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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

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Google aims for organization with latest app update

Posted: 06 Dec 2016 02:50 PM PST

Google has announced that it is now rolling out a new update to its Android app that simplifies and organizes the information on display. Beginning with this update, information is grouped into two sections, one for staying up to date with interests and one for upcoming personal info, such as events and flights.

The feed keeps users in touch with information on topics that they've shown interest in. This section encapsulates all of the suggested articles, movie showtimes, and shopping and sports information that previously floated free.


Upcoming creates an agenda for events in the near future. This includes calendar events, estimated travel times, and relevant information for packages, flights, and more.

Users have often taken issue with Google's all-in-one approach to its stream of cards. With the company taking strides to better group information, the tool should become more useful to those who want relevant information at a glance.

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Samsung Gear S8 Said to Launch With Harman Stereo Speakers

Posted: 06 Dec 2016 02:03 PM PST


Samsung next-gen S flagship is expected to show its face in a few months. After the Note7 fiasco, Samsung has a lot to make up for in 2017, so the Korean tech giant is probably focusing all of its powers in the hopes of creating the perfect Galaxy S8.

The rumors have been abundant while the Galaxy S8 is concerned. The latest comes from Fone Arena, which claims the handset will be the first in its line to sport stereo speakers. The speaker tech is said to be branded, so given that Harman was acquired by Samsung this year, it makes all the sense in the world to assume the Galaxy S8 will feature Harman branded stereo speakers.

Earlier info related to the flagship, reveals that Samsung will be trying to enter the graces of phablet lovers once again, by offering two Galaxy S8 models one with a 6.2-inch display and another with a 5.7-inch screen.

Other rumors indicate the Galaxy S8 will come with an optical fingerprint scanner, virtual assistant dubbed Bixby and a selfie camera with autofocus.

It's all speculation at this point, so you might want to take it with a grain of salt. The Galaxy S8 is expected to make a grand appearance during the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona. Are you excited?

[Fone Arena]

The post Samsung Gear S8 Said to Launch With Harman Stereo Speakers appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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Samsung Gear S2 Update Adds Gear S3 Features to Smartwatch

Posted: 06 Dec 2016 02:03 PM PST


If you love your Gear S2 smartwatch a lot, Samsung is just giving owners a reason to love it even more. The Korean tech giant has released a big update for the one year smartwatch which brings it on par with the Gear S3 in terms of functionality.

For starters, Gear S2 owners can now download popular Gear S3 watch faces from the Galaxy App store plus the new Reminders and Alti-Barometer apps.


The rotating bezel gets revamped too. Smartwatch owners can now use it to accept or reject calls, dismiss alarms and notifications. To accept a call you need to turn the bezel clockwise and to reject counter clockwise.

Moving along, the new update bestows handwriting capabilities on the Gear 2. Users can use their fingers to write in Korean, Chinese or English. 180 new emojis have made it on the smartwatch and there's the option to dictate messages (or just text in general) via voice.


S Health has also been overhauled now allowing the older watch to recognize more activities including running, walking, cycling, elliptical and rowing machine. The wearable can now start counting reps for repetitive exercise like squats, lunges, crunches and star jumps.

A new Stretching Guide option has been inserted into the Inactive Time Alert, so from now on the watch will suggest some stretching if it detects users have been inactive for long.


Samsung also added support for third-party widgets for apps like Yelp, Uber and USA Today and is giving access to new games including Stack and Monster Vampire.


Samsung also wants Gear S2 users to be safe, so it has added location tracing support. Now users can send out SOS messages by pressing the device's home button 3 times. Designated contacts will automatically receive the watch owner's exact location via location-sharing app Glympse.


The update started rolling in major markets on December 5, but will spread across the globe in the upcoming weeks. So keep your Gear 2 ready and charged.


The post Samsung Gear S2 Update Adds Gear S3 Features to Smartwatch appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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Google figures out how to reduce app update size by 65%

Posted: 06 Dec 2016 01:23 PM PST

nexus2cee_Play-Store-small.pngWay back in the day, app updates in Google Play would be the whole new APK. That changed back in 2012, and Google has been working to reduce the size of updates ever since. In its most recent triumph, the Google Play team has devised a system to reduce app update sizes by an average of 65%, but it won't be used all the time.

