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April 25 2017

20:41

You’ve seen the cube and the spinner, but now you can get both for the price of one

The AAPicks team writes about things we think you’ll like, and we may see a share of revenue from any purchases made through affiliate links.

We’ve been following the rise in “stress toys” pretty closely at AAPicks. These popular little desk items are perfect for fidgeters of all walks of life, and many report that having one around keeps them more productive and focused.

Stress Blocks have been flying off the shelves so fast that they’re hard to keep in stock for many providers, and theStress Spinner garnered a lot of fans when we featured its release earlier this month.

Some users had a hard time justifying the $30+ price tags on these fun little trinkets, but a current sale going on at Tech Deals lets you grab both of them for just $24.99.

Two popular little gizmos for less than the price of one. We think that’s worth investigating.

Click the button below to read more, but make sure you have “Fidgeters Bundle” selected when you check out!

Is this deal not quite right for you? Head over to the AAPICKS HUB for more savings you’re going to love! For notifications of offers and price drops, sign up for our Deal Alerts newsletter.
We may get a small percent from purchases made through our posts. However, the AA Picks team only showcases verified, legitimate deals. It’s a nice way to help keep the lights on around here, and it decreases our reliance on pesky ads. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out at aapicks@androidauthority.com.
19:48

Sprint offering 5th line for free under Unlimited Freedom plan

Sprint may not be winning the carrier game, but they sure offer some great deals. Those looking for reasons to go with this network may find a very good one today. How about a free line?

That is exactly what Sprint is offering today. New Unlimited Freedom plan subscribers can now get a 5th line for free, with unlimited talk, text, and data. This makes for a $20 monthly value, which is not bad considering Sprint is already a very affordable carrier. Every other line will cost you $30, which would make for about a $120 for all 5 lines (before extra fees, taxes, etc.).

See also:

Best Sprint Android phones

1 day ago

You do get quite a bit for this amount of cash. Of course, all devices come with unlimited calls, text, and data. There’s also HD streaming and even 10 GB of mobile hotspot tethering.

Just keep in mind you will be needing a device for this free line, so factor in the necessary expenses before pulling the trigger. Sprint mentions no time limitations for this offer, so the deal will probably stick around for a while. You never know, though. It might be a better idea to sign up sooner rather than later.

Are any of you taking advantage of this free 5th line?

19:45
How to permanently delete pictures and videos from Google Photos
19:24

Google wants to go after fake news in search with new feedback tools

The term “fake news” has now become a common one for the general public, but it started on the internet as sites began popping up that posted content that was, at best, misleading and, at the worst, flat out false or offensive. Today, Google announced it will be taking action to reduce the amount of fake news and content that shows up in its search results.

See also:

Google clamps down on fake news, brings Fact Check to Search globally

2 weeks ago

In a blog post today, Google said that about 0.25 percent of the search results in its daily traffic were coming up with what it called “offensive or clearly misleading content, which is not what people are looking for.” The company said that earlier this month, it made some changes to its Search Quality Rater Guidelines who are used by human “evaluators” that check the quality of Google’s search results and provide feedback back to the company. The new guidelines include details of what Google calls “low-quality websites” that might have “misleading information, unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and unsupported conspiracy theories.”

In addition, it has made changes to its search signals that will also bring up more accurate content in its results, and demote low-quality content.

Google says that its human evaluators should be able to spot those kinds of sites, and their feedback will assist the company in demoting them in overall search results. In addition, it has made changes to its search signals that will also bring up more accurate content in its results, and demote low-quality content.

In addition, Google is adding new public feedback tools for its AutoComplete feature in its search bar. The feedback menus will allow users to notify Google if they feel anything that shows up in the search bar, via AutoComplete, is inappropriate. A similar feedback form is also available for any Featured Snippets, which appear at the top of some search results. Finally, Google is adding more information on the technology behind its Search features on its website.

Google’s new tools and methods are being announced the same week as Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, announced plans to launch a news site called Wikitribune. The Guardian reports it will have a team of professional journalists writing stories that will be fact-checked by a community of readers who will also offer feedback on what kinds of stories and subjects will be featured on the site. Wikitribune will launch a crowdfunding campaign to help support the site later today.

18:38

Have phones become too expensive?

Buying the latest flagship is always a costly purchase, but you’re probably not alone in wondering whether we’re overpaying today compared with generations gone past. In certain instances it seems that you can quickly approach $1000 for a flagship handset – depending on contract options, storage capacity, and other assorted accessories – while less than a decade ago we would have considered prices approaching $700 as probably a bit too high.

Of course, there are a wide variety of manufacturers and handsets out there today to suit a range of price points and features. Even so, it’s hard to shake the feeling that the very best handsets from the big names, take the Google Pixel for example, are more expensive than ever. Perhaps top-end manufacturers with a well known brand are simply profiteering?

A look at the launch prices of Samsung’s hugely popular Galaxy S flagship series reveals a steadily increasing minimum and average price of its flagship over the past five years.

Of course, the wide range of carrier purchasing options and regional deals means that these prices can vary quite widely, with some consumers ending up paying over $1,000 for a flagship phone on a contract option over a couple of years. Interestingly with the Galaxy S series, Samsung’s recent lack of memory options in the US and Europe has seen the highest prices of its Galaxy S7 Edge and new S8 Plus actually fall under the cost of the 128GB Galaxy S6 Edge. Even so, we can still spot an upward trend in the minimum price, which has gone up by about $100 over the past five years.

