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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

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The Google Cast app is becoming Google Home

Posted: 04 Oct 2016 03:24 PM PDT

google-cast-icon-change

Back in March, Google renamed the official Chromecast application as 'Google Cast', and is now being renamed a third time. Several users have sent us the below screenshot, showing the Google Cast app informing users that it will become 'Google Home':

googlehome

This shouldn't surprise anyone, as the latest Chromecast Preview firmware already started calling the app 'Google Home'. This move reflects Google's goal of integrating existing Chromecast devices, as well as the recently-announced Chromecast Ultra, into the Google Home ecosystem.

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The Google Cast app is becoming Google Home was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Farewell, Nexus: Google confirms “no plans” for Nexus line

Posted: 04 Oct 2016 01:06 PM PDT

It's time to bid a fond farewell to the Nexus line of products. Google's existing line of smartphones, tablets and media players is finally shutting down. The Nexus line has catered to Android enthusiasts and developers, promising speedy software updates and a clean, stock experience. With the new Pixel phones offering many of the same features, it's redundant to offer both lines.

Watching the marketing strategy for the Pixel devices will be an interesting study. While the Nexus phones struggled in the mainstream market, they went over well with a niche group. As it currently stands, it's unclear if Google will aim for the same market with the Pixel phones. It remains a possibility that Google will heavily invest in advertising to raise consumer awareness about the new devices, particularly through its partnership with Verizon to offer the devices on a US carrier.

In the meantime, we'll wave goodbye to the Nexus line and look to what the future has in store.


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Preorder Now! Google Announces Pixel and Pixel XL

Posted: 04 Oct 2016 12:48 PM PDT

pixel_official

It's official folks, the Nexus is officially dead as Google has now unveiled their latest Pixel smartphone lineup.

First off, Google is pushing the idea that this is a premium phone with premium specs for a premium price. How much price you ask? Well the pricing structure for Canada is as follows:

Pixel 32GB $899
Pixel 128GB $1,029
Pixel XL 32GB $1,049
Pixel XL 128GB $1,179

Yep, say goodbye to Nexus pricing as this product will complete with players like the iPhone and Galaxy S/Note.

The 5-inch Pixel and 5.5-inch Pixel XL are now up for preorder in Canada and Bell, TELUS and Rogers are expected to carry the phones as well. The phone will be released on October 20th on Rogers but for those ordering online, it will be delivered sometime between 2 to 3 weeks.

Check out the source link below for more info!

[Google Store]

The post Preorder Now! Google Announces Pixel and Pixel XL appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.


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Google makes you the artist with Live Cases

Posted: 04 Oct 2016 12:00 PM PDT

In the midst of the Made by Google madness this afternoon, it's easy to overlook some of the smaller announcements from the event. One of the notable aspects regards Google's new Pixel phones, or more specifically, the accessories for the Pixel devices. To accompany the devices, Google introduced Live Cases, which make you the artist. Users can design their own case featuring one of three options, Artworks, Places or Photos.

Artworks allows you to choose from a myriad of artwork that can be made into a case. Places takes a snapshot of a specific location on Google Maps and prints it onto your case. Photos allows you to upload your own photo and turn it into a case for your device. A unique feature accompanying the various options is that each comes with an option for a live wallpaper. Photos allows you to create a customizable slideshow of your photos, Artworks brings in a gallery with the collection of your choice and Places will show a stylized map of your current location.

Additionally, all Live Cases feature a programmable shortcut button on the back of the device. This shortcut button allows users to set a favorite app for quick launch, and tapping the shortcut button will immediately start the app.

The Live Cases are available for $40 from the Google Store and are available for not only the Pixel and Pixel XL, but also for the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. Follow the source link to customize one for yourself.


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Daydream View VR headset is free with Pixel Phone pre-order for a limited time

Posted: 04 Oct 2016 12:00 PM PDT

For those willing to jump on the Pixel bandwagon early and pre-order through the Google Store your reward will be a promo code for a free Daydream View VR headset. This is "while supplies last" so we can't be sure how many will be able to get in on the deal, but it is good for pre-orders starting today.

The promo code will be emailed to you within 4 weeks of your Pixel phone shipping and must be used in the Google Store by 12/31/2016 or it will become inactive.

At $79 the Daydream View VR is pretty well priced on its own, but if you have been reluctant to spend money to dip your toes into VR then this should be a nice incentive to make that Pixel purchase sooner rather than later and get in on the ground floor of Google's new VR platform.


