Best baseball apps for Android

They say it isn't spring until baseball starts. We…

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LeEco hits another snag in building its global empire, won't acquire Vizio

This time, regulations have stopped it from acquiring the US's biggest TV maker.

LeEco hasn't had an easy time lately and things don't seem to be perking up. Both LeEco and Vizio have announced that the merger agreement for the former to acquire the latter will not proceed.

Both companies sent out a tandem email with the following statement:

LeEco Global Group Ltd. and VIZIO Inc. announced today that the merger agreement to acquire VIZIO will not proceed due to regulatory headwinds. We continue to believe that there is great synergy between the two companies and are pleased to announce that LeEco and VIZIO have reached an agreement that is a win for both companies.

Under the new agreement, LeEco and VIZIO will continue to explore opportunities to incorporate the Le app and content within the VIZIO connected CE platform and engage in a collaborative partnership to leverage LeEco's EUI (Ecosystem User Interface) platform, along with the brand's exclusive content and distribution channels, to bring VIZIO products to the China market.

LeEco had announced last summer that it would acquire Vizio, the US's biggest manufacturer of televisions, for $2 billion. It would have given the Chinese company a relative entry point into the American gadget market, not to mention helping to proliferate LeEco's ecosystem of devices. But the acquisition was squashed after both companies endured too many obstacles from Chinese regulators.

For now, Vizio will remain a US-based business, though you'll likely see some LeEco services pop up on future Vizio products.…

Read more: LeEco hits another snag in building its global empire, won't acquire Vizio

More people are buying the Galaxy S8+ than the smaller Galaxy S8

Samsung is coming out ahead of the Galaxy S8 launch claiming that it is more popular than the S7.

Samsung is coming out ahead of its first-week sales numbers, opting to highlight lofty pre-order support for its new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ smartphones.

The U.S. branch of the company has released a statement saying that early pre-order numbers are "outpacing" the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, "with strong double digit growth," which corroborates earlier news that South Korean pre-orders were also ahead of their predecessors.

Samsung also says that "the majority of consumers have been selecting the Galaxy S8+," and that most people are opting for the Midnight Black color over the fetching but not-quite-as-universal Orchid Gray.

Which color Galaxy S8 should you buy?

Though we know that larger phones are becoming more commonplace in North America and have become the fastest-growing segment of the smartphone market in recent years, it's interesting to see more people opting for the Galaxy S8+ over the Galaxy S8, given that the smaller phone still has a sizeable 5.8-inch display. It could be that the early adopters tend to be the ones who gravitate towards the "better" phone, which in this case has that larger 6.2-inch display and 3,500mAh battery, but it could also indicate a more significant change in consumers' buying habits.

More: The Orchid Gray Galaxy S8 is a sign of more beautiful things to come…

Read more: More people are buying the Galaxy S8+ than the smaller Galaxy S8

How to use gestures to become an Android home screen expert

Gestures have been an iconic piece of the mobile computing experience since the beginning — even without an icon.

Slide-to-unlock. Pinch-to-zoom. Double-tap-to-wake. Gestures that work well are invaluable to a user's experience, and Android phone manufacturers are bringing these gestures to the home screen in deceptively simple and astonishingly successful ways.

Case in point: both the Samsung Galaxy S8 — and the Google Pixel before it — are eschewing the app drawer button and instead using a gesture to open the drawer. Google employed a slightly brightened dock background and a swipe from the dock to open the app drawer on the Pixel Launcher, but Samsung's taking this two steps further: swiping up or down anywhere on the home screen will launch you into the app drawer.

So what if you want to open something other than the app drawer? No problem.

Gesture controls on launchers can be generally broken down into two categories: locked down and customizable. First-party launchers like the Pixel Launcher, as well as system-wide gestures on Samsung, HTC, and other devices, are locked down gestures in that you can turn them off and on, but you can't change them from their default action. For example, if you want to swipe down on your home screen to pull up the notifications instead of the app drawer on a Samsung Galaxy S8, you're out of luck unless you want to download another launcher. Some third-party launchers like Evie Launcher utilize locked-down gestures, likely in the interest of simplicity.

The second category of gesture controls are customizable controls, such as those we find on Action Launcher 3, Nova Launcher, and ADW 2 Launcher. These launchers all offer a set of gesture controls that the user can assign a desired action to, from direct dialing your mother to opening the notification shade to opening Google Maps or launching a Tasker task. Customizable gesture controls let the user create the UI that they want through their taps and swipes.

While most launchers put things in different places, customizable gesture controls on launchers are generally in the same place and format. Look for Gestures or Shortcuts on your launcher's settings menu. You'll be treated to a list of gestures you can assign shortcuts and apps to. Tap the gesture you desire, then you'll be treated to a list of all the things you can assign there. While the possibilities are really quite endless, here are some popular and useful ways to utilize gesture controls on your home screen:

  • Swipe up to open app drawer
  • Swipe down to open notification shade
  • Double-tap to open app
  • Double-tap to lock phone 1
  • Two-finger swipe down for Quick Settings
  • Two-finger swipe up to connect to home Bluetooth speaker (Tasker task)
  • Two-finger swipe down to disconnect to home Bluetooth speaker (Tasker task)
  • Tap Home button (on home screen) to open Google app
  • Two-finger swipe up to turn on flashlight.
  • Swipe from Phone app to call Mom

1 A lot of users do this to avoid wearing out their power button, and for phones with double-tap to wake since they start getting used to double-tapping to wake and sleep.

Oh, that last one is a swipe action. Nova Launcher allows you to not only assign actions to a gesture to the home screen but to individual apps on your home screen, called swipe actions in the shortcut editing screen. Swipe actions allows us to do things like:

  • Direct dial mom by swiping the phone button
  • Add a secret app to a folder by making it the shortcut gesture — I use this to avoid blank spaces in folders
  • Begin Navigating home when you swipe on Google Maps
  • Toggle Bluetooth when you swipe on Google Play Music
  • Start playing your drive-time playlist when you swipe on Google Play Music

Beyond Nova Launcher, there aren't a lot of launchers that support swipe actions. Also, as more and more apps begin to support Android 7.1 App Shortcuts, the gesture used for swipe actions could be co-opted for App Shortcuts, which offer multiple options as opposed to the singular action assigned to swipe actions. It'll be interesting to see how that's handled over the next year or two.

So what gestures do you give your phone on a regular basis? Have you hit upon the perfect shortcut system to achieve peak efficiency on your home screen? Share them with us in the comments — I'm always looking for new shortcut combos to try.…

Read more: How to use gestures to become an Android home screen expert

Save on Bluetooth headphones, charging accessories and more with Anker's Easter Sale

Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with some great deals on Anker accessories!

Anker, one of our favorite accessory makers, is currently discounting a bunch of its accessories ahead of Easter. Whether you are looking for some new headphones or a wireless charger, there is a solid variety of discounts here. These discounts are 15% or more off the regular price of the items, so you'll want to look through them and see what you need for yourself or as a gift for someone else.

The best deals include:

These deals are set to run from now through April 17, while supply lasts. To be sure you don't miss out on the lower prices, be sure to grab what you are interested in now!

For more great deals be sure to check out our friends at Thrifter now!…

Read more: Save on Bluetooth headphones, charging accessories and more with Anker's Easter Sale