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Thursday, November 10, 2016

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Sony Deal: Buy the Xperia X Performance from Bell, Get $180 off a PS4

Posted: 10 Nov 2016 02:39 PM PST

sony-xperia-x-performance

Black Friday is coming, but some companies are in the habit of sprinkling discounts and promotions throughout the whole month of November. It's the case of Sony who is currently offering an interesting deal to Canadian users.

Buy an Xperia X Performance smartphone from Bell and send Sony the IMEI to verify the purchase. After the company gives you the green light, you'll receive an email with a discount code that will shave $180 off a PlayStation 4 Uncharted 4 bundle.

Sounds pretty neat right? It does, except that you might have to wait between two to three weeks to receive the confirmation from Sony. The promotion will be running until December 31st, so you have plenty of time to take advantage of it.

The Sony Xperia X Performance comes with a 5-inch display with 1080 x 1920 resolution and a Snapdragon 820 processor under the hood. There's 3GB of RAM with either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage (expandable at up to 256GB x 2).

The handset features a 23MP/13MP camera combo, a fingerprint scanner and a 2,700 mAh battery onboard. It runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out of the box, but an update to Android 7.0 Nougat is planned.

At Bell, the Sony Xperia X Performance retails for CAD$99/month on a 2 year contract or CAD $699 outright.

[Sony]

The post Sony Deal: Buy the Xperia X Performance from Bell, Get $180 off a PS4 appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.


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Samsung Galaxy S8 Models Said To Have Curved Edge Displays

Posted: 10 Nov 2016 12:42 PM PST

samsung-galaxy-s8-concept

Trying to put behind the Galaxy Note7 debacle, Samsung is focusing all of its energies on working on the upcoming Galaxy S8 flagship. Information about the device has already appeared online, giving us a glimpse of what's coming next year.

Well, the latest word on the street coming out of Korean publication The Bell reveals an interesting bit of information about the next-gen smartphone. If we are to believe the info, the Galaxy S8 will not have a flat version. It appears both versions will come with a dual-curved display.

But it gets even more interesting. Apparently Samsung is looking to beef up the Galaxy S8's form factor, so next year the "small" Galaxy S8 might advantage of 5.7-inch display, while the large Galaxy S8 will have a massive 6.2-inch screen. Is this Samsung's way of trying to make phabet fans happy?

So maybe in 2017, Samsung will end up unveiling the Galaxy S8 edge and Galaxy s8 edge+? It's just a theory at the moment.

The Galaxy S8 has also been rumoured to arrive with a virtual Siri-like AI assistant dubbed Bixby and maybe with an optical fingerprint scanner, the first of its kind.

While Samsung traditionally unveils a new Galaxy S phone during the MWC event, this year the phone will make an appearance a bit later than usual.

[The Bell]

The post Samsung Galaxy S8 Models Said To Have Curved Edge Displays appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.


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From the Runway to the Pixel: The Jeremy Scott Live Case

Posted: 10 Nov 2016 12:13 PM PST

Instagram Stories get support for Boomerang videos, mentions, and links

Posted: 10 Nov 2016 12:01 PM PST

insta

Everyone likes a story, right? What about an Instagram Story? I don't know, at least some people like those. Today, Instagram is adding a few new features to its Stories feature, including Boomerang videos. Yeah, that's a whole separate app, but now it's built-in too.

Boomerang videos are basically GIFs. On their own they can be a fun diversion, but a quick video might spice up your Story. You can also mention other users in Stories now.

Read More

Instagram Stories get support for Boomerang videos, mentions, and links was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Understanding APK packaging in Android Studio 2.2

Posted: 10 Nov 2016 11:54 AM PST

Posted by Wojtek KaliciƄski, Android Developer Advocate

Android Studio 2.2 launched recently with many new and improved features. Some of the changes are easy to miss because they happened under the hood in the Android Gradle plugin, such as the newly rewritten integrated APK packaging and signing step.

