Here’s a great deal on a great phone.

In our comparison between the LG V20 and Huawei Mate 9, I said both phones are fairly comparable in terms of performance, while the V20 has the edge in the camera department and the Mate 9 tops the battery tests. But my conclusion was that, if you are buying the phone outright, the $599.99 Mate 9 is the way to go, since the V20 costs around $200 more.

But not today: the unlocked LG V20 is down to $499.99 at B&H Photo Video right now, which is an excellent price for a great phone. Specifically, this is the Titan (silver) unlocked model compatible with both GSM networks like AT&T and T-Mobile, and CDMA networks like Verizon and Sprint. Good deal!

The V20 may be the last great phone released with a removable battery, so if that’s your thing, head to the source link!

See at B&H Photo Video




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A complete breakdown of T-Mobile’s ONE plan and everything else you can get when you sign up for service from Big Magenta.

In the United States, there are a lot of companies that can get you and your phone online, but most people use one of the four biggest: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. Choosing between them can be difficult. Your first priority should be what service works best in the places you spend your time. It’s not worth saving $10 a month if the service is bad. Once you have that sorted, you can look at what each company has to offer and the prices they charge for it.

More: Which unlimited plan should you buy?

Let’s take a look at T-Mobile to see what they can give you and what it will cost.

Note: The details of this plan are current as of February 20, 2017.

T-Mobile ONE plan details

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data with 200MB of roaming data
  • Unlimited talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico
  • One hour of free Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi and unlimited texting on enabled flights
  • Unlimited data and texting in over 140 locations at 2x speed (264kbps) (limited time offer)
  • Unlimited music and HD video streaming (limited time offer, applies only in the U.S.)
  • 10GB high-speed mobile hotspot use (limited time offer)

T-Mobile’s definition of Unlimited Data means that after you use 28 GB in a single month, your service can be slowed down if you’re in a congested area. You’ll hear the word throttled used here but you need to know that it’s only a temporary deprioritization of your data connection when you’re in a busy area. It may not happen at all depending on how many other customers are using the same towers.

You can use any phone that’s compatible with T-Mobile’s network. If you bring your own phone you’ll pay a $20 one-time fee for a SIM starter kit. You can also finance a phone through T-Mobile and the monthly cost will vary depending on which phone you choose. T-Mobile ONE plans also include tax and all the other assorted fees in the price. Your monthly bill will be exactly what the plan costs.

Additional lines can be added to a T-Mobile ONE plan. Every line has the same benefits outlined above and the $20 SIM starter kit fee applies to each, though they go on sale regularly and it’s not unheard of to get the starter kit fees waived if you talk to a representative. Here is a pricing breakdown.

  • One line of service on a T-Mobile ONE plan is $70
  • Two lines of service for $100
  • Three lines of service for $140
  • Four lines is $160 and each additional line adds $20 to the total

T-Mobile ONE Plan add-ons

You can add a tablet to your T-Mobile ONE plan for the standard $20 monthly fee. You can add a wearable to your T-Mobile ONE plan for $5 a month. Wearable devices are limited to 512kbps data speeds.

T-Mobile also offers two Plus add-ons for people who want a few extras:

The $5 monthly T-Mobile ONE Plus add-on includes everything from the standard ONE plan plus the following:

  • Unlimited in-flight data on all Gogo-enabled flights
  • T-Mobile Visual Voicemail
  • T-Mobile Name ID

The $25 T-Mobile ONE Plus International add-on includes everything from the ONE Plus plan and adds the following:

  • Unlimited international calling to landlines in over 70 countries and mobile numbers in more than 30 countries
  • Unlimited high-speed mobile hotspot

You do not have to pay for the $5 Plus add-on if you’re buying the $25 Plus add-on. These prices are per line.

Secondary perks

T-Mobile also offers other special promotions on top of what you’re paying for. These vary from free applications that support their services to free devices (through bill credits) after a certain amount of monthly payments. Some of these perks can change regularly, but as of February 2017, here is what T-Mobile is offering.

