Thursday, March 3, 2016

Verizon’s Galaxy Note 5 is Getting Its Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow Update

Would you look at that – Verizon’s variant of the Galaxy Note 5 is the first from Samsung to get Marshmallow here in the US. Not only that, but it’s also getting updated to Android 6.0.1, build MMB29K, the newest version of Android.

The update is scheduled to begin rollout on March 4 as software version VRU2BPB2, so if you aren’t able to pull it this evening, try not to stress. To check, head into Settings>About Device>Software updates>Check for Updates.

According to Verizon’s changelog, the update includes support for Google Now on Tap, Doze, WiFi Calling, Live Broadcast improvements, and a bunch of UI tweaks (like new icons) to bring the software in line with the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The full list of changes can be viewed at the source link below.

How exciting. Let us know if you see that update! And let’s hope this one rolls out faster than the Turbo 2’s update.

Feature4-homes-creen Feature4-app-tray Feature2-wifi-calling Feature1-Tap-on-now

Via:  Verizon

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Question of the Day: Do You Have Smart Home Products?

This morning, shortly after Amazon announced two new Alexa-powered devices to help them extend their smart home assistant presence to more places and in new forms, the folks at Nest finally came around to announcing that their products were now working with Amazon’s. It was a big day for the smart home, because we are starting to see where Amazon could become a central hub leader for controlling everything in your home, from thermostats and lights to music, appliances, and beyond.

As someone who can’t help but buy smart this or that when I probably don’t need it, I’m excited to see a company emerge as a potential leader. For so long, I feel like my smart home setup is a patched together oddball line-up that all requires stand-alone apps for each piece, but with Amazon potentially becoming the centerpiece, now that it has Nest on board, I’m excited. That’s not because I’m some Amazon fanboy, but because I’d rather have one control than five or six.

And that leads us into today’s question – do you have any smart home products? If so, which ones? Are you satisfied? Is one of them an Amazon Echo? 

I ask because I’m now curious if you were as excited about today’s news as I am or if you are still in a wait-and-see approach when it comes to outfitting your house with technology. It’s not like the smart home or its related products are all that mature yet, but I do feel like we have taken some huge steps towards leaving what has been a multi-year beta period for most of it.

Would love to hear about your smart home setups.

Question of the Day: Do You Have Smart Home Products? is a post from: Droid Life

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DEAL: SanDisk’s 200GB MicroSD Card is Still Just $79.50 on Amazon

The SanDisk 200GB microSD card, a card that originally retailed for around $250, seems like it is always on sale at prices that only get lower with each deal. For example, the 200GB class 10 card that Amazon sells, has been on sale at a ridiculously low $79.50 price for a good week now, plus it comes with Prime shipping.

I can’t help but point out the deal again because a whole bunch of Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge pre-orders are shipping early and throughout the next week. Of course, this card is a perfect match for those phones since they mark the return of the SD slot to Samsung phones, but they also just so happen to hold a maximum of 200GB of extra storage.

Oh, the 128GB class 10 card from SanDisk also seems to be deeply discount at just under $50.

Amazon Links:  200GB SanDisk ($79.50) | 128GB SanDisk ($49.94)

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Pre-Order a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge? Claim Your Free Gear VR Right Now

The claims website for the free Gear VR headset Samsung coupled with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge is now live. In case you didn’t know, Samsung is pairing each pre-order of its latest devices with a free Gear VR headset, and is even throwing in a 6-game bundle for your enjoyment.

Looking over the claims process briefly, Samsung asks which carrier or retailer you pre-ordered through, then lists which extra goodies you will receive. For example, those who pre-ordered through T-Mobile will not only receive the Gear VR, but will also get a free year of Netflix. If you ordered through Verizon, Big Red is offering either a Gear VR headset, or a Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch if you agree to additional contractual terms. 

Other than that, claiming your headset should be easy enough. Provide an IMEI, date of purchase, WiFi MAC address, and a few other misc. things.

Click the link below to get started.

Claim Free Gear VR Here

Cheers Lewissd!

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#TBT: Google Unveils Galaxy S4 With “Nexus User Experience”

It was everything we ever wanted – a high-end smartphone from one of the world’s biggest Android OEMs, without the crapware known as the younger version of TouchWiz. At Google I/O in 2013, Google announced the first two models in the Google Play Edition lineup of devices, the Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play Edition.

Priced at $649, coming with an unlockable bootloader, unlocked LTE support on T-Mobile and AT&T, the Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition was actually pretty sweet. However, as we know now, the GPE lineup didn’t take off too well, and is no longer a thing. But, before it departed this world, we got GPE devices from Sony, LG, Samsung, and HTC.

Thanks to what Google did, every time a new phone comes out with less-than-stellar OEM software, we wish they would bring back the GPE program.

Check out this unboxing of the Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition.

