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Thursday, December 8, 2016

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Cortana app now available in the UK after a user interface refresh

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 01:32 PM PST

cortanaWe haven't heard much from Microsoft's Cortana, the voice assistant that's built into Windows 10 and available in app form on Android and iOS, in a while. Amazon and Google, with their respective Alexa and Assistant/Home brands, have been far more vocal in the last few months. Today the Cortana app gets its first major update in the better part of a year. And in a move that probably should have come a lot sooner, the mobile version of Cortana is now available in the UK.

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Cortana app now available in the UK after a user interface refresh was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Starbucks Pokémon GO promotion begins, with 7800 new stops and gyms in the US

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 11:12 AM PST

image (7)Developer Niantic has begun to unlock the full partner potential of the Pokémon GO augmented reality game. Just yesterday a partnership between the game and Sprint retail stores was announced, teasing new in-game locations corresponding to Sprint, Boost Mobile, and Radio Shack stores. That rollout doesn't technically begin until December 12th, but the previously-leaked Starbucks promotion should be live right now, turning 7800 coffee shops in the US into new Pokestops and Pokémon Gyms. 

Leaked internal documents also said that participating Starbucks locations will offer an official Pokémon GO Frappuccino drink, which is happening, and that new Pokémon would be added to the game, which isn't, at least so far.

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Starbucks Pokémon GO promotion begins, with 7800 new stops and gyms in the US was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Android Wear: The Magic Minute Project

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 10:11 AM PST

Google details Daydream View headset availability, new VR apps and games

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 09:56 AM PST

At the beginning of December, Google opened pre-orders for the Crimson and Snow Daydream View virtual reality headsets. Now those devices are officially launching alongside new apps to experience on them.

In the United States, the headsets are available from the Google Store right now and Verizon Wireless, and they are coming soon to Best Buy. It's worth noting that in the Google Store, the Snow Daydream View headset ships beginning December 12.

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, the headsets are available in the Google Store, and they will be coming soon to EE and Carphone Warehouse. In Australia, the Crimson and Snow headsets are available from the Google Store right now, and Google doesn't have it listed that they are coming soon to any other outlet.

The company also confirmed that there is new content available to those who pick up a Daydream View VR headset, from games and apps. Here are the new additions:

There's certainly a lot to look forward to, and new VR headsets to equip and enjoy it. Have you picked up a Daydream View VR headset yet? Which color did you go with?

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Samsung’s Galaxy S8 Might Arrive with an Edge-to-Edge Display

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 09:51 AM PST

Are you in love with the Xiaomi Mi MIX and its edge-to-edge display? Well in that case we have good news for you. It turns out that the Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S8 will arrive with a borderless display like that.

After the Galaxy Note7 disaster, Samsung needs to make sure the Galaxy S8 becomes a success, so the company is really trying to achieve something great with the flagship.

According to the newest Bloomberg report, the Galaxy S8 will feature an "all-screen design" and will ditch the classic physical home button. Samsung will be embedding it into the display instead.

If we're to listen to word on the street, the Galaxy S8 should make it out without a 3.5mm headphone jack just like the recent HTC Bolt. Removing this part will allow Samsung to make the phone sleeker, while making room for more parts under the hood – like a larger battery pack.

What's more the Bloomberg report confirms once more the Galaxy S8 will arrive with a virtual assistant said to be "significantly differentiated" from those currently available on the market today.

Samsung is aiming to fill the phablet void left by the Galaxy Note7, so next year we might see the Galaxy S8 launch in two versions, one with 6.2-inch screen and another with a 5.7-inch one.

The Galaxy S8 is shaping up to be quite a monster. What do you think?


The post Samsung's Galaxy S8 Might Arrive with an Edge-to-Edge Display appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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LG G6 Won’t Have Removable Battery, But Headphone Jack to Remain

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 09:41 AM PST


LG's G5 flagship wasn't a hit with consumers, but the Korean company hopes things are going to be different in 2017.

News of the next-gen G6 occasionally pops into the rumor mill, giving us a glimpse into what to expect in a few months. According to the latest information delivered by journalist David Ruddock the G6, LG is looking to let go of the modular design that was characteristic of the G5.

