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Humanity is in trouble and it’s up to you, Returner 77, to save it.

Recently published to Google Play, Returner 77 is a sci-fi mystery puzzle game, tasking you with solving complex puzzles aboard an alien spaceship. To sum up the current crisis, humans sent a number of survivors into space in a state of cryosleep. Unfortunately, it appears only you and one other Returner is alive, while Earth has been rendered uninhabitable.

To start the game, you attempt to meet with your fellow Returner, Colonel T. Ling. Once aboard this alien spaceship, the puzzles begin. The first few are very easy as you gain entry to the ship, with the game helping you understand the controls for movement and puzzle manipulation. After that, though, you’re on your own and from my play experience, the puzzles get very complex.

While I know many of you enjoy puzzle games, such as The Room series, I want to draw your attention to the game’s graphics and audio. Right at the beginning of booting the game, the developers suggest you wear headphones for getting more immersed in the experience, which I also recommend. Additionally, if you have a phone with a high-resolution display, ensure that it’s cranked up. The game looks and feels amazing, so do everything in your power to allocate the...

Covering Android since 2009 has allowed me to see all of the highs and lows of this platform. We were there during the early battles with Apple fans, the ones who considered Android nothing but a cheap knock-off of the product they had begun to cultishly, blindly follow. We were there as Android manufacturers were all cashing in on the Android boom as its adoption spread globally to help it quickly become number 1. We saw innovation at a breakneck pace that left us giggling at Apple seemingly left behind in tech trends and feature parity. Of course, those were highs.

For lows, we have had Android tablet flopfests, regularly scheduled security vulnerability scare reports, and never-ending frustrations over timely software updates. It’s also impossibly hard not to look at the current smartphone landscape and realize that few of the original power players are having any success in Android. Samsung and Huawei are, OnePlus might be on a smaller level, and almost everyone else is either losing money, laying off folks, being acquired, or refusing to tell us how many phones they’ve actually sold.

I actually think that those constant struggles by so many have led us to the next notch (😉) in Android history that could be a high or...

The Eufy EverCam is up on Kickstarter, already bringing in nearly three quarters of a million dollars, well over its set goal of $50,000.

If you don’t know about Eufy, it’s a subset of Anker, a brand all Android owners should know because they make fantastic charging accessories and much more. I mention this because I’m not typically a fan of random companies on Kickstarter, but I know Anker and I trust they will actually launch this product.

As for EverCam, it’s a completely wireless security camera, capable of recording Full HD video, complete with motion detection and facial recognition software. It also sports plenty of water resistance making it ideal for outdoor settings, and when compared to offerings from Nest or others, it has zero monthly price attached to it.

Thanks to its design, which centers around magnets, the installation looks to be a breeze. You can attach the magnetic dock anywhere you’d like via screws, then place EverCam on it or stick EverCam to essentially anything metallic and magnetic. Because it’s completely wire-free, this really opens up the places where you can install it.

You would think because it operates on WiFi and is wireless that you’d have to charge the thing once every couple of months or...

Mobvoi is a company you may not have heard a lot about at this point, but it’s one that you should probably start paying attention to if a fan of affordable tech that typically plays well with Android. For one, they make two of the better Wear OS watches in the TicWatch E and S. They also make one of the first portable Google Assistant speakers. Today, they are expanding their line-up with an AirPods-inspired product called TicPods Free.

The TicPods Free are now up for pre-order on Indiegogo and you should probably jump on these if you’ve ever wanted an AirPods alternative for Android. I say that because they have early bird pricing at $59, which is down from the $129 price point they plan to sell them at after this Indiegogo pre-order is done.

NOTE: Once the $59 price is gone (and it will be any minute now), there is another early bird tier at $79, followed by a $99 tier.

What are the TicPods Free? Let’s run through some of the features.

  • Assistants: Mobvoi claims that they’ll work on Android and iOS, as well as with Google Assistant, Siri, and Amazon Alexa. How they are going to pull that off is beyond me, but that’s the pitch.
  • AirPods Style: Yes, they look similar to AirPods in that they...

This sponsored post was written by StackCommerce.

NordVPN lets you browse incognito around the world.

For years, net neutrality was something many of us took for granted. Then, last December, the FCC voted to repeal a host of Obama-era protections against data throttling and blocking by ISPs, sparking a massive debate over the issue. Now, a lawsuit has been filed over the FCC’s appeal, and most recently, the Internet Association, which represents Internet heavy hitters like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, has filed to intervene in the suit. 

