Getting a good fit is the first step on a journey in VR.

Gear VR is one of the more accessible VR headsets available right, as well as being a pretty comfortable fit. Before you go diving directly into VR though, you’re going to want to adjust the headset so that it sits correctly on your head. After all, who wants to start enjoying VR only to move their head and have their headset slip off their face?

This is how you ensure that never happens.

Read more at VRHeads!

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

You can buy the Nokia 2 from Amazon and Best Buy starting today.

The Nokia brand has been rather prominent in the Android space this year, and this has resulted from the release of the Nokia 8, 6, 5, and 2. The Nokia 6 was the first of these phones to launch in the United States this past July, and that’s now being followed by the more affordable Nokia 2.

You’ll be able to purchase the Nokia 2 from Amazon and Best Buy starting today, November 30, and it’ll cost you just $99. For that price, you’re getting a 5-inch 1280 x 720 LCD display, Snapdragon 212 processor, 8MP rear camera, and a huge 4,100 mAh battery that Nokia says allows for two days of use on a single charge.

Other specs include 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, 5MP front-facing camera, and a microUSB port for charging. The Nokia 2 ships with Android 7.1.1 Nougat, and while we’d expect an Oreo update soon, an ETA for this has yet to be announced.

See at Amazon

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The Mate 10 Pro is one of the fastest and most seductive phones on the market, but its software lets it down where it counts.

Here in North America, there are the phone companies you know about, and the ones you need to know about. Huawei is in the latter category, despite broaching fame in early 2017 with the U.S. release of its flagship Mate 9.

With that phone’s sequel, the company divided the line into two distinct models: the regular Mate 10, which looks a lot like its predecessor, and the Mate 10 Pro, which is taller and sleeker and goes forward in a more modern, future-proof direction. That latter version is coming to the U.S. in early 2018 (though the company won’t say exactly when, or if it’s partnering with a carrier this time around), and there’s a lot to look forward to.

I’ve been using the Mate 10 Pro for a few weeks now in both the U.S. and Canada, and though you can’t buy it yet, there’s lots to look forward to when it becomes available next year. (Or if you’re so inclined, you can import it from Europe, but that’s for the truly desperate.)

Huawei Mate 10 Pro review: Best Android flagship for battery life

Huawei Mate 10 What you’ll love

There’s a lot to like about the Mate 10′s hardware. You should take a look at Alex’s review because it gives an excellent overview of the way Huawei has migrated, as other companies have, away from metal to a warmer glass-back design. The racing stripe along the back gives what would be an otherwise bland-looking device a bit of personality, too, which is a nice touch.

  • Display: 6 inches, 2160×1080 pixels (2:1 aspect)
  • OS: EMUI 8.0 (Android 8.0 Oreo)
  • Price: €699 (EUR) / TBD (US)
  • Processor: Kirin 970
  • RAM: 4GB / 6GB
  • Storage: 64GB / 128GB
  • Camera (front): 8MP ƒ2.0
  • Cameras (rear): 12MP (main) | 20MP (secondary)
  • Weight: 178 grams
  • Size: 152.2 x 74.5 x 7.9mm
  • Wireless: LTE 1.2Gbps
  • Sensors: Rear fingerprint
  • Battery: 4000mAh
  • Water resistance: IP67
  • Colors: Midnight Blue, Titanium Gray, Mocha Brown, Pink Gold

Holding the Mate 10′s all-glass chassis is often treacherous given its size and weight — it’s over 6 inches tall and weighs 173 grams, but as an object, the phone is stunning to look at. The AMOLED screen, despite not matching up in resolution to much of the competition (and, oddly, to its own LCD-sporting Mate 10 counterpart) is vivid and accurate, without a hint of the unsightly blue tint that has afflicted the LG V30 and Google Pixel 2 XL.

Like the Mate 9, the Mate 10 Pro does away with most of the bezels around the screen, though that effect is less pronounced this year for a number of reasons: there are many phones that look almost identical (the front is a dead ringer for the OnePlus 5T); and the AMOLED screen blends nicely with the black bezels.

This is one of the fastest phones on the market, and the Kirin 970 is to thank for that.

The phone is also very fast — the Kirin 970 processor inside the Mate 10 Pro matches or outperforms the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 in most synthetic benchmarks I’ve used, and the phone feels incredibly snappy. While I’m no fan of Huawei’s software — EMUI 8.0 is still a mess in many places — there’s no question that using the company’s latest flagship feels like there is plenty of headroom (I’ve been using the model with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

Other nice touches: Huawei’s fingerprint sensor is incredibly fast and wonderfully placed. On a phone this tall, I never had a problem getting to the home screen. (That’s a good thing, too, because the phone lacks any form of gesture to wake the screen with a double-tap.) It’s water-resistant, rated IP67, which is good for one meter of submersion for 30 minutes.

