There are generally two schools of thought on how to build a wrist-borne wearable. Either make a fancy pedometer that's supposed to stay out of the way, or go the smartwatch route and cram in as many features as possible. Then there's this weird no-man's-land occupied by devices like the Samsung Gear Fit and Garmin Vivosmart. Microsoft's $200 Band falls squarely in that latter category. It's not quite a smartwatch, but it's not purely a fitness tracker like the Fitbit Flex. The Band can pull in emails, text messages and other notifications from your phone. If you're using a Windows Phone, it can control Cortana and put the power of Microsoft's virtual assistant on your wrist.

But it is, to hear Microsoft tell it, a fitness device first. And to that end Microsoft has packed the Band full of sensors, ranging from heart rate, to GPS and the prerequisite accelerometer. And, most importantly, it's the first device to tie into the new Microsoft Health platform, which seeks to outgun offerings like Apple Health and Google Fit. But, as we all know, there are inherent dangers in trying to carve out a third path. The question ultimately is whether Microsoft has built something (both physically and figuratively) that combines all of the most compelling parts of the existing wearable scene. Or, if it's created a sort of Frankenstein's monster that suffers all of their weaknesses.

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Google Android 5.0 Lollipop

It seems like we've been waiting forever, but Google has finally begun rolling out Android 5.0 Lollipop to Nexus devices. The search giant says that the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (2012 & 2013) and Nexus 10 are due to receive the new over-the-air update, joining the new Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 in running its latest and greatest OS. Google forum contributor David King warns that while the Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (WiFi model) and Nexus 10 will see the update from today, the company hasn't yet begun rolling it out to the Nexus 4 and 3G/LTE versions of the Nexus 7 (both 2012 and 2013 models). If you're lucky enough to own one of the eligible devices, be patient: Google typically rolls out the update in waves, meaning it might take a couple of days to become available.

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Rdio Family Plan

Spotify and YouTube may currently be dominating the music streaming headlines, but Rdio isn't prepared to let them have things all their own way. Just as its Swedish rival begins to roll out its new Family plans, the streaming service that does still have access to Taylor Swift's back catalogue is cutting the price of its own. From today, Rdio's Family Plans have been lowered to £5 for each additional user; two listeners now only need to pay £14.99, three must cough up £19.99 and so on. If that looks a little familiar, it's because the company is now completely mirroring Spotify's multi-user subscription pricing. While Rdio has offered Family Plan upgrades since 2011, cost is key: the music provider won't want to give its users another incentive to jump across to its biggest competitor.

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We heard rumblings that Motorola's pair of single-lettered handsets would be amongst the first to get Android's latest update, and the company has made the news official. Lollipop is rolling out to the second-gen Moto X Pure Edition and Moto G (US GSM and global GSM versions) devices "in phases," so if you're wielding one of those, you should be privy to the new version soon enough. If you'll recall, Android 5.0 brings with it the flatter look and feel of Material Design, guest mode, battery saver and much more. Need a refresher on all the additions? Consult our extensive preview right here. Unfortunately, there's no telling how long it'll take for the new software to hit carrier versions, but we're just as anxious as you are.

Update: Google has announced that Lollipop is starting to rollout to is family of Nexus devices. Of course, it's going to take a few weeks for the major update to hit everyone. But owners of the Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (both 2012 and 2013 models), Nexus 10 and the Nexus 4 can all look forward to Android 5.0 hitting their devices... at some point. You'll have to wait a little bit longer if you're using a tablet with mobile data, but that's just par for the course.

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If you've been eyeing Samsung's Gear VR headset to pair with that Galaxy Note 4, you might soon be in luck. The company announced today that the Innovator Edition of the virtual reality gadget will be available stateside in December. Of course, the Gear VR is powered by Oculus tech, using that super-sized smartphone's 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display to sort the "fully immersive" experience. In order to properly show off the device, Samsung and Oculus teamed up with the likes of Marvel, DreamWorks, Cirque du Soleil and others to craft VR offerings in hopes of convincing you to commit your funds. We're talking things like a tour of Tony Stark's Lab in advance of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. The first time a Note 4 is connected to the Gear VR, Oculus software will automatically download to the handset for wrangling purchases, watching movies and more. Unfortunately, there's no word on pricing, but while you wait, you can opt for updates from Samsung in the meantime.

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During Twitter's analyst day conference there was also talk about future plans for features and even completely new apps. For one, there's been talk about expanding the use of Direct Messages. The idea would be that you could DM someone a public tweet and have a private conversation about it. The company is also planning to bring real-time video capture and editing to the Twitter platform proper. That means, rather than have to fire up Vine first, you can simply hit record from within the Twitter app to post video. While there are still a lot of questions about what the feature will look like exactly, we do know that it should be a little less restrictive than the six-second Vine service. Though, we doubt you'll be able to shoot a feature length film and share it directly from Twitter.

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​After over a year of rumors, YouTube today lays out details of its Music Key subscription service. So, what does it look like? Essentially it comes in two parts. Starting today, web and Android (iOS is coming soon -- Update: it's now here!) users will see a new music hub in YouTube. Here you'll find playlists, recommendations, trending songs/artists or just a quick route to that one darn track you can't (but please) stop playing -- all that usual stuff. Over the coming days, this will grow to include the ability to find, and play, artist discographies and full albums. This is the free part available globally, and mostly an attempt to organize what is already available on YouTube. It's the second part you're likely more curious about.

