Friday, March 11, 2016

Don’t Miss These Android Stories: March 11, 2016

Anything happen this week? Only massive amounts of Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge coverage, the introduction of Android N and its first developer preview, Hangouts 8.0, a new Q&A session, new HTC 10 pictures, Project Fi going invite-free, and an official timeframe for the LG G5.

It was an insane week. I would try and tell you where to begin, but there is just so much going on that moment. We should have our S7 and S7 Edge reviews up shortly, so be sure to run through all of the recent coverage to see where we stand so far. Or maybe just watch the DL Show from today, since it covers everything and then some.

Get to it! 

It’s raining in Portland. Shocker.

Don’t Miss These Android Stories: March 11, 2016 is a post from: Droid Life

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DEAL: Unlocked Galaxy S7 on eBay for $599, S7 Edge for $699

Of course, just hours after I took Samsung to task for not offering unlocked phones here in the US, we have eBay sellers pop-up with pretty incredible deals on the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge that will surely satisfy our unlocked needs.

At $599, you can own the unlocked Galaxy S7 (SM-G930F), or you can bump up to Galaxy S7 Edge (SM-G935F) for $699. That’s around $100 off of each when compared to US carriers. For example, Verizon sells the S7 at $672 and AT&T at $695. 

Keep in mind that these are international models, so they come equipped with Samsung’s Exynos octa-core processors instead of the Snapdragon 820. They also will only work on GSM carriers in the US, which means AT&T and T-Mobile (and the MVNOs that use their networks). Each should support LTE bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, and 26.

At those prices, these seem to be going quick and most colors are gone. However, the silver S7 is available! (Yes, I just bought it.) The sellers claim to have stock now, while most on eBay are only offering pre-orders.

eBay Links:  Galaxy S7 (SM-G930F) | Galaxy S7 Edge (SM-G935F)

DEAL: Unlocked Galaxy S7 on eBay for $599, S7 Edge for $699 is a post from: Droid Life

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Droid Life Q&A Sessions: Volume 38 Answers

We have gathered up your questions from this past week, and are now ready to share our answers with you. This week, many questions focused on the modular state of affairs taking place in the smartphone industry, with a few of you questioning if modular phones are just a gimmick. Other questions focused on how good Project Fi is (now that it’s invite free), and we even got asked who would win a fight between Batman and Superman.

There were a ton of questions, so we did our best to focus efforts on the ones we could handle in a timely manner.

Now, onto the questions!

Reminder: K is Kellen, T is Tim.

Are modular phones the next big thing or just another gimmick?

K:  I think with LG taking the lead, it’ll become something. With the G5, it does seem like a bit of a gimmick, but I that’s because it’s all so new. In the G6 (so next year), we could see some cooler applications that hopefully don’t involve removing the battery each time. I just think you could potentially expand the life of a phone, or the camera, or battery, or audio, or a number of other things by going the modular route. Right now it might seem gimmicky, but I think there could be a future.

T:  As far I am concerned at this moment, they are borderline gimmick. I think LG is attempting to differentiate themselves from the pack with the G5, and I should note, they are doing a fine good job at that. However, are any of these modules definitively usable? So far, we have a janky camera attachment and a somewhat neat speaker setup. These are neat concepts, but nothing that I see as game changing. For now, I shall reserve absolute judgement until I have a modular device in-hand.

lg g5 battery camera grip

I’m considering that I should prioritize the sound/speaker in my next phone purchase. Do any of the new phones have good speakers?

K:  Nexus 6P and Moto X Pure Edition are your best bet. The rest of the new phones (S7, G5, and HTC 10) all seem to have a single, bottom-firing speaker.

T:  Well, the Galaxy S7 probably won’t be your first choice. From my experience so far, the speaker is pretty weak. Coming the Nexus 6P, which has two front-facing speakers, that device can get very loud. As for tonal range and a more wide sound, I suppose nothing beats the One M9 in the Android category. But I don’t recommend that phone at all, so for now, I would suggest the Nexus 6P or Moto X Pure Edition.

Now that Project Fi is invite free would you choose it over Cricket, Metro PCS, etc?

K:  All depends on how T-Mobile and Sprint coverage are in your area. If they are good, it’s probably a decent option. If not, anything tied to AT&T’s network is a good option for prepaid. Also keep in mind that Cricket and some of the other MVNOs are quite cheaper, even cheaper than Fi.

T:  It should really come down to which services offers the best service in your area. Do Sprint and T-Mobile offer good coverage in your area? If so, you can’t go wrong with Project Fi. The prices are pretty good, and the fact that Google only charges for what you use is super clutch. Plus, it’s Google. When I was using Project Fi, the customer service was impeccable. For me, that’s a huge bonus.

moto x pure edition project fi

Are you excited for the HTC 10 or do you see it being dead on arrival?

