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Monday, June 27, 2016

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Project Fi app officially updated with U.S. Cellular support

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 03:07 PM PDT

Google announced earlier this month that U.S. Cellular was becoming a partner for Project Fi, and now Fi users will be able to experience the changes. The Project Fi app has been updated in the Play Store, and it features U.S. Cellular support.

U.S. Cellular is the third carrier to partner with Project Fi, the other two being Sprint and T-Mobile. With a third carrier, Fi coverage should be even better. If you're on Project Fi, make sure to head to the Play Store and update the your app to ensure that you're able to connect to U.S. Cellular. Post a comment if you see improved connection quality!

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Leaks support Galaxy Note 7 name, iris scanner, and some specs

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 03:07 PM PDT

The latest leaked info from Evan Blass has corroborated the rumored name for the next Note device. Samsung will be skipping the Galaxy Note 6 in favor of the Galaxy Note 7, a name that lines up with its current flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S7.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

This change has been long-rumored, so it doesn't come unexpectedly. Some Note 7 specs have also been leaked, such as the 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display, 64GB of memory with a microSD slot, a 12MP rear camera, a 5MP front camera, IP68 water resistance, and three colors (black, silver, and blue).

And of course, one of the biggest rumors is the inclusion of the iris scanner. This has also been corroborated by Blass.

While this is big info, it's still not official. We'll have to wait until the device is announced in August to hear the confirmed specs. But based on the rumors so far, it's shaping up to be a great device. What do you guys think? Leave a comment!

Source: @evleaks (1)(2)(3)

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Android Pay arrives in Asia, starting with Singapore

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 03:04 PM PDT


Android Pay turns your phone into a Google-powered wallet. Tap it against a terminal, transfer money, and walk away feeling like you're living in the future. Android Pay has been making folks feel this way since September, depending on where you live.

If said place is in Asia, you've been out of luck. That's about to change. Android Pay has made its way to Singapore, its first stop in Asia.

At launch, Android Pay works with MasterCard and Visa cards from BS, OCBC Bank, POSB, Standard Chartered Bank, and UOB.

Read More

Android Pay arrives in Asia, starting with Singapore was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 03:04 PM PDT


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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Google puts Expeditions, the VR app designed for classrooms, in the Play Store after long trial period was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Uber drivers can stream Pandora Premium free for the next six months

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 03:03 PM PDT


What's better than listening to music on the ride home? Listening to commercial-free music. The next time you hop in an Uber car, your driver hopefully won't subject you to ads. Drivers can now stream Pandora Premium for the next six months, free.

Drivers can get ad-free streaming by connecting a phone via Bluetooth or AUX and tapping "Play Music" in the Uber Partner app. That's "Play Music" as in play music, not Play Music.

Read More

Uber drivers can stream Pandora Premium free for the next six months was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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HP announces budget Chromebook 11 G5

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 02:23 PM PDT

HP has announced another Chromebook to add to its lineup. The Chromebook 11 G5 will sit under the existing HP Chromebook 13 as a budget option, starting at a low $189.

The device features a smaller body, slimmer bezels and weighs in at just 2.51 pounds. It also has an Intel Celeron N3060 processor and an optional HD IPS touchscreen, though the touchscreen option brings the battery life estimate down from 12.5 hours to 11 hours.

If you need a barebones laptop to do work or schooling from, a Chromebook may be a great option. And with the Google Play Store coming to Chrome OS later this year, the devices will get even more useful. The laptop should be available in July and come to retail stores in October. Hit the source link for more info!

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Android Mobile Vision restores operation and adds Text API

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 01:13 PM PDT

Posted by Michael Sipe, Product Manager

As an important framework for finding objects in photos and video, Mobile Vision operation for Android devices is restored in Google Play Services v9.2.

This new version of Google Play Services fixes a download issue in Google Play Services v.9.0 that caused a service outage. See release notes for details.

We're also pleased to announce the Text API, a new component for Android Mobile Vision.

The Text API's optical character recognition technology reads Latin character text (e.g. English, Spanish, German, French, etc.) in photos and returns the text as well as the organizational structure (paragraphs, lines, words). Mobile apps can now:

  • Organize photos that contain text
  • Automate tedious data entry for credit cards, receipts, and business cards
  • Translate documents (along with the Cloud Translate API)
  • Keep track of real objects, such as reading the numbers on subway trains
  • Provide accessibility features

If you want to get started quickly, you can try our codelab which will get Android developers reading text with their apps in under an hour.

Like the Mobile Vision Face and Barcode components, the Text API runs on-device and is suitable for real-time applications. For more information, check out the Mobile Vision Developer site.