APK Signature Scheme v2

With the introduction of the new APK Signature Scheme v2 in Android 7.0 Nougat, we decided to rewrite how assembling APKs works in the Android Gradle plugin. You can read all about the low-level technical details of v2 signatures in the documentation, but here's a quick tl;dr summary of the info you need as an Android app developer:

  • The cryptographic signature of the APK that is used to verify its integrity is now located immediately before the ZIP Central Directory.
  • The signature is computed and verified over the binary contents of the whole APK file, as opposed to decompressed file contents of each file in the archive in v1.
  • An APK can be signed by both v1 and v2 signatures at the same time, so it remains backwards compatible with previous Android releases.

Why introduce this change to how Android verifies APKs? Firstly, for enhanced security and extensibility of this new signing format, and secondly for performance - the new signatures take significantly less time to verify on the device (no need for costly decompression), resulting in faster app installation times.

The consequence of this new signing scheme, however, is that there are new constraints on the APK creation process. Since only uncompressed file contents were verified in v1, that allowed for quite a lot of modifications to be made after APK signing - files could be moved around or even recompressed. In fact, the zipalign tool which was part of the build process did exactly that - it was used to align ZIP entries on correct byte boundaries for improved runtime performance.

Because v2 signatures verify all bytes in the archive and not individual ZIP entries, running zipalign is no longer possible after signing. That's why compression, aligning and signing now happens in a single, integrated step of the build process.

If you have any custom tasks in your build process that involve tampering with or post-processing the APK file in any way, please make sure you disable them or you risk invalidating the v2 signature and thus making your APKs incompatible with Android 7.0 and above.

Should you choose to do signing and aligning manually (such as from the command line), we offer a new tool in the Android SDK, called apksigner, that provides both v1 and v2 APK signing and verification. Note that you need to run zipalign before running apksigner if you are using v2 signatures. Also remember the jarsigner tool from the JDK is not compatible with Android v2 signatures, so you can't use it to re-sign your APKs if you want to retain the v2 signature.

In case you want to disable adding v1 or v2 signatures when building with the Android Gradle plugin, you can add these lines to your signingConfig section in build.gradle:


v1SigningEnabled false
v2SigningEnabled false

Note: both signing schemes are enabled by default in Android Gradle plugin 2.2.

Release builds for smaller APKs

We took this opportunity when rewriting the packager to make some optimizations to the size of release APKs, resulting in faster downloads, smaller delta updates on the Play Store, and less wasted space on the device. Here are some of the changes we made:

  • Files in the archive are now sorted to minimize differences between APK builds.
  • All file timestamps and metadata are zeroed out.
  • Level 6 and level 9 compression is checked for all files in parallel and the optimal one is used, i.e. if L9 provides little benefit in terms of size, then L6 may be chosen for better performance
  • Native libraries are stored uncompressed and page aligned in the APK. This brings support for the android:extractNativeLibs="false" option from Android 6.0 Marshmallow and lets applications use less space on the device as well as generate smaller updates on the Play Store
  • Zopfli compression is not used to better support Play Store update algorithms. It is not recommended to recompress your APKs with Zopfli. Pre-optimizing individual resources such as PNG files in your projects is still fine and recommended.

These changes help make your releases as small as possible so that users can download and update your app even on a slower connection or on less capable devices. But what about debug builds?

Debug builds for installation speed

When developing apps you want to keep the iteration cycle fast - change code, build, and deploy on a connected device or emulator. Since Android Studio 2.0 we've been working to make all the steps as fast as possible. With Instant Run we're now able to update only the changed code and resources during runtime, while the new Emulator brings multi-processor support and faster ADB speeds for quicker APK transfer and installation. Build improvements can cut that time even further and in Android Studio 2.2 we're introducing incremental packaging and parallel compression for debug builds. Together with other features like selectively packaging resources for the target device density and ABI this will make your development even faster.

A word of caution: the APK files created for Instant Run or by invoking a debug build are not meant for distribution on the Play Store! They contain additional instrumentation code for Instant Run and are missing resources for device configurations other than the one that was connected when you started the build. Make sure you only distribute release versions of the APK which you can create using the Android Studio Generate Signed APK command or the assembleRelease Gradle task.