Android APKs are essentially ZIP archives with a number of special conventions.

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Google figures out how to reduce app update size by 65% was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Saving Data: Reducing the size of App Updates by 65%

Posted: 06 Dec 2016 12:13 PM PST

Posted by Andrew Hayden, Software Engineer on Google Play

Android users are downloading tens of billions of apps and games on Google Play. We're also seeing developers update their apps frequently in order to provide users with great content, improve security, and enhance the overall user experience. It takes a lot of data to download these updates and we know users care about how much data their devices are using. Earlier this year, we announced that we started using the bsdiff algorithm (by Colin Percival). Using bsdiff, we were able to reduce the size of app updates on average by 47% compared to the full APK size.

Today, we're excited to share a new approach that goes further — File-by-File patching.App Updates using File-by-File patching are, on average, 65% smaller than the full app, and in some cases more than 90% smaller.

The savings, compared to our previous approach, add up to 6 petabytes of user data saved per day!

In order to get the new version of the app, Google Play sends your device a patch that describes the differences between the old and new versions of the app.

Imagine you are an author of a book about to be published, and wish to change a single sentence - it's much easier to tell the editor which sentence to change and what to change, rather than send an entirely new book. In the same way, patches are much smaller and much faster to download than the entire APK.

Techniques used in File-by-File patching

Android apps are packaged as APKs, which are ZIP files with special conventions. Most of the content within the ZIP files (and APKs) is compressed using a technology called Deflate. Deflate is really good at compressing data but it has a drawback: it makes identifying changes in the original (uncompressed) content really hard. Even a tiny change to the original content (like changing one word in a book) can make the compressed output of deflate look completely different. Describing the differences between the original content is easy, but describing the differences between the compressed content is so hard that it leads to inefficient patches.

Watch how much the compressed text on the right side changes from a one-letter change in the uncompressed text on the left:

File-by-File therefore is based on detecting changes in the uncompressed data. To generate a patch, we first decompress both old and new files before computing the delta (we still use bsdiff here). Then to apply the patch, we decompress the old file, apply the delta to the uncompressed content and then recompress the new file. In doing so, we need to make sure that the APK on your device is a perfect match, byte for byte, to the one on the Play Store (see APK Signature Schema v2 for why).

When recompressing the new file, we hit two complications. First, Deflate has a number of settings that affect output; and we don't know which settings were used in the first place. Second, many versions of deflate exist and we need to know whether the version on your device is suitable.

Fortunately, after analysis of the apps on the Play Store, we've discovered that recent and compatible versions of deflate based on zlib (the most popular deflate library) account for almost all deflated content in the Play Store. In addition, the default settings (level=6) and maximum compression settings (level=9) are the only settings we encountered in practice.

Knowing this, we can detect and reproduce the original deflate settings. This makes it possible to uncompress the data, apply a patch, and then recompress the data back to exactly the same bytes as originally uploaded.

However, there is one trade off; extra processing power is needed on the device. On modern devices (e.g. from 2015), recompression can take a little over a second per megabyte and on older or less powerful devices it can be longer. Analysis so far shows that, on average, if the patch size is halved then the time spent applying the patch (which for File-by-File includes recompression) is doubled.

For now, we are limiting the use of this new patching technology to auto-updates only, i.e. the updates that take place in the background, usually at night when your phone is plugged into power and you're not likely to be using it. This ensures that users won't have to wait any longer than usual for an update to finish when manually updating an app.

How effective is File-by-File Patching?

Here are examples of app updates already using File-by-File Patching:

Disclaimer: if you see different patch sizes when you press "update" manually, that is because we are not currently using File-by-file for interactive updates, only those done in the background.

Saving data and making our users (& developers!) happy

These changes are designed to ensure our community of over a billion Android users use as little data as possible for regular app updates. The best thing is that as a developer you don't need to do anything. You get these reductions to your update size for free!