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Google Expeditions app for Android lets students explore distant locales

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 01:03 PM PDT

One of the benefits of VR is being able to set foot in another place without actually leaving the room you're in. Google wants to make that into a learning experience with a brand new Android app called Expeditions. With it, you'll be able to go to places like historical landmarks, launch yourself out into space, or dive under the waves and scout out oceans.

Google has over 200 expeditions available right out of the gate, all of which have dedicated pieces of information that you can listen to and watch while exploring the area. That includes a list of descriptions for each expedition, questions, interesting facts that can be used as talking points, and more.


Getting Expeditions uses Google Cardboard with an Android phone or with just an Android smartphone or tablet using a "Magic Window" mode that lacks the 3D VR experience, but still offers the other features.

Google is offering Expedition kits through Best Buy, too, which include a total of 30 Mattel viewers, 30 devices, an Insignia teacher device, three rapid chargers, a TP-Link router, and a Pelican case, all for $9,999. The kits are available to pre-order by schools right now.

Expeditions for Android is available right now, and it will be available for the iPhone and iPad at some point in the near future.

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Google's Awareness API is now out, filled with promise and potential for abuse

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 12:57 PM PDT


Google's new Awareness API - part of Google Play Services - is legitimately cool. In theory. Announced at I/O, it allows apps to access what you're doing, in a general sense, and then give you information based on that status. For now, the API offers two ways for apps to monitor your current status, per Google's blog post.

  • The Snapshot API lets your app easily request information about the user's current context.
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Google's Awareness API is now out, filled with promise and potential for abuse was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Twitter adds stickers to pictures, presumably because Facebook has them

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 12:15 PM PDT


Stickers are growing in popularity on the web, with Facebook leading the way in Messenger and in status updates and comments. Other chat apps, including WeChat and LINE, also support the feature, which has seemingly led to Twitter wanting to join the party too.

Twitter's implementation of stickers differs a little to others, mainly because instead of adding a sticker to a tweet (which would feel a bit weird), they're added to pictures.

Read More

Twitter adds stickers to pictures, presumably because Facebook has them was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Monday app and game sales: Kingdom Rush Origins, Tiny Planet FX Pro, Death Worm, and more

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 11:31 AM PDT


A new week has just begun, and that can be sort of a bummer. The weekend is like forever away. You know what's not a bummer? Getting apps and games on sale. We've got some of those listed below to help you start the week right.


Twilight Pro Unlock: $0.99 from $2.99

Meme Generator: $0.99 from $2.99

Sleep as Android Unlock: $0.99 from $2.99

7 Minute Workout Pro: $0.99 from $2.99

Poweramp Full Version Unlocker: $0.99 from $3.99

My Diet Coach: $0.99 from $4.99

Photo Lab PRO: $0.99 from $2.99

Tiny Planet FX Pro: $0.10 from $0.99 (not on sale in US)

Nova Launcher Prime: $0.99 from $4.99

Hydro Coach PRO: $1.39 from $4.49


Please, Don't Touch Anything: $0.99 from $4.99

Kingdom Rush Frontiers: $0.99 from $1.99

Kingdom Rush Origins: $0.99 from $2.99

Talisman: The Horus Heresy: $2.49 from $4.79

Cinemaware's Wings: $0.99 from $1.99

Crowntakers: $0.99 from $1.99

Danmaku Unlimited 2: $0.99 from $4.99

BattleLore: Command: $3.99 from $9.99

Elder Sign: Omens: $1.99 from $3.99

Death Worm: $0.99 from $1.99

Splendor: $1.99 from $6.99

Small World 2: $1.99 from $6.99

Ticket to Ride: $1.99 from $6.99

Talisman: $2.49 from $4.98

Battlestation: Harbinger: $1.99 from $3.99

HARVEST MOON:Seeds Of Memories: $6.99 from $9.99

Q.U.B.E.: Director's Cut: $0.99 from $9.95

Goo Saga: $0.99 from $4.99

Ghosts of Memories: $0.99 from $2.99

Construction Simulator 2014: $0.10 from $1.29 (not on sale in US)

Door Kickers: $0.99 from $4.99

Adventures of Mana: $9.99 from $13.99

Secret of Mana: $4.49 from $7.99

Read More

Monday app and game sales: Kingdom Rush Origins, Tiny Planet FX Pro, Death Worm, and more was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Review: Fitbit Blaze

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 11:16 AM PDT

Quantified health is the new norm. The new age of health and fitness has given rise to a wave of devices and services designed to gather data. More than ever, consumers are tracking exercise, calories and more in an attempt to reach peak health. Fitness trackers were designed and marketed to track data all of the time, even while users sleep. While fitness trackers remain popular, the category has begun to merge with smartwatches.