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Pixel phones post highest smartphone camera score in DxOMark history

Posted: 04 Oct 2016 12:00 PM PDT

Among the many features that Google highlighted with the new Pixel phones was the amazing camera, now we've been burned before by such claims from Google around the Nexus line, but in this case Google does have some support for its assertions. At 12.3MP with an f/2.0 lens it isn't the strongest spec offering we've seen, but apparently it is more than the sum of its parts.

DxOMark has given the Pixel phones a rating of 89, the highest score ever awarded to a smartphone. The universally praised Galaxy S7 and S7 edge for example scored an 88 on DxOMark and the iPhone 7 an 86.

It's absolutely important to note that the DxOMark score should not be taken as a total view of the cameras capabilities, manufacturers with lesser scores have unquestionably produced better results than higher scoring cameras in the past, so we will have to wait to see the total package before we go into full celebration mode over the Pixel camera, but suffice to say it does at least give us hope.

Another notable feature of the Pixel camera is that by default it shoots in Auto HDR+ thanks to zero shutter lag, combining multiple RAW images into a single JPEG with reduced noise and increased dynamic range when necessary. If the Pixel determines that HDR+ is unnecessary or if it detects too much motion in the image it will turn off HDR+ to capture the image as intended.

As for video capture the Pixels are capable of 4K video up to 30fps and 1080p up to 120 fps, allowing for some slow motion fun. Notably Google didn't jump on the hardware based optical image stabilization bandwagon that Samsung and Apple have moved to in recent years and instead are relying on the built-in gyroscope and software to steady your handheld video. This is what allowed them to avoid the camera bump on the back that everyone has come to expect on modern smartphones. The results they displayed on stage were impressive, but we'll have to see if the trade off was worth it in real life usage.

Perhaps one of the most enticing features of the Pixel and Pixel XL for photographers and videographers is going to be the free unlimited backup of full resolution photos and videos taken with your Pixel Phone. That's full resolution photos up to 16MP and even more impressively full resolution 4K video. If you are as relentless in taking pictures and videos as I am that could be saving you at least $9.99 a month for the 1TB Google Storage tier.

Do you think Google has finally done it and created a smartphone camera that can hold its own with the best from Samsung and Apple?


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Buying a Pixel phone means free, unlimited Photos storage for pictures and video at maximum quality

Posted: 04 Oct 2016 11:35 AM PDT

screenshot-2016-10-04-at-19-15-46

As Cody found in his teardown of Google Photos v1.21 back in March, and Carphone Warehouse listed in its 'gone-live-early' promotion page, Google has announced free, unlimited photo storage for anyone who buys a new Google Pixel phone. This means any photos you take will be backed up to Photos at the original size, and not the "high quality" size that is uploaded by default. That's not all: 4K videos, which the Pixel phones can shoot, are also supported with unlimited storage and no quality decrease.

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Buying a Pixel phone means free, unlimited Photos storage for pictures and video at maximum quality was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Pixel and Google Home available for pre-order in Google Store now

Posted: 04 Oct 2016 11:07 AM PDT

Before the event even came to a close the Pixel and Google Home went up for pre-order in the Google Store. The Pixel is shipping in 2-3 weeks and Google Home ships in early November.

Obviously we haven't had any time with the devices yet, but Google definitely sold us on the potential for these devices so if you want to be among the first to jump on this next stage for Google you can head over to the Google Store now and get your pre-order in.


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Google Home will be available November 4 for $129

Posted: 04 Oct 2016 11:07 AM PDT

Originally announced at Google I/O back in May, Google has announced more details for it's Echo-compeitior Google Home, including a launch date of November 4 for $129, with a six month trial of YouTube Red.

As was previously detailed, Google Home is powered by the conversational Google Assistant which will do everything from turn on your TV and lights to text contacts, make calendar events or read you the news.

The original design we saw for Google Home was final, which means it looks just as gorgeous as ever, swappable color bases and all. Today we learned it will come with a capacitive touch panel on the top of the unit for additional physical controls when you cannot use your voice.

Since it's powered by Google Assistant, Google Home will learn more about you and how you use the device the more you use it. You won't have to constantly ask Google Home to play music on Spotify, it will eventually learn that you use Spotify and choose the app automatically.

Google Home is available for preorder on the Google Store starting today.