Original Size
Previous (BSDiff) Patch Size
(% vs original)
File-by-File Patch Size (% vs original)
71.1 MB
13.4 MB (-81%)
8.0 MB (-89%)
32.7 MB
17.5 MB (-46%)
9.6 MB (-71%)
17.8 MB
7.6 MB (-57%)
7.3 MB (-59%)
18.9 MB
17.2 MB (-9%)
13.1 MB (-31%)
52.4 MB
19.1 MB (-64%)
8.4 MB (-84%)
16.2 MB
7.7 MB (-52%)
1.2 MB (-92%)

If you'd like to know more about File-by-File patching, including the technical details, head over to the Archive Patcher GitHub project where you can find information, including the source code. Yes, File-by-File patching is completely open-source!

As a developer if you're interested in reducing your APK size still further, here are some general tips on reducing APK size.

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Supreme Court rules in favor of Samsung in patent dispute with Apple

Posted: 06 Dec 2016 10:50 AM PST

Apple and Samsung have been in a constant back-and-forth for years in the court systems, disputing patent infringements and damages owed. Last year, Samsung filed an official appeal with the United States Supreme Court to dispute the damages it owed Apple over a previous ruling, and now the Supreme Court has delivered its decision on the matter.

It's a unanimous one at that, with the court ruling 8-0 in Samsung's favor. The court agreed with Samsung's argument that the damages should not be based on the entire device, but rather only on specific parts of it, which could reduce damages owed.

As a result, Samsung's case with Apple will find its way to a lower federal circuit court, and there the damages will be recalculated based on the new decision. That means Samsung has a chance to get back the $339 million it agreed to pay Apple previously, or that the damages could simply be lowered by some measurable number.

It's a big win for Samsung, because they will more than likely not have to hand over as much money as previously decided.

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Samsung Galaxy S8 said to drop the headphone jack

Posted: 06 Dec 2016 09:45 AM PST

Throughout the year, we've seen the likes of Motorola, HTC, and other companies decide that getting rid of the 3.5mm headphone jack is the right way to go.

While there are holdouts, like the Google Pixel phones and Samsung's now-unavailable Galaxy Note 7, it looks like Samsung wants to join the rest of the pack in 2017. According to a report from SamMobile, Samsung is planning on dropping the 3.5mm headphone jack altogether in the Galaxy S8, in favor of a wireless — and USB Type-C — future.

The other big reveal from the report is probably the least surprising. Samsung is said to be switching to the USB Type-C standard in the Galaxy S8, which will be used for charging the device and listening to music.

On top of that, today's report also states Samsung will drop the physical home button this time around and integrate a fingerprint reader into its 2K resolution display. Samsung will keep its AMOLED display around, but the report also says the company will switch from the PenTile layout, which should improve the overall sharpness in next year's flagship.

Based on the rumors, what do you think of Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S8? Are you holding out for one?

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Google Opinion Rewards is now available in Switzerland

Posted: 06 Dec 2016 08:08 AM PST


Hé, les Swisses, vous étiez jaloux des Français et de leur accès à Google Opinion Rewards? Bah maintenant, il n'y a plus aucune raison de rester envieux: Opinion Rewards est disponible en Swisse!

Of the national languages in Switzerland, I only speak French, so excuse me if I can't write that sentence above in German, Italian, or Romansh. But I'll translate the general sentiment to English for those of you who are still reading me: Google Opinion Rewards is now available in Switzerland.

Read More

Google Opinion Rewards is now available in Switzerland was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Top 5 most popular Android apps from last week: Knight Slingers, Samorost 3

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 08:50 PM PST

Every week we cover new Android apps with Fresh Meat on Wednesday, followed by Android Gaming on Thursday and Top 10 App Updates on Friday. When Monday rolls around, we look back to see which apps were the most appealing to our audience. Read on for the five most popular Android apps from last week. These apps are ones that are most likely new and haven't appeared in the top five list more than three times.

1. Trusted Contacts

Trusted Contacts

App info: Trusted Contacts is a personal safety app that opens a direct line of sharing between you and your loved ones.