  • $150 prepaid Visa card (per line) when you switch to a T-Mobile ONE plan from another carrier
  • 11.2% cash back via Prepaid MasterCard on any phone you buy from T-Mobile after 6-8 weeks
  • Get an LG G Pad X 8.0 or Samsung Galaxy Tab E for free (via 24 monthly bill credits)
  • Get an ALCATEL LinkZone wireless hotspot for free (via 24 monthly bill credits)
  • “Smartpicks” are full-featured smartphones you can finance for $5 per month (24 months at 0% interest)

T-Mobile also has long-standing extras, including apps for Visual Voicemail, T-Mobile content transfer, T-Mobile’s DIGITS, and an excellent account management application. You can find all of T-Mobile’s apps on Google Play.

Last but not least is T-Mobile Tuesdays. Each week you can get things like food or movie tickets for free and have a chance to win “top-shelf prizes and epic experiences from the coolest brands around” without buying anything. T-Mobile Tuesdays is a very popular promotion and it is available for any T-Mobile customer.




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Where can I buy Snapchat Spectacles?

If you live in one of eight or nine massive cities around the world, and were paying attention to a website that frequently crashed, you may be one of the lucky folks to have found a bright yellow vending machine in your area selling Snapchat Spectacles. If you were eager to get a pair and didn’t care to wait in a long line with no guarantee you’d get one, eBay usually had a few at twice the price shortly after those vending machines ran dry. Assuming you were one of the people oddly curious about this wearable camera but not willing or able to find one of these obnoxious vending machines, you probably decided to wait until Snapchat stopped screwing around and sold the glasses like a regular company.

Surprise! That day is today. Snapchat has finally started selling their Spectacles online for you to order like a normal human being.

Want to learn more about Spectacles? Check out our review!

Whether you’re interested in the striking Coral, the brilliant Teal, or the less ostentatious Black, all three colors of Spectacles are now $129.99. Snapchat has also made the $50 charging case and $10 replacement power cable available to order through the site, in case you need to accessorize. It’s everything you need to get started on you Spectacles adventure, and at the time of this writing had a 2-4 week delivery delay due to how many people were ordering the glasses. Good luck!

See at Spectacles.com




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Verizon currently has a variety of its accessories on sale in celebration of Presidents Day. From wearables to Bluetooth accessories, portable batteries to VR viewers, there are lots of great deals here that you’ll want to check out. Whether you are looking for something to go with your new phone, or need a gift for someone else, now may be the perfect time to make your purchase.

Some of the deals include:

Verizon is also running a number of other deals right now that are worth checking out. When switching to Verizon’s new unlimited plan and trading in your old phone you can grab a Galaxy S7, Google Pixel, LG V20, or other select phones for free, and if you spend $200 on accessories Verizon will give you a $50 Visa prepaid card. You’ll need to use code STOCKUP50 when checking out to get it.

See at Verizon

For more great deals on tech, gadgets, home goods and more, be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!




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The LG G6 will come with dual 13MP cameras at the back with a 125-degree field of view.

LG is back with yet another teaser of the G6, this time highlighting the dual camera at the back. Earlier leaks showed off the rear of the device, which sported a similar camera setup as the LG V20. In a blog post, LG confirmed that the G6 will feature a dual 13MP cameras at the back, as well as a front-facing shooter with a 100-degree field of view.

The rear camera will offer a 125-degree field of view, and LG says the regular sensor as well as the wide-angle lens are on an equal footing when it comes to image quality. With the G6 sporting a FullVision 18:9 display, LG is incorporating new features into the camera to take advantage of the display.

The camera will be able to shoot square images in a 1:1 ratio, making it easier to share on platforms like Instagram. There’s also the ability to make GIFs from photos in your camera roll, a 360-degree panorama mode, a food mode that boosts color and saturation, and new filters for selfies.

