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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

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Yahoo View arrives on Android to offer up a slice of Hulu's formerly free TV content

Posted: 26 Oct 2016 04:08 PM PDT

2016-10-26 22Did you know that there's nothing free on Hulu anymore? I didn't, until I tried to track down the latest episodes of awful-yet-addictive CW superhero shows that I pour into my eyes like the pop cultural equivalent of fast food. Yes, it turns out the networks that comprise Hulu's adulterous corporate parents have walled off all those TV episodes behind a paywall. But fear not, cable-cutting penny-pinchers: at least some of those shows have a new home on Yahoo View.

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Yahoo View arrives on Android to offer up a slice of Hulu's formerly free TV content was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Allo 2.0 adds direct replies, emoji replies on Android Wear, GIF keyboard support, and more [APK Download]

Posted: 26 Oct 2016 02:48 PM PDT


Allo received a mixed response when it was released a little over a month ago. Trying to switch your friends and family to yet another messaging client, especially one lacking in features (even compared to Google's other services), is difficult. Not long after its introduction, Allo's ranking tanked on the Play Store and App Store.

Can the first major update, version 2.0, be enough to convince people to switch? I doubt it, but I have to give Google some credit for trying.

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Allo 2.0 adds direct replies, emoji replies on Android Wear, GIF keyboard support, and more [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google announces Jamboard, a digital whiteboard for offices

Posted: 26 Oct 2016 02:18 PM PDT

The whiteboard is a finite resource in the moment. Once it's full, you need to erase things to make room for more. So much more could be done. Digital whiteboards are nothing new, even my high school had them. But now, Google is entering the market and aiming for office adoption.

The Jamboard is basically a huge 55-inch 4K display with best-in-class touch response time. The "pens" and "eraser" have no batteries and no charging, and the entire thing rolls around and only has one cable. It also has an HD camera, speakers, and WiFi built in.

But the hardware isn't where Google is focusing its efforts. The Jamboard integrates with all of Google's services like Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more. People can contribute from their own devices and even out of the office. The board also has handwriting recognition, sticky notes, and saves all the info to Google Drive for later access.

The Jamboard will be available sometime in 2017 for under $6,000. It's definitely not something aimed at the everyday consumer, but this might be a great business tool if Google plays its cards right.

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Google addressing Pixel lens flare with future software update

Posted: 26 Oct 2016 01:18 PM PDT

The Google Pixel seems to be facing a strange camera issue, but Google is already on it. People have been noticing a big lens flare in some of their images. These flares are normal for all cameras, but the ones on photos taken with the Pixel can be pretty large.

Google has admitted that this is a problem with all Pixel devices, so a warranty exchange won't fix it. However, the fix won't be hardware-related; Google plans to change the HDR+ feature to compensate for this flare as a fix. Here's Google's statement on the issue:

"First, for some background — flare is a property of ALL camera lenses. It comes in a ton of different shapes and sizes and can even be used for creative effect — good and bad :-). The shape, color, amount, etc. of flare is related to dozens of different parameters of the lens structure and inclement light.

However, we have seen reports about this "halo/arc flare". This is the specific kind of flare that appears as a bright/low-contrast arc in the corners of the frame.

You can expect a software update in the next few weeks that will improve the effects of this issue. We're working on some algorithms that recognize the halo/arc flare, characterize it mathematically, and then subtract it from the image. :-) You will need to use HDR+ to see the benefits of this software.

Also, there is no point getting your device replaced thanks to this issue. The Pixel camera's lens structure is very highly controlled — this means that all Pixels take high-quality images, but it also means all Pixels have the same flare characteristics.

I wrote a post a while ago about how by doing things in software, we are able to make Pixel's camera even better over time. This is one of those ways."

It's hard to believe that Google will be fixing a camera issue with software, but if it works, we're sure people will be happy. It's not like the issue is all that significant anyway, as it's not Apple's purple flare level of bad. Unfortunately, you'll only get the fix when using HDR+ mode.

The update should come in the next few weeks and mitigate this issue. How many of you who already have your Pixels have noticed it? Leave a comment!

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Fresh Meat: 10 new Android apps worth checking out

Posted: 26 Oct 2016 12:23 PM PDT

New apps need lovin' too, right? Every day there are thousands of additions to the Google Play store, but many go unnoticed and never receive the attention they deserve. We've shown in the past that this community can discover great apps and propel them to new heights. Our weekly Fresh Meat column highlights new apps with fewer than 100,000 installs. Browse our new Android app picks below and let us know which ones you enjoy.



Description: AutoTools expands the base functionality in Tasker by letting you do much more with much less work! Toggle Location, Night Mode, Battery Saver and other previously inaccessible settings.




DescriptionMake the most of your display with beautiful wallpapers and advanced features. Choose one of your own photos, an image from the Google Earth collection, a scenic landscape from Google+, and more. Change it as often as you like, so your phone always represents your style.