2. Google Santa Tracker

Google Santa Tracker

App info: Play games with elves in jetpacks, rolling gumballs, sleighs powered by rockets and Google Cardboard. Once the 24th arrives, follow Santa in his journey around the world.


3. Mini Golf Buddies

Mini Golf Buddies

App info: Mini Golf Buddies is a 3D mini golf simulator for all ages. Swing your way through a huge collection of challenging levels.


4. Samorost 3


App info: Samorost 3 follows a curious space gnome who uses the powers of a magic flute to travel across the cosmos in search of its mysterious origins.


5. Knight Slinger

Knight Slinger

App info: Goddess Odelia declares a war to vanquish the blessed land–Oratoria. To put an end to the mayhem, Goddess Moira assembles a legion of knights and makes her way to the front line.


Note:  To ensure that all apps receive a fair chance to make the list, we will retire any app that has made the list for three consecutive weeks.

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Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 issues may have been caused by a tight design

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 07:10 PM PST

A new report proposes that Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 may have faced fire issues due to an overly aggressive design. After watching the story unfold, the hardware engineers at Instrumental decided to investigate the issue further. Their curiosity was primarily driven by Samsung's varying responses to the issues, which seemed to vary by the day and even contradict the company's steps to manage the situation.

Samsung's explanations all dealt with the battery itself, leading consumers to believe that the issue was a manufacturing issue with the battery, not the phone. However, Instrumental noted that if the issue was with a flaw in the battery, then only the battery should have needed to be reworked, rather than the entire device line requiring a shutdown and recall.

With that in mind, Instrumental acquired a Galaxy Note 7 and carefully began to take apart the phone and look for clues. The findings are interesting, as the group came to the conclusion that the problem wasn't a problem with a flawed battery, but was instead an issue with the design of the entire phone. In its pursuit of a more compressed, yet powerful, device, Samsung became too aggressive. Over time or in certain circumstances, the battery could compress to the point that the positive and negative layers would come into contact, leading to an explosion.

Instrumental goes into more detail in its full report (follow the source link), but the takeaway is that Samsung's drive to innovate led to a device that was ultimately unsafe. Though Samsung has yet to confirm the findings, this situation could lead to a change in the industry. If the tight design was indeed the cause, it may lead manufacturers to take more time to consider the effects of their rush to make devices thinner and more powerful than before.

We'll keep you updated as Samsung continues to deal with the Galaxy Note 7 situation.

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Unlocked HTC One M9 now being updated to Android 7.0 Nougat

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 07:10 PM PST

HTC has announced that the unlocked HTC One M9 is now receiving its update to Android 7.0 Nougat. The company's 2015 flagship has been slated for an update, with the newer HTC 10 coming first in the roster. To begin, HTC is updating the unlocked version of the HTC One M9, with the update rolling out over the upcoming days and weeks.

Carrier variants of the One M9 will begin receiving their updates in early 2017, allowing time for carrier testing and tweaking.

This update aids in upholding HTC's promises of timely software updates for flagship devices. The company hasn't always met time-specific goals for updates, but continues to work hard to deliver updates to customers as soon as possible. Though the initiative hasn't single-handedly turned the company around, it's helped to ensure a great experience for current customers.

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Android Nougat and Marshmallow rise in Google’s December distribution numbers

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 04:55 PM PST

Google has released its Android distribution numbers for December 2016, and the company's latest OS versions have continued to rise this month. The latest release, Android 7.0 Nougat, has grown from 0.3 percent to 0.4 percent. Android 6.0 Marshmallow has grown at a larger rate, increasing from 24 percent to 26.3 percent.

Android Lollipop (5.0 and 5.1) still holds the largest share at 34 percent, just 0.1 percent lower than November's count. KitKat, Jelly Bean, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Gingerbread all fell, as the versions age further. At the very bottom, Android 2.2 Froyo continues to hang on with just 0.1 percent.

