launchers, and for Nova Launcher Prime, you can find them in Nova Settings > Gestures. In Action Launcher, they’re in Action 3 Settings > Shortcuts.
  • Page indicator style: The number of home screens on Samsung launcher are indicated by dots between the main screen and the dock. The default screen is indicated by a tiny, tiny house icon, and the rest of the pages are marked by white dots next to that home icon. You can find page indicators in Nova Launcher under Nova Settings > Desktop > Page indicator > Small dots. In Action Launcher, they’ll be in Action 3 Settings > Dock > Dock separator > Style > Dots.
  • App labels: Samsung keeps apps labeled on both the home screen and dock. To turn that on in Nova Launcher, you’ll turn on home screen labels under Nova Settings > Desktop > Icon layout > Label. You can turn on dock labels under Nova Settings > Dock > Icon layout > Label. In Action Launcher, you can turn it on for the home screen under Action 3 Settings > Desktop > Text Labels. You cannot turn on app labels for the dock in Action Launcher 3 at this time.

The other launcher requirement we have is that it supports third-party icon packs so we get some lover squircles on our home screens.

Icons

No one icon pack quite gets down the S8′s blend of squircles and wireframe icons, so I am going to offer you a few options and let you decide which one is the most Samsung-like in your eyes.

Grace UX Icon Pack, left, and Lines Icon Pack, right

  • Grace UX Icon Pack ($1.49) is a pack based on the ill-fated Note 7. While the device may not have lasted, these icon sure have, and they’re pastel, flat, and quite frankly beautiful. If you absolutely must have Samsung-inspired squircles, this is the pack for you. This developer also sports icon packs based on older versions of TouchWiz, too, if you’re looking for a more nostalgic take on Samsung’s UI, and has just published a beta pack based on the Galaxy S8, but there aren’t too many icons in the pack yet that use the wireframe so it’s a bit inconsistent.
  • Lines Icon Pack (Free, $1.99) is a wireframe icon pack that keeps things simple, elegant, and allows the true beauty of your wallpaper to shine through. It’s a pack I’ve employed many times before because it is consistently beautiful and consistently plays well with modern and abstract wallpapers.

Wallpapers

The Samsung Galaxy S8 now boasts some awesome animated wallpapers that take on different angles and layers between the various stages of waking and unlocking your phones. While there are a lot of cool, fun, and even functional live wallpapers in Google Play, that kind of co-ordination and wallpaper wizardry can only be done by the manufacturer itself.

That said, this doesn’t mean we can’t get some of that magic on our home screen with some Samsung-esque wallpapers.

I present new wallpapers weekly to our readers so that you can replace that boring, old, basic wallpaper with something that speaks to you and shows your style.

But if you are dead set on having that Samsung sparkle on your phone, there are a few things you can do:

  • DroidViews put out a couple of the stock wallpapers before the Unpacked event, but they’re not quite those awesome star fields or gradient glories that we’ve seen on the actual devices. If you like the ones offered here, great. If not, keep reading.
  • Tint Make Gradient Wallpaper lets you make a simple two-color gradient wallpaper with whatever colors you damn well feel like using, allowing you to customize your gradient to match your case, icons, wardrobe, team colors, or whatever other hues you’d like you use. It’s a simple app, and you can save gradients you like and come back to them over and over again.
  • It’s not quite the pitch nothingness of Samsung’s star field always-on wallpaper, but we’ve got some out-of-this-world wallpapers that are out of this world and might encourage you to reach for the stars.

Ringtone

There’s a new version of Samsung’s Over the Horizon ringtone out with the Galaxy S8. As in previous years, Samsung has partnered with a top-notch artist to redo the ditty, and this year it’s Jacob Collier, who has done just a bang-up job with the tone.

Stock ringtones tend to get confusing in the office if everyone’s using them, so you might want to grab the new ringtone now and switch to it before any of your friends get their S8s in a few weeks. Make it yours.




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Moto G4 Plus finally picks up Nougat update in the U.S.

Republic Wireless kicked off a Nougat soak test for the Moto G4 Plus a few weeks ago, and it now looks like Motorola is rolling out the update to unlocked G4 Plus (XT1644) units in the country.

The update comes in at 741MB, and includes all the feature new in Nougat, such as inline notification replies, multi-window mode, improvements to Doze, and a new one-handed mode. The OTA update is now rolling out, so if you’re rocking the G4 Plus in the U.S., it’s time to head into your phone’s settings to see if the update is available for your handset.

