Android Police

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Chromecast purchases from now until Dec 24 include three months of HBO Now

Both last year's Chromecast and the new Chromecast Ultra are great deals for the functionality they offer, but every once in a while, Google throws in extra goodies with Chromecast purchases. This time around, Google is offering three free months of HBO Now if you buy a Chromecast or Chromecast Ultra.

The small print reveals that purchases from November 23 until December 24 will receive the offer, and it can be redeemed at any time until January 8. This only applies if you sign up for HBO Now for the first time; if you already have a subscription, this unfortunately doesn't get you three free months.

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Secondary phone marketplace Swappa now offers protection plans starting at $50

Buying a used phone is something of a crapshoot. Customers can do all the research they like or pore over photos with a magnifying glass, but eventually they just have to trust that someone else hasn't dumped a lemon of a device onto the next sucker. Swappa, a marketplace for gadget buyers and sellers that specializes in Android hardware, is trying to take some of the uncertainty out of that process. Starting today the company is offering device protection plans for phones, with laptops and tablets coming soon.

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LeEco LePro 3 review: the best smartphone deal around just isn't worth the compromise

When shopping for a budget or mid-range phone, there is always an element of compromise. How many high-end features, how much capability are you willing to give up for the sake of a few hundred dollars? It's a similar proposition in just about any field - from a multi-year car purchase to a simple meal - but the scales are tipping for mobile. The last few years have been marked by amazing value, and thus less and less compromise, in the mid-range segment.

Which brings us to LeEco. Previously exclusive to the Chinese market, the company's debut in the US is highlighted by the LePro 3.

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In response to huge US traffic death surge, NHTSA proposing stricter in-vehicle smartphone guidelines

If you've been reading anything about traffic fatalities in the United States in the last year or so, you've probably heard that we're in the midst of a rather alarming increase in the number of people dying on American roads. In 2015, over 38,000 people were killed in vehicular incidents (this includes pedestrians, cyclists, solo crashes, and multi-vehicle accidents). That was an increase of 7.2% over 2014. 2016 is looking much worse yet, seeing a surge of around 10% over the already grim 2015 numbers. For comparison, the traffic death rate per 100 million vehicle miles is also way up, the worst it's been in seven years (i.e., this is not a simple result of more miles being driven).

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Microsoft Solitaire Collection now available for Android, in all its ad-supported glory

Solitaire has been bundled with Windows since version 3.0, released all the way back in 1990. With Windows 8, Microsoft replaced it with 'Microsoft Solitaire Collection.' The new version offered more game modes, as well as achievements and cloud saves through Xbox Live, but famously included banner and full-screen advertisements unless you paid for the Premium edition.

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[Update: Winners] Win one of five Moto G4 Plays from Ting and Android Police

This contest is now over.

The final results are listed below. If you've won, you will be contacted in the near future. Congratulations!

Everyone else - keep participating and stay tuned to Android Police so that you don't miss our upcoming giveaway announcements. You can follow AP on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and RSS.

Yuxi Lai

Matt Terhark

Randall Strye

Rahul Vittal

Benjamin Pierre

The Moto G4 Play is one of the most well-balanced budget handsets on the market right now, and we're giving away five of them in partnership with our friends at Ting today because Ting is awesome like that.

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[Deal Alert] Free four-month trial subscription to Google Play Music & YouTube Red available to new customers

If you've considered signing up for a music streaming subscription then here's an offer that you might like. Google is currently gifting new subscribers to Google Play Music a free four-month membership. Also included is a subscription for YouTube Red, with all its great benefits, including offline playback and ad-free videos.

The only catch, if you can even call it that, is that after four months you will have to pay $9.99 a month for the service. If you are just interested in the freebies, you can cancel your subscription any time after signing up and still enjoy the entire four-month trial.

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Google phasing out 'Google Cast' name for connected TVs, speakers

Google Cast or Chromecast? That, my friends, is the question. Seems like today Google is providing an answer, with reports that the Google Cast name is being gradually phased out in favor of Chromecast.

Speakers and TVs with Cast seem to be the main victims (if you can call them that) here - rather than, say, a Vizio TV being 'Google Cast enabled,' it now has 'Chromecast built-in.' It's the same for TVs by Toshiba, or speakers by Sony - they now have Chromecast built-in instead of Google Cast. I suppose that Google has found that the Chromecast brand has more relevance and strength than the Google Cast brand, and that's what has been the driving force behind this change.

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Amazon Echo Dot 2nd gen review: A delightful and cheap way to get started with voice assistants

Amazon's Echo success took me a little by surprise. It seemed like we went overnight from questioning the idea of a voice assistant in a speaker to almost everyone owning an Echo and companies rushing to add Alexa support for their services and products. Part of what seemed like a quick success is due to the Echo Dot, the smaller cheaper version that you can sprinkle around the house in places where you don't care about excellent sound quality.

The second generation Echo Dot builds on that. Unlike the first one, you can order it directly from Amazon without having to use another Echo.

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Niantic adds Ditto to Pokémon Go, tweaks 'Nearby' feature and brings it to more regions

Niantic has been taking flack ever since it removed the tracking feature in Pokémon GO a few days after launch. Then the developer started to roll out a new feature, named 'Nearby,' which showed Pokémon if they were near to Pokéstops. After feedback from users, that has now been tweaked a little, and it's on a slightly larger roll out.

The new, improved "Nearby" feature will only appear if you are close to a Pokéstop. This supposedly means that someone cannot look for a Pokéstop, find the Pokémon close to it, then go and catch them.

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