Fitbit's Blaze fitness watch is the result of that mingling. The Blaze is a fitness watch that bears remarkable similarities to a smartwatch, but with a serious fitness focus. The Blaze is quite attractive when it's geared up in its case and strap. We were sent a model with a black strap and silver metal casing. All assembled, the Blaze is stylish, yet subtle. The simple design allows it to work with nearly any outfit, regardless of formality. It's also quite comfortable, with plenty of room for adjustment. Once you get it dialed in, it's far more comfortable than many smartwatches due to the rounded square shape of the bottom of the Blaze.

Popping the Blaze out of its casing reveals a bland design. It's simply a small black square. That's acceptable, however, as the only time you'll need to pop it out is to charge it, which is done with pins on the back of the Blaze. Simply pop it into the charging cradle and you're good to go.


Battery life is more than acceptable with the Blaze, with our unit lasting an average of four and a half days on a single charge, quite good for a watch that's tracking day and night. And when the battery does run out, the device recharges quite quickly, allowing you to get back to business in just a short matter of time.

Fitbit ships the Blaze with an elastomer band that's water resistant, as is the watch itself. Inquiring about water resistance led us to find out that it is splash, rain and sweat resistant, but you won't want to immerse the Blaze into water. While that's slightly disappointing, it's also not unexpected, as there's only a handful of fitness and smartwatches that are fully waterproof.

The Blaze is primarily designed to track everyday activity and land exercise. The device collects quite a bit of data, including your heart rate, steps, calories burned, distance covered and floors walked, and that's all available on the watch itself. Opening the Fitbit app reveals a wealth of information compiled from what the Blaze's sensors have collected and what you have manually entered.

Sleep tracking is an important feature of the Blaze, as the device uses movement and heart rate sensing to determine your sleep cycle. Fitbit then uses the data collected to determine when you were asleep, when you were restless and when you were awake. Is it 100% accurate? No, but it helps to create a larger picture of your overall health and can indicate what adds and detracts from your sleep quality.

Users can also track food and water intake through the Fitbit app. While many people use apps like MyFitnessPal, using the Fitbit app allows users to quantify and consolidate their health data into a single hub. Surpisingly, however, the Fitbit app doesn't allow you to sync in data from other apps, making it less useful. With that hindrance, it makes it easier to connect the Fitbit app to MyFitnessPal and log food and water within that service, while logging fitness and sleep data in the Fitbit.

As for tracking on the Blaze itself, it's quite accurate and useful, particularly when performing non-exercise activities that still require physical exertion. For hiking or running, the Blaze is a dream, as it will essentially track the exercise on its own, even it's not officially logged as exercise. For other activities, you'll need to manually begin tracking on the Blaze and manually end it when you finish your exercise.


An interesting feature of the Blaze is the addition of Fitbit's FitStar program, which offers three quick bodyweight workouts right on the Blaze. These include a warm-up session, a classic 7-minute HIIT workout and a 10-minute abs workout, which is the most intense of all three, but is also focused on just one major muscle group. Nonetheless, these are great when you have a bit of extra time and want a quick workout without having to head all the way to the gym.

The Blaze can be used to set alarms, vibrating when the selected time strikes. It can also be used as a stopwatch or timer, which is handy for workouts and everyday life. When connected to a phone via Bluetooth, the Blaze will pull in notifications for texts, phone calls and calendar events, but other notifications are confined to your phone. The Blaze can also be used to control the music on a phone while connected.

The fact of the matter is that the Blaze is a great fitness watch. It keeps its goals in check and doesn't try to do more than it needs to. The point is simple: It's a fitness watch, not a smartwatch. The Fitbit Blaze is filling a surprising gap in the market, and because of its excellence in its abilities, the Blaze has quickly become my favorite wearable. If you're looking for a straightforward fitness watch, the Fitbit Blaze could just be the perfect device for you.

Purchase the Blaze from Fitbit or Amazon.


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[Update: Out Of Beta] Developer Joaomgcd Lets You Control Your Arduino From Tasker With New AutoArduino Tasker Plugin

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 11:11 AM PDT


João Dias — better known to the world as joaomgcd — has just announced the beta version of a new Tasker plugin called the AutoArduino. The AutoArduino is just the latest in a series of over a dozen apps from the developer, and it lets owners of the programmable circuit board use Tasker to control any one of its countless digital and analog pins with nothing more than an Android phone or tablet.

