PlayStation Move enabled games on PlayStation VR bring you into the heart of the game, and add an extra layer of immersion.

Many of the games on PlayStation VR only require you to use a DualShock 4 controller. However, there are a fair few that are either enhanced by using PlayStation Move controllers, or require them to play the game at all. Rather than taking away from the experience, Move controllers can really add to the immersion of PlayStation VR. That’s why we’ve collected the best PlayStation VR games that use PlayStation Move controllers for you to check out.

Read More at VR Heads!

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Samsung devices have reigned as the best Android smartphones for the past few years, but the HTC U11 looks poised to steal the crown this time. With its new HTC Boost mode, the U11 captures and processes images in the … Read More

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Drift is a common and irritating problem with Gear VR.

When it comes to being able to enjoy VR anywhere, Gear VR delivers a great experience. For the most part. However it’s been plagued with issues with the screen slowly and inexorably drifting away at times. This problem can be exacerbated by a number of things, but no matter why it’s happening it’s never fun. We’ve got a few tips to help you cut down on how often it happens, and how to deal with it when it does.

Read more at!

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The screen in front of you is now just the vessel for Google services.

It’s been noted several times and with many words that Google didn’t announce any hardware at Google I/O 2017. Never mind that we actually did talk of stand-alone Daydream devices and new Android Auto partners, the internet wants to hear about phones! All the phones!

Google started as a software services company and things have come full circle.

What we did hear tells us that to Google, phones no longer matter. Google is moving forward in ways that it only needs hardware, and not necessarily Android-based hardware, to use its services. This is exactly how it started all those years ago.

Google I/O has always been a developer conference, not a product announcement or a swap meet. Google will still offer a phone or two later this year, but the Pixel phones are built to showcase the services the company wants you to use and make sure they work properly without any third-party shenanigans. If we can believe the collective power of the internet rumor (and we should in this case), HTC is slated to build the Pixel hardware for at least one more year. But nobody presenting any sessions at Google I/O this past week is concerned about that. This was a developer conference.

Whether the best from Apple or Android Go, a phone is the window to Google’s new world.

We’ll still see big hardware announcements from the companies whose products make use of Google’s services: Samsung and Apple. They are manufacturers of some darn nice pieces of gear, and two companies in direct competition because they both do the same thing: hardware, software and services. But, primarily, they make the hardware we love.

Google, though, like Microsoft, is not a hardware manufacturer. It has never been, despite the existence of Chromecasts, Google Homes and Microsoft’s Surface tablets. It provides internet and cloud based services, and make them do things we love so we all keep using them. Much like we saw from Microsoft earlier this past month, it’s now all about what can happen on any screen. And Google thinks it knows how to capture your attention and keep it: by building better services using artificial intelligence.

We’ve spent the past few days making and hearing the Skynet jokes about Google’s new injection of AI into all the things. While the future can get very interesting when a company who knows everything about you also has machines that can problem-solve, right now AI is how Google is making the things they offer to us compelling to use. AI makes Assistant better, as well as Google Photos and Android and everything else.

Because Google understands how collaboration can make things better, it is also a big proponent of open source AI software and hardware with TensorFlow. This is working, and TensorFlow is the platform of choice for projects both large and small. This, in turn, makes Google’s AI stronger and better.

Google’s new circle of life: AI makes better services, We use better services and give them more data, AI uses the data to make the services even better. Everyone wins.

When machine learning can be used to improve an existing thing, we use it because it’s better. That gives more data to the machine and it learns even more. This is a cyclical action where every party involved is winning. We get a better service. Google gets more users. Machines get more data.

All this needs a device to access it. Google has spent years involved in the hardware side, through reference devices like the Nexus program, or operating system software, or leading the charge with phones and tablets and TV boxes in some other way. It doesn’t need to do this anymore because the device no longer matters for Google. The companies that specialize in making them will lead that charge, and in the end, they will all use Google’s services anyway.

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Cord cutters are raving about Kodi.

Update, May 2017: Added the Amlogic S912 Octa Core Android 6.0 TV Box to our list, along with a brief update on Kodi’s legality below.

If you’ve been hearing people talk about Kodi lately, here’s a quick breakdown of what it is, why it’s great, and a couple recommendations for Android TV boxes that come with it pre-loaded.

Now, the legality of pre-loaded Kodi boxes is being challenged in places like the UK, where five people were recently arrested for selling them. To be clear, neither the boxes themselves nor the Kodi software are inherently illegal, but these individuals were found to have pre-installed add-ons specifically used for illegally streaming live sports, films, and TV. If that behavior is concerning to you, you can always limit Kodi on your own Android TV box to ensure it is entirely legal.

