If you’re an Xperia owner in US, you could get up to $300 from Sony

Sony Logo

Thanks to the recent preliminary settlement over misleading commercials, you might be owed up to $300 from the Japanese electronics company.

See also:
Sony Xperia XZ Premium review

Sony Xperia XZ Premium review

June 27, 2017

Sony Xperia phones and tablets aren’t the most common in the US, but if you are one of the very few people who own a Sony-made device in the US, you might be eligible for a $300 reimbursement. If you remember, Sony used to advertise some of its products as “waterproof.” Phones like the Xperia Z1 have a rating of IP58, which means they can be “immersed in 1.5 meters of freshwater for up to 30 minutes.” They’re not technically “waterproof” but water-resistant instead. The problem arose when Sony’s commercials claimed that they were and showed the devices being used to take photos underwater.

Naturally, users who thought their devices were waterproof were taken aback when their phones stopped working after some underwater photoshoot, and some of them subsequently filed a class action suit against Sony for its misleading advertisement. After over a year of legal battle, the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York has preliminarily approved an agreement between the plaintiffs and Sony. The models in question are the following:

  • Xperia M2 Aqua
  • Xperia M4 Aqua
  • Xperia ZR
  • Xperia Z Ultra
  • Xperia Z1
  • Xperia Z1 Compact
  • Xperia Z1s (T-Mobile)
  • Xperia Z2
  • Xperia Z3
  • Xperia Z3 Compact
  • Xperia Z3 (T-Mobile)
  • Xperia Z3v (Verizon)
  • Xperia Z3 Dual
  • Xperia Z3+ Dual
  • Xperia Z3+
  • Xperia Z5
  • Xperia Z5 Compact
  • Xperia Z2 Tablet (WiFi)
  • Xperia Z2 Tablet (LTE)
  • Xperia Z2 Tablet (Verizon LTE)
  • Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact (WiFi)
  • Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact (LTE)
  • Xperia Z4 Tablet (WiFi)
  • Xperia Z4 Tablet (LTE)

Those who are eligible – those whose water-related warranty claims were rejected – are to be reimbursed for 50 percent of the at-issue MSRP for their devices.

If you bought and own one of the devices above and it was still in warranty as of August 3, you are automatically eligible for a warranty extension. Sony will offer limited warranty for damage resulting from water intrusion for 12 additional months. Additionally, if you previously submitted a claim for water-related warranty for one of the devices above and were rejected by Sony, you could be paid up to $300. The preliminary agreement dictates that those who are eligible – those whose water-related warranty claims were rejected – must be reimbursed for 50 percent of the at-issue MSRP for their devices. You can check Page 113 of this document to see the eligible sum for each device.

As the Court document explains, the preliminary agreement is null and void should the Court decide to alter and deny any portion of the settlement, and Sony has the right to terminate the agreement if the total number of timely and valid requests for exclusion exceed 1.5 percent of the putative class members. The Final Order should be issued this December at the earliest, and there may be final changes, but for now, if you think you are eligible, be sure to submit your claim form no later than January 30, 2018.

If you think you are eligible, be sure to submit your claim form no later than January 30, 2018.

Do you own an eligible Xperia device with water damage? Was your warranty claim rejected by Sony? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Square Enix announces Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition for Android

Final Fantasy XV is coming to mobile, but not in the way you might expect. Today at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, Square Enix let us in on its plans for the FFXV universe and it looks cute as hell.

The brand new Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition is a completely reimaged mobile version of the road trip through Eos. Square Enix describes it as “an all-new adventure that retells the beloved story of Final Fantasy XV.” Pocket Edition will have an all new art style with touch-based controls, though it appears that all the same mechanics will carry over from the console version.

The story will be chopped up into ten episodes that will launch this fall on Android, iOS, and Windows 10. Square Enix says that the first episode will be free with the rest presumably coming as in-app purchases, although pricing information wasn’t provided.

Pocket Edition joins a growing amount of new content based in and around the Final Fantasy VX universe. In addition to consistent story mode updates and a new multiplayer mode on console, it joins a mobile strategy game, a Forza Horizon 3 FFXV car, and an upcoming virtual reality fishing spin-off for PlayStation VR. Square Enix also announced yesterday that the full version of FFXV will launch with an enhanced version on Windows 10 early next year.

Promotional price on Kickstarter success

You’ve got your Samsung Galaxy S8, now you need some equally classy accessories. Look no further – We would stick the XVIDA Magnetic Samsung S8 Charging Kit high on that list. Wireless chargers aren’t a new thing, but if you’ve watched the product video above you gotta admit this would make a pretty kickass addition to your life.

This kickstarter success story will fully charge your device in just 100 minutes, and the super-sleek frame can hold it at a variety of angles. Once you put your phone in the slim-line XVIDA case, the carefully positioned magnets will automatically snap it into the correct position. Cable charging is a thing of the past

Boy does it look cool.

Obviously the design of this charger makes it a sexy piece of desk-candy for the office. But where it really comes into its own is in the car. Forget your old dashboard phone holder – The XVIDA charger will let you use your phone as a Sat Nav while still charging it at high speed. And boy does it look cool.

We’re spotlighting the XVIDA charger today because right now you can pick it up at the promotional price. Usually retailing for $109, today you can get your hands on one for just $83. The offer is on a countdown though, so don’t miss out.

Grab it now in black, silver or gold by hitting the button below.