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Galaxy S7 Always-On Display is a Decent First Attempt

Like the LG G5, Samsung’s Galaxy S7 features an always-on display mode that relieves you of having to press buttons or pick up your phone numerous times throughout the day to do something as simple as check the time or date. We love the idea of always-on displays or similar functionality like Motorola’s Moto Display that was introduced over three years ago. These types of features essentially kill off simple tasks that you once needed to complete multiple times per day. If that’s not innovation, I don’t know what is.

So we thought we would take a look at Samsung’s take on an always-on display because they seem quite proud of the implementation. How does it work? Can it be customized? Are there other uses outside of checking time, date, and battery percentage? How does it compare to Motorola and Google’s similar features? 

With always-on display, Samsung is harnessing the power of the Super AMOLED display they used in the S7, which allows them to light up individual pixels as needed. When you see the clock or calendar lit up when your phone has been locked and the screen is mostly black, only the pixels you see are being powered, rather than the entire display. This allows Samsung to enable an always-on display for an entire day instead of completely killing your battery in a matter of hours.

galaxy s7 always-on display

In terms of options, Samsung is letting you tweak some settings with their always-on display (found in Settings>Display>Always-on display). For example, there are seven different clock combos to choose from, two different calendar modes, and even a couple of image-only styles. The clock allows for select background images as well, but that’s pretty much it. Actually, I shouldn’t say “that’s it” since Samsung is currently the only phone manufacturer allowing you to tweak an always-on feature – both Motorola and Google give you one setup.

galaxy s7 always-on galaxy s7 always-on-2 galaxy s7 always-on-3 galaxy s7 always-on-4

The always-on displays of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are capable of showing some notifications that you have pending. Unfortunately, these notifications only show for Samsung’s suite of apps like the dialer and text messaging app. If you were hoping to see notifications for Hangouts or Gmail or Inbox or Google Calendar, you are out of luck. And that, is where this implementation is severely lacking.

s7 vs moto x vs 6p always-on

If you look at the image above, which shows the Moto X Pure Edition and Nexus 6P on each side of the S7, you can see the major difference between each phone’s implementation of the idea. The Galaxy S7 is only showing a couple of notification icons for missed calls and text messages, while the other phones are showing additional icons for Hangouts, Inbox, and even my Nest cameras. Had the Moto X or 6P also received a call, they would show that as well. The 6P and Moto X also allow you to interact with notifications that come in, while the S7’s always-on display doesn’t allow for any interaction. Tapping, swiping, or touching the S7’s always-on display returns nothing. In order to get into missed notifications, you have to then press the home or lock buttons, which then fully wakes the phone.

Where the S7 stands out over those two is in the fact that it is always-on. All you need to do to kick it on and keep it on, is lock your phone. The Moto X requires a wave over the display or a notification to arrive before it displays information. The Nexus 6P needs either a notification to arrive or a full pick-up-and-tilt by you. For doing something as simple as checking the time or battery percentage, I think it’s obvious that the Galaxy S7 is king here. But if you were looking for a full-blown interactive always-on setup, you get a better experience with the other two phones.

Obviously, Samsung can improve this by at least showing notification icons for other apps that aren’t their own. We don’t know if or when they will do that, but their first versions of multi-window and Edge display were severely lacking in this department as well, yet did get better over time.

To see an even deeper look at all of the settings and how the Galaxy S7’s always-on display compares to these two phones, check out the video below.


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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Arrives in Your Home on April 1

If you have yet to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens in theaters…wait, you’ve all seen it by now, right? No? Leave work this very minute and go see the damn thing. It’s amazing and should be experienced at least once in theaters by all. Then again, if you have been putting it off this long, I would imagine that you won’t listen to me and will instead continue disappointing humanity. So humanity disappointers, you don’t have that long to wait before you can see it at home because it arrives April 1. 

During a Disney shareholder meeting this morning, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that The Force Awakens arrives on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on April 1. It then hits store shelves on Blu-ray and DVD on April 5.

Here are the Blu-ray and DVD boxes.


These first releases will include all sorts of bonus features, like a full length documentary about the film, cast members waxing poetic about their first day, the magic behind the movie’s creatures, deleted scenes, and more. You can see the full list of bonuses at the source link below.

Along with all of that bonus footage, select retailers will offer additional exclusives. For example, Target’s (pre-order) Blu-ray combo pack comes in exclusive packaging and has an added 20 minutes of bonus content. The Walmart version has exclusive BB-8 packaging and a trading disc. The Best Buy version (pre-order) has exclusive SteelBook packaging. To see images of those packages, hit up the source link as well.

Or, you could always pre-order from Amazon or Google Play.