It appears the G6 will come with a non-removable battery, unlike the current-gen flagship. Unlike other manufacturers like Apple and Motorola (and apparently Samsung), LG will not ditch the 3.5 mm headphone jack.

The Korean tech giant is expected to use a mix of metal and glass materials to make the G6, quite akin to what Samsung is offering these days. More specifically the G6 will feature a "highly reflective metallic material on the rear." So it sounds like the G6 will feature a more elegant design than the current G5.

With the G5, the smartphone maker experimented with modular design but given that the phone didn't so well, LG is trying another strategy with G6.

However the removable battery might be a feature a lot of LG fans will miss.


The post LG G6 Won't Have Removable Battery, But Headphone Jack to Remain appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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How augmented reality helps you buy furniture and capture Pokémon

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 09:31 AM PST

Posted by Jamil Moledina, Games Strategic Lead, Google Play

Online furniture seller Wayfair and Niantic's Pokémon GO have more in common than you might think. Both of these companies use augmented reality to create innovative, immersive experiences for their users. I sat down with Mike Festa, Director of Wayfair Next, and Tatsuo Nomura, Product Manager for Pokémon GO, at our recent Playtime event to discuss how developers can make the most of AR as a platform.

From 3D furniture modelling in WayfairView using Tango, to logging countless miles catching Pokémon, hear how these developers are innovating with AR, and get their advice for others looking to use AR in their apps and games.

Check out more sessions from our global Playtime events to learn best practices for your app and game businesses. Also, stay up to date with more videos from events, product news, and tips to help grow your business on Google Play with the Playbook for Developers app.

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Bully: Anniversary Edition now available for Android, costs $6.99 on the Play Store

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 09:22 AM PST


Rockstar's 'Bully' was originally released in 2006 for the PlayStation 2, centered around 15 year-old Jimmy Hopkins as he tries to rise through the ranks of the corrupt Bullworth Academy prep school. It generally received good reviews, and two years later, the Scholarship Edition was released for the Wii, Xbox 360, and PC.

Ten years after the game's original release, Rockstar has partnered with War Drum Studios to release Bully: Anniversary Edition for Android and iOS.

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Bully: Anniversary Edition now available for Android, costs $6.99 on the Play Store was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google launches 6 new Daydream VR games, plus HBO Now VR

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 09:12 AM PST


Google has a new round of games for Daydream VR out today, and some of them are pretty good. And some of them... are not that great. Hey, there's also HBO Now VR out today, which is only as good as the stuff you choose to watch. I've had the chance to play around with all of the new titles. Here's how they stack up.

Gunjack: End of Shift


This is the sequel to the original Gunjack arcade shooter, which came out on other VR platforms like Gear VR.

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Google launches 6 new Daydream VR games, plus HBO Now VR was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Samsung Galaxy Note7 To Be Blacklisted from Canadian Networks Dec. 15

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 09:11 AM PST


Samsung has been trying to convince people who are still hanging on to their Galaxy Note7 to return the phablet. But a lot of fans are having a hard time renouncing the potentially dangerous device.

Samsung has been forced to take some drastic measures like blacklisting the phablet on New Zealand's and Australia's networks. This basically renders the phablet quite useless, since users are no longer able to place phone calls and texts.

Now in a similar move, Samsung Canada has announced that starting next week the Galaxy Note 7 will no longer be able to function on the country's networks. Samsung hopes this measure will finally determine Galaxy Note7 users to return the phablet and take advantage of the available ailments.

Starting December 12, an update will limit the Note7 charging capabilities to 60%. Additionally Wi-Fi and Bluetooth will stop working. Then on December 15, the phablet will be disconnected from carriers in the country.

Yes, users can still use it offline. For example owners might want to still to take advantage of the Note7's advanced camera. However Samsung doesn't recommend it. Instead it continues to urge the remaining 10% to accept the Note7s fate and return it. Safety is more important than anything.