With net neutrality in jeopardy, there’s no question that you should be doing everything you can to keep your browsing private and secure. To this end, one of the best things you can do is arm yourself with a VPN, or virtual private network. But, with new VPN options constantly flooding the market, it can be difficult to determine which ones are worth your time and which are little more than digital snake oil.

If you’ve done any searching, you’ve likely come across NordVPN and its host of industry accolades. Praised for its colossal server network and device flexibility, this solution has been rated 5 out of 5 stars by TrustPilot and CNET and even nabbed the rare “outstanding” rating from PC Mag. Two-year plans normally retail for a...

All the rumors, reports, leaks, and speculations have led to this… Another LG G7 ThinQ render, this time courtesy of @evleaks.

What separates this render from others we have already seen is obviously its quality. This is clearly our best look yet at LG’s upcoming flagship, and because it’s so good, this will likely be the last unofficial render we post until LG makes the device official on May 2.

From this image, we get a very good sense at how large the bezels at the bottom and top of the device are, along with the top display notch. Unfortunately, we can’t see the backside (we’re expecting to see a fingerprint reader and dual camera setup), but maybe more importantly, we also can’t see the left side of the device where it’s reported LG is placing a dedicated ThinQ AI button (like Samsung’s Bixby button on the Galaxy S lineup).

Still, as I mentioned, this is our best look at the G7 ThinQ yet and if we continue to post up every render we come across, we won’t be very surprised by anything when LG hosts its unveiling event on May 2.

What’s your final take on the G7 ThinQ ahead of LG’s event? Are you feeling it yet? Definitely not feeling it? We...

As I just mentioned, Verizon is running a heck of a deal right now on the Pixel 2 XL that gets you not only $300 off, but a free Google bundle too, one that includes YouTube TV, a Chromecast, and a Google Home Mini. If you aren’t interested in Google’s phone from last year, that’s OK, because Verizon is also dropping $300 off the Galaxy S9+ and Galaxy Note 8, or $200 off the regular S9.

The deal for the S9+, S9, and Note 8 is the same as the Pixel 2 XL deal in that Verizon is locking you in for 2 years if you take it. They are spreading the $300-off and $200-off over a 24-month device payment plan, which should reduce your monthly payment to a more reasonable amount.

And that’s it. This is a limited run deal and no trade-in is required.

Verizon Links:

Verizon Slashes $300 Off Galaxy S9+, Note 8 (No Trade-In Needed) is a post from: Droid Life

Verizon kicked off another solid deal this morning on its top Android phones that will land you $300 off (no trade-in required). The Pixel 2 XL happens to have the best of the deals, though, thanks to that free Google bundle that is still included.

With this Pixel 2 XL deal, you get a $300-off discount that is spread out over a 24-month device payment plan. I know, these deals are obnoxious, but that’s the game that carriers are playing these days to sign you up for 2 years. If anything, at least you are getting a cheaper monthly payment on a top tier phone. The 64GB Pixel 2 XL would drop to around $22/mo and the 128GB model would be around $27/mo.

In addition to that $300 off deal, Verizon and Google are tossing in 2 free months of YouTube TV, a free Chromecast, and a free Google Home Mini. Do some quick math there and you are looking at $165 in free Google goodies.

Both deals are only available for a limited time.

Verizon Links:

Cheers Ken and VerizonGuy2018!

DEAL: Pixel 2 XL is $300 Off at Verizon, Includes Free Google Bundle Still is a post from: Droid Life

Today, after more than two months, Google has updated the Android distribution numbers that show the percentages for each version of Android still alive in the ecosystem. We aren’t sure why there was this gap, but we are at least happy to report that Oreo’s adoption has had a massive jump since then. Massive, guys.

For April, Google shows that Oreo (both 8.0 and 8.1 combined) have reached 4.6% of the Android pie, which is up from the 1.1% back in February. See, massive. For other versions, we’ve got Nougat at 30.8%, Marshmallow at 26.0%, Lollipop at 22.9%, KitKat at 10.5%, Jelly Bean at 4.5%, Ice Cream Sandwich at 0.4%, and Gingerbread still hanging on at 0.3%.

Outside of Oreo on the rise, Nougat is the only other version that jumped up (Nougat was at 28.5% in February). All of the other versions saw their percentages drop or stay the same.

You can see February’s numbers right here.

// Android Developers

Android Distribution Numbers Updated for the First Time in 2 Months is a post from: Droid Life

OnePlus is pushing a stable update of OxygenOS 5.1.0 today to the OnePlus 5 and 5T that brings each phone up to Android 8.1. The update includes full-screen gesture support on the 5T as well, similar to those seen on the iPhone X.