Master Watch Face

Master Watch Face

DescriptionThe whole SETTINGS of the watch face are located in the "Android wear" app of your mobile. Just hit the gear icon over the watch face preview and the settings screen will show up!




DescriptionGo for a ride on Karma. The GoPro Passenger App lets you use your phone to tap into the live view from a nearby Karma drone and see what it sees. You can also control the camera while the pilot focuses on flying.




DescriptionIt's not just about the happy moments – build a video profile of the things you like, but also things you don't like. Post what you are into right now – and replace the video in that field whenever you want. Share to dozens of fields in sections of your profile.




Description Tango brings Augmented Reality to your smartphone. The Tango app helps you launch your favorite AR experiences and discover new apps.


A.C. Moore Crafts

AC Moore Crafts

DescriptionCreate More, Share More, Save More… On the Go! Spark your imagination right in the palm of your hand with the A.C. Moore mobile app! Log in, register or complete your in-store registration for A.C. Moore Rewards! Access your digital Rewards card, view your transaction history details and keep track of your pinwheel points to see how close you are to your next rewards certificate.


FX Launcher

FX Launcher

Description: Customize Desktop/Workspace – Custom icon size, padding, font, text size, text color, grid number, scrolling effect and etc. Customize Folder – Custom folder icon size, font, text size, text color, normal background, gradient background and etc.


Droid 2 – Watch Face

Droid 2 - Watch Face

DescriptionWatch face for round and square clock, includes environment mode.


Opendoor Homes for Sale

Opendoor Homes for Sale

DescriptionThe Opendoor app makes it easy for you to tour thousands of homes for sale on your own schedule. The app is your key to instantly unlock homes, for your own personal open house. Every Opendoor home can be instantly accessed all day, every day, from 6am-9pm.


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Samsung Galaxy S8 Rumored to Be First With Optical Fingerprint Scanner

Posted: 26 Oct 2016 11:59 AM PDT


Even if Samsung is busy trying to identify what exactly made the Galaxy Note7 overheat and explode, the company it's also pushing its Galaxy S8 agenda.

It's of extreme importance that Samsung releases a new premium smartphone, now that the Galaxy Note7 left a huge void to fill. Anyway, information about the upcoming flagship has started leaking through the cracks in the last few weeks.

We've already heard the phone might arrive with a 5.5-inch 4 display, 6GB of RAM, iris scanner and a dual-camera option like the LG V20 offers.

Well this week new information brought to us by Sam Mobile reveals that the phone might be the first phone in the world to come with optical fingerprint recognition tech.

This means Samsung's need to place a scanner below the home button will be nullified. Meaning there's a possibility of seeing the Galaxy S8 arrive without the pesky home button everyone hates.

A optical fingerprint scanner will have the user place the finger on the glass display. If this turns out to be the case, it means the Galaxy S8 will be a more secure device. It would also build a lot of hype around the premium phone. And Samsung needs plenty of that right now.


The post Samsung Galaxy S8 Rumored to Be First With Optical Fingerprint Scanner appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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Demand for Pixel, Pixel XL exceeding Google’s expectations

Posted: 26 Oct 2016 11:24 AM PDT

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL launched earlier this month, and according to the company, demand for the phones has been pretty great.

In a statement to 9to5Google, the company said that it's "thrilled" to see the excitement for the Google Pixels and that "pre-order demand has exceeded our expectations." Google added that it is working to restock its inventory "as soon as possible," but it appears that for now, the Pixels will continue to be in short supply in certain configurations.

Availability of the Pixels is tight across the board, with models that are available to buy not shipping for up to four weeks. Many variants, including all versions of the Quite Blue model, are out of stock. Even on Verizon's side, availability is limited by shipping delayed for weeks.

Catching up to demand is important for Google, but the good news here is that the Pixel and Pixel xL appear to be seeing positive remarks from both reviews and consumers.

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YouTube makes End Screens official after quietly testing the feature for months

Posted: 26 Oct 2016 10:59 AM PDT


If you follow some of the more popular YouTubers, you might have noticed some spiffy new screens at the end of their videos as of late. Those are video End Screens, and now they're available to everyone. End Screens provide a handy interface for linking to other videos and sites inside your video without all the clunky workarounds people were using before.

End Screens can be integrated into the last 5-20 seconds of your video via the YouTube editing tools.

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YouTube makes End Screens official after quietly testing the feature for months was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Readfeed graduates from Google Play’s Early Access beta program & offers some learnings

Posted: 26 Oct 2016 10:53 AM PDT

Guest post by Rajiev Timal, Founder of Readfeed

Readfeed was created to help book lovers around the world share and discuss their favorite reads with each other more easily. Today, we are excited to officially launch the Readfeed app on Google Play. As one of the first online book clubs available only on Android devices, Readfeed lets you create your virtual bookshelf by adding books to custom lists, track and share your reading progress with community members, and see what books others are reading and talking about.