The latest live images from 9to5Google show off the dual camera setup, as well as the always-on display at the front. Other details of the phone include a 5.7-inch “QHD+” display, Snapdragon 821, 32-bit Quad DAC, water resistance, and Google Assistant. The phone will be making its debut on February 26, so stay tuned for all the coverage from Mobile World Congress.




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All the news that’s fit to fake.

You’d have to insert your head fairly deep in the sand these days to avoid the term “fake news.” It’s seemingly everywhere, the notion that some media outlets either distort or invent the truth for their own gain. Recently, this has pertained mainly to politics, but the notion of artifice in our daily news consumption is not a new one — especially if you’re a regular visitor to tech blogs.

To wit, this past week, President Trump’s chief of staff Reince Priebus, told CBS’s Face the Nation that “the media should stop with this unnamed source stuff, put names on a piece of paper and print it. If people aren’t willing to put their name next to a quote, then the quote shouldn’t be listed.”

A good portion of tech reporting is sourced anonymously, mainly to protect the people from getting in trouble.

A good portion of tech reporting — including a significant amount of content that goes up on this site — is sourced anonymously, mainly because the people with the information would get into trouble if they were found out. And while, compared to the gravity and consequence of political leaks, a photo of an unreleased handset may seem trivial, the reality is that there are actual people putting their jobs on the line to share this information — when it’s real.

The other side of the coin is that, for whatever reason — recognition, intrigue, or just shits and giggles — information is often embellished or entirely made up, and the echo chamber of the tech blogosphere often picks through the pieces to decide what is real, and what isn’t.

At my previous job, I was privy to a fascinating series of events that gave me insight into how this whole leak process works, and the repercussions for all involved. In 2013, a very high-profile phone was on the horizon, and the company had kept most critical leaks to a minimum in the weeks leading up to the announcement. But an employee at the Canadian branch of a big retail chain decided to forgo his NDA and send a bunch of marketing material to my then-boss, who, as one does when running a tech blog, posted it to the site. Several takedown requests and a lawsuit later, the experience reinforced just how seriously companies take leaks when they potentially affect the bottom line.

But all manufacturers know, and anticipate, that most leaks, especially early on in a product’s hype cycle, are either entirely false, or lack the context to paint a proper picture. Sites that post about them regularly tend to build a reputation for being unreliable; others that choose to publish only verifiable leaks miss out on considerable traffic. The vast majority of reputable tech sites (a category in which I hope Android Central is placed by most) will strike a balance, erring on the side of caution while, for better or worse, admitting that some aspects are not assured.

Of course, fake news is only truly so until the facts are revealed.

Our friends at Android Police even recounted, after Google’s Pixel event this past October, which of its leaks were indeed accurate (and came away looking pretty good, in my opinion), a degree of self-reflection perilously missing in this field.

Of course, fake news is only truly so until the facts are revealed, which is a little easier to do when they involve products that will actually be available to the public. In the case of a phone leak, it’s relatively easy to test its efficacy after the fact, but few do, and even fewer are held “accountable” — whatever that means. In the end, it’s just part of the marketing arm, and we’re no less guilty of participating than anyone else.

  • Much of the AC team will be leaving for Barcelona, and Mobile World Congress, this week.
  • The official show begins on February 27, but the vast majority of the coverage you care about will be in the days leading up to it.
  • Look for announcements from BlackBerry on the 25th, followed by LG, Huawei, Samsung, Motorola — even Nokia — and many others.
  • Unlimited phone plans are back in the U.S., but they look a lot different than just a few years ago. The good news is that, thanks to competition, the plans — especially for families or groups — are actually pretty compelling.
  • I have to say, based on what I’ve seen of the LG G6 — I enjoy a good leak, too! — I’m pretty excited. Provided what I’ve seen is real.
  • We broke a promise by not releasing a podcast last week, but we’ll make it up to you!
  • I’m loving the questions posted in Ask Daniel, so please keep them coming!