What is Kodi?

Kodi is an open-source media center app that’s been developed and built out over the past decade. Its latest build is one of the most complete media centers you’ll find, allowing you to consolidate all your media — videos, music, and photos — into a single destination with a customizable interface that’s both stylish and easy to use. There’s also a slew of third-party add-ons available within Kodi, which grant you access to all sorts of streaming options from around the world. Kodi is widely available, with builds available for nearly all operating systems and devices. The latest version of Kodi, codenamed Leia, will be released soon. You can read more about the new features being included here.

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Why it’s great

Kodi makes it easy to organize and watch your favorite media from your computer, smartphone, or TV via a Kodi-enabled device. Available in the Google Play Store, Kodi can be installed on pretty much any Android device. While it’s pretty easy to setup Kodi on your own, there’s been increased interest in TV boxes that come with Kodi pre-installed. Simply connect these boxes up to your TV, connect them to your Wi-Fi and you’re ready to start streaming content. Depending on how much you’re planning to invest, these boxes can come loaded with 4K capabilities.

Top picks for pre-installed Kodi boxes

Given how versatile and easy it is to get Kodi, you may already have a device that’s ready to roll — whether you’ve got a computer hooked up to your TV, an Android TV device such as the NVIDIA Shield or the Xaomi Mi Box, or you’re looking for a new project for your Raspberry Pi.

But all these options take some setting up and tweaking, which is why many smart TV boxes are coming preloaded with Kodi. Sometimes referred to colloquially as “Kodi boxes,” these devices range drastically in terms of quality and security, but they’re also extremely affordable and requires very little setup. Take a look at some of these options available from Amazon for under $100.

Q-Box Amlogic S905 Smart TV Box

This Android TV box supports up to 4K playback, runs on Android 5.1 and comes pre-loaded with a bunch of popular apps, including Kodi — though you’ll probably need to do some tweaking to get everything up to date with the latest versions. You’ll be able to update and get more apps for other streaming services you might be subscribed to via the Google Play Store. There’s 16GB of internal storage available for your own media, along with an SD card slot on the back. The Q-Box comes with a remote, but also features two USB ports on the back if you’d prefer to control it with a mouse and keyboard.

Aesthetically, this box has a ring of pulsing light around the perimeter, which might feel a bit gaudy to some, but it can be disabled in the preferences.

See at Amazon

MX3 Advance Android TV Box

The MX3 Advance also is capable of supporting 4K playback and should handle all your binging needs without feeling sluggish. It also comes with Kodi installed and preloaded with a bunch of popular add-ons. There’s 16GB of internal storage along with an SD card slot so you can load up your personal media, and there’s also two USB ports on the back.

Those ports might come in handy since the included remote control has a very limited range and is not so good. You’d be better off getting a wireless controller (See the suggestions on the Amazon page for good options with built-in QWERTY keyboards) or using those USB ports for a keyboard and mouse combo.

See at Amazon

Amlogic S912 Octa Core Android 6.0 TV Box

As recommended by a commenter below, the Amlogic S912 is a great newer Kodi box option that you can buy for around $70. It’s running on Android 6.0 and comes with Kodi and a bunch of other useful media apps pre-installed. There is 16GB of internal storage, 2GB of RAM, and connectivity support for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi — and everything is packaged in a rather stylish package.

Each box comes with standard accessories including an IR remote, HDMI cable, power adapter and user manual. You have the option of connecting up your own keyboard and mouse to make searching for content easier. It’s a great, affordable option that should be ready to roll right out of the box.

[See at Amazon](

Your picks?

What are your favorite ways to access Kodi? Let us know in the comments below!

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What do you do when the lights go out? Sure, you could use the light on your phone, but if you can’t charge your phone, then you’ll want to conserve power. Maybe you’re out camping or hiking, night falls, and you don’t even have your phone on you. Then what?

Get two flashlights for $18 Learn more

If you’re going to do things, do them up right. Don’t bother with some dollar store flashlight that you’ll have to toss because the plastic’s dried out. Get yourself a flashlight with a metal casing that can stand up to the rough life so that you can take it with you wherever you go: camping, hunting, in the car, whatever.

The UltraBright 500-lumen Tactical Military Flashlight is made of an aircraft aluminum alloy and has a range of about a mile in ideal conditions with adjustable zoom. Right now, a two-pack of these flashlights is only $17.99 at Android Central Digital Offers. They regularly retail for $100 together, so you save 82%.