Readfeed has come a long way since we first released the app as beta in Google Play's Early Access program. As one of the first graduates of the beta program, we were able to solicit feature requests, identify bugs, locate new and optimize existing target markets, as well as build a sizable reader community. This allowed Readfeed to deliver the best possible experience right out of the gate.

As a guest on this blog, we thought it would be helpful to share some important best practices that we learned from the Early Access program to improve your products and scale your user base.

Harnessing Feedback Loops

One of the core principles underlying the construction of any successful product is setting up an effective feedback loop between users and product creators. Google Play Early access does this automatically. Users show up (sometimes seemingly out of nowhere), install the app, and leave feedback in the Beta Feedback section of the developer console. We can then reply in that section or take the conversation into an email, address the issue, and email users when it's addressed. Many improvements to Readfeed have been made as a direct result of this process.

Identifying New Target Markets

One major benefit of Early Access was that it gave us immediate access to a worldwide audience of readers. We were able to quickly assess the different book-related markets that existed based on user feedback and interviews done through email. Since launched in beta, over 1000 people have asked to read free books. Apparently this need exists in third-world countries and we plan to add this functionality in a future release.

Identifying Bugs

Bugs plague any app in its early stages. Because of the variety of devices that Early Access users have, ranging from Android 4.2 rooted devices to the latest Nexus phones, we were able to identify bugs very quickly. For instance, on Android 4.2 there was a recurrent crash which was tough for me to identify with my own devices. After one user emailed me about it, I was able to gather enough information to resolve the issue and put out an update immediately.

Identifying New Features

Google Play Early Access made it a lot easier to determine what to do next. When about 10 people request a feature, we know it's immediately important and put it in the app. One feature that came directly from Early Access feedback was the ability to rate books without leaving a review.

Community Building

Early Access has allowed us to start building a community. For instance, a Software tester from the UK who likes books sent me a detailed analysis of all of Readfeed's bugs. Also, we've witnessed many people take the initiative and answer others' questions about the app. Because of the critical mass that Google Play Early Access helps you build, it's easy for communities to form and start sharing information with each other.

A/B Testing

We now have enough users to A/B test certain parts of the app and get statistically significant results. This is something that usually takes a long time to achieve.

There are many other ways Google Play Early Access have helped us, and we're thankful that Readfeed has had the opportunity to be a part of the program. I can say without reservation that our current and future product would be in a very different place had it not been for our inclusion in Early Access.

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Will the Xiaomi Mi MIX Launch in Canada?

Posted: 26 Oct 2016 10:19 AM PDT


Yesterday Xiaomi unveiled a super exciting smartphone concept dubbed the Mi MIX. Actually, it's not really a concept since the phone will actually be made available for purchase in China in November.

The phone touts a stunning edge-to-edge display and some pretty impressive specs. However, the bad news is it's probably very unlikely Xiaomi will be making the device available in the other markets.

The news comes to us via Reddit where Product Manager for MIUI India, Jai Mani was answering a few questions related to Xiaomi products. When asked about the possibility of bringing the Mi MIX to India, Mani said it doesn't really make sense to launch it in other markets, since the phone is still a concept and the team in India is still very small. He also cited concerns related to marketing, sales, and certification.

Although Mani was referring specifically to India, what he said can apply to the global market, as well. However, if you really-really want a Xiaomi Mi MIX there's still a chance that third-party retailers will import the phone from China, so it's not all lost. But don't think about Xiaomi making its way to Canada anytime soon.

The handset takes advantage of a massive 6.4-inch bezeless display with 91.3% screen-to-body ratio. It also includes a Snapdragon 821 and either 4GB of RAM/64GB of internal storage or 6G of RAM/256GB of internal storage. Xiaomi will use ceramic to build the body and buttons of the gorgeous new phone.

Xiaomi is really stepping its game up. Are you impressed by the Xiaomi Mi MIX?


The post Will the Xiaomi Mi MIX Launch in Canada? appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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ZTE ZMAX Pro now available on T-Mobile

Posted: 26 Oct 2016 09:23 AM PDT

T-Mobile has begun offering a new mid-range smartphone on its network in the form of the ZTE ZMAX Pro. The ZMAX Pro has been available on T-Mobile's partner network, MetroPCS, since August, but T-Mobile has opted to bring it to its primary network as well. ZTE has designed the ZMAX Pro to be affordable without sacrificing too much on the specs. Here's a refresher on its features:

  • 6-inch 1080p display
  • 1.5GHz octa-core Snapdragon processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 32GB of storage plus a microSD card slot
  • 13-megapixel rear camera
  • 5-megapixel front-facing camera
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow

T-Mobile has pricing set at $179.99 full retail price, with the usual payment options of payment plans available. Well-qualified customers can pay $0 down with a payment of $7.50/month for 24 months.