Hope you have a great week, and we’ll talk again very soon.

-Daniel




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The Galaxy S6 is still a great phone, but you might find its battery life to be lacking.

Still loving your Samsung Galaxy S6? That’s fantastic. But what might not be so fantastic is your phone’s battery life. Its 2,550mAh battery was never a strength so you might be struggling to make it through your day without relying on your charger. That’s really inconvenient, as you can’t utilize a regular charger just anywhere. That’s where having a battery pack for your Galaxy S6 comes in handy.

We’ve selected the best battery packs for the Galaxy S6 that range from 3,000 mAh all the way up to 25,600 mAh. That means you’ll have enough battery life to get you through the most demanding of days, no matter which option you go with.

Update February 17: Added the Powerbear battery case and removed the Anker Quick Charge Battery, which is currently unavailable from Amazon.com — but still available for Canadians.

TYLT Energi (3,000 mAh)

Not every portable battery has to be huge and unwieldy, but you still want it to charge up your phone quickly and efficiently. The TYLT Energi 3K battery walks the line nicely with a compact case that’s made of durable hard plastic and contains 3,000 mAh of capacity. A built-in MicroUSB cable means you don’t have to bring one of your own to charge up your phone, and an additional standard USB port means you can charge two devices at once if you need to in a pinch.

The capacity is just right for giving your Galaxy S6 a full charge, and when you get back home it won’t take long at all to get the Energi 3K itself juiced back up and ready for your next outing. What’s more, the price is just right at the moment at under $20.

See at Amazon

Powerbear battery case (3,500mAh)

This recommendation comes from Lexamundo in the comments. Some people might be hesitant to buy a battery case for their phone because they don’t like the idea of adding so much bulk to their phone. This battery case tries to mitigate that by keeping a relatively sleek and slim profile while adding 3,500mAh of power to your phone.

Since it’s a case, you’ll also be protecting your phone from accidental drops and other potential damage, as it ships with a compatible screen protector as well. it also reroutes the phone’s speakers to be front-facing, which is pretty nice. If you use NFC on your Galaxy S6 for Samsung Pay or other purposes, you may want to look at your other options as this case will block out all NFC functionality. But if extending the battery life of your phone is your main concern, this battery case will do the trick while still looking stylish and comes with a two-year warranty.

See at Amazon

KMASHI Quick Charge Portable Charger (20,000 mAh)

KMASHI’s external battery bank has a capacity of 20,000mAh and can charge two devices simultaneously. It’s got one regular USB charging port, and another Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 port which is compatible with your Galaxy S6.

This battery pack comes with a built-in LED flashlight for emergency situations and offers a sleek, somewhat rugged design, which means you can take it with you anywhere. Coming it at around 6 inches by 4 inches, it’s about average size for a portable battery pack of this capacity. Given its size you’ll be be able to fully charge your Galaxy S6 multiple times with this battery pack. You can get yours for under $50 on Amazon.

See at Amazon

Anker E7 Battery (25,000 mAh)

Saving the beast for last, Anker’s Astro E7 has an impressive 25,600mAh battery inside and offers an incredible charging speed of 3A per USB port or 4A using all 3 ports.

Packed with Anker’s PowerIQ technology, it will automatically detect the fastest possible charging speed when plugged into the Galaxy S6 — that goes for any device, too. It even comes with an LED flashlight built-in which could prove useful for camping trips among many other low light situations.

If you’re after a battery pack for your Galaxy S6 that’ll outlast the rest, this is a keeper. It comes with a micro-USB cable, travel pouch, and is available in black or white right now for $79.99.

See at Amazon




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Let’s talk about Andromeda

19 February 2017

Andromeda and Fuchsia look to be the mating of Chrome and Android, just not the way anyone thought it would be.

