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Friday, September 23, 2016

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Pricing for Google Home and Chromecast Ultra reportedly revealed

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 03:09 PM PDT

Earlier this year, Google officially revealed its voice assistant known as Google Home. Now word on the street is that Google plans to launch Home as soon as October.

Google has an event planned for October 4, where it's believed they'll not only announce the new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, but also reveal more about the Home assistant, a still-unannounced Google Wifi home router, and the Chromecast Ultra, which, if the rumors are true, will support 4K UHD streaming.

Now, according to a report from Android Police, Google Home will cost $129 — quite a bit less than the Amazon Echo, Home's major competitor. That wouldn't be too surprising and could give Home a big boost.

As for the price of the Chromecast Ultra, today's report states that will cost $69. The current Chromecast costs only $35, so that's quite a price hike. But if Google can sell the features and supported platforms, it might work well. The report also indicates Google will continue to sell the regular Chromecast after the Chromecast Ultra goes on sale.

Do you plan on buying any of Google's upcoming products?

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Google Authenticator v4.74 brings a refreshed material look, dark mode, and in-app camera scanner [APK Download]

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 02:15 PM PDT


Setting up and using 2-factor authentication on a Google account used to be a fairly miserable affair. The sign-in process lurched from a native interface into a browser where users were expected to quickly enter codes, various apps weren't compatible and required special 1-time use passwords, and the app for generating codes felt completely unfinished. These days, all of those problems have been solved, and now Google's Authenticator app is even taking steps to further improve its look and usefulness.

Read More

Google Authenticator v4.74 brings a refreshed material look, dark mode, and in-app camera scanner [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Sprint no longer leasing Android phones

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 02:04 PM PDT

The past few years have seen wireless carriers in fierce competition with one another, each trying to outdo the others with value. Sprint has been a large part of this battle, and one of its earlier tactics was to offer device leasing to customers. While the program offered increased financial liquidity for Sprint, it hasn't proven popular enough with Android phones to keep it going.

While Sprint still offers leasing for Apple's iPhone devices, the carrier is no longer leasing any Android devices. The last Android device to be available for lease was the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, which ceased to be offered in August around the time of the Galaxy Note 7′s launch.

Sprint hasn't confirmed if it will revive leasing for Android phones, but if it doesn't, the carrier still offers its equipment installment plan, which satisfies most customers.

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Allo hits #1 in the Top Free Apps chart, but for how long?

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 01:05 PM PDT


Allo was finally released earlier this week, much to my own excitement. Google's latest messaging app seems pretty appealing in some regards and I am always willing to try something new. Thus far, I am enjoying it.

It seems that I am not alone. Allo is listed as number one in the Top Free Apps chart in the Play Store. That means it is beating Facebook/Messenger, Snapchat, and Instagram. It is mirroring its cousin, Duo, which also reached number one in the Top Free chart shortly after its release just over a month ago.

Read More

Allo hits #1 in the Top Free Apps chart, but for how long? was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google to introduce its own ‘Google Wifi’ router on October 4

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 12:39 PM PDT

The Google news just keeps on flowing. We've seen a myriad of Pixel leaks over the past week, but now Android Police is reporting that Google will introduce its own router, named Google Wifi. This router will be sold under Google's own brand and has a special trick up its sleeve to set it apart from Google's existing OnHub routers.

Google Wifi will include a number of smart features that are likely to be similar to what OnHub offers. It also claims to have greater coverage, but that's a common selling point for routers. The selling point of the device is that it will reportedly be able to link to other Google Wifi routers to expand the size of the wireless network. The question is whether the feature will be available right from the get-go or whether it will be saved for a future update.

Google Wifi will be introduced at Google's event on October 4, alongside the Pixel phones, Chromecast Ultra and Google Home. We'll keep you updated on further reports ahead of the event.

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Verizon bringing HD Voice support to prepaid customers on September 25

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 12:09 PM PDT

Last month it was believed that Verizon would be launching HD Voice support for prepaid customers, but that turned out not to be the case. Here we are near the end of September, though, and the feature is now official.

Verizon Wireless has officially announced that prepaid customers can take full advantage of HD Voice beginning Sunday, September 25. With the feature in place, prepaid customers will be able to enjoy high-quality voice calls, as long as the person on the other end of the phone call also has a device with HD Voice support.

On top of all that, Verizon is also adding support for six-way calls, the ability to browse the internet while you're on a phone call, calls over Wi-Fi, and Verizon video calling.

