Samsung Gear IconX deal takes $50 off for a “limited time”

Wireless earbuds that come with a heart rate monitor, no awkward stems and in multiple colors are now cheaper than AirPods for a “limited time”.

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From the Editor’s Desk: Is Android O a boring release?

The lack of new whizbang user-facing features in O is a sign of Android’s maturity, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see big surprises for non-phone devices.

The big Android story of the week was Android O. Based on what we know about O so far, it would appear to be one of those Android releases, like KitKat or Marshmallow that tunes things up, adds under-the-hood enhancements and builds on already solid foundations.

There are important features for developers, like background app limits, which could significantly improve Android battery life. And new things for users, like native app badge support (finally!) and notification channels. But on the whole, normal Android owners could be forgiven for not really caring about O just yet. That’s understandable. Few phones will get the update this year, if the OS’s track record is any indicator.

Instead, Android O is what you’ll see for the first time next year on your Galaxy S9 or LG G7 or Huawei P11.

The fact that we’re not seeing any huge, sweeping user-facing changes since Nougat speaks to a couple of things. First, Android is a mature, stable OS, and Google isn’t tearing anything down and rebuilding it just for the sake of novelty. Despite ongoing issues moving the billion-plus ecosystem off older OS versions, Android is working pretty well. Even longstanding security weaknesses are starting to be addressed.

That’s not to say Android is going to stand still. O is still a very important release for developers, which is why they’re getting an early look at what’s coming. Eventually it’ll be time to shake things up — with a big new release more akin to the changes of ICS or Lollipop, but that time hasn’t yet arrived.

Read this excellent Jerrytorial to learn how Google might significantly change things up Android P and beyond, with the new Fuschia kernel.

The O Preview is important for developers, with more user-facing features likely to break cover at I/O.

It’s also worth pointing out that what we have in this very first developer preview isn’t anything close to a final, stable build. Dave Burke himself says in this blog post that new features are coming, and the likely venue for that is Google I/O this May.

Tablets are going to be a big piece of the puzzle. Google has struggled with tablets and convertibles, a category which fits between two current areas of strength — smartphones and Chromebooks. This is the weird, hard-to-define space that the rumored Andromeda OS, a new thing combining parts of Android and Chrome, may live. As the Pixel C heads towards unsupported status for new OS updates (in November 2017), Google essentially has to release a new tablet this year. It’s going to be very interesting to see what form that takes, and I suspect the parts of Android O that we haven’t yet seen could form a major part of that.

Aside from all that, the smartphone side of things will continue to tick along, in a year when phone hardware finally becomes interesting again. If recent Galaxy S8 leaks are any indicator, this next round of flagships will look and feel more futuristic than ever — an advance in smartphone design that comes along only once every few years.

So even if Android O isn’t the most exciting release ever for phones, there’s still plenty to look forward to.

Other odds and ends for a working Sunday:


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Samsung Galaxy S8 Rumor Roundup: Our Top Five Favorite Rumors!

Launching a phone is a big deal, and Samsung is out to impress. The official reveal is next week, so until then, here’s our Samsung Galaxy S8 Rumor Roundup!

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Best Replacement Watch Bands for Samsung Gear S3

What are the best third-party watch bands for Samsung Gear S3?

The Samsung Gear S3 is one of our favorite smartwatches, and a great alternative to many of the Android Wear watches out there. The Gear S3 supports standard 22mm watch bands, making it really easy to upgrade with something new.

Here are a few of the best third-party watch bands to consider once you pick up your brand new Samsung Gear S3!

ArtStyle nylon strap

Keep things simple, fun, and functional with the ArtStyle watch band made from a sturdy nylon material and a durable metal buckle! The ArtStyle nylon strap is easily adjustable and is hypoallergenic, making it the perfect band to wear if you have sensitive skin. The material is also breathable and waterproof on top of being extremely comfortable to wear day-to-day.