I got to completely geek out when Daniel Matte wrote up the things he found about Andromeda while looking through some Google source code earlier this week. It reinforced a lot of the things I thought when I first looked through all the code in August 2016, caught a lot more things that I overlooked, and examined the new code. I think Matte’s assessments are pretty close to the mark here. Not because they confirmed some of my original thoughts, but because it points out things I got wrong. Or at least I think I got them wrong. Everything about Andromeda or Fuchsia is still just educated guessing.

More: ‘Fuchsia’ operating system project is interesting, lacking details that make it matter

At this point, I think we have a pretty good idea of where Google is going with Andromeda, Fuchsia, Android and Chrome. The future looks like it will be all about consolidating everything without making things the same. I’ve been digging and chatting and poking things for a couple days and that’s my conclusion.

The Pixel C should have shipped with Fuchsia. Maybe the next one will.

Fuchsia is where we need to start. Fuchsia is a way to replace Linux and become an operating system for Chrome and Android to run on. Android is kind of weird. It can be built as an all-in-one OS waiting for some hardware support to be added making it ready to run, or it can also be a runtime(s) and support files for applications. The Nexus 6P is using Android as an operating system, the BlackBerry Classic is using Android as an application platform atop another operating system. If you were to hack Google’s apps (Google Play, Play Services, etc) onto the Classic it could do everything the Nexus 6P can do when it comes to Android apps, even though it’s not using “Android” as the operating system.

Fuchsia will work with the Android runtime and support everything using compatible APIs. In other words, we won’t see any difference but the people developing Android will.

The future where everything is the same but different makes sense when done right.

Fuchsia will also power Andromeda. We have already seen stage one of Andromeda when Google Play came to some Chromebooks. Right now, Chrome OS is basically a user interface and application platform running on a fairly standard Linux kernel and middleware. If that sounds confusing, just think of Chrome OS as something like Ubuntu. That’s close enough for what we’re talking about here. Android apps run in Chrome natively, but not really natively. There’s a layer that talks to Android apps and talks to that middleware through Chrome that makes it seamless to the user. That layer is step one of Andromeda.

Fuchsia will work with the Chrome application platform and framework and support everything with compatible APIs. In other words, we won’t see any difference but the people developing Chromium will.

It looks like Andromeda and Fuchsia is a hybrid of Android and Chrome, but not the way people thought it would be. It’s the software underneath it all that’s being changed to support everything. And that’s about as awesome as it gets for people who work with Android and Chrome every day.

More: How Google can use Andromeda to conquer everything

You and I are end users for Android and Chrome. We appreciate the changes (or hate them) to the operating system but are familiar with them both and choose to use them instead of something else. Changing that and offering something that looks and feels different is risky. Keep giving people the things they want to buy.

A universal OS is hard because not all screens are the same size.

Developers benefit from having one operating system that powers both platforms. As things advance, the lines between what a Chrome app is and what an Android app is will blur until there is only one app that runs on both. Developers can target the mobile, touch-friendly version or the full pointer-driven version, or both. This eliminates the biggest drawback to what Ubuntu and Microsoft are doing because a universal interface just won’t work on a 4.5-inch screen and a 30-inch monitor.

Or everyone thinking about it all and guessing could be completely wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time.




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Android 7.0 Nougat is rolling out to the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge on America’s second-biggest carrier.

After T-Mobile, it is now AT&T’s turn to roll out Android 7.0 Nougat to the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. Last year’s most popular flagship is also one of the last to get updated to the not-exactly-the-latest-but-better-than-nothing version of Android, after a length beta period that began in late 2016.

Along with Nougat’s requisite improvements, including a native multi-window mode and improvements to notifications, Samsung has also toned down some of its more garish colors, opting for simple whites and blues, and the phone now defaults to 1080p to save some much-needed battery.

The update is rolling out to AT&T customers now, and with T-Mobile already on its way, we just have Verizon and Sprint (and a few of the smaller carriers) to go before the rollout is complete.