Already rocking the Nougat update? How are you liking the changes?

Thanks Travis!




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The Galaxy S8 is really real and officially official! We’re live in New York hours after the big reveal chatting about Samsung’s Next Big Thing!

Join Daniel, Andrew, Derek, Phil (Modern Dad) and Michael Fisher (MrMobile) as they talk about, and pass around, the Galaxy S8!

This podcast was recorded live, and has some intermittent cursing (and a few ambulance sirens — thanks, New York) so you may want to listen to it without kids nearby.

Podcast MP3 URL: 
http://traffic.libsyn.com/androidcentral/androidcentral330.mp3




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Most of the specs of the HTC U have already been revealed, but another rumor has surfaced which helps fill out the spec sheet a little more. If @LlabTooFer is correct, we now know the battery capacity of the HTC … Read More




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Which Galaxy S8 is best for VR?

If you’re already a fan of the Gear VR experience and want your next phone to offer the best possible upgrade, it’s important to know the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus are very different phones in VR. They’re built to be similar for almost everything else, but inside the Gear VR there’s going to be two major differences that make choosing the best experience a little complicated.

Here’s what you need to know.

Read more at VR Heads!




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How do the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ stack up to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus?

Now that the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are official, they will immediately be compared to the best of Samsung’s chief competitor in the mobile space, Apple. While Apple is halfway through its product cycle, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are still formidable opponents, so let’s take a look to see how the two sets of phones stack up against one another.

Galaxy S8 vs. iPhone 7

Perhaps the most striking thing about the Galaxy S8 next to the iPhone 7 is how much more efficiently it uses space. While nearly the same width and only a few millimeters taller than the iPhone 7, Samsung’s newest flagship manages to fit a 5.8-inch screen into a compact body; the iPhone 7 still has a small 4.7-inch display.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ specs

Apple is expected to do away with the home button on the iPhone 8, but for now the Galaxy S8 just looks more space-efficient.

Moreover, Apple’s 1334×750 pixel resolution, with its 326ppi pixel density, seems to fall further and further behind every year; Samsung’s 2960×1440 pixel QHD+ SuperAMOLED screen is bright, vivid and color accurate while maintaining a clear advantage in sharpness and clarity, at 570ppi. This year, Samsung has also done away with its physical home button, for the first time integrating its controls into the display (as Google encourages). That reclaimed space is now extra screen, which helps with games, media and other fullscreen activities. And while Apple is rumored to do away with its own home button later this year, it’s unclear how the company will minimize the impact to the way iOS works, since it has, since the beginning, relied on that single press or tap to return home.

Of course, the Galaxy S8 also sports curved glass, a move that puts Samsung all-in on a the so-called “edge display.” While this may initially be seen as a controversial move, it is also one of Samsung’s clearest technological advantages right now, and as limited a gain in productivity as the curved glass currently offers, it plays very well with consumers, and that’s all that matters.

Around back, Samsung has moved its formerly front-facing home button to the back, next to the camera, in what is quickly becoming a very controversial decision. As Andrew Martonik points out in his hands-on preview, as much as Samsung wants you to take advantage of the integrated iris scanner to unlock the Galaxy S8, the fingerprint sensor is still the most effective way of doing so quickly, but it may take users some time to get used to the new rear placement — and cleaning the camera lens from the smudges that will inevitably accrue.

But Samsung has also taken a small page from Apple’s playbook by integrating a pleasant haptic engine into the area below the virtual home button on the front, making it feel like a physical press. It’s not quite the real thing, but after a while, just as you do with the iPhone 7′s capacitive home button, you quickly grow used to it.

The ports and buttons on the two phones line up fairly predictably, with Samsung positioning its power button on the right side of the phone, and its volume buttons on the left. This year, though, there’s an addition to Samsung’s outfit: a dedicated Bixby AI button that sits just below the volume rocker on the left side, offering one-press access to dozens of on-phone features. Apple relies on a long-press of its home button to access Siri, its own AI assistant.

Moving to the bottom of the phone, Samsung has transitioned to a USB-C port, which is much more versatile and offers faster data rates and quicker charging through a compatible USB 3.1 connection. A single speaker cavity sits to its right, while Samsung has wisely chosen to keep the 3.5mm headphone jack around for at least one more year.