Here are the devices that support HD Voice:

  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 7
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 5
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 V
  • Moto Z Play Droid
  • Motorola DROID MAXX 2
  • Motorola DROID Turbo 2
  • HTC 10
  • HTC Desire 530
  • BlackBerry Priv
  • LG G5
  • LG V10
  • LG K8 V
  • LG K4 LTE

Non-Android Devices:

  • Microsoft Lumia 735
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone SE

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Hangouts v13 adds many more easter egg phrases, an in-app web browser, and prepares launcher shortcuts for Android 7.1 [APK Download + Teardown]

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 11:50 AM PDT


Hangouts v12 came out last month and we took an opportunity to have a couple laughs at its expense over what appeared to be the only actual new feature: a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ emote, accessible by typing /shruggie into a message box. With this update, that little guy brought all of his friends. Yes, the rest of the emote list is now accessible in Hangouts v13. There is also a new option to open web links with an in-app browser, though it may not be available to everybody just yet.

Read More

Hangouts v13 adds many more easter egg phrases, an in-app web browser, and prepares launcher shortcuts for Android 7.1 [APK Download + Teardown] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Blu Life One X2 brings in fingerprint sensor, improved camera and more

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 11:07 AM PDT

Blu Products is a company that sprang onto the scene just a few years ago, offering powerful smartphones at incredibly low prices. The company has continued to grow and expand its selection with a variety of models for the diverse needs of today's market. Blu's latest device is the Blu Life One X2, which is a successor to last year's Blu Life One X. The Life One X2 offers some improvements and additions over its predecessor, so let's look at the specs.

  • 5.2-inch 1080p display
  • 1.4GHz octa-core Snapdragon 430 processor
  • 2GB/4GB of RAM
  • 16GB/64GB of storage plus microSD card slot
  • 16-megapixel rear camera
  • 8-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Dual-SIM card slot
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow

Blue has outfitted the Life One X2 with an aluminum body that's available in both Gunmetal Grey and Rose Gold. All of that comes packed into a phone that costs just $149.99, making it one of the best budget-friendly devices on the market.

Follow the source link for the official press release.

Purchase the Blu Life One X2 through Amazon here.

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Top 10 Android app updates this week: Taskbar, Samsung Pay

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 11:07 AM PDT

Welcome back to our weekly Top 10 Android App Updates column, where we take a look at the most frequently upgraded apps for the week. We've found that one of the best ways to discover useful apps is to find the ones that are actually being updated by the developers rather than selecting the apps with the most installs. As in the past, we're going to filter out minor updates for the super-popular apps that have over 10 million installs, but we'll make exceptions for apps that have had significant updates. We hope you enjoy this weekly feature and that you discover some apps that end up being useful.

Taskbar - Version 1.2.0


What's new in this version:

  • Introducing the easiest way yet to use freeform windows on Android Nougat!
  • By setting Taskbar as your default launcher, your apps will always launch in freeform mode from the home screen, for a true desktop-like experience on your big-screen Android device! Simply make sure that the "Replace home screen" option is enabled in addition to "Freeform window support".
  • This update also includes: Hide apps from the start menu


Samsung Pay – Version 2.3.0

Samsung Pay

What's new in this version:

  • More Gift Cards
  • Samsung Pay now accepts more of your favorite membership cards
  • Restore all your membership, gift, and Samsung Reward cards when you sign back into Samsung Pay
  • Iris Authentication


YouTube Gaming - Version

YouTube Gaming

What's new in this version:

  • Redesigned chat with all-new look
  • Additional under-the-hood chat improvements
  • Better support for Android N
  • Bug fixes and performance improvements


Solid Explorer - Version 2.2.0

Solid Explorer

What's new in this version:

  • file encryption (only Android 6 and up)
  • fingerprint support
  • multiwindow support on Android N
  • automatic day/night theme
  • ability to create homescreen shortcuts using the launcher
  • added master password reset timer


Google Play Books - Version 3.9.49

Google Play Books

What's new in this version:

  • Introducing the Bubble Zoom tech preview. It uses machine learning to zoom in on speech bubbles, and it's ready to use in collected volumes of Marvel or DC.
  • Search suggest support
  • Badge series when there is new content available
  • Stability and performance enhancements


Firefox Beta - Version 50.0.0

Firefox Beta

What's new in this version:

  • Simplified panels by combining "Recent Tabs" into "History" panel
  • Support of HLS videos via player overlay


Plex Media Server - Version 1.1.4

Plex Media Server

What's new in this version:

  • (Web) Updated Plex Web to 2.8.1.
  • (Nvidia Shield) Enable DLNA server. (#5013)
  • (Security) Allow http requests using the server's machine name to authenticate using the "networks allowed without auth" preference. (#5270)
  • Improved crash reporting infrastructure. (#4669)


Google Slides - Version 1.6.352.16

Google Slides

What's new in this version:

  • Control Chromecast or Hangout presentations from your Android Wear device
  • Bug fixes and performance improvements


Instagram - Version 9.4.0


What's new in this version:

  • Comment Moderation: We are committed to keeping Instagram a safe and positive place for self expression. New comments tool in the Options menu that lets you filter out comments on your posts containing words you consider offensive or inappropriate.
  • Instagram Stories: Now you can add color to your text. Swipe the colors above the keyboard to see more, or tap and hold a circle to select a custom color.


