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Wileyfox Spark review: Could do better

Phones have progressed enormously in the last few years. If I look at my beloved Nexus 4, bought new in 2012, it had a Snapdragon S4 Pro chip, 2GB RAM, and 16GB storage. It cost me £279, or $349 in the US. For a phone of that quality, $349 was a stupendous price, much cheaper than comparable phones from Samsung, Motorola, or HTC. It kept me going for two years before the battery finally gave out.

Fast forward to this year. A tiny British company, Wileyfox, has released a phone, the Spark, with 1GB RAM and 8GB storage, for £89.99 ($120).

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As Samsung announces big profits, LG's mobile unit loses $132 million in Q2 due to slow G5 sales

LG's mobile business has regularly been on the knife's edge of profitability over the years, and after last year's lackluster G4, the company likely hoped the more adventurous G5 would help pay the smartphone arm's bills and, perhaps, even deliver a profit to the unit. Unfortunately, according to LG's Q2 2016 fiscal results released today, that effort has not paid off.

LG Mobile reported an operating loss of $132 million for the second quarter, the first full fiscal quarter the G5 was on sale in major markets (it launched April 1st here in the US). This is especially dismal given that it marks only a very modest improvement over LG's Q1 results for its mobile unit, which saw losses of around $168 million.

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A leaked Android 7.0 beta ROM for the Huawei P9 is in the wild

Who says that Nexus owners get to have all the fun? Yesterday an innocuous XDA thread claimed to have a beta version of an Android 7.0 build, ready and waiting for Huawei's dual-camera phone, the P9. Usually that sort of post when we're still weeks or months away from a full AOSP release of a new Android version is, to put it bluntly, bunk. But in this case, users who have flashed the ROM say that it's functional and apparently legitimate - Huawei's proprietary EMUI skin, marked as version 5, is running on top of Nougat. It's working on the EVA-L09 model; others may not be compatible.

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Motorola releases Mods Manager and projector Mod app in the Play Store

The Moto Z and Moto Z Force have launched today as Verizon-exclusive devices. The Moto Z will come out as an unlocked device in the not too distant future, but the Droid phones are the only game in town when it comes to Moto Mods. And there are settings apps for the Mods in the Play Store—two of them, in fact. I guess that's cool.

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Latest YouTube update removes notification button to close background play

Google does a lot of smart things, but it also makes some very bizarre (dare I say, dumb?) decisions. Case in point, YouTube recently changed the way it handles background play, making it harder to end playback from the notification. The "x" used to be tiny, but now it's just gone.

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Moto Z DROID, Z Force DROID, and their Mods are now on sale at Verizon

Pre-orders for Moto's new flagships went up last week, but today is the day the phones go officially on sale. Both the Moto Z DROID and the Moto Z Force DROID are available for purchase at Verizon's website and the prices are like we discussed earlier.

You'll have to pay $624 for the regular Z or divide that up into $26 monthly installments over 30 months. As for the Z Force, it's about a hundred dollars more, costing $720 upfront or $30 per month for 30 months.

You can also grab a Mod if you want that, but you'll have to be ready to shell out serious cash for some of them.

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Samsung posts big profit for Q2 2016, largest in over two years

Bolstered by surging sales of the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, Samsung has announced its second quarter earnings for 2016, showing that profits, 8.14 trillion won ($45.2 billion), are up almost 18%, with revenue, 50.94 trillion won ($7.22 billion), also up by 5%.

These are big, big increases for Samsung - the biggest profit the South Korean company has made in over two years. This is no doubt thanks to, at least in part, a hugely profitable IT & Mobile Communications division, which has the smartphone department as part of that. Profit for the IM division was 4.32 trillion won ($3.83 billion).

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Chromecast's Fast Play Content Prediction feature has been delayed, still being worked on

Remember Chromecast's "Fast Play" feature? Well, some of it is out there in the wild now: for example, apps now can be pre-fetched by the Chromecast when they're loaded on your phone (this works for all Chromecasts). But the one feature a lot of people were looking forward to - video prefetching, aka Content Prediction - still isn't released.

Content Prediction is one piece of the larger Fast Play puzzle, but it's an important one. Content Prediction lets the Chromecast start to buffer a video before you even press the play or Cast button on your smartphone, with the idea that the video will start playing, essentially, instantaneously once you start it.

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ZTE Axon 7 available for purchase today at $400, ships August 17th

ZTE's latest attempt at breaking into the premium smartphone market is the Axon 7, and it's available for pre-order today. You have to drop $399.98 to secure your Axon 7, which offers some rather high-end specs for that price. One catch, you'll have to wait a few weeks to actually get your phone.

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Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are the latest devices to get AT&T WiFi calling

AT&T started rolling out WiFi calling to some of its devices a few months ago, starting mysteriously with the LG G4. The GS6 Active and LG K10 followed that, but now a pair of newer flagship phones finally have it too. The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are getting WiFi calling in the latest OTA.

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