Cubot Z100, S500 & S550 Smartphones with Android 5.1 Lollipop Goes Official

Cubot, the lesser known Chinese smartphone manufacturer, has been offering some beautiful handsets in the recent times at affordable prices. Cubot in collaboration with Cheetah Mobile has launched a co-branded smartphone called as Cubot CheetahPhone at the recently concluded MWC 2016 event in Barcelona. Today, the brand has launched three new smartphones named as Cubot Z100, S500 and S550 in China. All the smartphones come with impressive specifications in their respective category and will go on sale soon. Earlier we exclusively reported about Cubot S550 that features 5.5-inch HD display, 2GB RAM, fingerprint sensor and beautiful design. Now, let’s talk about the other two smartphones in detail:

Cubot Z100

The Cubot Z100 is the basic among all the devices and it offers more than decent specifications. The smartphone flaunts a 5-inch (1280×720 pixels) HD IPS full lamination display offering a pixel density of 294ppi and 2.5D arc glass laid on top. Under the hood, it comes powered by 64-bit MediaTek MT6735P quad-core processor clocked at 1.0GHz paired with Mali-T720 GPU and 1GB of RAM for smooth performance of the device. It has 1GB of RAM, 16GB of built-in storage and also includes a microSD card slot for expansion upto 32GB.

On the camera cordon, the smartphone is equipped with a 13MP rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, LED flash and an 8MP front-facing camera for video chats and perfect selfie images. It supports dual sim dual standby and includes connectivity options like 4G-LTE, GPS/A-GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a microUSB 2.0 port with OTG support. The device features premium looks with a metal frame around its sides and diamond pattern back panel and also includes interesting features like HotKnot and Smart Gestures for easy access. The handset comes backed by a 2450mAh battery and runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box.

Cubot S500

The Cubot S500 is the smaller variant of the S550, with the only differences being the smaller display and battery capacity. The S500 features a 5-inch (1280×720 pixels) HD IPS display with 2.5D curved glass and 294ppi as pixel density when compared to the S550 that has a 5.5-inch HD 2.5D display. The smartphone comes equipped with 64-bit MediaTek MT6735 quad-core processor clocked at 1.3GHz paired with Mali-T720 GPU and 2GB of RAM. The smartphone supports dual sim dual standby and runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box. The smartphone features premium looks and also includes a fingerprint sensor for enhanced security.

On the photographic section, the device sports a 13MP rear camera with LED flash and an 8MP front-facing camera for video calling and crisp selfie images. Connectivity options on the smartphone include 4G-LTE, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS/A-GPS and microUSB port 2.0 with OTG support. The handset is backed by a smaller 2700mAh battery when compared to the S550 that is backed by a 3000mAh battery. Like the other two devices, the S500 also features HotKnot for easy sharing and Smart Gestures for quick access to various functions. Stay tuned for more details about pricing and availability about the smartphones in coming days.



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LYF Announces Flame 2, Wind 4 & Water 7 Smartphones with VoLTE & VoWiFi Support

LYF, a smartphone owned by Reliance, has announced three new smartphones called as LYF Flame 2, Wind 4 and Water 7 in India. All the smartphones will be available via company’s official website and Reliance Retail stores across the country. With the launch of three new products, the brand has expanded its portfolio to 8 devices that already includes of Earth 1, Water 1, Water 2, Wind 6 and Flame 1 smartphones. All the smartphones support 4G-LTE, VoLTE, VoWiFi and run on Android OS.

“The Holi Celebration Offer is an appreciation of the trust and confidence that consumers have placed in LYF. We will continue to delight constantly our customers with similar novelty factors”, said a Reliance Retail spokesperson. LYF aims to be a key player in the Indian smartphone market by offering cutting edge technology and a superior user experience – the true 4G experience comprising HD Voice and Video calling.

Talking about the smartphones, the LYF Flame 2 priced at Rs. 4,999 is one of the most affordable 4G-LTE enabled smartphones in India with VoLTE and VoWiFi support. The LYF Wind 6 will be a battery-focused smartphone as it powers a massive 4000mAh battery that can easily take you through a couple of days on a single charge. Lastly, the LYF Water 7 will be of the highest quality among all the devices and also includes a fingerprint sensor for advanced security functions. The Water 7 is the first in the LYF branded smartphones that include a fingerprint sensor. Apart from this, no other details about the smartphones have been revealed by the company. Stay tuned for more updates about the upcoming LYF branded smartphones in coming days.

A quick recall, LYF has recently launched an entry-level smartphone in its Wind series called as LYF Wind 6 in India priced at Rs. 7,090 and is available of for sale via Reliance Retail stores across the country. The smartphone features 5-inch FWVGA display, Snapdragon 210 SoC, 5MP primary and secondary cameras, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, 4G-LTE with VoLTE and VoWiFi support, 2250mAh battery and runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box.



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Best Android Phones below Rs. 5,000 February 2016 Price List

Android smartphone under Rs. 5,000 are considered as low-end devices and are mostly preferred by the first time users or the customers for whom the budget matters. In the month of February, the domestic smartphone manufacturers like Xolo, HSL, Swipe, Intex and Ringing Bells were among the companies that launched a smartphone each in this price range.