K:  I actually expect it to be a really good phone, which probably surprises you. HTC is finally putting a real camera in a phone that we know is good (Nexus 6P), will create a great in-hand feeling phone, and will more than likely sell it unlocked. Those are all things I appreciate. Do I think HTC will sell tons of them and return from the dead? Hah, no.

T:  Just gonna throw this out there – it’s completely DOA. Do I need to give a reason why? Maybe, but c’mon, we’re all expecting this device to flop, right? The competition is simply too stiff this year. Samsung gave us the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, two incredibly legit phones, and LG has its modular/metallic G5. What does HTC intend to compete with? A home button (fingerprint reader), capacitive buttons, and UltraPixel camera? Nah, I’m good.

Should we stop caring about IR blasters in smartphones?

K:  I didn’t know that people cared about them. I’ve never used one in any phone I have ever owned…

T:  Yes, you should. I understand you want a remote control on your phone, but let’s just let it go. It was cool while it was around, but it shouldn’t be a deal breaker by any means.

How important are Android software updates for my smartphone?

K:  Incredibly important. Not only do they patch potentially serious security vulnerabilities, they also do give you new features. They may not all stand out like a new UI would, but they could improve battery life, speed up boot times or app install times, etc. You always want what’s new, even if it’s just to shut up your obnoxious Apple friend.

T:  Super important! Updates contain patches for security exploits, annoying bugs, and so much else. At times, it seems that both carriers and the OEMs don’t place updates at high enough of importance, and I hope one day, that isn’t the case. For now. do whatever you can to make sure you are running the latest and greatest update available for your particular device.

android beta program

Who’s gonna win? Batman or Superman?

K:  Come on, neither. They’ll get all mad and broseph it out by destroying Metropolis some more, then become teammates to take on Lex Luthor. I just hope it doesn’t suck. I kind of think it won’t, but it probably will. Please don’t, though.

T:  I’m happy you ask! Recently, I came across a theory, albeit a crazy one, that claims Bruce Wayne is the killer of his parents. Without ruining it completely, click the link and read it for yourself. It may change the way you see Bruce Wayne.

Kendrick Lamar or Kanye West?

K:  Ugh. Kanye for me, based on reasons I’d rather not share because I don’t want to offend anyone, hah.

T:  Kendrick! To Pimp a Butterfly was a fantastic piece of rap music, which in my opinion, is a lost art form. Yeah, he’s as preachy as a evangelical in Mississippi, but you gotta respect his game.

You have stated that you don’t care much for Virtual Reality at this time, but can you briefly explain why?

K:  I think I explained it pretty well here. But my general thought is that people are already too disconnected with the world because of their phones and smartwatches and tablets and TVs, that the last thing our deteriorating society needs is to get people to spend hours in head-engulfing virtual fakeness. Go have a beer with your friends and unplug for a bit, folks.

T:  The experience is getting better! Maybe when everyone has $1K+ computers and the hardware is more widely accessible (cheaper), it can be widely adopted. Until that day, it’s just something for tech blogs to get excited about.

To see all of our previous Q&A’s, check them out here.

Droid Life Q&A Sessions: Volume 38 Answers is a post from: Droid Life

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Video: A Quick Look at What’s New in Edge Panel on the Galaxy S7 Edge

During my review of the Galaxy S6 Edge, I turned off the Edge Panel features. Why? Franky, because they sucked. On the Home screen, there was one panel, People Edge, and it wasn’t all that great. On the lock screen, there were plenty of tickers to choose from, but in real life scenarios, they weren’t helpful or fun to use. In 2016, Samsung is offering the Galaxy S7 Edge, with a completely remodeled Edge Panel. But, does it have any worthy features? Surprisingly, yes, it absolutely does. Unlike the Galaxy S6 Edge, the Edge Panel found on the Galaxy S7 Edge is highly useful, and I intend to use it quite often. With that being said, let’s go over what’s new. 

Again, unlike the Edge Panel found on the Galaxy S6 Edge, there are many different panels to choose from on the Galaxy S7 Edge. This is thanks to many updates to the Edge Panel app, found on the Samsung Apps store. On the Galaxy S7 Edge, there are panels for sports scores, app shortcuts, feature shortcuts inside of specific Samsung apps, news tickers, and even a compass panel. Really, there’s a ton to choose from, half of which you probably won’t even use.

On the lock screen, users still benefit from Edge Lighting, news tickers, sports tickers, and notifications. Essentially, not much has changed with regard to the Edge Panel and the lock screen. However, inside of the Settings menu for the Edge Panel app, you can change up the transparency of the tab, adjust its size, and placement along the side of the display. All of these features really help bring value to the Edge Panel.