AutoShare - Version 2.0.32


What's new in this version:

  • Added priority to commands: higher priority will make commands appear more often in the direct share list. Priority will also be used for sorting in the AutoShare Command Dialog.
  • Correct handling of service intents that do not provide a service class name and package
  • Other bug fixes


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Opera version 37 brings a brand new material-inspired look

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 09:31 AM PDT


"The other browser, that one with the red O as its logo, um... Opera!" is the way I've often heard Opera referred to. It's a great browser, but for whatever reason it doesn't seem to have the same public mindshare as Chrome or Firefox does. Today, it's getting a brand new lick of paint in version 37, which might help it in the ongoing quest to overhaul the aforementioned 'big boys' of the browser game.

Read More

Opera version 37 brings a brand new material-inspired look was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Samsung: half of recalled Galaxy Note 7s exchanged in US

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 09:06 AM PDT

Samsung Electronics continues to work through its voluntary recall of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. After a battery defect led to device explosions and fires, the company issued a recall on September 2 for all Galaxy Note 7s sold outside of China. Since that date, the company has worked nonstop in an effort to ease the logistics of the recall and minimize negative publicity.

Samsung has now announced that approximately half of all recalled Galaxy Note 7s in the US have been exchanged for new devices. The company also stated that 90% percent of Galaxy Note 7 owners have opted to receive a new device, rather than returning the recalled device for a refund.

With replacement devices only becoming available on September 21, it's of note that so many devices have already been exchanged. Samsung is continuing to assist customers with exchanges, and those who haven't yet exchanged can do so by going to Samsung.com, visiting their carrier store or returning to the retailer where the device was purchased.

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Google reportedly interested in purchasing Twitter

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 09:06 AM PDT

Twitter may soon have a new owner. The social media network has struggled in recent times, with new features failing to take off as hoped. The company has juggled executives and experimented with new initiatives, more or less with no effect. Now the company may be gearing up for a sale, shifting responsibility to a new owner. Several companies are in the mix, but the most notable is Google, as the tech giant has reportedly shown interest in purchasing Twitter.

Twitter's stock rose more than 20% as the news broke that the company was considering selling. Whether it be to Google or another company, investors are interested in the possibility. Another high-profile company looking at Twitter is Salesforce, which showed interest in purchasing LinkedIn in the past. Now that LinkedIn is off the table, Salesforce is going after Twitter, which caters to a different, but still influential, audience.

There's no word on how soon a sale might happen, but we'll keep you posted on the situation.

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[Fixed] Chrome Beta and Dev are now properly showing up and updating in My Apps on the Play Store on Nougat

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 09:02 AM PDT


Earlier this month, we reported an issue with both Chrome Beta and Dev on Nougat. Despite both apps being installed on your phone, they didn't show up in the list of My apps & games in the Play Store, which meant that they were never automatically updated and you had to manually search for them, open their listing, and then see if an update was available or not to download it.

Read More

[Fixed] Chrome Beta and Dev are now properly showing up and updating in My Apps on the Play Store on Nougat was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Pokémon GO updated to v0.39.0 with the return of capture location and GO Plus tweaks [APK Download]

Posted: 23 Sep 2016 08:41 AM PDT


There's a new version of Pokémon GO hitting the Play Store, but prepare to be disappointed if you were expecting big changes. We do at least get the capture locations back, but they aren't as good as before. Those of you with the Pokémon GO Plus accessory will be able to use it a little more often too.

Here's the changelog listed by Niantic.

  • Capture location: The location where a Pokémon was caught will now be displayed on their information screen.
Read More

Pokémon GO updated to v0.39.0 with the return of capture location and GO Plus tweaks [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Sony Xperia XZ goes on sale in the U.S. on October 2

Posted: 22 Sep 2016 04:59 PM PDT

At the beginning of September, Sony made the Xperia XZ and X Compact official, with plans to make both handsets available in the United States at some point in the future. Sure enough, Sony has confirmed that both handsets now have U.S. launch dates.

The flagship Xperia XZ will arrive on October 2 with a price tag of $700. The handset will be GSM and unlocked and will be available from Best Buy, Amazon, and  other select retailers.

As a refresher, the Xperia XZ features a 5.2-inch 1080p HD panel, a Snapdragon 820 processor under the hood, and 3GB of RAM. It also features 32GB of built-in storage, a microSD card slot, and a USB Type-C port. There's a 23MP camera on the back.

Meanwhile, the mid-range Sony-branded Xperia X Compact will arrive in the United States on September 25. It'll also be unlocked, but it will be priced at $500. It has a USB Type-C port, a 720p 4.6-inch display, 32GB of built-in storage, and a microSD card slot. It also has a 23MP camera on the back.

Do you plan on picking up either device?


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