Motorola brings back old favorites and adds a Moto C line that offers “Unlimited Essentials.”

The latest leak from Evan Blass should get fans of Motorola phones excited.

In a leaked slide we get to see Motorola’s 2017 lineup, including the introduction of a new Moto C line. According to the photo, there are nine phones expected this year to cover everything from value shoppers to enthusiasts.

Motorola 2017 [via tip]

— Evan Blass (@evleaks) May 14, 2017

While seeing a return most of these phones isn’t unexpected, the new addition of the Moto C is intriguing. According to the leak, it will offer “Unlimited Essentials” which could mean anything. We expect it will be a budget-friendly model that can offer a no-frills experience for folks who aren’t looking for things like Moto Mods or other bells and whistles. It all depends on the meaning of essential to Motorola’s marketing team.

We’re also looking forward to some features from the existing lines, like 3D Glass for the Moto X (which promises “Unlimited Perfection”) and a dual-camera setup in the 2017 Moto GS+ which appears to replace the Moto G5 and G5+. No word on exactly when Motorola will make any of these phones official, but considering the source of the leak we’re betting that this is exactly what we’ll see from Moto throughout the year.

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You can now buy the LG G6 in the U.S.

One of our favorite phones of 2017 so far is now available on American shores. The big four U.S. carriers have started selling the LG G6, and all are offering a free Google Home, courtesy of LG, if you order your G6 before April 30.

Buy the LG G6 from Verizon

Verizon is offering the G6 for $28 per month with $0 down, or $672 if you’re paying the full retail price, in black and platinum colors.

See at Verizon

Buy the LG G6 from AT&T

AT&T has the same two colors available for $24 per month, or $719.99 outright, with pre-orders shipping now. Get your G6 on a two-year AT&T Next deal and the carrier will hook you up with an LG Watch Sport for $49.99. (That’s in addition to LG’s separate promotion for a free Google Home.)

See at AT&T

Buy the LG G6 from Sprint

Over on Sprint, it’s $29.50 monthly on a 24-month plan, or $299.99 with a 24-month contract. Full retail price is $708, and Sprint is throwing in a free 49-inch LG TV to sweeten the deal — again, on top of that free Google Home.

See at Sprint

Buy the LG G6 from T-Mobile

T-Mo’s G6 will set you back $650 outright, or 24 payments of $26 after $26 down, with the same free Google Home promotion if you buy before April 30.

See at T-Mobile

Buy the LG G6 from other retailers

B&H Photo has the U.S. unlocked G6 (LG-US997) available for $599.99, as does Amazon for the same price. Best Buy has it for $699.99 but it should get a price drop shortly.

Picking up a G6? Hit the comments and let us know!

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The future of Android updates is upon us … sort of.

For the Android enthusiasts among us, Google’s announcement of Project Treble felt like a message straight from the heavens. The new system, coming in Android O, lays the groundwork for Android devices to have proper separation between the core of Android and the necessary (and unnecessary) customizations device manufacturers need to apply before sending out software updates. Functionally, it means Google can update its own parts of Android without disturbing the OEM interface on top or the low-level device-specific firmware underneath. Reaction on Twitter and in the comments of our articles took this announcement as a sign that the utopian future of Android updates is finally here.

Looking at the details a bit closer and thinking about how this will actually play out in the real world with real companies, though, you start to bring yourself back down to earth a bit. The first issue is that because of the massive change in overall architecture, this isn’t something that is likely to come to any devices released before 2017 — it requires a complete partition change, and that’s not something you want to mess with by just sending out an OTA. Some of the big flagships of the year may be able to have Project Treble with their Android O update, but that’s not a guarantee — and we may see devices released throughout the year that don’t ever get it.

Perhaps the biggest thing that will bring people back down to earth with Project Treble is realizing exactly what Google can and can’t change without the device maker’s intervention. Project Treble being integrated into a phone does not mean that the device maker’s “skin” is somehow easily removable or no longer part of the device — it’s still there, looking as it always did, even if Google pushes out an under-the-hood platform update. Project Treble simply creates an abstraction layer to separate the parts Google can change from everything else — it doesn’t get rid of the manufacturer’s customizations entirely.