The UltraBright flashlights feature three modes to fit every situation: bright, lower bright, and SOS mode. They come with a convenient storage case, so you can toss them in the trunk of your card and never lose them. The handy and sturdy clip lets you slap one on your belt and have it stay put until you need it. UltraBrights are light and only take one AA battery.

Get two flashlights for $18 Learn more

If you’re looking for a handy little flashlight that’s perfect in any situation, check out the UltraBright 500-lumen Tactical Military Flashlight two-pack at Android Central Digital Offers and pay only $17.99.

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We. Are. Tired.

Google I/O is one of the coolest things and most fun places we’ll visit this year — but we’re tired. While we’re resting our minds and bodies, we can think about the things we saw and people we talked to in Mountain View and all the things we’ll have to say as they move from the “demo” to the real.

And there is a lot to think about this year. It’s easy when Google shows us phones or Chromebooks or any other product. We know what to do and how to do it so to give you everything you need to know. I’ll dare say we’re pretty damn good at it, too.

But this year we have to think. This was very much Google looking everyone in the eye and saying, “look what we can do,” and then enjoying the dropped jaws of everyone in the audience. After doing some thinking and talking we agree that Google Lens is going to change a lot of the ways we do things and be a hit on every platform.

While we’re resting, you guys take this time and this space to talk about anything and everything. Then be ready for whatever comes next!

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Cheap can be good and these earbuds prove it.

Update May 2017: We’ve added the excellent Monoprice Hi-Fi Reflective Sound Earbuds as our choice for best sound.

A headset — earphones or earbuds (or even a single earbud) with a microphone and controls — is a different beast than a set of earbuds or headphones without a mic. For starters, not every set works with every brand of phone once you add the third wire. You need to make sure what you’re buying is made specifically for one brand (Blackberry and Apple come to mind) and will work with Android when you need to answer calls and adjust the volume. And when products are cheap, there are literally thousands of choices to wade through.

We searched around the internet to see who was using what and why they liked or disliked them, then ordered a handful of headsets that seemed to be better than average. Here are your five best, including the overall winner.

Best overall

Aukey Arcs

The Aukey Arcs wired headphones with microphone are the best set of earbuds with a mic you can buy under $20.

They’re comfortable, and the over-the-ear design keeps them in place for extended periods or while you’re on the go. Aukey uses a silicon-coated cable with fairly large strain reliefs at the connections so you won’t get things tangled up and they won’t need to be replaced very often due to loose connections. The sound, while not “powerful” by any means, is bright and clear. It’s perfect for talking on the phone or watching a movie or a show, and good enough for listening to music — which is exactly what you want when you buy earbuds with a mic.

What puts them over the top and makes them the best is the fit. Over-the-ear buds can be a chore to wear, but we put up with it if that’s what it takes to keep them in place. Aukey’s silicon cable and soft tips mitigate this very well and you won’t mind it nearly as much as you would with other brands.

Aukey is well known for making products that deliver the same features as the expensive brands do, and their Arcs headset is no different.

See at Amazon

The best for calls

NoiseHush NX85

The NoiseHush NX85 is the best headset we tested when it comes to talking on the phone. The microphone picks up your voice while you’re talking naturally and the result is surprisingly clear voice calls on both ends. The NoiseHush NX85 also checks most every box when looking for a great set of earbuds with a mic. They have a flat tangle-free cable, easy to use controls to answer calls or activate any voice assistant and deliver surprisingly good sound when listening to music or watching a video.

The one place they are lacking is when it comes to the fit. The NoiseHush set suffers from the common malady that many earbuds do — they pop out too often. These just aren’t going to stay in place for active users.

See at Amazon

The best value

OnePlus Bullets

OnePlus makes its headphones just like its phones: solid, if unspectacular design mixed with good quality components and a great price. The Icons have compact solid metal enclosures, come with a variety of tips and have a solid cable with an in-line mic and remote. The sound is very average, but will easily be an upgrade from the headphones that came with your phone.

You would expect to pay much more for a product this well made, and the OnePlus Bullets live up to the OnePlus standard of offering more for less.

See at OnePlus

The most comfortable

Panasonic ErgoFit

You wouldn’t expect a pair of cheap earbuds to fit as well as the Panasonic ErgoFit earbuds do. The sound is average but more than good enough for your everyday commute, the design and construction are acceptable for a product you expect to replace at least every year and the call quality also comes in at average. But when it comes to how they fit and how they feel when you’re using them, these take things up a notch. We’re not sure what the ear tips are made of, but they mold to your ear canal much like a set of disposable ear plugs do, then they return to their original shape once you take them out.