Given that this is the first in the Mate line with such a pedigree, it’s a timely addition, as the feature feels like table stakes for a release in late 2017. There is no headphone jack, nor wireless charging; oddly, I’m less bummed about the former than the latter.

The camera is outstanding on here. Huawei has always done a great job with its optics, partnering with Leica in the past, and the collaboration bears even juicier fruit with the Mate 10 series than it did on the P10 and P10 Plus from earlier in 2017.

The Mate 10 Pro’s camera has decent dynamic range in difficult shooting situations. This is without HDR.

Colors are vivid and pleasing.

The big change is in low light performance: the secondary 20MP monochrome sensor is now paired with an ƒ/1.6 lens, and the results are truly special. I still think it’s nuts that Huawei’s otherwise-excellent camera app still doesn’t support Auto HDR, but shooting photos and video is an otherwise sublime experience. I’d buy this phone for the monochrome sensor alone.

If you’re a camera junky — especially a fan of monochrome photography — this is the phone to get. It takes beautiful photos.

Battery life from the 4000mAh battery is astoundingly good. I know, that’s a big adverb, but it’s worth the hyperbole. I only had to charge the Mate 10 Pro once every two days, and that’s with using it as I would any other phone. Yes, battery life has improved across the board on high-end Android phones this year — the 10nm manufacturing process of chips like the Kirin 970 and Snapdragon 835 have facilitated that — but this takes things to a whole new level.

Elsewhere, I had no problem using the phone to make calls and connect to both AT&T’s and TELUS’s LTE networks in the U.S. and Canada, respectively, and though I couldn’t take advantage of the purported 1.2Gbps potential network speeds, I did notice the phone’s LTE connection was always solid, even in remote areas. The stereo speakers, too, are very good.

Huawei Mate 10 What you’ll hate

I said it earlier, and I’ll strongly reiterate it here: I do not like EMUI. Even with its modern retrofit, running Android 8.0 Oreo behind the scenes, Huawei still doesn’t understand what makes Android so singularly decent. It strips away the logical changes Google brings to the fore, opting to hide behind years of legacy behavior that offers almost no value to the user.

If you’re a Pixel software fan, this is as far from that as you’ll find.

The most striking example to me is the most simple: it’s not possible to expand notifications on the lock screen. It appears you can, but tapping the arrow that on other Android phones offers the entirety of a message does nothing here. The phone just prompts you to tap again to go directly into the app. That’s the exact opposite of the behavior I want.

Next is the insistence on theming the phone like it’s a character in a space opera. Everything is chrome and textured and ugly. That the phone makes it difficult to change one’s default launcher doesn’t help matters, but I wouldn’t mind if the one that ships with it was any good. Of course, the default version lacks an app drawer, but that’s relatively fixable. What isn’t is finding a theme — and there are around a dozen pre-installed — that doesn’t offend my eyes. I couldn’t install Action Launcher and AdaptivePack quickly enough.

Thankfully, once those issues were dealt with, the software experience was akin to any other Oreo-based phone. EMUI 8.0 is not a drastic change from 5.0, which shipped on the Mate 9.

Huawei insists that its machine learning algorithms will keep the phone running quickly well into its expected two-year lifespan, but in my few weeks with the Mate 10 Pro I haven’t noticed any substantive difference.

There’s a lot of potential inside Huawei’s NPU, but it will rely on the ingenuity of developers to make it useful.

Moreover, Huawei’s Neural Processing Unit, a vector-based chip that offloads a bulk of the machine learning processing from the main Kirin processor, doesn’t seem to have a real-world impact on performance or even experience at this point. The main use case, identifying various subjects and changing the camera settings accordingly, is nice in theory, but applying additional saturation to my food subjects isn’t impressive.

I am encouraged by what the NPU is capable of, and I expect Qualcomm to double down on AI-based silicon optimizations in upcoming versions of its platforms, but for now, the NPU is waiting for a killer app. (And no, the pre-installed version of Microsoft Translate that speeds up on-device translation doesn’t count as a killer app.)

I also had a hell of time getting Bluetooth headphones — multiple headsets — to maintain solid connections to the Mate 10 Pro. I’m sure this is a software bug, but it basically precludes me from using the phone to listen to music, as its lack of a headphone jack puts me in dongle territory, and I hate being in dongle territory.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro Should you buy it?