Read More

[Update: Out Of Beta] Developer Joaomgcd Lets You Control Your Arduino From Tasker With New AutoArduino Tasker Plugin was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Create Intelligent, Context-Aware Apps with the Google Awareness APIs

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 10:27 AM PDT

Posted by Bhavik Singh, Product Manager

Last month at Google I/O 2016 we announced the new Google Awareness APIs, enabling your apps to intelligently react to user context using snapshots and fences with minimal impact on system resources.

Today we're proud to announce that the Google Awareness API is available to all developers through Google Play services.

Using 7 different types of context—including location, weather, user activity, and nearby beacons—your app can better understand your users' current situations, and use this information to provide optimized and customized experiences.

The Awareness API offers two ways to take advantage of context signals within your app:

  • The Snapshot API lets your app easily request information about the user's current context. For example, "give me the user's current location and the current weather conditions".
  • The Fence API lets your app react to changes in user's context - and when it matches a certain set of conditions. For example, "tell me whenever the user is walking and their headphones are plugged in". Similar to the Geofencing API, once an awareness fence is registered, it can send callbacks to your app even when it's not running.

As a single, simplified surface, the Awareness APIs combine optimally processed context signals in new ways that were not previously possible, providing more accurate and insightful context cues, while also managing system resources to save battery and minimize bandwidth.

We've worked closely with some of our partners, who have already found amazing ways to integrate context awareness into their apps:

Trulia,an online residential real estate site, uses our Fence API to suggest open houses. When the weather is perfect and the user is walking around near a house they are interested in, Trulia sends a notification reminding them to stop by. This sort of tailored notification can help users engage with open houses at the perfect time for them.

SuperPlayer Music, on the other hand, uses our Snapshot API and Fence API to suggest the perfect music to match your mood. Whether you're just finishing up a run and beginning to stretch, setting off on a long car ride, or just getting to the gym, their assistant can understand your context and suggest the right playlist for you.

With our initial set of signals and our awesome partners, we're just getting started with the Awareness APIs. Join us on a journey to build tailored experiences within your apps, by getting started with the Google Awareness API developer documentation, and learn more by watching our Google I/O session

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Twitter is introducing searchable stickers for Android users

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 10:15 AM PDT

Stickers, whether by themselves or applied to the pictures we take, are all the rage these days. So Twitter's jumping on the bandwagon and giving Android users stickers of their own.

Today Twitter announced it's rolling out stickers for both Android and iOS users. It's a pretty simple process: You take a photo and there will be a dedicated stickers button right there alongside the other edit options for photos within the app. Stickers can be resized, moved around the image, and be rotated to get the perfect fit. Once all the editing is done, you can upload the photo with Stickers to Twitter.

Stickers are special kinds of hashtags, too, and you can tap them and search for them to see other photos that have used the same sticker.

This is just one of many changes Twitter has been adopting lately. Videos can now be 140 seconds long, and uploaded images no longer count against the 140-character limit, either.

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Galaxy Note 7 Leaks Confirm Specs And ‘Note 7’ Name

Posted: 27 Jun 2016 07:12 AM PDT


It's been quite some time since we first heard about Samsung skipping the Note 6 name in order to align the Note lineup with its Galaxy S lineup and now we finally get to see that rumour as a fact.

According to Evan Blass, he has obtained the official Note 7 branding and it proves the company will indeed be going with "Galaxy Note 7". Additionally, he has provided a small but informative list of specs and they are as follows:

5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display, 64GB of internal storage with microSD, 12MP with DualPixel technology, 5MP front camera, IP68 water and dust resistance and black/silver/blue colour options. As for the Iris Scanner, yes that is coming too.

I am confident we will get to know more about this beast in the coming days and weeks ahead as the event has been set for August 2nd.


The post Galaxy Note 7 Leaks Confirm Specs And 'Note 7' Name appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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Google rumored to launch its own smartphone this year

Posted: 26 Jun 2016 08:17 PM PDT

Google has its Nexus lineup, but while those are devices that run the purest version of Android you can find, they are manufactured by other companies like Huawei and Motorola. If a new report is accurate, Google is planning on trying its hand at hardware.

According to The Telegraph, Google is going to launch its own smartphone this year. The information was provided to the publication from a "senior source," and other sources said that Google is currently in talks with wireless carriers to launch its own-brand smartphone. Unfortunately, any additional details regarding the handset aren't known at this time.

This isn't the first time that we've heard Google plans on launching its own hardware. Following the recent unveiling of Daydream, Google's virtual reality platform, it was revealed that the company will launch its own Daydream headset this year. If Google were to release its own smartphone, too, it would certainly cause some waves in the mobile industry.

What do you think of this rumor?

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