These would be perfect for listening to an eBook while you’re relaxing or any other time when the fit in your ear matters more than anything else.

See at Amazon

The best sound

Monoprice Hi-Fi Reflective Sound Earbuds

These earbuds will handle calls and voice commands without any issue, but the reason they’re on this list is the sound quality when listening to music or videos.

The “Reflective” design points the drivers away from the ears so the sound reflects back. This keeps your ears from ringing or hurting, even with the enhanced bass response these buds deliver.

Monoprice promises these will rival a good over the ear design, and while we won’t go that far they do sound excellent. Especially for earbuds.

See at Amazon

Your pick

We couldn’t test every headset. You might have a pair of earbuds with a mic that you think are better than our picks. We’d love to know about them so we can give them a look, too! Let us know what you’re using and what you think of them in the comments, and let us know what you think of any of these brands if you’ve tried them.

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Emergency alerts on your Android smartphone are a good thing — even if they are a bit annoying sometimes!

Every so often — or frequently, depending on your tolerance level — you get an emergency alert on your phone. That horrible blaring of the emergency tone, the buzzing the vibration motor, and then the grim news. Someone’s missing. Or there’s a severe weather alert headed your way. Suddenly and without warning, your phone’s scaring the hell out of you. It’s bad enough during the day, and downright dreadful in the dead of night.

And that’s the idea.

The U.S. carriers have worked with the federal government to come up with a way to push alerts to your Android smartphone to warn you about dangerous weather, missing persons or other matters of grave national importance. The point is they want you to see this information in hopes that it could save your life — or someone else’s.

Here’s what you need to know about these emergency alerts and how you can control them on your Android phone.

What kind of emergency alerts are there?

There are three (or four, depending on how you’re counting) types of emergency alerts you can receive on your Android. They’re grouped into the less-dangerous-sounding “Cell Broadcast” heading, and include:

  • Extreme threats: Classified as threats to your life and property, like an impending catastrophic weather event like a hurricane or tsunami.
  • Severe threats: Less serious than the extreme threats, these could be the same types of situations, but on a smaller scale — stay safe, but you won’t need to pack up the car and head for the hills.
  • AMBER alerts: These are specific alerts aimed at locating a missing child. Technically AMBER stands for “America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.” But it was named for Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old who was kidnapped and killed in 1996. AMBER alerts can appear to be a bit cryptic, giving you the location of the alert, a car license plate number and the make, model, and color of the vehicle.
  • Presidential alerts: These alerts will often fall into the “extreme threats” category, but are issued directly by the President of the United States and cannot be turned off in your phone’s settings.

What does an emergency or AMBER alert sound like?

It’s loud and annoying — particularly if you have a phone with really good speakers, or are with several people who have their phones out.

You’ll likely also find your phone is vibrating when an alert is issued.

How can I turn off emergency alerts on my Android?

Though you don’t have a choice as to whether you receive the presidential alerts, you can turn off the other types of alerts. We would recommend leaving them on, though, as the information could help you (or help you help someone else) in a time of danger. But if you want to familiarize yourself with the settings or tweak their parameters, here’s how you do it.

The settings will be found in a different place depending on what phone you have (yay, Android!) but the common theme is that the settings will be called “Cell Broadcasts.” The best way to start looking for them is to open up your settings, and if you have a search function to simply type in “cell broadcasts” or “emergency” — chances are the phone will present you with the settings right away. If you don’t have a search function, look under your sound, notification or display settings.

Here’s now things look in Android 7.1 Nougat, Android 6.0 Marshmallow and on a modern Samsung phone.

Depending on your phone, you’ll be able to toggle each of the alerts independently, choose how they alert you and whether or not they vibrate when you receive one.

Other helpful links for emergency and AMBER alerts

If you want to learn more about how emergency alerts are handled, we’ve compiled a group of handy resources:

This article was originally published in March, 2014. It was recently updated in November 2016 with up-to-date information about the AMBER Alert system running on the most recent versions of Android.

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Here are Google’s picks for the best apps in the Google Play Store.

As part of the Google I/O festivities, Google held a ceremony to announce the winners of the 2nd annual Google Play Awards.

With over 85 billion downloads from the Google Play Store, it’s always nice to see Google give some praise to the most innovative and interesting apps of the past year. Google has highlighted 12 apps this year, each chosen for its outstanding user experience or social impact.

Standout Indie: Mushroom 11

Mushroom 11 is a super interesting puzzle game in which you take control of a shapeshifting fungus as you make your way across an apocalyptic wasteland.