On top of the ArtStyle’s practical design, the watch strap comes in a ton of different, bright colors, including red, blue/yellow, black, black/gray, navy blue, gray, khaki, orange, army green, black/blue, black/green/red, black/gray/blue, black/gray/orange, black/gray/green, black/red.

See at Amazon

Rerii leather band

There’s nothing more simple and stylish than a classic leather watch band, and Rerii nails it with their affordable 22mm leather band that the Samsung Gear S3! Made from a high quality and sturdy yet lightweight and soft leather, the Rerii watch band comes with an easy-to-buckle stainless steel clasp, making it the perfect day-to-day band. Unlike some other watch straps, the Rerii’s design is super simple and void of all logos, so it’s perfect for people who want a classic-looking smartwatch accessory.

The Rerii leather band also comes in a number of vibrant, eye-catching colors, like black, brown, coffee, black with white stitching, brown with white stitching, or coffee with white stitching.

See at Amazon

TRUMiRR Milanese stainless steel band

The Milanese look has been a staple with traditional watch designs for decades, so incorporating the TRUMiRR Milanese stainless steel band might be the perfect fit if that’s the particular style you’re after. This 22mm watch band is designed with a mesh, woven, stainless steel wire, and is adjustable for a variety of wrist sizes, so you never have to be uncomfortable while sporting your Samsung Gear S3.

To attach and detach your watch band, all you need to do is release a small spring bar, minimizing annoying tools. The TRUMiRR may not come in a ton of colors, but it does come in a shiny silver or a clean, classic black design.

See at Amazon

Barton silicone band

After garnishing its fair share of positive reviews online and coupled with an easy-release design, vibrant colors, comfortable feel, and much more, the Barton silicone band is a great option to check out while you’re customizing your Samsung Gear S3. The Barton silicone watch band is designed with a textured back, making the slipping and sliding of most smooth silicone bands a thing of the past. The silicone design also makes it a great tool for working out, as you can easily remove and wash it if it starts to look dirty or stink.

To change your watch band, simply turn the band over and flip the switch — no tools are required! You can pick your Barton band from a number of vibrant colors, including black, white, turquoise, forest green, brown, gray, burgundy, yellow, navy blue, orange, peach, dark gray, and baby blue.

See at Amazon

Ritche stainless steel watch band

The Ritche 22mm stainless steel watch band is an affordable, high quality strap that keeps your Samsung Gear S3 looking classic and clean without any clutter or useless accents of other watch bands. Unlike some other straps, the Ritche cannot be adjusted to fit individual wrists with a simple tightening system; rather, users will have to remove the links near the band’s clasps in order to make the stainless steel Samsung Gear S3 accessory smaller.

To remove the Ritche, you will have to use a small tool which comes with the band. The Ritche only comes in one color, silver, but if you’re looking for a watch with a similar style in a different color, then we suggest taking a peek at the Vetoo.

See at Amazon

Your pick?

Is there a third-party watch band that you think would be perfect for the Samsung Gear S3? Drop a link in the comments with a brief description of why you like it so that others can check it out as well!


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Best Chrome extensions you didn’t know about but should be using

What are the best Chrome extensions I should be using?

Update 24 March 2017: We’ve refreshed this list to ensure you’re kept up to the latest when it comes to the best Chrome extensions you should be using.

The amount of time most people spend browsing the internet continues to rise each year, and Google’s Chrome browser attempts to be the most comfortable and versatile browser out there. To aid in its quest, Google allows for developers to market small software extensions that modify and (in most cases) ameliorate your browsing experience. Here are 10 Chrome extensions you didn’t know about but should be using.

Dark Reader

Chrome’s natural white background can become tiresome after a few hours of viewing — Dark Reader has the answer. It changes blinding, bright pages into high-contrast, dark-themed pages that are easy on the eyes. You can adjust the filters and font settings and add certain webpages to an ignore list in the case of complete incompatibility.

See at Chrome Web Store


TL;DR

TL;DR is the answer to articles on the internet that are too long to read. Highlight article text, click the TL;DR button located next to your address bar, and read a well-constructed summary of the article. You can adjust the length of the summary depending on how much time you have or how involved you want to get. It does a good job of condensing the article without cutting out important bits of information.