Analyzing data across a wider range of flagship launches in the past five years confirms this general upward trend. Again exact local prices will vary to some degree, but the average of our data reveals that flagship prices have risen from around a $600 typical price point in 2012 up to almost $750 in early 2017.

Factoring in inflation, the typical late 2016 / early 2017 flagship smartphone is indeed more expensive than an equivalent from 2012.

That works out to an approximately 25 percent increase in flagship handset prices, depending on the particular range. This certainly outpaces the roughly 10 percent inflation that the US dollar has seen over the same period. What this means is that your typical flagship smartphone is indeed more expensive in real terms than what an equivalent device cost 5 years ago, but there are probably some good reasons for this.

New hardware increasing costs?

Of course, the typical smartphone from 2012 barely resembles the new announcements from the likes of LG, Samsung, and Sony. Not only are hardware specifications greatly improved in terms of performance, but the build quality and materials used in today’s smartphones certainly seem more expensive than the plastics found older generation handsets.

Furthermore, smartphones are packing in a larger array of features these days, each of which requires more hardware and additional development resources. Between fingerprint scanners, fast charging technology, better audio components, and other extras, there’s more technology packed into our phones than ever. And that’s not including any increases in processor, display, or memory technology prices over the past few years

Superior build materials and new features, such as fingerprint scanners and fast charging technology, would surely have added to the manufacturing costs of handsets over the years. Right?

When we look at the estimated bill of materials for Samsung’s Galaxy S series, we can see a steady incline over a number of generations. The Galaxy S2 was calculated to have cost around $215 in raw materials, while the Galaxy S6 edge is presumed to have cost around $284 in components. That’s a 32 percent increase between the two, while the regular Galaxy S7 has seen a 19 percent increase in comparison to the Galaxy S2’s costs. Remember, these figures don’t include hardware and software developer staffing costs either, which may well have risen too.

Factoring in all of the above, there seems to be a reasonable correlation between an increase in smartphone material costs and currency inflation, and the price of flagship handsets over the years. So although our flagship smartphones are certainly more expensive than half a decade ago, this doesn’t appear to be a result of profiteering. Not that we particularly would have expected that to be the case, given the competitive nature of the mobile market over the past few years.

Growth of the super mid-tier

We’ve only focused on the most expensive flagship smartphone so far, but there’s a growing segment of the smartphone market that’s offering decent high-end specifications at prices much lower than the premium tier too. These ‘super mid-tier’ handsets might not pack in all of the latest technologies, but this makes them probably closer to older generation handsets, offer up compelling experiences at prices well below the $700 mark.

The growth of the super mid-tier is offering consumers more cost effective alternatives to premium flagships, and these probably share more in common that older flagships features. With that in mind, high performance smartphones are actually more affordable than ever.

It’s in this handset range that the benefits of the falling costs of technology can actually be felt. The falling prices of non-cutting edge processors, displays, memory, and even camera modules, thanks to refined manufacturing techniques and increased production yields, has empowered a new segment in the mobile market that simply didn’t exist half a decade ago. In that sense, good phones are cheaper than they’ve ever been.

So are we paying too much?

While I’m sure we’d all love for smartphones to cost less, there’s always going to be a cost associated with staying on the top of the latest technologies and the growing capabilities of top-tier handsets have seen prices increase over the past few years. That being said, there’s a greater range of handset available now than ever before, and some high performance, feature rich models that are actually cheaper in real terms than flagships from a few years ago.

See also:

Who pays the most for their smartphones?

3 weeks ago

That being said, your typical flagship smartphone is indeed more expensive than models from the same companies that were released half a decade ago. However, this is more a result of the increasing feature sets packed into smartphones, rather than companies simply raising their prices. We also have to consider that with all the super mid-tier devices, high-end flagships are arguably in slightly less demand than they might have been a few years ago, and as there becomes less demand, pricing might increase to make up for it.

How about yourselves? Do you feel that flagship smartphones are overpriced these days, or are the latest innovations worth the growing cost?

18:34
LG G6 review: One step forward, two steps back
18:03

The Android Wear 2.0-powered Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 launches for $499

In January during CES 2017, Casio announced it would launch one of the first Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches in April, the Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20. True to its word, the smartwatch is now available to purchase via Amazon and other retailers for the price of $499. The WSD-F20 is the successor to the older WSD-F10, and is now one of the older smartwatches available with an Android Wear 2.0 software update.

See also:

Best Android Wear watches

3 weeks ago

The Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 looks very much like its predecessor, but inside the biggest new feature for the new smartwatch is its built-in low-power GPS sensor. This feature, combined with the device’s full-color maps that can also be used offline, will likely make it very popular with hikers and other folks who want to explore the great outdoors, but don’t want to get completely lost. In addition, the device’s Location Memory app will let owners customize their maps with text and markers, so you can keep track of where you were previously located.

The smartwatch has a 1.32-inch dual layer display, along with 512 MB of RAM, and 4 GB of on-board storage. It has a MIL-STD-810G rugged rating, which means it can operate even within 50 meters of water. The battery life is supposed to last up to two days on a single charge, but turning on the GPS feature will cut that battery life down to about six hours. The Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 comes in black and orange colors.

Casio also previously announced a limited edition version of the smartwatch, with the model number WSD-F20S. Only 500 units of the device will be made, which will be sold in black with some blue color elements, and it will use sapphire crystal and ion plating in its body. A release date and price tag for the WSD-F20S has yet to be revealed.

17:30
The all-new 6-inch ZTE Max XL is here and it’s super affordable
17:13

Samsung rolls out Galaxy S8 update to fix “DQA keeps stopping” issue

The launch of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus has been an early sales success, but some owners have been encountering issues with the company’s latest flagship devices. One of those problems may have been fixed with a quickly released update from Samsung to those phones.

See also:

How to switch software buttons on the Samsung Galaxy S8

2 days ago

Over the weekend, we reported that many owners of the Galaxy S8 encountered a “DQA keeps stopping” error message when connected to a Wi-Fi network (DQA stands for “Device Quality Agent”, by the way). We also reported on a number of workarounds to deal with the error, which ranged from simply shutting off the Wi-Fi on the phone to dialing the DQA app with the $1.50 BK Package Disabler.

Late on Monday, as reported by Android Central, Samsung started rolling out a small (943.29 KB) fix for the DQA error, via its Galaxy Apps Store. If you have not received the update yet, you might have to wait as long as a few days as it rolls out to all Galaxy S8 phones. Samsung has also announced that it will release a separate update to the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus later this week that may or may not fix a red tint on the display that’s also been reported by some of the phones’ owners.

Have you downloaded this small update on your Galaxy S8 phone and, if so, has it fixed the “DQA keeps stopping” error message, or are you still seeing it pop up? Let us know in the comments!

17:00
‘Super Mario Run’ for Android gets updated with some small improvements
15:12

How often do you use your phone’s voice assistant? [Poll of the Week]

Last week’s poll summary: Out of over 5,200 total votes, 49.2% of our readers said they’d like their phones to be water resistance, but it’s not a make-or-break feature. 31.2% of our readers said they won’t buy a phone if it doesn’t have an IP67 rating or higher, while 18.5% said they couldn’t care less about water resistance ratings.

As artificial intelligence and voice recognition grow more advanced, it becomes easier and easier for us to use our phones hands-free. We might not ever get to a point where we can completely control our phones without touching them, but services like Google Assistant, Siri, and Samsung’s new Bixby certainly make that idea inch closer to reality.

Nowadays, most smartphones on the market come with a voice assistant baked in. Just a couple months ago, Google began rolling out the once Pixel-exclusive Assistant to most Android devices, and Apple’s Siri has been included on the iPhone ever since the iPhone 4S. Samsung is also getting in on the fun with Bixby, the contextual AI assistant that’s only found on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus for right now.

See also:

Bixby vs Google Assistant vs Siri

20 hours ago

Whether it’s Google Assistant, Siri, or Samsung’s Bixby, we want to know – how often do you use your phone’s voice assistant? Personally, I use Google Assistant every day, but only for simple things like weather information or creating reminders.

Be sure to cast your vote in the poll attached below, and speak up in the comments if there’s anything you’d like to add. We look forward to hearing what you have to say!

14:50

The Galaxy S8 problems are minor, but how Samsung responds is not

For a launch that Samsung really needed to go off without a hitch, the Galaxy S8 problems are already starting to pile up. From the much discussed red tint issue to the “DQA keeps stopping” error message to a broken Bixby button and wireless charging problems, the Galaxy S8 hasn’t exactly gotten off to a stellar start. Heck, there’s even a Change.org petition about Samsung’s botched pre-order promo bundle and you can trick the S8’s face recognition feature with a photograph.

Problems like these are not exactly unheard of, but they do seem to be affecting the Galaxy S8 a little more than they do most other devices. Look at the LG G6 for example: how many problems do you remember it launching with? The G6 hasn’t sold in anything resembling the numbers of the S8, but problems tend to get noticed regardless of how many people buy a phone. Besides shipping Bixby in an unfinished state, the list of Galaxy S8 problems is only getting bigger, even if people are generally loving the phone.

Current issues:

Admittedly, most of the Galaxy S8 problems we’ve seen so far are not a huge issue. The red screen tint should be patched very soon and so should the “DQA keeps stopping” error. We can only assume Samsung will push a fix for the erratic Bixby button behavior soon and if the wireless charging issue isn’t intentional that should also be on the docket. These problems may ultimately be easily fixable but they are still very much issues that shouldn’t be there.

I could get up on my high horse and say Samsung should have never allowed such problems to creep into a flagship phone for which their customers are paying a steep price. This is partially true: Samsung made a huge deal about quality assurance in the lead up to the S8 launch, and yet we’ve already got half a dozen problems doing the rounds.

But at the same time, these issues are similar to those that affect plenty of phones. Phones always seem to come with a few glitches, battery drain, software bugs and whatnot, and Samsung is no different. It’s just unfortunate that these issues have all come at the same time and that there are clearly still a few claws out for the company in a post-Note 7 world.

The biggest issue as I see it is how quickly Samsung addresses these problems. Do so rapidly and this will all blow over as “early days” teething problems. But if Samsung drags their heels on fixing these issues – as it has historically been wont to do – then it’s a whole different ball game. Learning from past mistakes is great when we’re talking about battery safety, but I can only hope Samsung learned a few other lessons at the same time. Issues like those affecting the Galaxy S8 right now are not the end of the world, but Samsung should treat them as though they are.

14:28

US Cellular’s ZTE Blade Max 3 brings a large battery and dual cameras for just $200

The ZTE Blade Max 3 has made its way over to U.S. Cellular. It is aimed at the budget phone market.

It isn’t very often you see a phone with a 4,000 mAh battery. Most phones these days are peaking at around 3,500 mAh, but not the Blade Max 3. The phone will need the extra power with a 6-inch Full HD display. If you do need to recharge, Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 with USB-C is there to back you up. Other specs include the mid-tier Snapdragon 625 paired with 2GB of RAM.

You get a dual 13MP camera on the back of the Blade Max 3: One camera is full RGB, while the other is monochromatic. Speaking of the back, the fingerprint sensor also lies here. This is a welcome feature for a budget phone.

Realistically, this phone is all you’ll ever need if you value good battery life over all other features. The Blade Max 3 will have enough power to get you through all of your everyday tasks, and you should be able to last longer on a single charge than most flagship phones.

The biggest downside is that Android 6.0 Marshmallow is present instead of Nougat. But, for a price of $199.99 (after $100 online discount), you might be able to forgive not having the latest software.

Check the ZTE Blade Max 3 on US Cellular

14:03

Refurbished Galaxy Note 7 coming to Korea in June for $250 cheaper

Samsung is planning to launch refurbished Galaxy Note 7 devices in South Korea at the end of June for around $250 cheaper than its original price.

See also:

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review (updated)

October 12, 2016

The Galaxy Note 7 was a fantastic phone in many aspects: officially launched last August, Samsung’s sixth iteration of the Note series came with an elegant dual-curved display, Samsung’s signature S-Pen as well as an iris-scanner. Unfortunately, however, the South Korean electronics giant had to recall the device not just once, but twice due to a design flaw that led to self-combusting batteries.

Earlier this year, we started seeing reports that Samsung might be planning to re-launch the beloved Galaxy Note 7 in select markets, which Samsung eventually confirmed. It was just a day ago that we saw the official Wi-Fi certification for the device, and now, ETNews claims that the refurbished Galaxy Note 7 will officially be arriving in South Korea at the end of June.

The refurbished phablet – which could be called the Galaxy Note 7R – will be available through all major carriers in Korea: SKT, KT, and LG.

According to the report, the refurbished phablet – which could be called the Galaxy Note 7R – will be available through all major carriers in Korea: SKT, KT, and LG. The best part is that the device is expected to cost around 700,000 won or approximately $620. That’s significantly lower than the original launching price of 988,900 won which roughly translates to $870. Although these are not brand new devices per se, all of them have been refurbished by Samsung, meaning they should be in a “like-new” condition.

Just as we saw earlier, these refurbished units are likely to come with a smaller battery, possibly down to 3,200 mAh from 3,500 mAh found in the original, and if the Wi-Fi certification is accurate, they should be running Android 7.0 out of the box. However, other than that, the refurbished Galaxy Note 7 should be the same great phablet that we all loved (albeit for a very short period of time). Now, the question is whether consumers will be able to trust the Note brand – the exact same device, no less – that was so negatively publicized and whether this price cut will be enough of an incentive for them.

Despite this, Samsung is expected to go ahead with its current Galaxy Note 8 plans, and while a recent survey indicates that an overwhelming number of people would want to purchase a refurbished Galaxy Note 7 unit, it’s unlikely that the launch will affect Galaxy S8 sales.

Unfortunately, Samsung has made it clear that it has no plans to launch the refurbished Galaxy Note 7 in the US or Canada.

Would you be willing to buy a refurbished Galaxy Note 7 for $250 cheaper? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

13:53

Sony Xperia XZs review

Sony took the wraps off of two new high-end smartphones at this year’s MWC. While the Xperia XZ Premium deservedly garnered most of the attention, the company also unveiled the successor of the Xperia XZ, which was their 2016 flagship.

The new flagship, dubbed the Xperia XZs, features only mild upgrades when compared to its predecessor, but are these changes enough to make this device more noteworthy? Find out in our Sony Xperia XZs review!

See also:

Best Android phones

3 weeks ago

Design

As mentioned, there are only a couple of changes with the Xperia XZs when compared to its predecessor, but none as far as the design or build quality are concerned. Like the Xperia XZ before it, this device features what Sony calls a loop design, complete with sides that are rounded and taper towards the front and back, allowing for an in-hand feel that’s comfortable in the hand. The Xperia XZs’ loop design also features a flat top and bottom on which the phone can stand.

The XZs also comes with a metal plate on the back, plastic along the sides, and glass up front. The headphone jack and USB Type-C port are at the top and bottom respectively, and the power button, volume rocker, and a dedicated shutter camera shutter button are all found on the right side.

Sony, it may be time for a change

Sony has always been known to create impressively-designed smartphones, but it has to be mentioned that in a world where we are increasingly moving towards near bezel-less designs, the top and bottom chin on the Xperia XZs may be especially glaring to some. Granted, the design is reminiscent of previous Sony flagships going back a few years and isn’t bad by any means, but as some other OEMs have done, it may be time for a change.

Display

The Xperia XZs also retains the 5.2-inch IPS LCD display, with a Full HD resolution resulting in a pixel density of 424 ppi. As expected, the screen is sharp and vibrant, provides excellent viewing angles, color reproduction is good and doesn’t look too oversaturated, and the brightness is good enough for comfortable viewing outdoors. The 1080p resolution more than gets the job done here, and unless you are planning to use this device for VR, you aren’t going to miss Quad HD.

Performance

The first difference between the original Xperia XZ and the Xperia XZs comes in the performance section, but even this isn’t particularly significant. The Xperia XZs comes with the same processing package as its predecessor, including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor backed by the Adreno 530 GPU, but the RAM has been bumped up from 3 GB to 4 GB.

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The Snapdragon 820 processor may not be the latest and greatest anymore, but is more than capable of handling even processor-intensive tasks. There have certainly been no issues with lag or dropped frames when opening apps, browsing the web, or playing games, and multi-tasking and having more apps running in the background has only improved with the availability of an additional gigabyte of RAM.

Hardware

32 GB and 64 GB are the built-in storage options available, but if that isn’t enough for you, expandable storage via microSD card is possible for up to an additional 256 GB. Depending on the market, a dual-SIM version of the device is also available.

A couple of signature flagship Sony features are retained with the Xperia XZs, the first of which is the dual front-facing speaker setup. While they do sound pretty good, they unfortunately don’t get as loud as what you’d expect from stereo speakers. The second feature is an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, which means that the device will be safe even if submerged under a meter of water.

US buyers: no fingerprint sensor for you

There is a fingerprint scanner embedded into the power button of the phone, but this feature is once again not available for the US version of the device. Unfortunately, Sony has made it clear that this is something that isn’t going to change anytime soon.

One area where Sony could have, and should have, made an improvement is with regards to the battery. You get the same 2,900 mAh unit as is found with the Xperia XZ, and this means that you also get the same mediocre battery life.

Light usage that involves texting, reading emails, and browsing social media will get you a full day of use, but anything heavier like watching videos on YouTube or playing games for even a small amount of time will require you to reach for the charger at some point before your day ends.

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It would have been great if Sony had followed in the footsteps of OnePlus and squeezed in a larger battery in the same space as the latter did with the OnePlus 3T, and it certainly feels like a missed opportunity.

Camera

Megapixels aren't everything when it comes to image quality

What is easily the biggest change between the Xperia XZs and its predecessor comes in the camera department. This time around, you get a 19 MP Motion Eye camera on the rear, which may seem like a downgrade from the 23 MP unit found with the Xperia XZ, but as we all know, megapixels aren’t everything when it comes to image quality. In this case, there may be a reduction in megapixels, but the pixel size has been increased for better performance in low-light conditions.

I’ve been very impressed with the camera experience overall. The camera is quick to launch, focus, and take a shot, and the predictive hybrid autofocus system is a fantastic feature for capturing moving objects. Of course, the inclusion of a hardware shutter and quick launch button is just as handy and useful as it has always been. Photos offer plenty of sharpness and detail, great color reproduction that looks very natural and lifelike, and excellent dynamic range, with this camera very rarely underexposing or overexposing a shot.

It also performs surprisingly well in low-light conditions, and it is safe to say that this camera is one of the better low-light performers that you will currently find on a smartphone. There is still a fair amount of detail, noise is kept to a minimum, and it doesn’t have any issues with blowing out highlights or maintaining a proper white balance, as can be seen with a lot of other smartphone cameras out there.

This camera is one of the better low-light performers that you will currently find on a smartphone

The front-facing camera is also exceptionally good. A 13 MP front-facing shooter lets you capture plenty of detail and really nice looking colors, and the high megapixel count provides a lot more flexibility with zooming and cropping without a huge loss in quality. If you are into taking selfies, you are certainly going to have a great experience with this camera.

Sony Xperia XZs camera samples

As good as this camera is with photos, the big story here is actually what you can do in video, with the camera having the ability to record slow motion video at a ridiculous 960 frames per second. It can look incredible when you capture the right moment and it is a lot of fun to use, but it isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

You can only record at 960 fps in short bursts, and it is capped at a 720p resolution. The biggest problem with it being 720p is that you are dealing with a huge crop factor, which deteriorates the quality and sometimes makes it hard to get exactly what you want into the frame unless you’re shooting outside or in an open area where you can take a few steps back. This frame rate also means that the shutter speed is extremely short, and as a result, doesn’t work very well in low light situations.

Software

On the software side of things, the Xperia XZs is running Android 7.1.1 Nougat out of the box, with the latest version of Sony’s UI on top. Sony’s user interface has always kept things light and simple, and that remains the case this time around, making for a very smooth software experience. It isn’t a stock experience though, with Sony features like a built-in theme engine, custom launcher, wallpapers, and Settings menu setting it apart.

See also:

Android Nougat review: what’s new in Android 7.1.2?

2 weeks ago

Unfortunately, Sony still continues to ship their phones with a slew of Sony apps and other third-party bloatware like Amazon Shopping and AVG. Other than that, the overall software package is pretty clean, and because the device is running Android Nougat, you are also able to take advantage of Google Assistant right out of the box.

<![CDATA[ #gallery-3 { margin: auto; } #gallery-3 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 25%; } #gallery-3 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-3 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ </style></p><div id="gallery-3" class="gallery galleryid-766519 gallery-columns-4 gallery-size-large"><dl class="gallery-item"><dt class="gallery-icon portrait"> <a href="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-11.jpg" rel="lightbox[766519]"><img width="840" height="1493" src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-11-840x1493.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large" alt="" srcset="http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-11-840x1493.jpg 840w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-11-300x533.jpg 300w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-11-768x1365.jpg 768w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-11-9x16.jpg 9w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-11-18x32.jpg 18w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-11-16x28.jpg 16w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-11-32x56.jpg 32w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-11-36x64.jpg 36w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-11-1000x1778.jpg 1000w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-11-113x200.jpg 113w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-11.jpg 1080w" sizes="(max-width: 840px) 100vw, 840px" /></a> </dt></dl><dl class="gallery-item"><dt class="gallery-icon portrait"> <a href="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-10.jpg" rel="lightbox[766519]"><img width="840" height="1493" src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-10-840x1493.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large" alt="" srcset="http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-10-840x1493.jpg 840w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-10-300x533.jpg 300w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-10-768x1365.jpg 768w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-10-9x16.jpg 9w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-10-18x32.jpg 18w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-10-16x28.jpg 16w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-10-32x56.jpg 32w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-10-36x64.jpg 36w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-10-1000x1778.jpg 1000w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-10-113x200.jpg 113w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-10.jpg 1080w" sizes="(max-width: 840px) 100vw, 840px" /></a> </dt></dl><dl class="gallery-item"><dt class="gallery-icon portrait"> <a href="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-9.jpg" rel="lightbox[766519]"><img width="840" height="1493" src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-9-840x1493.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large" alt="" srcset="http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-9-840x1493.jpg 840w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-9-300x533.jpg 300w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-9-768x1365.jpg 768w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-9-9x16.jpg 9w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-9-18x32.jpg 18w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-9-16x28.jpg 16w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-9-32x56.jpg 32w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-9-36x64.jpg 36w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-9-1000x1778.jpg 1000w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-9-113x200.jpg 113w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-9.jpg 1080w" sizes="(max-width: 840px) 100vw, 840px" /></a> </dt></dl><dl class="gallery-item"><dt class="gallery-icon portrait"> <a href="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-8.jpg" rel="lightbox[766519]"><img width="840" height="1493" src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-8-840x1493.jpg" class="attachment-large size-large" alt="" srcset="http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-8-840x1493.jpg 840w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-8-300x533.jpg 300w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-8-768x1365.jpg 768w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-8-9x16.jpg 9w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-8-18x32.jpg 18w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-8-16x28.jpg 16w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-8-32x56.jpg 32w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-8-36x64.jpg 36w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-8-1000x1778.jpg 1000w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-8-113x200.jpg 113w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-screenshots-8.jpg 1080w" sizes="(max-width: 840px) 100vw, 840px" /></a> </dt></dl><br style="clear: both" /></div> <p></p></div> <h2>Specifications</h2> <div id="specifications" class="content-section-divider" data-label="Specifications"> <p> </p><table id="tablepress-785" class="tablepress tablepress-id-785 tablepress-responsive-phone"><thead><tr class="row-1 odd"><th class="column-1"> </th><th class="column-2">Sony Xperia XZs</th> </tr></thead><tbody class="row-hover"><tr class="row-2 even"><td class="column-1">Display</td><td class="column-2">5.2-inch Triluminos Display IPS LCD<br /> 1920 x 1080 resolution<br /> 424 ppi</td> </tr><tr class="row-3 odd"><td class="column-1">Processor</td><td class="column-2">Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor</td> </tr><tr class="row-4 even"><td class="column-1">GPU</td><td class="column-2">Adreno 530</td> </tr><tr class="row-5 odd"><td class="column-1">RAM</td><td class="column-2">4 GB</td> </tr><tr class="row-6 even"><td class="column-1">Storage</td><td class="column-2">32/64 GB</td> </tr><tr class="row-7 odd"><td class="column-1">MicroSD</td><td class="column-2">Yes, up to 256 GB</td> </tr><tr class="row-8 even"><td class="column-1">Camera</td><td class="column-2">Rear: 19 MP sensor, f/2.0 aperture, EIS<br /><br /> Front: 13 MP sensor, f/2.0 aperture</td> </tr><tr class="row-9 odd"><td class="column-1">Connectivity</td><td class="column-2">Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac<br /> Bluetooth 4.2<br /> GPS + GLONASS<br /> NFC<br /> USB Type-C (USB 3.1)</td> </tr><tr class="row-10 even"><td class="column-1">Battery</td><td class="column-2">2,900 mAh<br /> Non-removable</td> </tr><tr class="row-11 odd"><td class="column-1">Software</td><td class="column-2">Android 7.0 Nougat</td> </tr><tr class="row-12 even"><td class="column-1">Dimensions and weight</td><td class="column-2">146 x 72 x 8.1 mm<br /> 161 g</td> </tr></tbody></table><!-- #tablepress-785 from cache --><p></p></div> <h2>Gallery</h2> <div id="gallery" class="content-section-divider" data-label="Gallery"> <p></p><div class="aa_envira clearfix"><div id="aa_envira_gallery-766530" class="aa_envira_wrapper aa_envira_type_default"><div class="aa_envira_lightbox_trigger"></div><div class="envirabox-skin"><div class="aa_envirabox_outer"><div class="aa_envirabox_inner"><div class="aa_main_images"><div class="aa_main_images_wrapper"><div class="aa_image_wrapper"><img class="aa_envira_main_image" src="/wp-content/plugins/envira-gallery-modified/assets/images/blank_710-360.png" /></div><div class="aa_image_wrapper lazy"><img class="aa_envira_main_image" src="/wp-content/plugins/envira-gallery-modified/assets/images/blank_710-360.png" /></div><div class="aa_image_wrapper current"><img class="aa_envira_main_image lazy" data-src="http://cdn04.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-22-792x446.jpg" 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data-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-7-200x130.jpg" src="/wp-content/plugins/envira-gallery-modified/assets/images/blank.png" alt="" data-big-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-7-792x446.jpg" data-full-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-7-1280x720.jpg" data-orientation="default" /></div><div id="aa_envira_gallery_item-766456" class="aa_envira_gallery_item"><img id="envira-gallery-image-766456" class="envira-gallery-image envira-gallery-image-17 lazy" data-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-6-200x130.jpg" src="/wp-content/plugins/envira-gallery-modified/assets/images/blank.png" alt="" data-big-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-6-792x446.jpg" data-full-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-6-1280x720.jpg" data-orientation="default" /></div><div id="aa_envira_gallery_item-766455" class="aa_envira_gallery_item"><img id="envira-gallery-image-766455" class="envira-gallery-image envira-gallery-image-18 lazy" data-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-5-200x130.jpg" src="/wp-content/plugins/envira-gallery-modified/assets/images/blank.png" alt="" data-big-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-5-792x446.jpg" data-full-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-5-1280x720.jpg" data-orientation="default" /></div><div id="aa_envira_gallery_item-766454" class="aa_envira_gallery_item"><img id="envira-gallery-image-766454" class="envira-gallery-image envira-gallery-image-19 lazy" data-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-4-200x130.jpg" src="/wp-content/plugins/envira-gallery-modified/assets/images/blank.png" alt="" data-big-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-4-792x446.jpg" data-full-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-4-1280x720.jpg" data-orientation="default" /></div><div id="aa_envira_gallery_item-766453" class="aa_envira_gallery_item"><img id="envira-gallery-image-766453" class="envira-gallery-image envira-gallery-image-20 lazy" data-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-3-200x130.jpg" src="/wp-content/plugins/envira-gallery-modified/assets/images/blank.png" alt="" data-big-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-3-792x446.jpg" data-full-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-3-1280x720.jpg" data-orientation="default" /></div><div id="aa_envira_gallery_item-766452" class="aa_envira_gallery_item"><img id="envira-gallery-image-766452" class="envira-gallery-image envira-gallery-image-21 lazy" data-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-2-200x130.jpg" src="/wp-content/plugins/envira-gallery-modified/assets/images/blank.png" alt="" data-big-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-2-792x446.jpg" data-full-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-2-1280x720.jpg" data-orientation="default" /></div><div id="aa_envira_gallery_item-766451" class="aa_envira_gallery_item"><img id="envira-gallery-image-766451" class="envira-gallery-image envira-gallery-image-22 lazy" data-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-1-200x130.jpg" src="/wp-content/plugins/envira-gallery-modified/assets/images/blank.png" alt="" data-big-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-1-792x446.jpg" data-full-src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-1-1280x720.jpg" data-orientation="default" /></div></div><div class="clear"></div></div></div></div> <p></p></div> <h2>Pricing and final thoughts</h2> <div id="conclusion" class="content-section-divider" data-label="Conclusion"> <p><img class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-766452" src="http://cdn03.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-2-840x560.jpg" alt="" width="840" height="560" srcset="http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-2-840x560.jpg 840w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-2-300x200.jpg 300w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-2-768x512.jpg 768w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-2-16x11.jpg 16w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-2-32x21.jpg 32w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-2-28x19.jpg 28w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-2-56x37.jpg 56w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-2-64x43.jpg 64w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-2-1000x667.jpg 1000w, http://cdn01.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Sony-Xperia-XZs-Review-2-1200x800.jpg 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 840px) 100vw, 840px" /></p> <p>So there you have it for this in-depth look at the Sony Xperia XZs! The Xperia XZs and the Xperia XZ that came before it are certainly not bad devices by any stretch of the imagination, but the $700 price point of the former is unfortunately going to be a deal breaker for some.</p> <p></p><div class="clear"></div><blockquote class="quote_new" style="color: #8cc434; border-color: #8cc434;"><p>If you want a real upgrade from the Xperia XZ, you're better off waiting for the XZ Premium</p></blockquote><div class="clear"></div> <p>The Xperia XZs is definitely not worth an upgrade from its predecessor, and if you are in the market for a new phone, there are quite a few options out there that undercut the Xperia XZs by several hundred dollars, such as the <a href="http://www.androidauthority.com/lenovo-moto-g5-plus-review-752963/">Moto G5 Plus</a> and the OnePlus 3T. If you want a real upgrade from the Xperia XZ, you are better off waiting for the more powerful Xperia XZ Premium, which will be more worth your money.</p> <p></p></div>]]>