This game features challenging puzzles and fantastically fluid controls. Definitely worth checking out!

Download: Mushroom 11 ($4.99)

Standout Startup: HOOKED

HOOKED is a storytelling app that tells its story one text at a time. This app lives up to its name by drawing you into its library of mysterious stories, presented as a series of chat logs.

New stories are added daily, and there’s even an option to upload your own stories for others to read. It’s strangely addictive despite its occasionally cheesy storylines.

Download: HOOKED (Free)

Best Android Wear Experience: Runtastic Running & Fitness

It probably comes as little surprise that a fitness app would win the the award for Best Android Wear Experience.

Runtastic is one of the best fitness tracker apps you can use and is especially worth checking out if you’ve got a new Android Wear 2.0 watch or are planning to pick one up to revamp your summer fitness routine.

Download: Runtastic Running & Fitness (Free, or $4.99 for Pro version)

Best TV Experience: Red Bull TV

From the best in extreme sports to music festivals, Red Bull delivers endless entertainment — enough so that you may forget they also sell energy drinks!

Red Bull TV wins the award for its TV Experience, which will be worth keeping in mind the next time they have some guy free-fall from space.

Download: Red Bull TV (Free)

Best VR Experience: Virtual Virtual Reality

We imagine that this category is going to be getting very competitive over the next few years. This year’s winner is Virtual Virtual Reality, which is built around a really fun concept of strapping on different VR headsets within a VR setting — similar to the dream within a dream scenario from Inception.

This Daydream VR app is currently on sale for half off, so there’s no better time to check it out!

Download: Virtual Virtual Reality ($4.49)

Best AR Experience: WOORLD

We should be seeing more Tango-enabled phones to take advantage of Augmented Reality. When you finally get your hands on one, check out WOORLD.

It’s a great showcase for the quirky side of AR, and is intuitive enough for anyone to pick up and play.

Download: WOORLD (Free)

Best Apps for Kids: Animal Jam – Play Wild!

For those looking for more kid-friendly apps to keep the young ones occupied in the back seat, Google gives the nod to Animal Jam.

Set in a fun and cartoony 3D world, your kid will learn about animals and their real-life habitats while playing fun games. There’s also a social aspect for chatting in-game, with the developers committed to providing a safe online playground for kids.

Download: Animal Jam – Play Wild! (Free w/IAPs)

Best Multiplayer Game: Hearthstone

Hearthstone is still going strong three years on from its launch on Android. Developed by Blizzard, it’s a social card game based in the same universe as World of Warcraft.

If you’re brand new and interested in checking it out, there’s great tutorial and single player modes to help teach you the basics and learn strategies before you move on to facing online opponents. Keep in mind that if you want to get serious here, you’re going to need to buy some in-game expansion packs.

Download: Hearthstone (Free w/IAPs)

Best App: Memrise

The big prize of Best App went to Memrise, an intuitive app to assist you in learning a new language. Over 15 million people are using Memrise to learn a new language by playing games, watching videos from native speakers to offer social contexts, with more resources to help you along. It’s free to try out, so what do you have to lose?

Also, check out the developer’s “What’s New” update for its reaction to winning the award for Best App. It’s pretty swell!

Download: Memrise (Free)

Best Game: Transformers: Forged to Fight

Join Optimus Prime, Megatron, Bumblebee, Waspinator, Rhinox, Grimlock, Soundwave and many more of your favorite bots in Transformers: Forged to Fight. Personally, I’m kind of surprised to see this game pick up the top spot — It certainly wouldn’t top my list.

Then again, who doesn’t love a good ol’ fashioned robot fight?

Download: Transformers: Forged to Fight (Free w/IAPs)

Best Accessibility Experience: IFTTT

If you’ve been looking into connecting all of your smart devices around your home into a fully automated system, you’ve probably already looked into IFTTT. Using custom Applets, IFTTT lets you connect hundreds of apps and devices in seemingly endless orientations — and of course there’s support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can control everything with your voice.

Definitely an app you’ll want to have on your phone in the years to come.

Download: IFTTT (Free)

Best Social Impact: ShareTheMeal

ShareTheMeal is a charity developed by the UN World Food Programme that lets you feed a child with a simple tap on your phone. It only takes about $.50 a day to feed a child for a day. There are 20 times as many smartphone users as there are hungry children. You do the math.

With several ongoing famines around the world, we should all do our small part to make a difference. Apps like this are a great showcase of how technology can be used to make a positive impact.

Download: ShareTheMeal

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