My visceral reaction to the Mate 10′s few software quirks is likely not going to mirrored by the vast majority of people. I prefer Android when it gets out of my way and just does things intuitively — Pixel 2, OnePlus 5T, even Galaxy Note 8 — and when I use the Mate 10 Pro, I always feel like I’m fighting the software. But I felt that way about the Mate 9 before Huawei released a massive update weeks after its release to fix some nagging bugs, so I’m hopeful of the same thing here.

At the same time, this is classic Huawei hardware: substantial and practical, if a little derivative. The Mate 10 Pro is a good-looking phone indeed, but it’s the hardware inside that’s most impressive. No company packs its phones so full of specs like Huawei.

If you’re not a fan of the Pixels, the Mate 10 Pro offers a camera experience that’s far more feature-filled, with day- and low-light shots that come out nearly as well. If you’re a photo fanatic, this is one great companion.

We don’t yet know specific U.S. release details, but I’d bet that the Mate 10 Pro will undercut the vast majority of flagships available today, and that will make it a hell of a good deal.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

It seems like HTC’s close tie to Google is paying off – at least when it comes to rolling out new versions of Android to its phones. Following the release of Android Oreo to the unlocked HTC U11 in the … Read More

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 | Posted by | Categories: HTC |

The CrackBerry tour is going full-on maple.

The CrackBerry UNSTOPPABLE (yes, all caps!) Tour is rolling through Canada next week, and with it a chance to hang out with like-minded BlackBerry fans and fanatics, meet the CrackBerry team, and play with the KEYone and Motion phones.

You’ll even get a chance to buy one if you’ve been on the fence. From CrackBerry:

As with all of our BlackBerry events, we’ll have plenty of food, drinks and BlackBerry fans in attendance, along with the latest BlackBerry Smartphones including the BlackBerry Motion and BlackBerry KEYone for attendees to check out. We’ll also have swag and prizes to give out too and for the Canadian tour we’re also planning on having BlackBerry Silver and Black Edition KEYones on hand FOR SALE! So if you’ve been holding off on getting one of these phones until you can get it in your hot little hands, this could be your time to buy. If you’re RSVP’d to attend you’ll be receiving a mailer soon where you can express your interest in buying so we can help plan our inventory.

If you’re a longtime CrackBerry reader, a BlackBerry fan or just thinking about picking up a new BlackBerry Motion or BlackBerry KEYone, these are events you won’t want to miss! Hit the links below to jump over to the Meetup page for your city where you can RSVP. Spread the word! All of the venues have been finalized. Compared to our last round of events in Canada we’re kicking these ones off a little earlier to make it easy for the downtown crowd to drop in and check out the phones, and things will kick into gear after 6pm for all the fans traveling a little further to arrive.

Here are the five cities.

RSVP at the addresses above, and we’ll see you there!

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |


To say that Instagram’s added a few new features to its app over the years would be a huge understatement. Instagram’s now more feature-rich than ever with the likes of direct messages, Stories, live streams, etc., and according to a report from The Next Web, there’s plenty more that could be introduced soon.

One of the biggest things that’s been discovered is a feature called “Regram.” Regram is accessible as an icon below posts that show up on your timeline, and as the name suggests, tapping this will re-share that photo or video through your own account – think retweeting a tweet on Twitter. This is something that’s been embarrassingly absent from Instagram for far too long, and while third-party solutions do exist for similar functionality, it’s exciting to finally have something like this built into the app itself.

Also new is the option to search for and add GIFs to posts you publish to your Story. Swiping to the GIFs panel will showcase ones that are currently trending, and a search bar near the top left lets you narrow down what you’re looking for. Once you’ve found the perfect GIF, you can resize and reposition it wherever you’d like on the photo you’re working with.

Regram icon in Instagram.

Other features that were found include a new Close Friends List, the ability to share posts directly to WhatsApp, archive stories, and plenty more.

There’s no guarantee as to when or if any of these features will see the light of day, but in any case, you’ve at least got an idea of what to possibly keep an eye out for over the coming weeks.

Instagram adds option for ‘remixing’ photos that friends send to you

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Be an active part of the Honor/Huawei community and earn some great prizes for your participation!

Some prizes are really hard to win — ever tried to win one of those arcade claw games? — and others are mercifully easy. This year, Huawei and Honor want to make it super easy to win a great set of prizes just for participating in the Android Central community!