Project Treble is super important, but primarily in the long run.

And that brings into play what is likely the most substantial hurdle here: the manufacturers themselves are still involved. They’re just simply not critical to the process of Google updating the parts of the software it will now have control over. That’s a good thing! It means that Samsung or Qualcomm doesn’t necessarily have to be involved with Google pushing out a new feature or a security patch. But at the same time, you’re still going to be waiting on Samsung, Moto, HTC, LG or Huawei (and hey, probably your carrier) to push out new user-facing interface changes — that in no way changes with Project Treble.

With all that being said, Project Treble is an extremely important change to the way Android works and will have huge influence on the Android experience. The ability for Google to push out software updates unilaterally that improve security or standardize phones on a single implementation of a feature is a big deal going forward. Just because this change doesn’t signal the death of manufacturer interface customizations doesn’t mean it can’t have a big impact on how we use our Androids in the future.

And with that, a few random thoughts:

  • HTC is about to drop its new flagship, expectedly called the U 11, on Tuesday — the launch event is at an … inconvenient time of 2 a.m. ET, as it’s happening in Taipei.
  • After a frustratingly weak showing with the U Ultra and U Play, here’s hoping HTC can get a few things right and make a dent of some size with the U 11.
  • I’m still using the Galaxy S8, and I’ve actually found a nice super-thin case that works for me — bonus being how much better it makes the fingerprint sensor.
  • Also actually bringing the Galaxy Tab S3 and its keyboard case on my current trip. Much easier to use on a plane than a laptop, and more compact than a Pixel C.
  • Google I/O kicks off on Wednesday, and if this big Project Treble announcement is any indication we should be in for some really interesting news out of the conference.
  • That being said, a lot of the magic of I/O happens behind the scenes rather than in the headlines — developers and device makers learn so much from the conference, and the fruits of those discussions come later on.

That’s it for now — have a great week, everyone.


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What’s the best alternative to Philips Hue? Here are our favorites!

Updated May, 2017: Switched the LIFX A21 for the A19, added the Flux Bluetooth bulb.

Philips Hue smart lights are some of the coolest on the market and they’re definitely some of the most popular, but they can be quite expensive, especially once you get into colored bulbs. If you’re looking for a less expensive alternative or just something other than what’s popular, then check out these other awesome options.

GE Link Starter Kit

This starter kit from GE features two A19 LED bulbs and a link hub, allowing you to control all GE bulbs through the Wink mobile app. Although these bulbs only come in a soft white, they’re great for general use around your home, while still having complete control over scheduling. The GE Link starter kit is also compatible with Amazon Echo, but requires the Wink hub.

See at Amazon

LIFX A19 Wi-Fi Smart Bulb

The LIFX Wi-Fi bulb provides 16 million colors and 1,000 shades of white, connecting over your Wi-Fi network without the need for a hub. Simply download the LIFX app and gain control of lighting effects and custom schedules to suit your needs. Each A19 bulb only consumes 17 watts of energy and has a lumen count of 1017. LIFX bulbs even work with Nest Protect and Thermostat, flashing the lights when smoke is detected or switching the lights on and off automatically to make it appear as if someone is home while you’re away on vacation. You can order the LIFX bulb starting at $50 for one. LIFX bulbs are Amazon Certified to work with Alexa.

See at Amazon

Lucero A19 Smart Bulb

This colorful LED Bluetooth bulb from Lucero can be customized through the Lucero Smart Bulb app, where you can sync with your music and even control up to 50 bulbs in various groups (up to five). With over 16 million colors, there are plenty of options to suit your mood while managing to stay energy efficient at only 7.5 watts. These affordable smart bulbs are available for just $30 each.

See at Amazon

Cree BA19 LED Bulb

The daylight (5000K) dimmable Cree LED bulb is compatible with multiple platforms, including Amazon Echo, Wink, WeMo, and more. After setting up with a compatible hub, you can schedule your Cree bulbs to turn on and off at any specific time, adjust brightness, or even customize them to work while you’re away from home as an extra security measure. Each Cree bulb is only 11.5 watts and is available for about $15 each — not bad for its 22-year lifespan.