Android Distribution December 2016

Google continues to struggle with the issue of fragmentation. Though the company has worked to streamline and expedite the update process, the industry continues to struggle with updating product lines in a timely manner. The problem hasn't significantly hindered Android's growth as a whole, but it does lead to issues with customer satisfaction, as customers wait long periods of time for major software updates.

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Monday, December 5, 2016

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Google Assistant's Smart Reply in Allo updated with Hindi and Brazilian Portuguese language support

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 01:28 PM PST

alloGoogle's Allo chat program remains the only way to access the cool Assistant voice control tools without spending money (either on a new Pixel phone or a Google Home gadget). But as with a lot of Google products, it seems fairly focused on the American market. Today its Smart Reply linguistic powers get widened to two of the next-most-spoken languages on the planet, Hindi and Brazilian Portuguese. Support seems to be rolling out via a server-side switch, so don't be surprised if you can't immediately change to either language.

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Google Assistant's Smart Reply in Allo updated with Hindi and Brazilian Portuguese language support was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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A sweet update to Nougat: Android 7.1.1

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 12:49 PM PST

Plex updated to v5.2 with syncing to adoptable storage and more

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 12:29 PM PST

Plex-ThumbThere's a Plex update rolling out, and it has finally fixed a long-standing deficiency in the app. Specifically, syncing just didn't work on adoptable storage. As of v5.2, it does. That's not all that's changing this time, either.

Here's the full changelog for Plex v5.2. The adoptable storage support is the most important change, but there's a ton of little stuff.


  • Update Audio Player to improve the visibility of Lyrics.
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Plex updated to v5.2 with syncing to adoptable storage and more was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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40 new and notable Android games from the last 2 weeks (11/22/16 - 12/5/16)

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 12:23 PM PST

Android 7.1.1 begins rolling out for Pixel and Nexus devices

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 11:50 AM PST

Last month, Vodafone was talking about the Android 7.1.1 Nougat update for its Nexus 6P, and now Google is making that update officially official.

Google has updated both its over-the-air (OTA) update site and factory images site to reflect that Android 7.1.1 is now beginning its rollout to a select number of devices. The Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 6PNexus 5X, and Nexus 9 are now receiving the update.

With the new software, Nexus devices will catch up in the software department to Pixel phones, including support for app shortcuts when long-pressing on an app's icon. Also, support for round app icons is in there, among other new additions.

While these Nexus phones, and the Pixel C tablet, will be adopting some of the new additions that initially saw the light of day with Android 7.1 on the Pixel smartphones, it's worth noting that they won't be getting Assistant just yet.

The Verizon variants of the Pixel and Pixel XL are also receiving the Android 7.1.1.

If you have these devices, are you looking forward to the update?

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Welcoming Android 7.1.1 Nougat

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 11:28 AM PST

Posted by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering

Android Nougat

Android 7.1.1 Nougat!

Today we're rolling out an update to Nougat -- Android 7.1.1 for Pixel and Pixel XL devices and the full lineup of supported Nexus devices. We're also pushing the Android 7.1.1 source code to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) so that device makers can get their hands on the latest version of Android.

With Android 7.1.1 officially on it's way to users, it's a good time to make sure your apps are ready.

What's in Android 7.1.1?

Android 7.1.1 is an incremental release that builds on the features already available on Pixel and Pixel XL devices, adding a handful of new features for consumers as well as optimizations and bug fixes on top of the base Android 7.1 platform (API level 25).

If you haven't explored the developer features, you'll want to take a look at app shortcuts, round icon resources, and image keyboard support, among others -- you can see the full list of developer features here. For details on API Level 25, check out the API diffs and the API reference.

You can find an overview of all of the Android Nougat developer resources here, including details on the core Android 7.0 Nougat behavior changes and developer features.

Coming to consumer devices soon

We're starting the Android 7.1.1 rollout today, and we expect it to reach all eligible devices over the next several weeks. Pixel and Pixel XL devices will get the over-the-air (OTA) update, as will Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C, and General Mobile 4G (Android One) devices. Devices enrolled in the Android Beta Program will receive the final version as well. As always, you can also download and flash this update manually.

