Thursday, March 17, 2016

Verizon Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Also Receiving First Update

Tomorrow, expect to see an update on your Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge through Verizon. According to Big Red’s support pages, each device should see an update on March 18 with a security patch, likely similar to the update seen on the T-Mobile S7 and S7 Edge this morning. That’s really all we should see in the update. 

The update will roll out as build VRS2APB4 for each.

To check, head into Settings>About device>Software updates>Check for Updates.

Via:  Verizon [2]

Verizon Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Also Receiving First Update is a post from: Droid Life

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Thursday Poll: What’s the Most You Would Spend on a Smartwatch?

Through the past couple of days of announcements, it is starting to feel like Android Wear is on the verge of becoming a mainstream technology and fashion item. I say that because it’s not just tech companies making watches; the fashion brands are now fully embracing smart wearables for your wrist. Michael Kors, Fossil, Casio, and Nixon all have watches arriving in 2016. Fossil even said to expect over 100+ this year out of its family of fashion brands. Outside of those non-luxury brands, companies like TAG Heuer also plan to launch a full “collection” of smartwatches, which may be joined in another year by Hublot and Zenith.

See, the world is getting on board with smartwatches whether you are ready or not. This isn’t just a techie nerd niche any longer. We have legitimate fashion brands fully committed to making smartwatches that will be sold in jewelry stores, at Macy’s or Nordstrom, and in skate shops.

For today’s poll, we want to know how much you would be willing to spend on any of these new smartwatches (or just smartwatches in general). We are seeing some priced at $395, others at $500, and expect many to be well above those price points depending on the brand. Of course, we also will continue to see those in the $200 range.

What’s the most you would spend?

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

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Casio Smart Outdoor Watch on Sale Starting March 25, Priced at $499

At CES this past January, we got our eyes and hands on the Smart Outdoor Watch from Casio, a rugged Android Wear smartwatch with way too long of a name. Now in March, Casio has announced official availability of the watch, with it set to go on sale March 25, priced at $499.

During our time with the Smart Outdoor Watch, which carries a model name of WSD-F10, we noticed it is rather large, but very lightweight and durable. The watch features many custom faces from Casio, as well as comprehensive digital tools for when you are out and about on the trails and in the woods.

As for where you can pick it up next Friday, the watch will be available on the Google Store, Amazon, Casio’s website, and at participating REI retailers.

Picking one up?

Via: Casio

Casio Smart Outdoor Watch on Sale Starting March 25, Priced at $499 is a post from: Droid Life

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First Android N Preview Update is Available

The first update for the Android N preview is now available. For now, the update is available through new factory images, but should be rolling out over-the-air (OTA) before long, if it isn’t already, I would imagine.

The updates are showing up for the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P as build NPC56W, while the Nexus 9 is getting NPC56X. The rest of the Nexus line-up isn’t seeing new files just yet. 

You can grab the new factory images at the links below:

Instructions for flashing factory images found here.

UPDATE:  The OTA update is rolling out to the devices above. Readers in the comments have seen the 6P update and my Nexus 5X just got it as well.

android n update

Via: Android

First Android N Preview Update is Available is a post from: Droid Life

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Google Adds Android TV’s Backdrop Daydream to Google Play for Easy Updates

Like all other apps these days, the Backdrops Daydream app for Android TV has been ripped from the system and uploaded to Google Play for quicker updates. Listed in the changelog on the app’s landing page, Google states there are “bug fixes” inside.

Backdrops Daydream is the app that handles the lovely imagery you see when you are not using your Android TV box. If you are on your home screen, instead of the UI burning into your panel, Android TV shows off photos from around the world, usually taken by well-known Googlers and professional photographers.

Owners of an Android TV box or TV running the OS won’t need to do anything. With auto updates turned on, Android TV will update its own apps from Google Play, no action required.

Enjoy those lovely photos.

Play Link

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Michael Kors Intros First Android Wear Smartwatches, Available This Fall for $395

Michael Kors is preparing to enter the smartwatch game, just as the Fossil Group announced that it would earlier this week. At Baselworld, Michael Kors announced the Access lineup of wearables, smartwatches for both men and women, running Google’s Android Wear wearable OS. 

Given we are quite a way from the fall season, specifics (specs) on the devices are unavailable, but what we do know is the following. Both Access watches will feature interchangeable bands for further customization, will both feature exclusive Michael Kors watch faces, and both appear to have front-facing flat tires for ambient light sensors.

As far as Android Wear implementation is concerned, all of the basic Android Wear features will be baked in. This includes notifications, built-in fitness tracking, and voice-activated Google assistance.

Both smartwatches will be available through the Michael Kors website and various retailers, listed at $395.

Exciting times ahead for the Android Wear platform.

Michael Kors Access 2

Via: Michael Kors

Michael Kors Intros First Android Wear Smartwatches, Available This Fall for $395 is a post from: Droid Life

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Expect “Real” Collection of TAG Heuer Smartwatches Next Year, Maybe Hublot Too

I hope you weren’t expecting TAG Heuer to be a one-and-done in the smartwatch arena, because within the next year, they should launch a “real collection” of them, according Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of TAG Heuer and president of the LVMH Watch Division.

During a range of interviews at Baselworld, Biver talked about creating a new version of their Connected watch (our review) that could arrive in six to eight different models. He called it a “real collection” because the current Connected model is only available as just that, a single model. With a “collection,” we could see different designs, metals, styles, and price points. 

Biver noted that when the first 15,000 units of the Connected went on sale at the end of last year, they sold out almost immediately and that they “underestimated” demand. We aren’t sure how many they have sold since that initial batch, but they expect to sell another 40,000 to 50,000 this year.

In related news, Biver’s former company, Hublot, may be next in line to introduce a smartwatch. We don’t know if the watch will run Android Wear or just be smart in that it can share notifications, but Biver told Reuters that the ultra-high-end watchmaker could launch watches with intelligent functions as early as 2017 or 2018. Knowing Hublot, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re talking a smartwatch in the multiple thousands of dollars range.

Biver also mentioned that Zenith, another high-end watch brand under the LVMH umbrella is also in consideration for smartwatches.

Watch fans, any interest at all in these luxury smartwatches?

Via:  Reuters | Bloomberg

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#TBT: Google Unveils the Nexus Q, $299 Doorstop

The year is 2012, Google takes the stage at Google I/O with an attempt at connecting all of your smart devices under the same roof. They intro the Nexus Q, a media center that connects to your TV, allowing you to “cast” YouTube and Google Music straight to the living room. The idea was good, but the rollout was really bad. 

At first, the Nexus Q was delayed for consumer launch, with the only units available being the ones that were distributed to attendees of Google I/O. Those who pre-ordered the $299 media ball were given the device for free, but by then, it was too late. Reviewers declared that it was too expensive, and ultimately, lacked any type of functionality that warranted such a high price. Complete support and sales were shut down within a year.

Now, if you are lucky enough to have a Nexus Q in your home, it makes for the sexiest doorstop you have ever seen.

What were your thoughts on the Q? While it was a total flop, it did lead the way for services like Android TV and the highly-popular Chromecast dongle. For that, we are thankful.

#TBT: Google Unveils the Nexus Q, $299 Doorstop is a post from: Droid Life

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Rayman Classic Available on Google Play, Priced at $4.99

Rayman Classic, the classic platformer from many moons ago, is available today on Google Play for $4.99. Ubisoft, publishers of the 1995 classic, announced that mobile gamers can relive the fun of the original, thanks to reworked touchscreen controls, and optimizations that should make gameplay smooth. 

Rayman Classic features all of the original characters, music, and 2D graphics that made the original so much fun. For the story, you play ass Rayman, kicking and punching your way through various levels, while also unleashing Rayman’s inner powers from time to time. When it comes classic platformers for OG gaming systems, Rayman is up there with the best of them.

The game carries a price of $4.99, but it’s a one-time purchase and there are no additional in-app purchases. Once you buy it, it is yours forever.

Did you play the original?

Play Link ($4.99)

Rayman Classic Available on Google Play, Priced at $4.99 is a post from: Droid Life

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T-Mobile Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Receiving Security Updates Today

T-Mobile is pushing updates to its Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge variants today as software version UVS2APB8. The update includes “Security updates” and nothing else, according to T-Mobile. 

The update should be live now for all. To pull it, head into Settings>About device>Software update.

Via:  T-Mobile [2]

T-Mobile Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Receiving Security Updates Today is a post from: Droid Life

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T-Mobile Adds YouTube to Binge On After T-Mobile Changes Program for Video Providers

Back in December, YouTube decided that it wasn’t happy with T-Mobile’s Binge On video service and raised some important questions, partly because T-Mobile was being ultra sneaky about how it worked, but also because T-Mobile was throttling their streams even though they weren’t participating. T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere threw a couple of big, embarrassing fits about YouTube’s concerns, because apparently, no one is allowed to question pink Batman. Legere just couldn’t see how anyone could be offended by what his company was doing with Binge On, assuming that those with concerns all had some sort of agenda.

As it turns out, YouTube (and the rest of us who had issues with Binge On) really just wanted the program to be more transparent and not do sneaky things, like throttle the companies who were not choosing to participate or make it difficult for people to opt-out. Funny how that’s a bad thing, especially to the CEO of a company who has spent the past few years calling out his competitors for not being open and upfront about policies or sales programs.

Today, after some obvious back-room negotiations took place between T-Mobile and YouTube, the two companies have co-announced that YouTube (and Google Play Movies & TV) will join Binge On, thanks to some new changes. 

T-Mobile made the announcement through their newsroom, but Google decided to skip announcing the move through their YouTube blog and instead went through their much-more-serious Public Policy blog. T-Mobile’s announcement is all “Rah! Rah! Rah! We added more services to Binge On because it’s a runaway success!” while Google’s focuses on the fact that they weren’t about to join the free video streaming service unless some major changes were made.

Because of the questions raised and the stink the media made about the whole situation, T-Mobile has continued to “improve the program,” according to Google. Those improvements include clarifying to users what “optimization” of video means, making it easier than ever to turn off the service, and “improving information and choice for video services.”

The changes to video providers include the option to opt-out if they do not want to be throttled by T-Mobile. T-Mobile will also now work with video services “to optimize their own streams,” if they feel that is the better option while participating. That could mean pushing through better video quality, instead of the DVD-level video that Binge On defaulted all video to.

These are pretty big changes that potentially never would have happened without YouTube questioning it almost four months ago.

In T-Mobile’s announcement, the carrier announced that along with YouTube, Baeble Music, Discovery GO, ESNE TV, FilmOn.TV, Fox Business, Google Play Movies, KlowdTV, and Red Bull TV have joined the list of Binge On supported video services.

Via:  T-Mobile | Google

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Nextbit Cancels CDMA Variant of Robin Smartphone

The Nextbit Robin won’t come to Verizon or Sprint networks, the company announced to backers this morning. The move, which comes after the CDMA variant was already delayed a couple of months, should shock no one. CDMA is hard, it’s expensive, and it’s a pain the ass. In a letter to backers, Nextbit Tom Moss said that the last thing they want to do is “disappoint” supporters, but they need to do that today, unfortunately. 

After adding the CDMA variant during the middle of the Robin’s Kickstarter campaign due to fan support, Nextbit made a mistake in assuming they could launch the phone in a timely manner without fully realizing the situation surrounding CDMA certification. They thought the process would only take an extra couple of weeks, but it has turned into months. They also thought it might cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete, yet it has turned into “millions.” Yikes.

Because they cannot fulfill CDMA orders, they will fully refund all CDMA backers within the next 48 hours, including the accessories that may have been purchased along with the phone. Nextbit will then toss CDMA backers a 25% off code, in case they are still interested in using the Robin on a GSM network or have a friend that might be able to use it.

See, backing crowdfunded smartphones is almost always a bad idea.

Bad News regarding U.S. CDMA Version

Well, shoot.

We started Nextbit to make products that we want to use ourselves, and to build the kind of company that we would want to support and be proud to have represent us. We designed Robin to be a phone that would reignite the excitement we all used to feel back when smartphones were new and innovation was a constant. We hoped that by doing so, we could also attract like-minded people and turn them into a family of supporters around the world. The hardest thing for us to do, therefore, is anything that we know will disappoint these supporters. That makes today a really bad day for us.

While we hope that some of you may have backed us in order to simply enable us to exist as a start-up and poke the boundaries of today’s smartphone ecosystem, I’m sure most of you backed us in order to get a Robin. If you happen to be one of the folks who asked us for a CDMA version, then today I am going to disappoint you, and for that I am truly sorry. As you might already know, we had several short delays with fulfilling all of our GSM version orders, but have finally gotten it to the point where all GSM phones have shipped to customers. The CDMA version has a different set of problems, and unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a workable solution. The bad news: we are unable to ship a CDMA version.

I would like to explain why this happened. If you would rather just find out information about what happens now (refunds, discounts, etc.), please skip ahead to the end of the letter below.

Originally, we weren’t planning on launching a CDMA version, but we had many folks reach out to us during the Kickstarter campaign asking for it, so we decided to take a look. Nextbit is comprised of people who have been in the mobile business for a while (since the birth of the modern smartphone era). Many of us have worked on devices that have shipped on U.S. CDMA carriers previously, and had a rough understanding of the issues involved. As soon as we saw the many requests from our backers for supporting this, we called and emailed folks we know at the various U.S. CDMA carriers and asked about the process to ship an open-market phone that would work on these networks.

As you can imagine, we were in a rush. The Kickstarter campaign is only 30 days long, and it wasn’t until the second week of the campaign that we realized the demand and started the investigation. Because of this, we had to go with the best information we could get before the campaign was over, and over time it turned out that this information was not accurate. What people at the carriers, in good faith given our need for quick answers, thought would take “weeks” has turned into “months”. What they thought would cost “hundreds of thousands of dollars” has turned into “millions”. And we’re still not there. The goal posts are still being moved, and at this point, we think it is better to cancel this version rather than continue to try and make progress with no clear answers to offer regarding when we would actually be able to ship.

We first realized there was a big delta between what we originally thought and reality in January. It should have been sooner but to be honest a big part of the problem is how long it takes just to get the right information (and in some cases, what we were doing was a “one-off” for the carriers and they didn’t even decide themselves yet how it would be treated until as late as a week ago). Even then, we believed we could recover and launch in March. Then new information came up and it became April. We really thought that would be it, but yet again, we were wrong. We should have known better. We were not sufficiently doubtful of what we were told given everything we already knew from our experience at previous companies. We were too optimistic, too bullish, and as a result we have to deal with our biggest fear, disappointing you, our supporters. This is bad for you, and this is bad for us. The best we can do is send you this explanation with our sincerest apologies, and try to make sure you don’t suffer any financial loss in addition to the disappointment of not receiving a CDMA Robin.

Here is how we are going to try to make up for our failure:

Refund/Cancellation. We are giving everyone a full and complete refund within the next 48 hours. For Kickstarter backers, this includes your entire pledge as well as any extra you were charged for accessories, shipping, etc. For pre-orders, we have not charged you and will not do so.

A 25% discount code for each CDMA backer. Each of you will receive a code for a 25% discount on one order from our online store. If you cannot use this yourself, feel free to pass it on to a friend or family member who is on a GSM network and might like a Robin.

From all of us at Nextbit, I would like to offer our apologies for this cancellation, and to also thank you for all of your support thus far.


Tom Moss

Cheers Evan!

Nextbit Cancels CDMA Variant of Robin Smartphone is a post from: Droid Life

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