Today is New Year's Eve, and while all the cool kids are out partying, I am sitting here reflecting on my favorite tech products of the year. Yeah, I'm a nerd.
Believe it or not, 2016 saw me getting deeper into Apple's ecosystem (I still love Linux and Windows 10, though). I continue to love the iPhone 6s Plus, iPad mini 4, and Apple TV I bought in 2015, but this year, I added AirPods and a MacBook Pro. One of those Apple products was quickly returned, while the other is my overall favorite. Can you guess which is which?
OnePlus announced in November that it would release Android Nougat for its latest flagship killers by the end of 2016. And it has kept its promise, as the much-awaited update will reach OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 3 units starting today.
CEO Carl Pei revealed on Twitter that Android Nougat will be gradually rolling out on December 31 and that, indeed, it is a "stable" build -- not a preview, like OnePlus publicly released for OnePlus 3 users to test.
Samsung introduced the Galaxy Beta Program in November to give Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge users in select markets the option to beta test the upcoming Android Nougat update. Four builds have seen the light of day so far, but there will not be a fifth -- the program closes today.
The Android Nougat betas have been well received, with users reporting a solid user experience and few major issues. So, as a result, Samsung is moving on to the next phase, putting the final touches on the much-awaited upgrade. The company expects it to be ready for prime time soon, announcing that it will release Android Nougat for Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge in January.
The popularity of Super Mario Run for iOS may be starting to wane slightly, but there is great anticipation for the arrival of Nintendo's Italian plumber on Android. Well, the wait is nearly over -- Nintendo has added Super Mario Run to Google Play!
Malware producers were quick to jump on the popularity of the Mario game on iOS, pushing fake, malware-filled versions into the Play Store. In a move that will not only help to prevent people falling victim to such scams, but also serves to indicate the imminent arrival of the official game, eager Mario fans can now pre-register to download Super Mario Run for Android.
The OnePlus 3T may be the replacement for the (slightly) earlier OnePlus 3, but this certainly does not mean that the original has been forgotten. Having already released preview version of Android 7.0 for the flagship killer, OnePlus has now launched its third beta of Nougat for the handset.
Going by the name of OxygenOS Open Beta 10, the release incorporates many of the feedback suggestions made in response to the previous beta. Headline changes include improved battery life and faster performance.
For Android hackers and tweakers, CyanogenMod represents mobile OS nirvana -- an open source alternative to Google's official Android, complete with frequent updates. The bad news for fans is that Cyanogen, the company behind the operating system, is closing down operations: with virtually no warning.
Coming at a time of year when few people are paying much attention to what is going on in the world of tech, the announcement that nightly builds will be discontinued by the end of the year comes after staff layoffs earlier in the year, and premature rumors that the company was shutting up shop. While the news is, on the face of it, not great for CyanogenMod fans and OnePlus owners (whose handsets run the operating system), the cloud does have a silver lining.
If Santa brought you a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge, you are in for a treat. Samsung's flagships are, without question, two of the best high-end smartphones available right now, featuring an amazing camera, a gorgeous display, fantastic performance, impressive battery life, powerful software, a waterproof rating, and a premium design. Impressive, indeed.
To help you get comfortable with your new Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge, we have prepared this guide with tips on how to get started, set it up and what accessories to buy. So, without further ado, here is what you need to know.
Consider yourself extremely lucky: Santa just brought you one of the hottest smartphones of the year. The OnePlus 3T is the latest and greatest in OnePlus' line of flagship killers, packing really powerful hardware, a nice, big screen, solid camera, lovely software and a sleek design. It is also terrific value for money, but, hey, who cares about that right now?
If you are like me, all you can think about is taking it out of the box, setting it up and starting to use it right away. Here is what you need to know.
When Apple announced that Mario was making his way to iOS, there was much rejoicing. But the excitement soon gave way to disappointment for several reasons. Firstly there was the price, with many feeling $9.99 was just too much to ask for what is, ultimately, a very basic, one button platformer.
Next there's the complaint that Super Mario run requires constant access to the internet -- many users have also grumbled that the game has eaten through large chunks of their monthly data allowance. Nintendo may have made a pretty penny from sales of the title in the first few days, but the company's share price has tumbled. On top of this, just as it happened with Pokémon Go, the initial success of the game is being used to push malware at users.
It's not all that long since Facebook started to allow users to broadcast live video to their friends and followers -- now the social network is doing the same with audio. Things are looking good for mobile users, particularly those with Android devices.
Starting off with partners such as the BBC World Service, LBC and Harper Collins, Live Audio is something of a blend of podcasts and radio. To start off -- just as happened with live video -- audio broadcasting will only be available to a select group of companies, but there are plans to open it up to everyone.
After "the most requested Messenger feature ever" yesterday -- Group Video Chat -- Facebook now has another update.
This time around the social network is allowing users to change the background color of status updates. Before you get too excited, however, there are limitations aplenty to bear in mind.
New York City is a wonderful place to visit. There are countless great restaurants, not to mention museums, Madison Square Garden, and of course, Broadway shows. True, it is a very expensive city, but it is totally worth it for the culture.
One of the worst things about New York City, however, is driving. Traffic is unbearable and totally chaotic -- it can be maddening. Even worse is parking your car. If you can even manage to find a spot (they are hard to find), you have to deal with meters -- some of which still use coins. Today, Mayor de Blasio announces that paying for parking in New York City is getting much more convenient. The all-new 'ParkNYC' app for Android and iPhone lets drivers pay to park using their smartphone.
A few days ago, one of my Google+ followers, Steve Kluver, commented on an August 2014 share: "I am shopping for some more Chromebooks this Holiday Season, and found this post via G+ hashtag #chromebook search. How current is your ebook now?" He refers to Chromebook Reviews, which is available from Amazon for sale or for free reading with Kindle Unlimited. I apologized that the tome, published more than two years ago, is "way out of date". If I'm not going to revise, I really should remove the title.
I offered to give him buying advice, which got me to thinking about Chromebook as a concept and computing edifice. While a big fan, and owner of both generations of Google-made Chromebook Pixel, my primary laptop was a MacBook Pro for most of 2016. Measure of commitment: I bought the new 15.4-inch Touch Bar model just a few weeks ago. I've moved on, and got to thinking about why in crafting my response.
Twitter is rolling out a new feature to iOS and Android users that enables users to broadcast live video from within the app. If this sounds rather familiar, it's because it's a feature copied from Facebook -- and something that is already offered by Twitter-owned Periscope.
But live video broadcasting on Twitter is not replacing Periscope, it is powered by Periscope. By moving live video direct into the app, Twitter acknowledges the importance that users place on the feature, something which has been proven by the popularity of Facebook Live videos.
If you look at the specs of the new OnePlus 3T, there is nothing that gives away the fact that it costs hundreds of dollars less than a "traditional" flagship, like an Apple iPhone 7 or Samsung Galaxy S7. In some areas, it outdoes the big boys. It has everything that you would want in a high-end smartphone, with no compromise in sight.
I've had the OnePlus 3T as my daily driver for about two weeks now, after previously using the OnePlus 3 for a couple of months. And the new kid on the block is, to put it simply, the best "flagship killer" to date. It might even be the best smartphone that you can get for around $400.