For those on the OnePlus stable track, the update will roll out incrementally over the coming days, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see it right away. Your best bet is to keep checking each morning to see if your phone has made the cut. Head into Settings>System updates to check.

Previously, we saw OnePlus beta testing Android 8.1 on both phones back in March. We also saw navigation gestures hit the 5T in January. If you want to see how those work, watch the video below.

The update includes the April security patch, new optimizations in gaming mode, a network boost, category tags in the app drawer, and auto names for folders based on category. It’s a decent little update.

// OnePlus

OnePlus Pushes Stable Android 8.1 Update to 5 and 5T, Stable Navigation Gestures Too is a post from: Droid Life

Announced this morning, Razer is now pushing out the Android 8.1 update to owners of the Razer Phone.

For what’s new, Razer doesn’t appear to provide a specific changelog, but does link everyone to Google’s overall 8.1 changelog. That includes changes for Autofill, notification enhancements, and more. We’ve written and filmed the changes in Android 8.1, so feel free to check that out. Since Razer skipped Android 8.0 and went straight to 8.1, here is a solid list of changes for 8.0 in case you’re curious.

According to Razer, all owners should have the update within 10 days, since they’re utilizing a gradual rollout method.

Leave it to the newcomers to show these major Android OEMs how it’s done.

The wait is over! Starting today, we’re rolling out Android 8.1 to fans wielding the Razer Phone. The update will come in waves and you can expect it on your device within 10 days. Get psyched. Find out more about the Razer Phone now: — R Λ Z Ξ R (@Razer) April 16, 2018

Razer Pushing Android 8.1 Update to Razer Phone Owners is a post from: Droid Life

Sony announced the Xperia XZ2 lineup at MWC in February, with pre-orders going live last week. On the heels of that, another Xperia XZ2 device has been announced, the Xperia XZ2 Premium.

Fittingly, given the Premium moniker, the device features a solid list of specs, as well as a similar design to the other Xperia XZ2 devices. It features a 5.8″ 4K HDR display (2160 x 3840) with a healthy amount of bezels, Qualcomm-made Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, stereo speakers, dual rear-facing cameras (19MP Motion Eye RGB + 12MP B&W), 13MP front-facing camera, 3540mAh battery, headphone jack, water and dust resistance, wireless charging, and runs Android Oreo out of the box.

In the press release, Sony highlights the 4K HDR TRILUMINOS display and dual camera setup on the backside. For the 4K HDR display, Sony states it has 765 pixels per inch, while using BRAVIA TV technology to up-convert everything to near-HDR quality. That means better contrast, color, and clarity when watching your media.

For the cameras, Sony appears to have spared no expense. Capable of shooting video in 4K HDR as well as 960FPS in HD or FHD, the 19-megapixel...

To celebrate Earth Week, Amazon is dropping an additional 20% off a bunch of items from its Amazon Warehouse site, where they sell used products (probably items that were returned). Since these are used items, they already carry low prices, but at an extra 20% off you can really get some incredible deals.

I spent all of 5 minute searching for products on Warehouse and found the US unlocked Galaxy Note 8 for $550.22, US unlocked Galaxy S8+ for $452.94, Essential Phone for $271.99, LG OLED 4K TVs at $400+ off, Chromebooks with discounts, etc.

How does Amazon Warehouse work? These are used items that pass a 20-point Amazon inspection, are backed by Amazon’s 30-day return policy, and should have their condition listed. They may not ship to you in a retail box, but Amazon suggests the products will be solid. Prime shipping works on them, plus many are still backed by manufacturer warranties.

Hit up that link below and search for something you’ve been hunting for to see if it’s available on Warehouse and with the 20% off. (20% off will be marked and shown in cart.)

Amazon Warehouse Deals [FAQ]

Other Deals:

DEAL: Amazon Warehouse Drops 20% Off Items...

Guys, the Essential Phone has dropped once again to $399.99. That’s $100 off and its lowest price since that crazy Black Friday deal we freaked out over. While this doesn’t include a free 360 Camera, this is still a hell of a deal.

At $399.99, you can choose either Black Moon, Pure White, or Halo Grey. The Amazon exclusive Halo Grey is still $499.99.

Is this worth it now? Honestly, I think so. As you guys know, I’m somewhat of an Essential Phone fanboy, flaws and all. I’ve actually been using the white model for the past week and really like it still. Sure, it has touch sensitivity issues compared to the Pixel 2 and it’s camera isn’t ever going to be as good as the Galaxy S9’s, but man, this hardware is great and the regular updates, as well as the clean Android experience, are something you don’t see often.

Yeah, I’d say $399 makes it worth it. If you need more info, watch this, read this, and this.

Essential Phone Deal Links:

DEAL: Essential Drops to $399, Lowest Price Since Black Friday is a post from: Droid Life

If you happened to miss any of the Android happenings this week, you done goofed up. Don’t worry, though, that’s why we’re here! Let’s catch you right up!

Sony’s new Xperia XZ2 lineup is now up for pre-order in the US, we basically reviewed the Nest Hello video doorbell and Nest x Yale smart lock, learned the LG G7 ThinQ will be announced May 2, Essential said they’re going to “do it better” with regard to their next smartphone camera, and Google gave us an indication that Android P might be all about the gestures.

Here are thing items from this week you don’t want to miss.

Anker sells a PowerWave fast wireless charger on Amazon that is powered by a Quick Charge 3.0 adapter for even faster charges when wired directly. That means you can use the wireless charging pad to get that wireless action (fast with Samsung phones), but if you need to top off even quicker, you can plug directly into the QC 3.0 adapter to get faster speeds.

For the next couple of days, this charger has dropped from $45.99 to $31.99, which is a pretty good deal. For comparison, the newest Samsung fast wireless charging stand with quick charger runs $50 after a $20 discount.

No code is needed for the discount and Prime shipping is available.

Amazon Deal Link

DEAL: Anker’s PowerWave Fast Wireless Charger With Quick Charge 3.0 Adapter is $14 Off is a post from: Droid Life

Google’s 2nd generation Chromecast is discounted almost everywhere right now, but Target has the best price. While most have this HDMI dongle at $5 off, Target is a full $10 off.

Keep in mind that if you have it shipped, that extra savings will be wiped by shipping, unless you buy other goodies to get you over $35. Or, you could buy it online at $25 and pick it up in-store, which wouldn’t cost anything extra.

Get after it.

Target Deal Link

DEAL: Chromecast is Just $25 Right Now at Target is a post from: Droid Life

The US government’s assault in Chinese electronics makers continued today with news that the US had slapped ZTE with a 7-year ban for violating an agreement between the two. That ban stops US companies from supplying ZTE with components, which could be devastating to a company that possibly gets between 25 and 30% of its parts from the US.

The agreement that was violated stemmed from ZTE’s attempt at conspiring to illegally ship US goods to Iran a few years back, which it had already paid heavy fines from. A report today from Bloomberg suggests that the violation comes from ZTE agreeing to fire four employees, while disciplining others as well as taking away their bonuses. ZTE apparently did fire the four workers, but did not discipline the others and still gave them bonuses. ZTE may have lied about all of that too, which is what pissed off the US government.

So what does this mean for ZTE? Well, companies like Qualcomm, Microsoft, and Intel all supply ZTE with components. Without those, I’d imagine life might be tough on ZTE unless they can find replacements. But come on, we’re talking about three of the biggest tech companies in the world that you can no longer buy products from. That’s going to hurt.

This news arrives on the...

Google posted to the Android Developers Blog today a story about DNS over TLS support in Android P. It’s a fun story, if care about things like a built-in Private DNS mode. If you don’t, then you may be interested in another part of this story – the screenshot that was initially shared.

Anything seem different to you in the image above or below? Yep, that’s a new navigation bar setup.

Google has since pulled the screenshot and replaced it with an image that lacks a navigation bar, likely because they realized that they outed something early.

We don’t know exactly what’s going on here, but that area in this screenshot shows a back button, along with a single pill-shaped icon. That could be a home button and it could also be a button that utilizes gestures. If it’s a gesture-based system, I’m envisioning a tap to go home or a swipe to get into or out of apps. Maybe Google has something else planned? Either way, there is no longer an app switcher button displayed on the right, something that has been there for years.

And we know that Android OEMs are adopting...

On this episode of the Droid Life Show, we’re back to discuss the latest in Android rumors surrounding upcoming devices like the Pixel 3, OnePlus 6, and LG G7 ThinQ. We’ve got dates for some of their unveilings, confirmed specs on others, and pure mystery surrounding Google’s next phone.

Outside of those phone round-ups, we’ll dive into life with Nest products, why Samsung fans are OK with slow updates, and what to make of Essential admitting that their camera is garbage.

To end the show, we’ll do trivia once again, this time with prizes provided by iFixit!

We’ll open the show at 12:00PM Pacific (3:00PM Eastern).

If you miss us live and/or want the audio version of our podcast, you can subscribe through the various links below.

Podcast: Essential 2, Phone of the Year is a post from: Droid Life