How to win great prizes

Here’s how it works: each month, we’re going to select three winners from the Android Central community based on engagement with the Huawei / Honor forums. Doesn’t matter if it’s the Honor 8 or Huawei Mate 9 — if you’re active in the community, you’re entered to win.

The person with the most interaction wins the grand prize each month and the next two will receive runner-up prizes.

What do we mean by interaction? Post a lot! Start new threads! Reply to other people in a helpful and honest way. Be a vital member of the community!

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Spamming the forums with low-quality posts will result in immediate disqualification from the program. You have to participate because you love Huawei/Honor!
  • It doesn’t matter which Huawei or Honor forums you’re active in, as long as you’re active!
  • Winners are immediately eligible again the following month. As long as you’re engaged, you can win!
  • We’ll have prizes from June through November. This is a long-term program!
  • Unfortunately, the program is for U.S. participants only. Sorry!

So what prizes can you win?

Thanks for asking!

List of prizes by month:

  • June: 1x Huawei MediaPad M3; 2x Honor Band Z (Winners selected!)
  • July: 1x Honor 6X; 2x Honor Band Z (Winners selected!)
  • August: 1x Huawei MediaPad M3; 2x Honor Band Z (Winners coming soon!)
  • September: 1x Huawei Watch 2; 2x Honor Band Z
  • October: 1x Honor 6x; 2x Honor Band Z
  • November: 1x Huawei Mate 9; 2x Honor Band Z
  • December: 1x Huawei Watch 2; 2x Honor Band Z

The Huawei MediaPad M3 is a great all-rounded tablet with amazing build quality. The Honor 6X is a fantastic mid-range smartphone with a metal build and a dual camera setup. The Huawei Watch 2 is a rugged, powerful Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch with GPS and all-day battery. The Honor Band Z is a terrific little fitness tracker. And the Huawei Mate 9 is one of the best big phones you can buy! Altogether these are some of the best devices on the market, and they can be yours — free.

Ready to start?

Jump into the Huawei or Honor forums and show ‘em what you got! We’ll contact the winners through the email in your forum profile, so make sure it’s up to date!

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

When it comes to home screens, what you don’t see can be just as important as what you do.

There are a lot of ways to hide things on a home screen. Folders are the most obvious example, but gestures hide shortcuts and functions in plain sight. But what about hiding widgets? What about hiding ugly folder icons?

Well, Action Launcher hides home screen elements better than a secret agent, and here’s how to hide your things in it.


Covers are one of Action Launcher’s claims to fame, and for good reason: they’re ridiculously simple and ridiculously simple to get addicted to. Covers change folders into a gesture shortcut, essentially: they change the folder icon to the first app in the folder, with a tap opening that app and a swipe opening the folder.

Covers exist on other launchers, but on Action Launcher they’re as easy as a toggle to activate and change the icon, whereas enabling them on most other launchers is a multi-step process. They definitely take a little getting used to, but once you’re hooked, you’ll never go back.

You have been warned.


Shutters are kind of like Covers, but instead of hiding a folder inside an app shortcut, they hide a widget. Once you add a Shutter to an app shortcut, when you swipe vertically on it — up or down, in case your app is at the top of the screen or a folder — a window will open with your widget within it. If an app offers several widgets, you can select which widget you’d prefer. You can’t resize Shutters, but if it’s a resizeable widget, Covers will default to almost a full-screen sized widget, which is great for widgets like Google Keep.

Covers and Shutters can be used together, meaning you can hide Shutters within apps in a Covers folder like matryoshka. Shutters aren’t quite as widely used as Covers, but widgets as a whole aren’t as widely used on Android as folders are.

The Quicks

There are two panels on the left and right sides of Action Launcher: Quickdrawer and Quickpage. Quickdrawer is a vertically scrolling app drawer that you summon by swiping in from the left edge of the screen. Complete with letter shortcuts, Quickdrawer allows you to quickly and easily navigate to your desired app whether you have 40 apps on your phone or 240. Whenever I stray from Action Launcher, this is one of the features I miss most. Quickdrawer may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s fine, because Action Launcher now offers a plugin app that replaces Quickdrawer with a Google Now page.

Quickpage, accessible with a swipe from on the opposite side of the screen, is like a hidden launcher page, allowing you to hide widgets and app shortcuts you perhaps shouldn’t show on your desktop (ahem) where they’re still accessible with one simple swipe. If you prefer the minimal look for your home screen but still want some widgets at your fingertips for things like home automation or stock monitoring, Quickpage is for you.

