LG G Watch

LG's official site has just spilled a few extra tidbits about the G Watch, which is due out in the summer and will be based on Google's Android Wear platform. For a start, there'll be two color options: "stealth black" or "champagne gold," both with plain rubbery straps and slab-like faces that are meant to look "timeless." Fortunately, though, the G Watch will have the time written all over it during actual use, because LG is promising that the screen will never go to sleep -- unlike Samsung's Gear 2, where you have to wake up the display with a movement of your arm. One last important detail is a confirmation that the device will be water- and dust-resistant -- something that, strangely, still can't be taken for granted in the smartwatch market.

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BLU Products Studio 6.0 HD (PRNewsFoto/BLU Products)

When it comes to offering a vast selection of Android smartphones on the cheap, BLU Products is a company that quickly comes to mind. And now we can add another one to its budget-friendly lineup: the Blu Studio 6.0 HD. As its moniker would imply, this is a 6-inch handset, with a 1,280, x 720 display, a quad-core, 1.3GHz chip (Mediatek MT6582, if you're so inclined) and a decent 3,000mAh battery inside. Perhaps what's most interesting here, however, is that the 6.0 HD will be available unlocked for a mere $250, which is a great price if you're looking for a phone this size and not interested in any carrier contracts.

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Since Google tacked on SMS messages to its Hangouts app, it has been tweaking the experience to keep convos on the up and up, and this week it's making a major change. In version 2.1 of the software, text messages and Hangout conversations from the same contact are neatly merged into a single thread, allowing you to send notes via either method. In order to keep track of things, the two sources are color-coded, and you can separate them any time you'd like. There's also a split in the contacts list for quick searching: folks you chat with on Hangouts and phone contacts that you keep to SMS. For easy access, there's a new home screen widget and improved quality for video calls. If your Android device hasn't alerted you to the update yet, head over to that second source link to snatch it up.

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On the heels of last week's KitKat update, Google Glass nabbed up two more notable improvements today. First, iOS users can now have their text messages displayed on Glass, after a quick toggle of the Bluetooth settings. Here's the catch: "due to some limitations with iOS," you wont be able to reply to those messages directly from the headset. There's also a new Calendar Glassware that situates an agenda to the left of the home screen. Tapping a card in that timeline will allow you edit title, time, location and even RSVP. If you'd rather just skip those festivities altogether, you can delete events or hide them from view. Both of the new features are said to be rolling out to early adopters "in the next few days," so keep your eyes peeled.

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Samsung Gear Fit review: a messy merger of fitness band and smartwatch

Fitness trackers and smartwatches come a dime a dozen, but devices that combine the best of both? Still exceedingly rare. Now, however, Samsung thinks it has the perfect solution in the Gear Fit, a fitness band with a beautiful, curved screen, as well as a heart rate monitor, pedometer and a few smartwatch features thrown in for good measure. It's an ambitious product, no doubt, but unfortunately, this $200 fitness-tracking smartwatch hybrid didn't quite meet my expectations. Here's why.

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Satya Nadella Delivers Opening Keynote At Microsoft Build Conference

Let the wedding bells ring! Microsoft announced this morning that it finally has something we've been curious about since September: the actual date the company will complete its proposed acquisition of Nokia's devices and services business. In a blog post, Microsoft's General Counsel Brad Smith explained that all of the legal hurdles have been cleared and that the merger will officially take place this Friday, April 25th. "We look forward to introducing the next billion customers to Microsoft services via Nokia mobile phones," Smith said.

Microsoft will manage the Nokia.com domain and the company's social media presence for up to a year, and former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop will be in charge of Microsoft's devices group, reporting directly to CEO Satya Nadella. Aside from this, Microsoft has been pretty tight-lipped on details about what the post-acquisition world will be like, mainly due to legal restrictions. After this Friday, however, we hope the company will open up a bit more about what we can expect going forward.

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SONY DSC

When it comes to producing affordable Nexus tablets, Google's on a roll -- and it's looking to take advantage of that momentum. After partnering with ASUS on a 7-inch tablet each of the last two summers, the software giant is now reportedly working with HTC on an 8-inch version slated to launch in the third quarter of this year. The report comes to us from hit-and-miss DigiTimes, which tells us that Google is switching to HTC because it wants to push a new design, and ASUS is more interested in selling tablets and phones under its own brand instead.

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People buy cases mainly to protect their precious phones, but very few offer functional versatility, and you're often forced to give them up when you upgrade. Well, that may no longer be a problem thanks to a new minimalistic solution dubbed Snap. This attachment system starts off with a circular, low-profile female connector that's only 3mm thick and 25mm wide, and it can stick onto any device or case thanks to its strong, commercial-grade 3M adhesive. You can then secure different types of Snap accessories with a simple twist; and when detached, the slim socket barely gets in the way.

