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Monday, January 23, 2017

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ZTE apologizes about making Project CSX mid-range, asks how it can be fixed

Posted: 23 Jan 2017 03:46 PM PST

Project CSX is an interesting concept of making a smartphone that can scroll the screen by tracking your eyes and sticking to a wall. It's strange, we know, but the idea is that you can stick it to a wall or a mirror and read the screen while doing something else without touching the phone.

The device left the concept phase and hit Kickstarter, but it did so with disappointing specs. Instead of the high-end device that was expected during the concept phase, the phone ended up with a Snapdragon 625 processor and other mid-range specs to match the introductory price of $199. ZTE wanted it to be a phone that would reach more people, thus the affordable price.

People were unhappy about this, and ZTE has owned up to this mistake. The company says that the price is set in stone, but it can still make changes to the device. There is a poll about what people want to be changed, but there's only so much the company can do while sticking to the budget price tag. One of the options is to upgrade the processor to a Snapdragon 835, which might please people.

If you're interested, hit the source link and vote for your choice. And if you want one, join the Kickstarter!

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Periscope adds multi-window support to the Android app

Posted: 23 Jan 2017 03:12 PM PST

After Periscope's full functionality was added to the Twitter mobile apps, Twitter promised users that the Periscope app would continue to be a hub for discovering livestreams, as well as serve users that don't want to use Twitter. Keeping that promise, Twitter has updated the Periscope app several times since then, now adding multi-window support to the Android app.


Arguably the best use for multi-window on Android is watching video while checking other apps, and it works great for Periscope.

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Periscope adds multi-window support to the Android app was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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LG may use Google Assistant on upcoming G6

Posted: 23 Jan 2017 02:46 PM PST

Google Assistant has been tied to the Pixel line of devices so far, but that might change in the future. A report from Business Korea says that LG may be working with Google to put Google Assistant on the upcoming LG G6.

Not only that, but LG is keeping its options open. The company uses Amazon Alexa in its appliances and may do the same with its phones. Whether we'll see Alexa or Google Assistant is unknown, as it's just a rumor so far.

The G6 will debut at Mobile World Congress on February 26, so we'll find out what the company has in store for us soon. Which would you rather see on your phone, Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa? Leave a comment!

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Hugo Barra departing from Xiaomi

Posted: 23 Jan 2017 01:51 PM PST

Hugo Barra left Google and joined Xiaomi as vice president of international over three and a half years ago. He moved from Silicon Valley to Beijing and worked for the Chinese company, helping them expand internationally and led them to success.

Xiaomi entered the Indian market and turned it into $1 billion of annual revenue. It's also expanded to many more markets and launched its first product in the US. Xiaomi has seen great success with Hugo Barra.

He has posted on Facebook that he is now leaving Xiaomi, though, aiming to move back to Silicon Valley. He will remain an adviser to Xiaomi indefinitely but he says he wishes to come back to Silicon Valley to his family and friends.

We wish Hugo Barra the best in his future endeavors and are excited to see what he does next!

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OnePlus 3T 64GB in gunmetal now in stock and ready to ship

Posted: 23 Jan 2017 01:51 PM PST

OnePlus is no stranger to stock issues. Every time the company releases a new phone, low stock and high demand plague the company for many months. The OnePlus 3T has been no exception.

Today the company has announced that for a limited time, the OnePlus 3T in gunmetal with 64GB of memory is now in stock for the North American and EU markets. The devices are ready for "immediate dispatch," so if you've been waiting to pick one up, now is a good time.

This stock may not last, and OnePlus isn't claiming this will be permanent. But it's a move in the right direction. Let's just hope other models will start being treated the same way.

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Google starting limited testing of Android Instant Apps

Posted: 23 Jan 2017 01:51 PM PST

Android Instant Apps was announced at Google I/O last year, and it got quite a bit of attention and quite a few fans. It promised the ability to run compatible apps without downloading them.

