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Everything you need to know about Nokia’s return to smartphones

Nokia is back — and it’s back with a vengeance. The Finnish company finally launched its first Android-powered smartphones in 2017, and while the new devices aren’t made by Nokia, they do follow the company’s design guidelines and retain the brand name.

HMD Global manufactures these devices exclusively. We originally thought there would be up to four new phones in 2017, but rumors suggest there will actually be as many as six or seven. The rumors come from Malaysian distributor Avaxx, which said Nokia will aim to launch phones in all price ranges.

Here’s everything we know about Nokia’s 2017 Android phones so far.

Availability

As far as the phones we do know about, Nokia revealed some release dates and prices for customers in the United Kingdom. The Nokia 3 launched July 12 for 120 British pounds, followed by the Nokia 5 on August 2 for 180 pounds. Finally, the Nokia 6 will hit stores two weeks later on August 16 for 220 pounds. The Nokia 8 will be sold from September with a 600 euro price, or about $704/550 British pounds.

American shoppers will be able to grab the Nokia 6 from Amazon from July 10 for $230, or $180 as an ad-supported Prime exclusive.

Nokia 8

Nokia 8 aerial

If you’ve been waiting for an Android Nokia phone that embodies the spirit of the brand’s history, the Nokia 8 may be it. It marks the return to mobile photography for lens maker Zeiss, a long-time Nokia partner, and the device has a familiar shape and design to it. It takes the top mobile processor of the moment, the Snapdragon 835, and puts it with 4GB of RAM, a clever cooling system, and a 5.3-inch screen to make a compact but desirable premium smartphone.

Dual 13-megapixel cameras on the rear are built for live-streaming, and provide instant connection to Facebook’s Live platform, and YouTube Live. There’s even a fun feature that lets you use both the front and rear camera at the same time, resulting in photos with two different perspectives on a situation. The Nokia 8 won’t be sold in the United States, but will be released in the U.K. and other European countries in September.

Nokia 6

nokia handsets hmd global 2016 2017 6 range

The Nokia 6 is the company’s first Android smartphone, which debuted late last year. It packs some pretty decent specs. The phone’s screen is 5.inches with a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution, plus 3GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and Android 7.0 Nougat. On top of that, the device boasts a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera, and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. There’s even Dolby Atmos audio support and a fingerprint sensor.

Unfortunately, it’s not all good news — the device comes with a somewhat disappointing Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, but this is to be expected given the phone’s competitive price. The Nokia 6 was first sold in China, the U.K., and parts of Europe. In July, the Nokia 6 arrived in the United States through Amazon, either full-price at $230 or as an ad-supported phone for $180, which operates on the T-Mobile and AT&T networks.

Nokia 5 and Nokia 3

Nokia’s presence at Mobile World Congress in February included three devices, two of which were the Nokia 5 and the Nokia 3. Don’t expect flagship specs, though, as the two Android 7.0 Nougat smartphones will have lesser hardware than the Nokia 6 to hit lower price points.

The metal-bodied Nokia 5 features a 5.2-inch screen with a 1,280 x 720-pixel resolution and is powered by the same Snapdragon 430 processor as the Nokia 6, but with 2GB of RAM. The rear camera has 13 megapixels, the selfie cam 8 megapixels, plus there is a fingerprint sensor too. The device costs only 190 euros, or about $200.

The Nokia 3 only costs 140 euros, or $165, and is relatively basic; but still has a 5-inch screen and an aluminum-framed body. Android 7.0 Nougat is installed, there’s 16GB of internal storage space, 4G LTE connectivity, and an 8-megapixel camera.

Nokia Android phones still rumored

Nokia may still launch two more phones in 2017. Rumors persist of a Nokia 9 and a Nokia 7. The names give away where the devices will sit in the range, with the Nokia 9 potentially a large screen flagship phone, and the Nokia 7 a less technically impressive version of the Nokia 8.

However, many of the details previously associated with the Nokia 9 now seem to be more representative of the Nokia 8, suggesting it may not exist at all. Earlier in the year, it was rumored Nokia was working on the Nokia 7. According to a report from Nokia Power User back in March, the Nokia 7 will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, 1080p display, and a metallic body.

Built by HMD Global, designed by Nokia

It’s not Nokia at the helm of the new devices’ development, technically speaking. HMD Global, a Finnish company co-founded by former Nokia executives Arto Nummela and Florian Seiche, acquired the rights to the company’s mobile brand from Microsoft in May. HMD has a contract with FIH, a subsidiary of iPhone manufacturer Foxconn, and under a strict licensing partnership, follows Nokia’s design and hardware guidelines in exchange for access to the company’s extensive patent library.