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Domino's has already made it pretty easy to order your favorite pizza using your smartphone, but today things are getting even simpler for US Android device owners. Today the company confirmed that it's added Google Wallet to the list of supported payment types in its Android app, allowing you to complete an order using the same details you'd typically download apps or rent movies with. If app-based ordering wasn't already affecting your impulse spending, dispatching a deep dish with even fewer screen presses might be a blessing or a curse.

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With the advent of touchscreen smartphones, BlackBerry lost its position as king of the mobile world. In response, the company bought QNX and hibernated, plotting a reinvention centered around BlackBerry 10. When the business emerged with the Z10, everyone knew that this was the device that the company's future relied upon -- and we know how that ended up. When we reviewed it, we found that every element of the hardware was solid, adequate and pleasing. Unfortunately for BlackBerry, nothing stood out as being better compared to the devices that launched in its stead, nullifying any attention the handset's big launch had garnered. It's been just over a year since the Z10 launched, so we thought we'd ask all of you what it's been like living with this device. Hop over to the forums and let's chat some BlackBerry.

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It's like Sega and Sony all over again. We don't mean the hardware arms race (although that's certainly happening), but how the smartphone world's two top players are now fighting over the most popular games... and their sequels. Gaming is one of the top money-spinning app categories on smartphones and tablets and according to a WSJ report, both Apple and Google are trying to get popular games and their developers on their side. The companies promise headline placement in their respective online stores and prominent ads around the app portal, in exchange for exclusivity, or at least a lead. This was apparently the case for Plants Vs. Zombies 2 last year, where Apple got a two-month lead over the Android version -- and it's not the only one.

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Welcome to IRL, an ongoing feature where we talk about the gadgets, apps and toys we're using in real life and take a second look at products that already got the formal review treatment.

IRL: Kogan's Agora HD, a $189 smartphone made obsolete by the Moto G

When I first came across Kogan at last year's CES, it was for the launch of the Aussie company's very first Agora smartphone. It was a modestly specced handset with some performance issues, but that was understandable: the going price was just $149, a sign that affordability was considered above all else. Then just nine months later, a follow-up smartphone, the Agora HD, was announced. A new 720p, 5-inch display and quad-core 1.2GHz processor were the headline features, but really there were improvements across the board. It was inevitable the price had to go up, too, but even then $189 felt like a small hop compared with the leap in hardware.

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Seeing an error message on your Samsung phone, tablet or Smart TV today? You're not alone, as the Samsung.com website appears to be down and owners worldwide have reported anything from error messages to being unable to access apps on their smart TVs. Reports have spread on Twitter -- mostly from a community news site called Wikitree -- that a fire at a Samsung SDS building in Gwacheon, South Korea is the culprit. We've contacted Samsung but haven't heard anything back yet, and while some of its social media pages have noted the outage, there isn't an official explanation posted.

Update: Naturally now that we've mentioned it, the outage that lasted several hours appears to have ended around 6:15AM ET. Many of the same users who were having problems with their smart TVs and phones seem to have full access again, and Samsung.com is back up and running. A Samsung SDS blog post confirms the fire and subsequent outage, while apologizing for the inconvenience. Despite some scary photos and video of the blaze (after the break) Korean news reports indicate there were no fatalities. The big question left? Why a fire at one location seemed to have such a large affect on the company's devices and services.


[Thanks, Mark & Martin!]

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We told you to put on your disappointment pants for the Galaxy Gear 2, but for the Rufus Cuff we suggest rolling up your absurdity sleeves. Seriously, given its three-inch screen you might just have to. This wearable boasts a built-in mic, a camera, a speaker, web browser, voice control, GPS and full access to the Google Play store -- if the Cuff sounds like a smartphone that straps to your wrist, well, that's basically what it is. It connects to your Android or iPhone via Bluetooth for mobile data, making calls and sending texts, but it's running a full version of Google's mobile OS and can hook on to WiFi if you're in a cellular dead-zone or if your phone's battery runs out.

While the gizmo doesn't exactly look practical (we're pretty sure that it won't play nice with the cuffs of a slim-cut oxford), as of this writing it's has raised over $150,000 of its $200,000 IndieGoGo goal, with a handful of days to go. If you dig the idea of strapping one of these monstrosities on your wrist, all it takes is a $249 pledge.

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Former Oppo exec Pete Lau announced his plans to make "the perfect smartphone" a few months ago, and now the OnePlus One is almost here. Its launch is scheduled for April 23rd, but Android Authority points out these pictures posted on a forum that claim to show press renders of the device itself and "StyleSwap" covers that will let owners customize its looks. Not-so-shockingly, what we're seeing looks a lot like the Oppo Find 5, although the only question left is whether they're authentic or just a fan's creation. We've already gotten a sneak peek at the CyanogenMod software it will run, and we know how much it costs, but official word on everything else will have to wait until Wednesday.

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