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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

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Piper security cam lets you upload recorded videos to Dropbox and Drive for free (plus more IFTTT improvements)

Posted: 30 Aug 2016 12:25 PM PDT

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Piper's home security and automation unit has been improving year over year. Since my initial review, it has overhauled its app and improved many of its features, but it also recently released an IFTTT channel that enabled Amazon Alexa integration and let you schedule and automate a couple of actions.

Now Piper is improving its IFTTT channel with more triggers and actions. You can now control your Piper-connected lights with Alexa, get a tweet when Piper detects smoke via a connected sensor, and set dimmer levels or lights when events are detected while you're away.

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Piper security cam lets you upload recorded videos to Dropbox and Drive for free (plus more IFTTT improvements) was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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You will soon be able to control Sonos speakers from inside the Spotify app and via Alexa voice commands

Posted: 30 Aug 2016 12:25 PM PDT

SonosSpotify

Sonos and Spotify may not be exclusive, but they are in a relationship. Last year we watched a Sonos app update gain Spotify radio integration. Soon Spotify will add the ability to manage Sonos speakers from inside the Spotify mobile app. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. That's how some relationships work.

The feature is available now in an alpha form, and as that would suggest, the experience isn't yet reliable.

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You will soon be able to control Sonos speakers from inside the Spotify app and via Alexa voice commands was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Google seems to be testing a new look for search history in the Google widget, and you can try it now

Posted: 30 Aug 2016 12:25 PM PDT

search

The next time you do a search on your phone, you may notice something unusual—the search history drop down has a new look. Well, it's new for some people. It's more compact with search terms in a series of blocks. This appears to be the default for a few users, but everyone can try it with a little keyboard trickery.

The search history appears when tapping on the home screen search widget or the search widget in the Google search UI.

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Google seems to be testing a new look for search history in the Google widget, and you can try it now was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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[Deal Alert] Alarm Clock Xtreme & Timer and Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee both available for 0.10 in multiple countries (no US)

Posted: 30 Aug 2016 11:36 AM PDT

AppDealHero

App deals are great, so it's good to see two available for €0.10 (or the equivalent in countries running the deal). One is an alarm clock, the other a popular game that has 50,000 downloads. As usual these are not available in the US - countries that do have the cheaper price include the UK, Germany, Russia, France, Spain, Italy, and Australia. If there are other countries joining in on the fun, let us know in the comments.

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[Deal Alert] Alarm Clock Xtreme & Timer and Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee both available for 0.10 in multiple countries (no US) was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Google+ Web Preview now default look, Google+ Classic going away

Posted: 30 Aug 2016 11:25 AM PDT

googleplus-new-website-hero

Back in November last year, Google rolled out a new-look Google+ and deemed it a 'preview' of what was to come. It was generally assumed that at some point this would replace what has become known as 'Google+ Classic,' and that day has now arrived, with the announcement that the Web preview will be the default look from today onwards.

This isn't entirely a surprise: last week Google issued a reminder saying that today was the day, so we were prepared for this eventuality.

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Google+ Web Preview now default look, Google+ Classic going away was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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This year’s Google phones reportedly won’t feature Nexus branding

Posted: 30 Aug 2016 11:13 AM PDT

As we near the fall season and subsequent high-end phone launches that come with it, a new report has surfaced that suggests that Google is taking a hard turn when it comes to its premiere flagship lineup of smartphones.

According to information obtained by Android Central, Google plans to drop the "Nexus" brand from the smartphones it plans to launch this year. Those two handsets are reportedly manufactured by HTC, codenamed "Sailfish" and "Marlin," and previous leaks have indeed shown the design of those devices dropping the Nexus brand and carrying a Google logo instead.

The report states that Google isn't just dropping the Nexus brand, but that it will be adopting a different brand instead. What that will be remains a mystery. It's expected that Google will be eschewing the HTC name, too, and will market the device heavily as its own handset. Basically, this won't be a Nexus-branded HTC-built phone, but a Google phone.

On top of that, Google is allegedly changing things up with the software this time around, too. Instead of opting for a stock Android experience, Google will be adding software and tweaking the interface for its new phones. That would line up with the change from the Nexus brand, too, which has typically meant a barebones Android experience without any additional software or tweaks thrown in. Changing the brand and the software experience together makes sense.

The original report does state that it's unknown at this time whether or not Google will be dropping the Nexus brand altogether, but considering these new phones are launching in the same window that Nexus phones typically would, the safe guess is that Google is moving forward with this new brand and vision and leaving "Nexus" behind with the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X.