In recent years, the company has struggled to gain a foothold in the high-end mobile market. Following the company’s adoption of Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system in 2011 and its acquisition by Microsoft in 2014, sales of its handset suffered — shipments in 2013 alone were down 22 percent year on year, according to Strategy Analytics.

Following Nokia’s divestiture from its parent company earlier this year, things haven’t looked much better. In April of last year, thanks in part to lower-than-expected smartphone shipments, it announced 900 million euros in downsizing measures — a plan which in part involved the layoffs of 1,400 staff members in Germany, 1,300 in Finland, and 400 in France.

Despite the Finnish company’s woes, though, it’s setting its eyes on the future. It teamed up independently with Foxconn to produce the N1, an Android-based tablet. It dipped its toes in virtual reality with the Ozo, a $60,000 professional-grade 360-degree camera. And it acquired French fitness device company Withings last year.

“We have been reinventing ourselves for 150 years using this amazing brand,” Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia’s consumer Nokia Technologies division, told Digital Trends in June. “We’re starting to focus on people’s happiness and health in a way that wasn’t possible before because the technology wasn’t possible before. You can expect some really surprising products in the next year or two directly from this company as we turn a new chapter.”

Update: The Nokia 8 is official, so we updated the text, and spun off the Nokia 9 rumors into an article all of its own.

The 10 best calendar apps for Android and iOS help you organize a chaotic day

One of the reasons we buy smartphones is because they help us organize our lives. No other apps help you accomplish this better than your calendar app. Smartphones come with built-in calendar apps, but sometimes these apps just don’t quite cut it. There are some great third-party apps that will enhance the basic capabilities of your built-in calendar app so that you can do much more than you ever thought was possible.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best calendar apps we could find for both iOS and Android. We hope that one of them will be the perfect fit for you and will make your life easier to manage.

If productivity is important to you, don’t forget to check our list of top 10 productivity apps and the best note taking apps for iOS and Android.

The Best

Fantastical 2

Fantastical 2 iOS

For iOS, the best calendar app can only be Fantastical 2. It works with the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, and it takes advantage of some of the new hardware features like 3D Touch and Force Touch. What pushes it above the rest of the apps available on iOS is how it supports multiple languages, lets people use speech to create reminders, and even supports the use of simple text phrases to make reminders and alerts. It’s intuitive, quick, convenient, and feature-rich, which is everything you want from an app you’re hoping will make your life easier to schedule.

The iPad app gets its own unique dashboard view, which provides quick and easy access to all of your events and reminders. If you have an Apple Watch, there’s a dedicated app for that as well, which will have your reminders pushed to it, and allow you to speak directly to the watch to add new events, thanks to the Force Touch capabilities. English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese are all supported.

Many of the app’s features are standard fare and just what you’d expect a calendar app to offer, but Fantastical 2 strives to make every process more convenient in order to save time. For example, you can start a sentence with “reminder,” “to do,” or “task” to create reminders, or use phrases like “remind me tomorrow at 3PM,” or “alarm 3PM” to set new alerts. You can also add a geofence to an alert so that it’ll go off when you leave or arrive at a specific location. For example, if you head out to a grocery store, you’ll be reminded of the fact that you need milk and bread.

Download now for:

iOS

CloudCal

CloudCal

For Android users, we can’t recommend CloudCal enough. CloudCal has a unique way of showing how busy you are on any given day. The Android app uses a system it calls Magic Circles, which turn the days of the month into clock faces, and show different colored circles, or segments of a circle. Each one corresponds to whatever tasks you have scheduled for that day. If it’s someone’s birthday, there would be a complete magic circle on that day. If you have a meeting at work that same day, there would be another colored segment on the outside of the previously mentioned circle labeled “Meeting.” The goal of the magic circle system is to give people a rough understanding of what their day will be like, and how much free time they’ll have in between everything.

To complement the magic circles, CloudCal features gesture support, customizable views, calendar import, and it can work alongside other apps like Uber, Maps, and Waze. However, that requires those apps to be installed, and you’ll need to purchase the Pro version of the app for $2.50 first. Once installed, you can call an Uber from within CloudCal, or use Maps and Waze to attach locations to scheduled events and tasks. The biggest factor behind our recommendation is the app’s unique Magic Circles system, which is stylish and gets information across quickly. There’s also the fact that you can use other apps like Uber, Maps, and Waze to complement CloudCal’s features and functions. We also like that you can attach photos, audio files, and Dropbox files to events.