Here is the list of top Android phones below Rs. 5,000:

Freedom 251

Ringing Bells, the new Indian smartphone maker, has amazed everyone by launching the world’s cheapest smartphone called as Freedom 251 in India. The smartphone was launched with a vision of “empowering India to the last person, transforming India’s growth story.” The smartphone offers an impressive set of features at that cheapest price tag and can be purchased by anyone irrespective of their incomes and who desire to own a smartphone. The Freedom 251 will be available for purchase both online and offline and the brand has promised to deliver it by the end of June 2016.

freedom 251

The Freedom 251 has following features:

  • 4-inch qHD display
  • 1.3GHz quad-core SoC
  • 1GB RAM & 8GB internal storage
  • 1450mAh battery
  • 3G HSPA+ connectivity

The Freedom 251 is priced at Rs. 251

Ringing Bells Smart 101 4G

Ringing Bells has recently launched an ultra-affordable smartphone called as Ringing Bells Smart 101 4G in India. The smartphone is the world most affordable smartphone with 4G-LTE support and will be available for purchase via company’s official online store and will also be later made available via offline platforms across the country. The Smart 101 4G is the most highly recommended devices as it comes with powerful specifications that other brands fail to offer in their smartphones at this dirt cheap price tag.

Smart 101 4G

Key features of Ringing Bells Smart 101 4G are:

  • 5-inch qHD display
  • 1GB RAM & 8GB of storage
  • 8MP primary camera with LED flash
  • 2800mAh battery
  • 4G-LTE support

The Ringing Bells Smart 101 4G is priced at Rs. 2,999

HSL Y501 Plus

HSL Mobile has recently released a dirt cheap smartphone called as HSL Y501 Plus in India. The main USP of the smartphone is it offers a HammerScreen that will help in protecting it from drops and scratches. The company is also offering additional 100 days of warranty against the HammerScreen. The HSL Y501 Plus is available for purchase online exclusively via Snapdeal and it also comes bundled with a flip cover free of cost. The smartphone sports decent specifications at this price range and also supports 21 Indian languages.

Y501 Plus

The key specifications of HSL Y501 Plus are:

  • 5-inch FWVGA display
  • 5MP rear camera with LED flash & 2MP front snapper
  • 1GB RAM & 8GB of built-in storage
  • 2000mAh battery
  • HammerScreen

The HSL Y501 Plus is priced at Rs. 3,999

Swipe Konnect 5.1

Swipe Technologies have recently launched a low-end limited edition smartphone called as Swipe Konnect 5.1. The smartphone comes with more than decent specifications and is launched targeting the youth across the country. The Swipe Konnect 5.1 features Sandstone Black finish and is available for purchase online exclusively via Snapdeal. The smartphone comes with 5-inch FWVGA display with Vi-Di technology for brighter and vivid experience, 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 3000mAh battery and runs on Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box.

Swipe Konnect 5.1

The Swipe Konnect 5.1 comes with following features:

  • 5-inch FWVGA display with Vi-Di technology
  • 1.2GHz quad-core chipset
  • 1GB RAM & 8GB onboard storage
  • 8MP autofocus primary camera with LED flash
  • 3000mAh battery

The Swipe Konnect 5.1 is priced at Rs. 3,999

Intex Aqua Wing

The domestic smartphone maker, Intex has been aggressive in offering entry-level handsets in the Indian market targeting the low-end category users. The company has recently launched a new 4G-LTE enabled smartphone in its Aqua series called as Intex Aqua Wing that is available for purchase via both online and offline platforms across the country. The low-priced smartphone supports dual sim dual standby and runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box.

Aqua Wing

The features of Intex Aqua Wing are:

  • 4-inch (800×480 pixels) WVGA display
  • 64-bit MediaTek MT6735M quad-core SoC
  • 1GB RAM & 8GB of inbuilt storage
  • 4G-LTE connectivity
  • 1500mAh battery

The Intex Aqua Wing is priced at Rs. 4,599

Xolo Era 4G

Xolo in the recent times has launched many impressive budget-friendly smartphones in India. The brand has recently released an affordable smartphone in India in its Era series called as Xolo Era 4G. The smartphone features 5-inch HD display, 64-bit Spreadtrum SC9830A quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, 2500mAh battery, Android 5.1 Lollipop, 4G-LTE and VoLTE support. The Xolo Era 4G is the cheapest smartphone available in the market with VoLTE connectivity and is available for sale online exclusively via Snapdeal.

Era 4G

The Xolo Era 4G has following specifications:

  • 5-inch HD display with Gorilla Glass protection
  • 64-bit Spreadtrum SC9830A 1.5GHz quad-core SoC
  • 5MP rear and 2MP front cameras with LED flash
  • 2500mAh battery
  • 4G-LTE support

The Xolo Era 4G is priced at Rs. 4,777

These are the best smartphones priced below Rs. 5000 for this month. If you are willing to spend a little more out of your pockets then here is the list of top smartphones priced between Rs. 5000 to Rs. 10,000 worth checking out.



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Google adds a VR section to the Play Store

As part of the company’s growing commitment to virtual reality, Google has now added a VR section to the Play Store. Google was one of the first entrants into the field of VR with Google Cardboard, its low-cost VR headset that utilized users’ phones to function as the display. Since then, Google has invested more into VR through partnerships and most recently, through a restructuring and the creation of a dedicated virtual reality department.

Google is now making it even easier for users to discover more about VR by creating a virtual reality section within the Google Play Store. This section highlights the capabilities of VR headsets that utilize Google Cardboard software. It also gives users a few different options to purchase Google Cardboard-compatible VR headsets.

All of this comes amidst recent rumors that Google will soon launch a successor to Google Cardboard, while also pushing further into virtual reality tech and looking for the next breakthrough. With all of its resources, Google may very well find the next big thing in VR, paving the way for a very different future.

Check out the new section for yourself by following the source link below.