13:41

Truly secure facial recognition is at least four years away, claim insiders

Industry sources predict that it will take more than four years for companies to be able to use facial recognition for mobile payments.

Humans are lazy creatures. We are always looking for an easy solution or shortcut. Currently, facial recognition is the easiest way to secure your smartphone. Not to say a fingerprint isn’t easy, but you still have to locate the sensor. Recently we got iris scanning from Samsung in the Galaxy S8, but even that isn’t as convenient because you have to place your eyes in a predetermined spot. Plus, people who wear eyeglasses often have to remove them in order to use the iris scanner.

However, due to the insecurity of facial recognition in its current state, many people still opt for one of the previous methods to secure their phone. Right now, fingerprints are commonly used in mobile banking, and iris scanning may become an option soon.

A source from Samsung told the Korea Herald, “In order for facial recognition to be solely used for financial transactions, it would take more than four years considering the current camera and deep learning technology levels.”

So we are a little ways off facial recognition being a reliable, consistent feature that can’t simply be fooled by a picture. But in four years we could have that luxury. I can see the headlines now: “Samsung angers fans by removing fingerprint sensor in favor of facial recognition.”

“We do not need to use facial recognition for mobile financial transactions because there are already high-level biometric technologies such as iris and fingerprint recognition. The question that when it will be used is meaningless,” a Samsung spokesperson said.

Read: What’s the best way to unlock your Galaxy S8?

