The HTC U 11 has made an appearance on Geekbench. Listed as the HTC CBP, the smartphone shows that it is running on the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC with 4GB of RAM. While it’s nice to see the phone’s … Read More

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You have decided to embark on a new career in web development, but the problem is you don’t know where to start. You could go to a four-year college and get a degree in computer science; but that means spending four years of your life as a student — you don’t have time for that!

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You could also attend a short intensive boot camp program, but once again, moving your life to a new city for several weeks, spending several thousand dollars, and coding every day all day is not ideal for everyone either. There is a third option — learn to code from the comfort of your own home and at a pace that fits your busy lifestyle.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Samsung’s LED View Cover is a very popular case for the Galaxy S7 for a number of reasons. This folio style case protects the front and back of the phone without bulking it up, and still shows you your notifications and the time with the built-in LEDs, all for just $45.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Making sense of those acronyms and abbreviations.

“Hey, man. Did you hear that Qualcomm’s new X20 modem is rated for cat 18 LTE, carries 12 spatial streams and is 4×4 MIMO capable? Isn’t that cool?”

Maybe that’s cool, but really how is a regular person with a regular job or who goes to regular school and has regular hobbies supposed to know? It sounds like a secret code with all the abbreviations and acronyms, and the companies who want us to buy it aren’t any better at explaining: “10 times faster” “5G” “Gigabit”. Those words may convey the right message — that things will be fast — but take no time to say why or how.

A lot of tech talk is this way. Engineers are lazy when it comes to typing or writing. Things like “power over Ethernet” instantly become PoE, or “impedance” becomes Z (I is for current. Of course it is.). That’s why you hear words and phrases like QAM that don’t mean a thing unless you stop and look them up. And usually, the answer is filled with other acronyms and abbreviations. Did I mention that engineers are lazy typists?

Because Qualcomm and some of their partners are working on changing the whole game when it comes to better wireless networking, you’ll be hearing or reading this kind of stuff a lot. Here’s some help so you know wtf those nerds are talking about!

  • 4G stands for fourth generation wireless. 3G was the third generation, and so on. There are standards, but companies like AT&T are allowed to just use the G as a marketing term.
  • LTE stands for Long Term Evolution. It’s based on the old standards but has evolved to be faster and better at carrying data.
  • cat usually follows LTE when talking about wireless. It simply stands for category. Higher numbers are faster.
  • Carrier aggregation (sometimes LTE CA) is part of the advanced LTE standards that lets a network combine LTE signals. More radio waves equal more and faster data. You’ll see it expressed as “5x20MHz” which is not an acronym and means five 20MHz signals.
  • QAM is short for Quadrature Amplitude Modulation. It’s a method to take two different instances of the same shape signal wave and put them 90-degrees out of phase. Modulation and demodulation use both amplitude and phase to process the signal. Wireless networks and phones (and cable boxes and HDTV tuners) are designed to use Quantized QAM because square waves offer more bits per symbol with a lower SNR.
  • The entire section above this one is because I know there are some budding engineers that will read this and want that explanation. For everyone else, QAM is a way to send a signal that carries more data with less noise than there would be if you amplified a single “regular” signal. A higher number means more data and faster speeds.
  • MIMO stands for multiple inputs, multiple outputs. It’s an antenna design that has both the device sending a signal and the device receiving the signal using more than one antenna at the same time, This means the signal can carry more data and have fewer errors.
  • Spatial streams are how a MIMO setup carries different signals on each antenna. The receiving device (your phone) puts them all together into one signal filled with lots of data. This is also called multiplexing. The more streams that can be sent at the same time, the more data is in the stream when they are put back together. 12 streams are better than 10.

This is a good start. You won’t turn into a wireless engineer by reading it and there are a lot of technicalities not included here. That’s by design — someone has to try and turn all this stuff into something everyone reading about it can understand.

And there a a lot more abbreviations, acronyms, and insanity when it comes to telecom terms, Toss out the ones you know in the comments so we all can have a better understanding of why our stuff is supposed to be faster in the 5G future.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Skybox lets you watch videos streamed from your PC, no matter which headset you own.