Download now for:

Android

7 Moto Z2 Force tips and tricks to make you a better photographer and more

Lenovo’s latest, top-of-the-line smartphone is just as modular and powerful as its predecessor. But in addition to retaining support for the ever-expanding portfolio of snap-on Moto Mods, the Moto Z2 Force packs a powerful dual camera, a high-end processor, and software that lets you fine-tune its appearance. The Moto Z2 Force may not look all that complicated on the outside, but there’s plenty lurking beneath the surface if you know where to look. Here’s a handy list of Moto Z2 Force tips and tricks, including camera tutorials and directions for utilizing voice commands.

How to take DSLR-like bokeh shots

The Moto Z2 Force’s camera is an upgrade from last year’s model. It packs dual, 12-megapixel sensors and comes with sophisticated camera software to match. One of the coolest features is Depth enabled, which is kind of like the iPhone 7 Plus‘ Portrait Mode. The Moto Z2 Force uses the dual cameras to mimic the bokeh, or blur effect, you see on DSLR cameras, with the foreground subject in focus and the background blurred.

It’s pretty easy to use. Open the Camera app, tap the three-button Settings icon in the bottom-right corner of the app, and select the Depth enabled option. Afterward, tap on an object to bring it into focus, and tap on the shutter button to take the shot. Don’t like the result? Not to worry — the Moto Z2 Force’s editing tools allow you adjust the “blur” effect after you’ve taken the shot. You can adjust the intensity, location, and depth of focus using the Depth Editor

How to capture the world in black and white

moto z2 force tips and tricks img 20170814 155106607

The Moto Z2 Force’s camera is good for more than just applying bokeh effects. One of its dual sensors shoots in monochrome, meaning that the pictures it captures come out in black and white. This makes it easy way to make any moment more dramatic, and it’s better than using an Instagram filter.

To capture black-and-white images with the Moto Z2 Force, open the camera app and tap the Settings icon. Then, tap on the True B&W option, and enjoy the world in high-contrast monochrome.

How to shoot photos like a pro

The Moto Z2 Force’s cameras are a powerful pair, but you wouldn’t know it from the phone’s barebones camera app. If the default settings have you feeling a bit constrained, try Professional Mode, which exposes a lot more of the camera’s settings for you to tweak.

Open the camera app, tap the settings button, and tap Professional Mode to turn it on. Now, you’ll see a wealth of adjustable menus on the right-hand side, letting you change everything from white balance and exposure to ISO and focus. It’s every smartphone photographer’s dream.

How to use Moto Actions for quick access to the flashlight and more

Moto Actions have become a staple of the company’s Moto-branded smartphones, and the Z2 Force is no exception. With Moto Actions enabled, you can switch on the flashlight by making a chopping motion with your arm, twist your wrist twice quickly to open the camera app, and flip the phone face down to silence notifications and calls. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

To switch on Moto Actions, tap the Moto icon in the Moto Z2 Force’s app drawer and tap Moto Actions. Afterward, scroll down the list of options and enable whichever action you want. A few of our favorites include one button nav, which lets you navigate the Moto Z2 Force’s home screen and apps by using the fingerprint sensor, and swipe to shrink screen, which lets you swipe down to the left or right to make the phone’s interface smaller for one-handed use.

How to use Moto Display to save battery — and your sleep

Moto Display, another component of the Moto Z2 Force’s Moto app, optimizes your phone’s screen depending on how you’re using it. When it’s night, the Moto Z2 Force’s screen automatically adjusts to warmer tones that are less likely to interfere with your circadian rhythm. When your phone’s sitting face up on a desk unused, new notifications fade in and out, allowing you to save battery life.

Tap the Moto app shortcut, followed by the Moto Display menu. Afterward, toggle the Moto Display mode you want to enable: Night Display, which enables the Moto Z2 Force’s night filter, and Moto Display, which shows notifications on the lockscreen.

Don’t want all of your apps showing up on the lockscreen? Tap Moto Display to block individual apps from appearing. Tap Night Display to set the mode’s start and end time.

How to use voice commands with Moto Voice

Moto Voice lets you open apps or check the weather just by using the phrase “Show Me.” To set it up, find the Moto app in your app drawer, and tap on Moto Voice. Hit Set up Voice, and make sure the toggle for Voice Control is on. Tap Change or improve voice enrollment, and the tutorial for Moto Voice will begin. Follow the instructions on the screen — you’ll need to be in a quiet environment for the set up process. Once set up, say “Show me Chrome,” or “Show me the weather,” to open apps or check the weather hands-free. You can even use this feature when your phone is on standby.

