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Wileyfox launches new Spark range, cheap phones and incremental improvements

Wileyfox are known - or rather, unknown - for their cheap, but well-specced smartphones. The Swift and Storm launched last year to generally good reviews, praising the affordability, performance, and design of the two phones, while criticising cameras and the occasional build quality issue. Today, the British company is announcing a range of phones, named Spark, Spark +, and Spark X.

SPARK - banner_black SPARK - wf_sparks_x2

The Spark is the most affordable handset of the three, costing just £89.99 ($120) off-contract. Despite this, it has a 5-inch, 720p IPS display, 8GB storage, two 8-megapixel camera, and runs CyanogenOS 13, based on Android 6.0 Lollipop. The processor is a quad-core MediaTek MT6735A running at 1.3GHz, with 1GB of RAM onboard.

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Google+ social network turns 5 years old, wants a pony and a plastic rocket for its birthday

Many happy returns, Google+, you are five today. Google's home-built social network was launched on June 28th, 2011, competing with the likes of Facebook and Twitter with a unique "circle" approach to contact management and deep integration with Google services. Many predicted it wouldn't last this long (rest in peace, Google Wave), but Google+ has proven surprisingly resilient.

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Google puts Expeditions, the VR app designed for classrooms, in the Play Store after long trial period

Google first talked about Expeditions way back at I/O 2015, after which they began trying it out with a large number of classrooms worldwide. Using the magic of VR, Expeditions would allow educators to take their students on realistic escapades into far-off lands. At long last, Google is making the app available to anyone who wants it.

Using a viewer like Google Cardboard and a smartphone, people can go on (self-)guided tours of places like Machu Picchu, Antarctica, the International Space Station, and even the now-defunct studio of The Colbert Report.

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To go as a group, it works like an old-fashioned LAN party.

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Sony Xperia X Performance quick review: A flawed phone with an obscene price

Sony is now accepting pre-orders for its line of Xperia X phones in the US, including the X and X Performance. We've already covered the Xperia X in detail, learning that it's a disappointing phone. But what of the top-of-the-line Xperia X Performance? It solves a few of the issues with the Xperia X, but it comes with a much higher $700 price tag. Is this the Sony phone you should buy, or should you buy none of them? Let's use the Xperia X as a thoroughly mediocre and overpriced yardstick to find out.

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Google releases new Cast SDK 3.0.0 from I/O 2016 for developers

Google has offered the Cast SDK to developers in some capacity for three years, but there have long been some annoyances that made it difficult to implement and maintain in certain apps. Cast SDK v3.0 was announced at I/O 2016 last month, and now it's available to developers. This version of the SDK seeks to simplify several elements of the old one to make developers' lives a little easier.

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HP announces $189 Chromebook 11 G5 with ability to run Android apps, 12.5 hours of battery life, and optional touchscreen

Today HP announced its latest Chromebook model update, this time with a budget focus. The Chromebook 11 G5 will, most notably, run Android apps and will cost just $189. Another headlining feature of the new laptop is its claimed 12.5 hours of battery life, which is top shelf in general and quite good for a laptop that costs considerably less than most of the phones our readers have. An optional touchscreen, which will increase the price by an unspecified amount, will make Android apps even more usable at the cost of just one hour of battery life.

For those who are reluctant to make the jump to Chrome OS, both Google and HP hope that Android app compatibility will ease your fears.

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T-Mobile Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge get Marshmallow updates

Marshmallow is making its way to Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge owners in the US. If you're on T-Mobile, you're next on the list. The Un-carrier is now sending out OTA updates to people on its network.

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Google releases sharper satellite images in Google Earth and Maps

The Landsat 8 satellite was launched by NASA in 2013 to snap photos of Earth in higher detail than was possible before. This is an open project, so you can dig through all the data if you want. Today, we get to enjoy the benefits of Landsat 8 in a more convenient way. Google has rolled out improved worldwide satellite imagery in Google Earth and Maps using the data acquired by this satellite.

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Samsung's updated 'Grace' TouchWiz UI for the Note 7 leaks

Samsung has traditionally made some minor UI tweaks to the Note devices every year, which are then adopted on the Galaxy S phones in subsequent updates. The Note 7, however, is expected to see more substantial UI changes. The so-called "Grace" interface for that phone has now leaked on video courtesy of HDblog.it.

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LG G5 Friends review, take 2: 360 Cam! 360 Cam! 360 Cam! Oh... other modules too

When I published my review of the LG G5, my personal take on the device itself was positive and divergent from David's more criticizing review. However, there is one aspect both David and I agree on almost to the letter: the Friends. They are, in my opinion, fun to try, but you can tell they were rushed, with a poorly executed mechanism, and some highly doubtful usefulness factor. Well, all but the 360 Cam. That one is pure awesome bundled in magic and wrapped in 360 degrees of cool.

Here's how some of the modules work. The G5's bottom chin can be removed with a small button/latch on the side of the device.

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