Both phones are made of a combination of metal and glass, but like the Galaxy S7 the back is covered with strong Gorilla Glass rather than brushed or matte aluminum. And while the Galaxy S8 looks and feels very similar to its predecessor, it the design is improved in one major way: its matte black version has color-matched metal on the sides to follow the contours of the black rear and front glass, providing an unbroken pool of gorgeous darkness. More companies have begun doing this, but Samsung still does it best.

Finally, it has to be said that as narrow as the Galaxy S8 is — which means it’s usable in one hand without discomfort — it does feel much taller than the iPhone 7. That 18.5:9 aspect ratio is going to be new to Android and iPhone users alike, so if you do decide to buy a Galaxy S8 after coming from an iPhone, you’re in for a small adjustment period.

Apple’s A10 chip is faster than anything out there right now, but you’d be hard-pressed to notice a difference between it and the Snapdragon 835.

Internally, the iPhone 7 sports the A10 chip, a quad-core SoC that includes two high-frequency, high-performance cores and two low-energy cores for ambient activities, with just 2GB of RAM (and the 7 Plus has 3GB). The RAM deficit hasn’t been a problem in years past, though, since iOS is generally more efficient than Android in its resource and RAM management.

It’s already been determined that the A10 is faster in single-core activities, but both the Snapdragon 835 and Exynos 8895 best it in multi-core benchmarks — conclusions that don’t really mean anything in the real world, but are interesting nonetheless. And while both Galaxy S8 models sport 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, the iPhone vacillates in storage size — and price — between 32GB, 128GB and 256GB. With the Galaxy S8′s microSD card, none of that price shuffling is necessary.

Galaxy S8+ vs. iPhone 7 Plus

The screen to bezel efficiency continues with the story of the Galaxy S8+, especially when compared to the iPhone 7 Plus. While Apple’s bigger phone boasts a 5.5-inch 1080p display, much more akin to most Android phones, it is very wide and extremely tall. Indeed, Samsung’s 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+ is considerably narrower, and only slightly longer, than the iPhone 7 Plus. Neither phone is exactly one hand-friendly, but you’re definitely going to need to adjust the way you hold the Galaxy S8+ to swipe down from that notification shade without a second hand.

The Galaxy S8+ has all the same ports and button placements as its smaller counterpart, including the rear fingerprint sensor, which is even harder to reach on the larger version of the phone. Its 6.2-inch QHD+ SuperAMOLED display shares the same resolution as the Galaxy S8, 2960×1440 pixels, which makes it slightly less dense at 529ppi, but still far sharper than the 401ppi iPhone 7 Plus. As accurate and bright as Apple’s screens are, they will likely never catch Samsung in the pixel density arms race — if that’s a real thing anymore.

The cameras

The Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7 both have single rear 12MP camera sensors with f/1.7 lenses, making them pretty similar on paper and in real-world results. While Samsung tends to go for a more exaggerated color palette and Apple for a flatter, more realistic photo, they both have the potential to take amazing photos in daylight and low light.

The Galaxy S8+ lacks a second sensor, but Samsung doesn’t think it needs one.

While we haven’t had a lot of time to play with the cameras on the Galaxy S8, Samsung tells us it shares hardware components with the Galaxy S7; what is different, though, is the connection to the main chip, which has been upgraded from the Snapdragon 820 to the Snapdragon 835 (and in Europe, the Exynos 8890 to the Exynos 8895). This improved ISP, or image signal processor, should have a significant impact on things like focus speed and HDR performance, but we’ll see.

The one thing that the Galaxy S8 series doesn’t have that the iPhone does — at least, the iPhone 7 Plus — is a second camera sensor. While the LG G6 has a second camera for wide-angle shots, and the iPhone 7 Plus uses its for additional distance and depth-of-field effects, Samsung was comfortable with the Galaxy S8+’s performance to live on its own.

We’ve seen plenty of good and bad photos from Apple’s second camera — it lacks optical image stabilization, and has a much narrower aperture, so it lets in much less light — it’s still going to be a point of comparison when shopping for a new phone. Samsung did reportedly experiment with adding a second sensor to the new Galaxy S8 lineup but felt the technology wasn’t quite ready — in whatever form it was going to take — so it may be delayed a year.