We've also been working with our device manufacturer partners to bring Android 7.1.1 to their devices in the months ahead.

Make sure your apps are ready

Take this opportunity to test your apps for compatibility and optimize them to look their best on Android 7.1.1, such as by providing round icons and adding app shortcuts. We recommend compiling your app with, and ideally targeting, API 25. See our recent post for details.

With the final platform we're updating the platform and build tools in Android Studio, as well as the API Level 25 emulator system images. The latest version of the support library (25.0.1) is also available for you to add image keyboard support, bottom navigation, and other features for devices running API Level 25 or earlier.

We're also providing downloadable factory and OTA images on the Nexus Images page to help you do final testing on your Pixel and Nexus devices. To help scale your testing, make sure to take advantage of Firebase Test Lab for Android and run your tests in the cloud at no charge through the end of December.

After your final testing, publish your apps to your alpha, beta, or production channels in the Google Play Developer Console.

What's next?

We'll soon be closing open bugs logged against Developer Preview builds, but please keep the feedback coming! If you still see an issue that you filed in the preview tracker, just file a new issue against Android 7.1 in the AOSP issue tracker. You can also continue to give us feedback or ask questions in the N Preview Developer community.

As mentioned back in August, we've moved Android Nougat into a regular maintenance cycle and we're already started work on refinements and bug fixes for the next incremental update. If you have an eligible device that's currently enrolled in the Android Beta Program, your device will automatically receive preview updates of upcoming Android Nougat releases as soon as they are available. If you don't want to receive those updates, just visit the Beta site and unenroll the device.

Thanks for being part of the developer preview. Let us know how this year's preview met your needs by taking a short survey. Your feedback helps to shape our future releases.

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[Deal Alert] Amazon offers a free $50 gift card with a one year Dropbox Pro subscription

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 09:53 AM PST

dropboxDropbox, being the de facto leader in paid cloud storage, rarely offers any discounts on its 1TB "Pro" service. But lately that seems to be changing, if only through Dropbox's retail partners: Dell offered a sizable discount on a year's subscription plus a gift card last month, and now Amazon is doing something similar. Head to this link and you can purchase a year of premium Dropbox service for $99, with a free $50 gift card for Amazon, effectively bringing down the price to just $49.

Read More

[Deal Alert] Amazon offers a free $50 gift card with a one year Dropbox Pro subscription was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Sprint extends three free lines deal from Black Friday

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 09:50 AM PST

For Black Friday, Sprint ran a promotion that offered three free lines of service for switching at least one line to Sprint. That deal officially ended on December 1, but the Now Network has seen fit to extend it.

Sprint is offering the same deal as before, giving you three free lines of service as long as you switch at least one line to Sprint and sign up for an Unlimited Freedom plan with AutoPay. Once these requirements are meant, you'll get your third, fourth, and fifth lines for free.

It's worth noting that the three lines are free only until January 31, 2018, after which they will revert to their standard $30 per month per line price.

Sprint says that the promotion will only be available for a "limited time."

Do you plan on taking advantage of this deal?

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Is This BlackBerry’s Upcoming QWERTY Phone Dubbed ‘Mercury’?

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 09:33 AM PST


Blackberry might not be making phones itself anymore, but that doesn't mean you won't be seeing a new 'Berry' soon enough.

The company ended all internal hardware developments and outsourced that function to partners, which will be making the next BlackBerry. The rumor mill calls it Mercury and over the weekend a few images of the purported device leaked online.

Word on the street has it Mercury is going to be the last device with a physical QWERTY keyboard developed in-house. The pictures you see here popped up on Weibo.

The phone comes with a rectangular design and runs Android out of the box. A few months ago, the Mercury showed up in GeekBench with model number BBB100-1 and revealing its specs.

If we are to flag the listing as authentic, the phone should make a debut with a 4.5-inch display with 720 x 1280 pixel resolution and a Snapdragon 625 chipset clocked at 2.02GHz under the hood. The BlackBerry could also arrive carrying 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and an impressive 18MP main camera plus an 8MP selfie shooter.