See at Amazon

Sylvania Lightify by Osram

The best feature of the Lightify bulbs by Osram is that they’re compatible with Alexa. If you have an Echo in your house, then these will work right out of the box (so long as you have a hub), so you can control your lights with just your voice!

Lightify comes in RGBW, tuneable white, and soft white, so you have your choice of light temperature to best suit your room. Just download the Lightify app, and you’re on your way. These bulbs fit into standard sockets, and you can adjust color temperature in the RGBW and tuneable white bulbs to best fit your mood or needs (soft white when it’s time to chill, daylight to help you stay awake).

See at Amazon

Flux Bluetooth Smart LED bulb

Flux bulbs are color-changing bulbs that work via Bluetooth instead of Wi-Fi like the other bulbs on this list, which means you won’t be able to control them with you’re not at home. That being said, you can still schedule actions, like having the bulbs turn on when you’re away from home or to wake you up in the morning.

Flux bulbs feature over 16 million colors, which you control directly from the Flux app. You can control the mode (strobe, shifting colors, etc.), and these will even sync with music on your phone to add some extra atmosphere to your dance party.

Flux bulbs come in 7 or 10-watt iterations and are available for around $34.

See at Amazon


Z-Wave isn’t a bulb, but a technology that allows many switches to be used to wirelessly control normal, everyday lightbulbs. With any Z-Wave switch, you can control not-smart bulbs via a great smart home hub — no need to pay through the nose for smart bulbs that last decades (though they are a pretty solid investment).

The light of your life

Which smart lights do you use? Sound off in the comments below!

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Samsung Health makes building better habits easier than ever.

The hardest part of making real changes to your lifestyle, comes when you realize you need to build better habits. Whether this involves ensuring that you get enough sleep every night, or cutting down on your daily caffeine intake, Samsung Health can help you in this endeavor.

Use the Tracker

The first big way that Samsung Health helps you out in building better habits is by delivering a Tracker that you can customize. There are 11 different options for your Tracker, from a daily step counter, all the way to your daily Blood Pressure.

You can enable any of these at any time, and the only default tracker that you cannot remove is the step counter. Some of the trackers will allow you to enter your information manually, while others will need a compatible accessory to take a reading.

How to add a Tracker

  1. Open Samsung Health.
  2. Tap Manage Items.
  3. Tap the toggle next to the habit you want to track.

How to manually input information into a Tracker

  1. Open Samsung Health.
  2. Tap the Tracked activity that you want to input information into.
  3. Tap the plus sign to add information.

How to input measure information into a Tracker

  1. Open Samsung Health.
  2. Tap Measure on the Tracked activity you want to measure information for.
  3. Place your finger on the sensor to left of your camera on the back of the phone.

  4. Wait while the sensor measures an activity.
  5. Set a status for more information about the activity collected by the sensor.
  6. Tap Save.

See your progress

After you’ve started to track your habits, the next step is seeing your progress towards better habits. To this end you have two different options. You can view your overall insights from the home page of Samsung Health, or view information specific to a tracked activity.

View your overall Insights

  1. Open Samsung Health
  2. Tap the green lightbulb icon in the upper right corner of your screen.
  3. Tap Set Up Insights.

  4. Type in a nickname and double check your information.
  5. Tap Next.

  6. Set goals that you want to track.
  7. Tap Next.

View Trends on a Tracked Activity

  1. Open Samsung Health.
  2. Tap on the Tracked Activity you want to view Trends for.
  3. Tap on Trends to view a graph of information of that activity.

Have you tried Samsung Health?

The first step is building better habits is having a good look at all of your information. Between tracking your information, and seeing Trends in how these habits change from day to day, it’s easier to see where you’re doing well along with where you still need to improve. Have you tried using Samsung Health to build better habits? Let us know about it in the comments below!

Samsung Gear Fit 2 review

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |