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Report: Google cancelled its Oculus Rift/HTC Vive competitor

By Bogdan Petrovan

HTC Vive & Oculus Rift 375

This post was originally published on our sister site

Google is doubling down on mobile VR, and abandoning, for now, plans for a standalone VR device in the vein of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

That’s the gist of a report from Recode’s Mark Bergen, who talked with sources close to Google that wished to remain anonymous.

According to the report, Google’s VR strategy was two-pronged. One direction is Daydream, the mobile-centric platform and reference design Google announced at I/O. The first Daydream headsets are expected to be launched this fall; they will be compatible with Daydream-ready smartphones from manufacturers including Samsung, HTC, Alcatel, Asus, Huawei, Xiaomi, LG and ZTE. The first Daydream-ready phone is the ZTE Axon 7, coming at the end of this month.

But Daydream is essentially Cardboard evolved. Daydream-based headsets are still just shells that require a smartphone for brainpower and the all-important display. That’s great for scaling up quickly, but not so great when it comes to what you can actually do with it.

So Google also explored the other avenue of VR development. According to Recode’s sources, Google had around 50 people working on a standalone VR headset, inside X, its skunkworks research unit. Intriguingly, this headset ran its own operating system, distinct from Android.

It’s not clear why Google nixed the project or how far along the development was. But the report seems unequivocal in saying that Google is now putting all of its chips on mobile VR.

Why did Google abandon the idea? It’s possible that Google found that it’s not worth to pour resources into a new VR platform at this point. After all, the VR ecosystem is far from settled and consumer demand for VR is still nascent. Launching a standalone VR unit would also force Google to rely on a competitor’s platform, as the headset would presumably work with a PC, just like the Rift and the Vive. It’s also possible that the standalone VR project was just an exploration and Google was never fully invested in the concept.

Read next: Google Daydream – everything you need to know

Let us know your thoughts!

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Source:: android authority


Suicide Squad: Special Ops is now available for free in the Play Store

By Brian Reigh

Suicide Squad

Play Store

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you must have heard a thing or two about Jared Leto and his role as the Joker in the upcoming movie, Suicide Squad. It’s arguably one of the most anticipated films of this summer, featuring Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jay Hernandez as El Diablo, and many more of your favorite actors and actresses.

Don’t miss: 10 best action games for Android!

However, the film won’t be the only DC Comics adaption that’s coming this summer from Warner Bros. If you’re keen to see some of the characters in action before the film is released, the mobile game Suicide Squad: Special Ops is now available to download in Play Store for free.

In this official Suicide Squad film game, you’ll have three characters to choose from: Deadshot with his rifle, Harley Quinn with her baseball bat, or Diablo with fire. Upon selection, your mission is to lead a special team to defeat the evil forces that come in your way.

According to Warner Bros., the game is “first person shooter action optimized for mobile play” where you explore the city and attempt to survive against your enemies by locating health packs and ammo. You can even record HD footage while playing the game to share with friends on social media.

This isn’t the first time Warner Bros. has released a mobile game to advertise their upcoming film. It has offered Batman and Superman themed games, LEGO games, and a slew of others for free in the past, but they weren’t exactly phenomenal. Well, Warner Bros. may have better luck this time.

Suicide Squad: Special Ops not only ran smoothly on my Galaxy S7 edge, but also, its iconically eccentric and vibrant colors combined with easy controls made the gaming experience very intuitive and, well, very fun. If you’re a fan of Suicide Squad, or if you’re looking for a way to kill time this weekend, you might want to give it a go.

Download from the Play Store

Will you be downloading Suicide Squad: Special Ops? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

…read more

Source:: android authority


Should businesses focus on dedicated apps or mobile sites?

By Adam Sinicki


If you run a business, then it’s crucial that you ensure your customers can find you via their mobile devices. It’s now common knowledge that over half of all internet traffic is coming from mobile at any given time and Google says it has been getting more searches via mobile for a while now too. This only looks set to continue going forward; so if the experience you’re offering for mobile users is a poor one, you’re going to lose a big proportion of your traffic.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean every business should build a mobile app. The other option is to focus on a website that will be highly optimized for mobile; which may actually be the smarter choice in some cases. As ever, the correct decision comes down to the nature of the business, its user base and its resources.

Let’s take a look at the slightly different roles of mobile apps and websites and how businesses should proceed…


In many ways, a mobile site and a dedicated app might do pretty much the same thing. Both will probably convey information about a business and either can allow users to place orders from their phones.

However, there are subtle nuances in the way each functions that creators need to consider. For example, a website can’t be installed meaning it won’t ever quite be as quick and easy for a user to load up. If you want to order pizza, then having an app for your local takeout means that order is just a tap away and because all the graphics and text are saved on the phone, there’s no delay while things load.

A website can’t be installed meaning it won’t ever quite be as quick and easy for a user to load up

Apps that are custom-built for mobile devices, are likely to be more reliable and less prone to crashing or freezing up mid-purchase and will generally have a better UX and UI. This also means the app can potentially take advantage of more native features of the phone – such as GPS, in-app purchases or SMS. It’s also more secure, meaning that users won’t have to log in every time they want access (or that they can use a fingerprint to do so!).

Uber is an app that has practically revolutionized the way you order taxis in London…

All this can mean you’re more likely to order pizza from the company that has the app, versus the one that doesn’t. The same goes for ordering a cab, checking your bank balance, or shopping online…

That said though, some mobile sites are incredibly well made to the point where the experience is very similar to using an app. The best mobile sites feature nice, big, touch-friendly buttons, intuitive menus and attractive animations. Websites often still take advantage of things like click-to-call and GPS too and some scenarios may not call for mobile-specific features anyway. For big purchases, or heavy reading, users might prefer to sit down at a desk and read on a larger screen. In this scenario, an app might not be able to bring that much extra to the table and may not be the best use of time for a company to develop.


This is a pizza website I used with friends recently that’s actually very good and easy to use on mobile…

Just don’t underestimate the value of saving a couple of seconds for your visitors – even typing an address into a browser can be enough to put users off visiting a site. It is possible to save website shortcuts as homepage icons but it’s not something you see people doing often…

I know that I personally tend to choose the Android Authority app over loading it in the browser and the same goes for IGN. It’s just easier. I probably check them both more often than I would as a result.


But then again, there’s always Feedly for that…

Marketing strategies

The way you market an app is somewhat different from the way you market a website. Most notably, you can’t use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to point users to a particular ‘page’ in an app. If you have an e-commerce store on a website for instance, then you can use some savvy search optimization to ensure that visitors are able to find specific items in that store through Google. If someone searches for ‘buy hats online’, they can get taken straight to a company’s selection of hats ready to click ‘buy’. No installation necessary.

Instant Apps

This isn’t possible with an app. Or at least it isn’t right now. It’s actually something Google is looking to fix in the near future though with Android N’s ‘Instant Apps‘ features. This addition will make apps more instant (hence the name) by removing the need to download them first. What’s more, is that users will be able to jump straight to specific sections within an app – such as the ‘buy hats’ page – via ‘deep links’.

If someone searches for ‘buy hats online’, they can get taken straight to a company’s selection of hats ready to click ‘buy’. No installation necessary.

Right now, we don’t know exactly how this is going to work; will users be able to access these deep links via Google search? Or will they need to use the Play Store? (I’d be willing to bet the former is an …read more

Source:: android authority


Hangouts adds “shareable link” feature to join group conversations

By Kris Carlon

Google Hangouts shareable link group chat Android

The Google Hangouts team – what many of us picture as a lone guy in a Mountain View basement – have been on a bit of a run lately. First Hangouts 11 added support for video messaging (or embedded video links) and now a new feature is about to be rolled out. In the next few days you’ll be able to invite anyone to a group chat with a shareable link.

best messenger apps for AndroidSee also: 10 best messenger apps for Android108

Admittedly, the old method of individually inviting people wasn’t that hard, but if you were organizing a birthday or something and needed to manually add 50 folks to the chat, it could get a little tedious. This new method allows you to flip a switch to enable shareable links, then just send the unique link to as many people as you like. You can share it from within Hangouts or you email it, SMS it, WhatsApp it – whatever. Anyone with the link will be able to join.

You can share the link from Hangouts or you email it, SMS it, WhatsApp it – whatever

You can flip the switch back off again, if you decide your group chat has gotten big enough and you can still invite people the old way as well if you prefer. The feature needs to be turned on in each group chat individually by tapping the overflow menu, then People and Options. You’ll see two new fields when you get it, one to enable the feature and another for sharing the link.

You will also be able to search for group chats in Hangouts by the chat name, so keep an eye out for a magnifying glass icon that wasn’t there previously too.