Without saying too much, check out our video below, comparing Edge Panel on the Galaxy S6 Edge and the Galaxy S7 Edge. As you will see, thee difference is night and day.

Do we have any Galaxy S7 Edge owners here? If so, do you think Samsung did a good job at adding more value with the Edge Panel?

Video: A Quick Look at What’s New in Edge Panel on the Galaxy S7 Edge is a post from: Droid Life

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The Droid Life Show: Episode 104 – Galaxy S7 Day!

After spending the past couple of weeks with both the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, today’s DL Show will focus on some real-world, deeper thoughts on each. We have previewed the two in other shows, but we now have much more fully-informed opinions that we would like to share. Also, because today is launch day for Samsung’s newest flagships, what else were we going to talk about?

If we get through that, we’ll talk about new HTC 10 pictures, the LG G5’s fate after coming on so late, and more.

Join us at 1PM Pacific (4PM Eastern) for the fun.

If you miss us live, feel free to subscribe to us by following one of the links below. We have a video embed as well, along with an IRC chat. Also, we’ll be chatting through the YouTube feed too.  

Subscribe | iTunes | Stitcher| Show Page

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DEAL: Moto X Pure Edition is Just $299 at Best Buy ($100 Off)

I know that the Android world is really excited about the waive of deals on the Nexus 6P that showed up this morning, but Best Buy has a potentially better deal on the Moto X Pure Edition. For just $299 today ($100 off!), you can grab the newest flagship from Moto, a phone that we still consider to be one of the top 5 Android phones available today.

At $299, you are getting the all-black model with 16GB of storage, but just remember that the phone includes a microSD card slot that supports up to 128GB cards. If you don’t want the black model, you can grab the white and bamboo version for $100 off as well. Since bamboo is considered an upgrade, your base price there is $325. If you need more than 16GB of internal storage, the 32GB models of each are also discounted, but only by $50.

Our Moto X Pure Edition review is worth a read if this interests you.

Best Buy Link

Cheers James!

DEAL: Moto X Pure Edition is Just $299 at Best Buy ($100 Off) is a post from: Droid Life

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Samsung Pay Deal Lands You $30 Gift Card for Paying Once

With your new Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge, should you happen to have a supported card through Samsung’s mobile payment service, consider making a purchase before the end of March. If you do so with Samsung Pay, you’ll be gifted a $30 gift card to one of a handful of select retailers. 

All Samsung is asking that you do is “complete your first qualifying transaction” with Samsung Pay on your S7 or S7 Edge and you will get to choose a $30 gift card to Regal Cinema, Nike, eBay, Whole Foods, or Best Buy. Pretty easy, right?

The full details can be found at Samsung’s website.

samsung pay deal

Samsung Pay Deal Lands You $30 Gift Card for Paying Once is a post from: Droid Life

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Deal: Nexus 6P for $50 Off, Plus Gift Cards From Numerous Retailers

Taking place right now, numerous retailers are marking the Nexus 6P at a $50 discount, and is also throwing in varying goodies in addition to the smartphone.

Here are deals we’re seeing:

  • At Newegg, when you buy the Nexus 6P, the company are also throwing in a $50 promo code to use on its website. These codes can be redeemed towards anything you would like.
  • The same is taking place at B&H Photo and Video, with the Nexus 6P listed at $50 off, plus a $50 gift card for use on its website towards a separate purchase.
  • Best Buy, while it is also offering $50 off of the Nexus 6P, is including a smartphone case from Speck, listed at a $40 value.
  • For those not concerned about the extra goodies, Nexus 6P devices sold and shipped by Amazon are also listed at $50 off, but come with no gift card.

The $50 off does not appear to be limited to any particular storage option or color. With $50 off, the 32GB Nexus 6P model comes to $449.99, the 64GB to $499.99, and in select colors, the 128GB model is $599.99.

Follow the links below to take advantage of this sweet deal.

Deal Links: Newegg | B&H | Best Buy | Amazon

Cheers Zeyad!

Deal: Nexus 6P for $50 Off, Plus Gift Cards From Numerous Retailers is a post from: Droid Life

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The Next Thing Samsung can Follow Apple’s Lead On.

Yes, Samsung, as the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer, you should be able to release an unlocked version of your flagship phones. Apple does it. Google certainly does it. Hell, even Motorola and HTC are doing it these days. Why aren’t you? Seriously, why aren’t you? If it’s a carrier issue, get the f*ck out of here. You are big enough that you shouldn’t be giving in to all carrier demands. Of course, we’re pretty sure you are, just look at the bloatware and branding all over the US carrier variants of the phones you sell. That’s really unfortunate. 

You see, some of us, well, we don’t want to buy through carriers. We would rather just buy the phone from you, the manufacturer. We would like to see your vision for your phone, without Verizon’s Navigator and AT&T’s Locker (whatever the hell that even is) and Amazon’s apps and Yellowpages or Whitepages or whatever other spam-filled idea from the past that is pre-loaded in your app drawers. We don’t want to attach a phone to a carrier we don’t really care for for an entire month, just so they’ll give us an unlock code to take it elsewhere. We certainly don’t want the branding – look at what you allowed Verizon to do a couple of years ago. Oh, we also would like choice, like in colors. Because, everywhere else in the world is getting cool blues and greens and silvers, yet the US and your carrier-only approach, doesn’t want to give us those choices.

But maybe more importantly, we would love to get updates without the carrier interference. You are one of the worst at updating phones, but if you sold an unlocked model or two, maybe you wouldn’t have that reputation. Maybe then, you could push updates quicker and to the customers who are probably screaming the loudest about you being bad at updating. Look how quickly Motorola pushed out Marshmallow just this past year, and the promises that HTC is comfortable making (and has kept up with) for updates. You could do that too, Samsung.

And look at this, your own website even has a sweet little blank spot in its carrier and retailer chooser where you could put “SIM FREE,” just like Apple does! How convenient. It wouldn’t be hard to do. It’s obvious that you sell international unlocked models, because some of us have to buy them through semi-shady eBay sellers and UK retailers.

galaxy s7 edge unlocked

But you probably won’t ever in the US. The carriers are too mean or something. Those of us who appreciate a clean, bloatware and branding free phone of yours will continue to have to import them and pay hundreds more than retail. We’ll continue to have to disable dozens of apps and snarl at logos. We’ll continue to be annoyed at the entire situation. That sucks.

You know what doesn’t suck? Apple’s approach to unlocked and SIM free phones. Yeah, you should look into, Samsung.

The Next Thing Samsung can Follow Apple’s Lead On. is a post from: Droid Life

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Whaaaaaaat: Lil Wayne is Pouring Champagne All Over his Galaxy S7, and Delivering Baby Elephants in VR

Hopefully, you enjoy Lil Wayne and champagne, because both are about to be all over your commercial breaks as the stars of Samsung’s new line of Galaxy S7 commercials. We first saw Wayne in Samsung’s Oscar commercials alongside a bunch of other celebs, but he seems to have emerged as the lead in the S7 and S7 Edge campaign.

The commercials aren’t bad. Lil Wayne can be a funny dude, especially when he’s mocking his own lifestyle and his friends and the thought of wasting really expensive champagne to show that his phone is water resistant. Will these help Samsung sell lots of phones? They might. I don’t know.


Oh, he’s also doing ads for the Gear VR that don’t involve champagne, but do involve Weezy speaking in the 3rd person. And Wesley Snipes.

Whaaaaaaat: Lil Wayne is Pouring Champagne All Over his Galaxy S7, and Delivering Baby Elephants in VR is a post from: Droid Life

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Where to Buy the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

Still haven’t decided whether or not to pull the trigger on a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge? Today is the day that you can officially buy them in stores, so you can finally make a decision after your own personal hands-on time. While a number of you pre-ordered because you knew from day 1 that one of these would be your next phone, we know that a number of you have been waiting to get your paws on them in person. Thankfully, everyone should have them today, including  the big carriers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, plus the big retailers as well (Best Buy, Target, etc.).

If you need quick links to them, we have those below. For specific pricing and all of the deals that each carrier or retailer is including, you’ll want to check out this post. We’re talking freebies that include the Gear VR, microSD cards, Netflix for a year, and more. 

If you missed any of our coverage through today, you may want to check out our Galaxy S7 unboxing, Galaxy S7 Edge unboxing, how the S7 compares to today’s best Android phones, and even the things that drive me nuts about the S7.

Where to Buy the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge is a post from: Droid Life

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Today is Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Launch Day! Here are 10 Things to Consider Doing

The big day is here! If your pre-order is finally arriving or you plan to stop by a store today to pick-up the Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge, you may want to check out this video that we posted well over a week ago. In it, we give you 10 things to consider doing to your phone after setup to get the most out of it.

These aren’t 10 “must do” things, but more like 10 ideas that could help you enhance the experience of your new Samsung phone. For example, tossing in a microSD card is highly recommended, as is the camera Quick Launch, but turning on Always-On Display could be good for some of you, just not for all of you (read: those who are crazy about savoring every ounce of battery). But you’ll also learn about cleaning up home screens, setting your favorite settings, and diving into themes to really make your new phone yours.

Let us know how your first few hours are going!

Today is Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Launch Day! Here are 10 Things to Consider Doing is a post from: Droid Life

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