[Samsung Canada]

The post Samsung Galaxy Note7 To Be Blacklisted from Canadian Networks Dec. 15 appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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Bluetooth 5 approved with 4x longer range and 2x faster speeds

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 08:55 AM PST

Bluetooth continues to improve over the years, and that trend continues with the official approval of Bluetooth 5, which was initially teased earlier this year.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group has officially announced the approval of Bluetooth 5. With it, the group says the wireless technology will offer not only faster speeds, but also longer range and more reliable connections between devices. It will also include better interoperability between devices working with other wireless technologies as well.

Compared to the current Bluetooth 4.2 protocol, Bluetooth 5 offers four times longer range and two times faster speeds. The Bluetooth SIG says this means that whole-home and building coverage is a reliable expectation moving forward.

With the Bluetooth 5 protocol being approved, it means that upcoming devices can implement the technology if possible. It also means that the Bluetooth SIG will drop version numbers and the point numbers as it aims to streamline branding.

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Samsung Galaxy S8 may feature ‘all-screen design’

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 07:55 AM PST

A recent report indicated that Samsung plans to drop the 3.5mm headphone jack as well as the physical home button from its upcoming Galaxy S8 flagship device, hinting that Samsung will change things up in a big way for its upcoming smartphone.

Now Bloomberg reports, citing people "with direct knowledge" on the matter, that Samsung plans on creating a Galaxy S8 with an "all-screen design." According to those sources, the physical home button will indeed be removed, and there will be a virtual home button found at the "lower section" of the display. The phone will also feature an OLED "wraparound display."

Finally, the report says Samsung is aiming for a release date in March, but that with all of the plans and design tweaks, that launch could be pushed back to April. Part of the delay is said to be tougher testing procedures, thanks to the issues wit the exploding Galaxy Note 7.

Are you excited to see what Samsung offers with the Galaxy S8?

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Black Pearl Galaxy S7 edge now official with 128GB of storage

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 07:55 AM PST

In November, word on the street surfaced that suggested Samsung was planning on launching a "glossy black" Galaxy S7 edge in an effort to bring some attention back to the flagship.

Now that device is officially official. Known as the Black Pearl Galaxy S7 edge, Samsung says that it will launch the device in "select markets" on December 9, without actually announcing which markets those are.

The Black Pearl Galaxy S7 edge is similar to the Black Onyx variant that launched earlier this year, but with one key difference: the Black Pearl model is blacked-out, including the metal edge lining the handset. Samsung says this gives it a "modern and striking" look.

The other key difference with this newest color variant is the fact it includes 128GB of built-in storage. Up to this point, the Galaxy S7 edge was only offered with 32GB or 64GB of built-in storage, so Samsung has delivered for anyone who has been wanting extra space.

What do you think of the newest Galaxy S7 edge? Will you be picking one up if it launches in your neck of the woods?

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Top 10 New Android Games This Week: F1 2016, Kathy Rain

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 07:55 AM PST

Welcome back to Android Gaming Weekly, our weekly recap of new game releases. We still plan to cover upcoming releases and games we're playing, but this column is dedicated to new games that you can start playing right now. Check out our top picks and let us know in the comments section if you have any suggestions for next week's post.

Solar Siege

DescriptionYou're the Commander of a Deep Space Mining Station. Construct defenses to protect your miners and harvest the riches of the cosmos. Managing your power network is crucial to sustain operations and defend with maximum effectiveness against an alien foe who want a piece of the galactic pie.


Infamous Machine

DescriptionKelvin and the Infamous Machine is a hilarious point-and-click adventure in which you stumble irresponsibly through history to help legendary geniuses complete their masterworks!


Kathy Rain

DescriptionKathy Rain tells the story of a strong-willed journalism major who has to come to terms with her own troubled past as she investigates the mysterious death of her recently deceased grandfather. Armed with her motorcycle, a pack of cigs, and a notepad, Kathy begins to delve into a local mystery surrounding her hometown that will take her on a harrowing journey full of emotional and personal turmoil.


Little Briar Rose

DescriptionAn ancient legend, a cursed castle surrounded by brambles, a forest inhabited by funny enchanted creatures and a sweet princess sleeping in it. And, obviously, a fearless prince! This is what Little Briar Rose is made out of. In this particular stained glass-styled graphic adventure the player will help a whole dynasty of princes complete their quest.