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Should I be using Chrome apps or Android apps? And why is so much choice such a burden?

Every good operating system that’s worthy of its users has an app story. After all, if you think about those mobile OSes that have nearly failed — webOS and Windows Phone are the first that come to my mind — you’ll recall that their app stores were hardly worth delving into. They were, effectively, a boring story. That’s certainly not the case with the Google Play Store, so then why does Chrome OS operate under a different narrative?

Since I’m new to this platform, I don’t know what life was like with a Chromebook before Android apps were available on Chrome OS (this feature, by the way, is still in beta). And I’m sure I’m luckier for it because I didn’t run into the same limitations as some of Chrome OS’s forbearers. If there isn’t a Chrome app or an extension that can function as I want, I can simply go to the Play Store and find an Android app that can. I have a choice.

I am still not entirely sure where to start looking when I’m hankering to download an app: the web, Chrome Store, or Google Play?

There are plenty of caveats to using Android apps on Chrome OS — it’s still a very nascent feature. Most Chrome OS apps are optimized for a laptop, while Android apps are made with the touchscreen in mind and are often optimized for smaller, narrow phone screens. And in the instances that the Android app had a tablet mode, tracking was sometimes off on the Chromebook touchscreen display.

Then there’s the issue of which version of an app to use. I had this issue with Spotify, for example; the web app through the browser is better than the Chrome app, while the Android version has all the bells and whistles, including offline capabilities and options to organize playlists. You could see why I chose to use the latter. Conversely, Google Docs is better online than the Chrome OS app and the Android app because of its more easily navigable menu hierarchy.

And lastly, there’s the issue of actual app availability. I am still not entirely sure where to start looking when I’m hankering to download an app. Do I go to the Chrome web store, or should I try the Google Play Store first? My primary inclination is to check for Chrome OS app first, then search for an extension, and then relegate myself to whatever made-for-the-smartphone version might be available. At this point in the Chrome OS ecosystem, it seems like anything is better than nothing.

I really hope that the future of Chrome OS involves cross-platform interoperability and that developers of both platforms see Chrome OS as the natural extension for their Android app. I want perfect synchronization between Android devices and Chromebooks so I can be even more sucked into the Google world. Our ecosystem is almost there, folks. I can see it on the horizon.

Other thoughts:

  • The “games story” on Chrome OS is laughable. I know the platform wasn’t initially primed for that — save for educational games — but I didn’t think it’d be this…limited? I’m not too interested in playing Android apps, either, save for the ones that are best played on a tablet yesterday. I’ve got my Pokemon TCGO and Rollercoaster Tycoon installed, so at least there’s that.
  • Related: you know what would be cool? I’d like to see some sort of port available for older PC games. Wouldn’t it be neat to be able to relive through some of the classics, like Heretic II or maybe even just an old PopCap game? If something like this exists, please direct me. Otherwise, I’ll keep wishing to live the glory days of PC gaming on this weird little laptop that’s not quite sure of its identity.
  • I received a couple of comments wondering why I’d bother using Chrome OS to do what my Mac and PC are already capable of. But I’m struggling to find the controversy. Mobile apps are almost as adequate as some desktop apps — I’m talking about relatively simple apps like photo editing and sketching, not ones that facilitate 3D rendering and intense video processing — so I should attempt to see if they can indeed replace the programs that I use daily. And with life becoming more mobile anyway, I might as well get into the groove of learning to use apps in that manner.
  • Besides this agonizing-to-use trackpad (Anyone aware of an app that can tweak mouse settings on Chrome OS?), the Chromebook Flip is the perfect computer for riding the San Francisco Bay Area’s BART. I have it in laptop mode on the way to the city to finishing filing my work, and then flip it tablet mode on the way home to catch up on my Play Movies & TV library.
  • I filed this entire article using just my Chromebook Flip. :)




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