Via:  Star Wars

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Deal: Aukey 20,000mAh Power Bank for $25, Dual Port Wall Charger for $4.99

For a limited time on Amazon, you can pick up Aukey’s latest, the 20,000mAh Power Bank with AiPower Adaptive Charging for just $24.99, down from its usual price of $45. If you haven’t heard of AiPower Adaptive Charging, it’s pretty sweet. The technology automatically detects the connected device and provides maximum charge current according to device’s chipset, delivering the fastest charging speed possible for the device. This means that whether you have a Galaxy S6 or iPhone, you should always have a fast charge. 

To spice up the device, Aukey built in a flashlight, which can be activated by pressing the Power button for 3 seconds. In terms of specs, the bank features Lightning and micro USB inputs, DC 5V 2A input when using a 2A charger, and comes with a micro USB Cable in the packaging.

If you don’t need something portable, Aukey is also offering a deal on its Dual Port wall charging adapter. Regularly listed at over $20, you can grab it for $4.99. The adapter also features AiPower technology, although, it states that Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 is not supported. As for compatibility, pretty much all Android devices and iPhones are supported.

To get the most savings, you will need the following coupon codes. At checkout on Amazon, plug them in and save a few bucks.

Amazon Links: 20,000mAh Power Bank (Coupon: W62238B6) | 12W Dual Port Wall Charger (Coupon: GUFCZD46)

Deal: Aukey 20,000mAh Power Bank for $25, Dual Port Wall Charger for $4.99 is a post from: Droid Life

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At Last, Amazon Echo and Nest Thermostat Work Together

Owners of a Nest learning thermostat and Amazon Echo can now pair the two, finally bringing the two smart objects together at last. Assuming you own both, to enable the Nest functionality on Echo, simply open up the Alexa app on your smartphone and switch on the Nest skill. Once completed, you can provide Alexa with verbal commands on how hot or cold you would like your home to be. 

Beyond asking for specific hot and cold temps, users can be provided with humidity feedback, as well as get a little fancy by speaking to Alexa, “Tell the thermostat that I’m too hot.” The commands are quite basic right now, but if you also partake in IFTTT, you can also set somewhat fancier Alexa commands. For example, when you come down from your night’s snooze in the morning, you can say, “Alexa, good morning” and she will signal to Nest to kick on the heat. At this time, there are over 50 recipes to choose from on IFTTT for Nest and Echo partnering.

According to the Nest team, the first official collaboration is set to begin in a couple of weeks, so if you don’t see the Nest skill in your Alexa app quite yet, patience.

This has been a long time coming.

Via: Nest

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Amazon Makes Echo Smaller and Portable With Echo Dot and Tap

This morning, Amazon tripled its Alexa-ready devices with the announcement of two new products, the Amazon Echo Dot and Amazon Tap. The Echo Dot is very much just a smaller version of the original Echo, while the Tap is a portable Bluetooth version, made for on-the-go or around-the-house-moving tune listening and task completing. 

With the new Echo Dot, Amazon has taken the style and shape of the original Echo and shrunk it down into puck form. The Echo Dot has a speaker, but it’s not necessarily supposed to be used for music on its own. Instead, Amazon is hoping that you’ll attach it to other speakers (via Bluetooth or included cable) to bring the power of Alexa to other products. Amazon is also positioning Echo Dot as a room companion that gives you Alexa’s voice controls over lights, alarms, thermostats, timers, etc., without the bulk of the bigger Echo.

The Echo Dot is priced at $89.99, is an exclusive to Prime members, and can only be purchased at this time through an Amazon Echo. You need to say to your Echo, “Alexa, order an Echo Dot.” Seriously, that’s the only way you can order one.

The Amazon Tap is very much a full-blown speaker, only it’s portable. It charges via included cradle, but once charged, you should see up to 9 hours of music playback. Like the original Echo, it features 360º omni-directional audio, improves constantly via over-the-air updates, and harnesses all of the power of Alexa, when connected to WiFi. When you aren’t on WiFi, it turns into a Bluetooth speaker in tube form.

The Amazon Tap is available for pre-order today at $129.99 and ships March 31.

Amazon Links:  Echo Dot | Amazon Tap

amazon echo dot

Via:  Amazon

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Blackberry Priv Now Available From Verizon for a Whole Lot of Money

The Blackberry Priv, the first from the former smartphone king to run Android, is now available at Verizon. The phone went up for sale last night, but Verizon made it all official this morning.

If you are interested, the Priv will set you back $30 per month on a payment plan or $720 at full retail. At that price, we’re in the Galaxy S7 Edge and iPhone 6s Plus range, yet I don’t know that I would consider this phone to be anywhere near those levels. Thankfully, that’s for you to decide, Priv future owner. 

We reviewed the Priv a few months back and came away impressed with portions of the phone, including the display, hardware, keyboard, and minimal, stock-like software. We weren’t exactly impressed by the camera or battery life, though Blackberry has issued a number of updates to address those concerns in recent months.

Verizon Link

Via:  Verizon

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