You can also use Moto Voice to read calls and texts aloud when you are driving. To set it up, launch the Moto app and tap Moto Voice. Tap the Talk to me menu, and enable activities during which you want the phone to talk to you (i.e., when you’re driving or wearing a headset). You can also add places where Talk to me will automatically activate, like your house or work.

How to disable the Google Now activity stream

Google Now, Google’s AI-powered assistant, is accessible from the left-hand side of the Moto Z2 Force’s home screen by default. It’s where you’ll see the weather forecast, sports scores, packages bound for your address, flight statuses, and articles related to the news you’ve been reading. But if you don’t use it, you’re under no obligation to keep it on your home screen. Disable it by pressing and holding anywhere on the Moto Z2 Force’s home screen until you see a settings menu with three buttons: Wallpapers, Widgets, and Settings. Tap the Settings menu, and then tap Swipe Access. To disable the Google Now feed, tap Nothing. That’s it. The next time you swipe to the left-most part of the lock screen, you won’t see the Google Now interface.

Watch Microsoft’s Xbox One X Gamescom conference live right here

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Microsoft is about to share the last details on the Xbox One X with a press conference ahead of the Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. You can watch it live right here at 12 PM on the West Coast, 3 PM on the East Coast, 8 PM in the U.K., 9 PM in Germany.

The company already said on Twitter that we can expect to hear more details about pre-orders for the Xbox One X:

Microsoft should also share new trailers for upcoming games, such as Forza Motorsport 7, Sea of Thieves, maybe another extension for Halo Wars 2, etc.

The Xbox One X is Microsoft’s upcoming gaming console. It’s a more powerful Xbox One that should work better with demanding games. You’ll be able to buy it on November 7 for $499. Microsoft says that you can expect 4K games with an acceptable framerate.

And yet, based on specs, the console should be more or less as powerful as a gaming PC with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070. If you have a 4K TV, games should definitely look better with an Xbox One X. But the existing Xbox One S is going to remain available after the release of the Xbox One X.

Nokia 9 rumors hint the reinvigorated company’s not finished with 2017 yet

Why it matters to you

New Nokia 8 too small for your massive hands? Nokia may have a larger Nokia 9 model in the works.

Nokia has already launched several smartphones in 2017, including the Nokia 8, its most powerful phone to date. Rumors still persist it has a further device in the works, which is known as the Nokia 9, and it may be a larger, bezel-less version of the Nokia 8.

How can we be sure the Nokia 9 rumors aren’t just false Nokia 8 rumors? We can’t, but a quote from Nokia executives circulating after the Russian Nokia 8 launch event hints a larger screen Nokia phone is still to come, ready, “to meet the needs of absolutely all users.”

Nothing is certain, and the release date is unknown for now; but here’s all the information we’ve gathered about the Nokia 9 so far.

Design

The Nokia 9 may have been confused with the Nokia 8 over the past months, and therefore many of the leaked images said to be the Nokia 9, turned out to be more representative of the Nokia 8. However, one image leaked back in April shows a schematic of what could be a larger device from Nokia, which may be the Nokia 9.

nokia 9

It’s intriguing because the design is bezel-less, unlike the Nokia 8, and therefore more in line with other 2017 flagship Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6. The image shouldn’t be taken as final, because when it was leaked, it was accompanied by a similar sketch for the Nokia 8, also with thinner bezels than the final version. This casts doubt over the accuracy of the Nokia 9 image.

Specification

The Nokia 8 is the most powerful version of the new 2017 range of Android phones from the company. The Nokia 9 may share many of the same features, including the Snapdragon 835 processor, and dual-lens Zeiss camera. A version with 8GB of RAM has been seen on the Geekbench benchmarking website, but these results are easily faked.

Where the Nokia 9 may differ is in its screen size. The Nokia 8 is compact at 5.3 inches, and rumors suggest the Nokia 9 may have a 5.5-inch or even 5.7-inch screen. This fits in with the quotes attributed to Nokia from the Nokia 8 launch event, but shouldn’t be taken as official confirmation of the Nokia 9’s existence.

Other features which have been mentioned in rumors include 128GB of internal memory, IP68 water resistance, and an iris scanner. We’d recommend treating all rumors regarding the Nokia 9’s specification as being speculation at best.

Release

We don’t know when, or even if, the Nokia 9 will be released. The Nokia 8 arrived in mid-August, and it seems unlikely Nokia will launch another device in the very near future. We’ll keep you updated with all the rumors.