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Samsung reportedly selling edge displays to other manufacturers

Samsung’s edge displays have been a differentiating factor in the smartphone game, not only offering a unique appearance but having some new features to go along with them. But that may soon change, as Samsung is reportedly going to be selling the edge displays to other manufacturers to use in their smartphones.

The companies allegedly in talks with Samsung are Huawei, Xiaomi, and Vivo (above is a leaked image of the Xplay5). The BlackBerry Priv apparently uses a Samsung edge display, and while it doesn’t serve any functional purpose, you have to admit that it looks pretty good.

In the end, it will result in more unique devices and that’s great for the customer. A budget Huawei or Xiaomi phone with curved screen edges sounds great, since the edge displays are only on flagships in the Samsung lineup. What do you think about Samsung giving up a differentiating factor like the curved edge displays? Leave a comment!



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ASUS announces Marshmallow rollout plans

ASUS has announced its plans for the Android 6.0 update we know a lot of people are waiting for. Though Marshmallow launched almost five months ago, many companies have still not released the update for their devices. We should be used to this by now, though, as it’s been a trend with Android devices since the OS came out.

ASUS will be updating a bunch of phones to Marshmallow in Q2 of 2016, so June at the latest. Here’s the list of devices to be updated:

  • PadFone S (PF500KL)
  • ZenFone 2 (ZE550ML, ZE551ML)
  • ZenFone 2 Deluxe (ZE551ML)
  • ZenFone 2 Deluxe Special Edition (ZE551ML)
  • ZenFone 2 Laser (ZE500KG, ZE500KL, ZE550KL, ZE551KL, ZE600KL, ZE601KL)
  • ZenFone Selfie (ZD551KL)
  • ZenFone Max (ZC550KL)
  • ZenFone Zoom (ZX551ML)

When these devices do receive the update, the messenger, mail, and calendar ZenUI apps will be replaced with the Google versions. If you’d like to keep the ASUS versions, they’ll be available on the Play Store. The updates are still a few months out, but at least the company isn’t abandoning these devices.



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Top 5 most popular Android apps from last week: Kaizala, Speedify

Every week we cover new Android apps with Fresh Meat on Wednesday, followed by Android Gaming on Thursday and Top 10 App Updates on Friday. When Monday rolls around, we look back to see which apps were the most appealing to our audience. Read on for the five most popular Android apps from last week. These apps are ones that are most likely new and haven’t appeared in the top five list more than three times.

1. Battery Time Saver

Battery Time Saver

App info: Extend your battery time to make your battery power last longer between charges with Battery Time, the free app for Android that helps you conserve energy, save power, stop energy leaks and fine-tune settings to optimize and boost your battery time.

 

2. Rewind: Reverse Voice Recorder

Rewind - Reverse Voice Recorder

App info: Rewind allows you to passively record your surroundings. This app continuously runs in the background and records everything your phone hears, allowing you to save recent recording when you hear something you would like to keep.

 

3. Kaizala

Kaizala

App info: Kaizala, a Microsoft Garage Project, helps you get your work done by tracking bills, jobs, location and much more – and, it’s as simple as chat.

 

4. Speedify

Speedify

App info: Speedify is a new kind of VPN that lets you use Wi-Fi and 3G/4G mobile data together for fast, unbreakable Internet no matter where you are.

 

5. VHS Camcorder

VHS Camcorder

App info: With VHS Camcorder, you’ll make home movies that look and sound like video tapes pulled out of storage after 30 years. Realism: the ORIGINAL and BEST app for simulating old videotape recordings.

 

Note:  To ensure that all apps receive a fair chance to make the list, we will retire any app that has made the list for three consecutive weeks.



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‘Monotune’ Android ad results in free monotune album

You may remember the Android “Monotune” ad that recently came out. It featured a pianist playing songs on a regular piano, then playing the same songs on a piano modified to only play the middle C note. It had the tagline “Be together. Not the same.”, which showed off Android’s variety of devices that all work together, in contrast to everyone using the same phone.

For some reason, Google decided to release an album based on the ad with the same name. It’s an album full of songs played on the piano that only has the middle C note, so it’s quite a monotonous album. Thankfully it’s free, so you can give it a listen for fun. At least it’s funny.



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Motorola offering 16GB Moto G (3rd Gen) for $199

Today is Leap Day, which means that all sorts of deals are available. But Motorola is offering a sale that goes longer than just one day. Until March 7, Motorola is offering the 16GB Moto G (3rd Gen) for just $199. This is $20 off the regular price, which already offers immense bang for your buck. At just under $200, the Moto G (3rd Gen) is a steal, packing in a combination of useful and respectable features.

If you pick up the device, you can expect to find a 5-inch 720p display with Gorilla Glass, 1.4GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage plus microSD card slot, 13-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front-facing camera, 2470mAh battery, 4G LTE support and Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, which has already been update to Android 6.0 Marhsmallow in Europe, with the rest of the world following soon.

The Moto G (3rd Gen) is a fantastic phone with a price that’s easy on the wallet. It’s definitely worth owning if you’re on a budget or if you simply want to have a backup phone in case something happens to your daily driver. Remember, this sale only lasts through March 7, so don’t take more than a couple of days to think on it.

Buy it from Motorola.

Buy it from Amazon.



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Google self-driving car gets in first at-fault crash

Google’s self-driving cars have had a spotless driving record so far. After over a million miles of driving in some tough cities (let’s be fair, California drivers aren’t exactly great), there hasn’t been a single crash where the car was at fault. The few times a self driving car has been damaged is either someone running into it or a human was driving it.