Want to read a BuzzFeed article? You can click it in search results and open the app instead of the webpage without an install. Want to easily buy something? Open the app rather than the site and check out easier with Android Pay. It should be a really useful feature if developers can integrate it right.

A limited test of this new feature is finally starting with apps like BuzzFeed, Wish, Periscope, and Viki. The limited test will allow Android users to give this new feature a try and leave feedback. Hopefully it'll be expanded soon to more apps and users.

Let us know in the comments if you manage to play with it!

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Top 5 most popular Android apps from last week: MeTV, Squeeze

Posted: 23 Jan 2017 12:51 PM PST

Every week we cover new Android apps with Fresh Meat on Wednesday, followed by Android Gaming on Thursday and Top 10 App Updates on Friday. When Monday rolls around, we look back to see which apps were the most appealing to our audience. Read on for the five most popular Android apps from last week. These apps are ones that are most likely new and haven't appeared in the top five list more than three times.

1. Weather Wiz: Forecast & Widget

Weather Wz

App info: Weather Wiz provides accurate weather forecasts based on your current location or any other place in the world. The real time local weather forecast as well as the hourly forecasts and 10-day weather condition forecast can be found in this free weather app.


2. MeTV


App info: MeTV, America's #1 all classic television network, is now available for Android phones and tablets. Listen to MeTV Music while on the go all across the U.S.! Plus, see the complete MeTV program schedule, find MeTV channels in your area and receive TV series and episode summaries.


3. Squeeze


App info: Squeeze is a seamless personal finance app used to provide consumers comparison pricing on their recurring bills and to track and categorize spending so that they can save money, reduce debt, and grow wealth.


4. NeonFace Watchface

NeonFace Watchface

App info: What's cooler than a neon-themed watchface in 2017? Well, probably a lot of things. Explosions for one thing. But you can't get those on the Play Store if you don't own a Note7. So, this is the next coolest thing!


5. SystemPanel 2

SystemPanel 2

App info: SystemPanel 2 is a re-imagining of SystemPanel from the ground up. The UI has been entirely redesigned, with the main screen now providing an overview of your device's recent behavior/activity. More detailed information is available from the left slide out panel, or by tapping on items on the overview page. Material Design is used throughout.


Note:  To ensure that all apps receive a fair chance to make the list, we will retire any app that has made the list for three consecutive weeks.

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Samsung Galaxy S8 Release Date: Don’t Expect It at MWC 2017

Posted: 23 Jan 2017 11:05 AM PST

Earlier today we told you Samsung officially released its Galaxy Note7 investigation report revealing the batteries were the culprit.

The press conference was held by Koh Dong-jin, chief of Samsung Mobile who also revealed an additional detail which are worth noting here. While most us expected the upcoming Galaxy S8 to be revealed at MWC 2017, it appears that due to Samsung's intensive testing the launch will be postponed.

Koh didn't offer a new release date, however previous reports seem to indicate the phone might make an appearance in retail sometime in mid-April, which puts the phone's launch in late March.

Samsung can't afford to release another Galaxy Note7 into the world, hence the intensive testing. We're actually glad the Korean tech giant is not rushing things while the Galaxy S8 is concerned. The new flagship is shaping up to be quite an interesting phone, so it would be a shame if it was ruined by another defect.

The device should be the first Samsung flagship to come without a physical home button. On top of that, the phone will take advantage of a new Snapdragon 835, fingerprint scanner embedded into the display and Samsung's own virtual assistant effort, Bixby.


The post Samsung Galaxy S8 Release Date: Don't Expect It at MWC 2017 appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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Samsung: Battery Flaws Responsible for Galaxy Note7 Fires

Posted: 23 Jan 2017 11:05 AM PST

Samsung today announced the results into its investigation of what caused the Galaxy Note7 fires.  As expected, the Galaxy Note7 culprit was found to lay with the batteries – the models supplied by both Samsung SDI and Amperex.