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Which is easier to juggle on your daily commute: a small smartphone and tablet together, or a 6-inch phone that merges features from both? Consumers once leaned toward the former, but many have lately changed their minds. The so-called phablet has come a long way since Samsung came out with the first Galaxy Note in 2011, and now it's not uncommon to see several of them as you walk down the street. Nearly every manufacturer has at least one or two such devices in their lineup, so it's about time Google stepped in with some outsized hardware of its own.

The company just launched the Nexus 6, a 6-inch phone made in collaboration Motorola that comes with a winning feature list and is just as glorious as the Moto X it shares a likeness with. Aside from being a strong handset in its own right, it's meant to be a blueprint to inspire Google's partners as they work on their own devices. It's not as affordable as Nexus phones from the past two years, but at $649 it's still less than most premium-grade flagships of similar size. With that in mind, let's find out if the Nexus 6 serves as an encouragement... or a disappointment.

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Tired of only seeing adverts 99 percent of the time? While Apple's already announced intentions to take over the final one percent with iBeacon, Samsung's just today getting in on the action. The Korean electronics giant has a website introducing Samsung "Proximity," a "mobile marketing platform that connects consumers with places via cutting-edge Samsung location and context-aware technology." As nakedly awful as that sounds, the "marketing platform" described sounds a lot like Apple's iBeacon -- technology that enables communication between your mobile device and the places you go.

For example! Say you're in Macy's getting a fancy new cashmere shawl. If Macy's has iBeacon/Proximity set up (via in-store transmitters), the store could tell you what's on sale, what might match, and a variety of other information. That information could be helpful (clothing match suggestions), it could be nonsense ("spend over $1,000, get 15 percent off!"), and it could be somewhere in-between.

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We have a few different ways to make sure our cats are eating, but what about tracking the natural consequence of all that kibble? That's what Tailio is for: it's a smart scale that sits under the litter box and monitors the, ahem, "elimination behaviors" of your favorite feline as well as its tare weight. Seriously. The WiFi-gizmo's creators say that this is to make keeping an eye on your cat's health easier, and act as an early detection system for any possible ailments. They also claim that it's the first product of its kind. Naturally, all of the collected data is accessible via a mobile app that can even send reminders for when the box needs cleaning -- you know, in case you've gotten used to the telltale aroma after years of cat ownership. Have at least $100 to burn? Hit the project's Kickstarter page to help make any dreams of cat-poo analytics on your mobile device a reality.

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What do you call the day before Thanksgiving? It's usually just Wednesday, but Verizon wants November 26th this year to be known as a pseudo-holiday called "Connection Day." Yup, it is gimmicky, but at least we're getting free stuff out of it -- and who doesn't like free stuff, are we right? On November 26th, you can go to the official Connection Day page using a mobile device and grab a freebie, regardless of your carrier. These include free apps from Amazon, Audible downloads, access to movies and TV shows through Verizon FiOS Preview app, Conde Nast magazines, a Pandora trial period, airport and in-flight WiFi access, as well as an iTunes special offer (we've posted the detailed list after the break).

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GiffGaff Logo

It's taken far longer than it should, but low-cost mobile operator GiffGaff has finally joined the 4G party. The O2-owned MVNO is now offering speedier goodybags alongside its interchangeable 3G tariffs, allowing existing customers (those who joined before October 29th) to upgrade at no extra cost. That loyalty bonus means prices start at £10 per month, offering 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of data, rising to £15 per month for double the amount of minutes and the promise of 5GB of data. As expected, there's no offer of unlimited internet here. GiffGaff had previously tested 4G connectivity with some customers, but today marks the first time packages are available to all.

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In the Arabian Nights story, whenever Ali Baba shouts "Open Sesame," the door to the den of the Forty Thieves opens. But for the 10 beta testers of the Sesame phone, uttering that phrase means unlocking their smartphones without the use of their hands. Once the touch-free phone is active, users merely have to move their heads to control the cursor on screen. And yes, they can do anything a smartphone's capable of, including sending messages and emails, taking/making calls and downloading apps. They can even play games like Angry Birds and Candy Crush by using head gestures. Once they're done, they simply have to say "Close Sesame" to lock their phones again.

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NVIDIA Shield Tablet

Samsung definitely isn't taking NVIDIA's first patent lawsuit lying down. The Korean tech firm has countersued NVIDIA not just for allegedly infringing on six patents, but for leading buyers astray with benchmarks for the Shield Tablet. NVIDIA is supposedly trying to "confuse customers" by claiming that the slate's Tegra K1 processor outpaces the Exynos 5433 chip in the Galaxy Note 4; regular benchmarks show that's not true, Samsung claims. The suit also accuses PC vendor Velocity Micro of violating two additional patents (for a total of eight), since NVIDIA's graphics cards play a heavy role in its lineup.

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It was about six months ago that Adidas introduced the Photo Print ZX Flux, a line of sneakers which can be easily customized by way of a mobile application. But while shoe lovers in Europe have had the chance to make their own ZX Flux since August, the same couldn't be said about people here in the US. Starting today, however, those of you Stateside will now have the opportunity to create a pair for yourself, using the same iOS and Android apps that European folks have had access to for months. It's quite simple, really. Say you have an image of a delicious burger on your smartphone, such as the one above, then you upload it to the application, tweak it slightly if you need to and, just like that, you can have a pair on the way to your door. Adidas is pricing the customizable sneakers at $110 -- orders are expected to take 4-6 weeks to complete.

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