Either way, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ should have amazing cameras, some of the best on the market, and we’re looking forward to putting them through their paces in comparison to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

Platforms

Finally, we come down to software. Samsung is shipping the Galaxy S8 with Android 7 Nougat, and while Samsung’s software has improved markedly over the past few years, to the point where it can be considered neck-and-neck with the best interpretations of Android, its update record is still shoddy. Take the Nougat update on the Galaxy S7 series; it took nearly 11 months for the update to begin rolling out to U.S. carrier devices, and it’s still not available on the unlocked version.

Apple, on the other hand, updates all of its devices at once, and does so with the cooperation of its carrier partners. It would be nice for Samsung to get to that point, but for now it — and Android — work differently.

As close as the two platforms are in terms of features, there’s another major consideration to take into the account: the two app stores. Google Play and Apple’s App Store don’t have too much between them these days, but some companies, especially smaller startups, still choose iOS as a first, or even exclusive, destination when publishing their apps. So do game companies, which derive considerably more revenue from iOS than Android. That being said, most of the major titles eventually come to Android, and the delta between releases is shortening, but it’s still a reality.

The other side of the argument comes in the form of continuity; Samsung relies on Android, so it’s increasingly trying to find ecosystem tie-ins in other ways. Take DeX, Samsung’s hardware dock that turns the Galaxy S8 into a Microsoft Continuum-like desktop experience. This is Samsung trying to exert as much control over its software as possible — this is Android, not Chrome or anything else, but it’s Samsung’s Android — and that’s admirable.

Which should you buy?

The question of which phone you should buy largely comes down to platform preference, but you should also keep in mind that Samsung’s phones are a full half-year newer than the iPhone 7 series, and benefit from a highly competitive Android ecosystem that is consistently pushing partners to develop innovations in the hardware space.

Apple feels less of a need to constantly redesign its phones because it has an entrenched and loyal user base that have, over time, grown reliant not just on the iPhone hardware but iOS as a platform, with iMessage, iCloud and many other features with which Android manufacturers can’t directly compete, since Google controls Android. Samsung has tried, and Bixby is a good example of that, but it still uses Google services as its backbone.

So it then comes down to hardware. The most notable upgrade in this year’s Galaxy S series is the screen — larger screens and smaller bezels make for phones that use space far more efficiently than ever before. They’re also taller, thanks to the odd 18.5:9 aspect ratio. That Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895 processor keep things moving at a fast clip, and bring some much-needed efficiency improvements to the table. Of course, battery life benefits from the more-efficient processor, but we’ll have to wait a bit longer before we determine whether the 3,000mAh battery in the GS8, or the 3,500mAh cell in the GS8+, perform better than the equivalent cells in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

Both the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S8 series are great, but Samsung has maximized the usable space on the front, and that makes it feel far more modern than the aging design on the iPhone.

Learn everything you need to know about the Galaxy S8!

There’s lots more to know about the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, from the subtle (and not so subtle) hardware changes to the software, Bixby, DeX and more. Grab a coffee and sit back to read our full hands-on preview of Samsung’s latest devices!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ preview




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The launch of the Pixel 2 isn’t expected until late Q3, but a new report out of China claims that manufacturers are already vying for Google’s attention to build next year’s Pixel 3.  According to the report, HTC, LG, TCL, and … Read More




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Here’s how, when and where you’ll be able to buy Samsung’s latest phones.

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are going up for pre-order starting March 30, which precedes a full release on April 21 in stores and online. With the three week lag time that means you’ll have a little while to decide what size and color you want, but also lock in your order early so you can get it as soon as possible without hunting one down in store.

Here are the details when it comes to online and in-store availability of the Galaxy S8 and S8+.

Note: This story is being constantly updated with new information.

U.S. carriers

All of the U.S. carriers will be offering both the Galaxy S8 and S8+, which come with 64GB of storage and will be available in three different colors — black, orchid grey and silver. As is always the case you may run into stock shortages finding a specific model in a specific color in the first few weeks, but as of now we aren’t aware of any all-out exclusives that will keep one color tied to a specific carrier.

Retailers

You can expect big retailers like Best Buy, Walmart and Target to sell the Galaxy S8 and S8+ tied to a carrier with many of the same perks as the carriers offer directly. Historically these retailers have offered slight discounts in the form of gift cards or accessory incentives, so take a look to see which one is offering the best deal.

U.S. unlocked

Samsung didn’t actually make an announcement about the availability of U.S. unlocked models, but Best Buy has pages up giving us pricing and a supposed pre-order date of May 9. The model numbers follow the same scheme as the U.S. unlocked Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, so it seems to be the case that the unlocked models will be on their way soon.




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