Will you use this feature? Is Hangouts still worth your time or have you moved on?

…read more

Source:: android authority


You can now install Android apps on Chromebook Pixel (2015) and Acer R11

By Bogdan Petrovan

Image credit: Ben Baggley

Image credit: Ben Baggley

This post was originally published on our sister site,

Users of two new Chromebooks can now install Android apps on their devices.

Back at the Google I/O conference, Google said it would first roll out Android apps support to three Chrome OS devices, sometime around mid-June. While Google kept its word and brought the feature to the Asus Chromebook Flip on June 17, users of the Chromebook Pixel (2015) and the Acer Chromebook R11 were left hanging.

Not anymore: Starting today, you can switch to the developer channel of Chrome OS and update your Pixel (2015) or R11 to the latest version of the operating system. After that, you will be able to activate the feature from Settings.

Note that this is still a work in progress, hence, the availability of the feature in the developer channel, as opposed to the beta or stable channels. As such, you should expect various bugs and inconsistencies. App developers may also need to tweak their apps to work properly on Chrome OS. That said, early reports from users who tried out Android apps on their Chromebooks suggest that many apps already work flawlessly.

Following the Flip, R11, and Pixel (2015), Google will bring support for Android apps to many other Chromebooks and Chrome OS devices. The full list – which sadly excludes many older models, including the Pixel (2013) – can be perused here.

Have you tried out Android apps on a Chromebook? Let us know what you think.

…read more

Source:: android authority


Android Pay says “G’day, Australia”

By Bogdan Petrovan

android pay australia

Android Pay is now available in Australia.

The launch in Australia is the second in the Asia-Pacific area after Singapore. Android Pay is a bit behind compared to its big competitors, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, which launched “down under” in April and June respectively.

Android Pay in Australia supports debit and credit cards from more than 25 banks and financial institutions, but only one of them is considered a major player – ANZ. That said, Google said it’s working with more institutions and that Westpac support will be added by the end of the year. Other partners include American Express, Macquarie, MyState Bank, and Teachers Mutual Bank. Support for Bendigo and ING direct is coming soon and a full list of Australian banks that support Android Pay is available here.

Right now you can use Android Pay (after you download it from the Play Store) with supported Visa and American Express cards, and support for MasterCard and Eftpos cards will be added soon.

Android Pay can be used at any point of sale that supports contactless payments, including stores from 7-Eleven, Bing Lee, Brumby’s, Coles, Domino’s, and many others.

Don’t miss: Android Pay vs Apple Pay vs Samsung Pay Overview

Support for in-app Android Pay payments is coming in a few days to Catch of the Day, Deliveroo, Domino’s, EatNow, Hotel Tonight, and other apps.

…read more

Source:: android authority


Google Keyboard update delivers customizable themes

By Kris Carlon

Google Keyboard themes version 5.1 3

If you’ve been using the Android N developer preview or played around with a phone that has it, you likely would have come across customizable Google Keyboard themes. Well, that nifty little feature is now rolling out via a Google Keyboard update in Google Play. The version of the Google Clock found in the Android N preview is also updating in Google Play.

android n preview logoSee also: Android 7.0 Nougat features overview281

Besides themes, there’s nothing much of note in the Google Keyboard 5.1 update. You’ll get the fancy new theme tool with over a dozen different colors and the ability to use a photo as a background. You’ll also be able to flip a switch to determine whether you want borders around your keys or not.

Version 4.5.1 of the Clock app (also from the N preview) is also rolling out now. It adds support for Android 7.0 Nougat (onbviously), multi-window and direct boot (so an alarm can sound before your phone has fully booted up).

Hit the button below to grab the updates but note they are rolling out in stages so they may take a while to appear in your region.

What background image are you going to use for your keyboard? Which clock app do you use?

…read more

Source:: android authority


Pokémon Go is the most popular mobile game in U.S. history

By Kris Carlon

pokemon go 1

The inevitable has happened: Pokémon Go is officially the largest mobile game in U.S. history. And it only took a week to get there. Having just racked up 21 million active daily players, the cultural phenomenon of a game has now surpassed the previous record held by Candy Crush Saga back in its 2013 heyday of 20 million daily users.

pokemon goSee also: How to play Pokemon Go (and everything else you need to know)15

With Pokémon Go finally launching in Europe and untold millions more users soon to become addicted, it seems like only a matter of time before we report that Pokémon Go is the most popular mobile game in history, period. As SurveyMonkey (the research firm behind the user numbers) states:

Within three days of its release, Pokémon GO attracted more users than Twitter, and rose to the top of the App Store revenue charts, earning millions of dollars a day for its publisher, Niantic.

The big question now is just how long Pokémon Go will grip the world’s attention. The novelty factor and mass-contagion effect are certainly inflating its early numbers, but once things settle down what will the sustainable user base look like? While I know some of you might be sick of reading about Pokémon Go, you’ve got to respect it for getting 21 million people in the U.S. a day to go outside and exercise.

Have you played Pokémon Go yet? Do you think it will continue to grow in the U.S. or shrink in usage a little?

…read more

Source:: android authority


Pre-order Alcatel Idol 4s starting this Friday and save $50

By Team AA

Alcatel idol 4s hands on 6

The Samsung Galaxy Note7 might be just around the corner, and we are already seeing reports on the LG V10’s successor, but that’s not to say that we aren’t excited about more affordable gadgets – say, the Alcatel Idol 4s that debuted at Mobile World Congress 2016.

The good news is that after five months of wait, Alcatel is finally launching the Idol 4s in the US on its official website on August 3rd. The even better news is that if you’re eager to get your hands on the device as soon as possible, it will be available for pre-order this Friday, July 15th, starting at 8 a.m. (Pacific Daylight Time).

Those who pre-order will be able to snag up this beautifully designed smartphone for only $349.99, compared to the regular price of $399.99. And along with that, Alcatel is throwing in generous gifts for those who pre-order, including a VR headset, a transparent case, a tempered glass screen protector, and JBL headphones.

blu-life-one-x-vs-moto-g (1)See also: Best cheap Android phones391

For just $349.99, you are getting yourself a durable phone with a minimal design, flaunting a 5.5” QHD AMOLED screen. While it’ll launch with Android 6.0 Marshmallow on board, it’ll be later updated to Android 7.0 Nougat. We have a 16MP rear camera with an f/2.0 aperture and an 8MP selfie-shooter, a dual-SIM slot, and 3GB of RAM all wrapped inside a 7mm thin shell.

Its specs and price mean that phones like the OnePlus 3 will be its direct competition, which brings us to the chipset that powers the Idol 4s. The Alcatel Idol 4s sports the octa-core Snapdragon 652 processor, compared to the OnePlus 3’s blazing-fast Snapdragon 820 processor.

Essentially, the choice boils down to horsepower vs. screen. If you’re looking for an affordable phone with the best chipset out there currently, the OnePlus 3 might be your answer; if you’re looking for an inexpensive device with a gorgeous QHD AMOLED screen, you might want to go ahead and place your order for the Idol 4s this weekend.

Check out our hands-on with the Idol 4s here!

Have you been waiting for the Idol 4s? Will you be pre-ordering the Idol 4s this weekend? Let us know what features you’re most excited about!

…read more

Source:: android authority


Alcatel launches the Idol 4S, pre-orders begin July 15

By Nick Sarafolean

Alcatel is a company that doesn’t readily come to mind when discussing the U.S. smartphone market. That being said, the company is the fourth largest smartphone manufacturer in the U.S., showing that it has more reach than many realize. Alcatel has a great a deal of budget and mid-range devices, but it’s beginning to bring its higher-end options to the States. The Alcatel Idol 4S is one of those high-end devices, and we now know when it’s coming stateside.

Following its announcement of the device in February, Alcatel has now said that the Idol 4S will open for pre-orders in the U.S. on July 15 at 11:00 AM EST. These pre-orders will be part of a bundle that includes VR goggles, a tempered glass screen protector, JBL headphones and an Incipio protective case. That entire bundle will be available for $349.99 during the pre-order only. Official orders begin on August 3, and the Idol 4S will be priced at $399.

While the Idol 4S is largely the same as it was at the time of announcement, there is one notable change. Alcatel has added a fingerprint sensor to the rear of the device, putting it on par with many modern flagships. Customers will still get the 5.5-inch QHD display, Snapdragon 652 processor, 16-megapixel rear camera and more.

Alcatel is adding a great product to its lineup, but it remains to be seen if it will be a success within the U.S. Alcatel has staked its claim in the budget market and the Idol 4S may not fare quite as well with the company’s customer base. If it does perform well, we might just see Alcatel giving ZTE a run for its money.

…read more

Source:: androidandme