In order to come to the conclusion, Samsung employed three independent companies to look into the problem. The company also said it has performed tests on more than 200,000 Note7 units and 30,000 batteries and managed to re-create the fires in an experimental setting.

Samsung explained no hardware, software or design fault was identified with the phone per se, but batteries were a different matter.

As we previously told you, the Galaxy Note7 units shipped with either Samsung SDI batteries (A) or Amperex ones (B).

Well the investigation concluded that both batteries had faults which led to the same outcome – the phablet overheated and caught on fire.

According to Samsung the problem with the 'A' batch batteries was small battery casing that was too small, which led to deformation in the upper corners of the power house plus thin internal separators. The 'B' batch batteries on the other hand featured a missing or misaligned insulation tape or a thin internal separator.

To prevent anything like this from every happening again, the Korean tech giant also said it has implemented new safety protocols including "multi-layer safety measures" and the "8-point battery safety check".

The company has also created a Battery Advisory Group made up of external advisers, academic and research experts to help ensure the company "maintains a clear and objective perspective on battery safety and innovation."

Samsung messed up the original batteries on the Note 7–and replacement batteries too. Time will tell if consumers will trust them ever again, especially those that experienced a fire or explosion.


The post Samsung: Battery Flaws Responsible for Galaxy Note7 Fires appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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Google Voice getting major update with cleaner design and new features

Posted: 23 Jan 2017 10:46 AM PST

Remember Google Voice? It seemed for a while there that Google didn't, but today a major update to Google Voice has been confirmed.

Google is now pushing an update to Google Voice that brings with it a fresh design. This update, which is rolling out to Android, iOS, and the web, includes what Google says is a "cleaner" and "more intuitive" design.

Also included are some new features for Google Voice users to check out. There's a new inbox with separate tabs for texts, calls, and voicemails, as well as Spanish voicemail transcriptions. Messaging now supports continuous threads to see all of your messages from each contact in one place, and messaging also offers support for group and photo MMS as well as in-notification replies.


This Google Voice update is now rolling out and should hit everyone in the coming weeks.

Today's Google Voice update is big not only because of the features that it includes, but also because it's the first significant update that Google Voice has received in years. Some folks might've thought that Google had abandoned Voice, but Google promises that that's not the case, as the company has committed to rolling out more new features and updates to the Google Voice apps. Here's to hoping that Google sticks to its commitment.

Sources: Google Blog, Google Voice for Android

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Android Instant Apps, announced at Google I/O last year, starts initial testing

Posted: 23 Jan 2017 10:42 AM PST

One of the more interesting features shown off at Google I/O last year was Instant Apps, a new way to run Android applications without any installation. For example, during the presentation it was shown how tapping a Buzzfeed video link would play the content in the Buzzfeed app, only downloading the parts required for video playback.

A Google Play Services teardown from November revealed that Instant Apps were nearing public release, and now the time has come.

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Android Instant Apps, announced at Google I/O last year, starts initial testing was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Android Instant Apps starts initial live testing

Posted: 23 Jan 2017 10:08 AM PST

Posted by Aurash Mahbod, Software Engineer, Google Play

Android Instant Apps was previewed at Google I/O last year as a new way to run Android apps without requiring installation. Instant Apps is an important part of our effort to help users discover and run apps with minimal friction.

We've been working with a small number of developers to refine the user and developer experiences. Today, a few of these Instant Apps will be available to Android users for the first time in a limited test, including apps from BuzzFeed, Wish, Periscope, and Viki. By collecting user feedback and iterating on the product, we'll be able to expand the experience to more apps and more users.

To develop an instant app, you'll need to update your existing Android app to take advantage of Instant Apps functionality and then modularize your app so part of it can be downloaded and run on-the-fly. You'll use the same Android APIs and Android Studio project. Today, you can also take some important steps to be ready for Instant Apps development. The full SDK will be available in the coming months.