By the sounds of it Samsung currently doesn’t have any plans to bolster facial recognition security. But industry experts still predict the extra convenience in facial recognition will prevail, forcing companies to invest in the feature.

13:19

The ZTE Max XL has a big battery and 6-inch screen for just $130

It would appear that smartphone owners are fully embracing the “bigger is better” motto when it comes to buying smartphones. Today, ZTE has announced it is now offering a phone with a big 6-inch screen, the Max XL, but for the budget-friendly, no-contract price of just $129.99. The phone is now on sale in the US, via Sprint’s Boost Mobile no-contract subsidiary.

See also:

Hands on with the ZTE Blade V8 Lite and the Blade V8 Mini

February 27, 2017

The 6-inch screen on the Max XL is an IPS display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, and is covered in Gorilla Glass 3 which should offer some solid scratch protection. Inside, the phone runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat out of the box, which at the moment is rare when purchasing a new phone. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 octa-core processor that has a clock speed of 1.4 GHz. It has 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of on-board storage, with a microSD card slot that can accept up to 128 GB of additional storage.

It also has a 13 MP rear camera, a 5 MP front-facing camera, and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. In addition, the ZTE Max XL has a large 3,990 mAh battery, which the company claims will offer up to 26.6 hours of talk time on a single charge.

ZTE says the Max XL is the first smartphone from Boost Mobile that supports Sprint’s HPUE (High Performance User Equipment) technology, along with LTE+ support. That means the Max XL should offer owners increased coverage, along with better coverage indoors, and faster overall network speeds. Sprint began selling HPUE-supported phones just a few weeks ago with the launch of the LG G6, and it’s also available in the recently released Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

What do you think of the ZTE Max XL hardware specs, and do you think the phone offers a good balance of hardware with its low price? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

12:57

UK retailer Clove estimates BlackBerry KEYone availability between May 22-26

We’re expecting some official news from BlackBerry this week regarding US price details of its latest handset, the BlackBerry KEYone. Ahead of that, online retailer Clove has provided some new details on the availability situation in the UK.

Reportedly, only one major retailer will receive inventory for the KEYone in time for its May 5 release. “All other retailers, including Clove, will get a share of the next batch later in May,” a Clove customer representative told PocketNow. They estimated this would be sometime between May 22 and 26.

Meanwhile, Carphone Warehouse and Unlocked Mobiles still suggest a May 5 shipping date on their websites — so it’s not clear whether this just hasn’t been updated or whether Clove has been misinformed.

See also:

BlackBerry awarded over $814 million back from Qualcomm in royalty overpayments

2 weeks ago

The BlackBerry KeryOne is available for pre-order in the UK for £499. It comes with a 4.5-inch display, an octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor, 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage, with microSD card support up to 2 TB. It also includes a 12 MP rear camera, 8 MP front-facing camera, 3,505 mAh battery, and a physical keyboard.

We’ll keep an eye on this situation as it develops, but if you have pre-ordered the device at any of the aforementioned retailers, don’t be surprised if it’s not on your doorstep come May 5.

12:38

Google improves support for Indian languages in Google Translate, Gboard, and more

Google India has announced a new set of products and features to better serve about 80% of Internet users in India who are not fluent in English.

The translation on Google Translate now is more accurate and easier to understand, especially when translating full sentences. Google explains that this is because of the new Neural Machine Translation technology that has been introduced for translations between English and nine widely used Indian languages — Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam, and Kannada. The new Google Translate feature is available on the Google Translate app, at translate.google.co.in, and through Google Search.

According to the company, neural translation is a lot better than its old phrase-based system, translating full sentences at a time, instead of pieces of a sentence. It uses this broader context to help it figure out the most relevant translation, which it then rearranges and adjusts to be more like a human speaking with proper grammar. Google had introduced the neural machine translation to Google Translate last year.

Just like it’s easier to learn a language when you already know a related language, we’ve discovered that our neural technology speaks each language better when it learns several at a time. For example, we have a whole lot more sample data for Hindi than its relatives Marathi and Bengali, but when we train them all together, the translations for all improve more than if we’d trained each individually.

Also, the Chrome team and the Google Translate team have worked together to bring the power of Neural Machine Translation to web content, making full-page translations more accurate and easier to read to and from English for the same nine Indian languages.

Google has also announced addition of 11 new languages to the list of 11 existing Indian languages supported by Gboard — with transliteration support. Today’s update also includes a new text editing tool that makes it easier to select, copy and paste, plus new options for resizing and repositioning the keyboard so it fits to your hand and texting style.

Gboard has all the bells and whistles of the Google Keyboard — plus Google Search built in. It also allows you to search and use Google Translate right in your keyboard.

Gboard offers auto-correction and prediction in these new languages, plus two layouts for each—one in the native language script and one with the QWERTY layout for transliteration, which lets you spell words phonetically using the QWERTY alphabet and get text output in your native language script.

The company also announced that starting today, it will automatically add translations to local reviews on Google Maps, both on mobile and desktop. When you launch Google Maps, and open reviews, they’ll appear in both the original language as well as the language you’ve set on your device.

Also, when you search for the meaning of a word in English, you’ll get a dictionary straight in Google Search. The company is bringing the Rajpal & Sons Hindi dictionary online in collaboration with the Oxford University Press. This new experience supports transliteration so you don’t even need to switch to a Hindi keyboard.

12:00

How to tell if that 'amazing' tech product on Facebook is really a good deal

You've seen the ads, many of which are quite compelling -- but here's what you don't know about some of these "magical" gadgets.
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