What is Best of Android?                 In Best of Android, we take the most important smartphones of the year and compare them side-by-side and in-depth. This year, with so many good phones available, we’ve stepped things up a notch and brought the 10 biggest Android phones of the year to the competition. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge HTC 10 Sony Xperia XZ Google Pixel XL Xiaomi Mi 5 Lenovo Moto Z Force Droid OnePlus 3T LG V20 Huawei Mate 9 ZTE Axon 7 Read more about Best of Android and thanks for being such a valuable part of the Android Authority family! Up next in our Best of Android 2016 series is some audio testing. We’ve seen manufacturers increasingly boast about the HiFi playback capabilities of their smartphones this year, and better quality audio components. So let’s see if the hardware has what it takes. DAC Signal to Noise If you’re looking for a smartphone capable of playing back audiophile grade files, then you’ll definitely want to take a look at the signal to noise ratio of the handset’s DAC. There’s a very important relationship between noise and audio file bit-depth. The bit-depth tells us the level of the quantization error when rounding values to their nearest digital value. A 24-bit file offers a maximum signal-to-noise ratio of -144dB, compared with -96.3dB for a 16-bit file. Although there’s more to this discussion that we’ll have to save for another time. Regardless, if you want to maximize the available quality of these files, then we need a physical DAC and amplifier output stage that is just as noiseless as the audio files. There’s no point in listening to a 24-bit file through a system with a 50dB SNR. A higher SNR also means that quality should be retained better as we turn the volume down, as there additional headroom before we hit the noise […]

Speedpropertybuyers It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. In 2016, mobile technology hit new heights and Android was at the center of it all. But you can’t have progress without missteps, and 2016 was marked by an assortment of bad ideas, questionable business decisions, and some truly embarrassing blunders. See also: 2016 in review: 10 defining moments in the world of Android 3 days ago Time to talk about the 2016 moments tech companies would like us to forget. Let’s get to it! When Samsung set its reputation on fire In the “So Big, Non-Nerds Know About It” category, Samsung somehow managed to turn its best shot to finally outshine Apple into a hugely embarrassing, massively expensive, still-not-fully-explained disaster of a phone launch. Years from now, people (normal people, not us tech freaks) will still be talking about that time Samsung phones kept catching fire. At Samsung HQ, news of burning cars and cancelled flights will trigger PTSD attacks forever, or at least until a new generation of fresh-eyed execs takes over with no memory of that dreadful day in 2016 when DJ Koh had to recall the Galaxy Note 7. The Blunder of the Year award definitely goes to Samsung. Hell, everything else on this list combined was not as bad as the Note 7 fiasco. It was just that embarrassing. When Blu got caught red handed In the “We Didn’t Know, We Swear!” category, several Blu smartphones were found to be secretly sending user data to servers in China every 72 hours. That included text messages, call logs, and contacts. Yep, we’re talking about manufacturer installed malware here, the last thing you’d want on the cheap phone you bought for your mom or your kid. To its credit, Blu came clean pretty fast […]

It looks like OnePlus is working down to the wire to release its promised Android 7.0 Nougat stable updates for the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T by the end of 2016, at least in some time zones. The company has a Nougat beta update available to download for the 3T right now, and OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei stated via Twitter that the stable over-the-air Nougat update will begin to roll out tonight for both the 3 and 3T phones. See also: Android Nougat on the OnePlus 3 is impressive, even in beta 4 weeks ago The OnePlus 3T beta update is the first, and likely only, OxygenOS 4.0 beta for that phone. The older OnePlus 3 phone has received 10 beta updates over the past several weeks. In his Twitter posts, Pei said the Nougat stable OTA update for the 3 and 3T will be a “gradual” one, so not every owner of those phones will likely get access to it tonight. 2) Android N stable OTA for the OP3 and the OP3T. Gradual rollout will begin later tonight. — Carl Pei (@getpeid) December 31, 2016 OnePlus promised that those phones would get Nougat before the end of the year. In follow-up posts on Twitter, Pei stated, “Many members of our R&D are not taking any time off to celebrate New Year. But we all feel proud to finally deliver on our promises. Thanks for all the support in 2016. I promise we’ll come back stronger in 2017, see you next year!” Get OxygenOS Open Beta 1 for OnePlus 3T

Looks like carrier billing for Airtel and Vodafone is going live in India for Google Play Store. Google had officially announced the partnership at the Google Playtime event in India in October, but didn’t share any timeline. In May this year, Google had announced carrier billing with Idea Cellular, although the service wasn’t rolled out immediately. Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) allows you to buy apps, music, books, and movies from the Google Play Store while the cost is reflected in your postpaid mobile bill or taken off your prepaid balance. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the roll-out has been underway since last few days, but I can confirm now that it is working for me. I just set it up, and made the first purchase. You can set up carrier billing under the ‘Add a new payment’ option. It was seamless, really. To use the integrated billing system, each time you need to make a purchase, simply choose ‘Bill my Airtel Account’ on the payment method prompt. Interestingly, Microsoft was the first to enable carrier billing in India. Idea Cellular had enabled carrier billing on Windows Store in December 2014. Is carrier billing working for you on the Google Play Store? Tell us in the comments, and share which carrier are you on.