Breathing life into the rumoured model will be a 3,400 mAh battery. Mercury will launch with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box and BlackBerry will slip some of its software package on board.

If the listing turns out to be true, the Mercury will make an entrance as a budget-minded device that shouldn't be super expensive. What do you think?


The post Is This BlackBerry's Upcoming QWERTY Phone Dubbed 'Mercury'? appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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Unannounced BlackBerry Android phone with physical keyboard leaks

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 09:05 AM PST

BlackBerry has launched a few Android-based devices to date, and they're slowing down anytime soon.

As revealed in leaked photos, BlackBerry has at least one new device coming down the pipe that features a touchscreen and a physical keyboard. Of course, this isn't a surprise, as BlackBerry CEO John Chen confirmed that such a device was being developed.


Photos showing the handset have been published to the Chinese social network Weibo, showing a handset that looks like a cross between a Motorola DROID Pro and BlackBerry's own Classic.

Unfortunately, the images weren't accompanied by any details regarding specs or features, so we don't know the resolution or size of the display, what processor BlackBerry plans to use, or how much storage it will include.

Based on just looks, what do you think of this new handset?

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Google’s Trusted Contacts makes it quick and easy to share your location in an emergency

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 09:05 AM PST

For situations where quickly sharing one's location is important, Google wants to make it easier to get that done, all with people that you've designated to be important to you.

Trusted Contacts is available in the Play Store beginning today. With it, users will be able to quickly learn a contact's location or share their own.

Trusted Contacts lets users add their friends and family for quick access. Once someone is added, they will be able to request your location from within the app. The app will give you the ability to deny that request if you so desire, but if you don't respond to the prompt, your location will be shared automatically. Users can send out their location to their trusted contacts, too.

Additionally, the app works based on your stored Google location history, so your phone doesn't even need to be on for someone to request your location.

Trusted Contacts also makes it possible for a person to see the battery life remaining in your device and see the last time you were active.

The app is opt-in, and you'll need a device running Android 4.1 or later to use it.

What do you think of the Trusted Contacts?

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Google Reveals Top Play Store Apps and Games for 2016

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 08:58 AM PST


Are you out of ideas when it comes to apps or games to download next on your phone? Google might be able to help.

Since we're nearing the end of 2016, Google has posted a list of the best apps, games but also books and movies listed in its Play Store.

Naturally the game list is dominated by Pokemon Go – a game that has made countless headlines over the last few months.

In the trending apps list you'll find a two photo/selfie editors which basically reaffirms that our generation is in love with taking pictures of itself.

Anyway, check Google's full list for yourself in case you want some fresh ideas about which content to check out next:

Top trending apps:

  1. Face Changer 2
  2. Lumyer – Photo & Selfie Editor
  3. Castbox – Podcast Radio Music
  4. Emoji Keyboard Pro
  5. MSQRD

Top trending games:

  1. Pokémon GO
  2. Clash Royale
  3. Traffic Rider
  4. slither.io
  5. Dream League Soccer

Top streamed songs:

  1. Stressed Out, Twenty One Pilots
  2. Sorry, Justin Bieber
  3. One Dance (feat. WizKid & Kyla), Drake
  4. Don't Let Me Down (feat. Daya), The Chainsmokers
  5. Me, Myself & I, G-Eazy

Top movies:

  1. Deadpool
  2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  3. Zootopia
  4. Captain America: Civil War
  5. Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice

Top TV shows:

  1. Game of Thrones
  2. The Walking Dead
  3. The Big Bang Theory
  4. Mr. Robot
  5. The Flash

Top new books:

  1. Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe by Cullen Bunn
  2. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two (Special Rehearsal Edition) by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
  3. The Girl on the Train: A Novel by Paula Hawkins
  4. The Art of War by Tzu Sun
  5. Me Before You: A Novel by Jojo Moyes


The post Google Reveals Top Play Store Apps and Games for 2016 appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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Google’s New Trusted Contacts App Wants You To Be Safe

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 08:58 AM PST


Planning a solo trip into the wilderness to clear your mind and get away from the city? Then you might want to make sure you have a way of letting your loved ones know you are ok. And with Google's new Trusted Contacts app you can do just that.

