Category Archives: Android Authority

Sony releases Mass Effect: Andromeda theme for Xperia devices

Sony often creates content for its Xperia devices based on blockbuster movies, and now it’s rolling out an exclusive theme inspired by the latest Mass Effect game, Mass Effect: Andromeda.

The theme features new buttons, animations, and parallax effects inspired by Andromeda, which was released on PS4, Xbox One and Windows last week. The new title is set between the second and third games of the series and sees players take control of either Scott or Sara Ryder as they explore the Andromeda Galaxy aboard a ship called Tempest. It launched to mixed reviews.

Check out Sony’s teaser video for the theme below.

In its Play Store listing, Sony says, “The Tempest soars through asteroids and Ryder contemplates his quest across the cosmos, subtly breathing and moving as you scroll.”

I haven’t been keeping up with Sony’s Xperia themes in the last year or so, but this does look like one of the more impressive ones that it has produced.

Pick up the theme for free in the Google Play Store here, and check out the others Sony has to offer here.

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Google launches new website to bring together all of its open source projects

Google has launched a new website as the home for all of its open-source content. Google Open Source brings together the company’s related initiatives — including Android, Chromium and Go — in one spot and provides information on how it develops and maintains them.

Google says the website delivers the expected things such as supported organizations and a comprehensive list of the company’s ongoing open-source projects, but it says it “Also contains something unexpected: a look under the hood at how we ‘do’ open source.”

Google states that its commitment to open source has lead it to publish its own internal documentation on how it makes these initiatives work. The documents cover how Google manages the release of projects and also reveals why the company pursues what it does.

See also:

Google Assistant and Home adds new connected device support

13 hours ago

“Our policies and procedures are informed by many years of experience and lessons we’ve learned along the way,” writes Google in its announcement post. “We know that our particular approach to open source might not be right for everyone—there’s more than one way to do open source—and so these docs should not be read as a “how-to” guide. Similar to how it can be valuable to read another engineer’s source code to see how they solved a problem, we hope that others find value in seeing how we approach and think about open source at Google.”

I expect the website will be an excellent resource for the developers involved, or interested in getting involved, with these projects — it isn’t lacking in detail.

You can listen to the backstory of the website’s development in the latest Changelog podcast here.

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Pro and Con: Should Samsung sell refurbished Galaxy Note 7 phones?

Earlier this week, Samsung officially confirmed what was previously rumored on the Internet. The company is considering selling refurbished versions of its recalled Galaxy Note 7 smartphone in some markets, as part of an overall effort to recycle the phone.

See also:

How to return a Galaxy Note 7 bought second-hand

October 13, 2016

The company has since clarified that, if it does sell the Galaxy Note 7 again, it will not be in the US or Canada. That means the company is looking to other markets to resell the troubled phone. To be fair, Samsung says it will also be removing components from other recalled Note 7 units, including semiconductors and camera modules, so they can be used for testing purposes. Other Note 7 models that won’t be resold will have their materials recycled, like copper, nickel, gold and silver.

But should Samsung really be trying to resell a phone that, in its previous incarnation, was in serious danger of exploding, due to issues with its battery? Or is the company trying to be responsible to both its shareholders and the environment by attempting to sell at least a portion of its Note 7 units, which likely number in the millions? That’s the debate that we will have today as we examine the pros and cons of this issue.

The Verge

A brief history lesson

First, a quick look back at this entire situation. Samsung launched the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 7 in September 2016. Within a few days of the phone shipping to customers in the US, many people reported on the internet that their units had started smoking or had caught on fire, in some cases causing considerable damages to their homes, cars and other property. The company issued a recall of the currently shipped units in mid-September, stating that it would release “safe” Note 7 units to replace them.

Unfortunately, even some of those “safe” Note 7 phones started catching on fire as well. In mid-October, Samsung said it was issuing a full and final recall of all Note 7 units worldwide and stopped selling the phone entirely. This came after the FAA issued a blanket ban on the Note 7, making it illegal to have one on board on both commercial and cargo flights.

Samsung later released software updates to the Note 7 for anyone still using them, which either cut its battery life down considerably or killed it outright. In January, the company announced the results of its internal investigation into the Note 7 fires, and put the blame on the battery. It revealed that for its future phones, it would put in an eight-point testing process to make sure its mobile batteries would be safe.

The pros for reselling the Note 7

The hardcore fact is that, for Samsung, it makes sense to get back some of the many billions of dollars it lost as part of the Note 7 recall by cleaning up the recalled units and reselling them, hopefully with batteries that won’t explode. There’s also the fact that the Note 7 is actually a great smartphone, and would have been a huge seller if it were not for that whole “blowing up” thing.

There’s also a serious environmental issue surrounding the Note 7, as was pointed out by Greenpeace in its protests at Samsung’s press event at the MWC 2017 trade show in February. Having millions of unsold or recalled phones lying about could be a huge hazard. Putting revamped versions of the phone back onto the market would help that situation.

The cons for reselling the Note 7

The most obvious issue with Samsung putting back the Note 7 to the marketplace, even with a new name and a smaller battery, is that if just one of these units catches on fire or explodes, that puts the company’s considerable efforts to repair its reputation down the tubes. Samsung cannot afford to issue yet another recall of the Note 7, even a small one, and it may be too big of a risk, even if the phone is only sold in a few markets outside the US.

There’s also the fact that Samsung has already announced it plans to keep the Galaxy Note brand going. If something goes wrong with one of their refurbished phones, we would suspect that would be the death knell for the Note brand. While we think it is a great idea to recycle and re-purpose some of the Note 7’s components and materials, it does seem risky to relaunch the phone itself.

Finally, Samsung will have to chat with wireless carriers and, more importantly, government regulators, for permission to resell the Note 7 after its recall. The ban on using Note 7 phones on planes remains in effect, and even if Samsung were to start reselling the phone, owners could run into those same restrictions.

What do you think?

While there are certainly many benefits to reselling the Galaxy Note 7, even in a limited manner in some markets, it’s possible that the risks may outweigh those positive moves. However, we want to know what you think. Should Samsung try to resell refurbished units of the Galaxy Note 7, or should they cut their losses for the final time and just recycle and reuse the materials and components of the phone instead? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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First LG G6 commercial airs a day before Galaxy S8 reveal

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are scheduled to be announced today and to make sure consumers don’t forget about the G6, LG has decided to release the first TV commercial for its flagship smartphone.

The commercial revolves around the device’s large 5.7-inch screen with 18:9 aspect ratio and minimal bezels surrounding it and ends with “The big screen that fits in your hand.” tagline. It also lets consumers know that the G6 is waterproof and features a dual-camera setup on the back. You can check it out below.

The G6 is a great smartphone and has been selling very well in South Korea so far. The company hopes it will be just as popular in other markets, especially in the US, when it officially goes on sale. You’ll be able to buy it from Verizon starting tomorrow, while other carriers will start selling it a week later.

LG’s flagship will be facing some tough competition soon. As already mentioned, the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus will be revealed today and should go on sale in the middle of next month. Just like the G6, they will also feature minimal bezels that will make them quite compact for their size but won’t sport a dual-camera setup.

See also:

The LG G6: how LG got its groove back

2 weeks ago

It will be interesting to see which device will be more popular with consumers. In the past, LG’s G series didn’t sell as well as Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphones, but this might change this year. The G6 offer a brand new design and brings quite a few new things to the table.

But on the other hand, so will the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. However, some consumers might decide to stay away from Samsung devices just because of the bad reputation the company has received as a result of the Note 7 fiasco.

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AT&T and Sprint start shipping LG G6 pre-orders, may arrive today

The LG G6 isn’t set to be released until April 7, but last week we heard that T-Mobile was shipping early pre-orders to customers. It seems other manufacturers are now following suit, as some of those who pre-ordered the handset AT&T and Sprint have started to receive delivery notices for it.

Android Central reports that the pre-order customers have been sent delivery notifications which indicate that the handset will arrive as soon as today (March 29) — though it’s not clear exactly which customers this applies to. Today also happens to coincide with the launch of the Galaxy S8 from LG’s South Korean rival Samsung.

See also:

LG G6 review: it flies… like a G6!

2 weeks ago

LG recently announced that Korean pre-orders for the device had beaten expectations, and it has offered a number of incentives for pre-ordering the device in the US, including a free Google Home speaker worth $129, and a free 43-inch LG Smart TV worth $350 value when activating the LG G6 on a new line with Verizon Unlimited. You can view the rest of the LG G6 US prices and offers here.

Hit us up in the comments if you’ve received a shipping notification for the handset.

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