Description Another day, another "save the princess" mission. Please let this be the last time! Go forth again warriors, in the adventure of FINAL TAPTASY! Believe in the power of the masses! No matter how powerful the boss may be, none can withstand the attacks of many. Tap until fingerprints fade in this all-out tapping game.


Human Resource Machine

Description: Human Resource Machine is a puzzle game for nerds. In each level, your boss gives you a job. Automate it by programming your little office worker. If you succeed, you'll be promoted up to the next level for another year of work in the vast office building. Congratulations!


F1 2016

DescriptionF1 2016 is a stunning mobile racing game that puts players into the race seat of their FORMULA ONE™ heroes in a full season, single race and time trial on any of the 21 official circuits from the 2016 season.


Warlord Strike

Description: You are the Warlord! Play the premier multiplayer combat experience that reinvents MOBA gaming. Using your own team of hand-picked Heroes, defeat your opponent using strategies you devise to collect Orbs and transform your team into an unbeatable force! Every game is vastly different due to the unique abilities of each Hero.


Spaceship Battles

DescriptionIt's the year 4000-something. You are a rookie spaceship designer wanting to prove yourself to the world. Enter Spaceship Arena, an entertainment arena of the future, where only the best of the best rule! Competitive Multiplayer Game featuring layers of deep strategy and endlessly evolving game content!


Radiation Island

DescriptionRadiation Island is a survival adventure game where you craft your own destiny in a huge open world environment. As part of the Philadelphia Experiment you have become stranded in a parallel, alternate reality. Discover this new and mysterious world, with all its surprises. Use everything you find to survive it and solve its puzzle to get back to the real world.


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After a long testing period, Dawn of Titans (from the dev behind CSR Racing) is available to everyone in the Play Store

Posted: 08 Dec 2016 03:13 AM PST


You might remember hearing about Dawn of Titans a very, very long time ago. The title was announced in spring of 2015, and has been in geo-restricted testing for about a year. Now, NaturalMotionGames has gotten the game built up to the necessary level to unleash it on the entire world. You can command your own sword-wielding giant after a sizable Play Store download.

Dawn of Titans is mostly a real-time strategy game.

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After a long testing period, Dawn of Titans (from the dev behind CSR Racing) is available to everyone in the Play Store was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Latest Telegram update brings IFTTT, conversation pinning, updated photo editor, and more

Posted: 07 Dec 2016 10:03 PM PST


Users of Telegram, there's a great update to the app available. This new version brings a few big changes, including some Android-specific ones. The most notable ones for the messaging service as a whole are IFTTT integration and conversation pinning. Sounds cool, right?

Here's the official changelog for the Android version as listed in the Play Store:

  • Pin important chats to the top of the list so that you never miss a new message.
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Latest Telegram update brings IFTTT, conversation pinning, updated photo editor, and more was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Watch sessions from the Playtime 2016 events to learn how to succeed on Android & Google Play

Posted: 07 Dec 2016 06:18 PM PST

Posted by Patricia Correa, Head of Developer Marketing, Google Play

We're wrapping up our annual global Playtime series of events with a last stop in Tokyo, Japan. This year Google Play hosted events in 10 cities: London, Paris, Berlin, Hong Kong, Singapore, Gurgaon, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Seoul and Tokyo. We met with app and game developers from around the world to discuss how to build successful businesses on Google Play, share experiences, give feedback, collaborate, and get inspired. You can now watch some of the best Playtime sessions on our Android Developers YouTube Channel, as listed below. The playlist opens with a video that celebrates collaboration.


What's next for Google Play

Learn how we're helping users discover apps in the right context, creating new ways to engage with users beyond the install, and powering innovative experiences on emerging platforms like virtual reality, wearables, and auto.

Develop and launch apps & games

Android development in 2016

Android development is more powerful and efficient than ever before. Android Studio brings you speed, smarts, and support for Android Nougat. The broad range of cross-platform tools on Firecase can improve your app on Android and beyond. Material Design and Vulkan continue to improve the user experience and increase engagement.

Daydream & Tango

Daydream View is a VR headset and controller by Google that lets people explore new worlds, or play games that put them at the center of action. Learn how we're helping users discover apps in the right context and powering new experiences with Daydream and Tango.