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4k and HDR ready Chromecast Ultra will be available this November for $69

Posted: 04 Oct 2016 11:07 AM PDT

Today is a busy day for Google. The latest product to be released alongside the Pixel and Daydream View is the Chromecast Ultra.

The Chromecast Ultra will function exactly the same as a regular Chromecast, except it has support for 4k content, HDR content and Dolby Vision. It also has an included ethernet port for more reliable wired connections, and is 1.8 times faster than regular Chromecast units. That's really all there is to it.

Google will be making 4k content more accessible by adding new streaming options to Google Play, giving you more options for ultra high definition.

The Chromecast Ultra will be available this November for $69.


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Google’s Daydream View is the first Daydream VR headset

Posted: 04 Oct 2016 11:07 AM PDT

Alongside the Pixel, Google's first Made by Google smartphone, today Google has also announced the first Daydream VR headset with the Daydream View.

From first glance, you might be wondering how the Daydream View differs from competing VR headsets. Well, it isn't by much. The Daydream View is made out of a soft material, "has a wide field of view" and will auto-align with Daydream compatible phones, the first of which is the Pixel.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of the Daydream View announcement is the included controller. With two buttons and a touchpad, the Daydream controller will work with every aspect of the Daydream experience. Controllers are something other VR manufacturers have yet to really nail down, so it will be interesting to see how Google's implementation stacks up.

Daydream View will be available in November in three colors including Slate, Snow and Crimson, for $79.


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Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL are official

Posted: 04 Oct 2016 10:07 AM PDT

After years of yearning from many a Nexus fan, Google's first "Made by Google" Android-powered smartphones are official: the Pixel and Pixel XL.

Sharing the name of Google's own first-party Chromebook, the Pixel and Pixel XL are Google's answer to the iPhone. Carrying on in the direction recent Nexus devices were headed, the Pixels run a slightly customized version of Android with some Google enhancements. The core Pixel experience is based around the conversational Google Assistant, your own personal Google. Accessible by long pressing the home button, the Google Assistant will learn from you and grow, making your phone more personalized the more you use it.

Google said it was going to take more control over the design of future Nexus devices earlier this year, and the Pixel really shows it. Though not unique in its silhouette, the Pixel's blue color option, rear-facing fingerprint scanners and large back glass panel are uniquely Pixel.

Internal specs for both devices fall near the high-end spectrum of smartphones with a 1080p 5 or Quad HD 5.5-inch display and a Snapdragon 821 (Daydream VR ready), 4GB of RAM, 12-megapixel camera (Google is touting the camera experience on the Pixel, something we will wait to see once its released) and either a 2770 mAh battery (Pixel), or 3450mAh (XL) battery.

More interesting than the phone itself will be seeing what the power of Google's marketing machine is able to do for the Pixel. Only time will tell just how popular the Pixel and Pixel XL will be once Google throws its full weight behind it. If what we've seen leading up the event is any indication, there's a lot of get excited about.

The Pixel and Pixel XL are coming exclusively to Verizon in the US in Silver, Black and limited edition Blue, and will be sold unlocked for $649, with preorder starting today.


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YouTube v11.38 prepares double-top to seek and a setting to limit max video resolution [APK Teardown]

Posted: 04 Oct 2016 06:39 AM PDT

youtube

Many of Google's most recent updates have been relatively light on features, turning instead towards cleaning up bugs. However, that doesn't mean there aren't still new things in the works. A couple of recent YouTube updates have been preparing some new features and we've got a teardown to reveal what users can probably look forward to in the future.

Teardown

Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
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YouTube v11.38 prepares double-top to seek and a setting to limit max video resolution [APK Teardown] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Allo's rank on the Play Store is in freefall

Posted: 04 Oct 2016 05:59 AM PDT

screenshot-2016-10-04-at-13-39-19

After hitting 5 million downloads and #8 in the Top Charts just under a week ago, Allo is now falling fast. As of writing this, it is in 86th, but was 75th a few hours ago and, according to this tweet, 62nd earlier yesterday. This probably shows that after millions downloading it during the initial release and hype period, that has now passed and the number of downloads has fallen dramatically.

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Allo's rank on the Play Store is in freefall was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Android developer advocate Nick Butcher creates a Quick Settings tile to change Android's animation speeds

Posted: 04 Oct 2016 04:54 AM PDT

screenshot_20161004-121824

The Android community is pretty damn cool, if you ask me - custom ROMs, Xposed, Superuser applications, and a lot more. Android developer advocate Nick Butcher has added to this with a Quick Settings tile to control Android's animator duration scale. Normally this is only accessible through the Developer Options part of Android's [System] Settings, so for developers out there who need to regularly change the animation speed to test out any swanky animations, this should be pretty useful.

