Back when Oculus VR first showed off its second virtual reality development kit, the Facebook subsidiary wasn't saying anything specific about the origins of its new, higher-resolution screen. But now that that second dev kit is shipping to pre-order customers, the teardowns have begun and we have a better idea of what it's using: the screen from Samsung's Note 3. Not a similar screen, but the screen directly taken from a Note 3 smartphone -- an AMOLED pushing 1080 x 960 into each eye. Oculus VR even kept the touch module attached, though we'd strongly suggest against trying to use it while wearing the Rift headset.

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HTC may have some problems behind closed doors, but outside, it's still widely regarded as one of the world's top phone makers. We already gave this year's One M8 flagship a rather jolly review, and now it's time to see if the same qualities are preserved in its mid-range counterpart, the Desire 816. Indeed, back at Mobile World Congress, HTC called this $390 LTE phablet the "flagship mid-range" to emphasize its competitiveness. But has it lived up to its name? Or is it too little, too late in a world full of affordable options? Let's find out.

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What do you get when you cross a 5.7-inch screen with 960x540 resolution and a 3,200mAH battery? Pretty sparse pixel density, that's for sure, but the new LG G Vista for Verizon will keep smartphone-ing through a day and then some. Aimed at the mid-range crowd who want a flagship feel, the G Vista strongly resembles the top-end G3 with an even narrower bezel. But don't be confused: on top of the meager qHD screen, it gets by with a quad-core 1.2GHz chip, 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, microSD and an 8-megapixel rear/1.3-megapixel front camera. On the plus side, it does have LTE, Android 4.4.2, LG software like Knock Code and a prodigious 15 hours of talk time. For all that, you'll pay $100 with a 2-year contract, or $400 off contract with Verizon's Edge. A little pricy considering the competition, but not a bad mid-range option if you're set on Big Red.

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Like giving money to ambitious projects but hate using your computer? Well, that's pretty weird. We think that's weird. Thankfully for you, though, the folks at Indiegogo think that's totally awesome, and they wanna cater to your whims with a new iOS app (yes, an Android version is on the way). Guess what it's called! If you guessed "Indiegogo," you're spot on. And frankly, we appreciate your gusto.

So, what can you do with said app? Well, back projects for one. There's also discovery, and you can follow campaigns as they work toward funding goals. That said, as always, buyer beware: Indiegogo projects make no guarantee of delivery. And with Indiegogo, even if a project doesn't reach its funding goal, the project owner keeps the money they raised. Wanna know even more about crowdfunding services? We've got you covered right here. And if you wanna snag the new Indiegogo app from the iTunes App Store, it's free and available here.

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Distiller's whiskey social network

If you're a whiskey drinker, finding the perfect bottle can be a daunting quest; just because something is well-rated doesn't mean that it suits your tastes. You're about to get some help from your friends, though, as Distiller has turned its recommendation service into a full-fledged social network. You can now follow others with similar palates to see what they say about that Colonel E.H. Taylor or Lagavulin you've been meaning to try. You can also leave comments, and everyone has a "top shelf" in their profile to reflect their absolute favorites. Distiller can't promise that others will share your love of Bulleit Bourbon, but it should be easier to find that like-minded connoisseur. Swing by Apple's App Store or Google Play to give this social spirit service a try.

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Another month, another batch of 30 free Android apps courtesy of Amazon. Like the bookseller's last Appstore promotion, the "Summer Self-Improvement Bundle" features $100/£100's worth of complimentary apps, as long as you download them within the next two days (so don't leave it 'til the weekend, basically). On-theme apps include exercise, nutrition, sleep, budgeting and learning aids, while games such as Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and Carcassonne should provide a little entertainment. Other notable freebies include Kayak Pro for travel planning and management, and popular read-it-later app Instapaper. Remember, Amazon's Appstore is available to any Android device (some side-loading required), not that we're saying you could use a little self-improving. You're perfect just the way you are.

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T-Mobile

T-Mobile keeps riding its UnCarrier plans to increased post-paid subscribers and added over a million in total for Q2 2014, including 579,000 phone subscribers. That compares to its much larger competitor Verizon, for example, which added only 304,000 net post-paid phone customers, or Sprint, which lost 180,000. It puts T-Mobile nearly on par with AT&T for the quarter, which saw 700,000 more phone customers and around a million total. Notably, AT&T recently added off-contract plan-sharing options to keep prices more in line with rivals. T-Mobile finished the quarter with just over 50 million subscribers and earned $1.4 billion, a jump of over 14.7 percent over last year. The company recently launched free iPhone test drives and music streaming that doesn't add to data usage. T-Mobile also said that as of today, its VoLTE (Voice over LTE) coverage is now nationwide -- the first carrier to achieve that status.

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When Samsung took the time to update investors ahead of its upcoming quarterly earnings report, it warned 'weak demand' for phones and an increased marketing spend could hit the company hard. That report hit today, and it's as bleak as the company expected. In its second quarter, Samsung posted profit of 6.25 trillion won ($6.1 billion), down from 7.77 trillion won ($6.96 billion) last year, its lowest quarterly profit in two years. Smartphone sales contributed the majority of its revenue, but the Samsung's flagship phone, the Galaxy S5, languished as the iPhone continues to fly of shelves and Chinese brands cut directly into its low-end business.