There are plenty of different VR video players that are available for viewing all of those awesome videos that you download from the internet. Being able to watch the videos that you want to watch, when and where you want them, isn’t really anything new. Now, with Skybox’s Airscreen feature you can stream videos from your PC right to your VR headset. We’ve got all the details for you here.


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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Best Google Pixel Cases

29 April 2017

Whether you’re looking for something low-key or high-protection, these are the best cases for the Google Pixel and Pixel XL.

Not everyone uses a case on their phone, and those who do may not even use a case every day. But one thing is certain: your Google Pixel or Pixel XL is a very expensive piece of hardware, and that means you should consider the options for protecting it.

We’re not just talking about a drop from shoulder height onto concrete. There are also just little bits of daily life that can leave your phone looking less than pristine after a few months or a year. Now that the Pixels have been out for a while you have plenty of great case options that can help you keep your phone looking great for longer. Here are a few of our favorites.

Updated April 29, 2017: This list has been refreshed with updated pricing, links, and the latest information.

Maxboost mSnap Thin Case

Maxboost has made a great and super minimal offering with the mSnap Thin Case. Available in turquoise, black and rose gold, the mSnap case offers complete protection of all edges without adding any unnecessary bulk. Little slits at the corners let the case stay super rigid but still fit around your Pixel.

The case cuts out relatively large holes around the camera, fingerprint sensor, USB port and headphone jack so you don’t have to worry about compatibility with other accessories or issues with not being able to access basic functions. Starting at $13, this is a great minimalist choice.

See at Amazon

X-Level Vintage Series PU Leather

If you’re looking for a case that has a bit more style and a natural feel, but don’t want to spend the big bucks on a proper leather case, check out the X-Level Vintage Series PU Leather case. For just $13 you can get a black, brown or pink-colored synthetic leather case that gives a bit of cushion to your Pixel or Pixel XL.

Sure it’s not “genuine” leather and the bottom of the phone isn’t completely protected, but this case will definitely provide daily protection from bumps and scrapes while also looking nicer than a generic rubber case.

See at Amazon

Otterbox Commuter

Otterbox is a company that is well-known for its protective offerings, but many are turned away by how bulky that can make your Pixel. The Commuter series is a great balance of protection and bulk, all while looking pretty great. Thanks to its inner synthetic rubber slipcover and the polycarbonate outer shell, you’ll have awesome protection in the event of a drop or fall.

The case allows for easy access to the ports and fingerprint sensor, and the buttons are raised so you can easily find them. Coming in at just under $40, it is more expensive than many of the other options, but worth every penny for the protection it provides.

See at Otterbox

Tauri Ultra Slim

The Pixel is a great looking phone, and you may not want to hide it under a case. That doesn’t mean you should leave your phone completely unprotected to show it off, and instead you should consider a great clear case. Tauri offers its Ultra Slim case in a variety of tinted colors, most of which can be seen through to still show off the beauty of the phone.

You won’t get extreme protection with this case, but it will prevent some dings and scratches from making your phone look older than it really is. Priced at only $8 there is very little reason to not pick one up for your Pixel to keep it safe.

See at Amazon

Spigen Rugged Armor

If you’re looking to protect your Google Pixel but don’t want to make it super big and bulky, Spigen’s Rugged Armor is a solid pick for you. The case combines Military Grade protection with Air Cushion Technology for all of its corners, and the TPU material is flexible but protective.

Being fingerprint-resistant, the case will not only protect your phone but keep it looking clean and great. The front has a small lip to it, so if you place the phone face down the screen won’t touch the surface to prevent scratches. At only $13, you can’t go wrong with this slim case that offers great protection.

See at Amazon

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

You’ll eventually find the music you’re looking for on Play Music.

Google Play Music All Access went live in India earlier this month, offering unlimited streaming and offline downloads for just ₹89 ($1.40) a month. With access to over 40 million songs, there’s certainly a lot to explore in All Access.

That said, the main problem with the service is discovery. You’ll have to put in a few hours’ worth of effort to get everything set up the way you want. Google is catering to the masses with All Access, and as such the service doesn’t have a diverse list of options during initial setup. You’ll be able to select from several local languages and pick out mainstream Bollywood acts, but if you’re like me and primarily listen to metal, your choices are non-existent.