British smartphone maker Wileyfox has announced that it will be releasing an OTA update that will replace Cyanogen OS on users’ devices with a ‘pure’ Android build developed by the company. Read more…

HTC’s Ocean Note smartphone will reportedly forgo the 3.5mm headphone jack. However, it’s not the first smartphone from the manufacturer which has preferred USB Type-C for audio output. Read more…

LCD displays are still going to be around for a long time, at least for smart TVs such as the ones that use Android TV and other operating systems. Today, the massive electronic manufacturing company Foxconn announced a new partnership with Sharp to build and operate a new TV LCD flat-panel factory in China, which will cost $8.8 billion. See also: AMOLED displays set to close in on LCD this year May 2, 2016 Reuters reports that the new factory will help with the expected demand of new flat-screen TVs in Asia. Foxconn said that the LCD factory will make 10.5-generation 8K displays, along with screens for smart TVs and electronic whiteboards. Production is expected to begin in 2019. This news comes even as other companies are embracing OLED displays for both TV as well as smartphones. However, there’s still some life in the LCD market. Panasonic recently announced an LCD IPS display with a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. It is supposed to have 600 times more contrast compared to normal LCD panels, and those levels are close to those found in OLED displays. However, other companies seem to want to move towards an OLED future. Earlier this month, it was reported that LG had decided to make some business changes in its display business to focus more on the OLED format. It will be interesting to see how this format battle will move forward in the future.

More info about the upcoming 2017 editions of the Samsung Galaxy A5 and A7 smartphones are coming into focus. The phones, which are expected to be officially announced on January 5, now have prices in Malaysia. The surprising part is they are a bit higher than one might expect from a mid-range phone. See also: Confirmed: Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy A lineup will be water resistant 3 days ago The Galaxy A5 will be priced in that country at RM1,699, or about $378, while the Galaxy A7 will have a price point of RM1,899, or about $424. Samsung in Malaysia will throw in a free Level U Pro wireless headphone for people who pre-order the smartphones between January 6th and January 15th. In addition, firmware for both phones are now available to download on Samsung’s servers, and the company’s Russian site already has the users manuals for the 2017 A3, A5 and A7  phones ready to download and read. Samsung has already confirmed that the 2017 Galaxy A series will be water resistant and now it has also confirmed they will be dust resistant as well. Finally, ETNews is reporting that all of the new Galaxy A phones will have a 12MP front facing camera, rather than the standard 5MP camera that’s found on many phones, including the 2016 Galaxy A model. All in all, these models seem to be shaping up to be solid, but pricey, mid-range phones. We should get the official word from Samsung on these devices in less than a week.

One of the most popular third-party Android launchers, ADW Launcher, finally has a full-fledged successor. After a beta testing period that lasted several months, ADW Launcher 2 is ditching the beta tag and is now available to download in the Google Play Store. See also: Best Android launcher apps August 15, 2016 For users of the original version of the app, ADW Launcher 2 has a ton of new features and improvements. Among them is support for the launcher shortcuts found in Android 7.1 Nougat. There’s also a new icons effects section, where you can choose your own image filters and compositions. The app also has support for dynamic UI coloring using its wallpaper colors, and there are new ways to change the wallpaper. There are also improvements for adding widgets and shortcuts and lots, lots more. You can check out the very long change log for ADW Launcher 2 in its Google Play Store listing. While the app is free to download, the premium version of ADW Launcher 2 is normally priced at $3.99 to unlock many more of its features. The good news for you is that the development team has cut the price of the premium version down to just $1.99 for a limited time. There’s no word on how long this discount will continue so if you want to jump in and save some money, you should do so quickly. What is your personal opinion of ADW Launcher 2? Let us know your thoughts in the comments! Get it at Google Play

In addition to a bunch of games that are currently on sale and tons of discounted movies, albums, books and TV shows on Google Play, we’ve also come across quite a few great apps that are on sale as well. Check out the list of the most interesting ones down below. Discounts range from 40 to 80 percent, but keep in mind that they won’t last forever. So if you find an interesting deal, we advise you to take it while you still can. Password Manager SafeInCloud – $2.99, was $4.99 Memory Booster (Full Version) – $1.49, was $2.99 All-In-One Toolbox Pro Key – $1.99, was $3.99 Moon+ Reader Pro – $2.49, was $4.99 Slide for Reddit Pro – $1.99, was $4.00 Locus Map Pro – Outdoor GPS – $2.99, was $7.49 NAVIGON Europe – $39.99, was $59.99 Tapet (in-app discount) – $1.49, was $3.99 Solid Explorer File Manager (in-app discount) – $0.99, was $1.99 Enpass Password Manager (in-app discount) – $4.99, was $9.99 edjing PRO – Music DJ mixer – $0.99, was $4.99 Metal Pro – $0.99, was $1.99 Internet Speed Meter – $1.49, was $2.50 NRG Player Adblocker – $2.49, was $4.99 Twomon USB – USB Monitor – $3.99, was $8.99 So, what do you guys think about these deals? Found something you like? Let us know which apps you find most interesting by posting a comment down below. Would love to hear your thoughts. Don’t miss: The most controversial apps and games of 2016

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