Well, that was true until now. A Google self-driving car has gotten into its first crash in which it was at fault. The details are below:

“A Google Lexus-model autonomous vehicle (“Google AV”) was traveling in autonomous mode eastbound on El Camino Real in Mountain View in the far right-hand lane approaching the Castro St. intersection. As the Google AV approached the intersection, it signaled its intent to make a right turn on red onto Castro St. The Google AV then moved to the right-hand side of the lane to pass traffic in the same lane that was stopped at the intersection and proceeding straight. However, the Google AV had to come to a stop and go around sandbags positioned around a storm drain that were blocking its path. When the light turned green, traffic in the lane continued past the Google AV. After a few cars had passed, the Google AV began to proceed back into the center of the lane to pass the sand bags. A public transit bus was approaching from behind. The Google AV test driver saw the bus approaching in the left side mirror but believed the bus would stop or slow to allow the Google AV to continue. Approximately three seconds later, as the Google AV was reentering the center of the lane it made contact with the side of the bus. The Google AV was operating in autonomous mode and traveling at less than 2 mph, and the bus was travelling at about 15 mph at the time of contact. The Google AV sustained body damage to the left front fender, the left front wheel and one of its driver’s -side sensors. There were no injuries reported at the scene.”

It’s kind of a mixed bag. On one hand, it would have been nice if the bus had yielded to a car trying to get around an obstacle. But legally, the bus had the right of way, and the self-driving car should have yielded to a bus coming. Human intuition is one thing, and expecting the bus to yield is reasonable, but the self-driving car should have been more careful.

Thankfully, one crash in the history of the many Google self-driving cars out there still means the cars are far safer than human drivers. This bug can be fixed, and hope in these cars should not be lost.



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LEAGUE is the app that’s changing healthcare

Healthcare is a controversial subject in many countries, notably so in the US, which is dealing with a healthcare system that’s proven to be inefficient and costly. Alternate solutions have been proposed, suggesting everything from state-run healthcare to nearly non-existent regulation. But a new solution for the healthcare system is emerging in a different way than many expected.

LEAGUE is a new app-based service that aims to change the healthcare system in both the US and Canada. The service was founded by a team led by Mike Serbinis, the founder and former CEO of Kobo, the e-reader company. I was able to chat with Serbinis last week about LEAGUE, learning more about the service and how it aims to solve parts of the complex issue surrounding healthcare.

Essentially, LEAGUE is a service that aims to personalize healthcare for each user. It began with a focus on prevention, going after the everyday issues that lead to chronic diseases and other health issues. With many health issues stemming from lifestyle diseases, it was shocking to find out that an average of just one percent of spending goes towards prevention of these diseases, with the rest simply going to treatment.

I asked Serbinis about the founding of LEAGUE and whether there was a specific event that began the process. Unfolding from that was an remarkable story, in which Serbinis recounted a trip to Los Angeles where he met two extremely important people: Bill Clinton and Patrick Soon-Shiong. Clinton and Soon-Shiong were engaged in a discussion about “the future of medicine, and in particular, how it would be genomics-based and more personalized.”

Serbinis’ attention was caught, however, by how little discussion there was about prevention and everyday health. There was also little talk of the issues in the healthcare system regarding insurance and how consumers deal with medical providers. From this, Serbinis saw an opportunity to improve and thus, the concept for LEAGUE was born.

What was that initial concept? Serbinis describes it as “extremely broad, transforming the consumer experience so that people could be empowered to be healthy every day.”

From that, the team began to look at the problems that were standing in the way of everyday health. Using the problems that it identified, the team began to solve them and quickly found itself involved in something much bigger than it’d ever anticipated.

Serbinis and team began to build LEAGUE in 2014, with the first launch of the service in Toronto in June 2015. Since then, the company rolled out to its first US city of Seattle with a launch in November 2015. As of the writing of this article, LEAGUE has expanded to Vancouver and will continue to roll out across the US and Canada over the coming year.

Mike Serbinis, Founder and CEO of LEAGUE

Mike Serbinis, Founder and CEO of LEAGUE

What the company recently realized is that it had built something far more expansive than it had ever anticipated. In Serbinis’s words, LEAGUE “built a provider network, a marketplace, an Amazon-like place to go find health and wellness providers, services and products that were rated, reviewed and geo-specific, a consumer experience to discover, schedule and pay, and an employer experience so that employers can easily on-board their employees to use [LEAGUE].”

“When you put all those things together, what you’ve got is an end-to-end way to move money that is far more efficient.”

This sentence strikes at the heart of what LEAGUE is about: efficiency. The service is essentially designed to trim off all of the excess offerings and inefficiency of traditional insurance and healthcare, rather allowing individuals to pick and choose their own personal health needs and then giving them the power to seek out solutions to those needs, without having to go through the complicated and often frustrating experience of using a middleman insurance provider.

LEAGUE is designed to make healthcare “consumer-centric,” which involves removing the system that’s been used by traditional insurance companies. Rather than offering a swath of benefits to employees, most of which are never used, LEAGUE instead allows employers to offer employees an array of choices that they can pick and choose from, ensuring that the benefits package is only offering benefits that are useful to each individual.

By cutting out the other inefficiencies in the process, LEAGUE is able to offer this enormous benefit in a way that offers substantial savings for both employers and employees, while also improving overall long-term health of users by gearing many services towards prevention.

Think of it this way. Perhaps you’re carrying too much weight and you recognize that it’s due, in large part, to a lack of exercise. You don’t know where to start with exercising and you’d like to have a few sessions with a personal trainer to help you get started. Unfortunately, your insurance package from work doesn’t cover personal training or exercise classes, and the cost is too high for you to sign up otherwise.