See at Chrome Web Store


Keepa

Keepa gives you some pretty in-depth information about Amazon products and prices, and lets you set price-drop alerts to keep you in the know. Check price history charts for all iterations of a product (including different colors and sizes), and compare Amazon prices from all over the world. You can even import your Amazon wishlist and assign alerts for when specific items drop below a certain price. Go to Amazon and hover over any item while Keepa is running; a graph will pop up with extended information. Never get ripped off again!

See at Chrome Web Store


Web Timer

Web Timer is a double-edged sword. You’re getting data that helps you better manage your time, but said data can be depressing. You’ll find yourself asking questions, like, “Did I really spend four hours on Reddit yesterday?” You can add sites to a white-list so that time spent is not recorded, and you can change time measurement parameters from “Today”, to “Average”, to “Lifetime.” Take Web Timer for a spin — you won’t be disappointed (or you will, but only in yourself)!

See at Chrome Web Store


PanicButton

This app is ideal for the classic situation where you’re slacking off at work and your boss happens to walk by. Before you have a chance to yell “Lunch break,” he or she sees Facebook, Reddit, and whatever else you have open in Chrome. PanicButton provides you with a single button or single keyboard key (default F4) that scoops all open tabs into a hidden bookmarks folder that can be restored at a later time. You won’t always need PanicButton, but when you do need it you’ll be glad it’s installed.

See at Chrome Web Store


Ghostery

Want to block advertising companies from creating a profile around your browsing tendencies? Want to load webpages faster than ever before? Want to have more overall privacy on the internet? Ghostery lets you choose what trackers to block on a website-to-website basis. The first time you turn Ghostery on in Chrome, you’ll be amazed at how many trackers are watching your moves. Trackers stay blocked across webpages, so you’ll deal with increasingly less trackers the more you browse.

See at Chrome Web Store


Feedly Mini

This extension provides you with an easy way to see your RSS feeds now that Google got rid of Google Reader. If you have the Feedly app on your Android phone, you can add websites from your computer while you’re navigating the web. A small button sits at the bottom right side of your browser — click it and choose from several options including Facebook sharing and page tagging.

See at Chrome Web Store


HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS essentially creates authentication between you and the web server hosting the specific webpage. This helps reduce the chance of someone hijacking the information sent between you and the web server. This extension creates HTTPS authentication wherever you go, and it is a must have if you’re worried about surveillance, censorship, or identification theft.

See at Chrome Web Store


The Great Suspender

Everyone who uses Chrome knows about the enormous footprint it leaves on your memory. If you’re an hour or two into an internet trail and have about fifty tabs open, you’ll be happy to have The Great Suspender in your corner. It will auto-suspend tabs after a set time, and you can manually suspend tabs whenever you want. You can also place certain tabs on a whitelist (say the tab playing your YouTube video), and tabs can be opened even after closing and re-opening Chrome.

See at Chrome Web Store


Extensity

You’re going to need an organizer for all the Chrome extensions you have working for you. Extensity collects all extensions and places them in one button beside your address bar; enable and disable extensions with one click and create profiles for separate preferences. Extensity keeps your browser toolbar uncluttered and gives you mastery over your browsing experience.

See at Chrome Web Store


Pushbullet

Receiving notifications from your Android phone right in Chrome is a great way to not miss an important text or call. Pushbullet also allows you to send SMS messages from your phone and send messages through apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Kik. When you receive and acknowledge a notification in Chrome, the notification will be dismissed from your phone — alerts will no longer pile up while you’re busy working away at your computer.

See at Chrome Web Store


LastPass

Having multiple, complex passwords is becoming ever more important, but keeping track of them all can be a pain. The LastPass extension brings everything you love about the password manager to Chrome — generate strong passwords, save all passwords, and even store credit card information for easy checkout. LastPass autofills password fields, so you’ll only have to remember one master password that unlocks your vault. This is a free extension, but a premium version can be unlocked that features full syncing across all devices.