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Snap Inc. begins offering Spectacles through mobile Snapbots

Posted: 10 Nov 2016 11:33 AM PST

Snap Inc. has begun offering Snapchat Spectacles to customers in a unique and innovative way. The company's life-capturing glasses are being sold exclusively through Snapbots, which are mobile vending machines that allow customers to virtually try on different colors of Spectacles before purchasing a pair. Spectacles are available in three color choices of Black, Coral, and Teal and are priced at $129.99, which customers can pay with a debit or credit card.

To find a Snapbot, users have a couple different options. The first is to go to the Spectacles website and use the Find a Bot tool. Snap says that it will add bots to the map roughly 24 hours before they land. Users can also watch for a Snapbot geofilter to appear in their app. If it pops up, there's a bot nearby. The final way is to keep in touch with friends about Snapbots, as they can find one and purchase a pair of Spectacles for you.

Currently, the only Snapbot is located in the Santa Monica area, at Snap's headquarters.

Spectacles allow users to capture photos and short videos from the user's own point of view with a camera that replicates the human field of vision. The product is currently being rolled out on a small scale to test user interest.


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Fresh Meat: 10 new Android apps worth checking out

Posted: 10 Nov 2016 10:24 AM PST

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.

 SoloLearn: Coding Community

SoloLearn

Description: Learn to Code with SoloLearn! Join the fastest-growing global community of code learners to learn the basics or advance your existing skills. Reach a new level through learning solo or peer-to-peer interaction in the world of programming.

 

Daydream

Daydream

DescriptionDaydream brings high quality virtual reality (VR) to Daydream-ready phones. With the Daydream app, you can launch your favorite virtual reality experiences and browse from an ever-growing collection of apps and games.

 

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams

DescriptionMicrosoft Teams is your chat-centered workspace in Office 365. Instantly access all your team's content from a single place where messages, files, people and tools live together. Take it with you on your favorite mobile device.

 

OnePlus Community

OnePlus Community

Description: Stay up to date on the latest news, events, and community happenings with the official OnePlus community app. View and create forum threads, check your notifications, and manage your account via our brand new mobile interface.

 

Adobe Comp CC

Adobe Comp CC

DescriptionLay out an idea with real assets like photos, text, shapes and fonts. Send the wireframe to Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, InDesign CC to refine and finish.

 

GAMEYE

GAMEYE

DescriptionGAMEYE is a FREE revolutionary way to manage your video game collecting addiction by scanning your loose carts with your phone's camera!

 

 Adobe Photoshop Fix

Adobe Photoshop Fix

DescriptionAdobe Photoshop Fix enables powerful, yet easy image retouching and restoration on your Android phone. Heal, smooth, liquify, lighten and make other edits and adjustments that give you the precise look you're after.

 

CNN VR

CNN VR

DescriptionThe CNNVR app brings you the latest breaking news, global coverage and world events in a brand new, fully immersive 360-degree format – exclusively on Daydream. With CNNVR you can explore your favorite news topics and interests first-hand in a fully immersive environment.

 

Adobe Photoshop Sketch

Adobe Photoshop Sketch

DescriptionDraw with pencils, pens, markers, erasers, thick acrylic, ink brush, soft pastel and watercolor paint brushes to create artwork that can be sent as layered files to Adobe Photoshop CC or Adobe Illustrator CC.

 

Mobirum

Mobirum

DescriptionMobirum is a community platform for mobile gaming for users all over the world. Mobirum is the fastest and easiest way to find latest news about your favorite mobile games and share your thoughts and skills with other players.

 


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Samsung is outfitting both Galaxy S8 models with curved edge displays

Posted: 10 Nov 2016 07:26 AM PST

Samsung Electronics is taking a bold step with next year's Galaxy S8 flagship and is outfitting both models of the device with a curved edge display, according to a new report from The Bell. Past Galaxy S devices have come in two variants, one with a flat display and one with a curved display, making this move significant for the electronics giant.