LEAGUE solves this, because rather than employers telling employees what benefits they have and don’t have, it allows employers to offer spending accounts for employees, who can then use LEAGUE to find and purchase the service that they need. If you need personal training sessions, you can simply find a provider through LEAGUE and purchase it through your employer-provided spending account, no hassle involved.

This ties in to the way in which LEAGUE saves money. With traditional insurance, it requires several rounds of communication, transfers of information and multiple channels all trying to accomplish something as simple as paying for a dental appointment. LEAGUE eliminates all of those excessive channels, and by doing so, saves the immense amounts of money that are needlessly spent during that process.

Serbinis put the process into a good example:

With LEAGUE, what you do is you go to the LEAGUE app, pick your dentist, you say, 'I'll take Tuesday at two o'clock for a cleaning,' and it's $130. You schedule the appointment, you go in for the appointment and at the end of the appointment, there's another $20 charge, so now it's $150. It's like the first time you walk out of an Uber cab and you have that funny feeling of, 'Wow, I guess I don't have to pay,' because you paid through the app. You walk out of the dental office and your 'claim' has automatically been handled and you get a debit against your health spending account for $150 and that's it. LEAGUE pays the provider and you're done.Mike SerbinisLEAGUE

Part of the beauty of LEAGUE is that it offers advancements for both employees and employers. An employer can sign up for LEAGUE in as little as 10 minutes, and by the end of that time, it can already begin offering health benefits to its employees through LEAGUE.

Not only is it fast, but it’s also very useful for employers, as LEAGUE offers data and analytics to employers on what services employees are actually using, allowing employers to see how those services tie in to employee performance and wellness. With LEAGUE, employers can find out the best ways to motivate and improve the health and wellness of employees. These improvements in health will, in turn, likely improve employee performance and in a larger scope, company performance.

The question is, will LEAGUE replace traditional insurance companies? Serbinis says that it depends on the customer. For some customers, LEAGUE will take the place of traditional insurance companies. The company has expanded beyond just health and wellness and now offers a full array of dental, vision and medical benefits, allowing it to cover all of the same categories as traditional health insurance.

For other customers, LEAGUE functions as an add-on to insurance policies that don’t offer health and wellness benefits. With the flexibility of LEAGUE spending accounts, the service doesn’t need to be the exclusive provider for a company, and as such, it can function as an add-on, offering extra benefits that employees can choose to use if they so desire.

LEAGUE is a company that’s been founded to help consumers, which is the base on which all successful companies must be founded. After finishing our chat, I came away enlightened and excited about the future of LEAGUE. Serbinis and his team have struck into something incredible, and if the company’s growth is any indicator of success, LEAGUE is going to forever change the way we think about healthcare.


For more information about LEAGUE, click here.



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Samsung Galaxy Tab A (2016), Galaxy Tab E 7.0 get revealed in leaked images

Last year, Samsung launched a pair of tablets under the Galaxy Tab A brand with displays that measured 8 and 9.7 inches. Leading up to that the one-year anniversary of that reveal, new images have surfaced that reportedly show off a brand new, 7-inch Galaxy Tab A as well as a new Galaxy Tab E.

The images, published to Twitter via Evan Blass (@evleaks) recently, show off the pair of tablets right next to each other in black and white color schemes. The tablet on the left is allegedly the 7-inch Galaxy Tab A (2016), while the tablet on the right is the Galaxy Tab E 7.0.

Unfortunately, there isn’t any additional information to go along with the pictures. Both tablets seem to have 7-inch displays, and it seems clear that both devices will have a physical home button under those display and a camera on their backs. It doesn’t look like the Galaxy Tab E 7.0 has a front-facing camera, but the Galaxy Tab A appears to.

There’s no telling how much these will cost right now, but it’s likely that they won’t be high-end tablets. If you own a tablet now, how often do you use it and which one do you own?



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You can now pre-order the HTC Vive for $799

HTC is now accepting pre-orders for the HTC Vive. For $799, you get the Vive head-mounted display, two motion controllers, two laser tracking base stations, link box and a pair of earbuds in addition to three VR titles (Tilt Brush by Google, Fantastic Contraption and Job Simulator). The price does not include shipping or taxes. Those pre-ordering the HTC Vive in Europe or the UK will have to shell out €899 and £689, respectively, but those prices do include local VAT charges.

It may not be directly related to Android, but the Vive is a critical new product for HTC and will likely shape the future of VR development over the next few years. If the HTC Vive is a commercial success, it will be the first product in HTC’s portfolio that is not tied to a smartphone is some way.

Let us know in the comments if you’re planning on buying the HTC Vive.



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14.4 million people set to buy the Xiaomi Mi 5 tomorrow

With less than 24 hours to go before the Xiaomi Mi 5 goes on sale, the company has announced that more than 14.4 million people have already registered for the opportunity to purchase the phone when it goes on sale tomorrow morning in China. While the number is staggering, there’s no guarantee that all 14 million people will actually fork over their hard earned cash to buy the phone.

Priced at RMB 1999 ($306 USD), the base level Mi 5 will have a 1.8GHz Snapdragon 820, 32GB of storage, a glass back, and 3GB of RAM. The RMB 2299 ($352 USD) tier will have a 2.15GHz Snapdragon 820, 64GB of storage, and 3GB of RAM. The RMB 2699 ($413 USD) tier is the Pro model, offering a 2.15GHz Snapdragon 820, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 3D ceramic back.