Look, ma, no shortcuts!

There is also one awesome way to hide app shortcuts invisibly on Action Launcher’s desktop, and it’s been a part of every feature mentioned so far: Shortcuts. Gesture shortcuts can be assigned to the launcher as a whole, not just as a part of Covers, Shutters and Quickpage. For instance, you could swipe up with two fingers to turn on the lights with Tasker and swipe down with two fingers to turn it off. You can double or triple tap to open two different apps, and you can even configure Action Launcher’s tap time if you’re a slow tapper — or a twitchy tapper like me.

Your turn

Which Action Launcher tools do you hide your apps and widgets in plain sight? Are you a Covers addict, or do you hide your plunder in Quickpage? Tell us in the comments!

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

The update is rolling out now and includes a fix for the KRACK vulnerability and tweaks to Live Focus mode in the camera app.

The Galaxy Note 8 is undoubtedly one of the best phones released in 2017, and if you purchased the device through Verizon Wireless, a new software update is on its way to make your experience with the handset even better.

The update changes the build number of the Note 8 to NMF26X.N950USQU2BQJA, and perhaps the biggest addition is a fix for the KRACK WPA2 Wi-Fi vulnerability that was discovered in October. There’s also a newer Android security patch that’s included, but rather than the most recent November one, it’s from October – go figure.

Along with these security-focused changes, you’ll also find a couple of small tweaks within the camera app, specifically when using the Note 8′s Live Focus mode.

Once you’ve enabled Live Focus, the indicator message above the shutter button is now bright yellow so you can more easily tell when you’ve toggled it on. Samsung’s also made light and distance guidance notifications easier to read, as well as allowing you to tap the back button to exit Live Focus and go back to the regular camera mode.

This update is rolling out to the Verizon Galaxy Note 8 now, and you can find more information about it here.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

It’s time for a photo processing upgrade.

Google’s new Pixel Visual Core co-processor has been sitting dormant inside the Pixel 2 and 2 XL since launch, but now with the Android 8.1 Developer Preview 2 (aka Beta 2) release we have an early look at what it can do. Well, sort of — it actually isn’t enabled by default on the phones, and turning it on only gives us a glimpse of what it’s capable of in third-party apps.

But if you know where to go, you can turn on the Pixel Visual Core and see what it does for your photos on the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL. Here’s how.

How to enable Pixel Visual Core processing

The process for enabling the Pixel Visual Core is a bit funky, and isn’t actually in the Camera app itself but rather the Developer options — but chances are this won’t be an issue for you if you’re running beta software on your phone. Provided you’re running the latest Developer Preview / Beta, here are the steps:

  1. Go into Settings, System, About phone.
  2. Find the Build number at the bottom of the screen and tap it five times.
    • You’ll also need to confirm your screen lock.
  3. Go back and tap on the new Developer options menu.
  4. Scroll down under the “Debugging” subsection and tap the toggle marked Camera HAL HDR+.
  5. Reboot your phone for the function to be enabled.

What does the Pixel Visual Core do right now?

So here’s the thing: enabling HAL HDR+ doesn’t change the photo quality from the built-in camera app — after all, it already has HDR+ on its own without utilizing the Pixel Visual Core. Because this is a beta release, the focus is on enabling the Pixel Visual Core for third-party apps to use. Once you turn on HAL HDR+ processing, any third-party app that plugs into the standard Android Camera API will have its photos processed with the Pixel Visual Core, giving them the HDR+ treatment much in the same way the Google camera app does already purely with proprietary processing software.

The change isn’t massive right now, but the future is bright with this dedicated co-processor.

That means when you fire up something like Instagram or the bevy of other apps with in-app camera needs, the photos you get directly out of those third-party apps will be closer to the quality you experience when taking photos with the built-in camera app. The goal is to not have such a big drop-off in camera quality when shooting inside an app versus using the built-in camera and sharing the photo afterward. This is a huge win for developers and users alike.

Chances are you won’t notice a huge difference in quality or processing speed just yet — remember, this is the first time Google is enabling the Pixel Visual Core for consumers (and just beta testers, who enable it, at that). But the computational capabilities of this co-processor go way beyond most ISPs in phones. There’s also a machine learning component to the way the Pixel Visual Core works, meaning it has the potential to “learn” and improve as it’s used. This processor’s capabilities could be leveraged far better in the future, both with third-party apps and the built-in camera. With hardware like this, the future is bright.

Once you enable the Pixel Visual Core on your Pixel 2 or 2 XL, let us know how you’re finding its capabilities!

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |