Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Samsung Gear S2 Gets iOS and Marshmallow Support Tomorrow, According to Verizon

Earlier in the week, a rumor about the Samsung Gear S2 gaining iOS support within the month circulated around these parts. We can now confirm that Verizon is onboard with that idea, as their support section for the Gear S2 says that an update will arrive tomorrow with a fix for a random clock freeze, but also with added support for iOS and Marshmallow. 

The update is software version R730VVRU1BPC1, for those keeping track, and will allow the smartwatch to run on iOS devices with iOS 8.4. The changelog for the update also mentions that the Gear S2 will gain support for “smartphones using Android Marshmallow OS.”

This is going to sound bad, but I had no idea that Marshmallow and the Gear S2 weren’t playing nicely, though it’s not all that surprising since the permissions system changed in 6.0 and the S2 runs Tizen. It’s just that not one single reader of ours (50% of which have phones running Marshmallow) mentioned a word about it. Popular watch, eh?

So yeah, your Gear S2 will be much more compatible with the world tomorrow.

Via:  Verizon

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Sprint LG G5 Launch Set for April 1, Pre-Order Begins March 24

Tomorrow on March 24, online pre-orders will open up for the LG G5 for Sprint, with official in-store launch set for April 1. For those wanting to perform a pre-order in-person, you can do so at your local retailer beginning March 25.

Sprint is offering a charging accessory bundle and a minimum $150 credit to those who trade-in their current smartphone to upgrade to the G5. Additionally, those who choose to get the phone on a 2-year agreement, the price is set at $149 thanks to a $50 mail-in rebate after your initial purchase. 

An installment plan is also available, priced at $0 down and 24 monthly payments of $24 for well-qualified buyers. For those who want to buy the device outright, the G5 carries a SRP of $576, according to Sprint.

Have you pre-ordered your G5 yet?

Via: Sprint

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Verizon’s LG V10 is Getting Its Marshmallow Update, Tomorrow

Starting tomorrow, owners of the LG V10 on Verizon will begin to see an update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. According to Verizon’s support section dedicated to the V10, the update will arrive as software version VS99022A.

Verizon isn’t saying how big the update will be, but it should be a decent size. Be sure you have plenty of battery tomorrow should you check and see the update as available. 

In the update, users will receive Now on Tap access, the benefits of Doze on battery life when idle, clearly upfront control over app permissions, an actual silent mode, more control over notifications, and what I can only imagine are a bunch of bug fixes and enhancements that we typically see with big updates.

Again, the update is scheduled to begin rolling out on March 24, so don’t be shocked if it isn’t there just yet. To check in the morning, head into Settings>About Phone>Software updates>Check for Update>Download now.

On a side note, is this the first V10 to get Marshmallow? It might be. And if so, good job, Big Red.

Via:  Verizon

Verizon’s LG V10 is Getting Its Marshmallow Update, Tomorrow is a post from: Droid Life

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Question of the Day: Which Android Phone Would You Like to See Remade, iPhone SE Style?

No matter how much we love a particular phone, at some point, it’s going to get old and not function as well as the newer phones. This is why we upgrade every year or so. Apple announced the iPhone SE this week, basically an iPhone 5 body with updated internals, which put this thought in our head. If you had your choice of one phone to be “remade” with the latest specs, do you have a phone in mind you would like to see this happen for?

For example, I would love to see either the HTC One X or Nexus 5 (2013) remade with new specs. The One X with a QHD display, Snapdragon 820, and 12MP+ camera would be insanely sweet. Or the Nexus 5 with updated internals, upgraded camera sensor, and a much larger battery? I would be happy with either of those. By remade, I specifically mean specs, with nothing touched on the design of the phone. So anyone who says the Nexus 5X is a Nexus 5 remake, that doesn’t count.

If you could choose, which phone would you like to see remade with the latest specs?

Cheers Bert!

Question of the Day: Which Android Phone Would You Like to See Remade, iPhone SE Style? is a post from: Droid Life

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HTC Teaser Suggests BoomSound in the HTC 10

A few years ago, with the launch of the original HTC One M7, HTC introduced BoomSound, a marketing term used in reference to the phone’s dual front-facing speaker experience that offered an audio package not seen before on a smartphone. They coupled up BoomSound speakers with an internal software audio enhancement powered by Beats, since HTC owned a portion of Beats at that point. In recent years, though, as new HTC One phones have come and gone and the Beats stake sold back to Beats, HTC phones have started to ditch the dual front speakers, while BoomSound has morphed into what Beats on HTC phones used to be – a software audio enhancer.

What I’m saying here is that BoomSound once referred to dual front-facing speakers, but it now only stands for a software audio enhancement in HTC phones. By carrying on the BoomSound name, HTC can say that every single one of their phones has an audio enhancement without building in the expensive hardware. It’s probably a smart move in the long run, but it sort of cheapens the idea. 

Either way, the new HTC 10 will have BoomSound in some form. The latest teaser tweet from HTC suggests as much by mentioning both “audio” and “boom” and the fact that you’ll “hear it.” So yeah, expect an audio enhancement in the software of the HTC 10, just don’t expect the BoomSound experience of old. By all accounts, and the dozens of leaked HTC 10 pictures, we’re looking at another single, bottom-firing speaker in the next HTC flagship.

EDIT: As has been mentioned in the comments, there is still a chance that HTC uses the top earpiece speaker and the bottom speaker in some sort of dual capacity. My god, there is hope.

BoomSound, though. On April 12.

HTC Teaser Suggests BoomSound in the HTC 10 is a post from: Droid Life

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Opinion: We Could All Use a Little “Be Together, Not the Same” Right Now

As the Android ecosystem has grown, it’s become apparent that many Android users, some of our readers included, are splitting up into what I see as cliche cliques. Years ago, when I first started visiting Droid Life as just a reader, we all united behind a common goal. That goal was to essentially show iOS users that our seedling mobile OS was going to be awesome, one day running on the majority of smartphones throughout the world. After all, iPhone users were the apparent pompous elitists who poo-pooed anything other than iOS.

It’s 2016 now, and wouldn’t you know, Android is massive. In late 2015, Google revealed that there were 1.4 billion Android activations to date across the globe, and undoubtedly, that number continues to grow each day. The issue is, not all of these activations are the same phone, or even close for that matter, while iOS activations are united by similarities with each phone released by Apple. Each year, the iPhone sees a slight hardware and software upgrade, and each year, the same people upgrade to it. It’s basically an ever-growing family of people with the same smartphone experience. On Android, the experience on each phone differs greatly, and because of this, Android users of one particular phone will see users of a different phone as an enemy. They will argue about specifications, hardware design, software updates, OEM skins, and the list goes on.

Recently, Google began a marketing campaign for Android, focusing on a simple, yet very powerful phrase – “Be together, not the same.” In my view, this sentence transcends that of just smartphone bickering, but relates to humanity in general. We may all be from different parts of the world and have different views, but we are all citizens of Earth. We are humans, together. All of us. With it attached to Android, Google could not have been anymore spot on with what Android represents as a whole. It stands for choice, options, and personal preferences. Each Android OEM brings something different to the table, whether it be better cameras, better displays, or certain software features you won’t find elsewhere. At the end of the day, people will buy whichever phone suits their own personal needs, not someone else’s.

So while someone may smack talk Samsung’s TouchWiz or HTC’s black bar, we must remain respectful to other people’s choice. After all, they are your Android brethren. They are someone you can seek advice from when you need to troubleshoot an issue, or maybe even ask smartphone purchasing tips from. No matter the case, purchasing a particular brand of Android device (or any smartphone for that matter), should ever result in someone getting bashed for it. This is just unacceptable in my opinion.

Let’s take a moment to remember that we are all enthusiasts of the same OS. Whether the version of Android you are running is skinned to oblivion or AOSP, it’s all the same on the inside.

Opinion: We Could All Use a Little “Be Together, Not the Same” Right Now is a post from: Droid Life

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LG G5: Our 7 Favorite Features

I don’t think there is any denying what LG has done with the G5. They created an ultra-premium phone that takes them into previously unexplored areas (that all-metal body, baby), while also managing to tick a bunch of boxes for features that other manufacturers avoid or ignore, like removable batteries, always-on displays that aren’t crippled, and the latest in charging tech.

To highlight those, along with a couple of areas where LG is taking a risk that could pay off in the long run, we picked the seven features that help the G5 standout from the rest of the smartphone crowd at the moment, including the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.

Come April 1, you’ll get to decide if these are enough. 

lg g5 favorite features-3

1. A modular future awaits

Google’s Project Ara was at one time supposed to be the future of modular phones, where you could swap parts in and out to add or adjust functionality. Project Ara has yet to become a reality after a couple of years of work, so LG and the G5 are stepping up to take the lead on the idea. With the G5, at least at launch, we have a camera grip and a DAC as modules. Each might be targeted at small audiences, but the fact that LG is ready to take on modular phones is something to get excited about.

Even if you don’t care about the camera grip or DAC, you have to appreciate that LG is paving way for a future where you could swap in or out all sorts of add-ons. It could be docking your phone into a speaker for a real audio experience, adding on a credit card swiper for retailers, expanding battery capacity without the hassle of a case, a way to give your non-smart car a true in-car display experience, etc.

The future of modularity in phones is here because of LG.

2. Always-on display that doesn’t suck

The always-on display is a big deal in 2016. Both Samsung and LG included always-on features in their flagships, but so far, only LG seems to have gotten it right.

With Samsung’s always-on, you can customize a clock, with battery status and date, or even toss in a calendar or background image, while seeing the occasional notification. Unfortunately, Samsung limited the functionality with notifications, only opening the phone up to showing notifications from its own stock apps, like the dialer or messaging app.

On the G5, you not only get the time and date, but you get notifications showing from every single one of your apps. Taking that idea a step further, as each arrives, the always-on display highlights the app with a blown-up animation of the app’s icon, so that you know exactly which app you may or may not need to check.

In this battle of always-on displays, it’s LG 1, Samsung 0.

lg g5 favorite features-4

3. USB Type-C and QC 3.0, thankfully

Last year, Android received support for USB Type-C, a port that will become the future of charging, file transfers, and expansion. We saw the Nexus phones all receive a USB Type-C port, along with the OnePlus 2, leading us to expect that all major manufacturers would jump on board with Type-C for 2016. LG held up their end of the bargain by including Type-C in the G5 and we’re expecting HTC to do so as well. Samsung, probably for VR-related reasons, skipped out this time around.

On the LG G5, LG doubled down by also including Quick Charge 3.0 support through the phone’s Snapdragon 820 processor. QC 3.0 allows for even faster charging times than any other phone, including Samsung’s, since they also skipped out on the new charging tech, even though their US S7 variants house the 820.

With the G5, you get both quick and convenient charging, something not many phones can lay claim to.

4. The size is really nice

Maybe I’m just getting used to giant phones by now, but the LG G5 is a really nice size. LG says that they shrunk the phone’s display down to 5.3-inch (from 5.5) because their users told them this would be a sweet spot. While I would tend to agree that 5.5-inch is a bit large and would prefer a phone with a display size around 5-inch, I’ll take 5.3.

Overall, though, the phone isn’t that much smaller than the G4 from last year. In fact, it is actually a bit taller, though not wider. Still, it feels great in hand, partly because of the new soft-touch metal finish, but also because of its curved body with plenty of roundness that lets it really nestle into your hand.

The G5 isn’t large by any means, but it’s also big enough to give you that modern smartphone experience.

5. An improved fingerprint reader

LG introduced fingerprint readers to its phones with the V10 at the end of last year. I’ve been clear in numerous posts that I wasn’t a fan of the V10’s fingerprint reader, but LG seems to have corrected those worries with the G5. This fingerprint reader provides an instant read and unlock, fits nicely into the all-metal body of the phone, and is positioned perfectly for quick wakes without much work.

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of rear-placed fingerprint readers over those embedded in home buttons. Good job, LG.

lg g5 favorite features-5

6. Ugly dual cameras will come in handy

Look, I get it, you all think the dual-camera setup on the back of the G5 that has created a somewhat-oddly-shaped hump on the phone’s backside, is ugly. I’m not not here to argue against that, but what I will say is that these two cameras are going to come in handy at some point in your life. Either that, or the guy next to you with the G5 is going to be able to capture a shot that you can’t and you’ll feel silly for trashing on his humps, his humps, his lovely LG lumps.

On the back of the G5, you have a traditional 16MP sensor next to a 135-degree wide angle 8MP shooter. That 135-degree lens allows you to capture entire scenes that you would normally need a special camera lens for, which you will almost never find in a phone.

7. Hey, no fingerprints!

Take a look at any one of our Galaxy S7 videos and you are bound to find enough fingerprints to want to reach for a towel and wipe your screen. With the G5, that’s never going to be an issue, since the phone is all-metal and practically fingerprint resistant on every surface outside of its display. I know, I know, this isn’t exactly the typical “feature,” but it’s worth noting for the OCD crowd in the building.

LG G5: Our 7 Favorite Features is a post from: Droid Life

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Deal: Tronsmart Quick Charge 2.0 Car and Travel Chargers Discounted With These Coupon Codes

Tronsmart is currently working to roll out its line of Quick Charge 3.0 chargers, but until that happens, they have listed most of their Quick Charge 2.0 chargers at discounted prices on Amazon, in addition to the below coupon codes that will save you quite a bit. 

There are three different chargers available – a travel/wall charger for under $10, a car charger for under $8, and the Titan charger for under $24. Each charger, if your device is compatible, features Quick Charge 2.0, which will charge your phone at a faster rate than it would without it.

To name a few of the phones that benefit from Quick Charge 2.0, we have the flagships from HTC, LG, Motorola, Google, and Samsung. All recent phones from these makers should work just fine.

Coupon Codes

  • Travel Charger – 3USBWALL
  • Car Charger – 2USBCHAR
  • Titan – USBTITAN

Amazon Links: Travel Charger ($9.49) | Car Charger ($7.49) | Titan ($23.49)

Deal: Tronsmart Quick Charge 2.0 Car and Travel Chargers Discounted With These Coupon Codes is a post from: Droid Life

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Consumer Reports Love the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, Rates Them Tops

Consumer Reports, the go-to source for America’s pulse toward all things consumer products, dished out top ratings for the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge from Samsung this week. Citing a “terrific” camera experience, “Excellent” video quality, and “Excellent” battery life, the Galaxy S7 and co. are now ranked in the top spot alongside the Galaxy S5, with the LG G4 and Galaxy S6 Active not trailing too far behind.

Wait, what? 

That’s right, according to Consumer Reports, which ranks nearly every major smartphone to hit the market, the Galaxy S5 is tied with the Galaxy S7 Edge in terms of overall score. These scores include display quality, ease of use, web browsing, and camera quality. Now, at the time, the Galaxy S5 was a top tier smartphone, but even we didn’t think it was all that great, with its terrible version of TouchWiz and awful Band-Aid design. Looking over the rankings, the Galaxy S5 is listed as an even better buy than the iPhone 6s. Ouch.

Anyway, the report also highlights Samsung’s inclusion of water resistance, expandable storage, and the overall design of the devices. Compared to our reviews, they line up similarly.

Still on the fence about which phone to get? Check out our Five Reasons post for the Galaxy S7.

Via: Consumer Reports

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Look at This Silly Ass LG G5 Commercial

This bad LG G5 commercial makes no sense.

Why is this guy on the subway or bus with his battery out? Is that a new thing we are all going to start doing, just popping out batteries to make clicking noises that no one else can make? God no. Who wants to ever pull their battery out just because? That shit is no fun at all. Ever. It takes at least 2-3 minutes to boot up any Android phone to fully working status. You gotta let Android fully load everything in the background, which probably means optimizing 188 apps for 10 minutes at the boot screen, then LG’s garbage skin and your data connection, before finding the app you want in an app-drawer-less iOS-like, completely inefficient jukebox layout, which will then let that stream of House of Cards continue. It sure as hell isn’t instant, as this video suggests. Hot swap…gtfo, LG. 

But forget all of that for a second. What are we trying to say here, exactly? That when it’s dark and you are on your way home, your battery will 100% be dead and you will need to swap it out for a fresh one? That’s a terrible marketing message! “Guys, buy our new phone because its battery life is pretty terrible! But that’s OK, because you can do this!” CLICK!

And wtf is going on with the goat video? Or are those cows? Is that B-roll from LG questionably sourcing G4 case backs? Dude, you are creeping out all passengers. That faux sheep-fur jean jacket to your left has never felt so empowered. Put some headphones on.

And that grin…

creepy lg

This commercial is bad.

Look at This Silly Ass LG G5 Commercial is a post from: Droid Life

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LG 360 VR Headset and 360 CAM Both Up for Pre-Order, Each Cost $199

Yesterday, the 360 CAM Plus module went up for pre-order on B&H Photo, and now, two more LG G5 accessories are available at the same location. Both priced at $199, the 360 VR headset and 360 CAM Spherical Camera allow for new experiences – one for viewing virtual reality content and one for creating virtual reality content. 

Those looking into VR can easily use the 360 VR, simply by plugging a cable into the G5, then wearing the headset. Content can be viewed from YouTube, as well as other services. If there’s not enough content for you to enjoy, you can make your own with the 360 CAM. Either carry the camera with you to capture complete 360-degree angles, or place it in a room to record everything taking place. For example, use the camera on Christmas morning to see all of the magic and joy on the kids’ faces.

For a bit of comparison, Samsung’s Gear VR is priced at $99, and is viewed as being a much better experience than what LG’s headset provides. We will hold off on our opinion until we get a bit more hands-on time with the 360 VR headset. Samsung also has its own Gear 360 camera, but pricing is not yet known.

B&H Photo Links: LG 360 VR Headset ($199) | LG 360 CAM ($199)

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Android Pay is Coming to the UK in the “Next Few Months”

This morning, Google announced that Android Pay will come to the UK in the “next few months.” I wish I could tell our UK readers to go out and download Android Pay this very minute and get to shopping at contact-less payment-equipped shops, but you have a bit to go. 

With that said, once it does launch, you will see immediate support from financial institutions like Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society. Shops that are ready include Boots, Costa Coffee, Waitrose, Starbucks, and KFC.

We’ll let you know the minute it goes live…in a few months.

Via:  Android

Android Pay is Coming to the UK in the “Next Few Months” is a post from: Droid Life

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