There’s an easy explanation for this: Play Music is just getting off the ground in the country, and Google wants to be as inclusive as possible. It’s certainly going out of its way to do so — there isn’t even an option to select English at launch — and that has led to some consternation on Reddit.

Although the initial options are limited, Google’s recommendation engine is one of the best out there, and after using Play Music for a few days, I started seeing suggestions for artists from the genres I care about. As more and more users get started with the service, the options that are highlighted at launch will get better over time.

In addition to Google’s cast content library, Play Music lets you upload up to 50,000 songs from your own music collection to the service. You can upload files of any type — FLAC, MP3, AAC, OGG, ALAC — and Google will compress them to 320kbps MP3.

Having used Spotify for the last two years, there’s plenty to like in Play Music. The service costs a fraction of Spotify premium at ₹89 a month, and while I miss the curated playlists, the content catalog is just as diverse. As there’s no financial commitment to get started with Play Music — Google is offering a 30-day trial — you should absolutely give it a try. The pricing alone should make it worthy of your consideration.

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This week, your hosts Daniel Bader, Jerry Hildenbrand and Andrew Martonik talk about what’s new in the world of smartphones, and the regulators that influence the carriers we pay to get cellular service for those phones.

  1. Andrew gives his thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy S8, and the team talk about whether the new phone is a foundational phone that has problems — more like the Galaxy S6 than the Galaxy S7.

  2. The BlackBerry KEYone is coming soon, but who is this phone for, and should you care? Daniel and Jerry give their thoughts.

  3. The FCC is moving to repeal Title II, removing specific clauses from so-called net neutrality mandates that protect consumers from having “fast lanes” imposed on the internet. This is a big deal.

  4. AT&T launched a “5G Evolution” network this week, but it’s more of the same — both in terms of technology (nothing new) and deceptive marketing (same old, same old).

This episode of the Android Central podcast is brought to you by Mint SIM. Looking for a great deal on high-speed 4G LTE in the U.S.? Use offer code ACFREESHIP at checkout when you purchase one of their inexpensive plans.

Tell your friends about the Android Central podcast, and be sure to subscribe so you see the show as soon as it’s released! Thanks for listening, and we’ll talk to you next week!

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

The HTC U 11 will officially be unveiled on May 16, but that isn’t stopping HTC from trying to create a little hype about its upcoming smartphone. A new HTC U 11 teaser video has been posted to the company’s … Read More

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 | Posted by | Categories: HTC |

Looking for a killer deal on a new cell phone plan for yourself? Don’t miss this awesome offer from Mint SIM!

In the recent years, we’ve seen a whole lot happen to cell phone plans. First unlimited data, then price hikes, then tiered data, cheaper plans, the return of unlimited data and so much more. Competition continues to grow in this field, and Mint SIM is getting in on the action with some extremely aggressive pricing for its plans. Mint SIM is an alternative carrier that offers you an extremely affordable way to have the data you need on your phone, and right now you can save an additional 20% off any 6- or 12-month plan using the coupon ACMINTSIM20.

Mint SIM utilizes T-Mobile’s growing 4G LTE network to ensure you have great coverage and fast speeds across most of the United States. The way it works is Mint SIM buys access to networks and packages and then is able to resell them to its customers for better rates than the major carriers are charging.

Save 20% with coupon ACMINTSIM20 Learn More

With Mint SIM you can port your existing number over, or start service with a new one if you wish. You can pay monthly, or buy in 3, 6, or 12-month bundles, which help you save even more.

The additional 20% off comes when you buy either 6 or 12-months, but the savings is pretty big. The Big Four carriers charge upwards of $90 a month to gain access to a reasonable amount of data, meaning you are paying nearly $1,100 a year for service. With Mint SIM you can get 10GB of data per month with unlimited talk and text for just $323 for the year.

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There are a ton of deals out there, but none of them are quite this good. You can use the unlocked phone of your choice with any of these plans, so pick one you like, order a new SIM card and give it a shot today!

10GB per month at $27 based on one year plan using coupon code. Does not include regulatory fees of $4.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |