Monday, March 14, 2016

Question of the Day: Nexus 5X Owners, Did Recent Update Fix the Jank?

On March 8, Nexus 5X owners were set to receive an update that was supposed to clean up much of the jank that resided in the device. By “fixing jank,” the update was actually listed as featuring fixes for “overall stability, connectivity, and performance.” This was in addition to being the monthly security update for March.

During the review of the Nexus 5X, we found performance to be quite weak, with a lot of stuttering and lag taking place. For a Nexus device, this was not a fun experience.

Now that a few days have passed, we have to ask Nexus 5X owners out there, has the jank been taken care of?

Question of the Day: Nexus 5X Owners, Did Recent Update Fix the Jank? is a post from: Droid Life

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You Will Soon Test Drive Games Straight From Google Search

Buried inside of a list of changes for app developers on Android, Google has announced that users will soon see an option to test drive applications, games in particular, directly from Google Search results. This is essentially an expansion of Google’s previous “Stream” option for mobile apps that was announced back in November. When enabled on Google’s servers and by developers from their development console, if a user Google’s “Panda Pop,” for example, a button for “Try Now” will appear. When hit, folks can play a bit of the game, then choose to install the title right from Google Play. 

Google states that a user can test drive an app for up to 10 minutes, which in turn, leads to worthy downloads for developers. As written in the blog, “Using this format, you can drive qualified users who are likely to stay engaged with your game after install.”

In addition to test driving apps, Google is including new video recording APIs, predictive analytics, game parameters management, and more tools focused solely on game developers.

Google states that the test drive feature will be rolling out of the next few weeks, so be on the lookout for it on Google Search.


Via: Android Developers

You Will Soon Test Drive Games Straight From Google Search is a post from: Droid Life

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OnePlus Gallery App Now Available on Google Play

OnePlus launched its own Gallery app to Google Play this week, making updates for the app much easier to obtain for users. The OnePlus Gallery, beyond being the app that showcases all of your photos, features the ability to edit your daily photos with the usual options, such as cropping and drawing. When your edits are done, photos can be shared straight from the app into whichever app you would like.

In order to download the app, you will need to own a OnePlus device. That would include the OnePlus One, OnePlus 2, and OnePlus X. With the app placed onto Google Play, users should see more timely updates for it, since the app will no longer be a part of the OS at a system level.

For anyone rocking a OnePlus device, grab it.

Play Link

OnePlus Gallery App Now Available on Google Play is a post from: Droid Life

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Moto X Pure Edition is Getting an Update Today, Says Sprint

Own a Moto X Pure Edition? Interested in receiving a new update? Feel free to check for one, as Sprint says that we should be expecting one as soon as today.

Sprint’s support page for the update doesn’t mention what’s included, nor do any of Motorola’s support documents. It could be Android 6.0.1 or it could just be a security patch for March. We don’t really know! Fun, right? 

If you see the update, let us know. In the mean time, we’ll see what we can find out and will update this post.

Via:  Sprint

Moto X Pure Edition is Getting an Update Today, Says Sprint is a post from: Droid Life

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Video: Nextbit Robin Unboxing and Tour

After a bit of waiting, we have a Nextbit Robin in-house at last. Back in September, I declared that Robin, a phone featured on Kickstarter, might not suck, and for the most part, reviews from across the web have somewhat validated my claims. While it is 2016, and the Robin ships with only a Snapdragon 808 processor, the device delivers what it promised, which is intelligent cloud storage in direct partnership with built-in storage.

For those new to Robin, Nextbit created a system which loads and offloads non-used apps to the cloud, allowing storage to be freed up on the device for when you need it. When an app is needed, a user simply reloads the app (plus app data) onto their device. With that said, the plus side is that a user does not need to dictate which apps are important and which are not. The Nextbit OS, built on Android 6.0 “Marshmallow,” handles the learning and cloud storage aspect.

As a freshening up, specs on the Robin include a 5.2″ 1080p display, Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard storage, 100GB of online cloud storage, a fingerprint reader built into the power button along the side of the device, 13MP rear-facing camera, 5MP front-facing camera, front-facing speakers, USB Type-C, NFC, 2,680mAh battery, and the Nextbit OS running atop Marshmallow. For all of this tech, the price of Robin is set at $399, and the phone is available in two color options.

As I state in the video, we are already hard at work reviewing the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, and now we even have the LG G5 in-house. There’s a lot of phones to cover right now, so this one may go on the back burner for a bit. In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding the Robin, please shoot them below and I will be happy to answer them.





Video: Nextbit Robin Unboxing and Tour is a post from: Droid Life

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Video: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs. LG G5

Over the weekend, we received an LG G5 and took it for a quick 2nd look, non-unboxing overview, after spending a solid 24 hours with it. Today, we’re taking a look at how it compares to the Galaxy S7, since these really are the two flagship devices of substance for the first half of 2016. Deciding between the two isn’t going to be easy, even if many of you can’t stand that G5 camera hump.

In this video, which is somewhat lengthy, we dive into the design of each, how their specs match-up, the big differences in features (water resistance, removable battery, etc.), a look at their very similar software, and some overall opinions on fingerprint sensor location, in-hand feel, and more.

We’ll have more coverage soon, including reviews of each. For now, let’s get to comparing. 

Video: Samsung Galaxy S7 vs. LG G5 is a post from: Droid Life

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Verizon Introduces Annual Upgrade Program With Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Purchases

If you buy a Samsung Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge from Verizon on a device payment plan, you will be eligible to receive a new phone every single year going forward, thanks to their new Annual Upgrade Program. The program was announced this morning as a way for customers to exchange their high-end Samsung Galaxy phones or other new phones each year as the new flagships arrive. 

According to Verizon’s FAQ for the program, all you need to do is purchase an S7 or S7 Edge (if you pre-ordered, you are already enrolled) on a device payment plan and once you have paid off 50% of the phone, you can swap it out at a Verizon store for another phone. Well, you also have to have owned the phone for 30 days. The basic idea is that within a year, you will have paid off 50% of the phone, just in time for the next wave of flagships to upgrade to.

Verizon’s FAQ also states that other devices are included in this upgrade program as well, as long as you entered into a device payment agreement before May 31, 2015. In other words, Verizon is ditching their requirement that asked you to pay off 100% of your phone in order to upgrade. This is Verizon’s way of bringing back 50% paid-off upgrades.

Make sense?

Via:  Verizon [FAQ]

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Contest: Enter the DL Bracket Challenge 2016 and Win a Nexus 6P!

Here we go! The Droid Life Bracket Challenge 2016 is now live and ready for your entry. This year (which is our 7th year of doing this contest), we are giving away a brand new Nexus 6P with 64GB of storage plus $100 in Google Play credit to the winner. 

For those new, each year for the past seven years we have put together a massive NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket challenge (which we are in no way affiliated with) through ESPN’s Tourney Challenge service. It works just like your office bracket pool, except this one is free and is massive. Last year, we had almost 2,500 entries and gave away a Nexus 9 plus $100 in Google Play gift cards. It’s loads of fun, even if you aren’t a college basketball fan. In fact, this is easily my favorite sports period of the entire year because everyone can get involved, talk about upsets, and brag about their perfect brackets.

In order to play, you don’t need to know a thing about college basketball. All you need to do is fill out a bracket through ESPN, which you can do based on the color of each team, who has the cuter point guard, which mascot would win in a battle to the death, or maybe, should you actually watch college basketball, based on which team you think might actually win. I really don’t care. Just pick and submit.

You ready?


ESPN Group:  Droid Life 2016
Password:  droidlife

Prize:  Winner takes home a Nexus 6P 64GB and $100 in Google Play credit.

How to enter:

1.  Entry is free.
2.  Join the Droid Life group from above (create an ESPN account if you need to).
3.  Fill out your bracket and submit before the “1st” round games start Thursday morning (March 17).
4.  There are games tomorrow and Wednesday, but you still have until Thursday before you need to be entered.
5.  Winner with the highest total points following the NCAA Championship is our winner.
6.  We use ESPN and their scoring system, along with their tiebreaker system.
7.  This is a “winner takes all” competition.

Two rules:

1.  We use the “Locked” setting, which means you can’t swap out brackets once the competition starts.
2.  We also only allow 1 entry per person.


On the morning following the NCAA Championship game, which takes place on April 4, we’ll contact the winner through the ESPN Tourney Challenge Group Chat. If you win, you’ll want to head there to see instructions. You can find the Group Chat here.

Feel free to invite your friends and family members – the more competition, the more fun we have.

Good luck, all!

Apps:  ESPN Tournament Challenge (manage your brackets) | NCAA March Madness Live (watch all games live)

Contest: Enter the DL Bracket Challenge 2016 and Win a Nexus 6P! is a post from: Droid Life

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NCAA March Madness App Gets Cast Support, Big Update Just Before Tourney

Last night, the NCAA unveiled the men’s basketball tournament bracket for 2016, which means it’s time for another DL Bracket Challenge. But before we get there, make sure you take a look at the updated NCAA March Madness app on Android. The app was recently updated to include a redesigned, Material-heavy experience on both phones and (especially) tablets, plus it includes Google Cast support for the first time. And don’t forget that this app is major 🔑 for the fact that it lets you watch every single game on mobile. 

With Cast support, you can be almost anywhere and stream this year’s tourney games to a monitor or TV. All you need is the app, a cable subscription, and a TV that is hooked up to a Chromecast or has Cast-support built in. That’s pretty awesome, actually, especially for those of us who may not be at home during the tournament.

The update is available now, so feel free to grab it.

What’s new for 2016:

  • Google-cast enabled
  • Redesigned, immersive live video experience on tablet
  • Standalone Coke Zero Social Arena experience on tablet
  • Expanded video on demand content and video playlists
  • Improved bracket picking experience and SWEEPSTAKES for NCAA March Madness Bracket Challenge
  • NCAA March Madness Tournament Run now available on Android phone and tablet

Play Link

NCAA March Madness App Gets Cast Support, Big Update Just Before Tourney is a post from: Droid Life

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Qualcomm Intros Snapdragon Virtual Reality SDK for Developers

To help grow the booming number of experiences available to owners of a VR headset, Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon VR SDK this morning, giving access to tools for VR developers that will help simplify the process of creating compatible applications.

According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 820 processor is more than capable of creating immersive VR experiences for consumers, but without the right set of tools, developers will face difficulty attempting to create applications. With the SDK, developers can heighten power efficiency, as well as improve performance across the board during the creative process. 

Qualcomm detailed a bit of the tech that is opened inside of the SDK, including DSP sensor fusion, VR layering, and stereoscopic rendering with lens correction. The list of included tech is below.

With chipmakers now completely onboard to help create better VR experiences, consumers interested in virtual reality should be in for a real treat once developers get their hands on the SDK. Qualcomm states that the SDK should be available in Q2 of this year.

Supported Tech in Snapdragon VR

  • DSP sensor fusion: Utilizing the full breadth of technologies built into Snapdragon 820, the SDK enables developers to create more responsive and immersive experiences by easily accessing the right combination of high frequency inertial data from gyroscopes and accelerometers via the Snapdragon Sensor Core and predictive head position processing with the Qualcomm® Hexagon™ DSP
  • Fast motion to photon: Supports asynchronous time warp with single buffer rendering for fast transformation of rendered images in 3D space, which helps reduce latency by up to 50% compared with not using the SDK
  • Stereoscopic rendering with lens correction: Supports 3D binocular vision with color correction and barrel distortion for improved visual quality of graphics and video, enhancing the overall VR experience
  • VR layering: Generation of menus, text, and other overlays so that they render correctly in a virtual world, reducing distortions that would otherwise make them difficult to read
  • Power management: Integration with the Qualcomm® Symphony System Manager SDK to provide cohesive CPU, GPU, and DSP power and performance management to help achieve stable frame rates for VR applications running in low-power, thermally-constrained devices – improving power efficiency compared to not using the SDK
Via: Qualcomm

Qualcomm Intros Snapdragon Virtual Reality SDK for Developers is a post from: Droid Life

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DEAL: SanDisk 64GB MicroSD Card Just $18 Today, 200GB at $60, on Amazon

I think it’s pretty obvious at this point, after who knows how many weeks of deals, that SanDisk and Amazon are well-aware that this year’s flagship device category is filled with phones that include microSD card slots. Or maybe they are just going nuts over the fact that Samsung has once again embraced expandable storage. Whatever the case, should you be in the market for some extra storage on your new Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, or LG G5, we (once again) have good news – SanDisk memory products are up to 70% off today at Amazon.

The daily flash deal includes massive discounts on microSD cards including 32GB cards for just $10 or the big dog 200GB card for $59.99. But you’ll also find regular sized SD cards, thumb drives, ultra fit flash drives two-way OTG drives, and solid state drives. 

Here are just a couple of the deals worth noting:

Amazon Link

DEAL: SanDisk 64GB MicroSD Card Just $18 Today, 200GB at $60, on Amazon is a post from: Droid Life

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