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It wasn't long ago that Sony, almost inexplicably for a company of its size and heritage, was losing money everywhere it went. After a few years of pain, however, things have begun to look up, with the company posting a first quarter net profit of around $265 million. The bulk of the good news comes from the PlayStation 4 and Sony Pictures, the company's film and TV arm that benefited from the successes of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and 22 Jump Street. The only sore point on the company's financials is that its mobile division continued to see sales of Xperia handsets drop -- a loss that even managed to offset a favorable bump in the exchange rate. The corporation is still predicting that it'll eat around $487 million in losses across the year, so don't be surprised if someone greenlights 23 Jump Street in the next couple of weeks.

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Japanese carrier KDDI has just announced a new HTC J Butterfly, a handset which resembles the HTC One in specs, but with features aimed at KDDI's home market. Like a lot of other Japanese devices, the 5-inch, full HD handset is waterproof in case you feel like taking fish photos. And HTC has brand new cameras: a 13-megapixel rear dual-camera model with a selfie-friendly 5-megapixel front shooter. That differs from the One M8's 4-megapixel Duo "Ultrapixel" camera. KDDI instead calls it a "Duo Effect" camera, with the secondary 2-megapixel module giving depth-of-field adjustment and other features. Filling out the spec sheet are a Snapdragon 801, 802.11ac WiFi, LTE-Advanced, 150Mbps 4g, 2GB of RAM, Android 4.4 KitKat and a Dot View case. All of that sounds pretty nice, but will it come to US shores? Hard to say, but the last J Butterfly model did eventually arrive as the Droid DNA (to Verizon), so we wouldn't be surprised to see the new model here too.

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Samsung Milk Music on a Galaxy Note 3

Samsung has spent months promising a paid tier for Milk Music that takes the gloves off. Well, it's here at last -- an update to the Android app for its exclusive (if Slacker-based) streaming service offers a $4 per month Premium tier that brings offline listening, unlimited skips and the option of removing DJ banter. Both the free and paid tiers remain ad-free for now, so don't rush to upgrade unless you need constant access to your tunes. That parity isn't going to last forever, though, so be prepared to cough up some cash in the future if you want to dodge commercials.

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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

Not happy that Verizon is going to throttle unlimited LTE data plans? You're not alone. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has just sent a letter to Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead criticizing the carrier for the new policy. He's "deeply troubled" by the move, and suggests that the arbitrary slowdowns may be violating the open access rules that Verizon said it would obey back in 2008. The FCC defines "reasonable network management" in terms of technology-related issues (like congestion and security) rather than service plans, Wheeler says. To him, Big Red is abusing a "loophole" in order to boot customers off of unlimited data and wring out more profit -- Mead may have to do a good job defending the decision if he wants to avoid a regulatory fight.

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NomadPlus external battery

If you're tired of lugging around both an external battery pack and a power adapter to keep your iPhone running, today's your lucky day. Nomad (the company behind the ChargeCard) has started taking pre-orders for the NomadPlus, a 1,500mAh external battery that takes advantage of the Apple's official power plug to save space. Slide the charger in and you can top up your iPhone (or other low-power USB devices) with one peripheral, whether or not you're anywhere near a wall outlet. Logically, it will also recharge its own battery when plugged in. The gadget doesn't provide much energy on its own -- it will only bring an iPhone up to 70 percent -- but it should be enough to get you through a typical day.

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The popular log-in repository 1Password is about to get a lot more useful on iOS devices. AgileBits has revealed an extension for using the add-on in third-party iOS apps -- if the developer chooses to build in support. Thanks to the enhanced security measures taken by Apple's pending mobile OS update, the option can be included and doesn't require you to go elsewhere in order to sort your passwords in standalone apps. Of course, this is in addition to 1Password's own built-in browser that currently included and Touch ID is leveraged to access the secured vault of username credentials. 1Password for iOS is a $18 purchase, and we're not holding our breath for similar functionality to arrive on the Android version anytime soon (although on Android LastPass has a similar feature for logging into apps). While you wait for your favorite software to opt in, there's a handy demo in GIF after the break.

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Looking at Russia's Vkontakte social network on an iPhone 5 in Moscow

Russia has been extra-sensitive to technological threats to its government as of late, and that's clearer than ever in the wake of a new government proposal. Communication Minister Nikolai Nikiforov has suggested that Apple and SAP should hand over their source code to prove that it doesn't have "undeclared capabilities" for spying on Russian agencies. In other words, he doesn't want to give the NSA free rein just because an official brought an iPhone to work. While he isn't certain as to whether or not institutions will keep using products whose code remains a secret, there's an implication that Apple and SAP may be locked out of government contracts if Putin and crew believe there's too much of a risk. Much of that business could go to Microsoft, which has been cooperating with Russia since 2003.

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