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Android developer advocate Nick Butcher creates a Quick Settings tile to change Android's animation speeds was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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WhatsApp's latest beta finally, finally, finally lets you send GIFs

Posted: 04 Oct 2016 03:39 AM PDT

whatsapp-gif

WhatsApp's GIF support has been rumored and promised and quasi-implemented for months now. In August, we got our first glimpse at GIF support through the option to convert videos with 6sec or less duration to GIFs that could then be shared with any of your contacts. Now, the option that has been hiding in the APK for months, and that some people have enabled with a root hack, is official for all beta testers.

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WhatsApp's latest beta finally, finally, finally lets you send GIFs was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Streamed game trials have started appearing in the Play Store

Posted: 03 Oct 2016 11:32 PM PDT

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Google started fiddling with app streaming about a year ago via searches in the Google app, but only for a few specific apps. Then, we spotted some evidence of app streaming in a Play Store teardown a couple months ago. It looks like this feature has started rolling out today, allowing you to stream games to try before you buy. One AP staffer in addition to our tipster has this option available already, but it's a little buggy.

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Streamed game trials have started appearing in the Play Store was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Google Pixel And Pixel XL Get Leaked By Bell, TELUS And More

Posted: 03 Oct 2016 10:11 PM PDT

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We're literally less than a day away from Google's highly "anticipated" event and it looks like Bell, TELUS and UK's own Carphonewarehouse have stolen Google's thunder for the new Google Pixel lineup.

pixel_telus

Yesterday Bell and TELUS accidentally put up an order page for both Pixel phones, the Pixel and Pixel XL showing off the phone's front and new Android 7.1 UI. While it did immediately get taken down, Carphone warehouse also accidentally put up an entire product page pointing out the phone's exact specs and features.

Check out the gallery below to see the details!

pixel_2 pixel_3 pixel_4 pixel_5 pixel_6 pixel_7 pixel_8

So to do a final recap before we see the devices officially unveiled tomorrow, specs for the smaller Pixel include: 5-inch 1080p display, Snapdragon 821 CPU clocked at 2.15GHz, 4GB of RAM with 32GB or 128GB of internal storage, 2770mAh non removable battery, 8MP front and 12MP rear camera with OIS.

The larger Pixel XL will instead come with a 5.5-inch AMOLED QHD display, 3450mAh battery but everything else will be identical.

[Android Police]

The post Google Pixel And Pixel XL Get Leaked By Bell, TELUS And More appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.


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16 new and notable Android apps from the last 2 weeks (9/21/16 - 10/3/16)

Posted: 03 Oct 2016 05:32 PM PDT

roundup_icon_largeWelcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.

Please wait for this page to load in full in order to see the widgets, which include ratings and pricing info.

Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.

Featured App

DigiCal Calendar Agenda

Today's roundup is presented by DigiCal Calendar & Widgets from Digibites.

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16 new and notable Android apps from the last 2 weeks (9/21/16 - 10/3/16) was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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OnePlus X finally gets official Marshmallow update

Posted: 03 Oct 2016 05:12 PM PDT

The Marshmallow update for the OnePlus X has taken quite a long time, while other OnePlus devices have received Marshmallow months ago. But after a beta community build seemed to have been successful, OnePlus is finally releasing the official update.

The OnePlus X's update includes a new volume slider, customizable permissions, Doze mode, and a lot of system improvements and bug fixes. OnePlus has also added launcher upgrades, new OnePlus Music Player and Gallery apps, and the October security patches. Here's a full changelog:

  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow upgrade
  • Launcher upgrades: New icon packs, Google search bar UI customization, new design of wallpaper picker
  • Shelf UX improvements: Long press boards to rearrange or remove
  • General system performance improvement
  • Settings changes: New (native Android) app permissions, new Alert Slider settings with more customization options
  • New apps: OnePlus Music Player, OnePlus Gallery
  • Implemented October Android security patches
  • Gesture optimisations
  • General bug fixes

It's an incremental rollout, so you may not get the update immediately. Just stay patient and you'll eventually get the sweet Marshmallow goodness. Let us know when you do!


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