PHONE PLANS

PC Magazine surveyed thousands of readers to find out which phone plan is best. The big winner was Google’s “Project Fi,” which hardly anybody has ever heard of. It combines T-Mobile, Sprint and Wi-Fi into a virtual network. (A virtual network is one that doesn’t really exist but seems to. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to make sense.) Project Fi gives you unlimited U.S. calls and texts and unlimited international texts for $20 a month; add $10 for each gigabyte of data you use. The nice thing is, you get money back for anything you don’t use. We used only 100 megabytes last month, so we would have gotten $9 back, for a monthly bill of $21. The catch is, […]

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TEST DRIVING THE GALAXY

Samsung is so sure that iPhone users would like a Samsung phone better if they tried one out, they’re offering a 30-day trial of the latest Samsung Galaxy and other Samsung phones for $1.

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THE BEST FREE ANDROID APPS

The August issue of PC Magazine reviewed the 100 best Android apps of 2015. Besides the usual suspects, we saw some we’d never heard of. Such as…

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THE MYSTERIOUS ANDROID “M”

The latest Android operating system, “M,” isn’t out yet, but here are the features getting the most buzz. — “Permissions.” One of the scariest things about downloading an app today is having to tap  “Accept” to give the app permission over a dozen different areas. That won’t happen with M. The app will only ask permission for something when it needs it. — “Doze” notices when your phone is at rest and shuts down unnecessary programs running in the background. According to Google, this makes the battery last 50 percent longer before a recharge. — “Android Pay” is now more like “Apple Pay.” It’s easier to use.  After signing up with a credit card, you can buy things by holding […]

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ANOTHER LOLLIPOP GOODIE

After we temporarily lost our cell phone, we added a lock code. Now, no one can get in unless they know the code, but it’s frustrating to have to type it in every time the screen goes dark, which happens in just one minute of idleness. With the new Lollipop operating system, available on phones with Android 5.0, the phone is more responsive to your environment.

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NO APPLE WATCH, BUT HERE’S A LOLLIPOP

Remain calm. We are not going to talk about the features of Apple’s new Watch. Enough ink has already been spilled there to float this newspaper for the next thousand years. And the watch isn’t even out yet! Let’s talk about smartphones instead; hardly anybody ever talks about those.

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SPEEDING UP AN ANDROID

It’s not just computers that slow down, Android phones do too.

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ANDROID TIPS AND TRICKS

The worst feature of a smart phone is its fast-draining battery. As we’ve written before, an app like the free “Battery Doctor” helps with that. But the most important thing, we’ve found, is to tap “settings” and turn off Wi-Fi. After that, decrease your screen brightness. And use a program like the free “Clean Master” to get rid of junk files.

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CALLING DICK TRACY

What are smart watches good for? Not much. The dirty little secret of smart watches is that you have to have a smart phone in your pocket or bag or they don’t do much. Sales, as you might expect, have been less than torrid. For the forthcoming Apple Watch, next year, for example, you’ll have to have an iPhone too.

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ANDROID TIPS AND TRICKS

Consumer Reports ranks the Samsung Galaxy Android S4 as better than the iPhone, and 52 percent of U.S. smartphone owners have an Android phone. Here are some Android tips for that silent majority:

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