The Android app allows you to share your location with your trusted group of friends and family via the device's GPS system. People in that list will also be able to know whether your phone is out of battery or offline.


Trusted Contacts gives users the option to create a circle of up to 50 people, although most of us will probably add only 4 to 6 people to the group. When they open the app, loved ones can see whether you are "active" – basically if you're connected and moving, or the last time you were active.

If friends and family believe you are in danger, they can request your location. The app offers a five minute window for you to approve or deny a request to revealing your whereabouts. If you don't respond, it will forward your location or last known location to your trusted circle.


The app can also be used as a virtual companion – you'll be able to share your daily route with coworkers or friends and they can watch you as you arrive at your destination. There is a potential for creepiness to be tapped here – just imagine your boss staring at the screen waiting for you to walk in the office door.

Trusted Contacts is available for download free of charge from the Play Store, available now.


The post Google's New Trusted Contacts App Wants You To Be Safe appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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Motorola Moto X (2017) Leaks in Images

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 08:58 AM PST


The Motorola Moto X (2016) appeared in a few leaks a few months back, but the device never materialized into a real product.

But luckily it seems like Motorola is looking to bring back the Moto X next year. According to a recently leaked roadmap, Motorola is plotting the return of the Moto X in 2017.

It appears that Lenovo will also be involved in the design and engineering of the upcoming device, while Motorola is going to be on its own for the Moto Z and Moto G.


Fast forward a few weeks later and the Moto X (2017) has already made an appearance online in the flesh. The phone appears to be entirely made out of metal and sporting a big round camera on the back, characteristic of the Moto lineup.

So far we're in the dark regarding next year's Moto X. We don't know much about specs or launch date, but we can speculate.

The phone could arrive with a QHD display and take advantage of Qualcomm's newly announced Snapdragon 835. Or maybe it's going to be the Snapdragon 830, which is supposedly still in the pipeline.

We do hope Motorola will launch the Moto X (2017) in Canada and the States. We're pretty sure there are plenty of Moto X fans in these countries that will welcome its return.

[Tech Droider]

The post Motorola Moto X (2017) Leaks in Images appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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[Deal Alert] Grab Prince of Persia: Shadow & Flame for $0.10 in select countries

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 08:43 AM PST


The name Prince of Persia should be familiar to many gamers. The series has been around a long time, seen many reboots and remasters, and platformed onto several... well, platforms. Chronologically set after Prince of Persia Classic, Shadow & Flame introduces some new combat and movement mechanics optimized for mobile. It is currently $0.10 in certain countries (yep, another one of those). Unfortunately for us United States fans, the U.S. is excluded from this sale.

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[Deal Alert] Grab Prince of Persia: Shadow & Flame for $0.10 in select countries was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google releases Trusted Contacts, a location sharing app for personal safety and emergency assistance

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 06:18 AM PST


Over the past couple of years, we've seen many iterations on the personal safety app, but the gist has always remained the same: choose a few persons you trust to share your location with all the time, or at least when you feel the need or they request it. Now Google is releasing its own official take on the matter, Trusted Contacts, and part of me is wishing this app or its functionality at least becomes integrated in all Android phones from now on.

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Google releases Trusted Contacts, a location sharing app for personal safety and emergency assistance was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Tap. Pay. Celebrate.

Posted: 05 Dec 2016 02:47 AM PST

Little Briar Rose offers a Grimm adventure with gorgeous stained glass visuals

Posted: 04 Dec 2016 05:55 PM PST

image (1)On paper, Little Briar Rose isn't anything particularly exciting. It's a competent side-scrolling adventure title, a rookie effort from developer Elf Games, that retells the Grimm fairy tale of the same name. But the game's visuals, painstakingly crafted to look like an animated stained glass window on every frame, are downright breathtaking. In a sea of pixelated graphics and safe me-too styles, Little Briar Rose is a breath of fresh air.

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Little Briar Rose offers a Grimm adventure with gorgeous stained glass visuals was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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