The device model numbers are SM-G950 and SM-G955, with a difference in physical size between the two devices. The G950 is the smaller of the two, though it remains large, with a 5.7-inch display. The G955 is half an inch larger, with a 6.2-inch display. In addition to the size difference, the devices will have aesthetic differences, primarily related to the size. The G950 will reportedly have a physical home button, while the G955 will use a tweaked design that will notably drop the physical buttons for on-screen navigation keys.

As it seeks to recover its losses from the Galaxy Note 7 recall, Samsung is working to keep the Galaxy S8 under tighter security than ever before. It remains to be seen how successful this attempt will be, but the Galaxy S8 is expected to be revealed in February/March 2017 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.


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Android: Choice at every turn

Posted: 10 Nov 2016 06:22 AM PST

Facebook has yet another Snapchat competitor, Flash, for emerging markets

Posted: 10 Nov 2016 06:08 AM PST

facebookflashhero

The best way to show you're worried about a competitor is to copy their product and attempt to do it better than the original. Facebook is obviously worried about Snapchat, because it's created not one, not two, but three Snapchat clones over the past few years. Now it's got another one, Flash, aimed at emerging markets.

screenshot_20161110-132708 screenshot_20161110-132652 screenshot_20161110-132719

Left: chat between users. Middle: camera screen. Right: stories.

Brief history: first there was Poke, which (spoiler alert) flopped, then there was Slingshot, which also flopped.

Read More

Facebook has yet another Snapchat competitor, Flash, for emerging markets was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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WhatsApp enables two-step verification and can now play audio messages in the background

Posted: 10 Nov 2016 05:18 AM PST

whatsapp-2step

We've known WhatsApp would be enabling 2-factor authentication for many months now, but the functionality has only just gone live in some of the latest beta versions of the app (2.16.341 and above, maybe even earlier).

If you head over to your account settings in WhatsApp, you'll see a new Two-step verification option. Tap it to get to a screen that explains what 2-step verification is and get the option to enable it.

Read More

WhatsApp enables two-step verification and can now play audio messages in the background was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Play Movies & TV v3.20 prepares a theater mode for Daydream, possibly also supports Cardboard [APK Teardown]

Posted: 09 Nov 2016 07:38 PM PST

movies

Hopefully you're not sick of hearing about Daydream just yet, because the line of apps supporting it at launch is still growing. There's a new version of Play Movies & TV rolling out to users, and while you can't see the evidence in the UI just yet (at least I can't), it joins in the parade of apps that give the new and improved virtual reality viewer something to do. But this teardown also brings a few additional treats and unexpected details.

Read More

Play Movies & TV v3.20 prepares a theater mode for Daydream, possibly also supports Cardboard [APK Teardown] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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The official Daydream app is up on the Play Store

Posted: 09 Nov 2016 05:28 PM PST

imageA lucky few Pixel owners are already receiving their Daydream View phone headsets, but most pre-orders will be shipped starting tomorrow. Along with a few other vendors, Google is preparing for the launch by getting the official Daydream app good and ready. It's up on the Play Store right now, and if for some reason you can't access that, we have a copy over on APK Mirror too.

image (1) image (2)

This is the digital showcase for Daydream, not to be confused with Google VR Services, a separate (and also necessary) app that handles some of the behind-the-scenes work for Google's new virtual reality platform.

Read More

The official Daydream app is up on the Play Store was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Lenovo to exclusively sell Moto phones, self-branded phones are no more

Posted: 09 Nov 2016 04:21 PM PST

Lenovo's acquisition of Motorola hasn't gone so well for the company. Sales continue to drop and popularity in China simply isn't growing. Lenovo is now changing things up in hopes of getting back on track in the mobile department.

The biggest news is that the company will no longer be marketing Lenovo-branded phones, opting instead to only sell Moto-branded phones. With a better known and arguably better trusted name, Lenovo is likely to sell more phones under the Moto branding.

Co-president and senior vice president Xudong Chen will be replaced by Gina Qiao, who was previously senior vice president of human resources. Three new executives have been hired as well. Hopefully a new direction will help the company succeed in the future, and we're glad to see more effort being put behind the Moto name.


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