See at Chrome Web Store


uBlock Origin

Choosing an extension that blocks ads doesn’t have to be a difficult decision. uBlock Origin is an open-source extension that aggressively blocks ads while using less memory than the other big ad-blocking services. If you want to go one step further, there are thousands of filters that can be applied to uBlock Origin, including tracking blockers and malware domain blockers.

See at Chrome Web Store


Honey

There are plenty of deals available when you shop online — the only problem is that they’re sometimes hard to find. Honey is a neat extension that finds coupon codes for you. When you’re at a checkout screen, just click the Honey button and the best coupon code available will be automatically applied. Honey will also show a list of coupon codes that recently worked with whatever site you’re currently on.

See at Chrome Web Store


Magic Actions for YouTube

Magic Actions is an extension designed for a better YouTube experience. Set all videos to start in HD, enable cinema mode for a darkened screen, hide those annoying video annotations, and block ads. For anyone who watches a lot of YouTube — who doesn’t? — this is an incredibly useful extension.

See at Chrome Web Store


OneTab

The amount of tabs that get opened in Chrome can be downright alarming, and sometimes closing a bunch of them just isn’t an option. OneTab lets you click a button and have all your open tabs merge into one mega-tab that presents itself as a list.

When you need to access one of the tabs, just click its name from the list. You can also restore all of them at once to get back to working on your project.

See at Chrome Web Store

Cite This For Me

Writing academic papers is a lot of work, especially when it comes time to properly cite your sources. Since so much information now comes from the internet, a Chrome extension was created to automatically cite websites in either APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago styles.

All you have to do is visit the page, click the Cite button, and copy the citation. There is also an online bibliography where you can add a bunch of citations and worry about sorting them out later.

See at Chrome Web Store

Lazarus

If you’ve ever been filling in a form online and something happens where you lose your work — a power outage or an internet error — you understand the crippling anger that occurs when you realize it’s gone forever.

Lazarus is here to save the day. It takes the words you type and saves them so that they can be restored with a simple click. Worried about privacy? Your keystrokes are saved on your device and are encrypted to protect from snooping.

See at Chrome Web Store

Taco

Working on the internet usually means you’re employing a ton of different services, like Trello, Gmail, RSS, and Evernote. With Taco, all of these services and more can be organized in Chrome’s New Tab page.

You can drag and drop tasks from a wide variety of services, letting you prioritize and hide content you’re not currently working. Grab this extension if you prefer having everything in one place.

See at Chrome Web Store

Darkness – Beautiful Dark Themes

Whereas some other dark-filter extensions for Chrome give you one option, Darkness has a few themes built around some of the most popular websites on the internet.

The free version comes with themes for Facebook and Google; pay $ 5 for the Pro version and get themes for Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, Gmail, and more. If you want more than just a dark screen, you’ll love Darkness.

See at Chrome Web Store

StayFocused

For some people, especially students, staying on task to get everything on your to-do list done is easier said than done. When you have assignments due, or deadlines to hit, being able to focus on the task at hand is key.

StayFocused keeps you on track by not allowing you to visit certain websites for an allotted amount of time. You set up the sites that are blocked, decide when you can browse freely, and adjust what sites you are free to distract yourself with. There are plenty of settings to play with in order to limit the amount of distraction you deal with while trying to get work done on your laptop.

See at Chrome Web Store

Grammarly for Chrome

Being able to quickly and easily check the spelling and grammar of a document really can’t be overstated. Whether you want to be sure that you don’t embarrass yourself in an email to your Supervisor, or in an essay you write for English 121, have a spelling and grammar checker can be handy.

While Grammarly definitely isn’t perfect, and may miss some problems, overall it’s a great way to ensure your work and communications look polished before hitting that send button.

See at Chrome Web Store

Your favorite extension?

Hit the comments section and let us know what Chrome extensions you use most.


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