For more information, follow the source link to T-Mobile's website.

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Samsung Pay expands to new countries, adds in-app and online purchases

Posted: 26 Oct 2016 09:23 AM PDT

Samsung Pay continues to expand both in availability and features. Samsung has officially announced a few new tricks for its mobile payment service and new regions in which customers can use it.

First up, new countries offering Samsung Pay support. The service is launching in Thailand, Russia, and Malaysia, which means that Samsung Pay will be available in 10 countries. Samsung also confirmed that it's inked a deal with MasterCard to integrate support for Masterpass. That means Samsung Pay now supports online purchases from supported websites that offer Masterpass at checkout. Related information like shipping address, and essential personal information for purchases, are all stored in Samsung Pay, so its secure and quick.

Samsung Pay is also going to support in-app purchases, with an update to the Samsung Pay app. Now users will be able to use the mobile payment option to make a purchase through supported apps, which, at launch, include the likes of Fancy, Raise, Velocity, and others. More app support is on the way, too.

Do you use Samsung Pay?

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Strava brings its social sport Clubs experience to mobile

Posted: 26 Oct 2016 09:09 AM PDT


Every single person I know who loves to bike to work or for fun uses Strava to track their route. I'm sure there are people who track their runs in Strava too, but I haven't met any of them. I don't know what it is about this app and cyclists specifically, but it seems that Strava has found a way to appeal to them and make the experience of cycling both challenging and social.

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Strava brings its social sport Clubs experience to mobile was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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YouTube Kids v1.91 shows plans to support Daydream VR and allow parents to block videos and channels [APK Teardown]

Posted: 26 Oct 2016 07:53 AM PDT


If you're taking care of a little one and updates to the YouTube Kids app are actually opportunities for excitement, you've probably been feeling a little let down by the last few version bumps. It's not that anybody really needs it to keep up with the likes of Google Maps or the core YouTube app, but a few big features are surely welcome. This version doesn't actually come packed with anything notably new for users today, but it comes with promises of some things to come.

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YouTube Kids v1.91 shows plans to support Daydream VR and allow parents to block videos and channels [APK Teardown] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Facebook finally figures out how to enable pasting in Messenger's Chat Heads

Posted: 26 Oct 2016 07:28 AM PDT


Facebook Messenger's Chat Heads changed how we interact with notifications and messages, spawning several similar apps such as Brave Browser (née LinkBubble) or Floating Touch, among others. However, Chat Heads have always had one disadvantage in that you cannot paste things into the text entry field. Not any more, as Facebook has now fixed this.

It might seem like a very simple thing, but that's kind of why it's so interesting: it's so simple that it seems unbelievable that up until now chat heads haven't had the ability to paste.

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Facebook finally figures out how to enable pasting in Messenger's Chat Heads was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Lifestage is Facebook's teen-only video profile app

Posted: 26 Oct 2016 05:08 AM PDT


While Facebook has around 1.7 billion users worldwide, not that many of these are teenagers, with most 13-19 year olds preferring Snapchat or Instagram (for, in my mind, obvious reasons). In an attempt to combat this, Facebook released Lifestage for iOS devices back in August, and now the Android app has just arrived.

Lifestage encourages users to upload pictures and videos based on their likes, dislikes, or feelings. These are then turned into video profiles which others can see.

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Lifestage is Facebook's teen-only video profile app was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Todoist adds Multiwindow, quick reply from notifications, In Apps search, keyboard shortcuts, more

Posted: 26 Oct 2016 03:38 AM PDT


I am eternally grateful for the day I decided to manage my pharmacy's inventory and orders through Todoist. It saves me a lot of time, keeps everything easily accessible and searchable, lets me set reminders for special orders, and helps me and my assistant stay on top of it all even if we're not in the same location. And throughout the years, the service has kept improving and the developers have been quick to adopt new features in Android, providing me with more reasons to love Todoist.

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Todoist adds Multiwindow, quick reply from notifications, In Apps search, keyboard shortcuts, more was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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European Samsung Galaxy Note 7 gets update limiting battery to 60%

Posted: 25 Oct 2016 05:08 PM PDT

Samsung has done the same thing in Europe that it did in Australia and it might anger some people. The company has updated the European Galaxy Note 7 to limit its charge to 60%.

This nearly halves the battery life of the device, but it reduces the risk of battery venting or exploding. Those who haven't returned the device will have their device basically neutered in the interest of consumer safety.

Samsung says that two thirds of all European Note 7s have been returned, but those who haven't done so should really consider it. It posts a not-insignificant risk to you, and now this latest update makes it far less usable. Maybe this update will force people to return it, if in a negative and frustrating way.  Let us know what you think of this moral dilemma in the comments.

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