The phone itself may not look as appealing as Samsung’s Galaxy S7 edge, but it’s definitely worth considering since it’s only half the price of what Samsung will be asking for its flagship smartphone. Samsung and LG has the advantage of being available in North America and Europe, but Xiaomi has been hinting that its 2016 flagship may make an appearance outside Asian markets sometime this year.

Would you consider buying the Xiaomi Mi 5 if it were to go on sale in Europe or the US?



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NBC’s Android app gains Chromecast support

After years of sitting around and twiddling our thumbs, the team behind the NBC app for Android have finally released an update that’s actually useful. That’s right, the latest update to the NBC app finally integrates Chromecast support. The app itself isn’t much better than previous iterations, but at least you now have the option of tapping the Chromecast icon and enjoying your favorite NBC shows on your Chromecast-connected flat screen TV.

If you have already received an update notification for the NBC app, we recommend uninstalling and reinstalling the app through Google Play so that you can start casting NBC shows as soon as possible. What mainstream media app do you hope will get Chromecast support next?



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Micromax Canvas Tab P702 Tablet with 2GB RAM & 4G-LTE Launched at Rs. 7,999

The domestic smartphone manufacturer, Micromax has been launching many affordable smartphones and tablets in the recent past targeting the budget users in the country. Today, the brand has launched an budget-friendly 4G-LTE tablet in its Canvas seires called as Micromax Canvas Tab P702. The tablet comes with impressive specifications and is available for sale online exclusively via Snapdeal and is priced at Rs. 7,999. The Canvas Tab P702 is also bundled with OTG cable, earphones and 7 Kindle eBooks worth Rs. 1500 for free.

Canvas Tab P702

Coming to the specifications part, the Canvas Tab P702 flaunts 7-inch (1280×720 pixels) HD IPS display offering a pixel density of 215ppi. Under the hood, it comes powered by 64-bit MediaTek quad-core processor clocked at 1.3GHz clubbed with 2GB of RAM for lag-free and smooth performance. The device supports dual sim dual standby with voice caling support and runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box. It comes with 16GB of onboard storage and also includes a microSD card slot for further expansion upto 32GB.

On the camera cordon, the tablet sports 5MP primary camera with autofocus, LED flash and a 2MP front-facing shooter for video chats and selfie lovers. It comes with standard connectivity options like 4G-LTE/3G HSPA+, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS/A-GPS and microUSB 2.0 port with OTG functionality. The device comes backed by a 3000mAh battery that can easily last for an entire day on mixed usage. Like other Micromax devices, the Canvas Tab P702 also comes with lots of pre-loaded apps and it comes in Bold Black and Classy White color options.

Recently, a new smartphone from Micromax in its Canvas series called as Micromax Canvas Amaze 4G has been listed on the company’s official site and the interested users can register right away. The Canvas Amaze 4G features 5-inch HD display, 64-bit Snapdragon 410 quad-core SoC, 1GB RAM, 8GB of built-in storage, 8MP primary camera, 2MP front shooter, 4G-LTE (Cat 4 LTE), 2230mAh battery and runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box.



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16GB Nexus 5X available for $269.99 on eBay

The 16GB model of the Nexus 5X usually sells for $349.99 from Google, but an eBay seller has it available for a much lower price of $269.99 with free shipping right now. It’s the US model with warranty intact, so you’re not getting a refurb model for this price. Unfortunately, there’s no 32GB model available. The lack of storage might be a problem for some.

You can buy it in Carbon and Quartz, but Ice is now sold out. These deals don’t usually last long, so if you want it, jump on the deal now!



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Appeals court overturns $120 million judgment in Samsung vs Apple case

A specific Apple vs Samsung case to do with some software patents (including slide-to-unlock, if you remember that one) ended up with Samsung having to pay $120 million to Apple. But an appeals court overturned that decision, saying two patents were invalid and one was not infringed upon.

Though this isn’t the main case where Samsung had to pay $548 million to Apple (that’s being appealed, too), it’s still a win for Samsung. The slide-to-unlock and autocorrect patents were invalidated, while the quick links patent is valid but Samsung was shown not to have infringed on it. The court also ruled that Apple infringed on one of Samsung’s patents, and Apple will have to pay the large sum of $158,400 to Samsung. We know, disastrous.

We’ll have to wait and see how the initial ruling turns out, but for now, the court battles rage on.



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Top 10 Android app updates this week: IMDb, OneDrive

Welcome back to our weekly Top 10 Android App Updates column, where we take a look at the most frequently upgraded apps for the week. We’ve found that one of the best ways to discover useful apps is to find the ones that are actually being updated by the developers rather than selecting the apps with the most installs. As in the past, we’re going to filter out minor updates for the super-popular apps that have over 10 million installs, but we’ll make exceptions for apps that have had significant updates. We hope you enjoy this weekly feature and that you discover some apps that end up being useful.

Telegram - Version 3.6.0

Telegram

What’s new in this version:

  • Edit messages in channels and supergroups.
  • Share links for posts in channels (in the Quick Share menu).
  • Option to add admin signatures to messages in channels.
  • Silent messages in channels that will not notify members.
  • Quick Share button for bots (works for messages with links, photos or videos).

 

Google+ - Version 7.3.0.1150

GooglePlus

What’s new in this version:

  • Pin posts in your Collections
  • New design of Communities
  • Performance improvements and bug fixes
  • Improved navigation and overall experience for screen reader users

 

Player FM - Version 3.1.0

Player FM

What’s new in this version:

  • Light, Dark & Black theme option on Display setting.
  • Switch to a ‘downloaded-only’ view from the side menu (As before, you can also make this happen automatically via Playback Settings too.)
  • Now you can sort your subscriptions series in grid view by title, oldest, etc.
  • Japanese translation.
  • Catalogue updates.