Finally, the report claims that Google does plan on launching its own Google-branded Android Wear smartwatches at some point in the future, which would seem to corroborate previous rumors.

What do you think of this shift in ideas from Google?


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Xiaomi Amazfit smartwatch unveiled for $120

Posted: 30 Aug 2016 10:03 AM PDT

Xiaomi is on a bit of a roll when it comes to product announcements, having just unveiled the Redmi Note 4 not too long ago. Here we are again with another new product, this time one meant for your wrist.

Xiaomi's sub-brand, Huami, has officially unveiled the Amazfit smartwatch, which will go on sale in China tomorrow, August 31. It'll retail for ¥799, or about $120, and it certainly has a distant design and flare to it. And, as far as features go, the Amazfit brings plenty to the table.

That includes a 1.38-inch 300×300 round display, with a 1.2GHz processor tucked inside the frame. It has 4GB of built-in storage, along with 512MB of RAM. According to the company, the 200mAh battery will last up to 5 days, but there is a caveat: The built-in GPS will apparently drop that battery life down to 35 hours if left activated.

There's a Mi Fit app that will allow the Amazfit to connect to an Android device. The smartwatch is IP67 certified, which makes it resistant to dust and water. There's a heart rate monitor on board, too. The Amazfit supports 22mm bands, and those can be swapped out when desired.

What do you think of the Amazfit?


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SwiftKey's email and phone number predictions have now returned to the stable release

Posted: 30 Aug 2016 09:09 AM PDT

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SwiftKey is getting back to normal. It all started with a bug that led to people receiving personalized suggestions for other users, which caused SwiftKey to temporarily shut down its sync servers. While sync came back pretty quickly, it only provided predictions for regular words, not more complex items like email addresses and phone numbers. A final fix with support for emails and phone numbers hit SwiftKey Beta last week and today it has made its way to the stable.

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SwiftKey's email and phone number predictions have now returned to the stable release was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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ZTE Warp 7 for Boost Mobile costs only $99.99

Posted: 30 Aug 2016 09:06 AM PDT

If you can remember the track record of ZTE and Boost Mobile, you'll remember that the original ZTE Warp launched way back in 2011. Now we're here, several years later, with a brand new member of the ZTE Warp family.

Boost Mobile is now carrying the Warp 7 from ZTE. The Warp 7 boasts a 5.5-inch 720p HD display and Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Under the hood there's a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of built-in storage coupled with a microSD card slot for adding more storage if you need it. The battery measures in at 3080mAh and there's a 13-megapixel camera on the back as well as a 5-megapixel front-facing camera on the other side.

The Warp 7 costs $99.99, and it's available from Boost Mobile's online store beginning today. If you want to check it out in a store before you buy, it will hit store shelves beginning September 5.


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Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel updated with better sharing features

Posted: 30 Aug 2016 08:49 AM PDT

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Microsoft has long since abandoned the strategy of keeping its apps and services confined to its own platform. Windows Phone didn't really work out, so it's not like there's another option. Microsoft's Word, PowerPoint, and Excel apps are getting a nice update today on Android that makes them better at handling shared content. PowerPoint also gets some UI tweaks.

Here's a combined changelog for all three apps.

  • Collaboration front and center : Quickly share your document, and see who's working on it.
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Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel updated with better sharing features was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Google is testing a new Inbox search UI, may be first indication of "virtual assistant"

Posted: 30 Aug 2016 06:08 AM PDT

InboxSearchUIHero

Another day, another A/B test has come our way at Android Police. This time, Google is testing out a new Inbox search UI, replacing the dropdown search menu that's been ever-present since Inbox launched.

The UI shows three categories: contacts, businesses, and refinements. Contacts and businesses show people or companies that you regularly contact, while refinements highlights other options you may be likely to search for, such as 'sent emails from last week,' or 'attachments.' These are side-scrolling, with what looks like six options in each row, although it could be more.

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Google is testing a new Inbox search UI, may be first indication of "virtual assistant" was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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[APK Download] Google Contacts 1.5 adds hamburger menu, labels, and more

Posted: 29 Aug 2016 06:15 PM PDT

contactsapp

Google Contacts is a great way to keep your contacts organized, but the Android version always lacked some features from the web app. The Android app has always been simplistic in nature, with the UI consisting of just a constant stream of contacts and an Add button. Google Contacts 1.5 is a welcome improvement, so let's dive in!

User interface changes

The hamburger menu in action.

The hamburger menu in action.

Previously, the Google Contacts app used just two tabs, Favorites and All.

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[APK Download] Google Contacts 1.5 adds hamburger menu, labels, and more was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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