Fireside chat - Wayfair & Pokémon GO on augmented reality

Augmented reality engages and delights people everywhere. In this fireside chat, online furniture seller Wayfair and Niantic's Pokémon GO share their experiences with AR and discuss how other developers can make the most of the platform.

Building for billions, featuring best practices from Maliyo Games

Learn how to create apps and games for emerging markets, which are expected to drive 80% of global smartphone growth by 2020, by recognizing the key challenges and designing the right app experiences to overcome them.

At minute 16:41, hear tips from Hugo Obi, co-founder of Nigerian games developer Maliyo.

Launch smart on Google Play

Set your app up for success using experimentation and iteration. Learn best practices for soft launching and adapting your app for different markets and device types.


Sustainable growth solves most problems for apps, featuring best practices from SoundCloud & Peak

Planning and executing a great growth strategy involves a complex set of choices and mastery of many tools. In this session we discuss topics including key business objectives, tools, and techniques to help you solve the growth puzzle with our partner, SoundCloud.

Also, check out some growth best practices from Peak.

Creating sustainable user growth for startups, by Greylock

User growth isn't just about growing the number of users you have. The key to sustainability is creating and delivering core product value. In this session, VC Greylock discusses how to identify your core action to focus on and shows you how to use these insights to optimize your app for long term growth.

App engagement is the new black, featuring best practices from Lifesum

As the app marketplace becomes more competitive, developer success depends on retaining users in apps they love. Find out which Google tools and features can help you analyze your users' behaviors, improve engagement and retention in your app and hear insights from others developers including Lifesum.

Predicting lifetime value in the apps world

Deepdive into lifetime value models and predictive analytics in the apps ecosystem. Tactics to get the most out of identified segments and how to upgrade their behaviors to minimize churn.

Subscriptions update

Learn about Google's efforts to enable users, around the world, to seamlessly and safely pay for content. This session provides updates on Google Play billing and recent enhancements to our subscriptions platform.


One game fits all, featuring best practices from Space Ape Games

Customize your game's experience for different users by targeting them with lifetime value models and predictive analytics. Hear how these concepts are applied by Space Ape Games to improve retention and monetization of their titles.

Promoting your game and growing your user base, featuring best practices from Seriously

Learn how to use Google's latest tools, like Firebase, for benchmarking, acquiring users and measuring your activities. Also, hear game developer Seriously share their latest insights and strategies on YouTube influencer campaigns.

Creating long-term retention, loyalty and value with engaging LiveOps events, featuring best practices from Kabam & Creative Mobile

Learn how successful developers keep their games fresh and engaging with Live Operations. In this talk, the LiveOps expert on Marvel: Contest of Champions discusses tips about the art and science of running an engaging LiveOps event.

Also check out the tips and best practices to run successful LiveOps from games developer Creative Mobile.

Panel - Play fair: Maintaining a level playing field in your game, featuring Space Ape Games and Kongregate

Ensuring that your game is fair is critical to success. Find out how game developers are achieving this and some ways Google Play can help.


Why you need to build for families

Family-based households with children have higher tablet and smartphone ownership rates than the general population. These families are more likely to make purchases on their mobile devices and play games. Learn about how parents choose what to download and buy, and how you can prepare for maximum conversion.

Two keys to growth: user acquisition & app engagement, by Cartoon Network

Hear how Cartoon Network leverages their network to cross-promote new titles, acquire new users and keep them engaged through immersive experiences.

Go global: Getting ready for the emerging markets revolution, by Papumba

Papumba has a clear vision to grow a global business. Hear how they work with experts to adapt their games to local markets and leverage Google Play's developer tools to find success around the world.

Optimizing for a post install world

You've spent time and resources getting users to download your apps, but what happens after the install? Learn how to minimize churn and keep families engaged with your content long term.

Monetization best practices on freemium, by 01 Digital

Learn how 01 Digital uses In-App-Purchases (IAP) to effectively monetize their apps while maintaining a safe environment for families.

Building a subscription business that appeals to parents, by PlayKids

PlayKids has been at the forefront of the subscription business model since their inception. See how they best serve their subscribers by refreshing their content, expanding their offerings and investing in new verticals.

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