 

IMDb - Version 6.1.0

IMDb

What’s new in this version:

  • Material Design updates across the app, including the Action Bar, the Navigation Drawer, and consistent and modern text appearance.

 

Next Lock Screen - Version 2.6.0

Next Lock Screen

What’s new in this version:

  • Fingerprint Unlock (for Android 6 and Samsung devices with fingerprint scanner). While Next is on screen, use your fingerprint scanner to bypass the Next screen lock.
  • Smart Contacts. Next learns and displays contacts whom you’ve called or texted.
  • Smart Lock. Set rules for whether a passcode is needed when you’re at Home or Work.
  • Location-based wallpapers are back. Different wallpapers for Auto/Home/Work.
  • Bug fixes.

 

YouTube Kids – Version 1.5.0

YouTube Kids

What’s new in this version:

  • YouTube Kids now supports 360° videos! From under the sea to the surface of Mars, explore the world and more in an immersive 360° experience.
  • In the middle of a video, but need to do something else? You can now pick up right where you left off with the new Resume Playback feature.

 

OneDrive – Version 3.9.0

OneDrive

What’s new in this version:

  • Use a variety of apps to create photos and videos on your device? No problem! The OneDrive app can now automatically upload them from the locations you select.
  • Have an SD Card with your photos stored on them? Plug it in and OneDrive can upload them up for you.

 

Brave Browser - Version 1.9.0

Brave Browser

What’s new in this version:

  • IMPROVEMENT: Rebranded to Brave.
  • IMPROVEMENT: Turned on Tracking Protection feature by default (can be turned off in Settings->More).
  • IMPROVEMENT: Turned on Ad Block feature by default (can be turned off in Settings->More).
  • IMPROVEMENT: Added disable protection option to easily whitelist at the site level (menu item ’Enable Brave shields’).

 

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom - Version 2.0.0

Adobe Lightroom

What’s new in this version:

  • New: Capture amazing moments with the in-app Adobe camera. Apply Photoshop magic before you capture with one of five new, specially formulated presets. Photos can be captured in DNG raw format on devices that provide DNG capture capabilities.
  • Enhanced: Tone Curve – Point Curve Mode.
  • New: Split Tone adjustments.
  • New: Dehaze adjustment tool.
  • New: Full resolution output. Now, export and share photos taken through the in-app Adobe camera at full resolution.

 

Deezer Music - Version 5.22.62

Deezer Music

What’s new in this version:

  • Android Auto: Access Flow, your playlists and albums straight from your car’s dashboard and select the music you love using only your voice. Available for Premium+ users using Android 5.0.
  • Now you can sort mixes by genre or by popularity.
  • Chromecast: Less malfunctions, more stability.

 



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Tronsmart Titan desktop Quick Charger review

Devices are getting more and more power hungry, so batteries are growing in size. But charging has long remained fairly slow. If your phone is dead midday, you’ll be stuck by a charger for quite a while before it’s ready to go for a few more hours. But Quick Charge changed that, allowing devices to charge much quicker for a big top up in a surprisingly small amount of time.

DSC_0495

The Tronsmart Titan desktop charger aims to fix dying batteries not only for your smartphone, but for a family of smart devices. It features five ports, all supporting Quick Charge 2.0 for much faster charging rates. All five ports being capable of quick charging is quite a surprise!

The charger is capable of 18W per port and 90W total, so having five devices charging at once doesn’t mean you give up quick charging. If your device doesn’t support Quick Charge 2.0, the charger steps down to 5V/2A charging, so this isn’t exclusively for modern devices. It also has protection circuits to prevent overheating and overcharging, which is standard for quality chargers.

When I plug my Moto X Pure Edition into this charger, it recognizes it as a Turbo charger and charges at a staggering rate equivalent to the included Motorola Turbo charger. For my specific device, it ends up charging around 60-70% an hour. A 15 minute charge can get you around 20% of your battery filled up, good for a few hours of use and quite a while of standby if you’re going out.

The device is also ready for travel, supporting 110-240V with the right prong adapter or cable. Instead of bringing a bunch of wall warts to take up precious hotel outlets, this one device can do it all.

One complaint I have is that it emits a quiet buzzing. This isn’t nearly as bad as many chargers seem to do (I’ve seen a few that emit a loud shriek from across the room). I could hear it when the charger was on my bedside table, but it’s inaudible moved 5 feet away to my desk. I consider this a very minor problem as a youngster with acute hearing, and it’ll likely be entirely inaudible for anyone over 30.

DSC_0494

Another odd little thing is the green light. It’s fairly dim, so it doesn’t really bug me at night (and I unplug most glowing things at night). But it doesn’t turn off when the switch on the rear is flipped off. Odd design choice, but not one that matters.

If you’re interested in picking one up, hit the source link. It’s not particularly cheap (going for $37.99 on Amazon as of writing this review), but it’s a great accessory to keep around the house. Let the entire family charge their devices, or charge your own pile of devices all at once, and bring it abroad for easy and quick charging from a single outlet.



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Sprint brings back two-year contracts

Falling in line with the other three big carriers, Sprint recently got rid of two-year contracts. It’s been the direction US carriers have been headed in for a while now, with T-Mobile dropping contracts first. Installment plans are the new contract, but it gives people just a bit more freedom to move between carriers.

However, Sprint is officially bringing back two-year contracts. The company claims it wants to give customers more choices. Sprint now offers a phone lease, a monthly installment plan that we’re all used to, a contract, or full retail price for a phone. To be fair, more choices is rarely a bad thing, and this move isn’t really going to hurt Sprint in any obvious way.

Now Sprint can brag about being the only carrier of the big four to offer contracts to all of its customers. What do you guys think of this decision? Do people still want contracts, or is this just a useless move by Sprint? Leave a comment!



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Inbox by Gmail adds two new Snooze options to help with email management

Managing a steady stream of emails can get complicated, and sometimes you just don’t want to deal with a particular correspondence right then and there. Thankfully, Snooze options exist.

The Gmail team has made the Inbox email app even better with two new additions to its Snooze feature that should help with email management. New additions “Later this week” and “This weekend” are joining the ranks which already include “Later today,” “Tomorrow,” “Next week,” and “Someday.” The team hopes this will make it less necessary to use a custom Snooze option, as it adds more options that cover select spans of time.

Inbox by Gmail will let you select the preferred time in the morning when you receive emails, and now that feature is getting extended to being able to select the weekend days that work best for your schedule. After all, not everyone’s weekend is on Saturday and Sunday.

The new features will be rolling out over the next week, so keep an eye out.



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AT&T files lawsuit to delay Google Fiber in Louisville, Kentucky

Google recently announced plans to consider rolling out Google Fiber in Louisville, Kentucky. The rollout would have been held up for a few months, had the Louisville Metro Council not passed an ordinance that shortened the time needed for a competitive internet service to access the city’s utility poles. The new ordinance shortened the necessary time from six months to just 30 days, allowing Google Fiber to begin rolling out in a much more timely manner.

The passage of the ordinance, however, has sparked some trouble for the city. AT&T, which owns about 40 percent of Louisville’s utility poles, is filing a lawsuit against the city for the passage of the ordinance. AT&T claims that the city doesn’t have the rights to decide who can use AT&T’s poles. Check out the quote from the company below.

Louisville Metro Council's recently passed 'One Touch Make Ready' Ordinance is invalid, as the city has no jurisdiction under federal or state law to regulate pole attachments. We have filed an action to challenge the ordinance as unlawful. Google can attach to AT&T's poles once it enters into AT&T's standard Commercial Licensing Agreement, as it has in other cities. This lawsuit is not about Google. It's about the Louisville Metro Council exceeding its authority.AT&T

AT&T doesn’t seem to blocking Google Fiber simply to block it. Instead, the company has a legitimate argument about making sure that the correct and legal process is followed. That being said, the suit will likely delay the rollout of Google Fiber, with the possibility that Google may even abort its plans to bring Google Fiber to Louisville. We’ll have to wait and see how it all turns out.



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Facebook Live now available on Android as the U.S. rollout begins

Facebook Live has been available to iOS users for a bit of time now, and finally the social network is bringing its live video streaming to Google’s operating system.

Through an update in the Facebook Newsroom, the company has announced that Facebook Live is now rolling out to Android users. The rollout is only taking place in the United States for now, but Facebook says it has plans to bring it to more countries in the coming months. It’s pretty simple to share your live video: Just tap on “What’s on your mind” at the top of your News Feed, and then tap on the Live Video button.

Before you start streaming the video, you’ll be able to type in a quick description of what you plan on streaming, and you’ll even get to choose the audience that can see your video as you stream. There will be a real-time stream of comments that you can respond to and you’ll see the names of friends and family that are watching as well as the number of viewers. After ending the stream, the video will be saved to your Timeline.

Do you plan on streaming, or watching, a lot of live video on Facebook?



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BLU Life Mark with 2GB RAM & Fingerprint Sensor Launched in India at Rs. 8,999

The Miami-based handset maker, BLU is known for launching affordable and attractive smartphones to suit a wide variety of consumer needs. Recently, we have seen many smartphone companies releasing impressive devices at affordable prices to make a mark in the overcrowded Indian market. Today, BLU products have launched a new budget-friendly smartphone called as BLU Life Mark in India that comes with an impressive set of features. The BLU Life Mark is priced at Rs. 8,999 and is available for purchase online exclusively via Amazon.in.

BLU Life Mark

Talking about the specifications, the Blu Life Mark features a 5-inch (1280×720 pixels) HD display offering 294ppi as pixel density and BLU Infinite View (IPS Technology) for the great visual experience. Under the hood, it packs MediaTek MT6735 64-bit quad-core processor clocked at 1.3GHz paired with Mali-T720 GPU and 2GB of RAM for the seamless performance of the device. The smartphone supports dual sim dual standby and runs on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop based company’s customized UI laid on top.

On the camera cordon, the smartphone comes equipped with a 13MP rear camera with LED flash and a 5MP front-facing camera with 84-degree wide-angle lens for video chats and stunning selfie images. The camera of the device is also capable of recording 1080p videos at 30fps. The smartphone comes with 16GB of inbuilt storage that can be further expanded via a microSD card slot upto 64GB. Connectivity options on the handset include 4G-LTE/3G HSPA+, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS/A-GPS and a microUSB 2.0 port.

The handset fuels a 2300mAh battery that we feel is slightly underpowered and will be the only major issue. The Life Mark also includes a fingerprint scanner placed on the back of the unit for enhanced security that the company claims is quick and accurate. The device feels rich in hand with a metal frame around its sides and comes in White color option. The BLU Life Mark will have to face tough competition form the likes of recently launched Honor Holly 2 Plus and Coolpad Note 3 that are available at similar price tag with even better specifications.



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