Is this deal not quite right for you? Head over to the AAPICKS HUB for more savings you’re going to love! For notifications of offers and price drops, sign up for our Deal Alerts newsletter.

How Oreo is better than Nougat: Background Execution Limits

Broadly speaking, a runnable app (meaning one that has been loaded into memory and can be executed) can be in one of two states on an Android device: it is either a foreground app, which is currently being executed and is interacting with the user; or it can be a background app, an app which is not interacting with the user.

Foreground apps can be battery killers, but that is OK, as the user has made a conscious choice to play a 3D game or watch a movie and is expecting a related drop in the battery level. However background tasks can be more insidious. Since they are not interacting with the user, the user has little or no knowledge of what these apps are doing and how much they are draining the battery.

Don’t miss: Our comprehensive video overview of Android Oreo

To try to limit the damage that background apps can do to the battery level, Android 8.0 Oreo implements background execution limits, a mechanism which limits certain behaviors by apps that are not running in the foreground.

At this point it is worth mentioning that the terms “foreground” and “background” here take on slightly different meanings compared to the more traditional definitions used by the memory management systems in Android.

An app is considered to be in the foreground if it has a visible activity (started or paused), if it has a foreground service, or if another foreground app is connected to the app, either by binding to one of its services or by making use of one of its content providers. This means that a music player is considered a foreground app since it will have a foreground service (with a notification for the status bar, placed under the Ongoing heading) even though the main UI is not in the foreground and isn’t interacting with the user.

When an app is in the foreground, it can create and run both foreground and background services freely. When an app goes into the background, it is given several minutes in which it can still create and use services. At the end of that time slot, the app is considered to be idle and Android will stop the app’s background services.

What all this means is that if an app, say a social media app, wants to check whether there are new posts available, even if it isn’t running in the foreground, then it can no longer just use a background service which checks with the cloud, as this background service will be stopped under the background execution limits mechanism. Instead the app should replace the background service with a scheduled job, which is launched periodically, queries the cloud, and then quits.

Apps should replace the background service with a scheduled job, which is launched periodically and then quits.

Job Scheduler

Android Oreo introduces a number of improvements to the JobScheduler, which are designed to help apps move from using background services to scheduled jobs. The JobScheduler is an API for scheduling various types of jobs that will be executed in your application’s own process.

The biggest change in Android 8.0 to the JobScheduler is the inclusion of a new work queue. When a job is running, it can take pending work off the queue and process it. This functionality handles many of the use cases where previously an app would have used a background service.

Many apps with background services would have used IntentService, a class based on background services that handle asynchronous requests on demand. Now with the Android Support Library 26.0.0, a new JobIntentService class has been introduced, which provides the same functionality as IntentService but uses jobs rather than background services when running on Android Oreo.

Finally, scheduled jobs now support several new constraints including isRequireStorageNotLow(), which ensures that a job does not run if the device’s available storage is low; and isRequireBatteryNotLow(), which stops a job from running if the battery level is low.

By default Background Execution Limits only apply to apps that target Android 8.0, but users can enable these restrictions for any app from the Settings.

Wrap up

The reasoning behind these changes is to stop over zealous apps taking up too many system resources while in the background. What is interesting is that by default Background Execution Limits only apply to apps that target Android 8.0. However, users can enable these restrictions for any app from the Settings, even if the app was built for a version of Android prior to 8.0.

The result of this is that Google is essentially forcing developers to abandon background services and instead use the more “smart” and controlled JobScheduler.

What do you think, are there any popular background apps that should be curtailed a little? Any apps that you would like to see move over to the alternative job mechanism?

FreedomPop’s new annual plan will cost less than a nice dinner

If you think cell service costs too much, listen up. FreedomPop, the Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that has been giving away free basic cell service, is introducing its new Annual Plan that will run you less than a nice dinner out on the town.

See also:
The best prepaid and no contract plans in the US

The best prepaid and no contract plans in the US

July 2, 2017

Here’s how it works: right now, you can head over to FreedomPop and sign up for its brand new annual plan which runs $49 a year. The plan entitles you to 1,000 minutes, 1,000 texts, and 1 GB of data per month on either Sprint or AT&T’s network. If you need more data than that, you can choose one of FreedomPop’s bi-annual plans that run either $78 ($13/mo) or $114 ($19/mo) every six months. These plans bump you up to unlimited calls and texts, and either 2 GB or 5 GB of data a month respectively.

If you need more than 1 GB of data, you can choose one of FreedomPop’s bi-annual plans

FreedomPop sells inexpensive phones, tablets, and hotspots too. On its web store, you can find used and refurbished devices like the Nexus 5 for $119, the Samsung Galaxy S5 for $149, or the Samsung Galaxy S7 for $449. All of the 125 devices offered by FreedomPop come with its free mobile service, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and a 90-day warranty. When checking out, you can choose to pick up a protection plan for $9 a month on supported devices that covers cracked screens, accidental breaking, and water damage.

“We’re moving away from the idea that a mobile service has to come with a monthly bill,” says FreedomPop cofounder and COO Steven Sesar. “For a one time purchase of under $80, you can get a smartphone and service and not have to think about ongoing payments.”

FreedomPop is obviously aiming to disrupt mobile carriers with these unreal prices and offering consumers a true bargain option. While its initial free plans were based on upselling customers more minutes, texts, and data, these new plans seem to be more focused on asking customers to pay up front for a steep discount.

Would you consider a FreedomPop plan at these prices? Let us known down in the comments.