There has already been a tremendous amount of interest in Instant Apps from thousands of developers. We can't wait to hear your feedback and share more awesome experiences later this year. Stay tuned!

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[Deal Alert] Goo Saga down to 0.10, possibly available internationally

Posted: 23 Jan 2017 10:03 AM PST

Most of the time, the 0.10 deals we often report on are limited to a very specific subset of countries (such as the UK, Italy, France, Russia, etc), but this week it's different. Goo Saga is on sale for 0.10, and as far as we can see, this one's international; even the United States is included.

Goo Saga is a pretty fun little platformer, all things told. The story goes that the little elastic-y creature you control, Goo, is looking for his creator, and more generally the meaning of life.

Read More

[Deal Alert] Goo Saga down to 0.10, possibly available internationally was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Samsung still planning to release Galaxy Note 8

Posted: 23 Jan 2017 09:46 AM PST

Though it is still managing the fallout from its Galaxy Note 7 recall, Samsung has confirmed that it will be maintaining the Note brand, with a Galaxy Note 8 likely arriving in late 2017. Koh Dong-jin, Samsung's mobile chief, stated that the Note brand attracted Samsung's most loyal customers, and thus represents a valuable asset for the company.

Rebuilding the Note brand will be a challenge for the company. The Note 7 recall was widely publicized, reaching consumers far outside of tech circles. Though most Note 7 customers remained with Samsung, the company has taken an enormous hit with brand trust. New safety measures have been put in place to prevent further issues and assure customers that Samsung is doing all that it can to repair the damage. Even with all that, Samsung will need to create a truly great device to revive the success of the Note brand.

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Samsung Galaxy S8 won’t launch at Mobile World Congress

Posted: 23 Jan 2017 09:46 AM PST

After wrapping up a lengthy investigation into the cause of the Galaxy Note 7 fires, Samsung Electronics has indicated that it will not be launching the Samsung Galaxy S8 at Mobile World Congress. Traditionally, Barcelona's tech conference has served as the launchpad for Galaxy S smartphones. Delays from the recall and investigation, however, have led Samsung to push the launch until later this spring.

A large part of the delay is due to Samsung's new safety measures and 8-point battery check. These procedures, designed to prevent a repeat of the Note 7 debacle, have led to greater time needed before shipping and selling the Galaxy S8. Though Samsung's mobile chief, Koh Dong-jin, confirmed that the Galaxy S8 would not launch at MWC, he did not announce a new target date for the launch.

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Google resurrects Voice, gives the app and website a full makeover

Posted: 23 Jan 2017 09:42 AM PST

Google Voice was a big deal when it was launched back in 2009—there was a waiting list to get access, and the entire concept seemed magical. However, Google seemed to give up on Voice some years ago, offering users the option to port some features of Voice into Hangouts and Project Fi. Now, Google Voice is back and completely revamped.

The Voice app was in a pretty sorry state until now with a thoroughly Holo interface.

Read More

Google resurrects Voice, gives the app and website a full makeover was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google updates Calculator to v7.2, adds calculation history [APK Download]

Posted: 23 Jan 2017 09:17 AM PST

The computer in your pocket can do amazing things like play HD videos, access all the knowledge of mankind, and send messages all over the world. It can also do math with a calculator app. Google's Calculator app has been updated to v7.2, and it includes a long, long, loooooooooong overdue feature—history.

There does not appear to be a lot that's new here, at least compared to the last 7.1.1 release.

Read More

Google updates Calculator to v7.2, adds calculation history [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Sprint is acquiring 33 percent of Tidal in new partnership

Posted: 23 Jan 2017 08:41 AM PST

Sprint has announced that it is acquiring a 33 percent stake in Tidal as part of a new partnership between the two brands. The significant aspect of the partnership is exclusive content specifically for Sprint customers. Tidal and its artist partners will release content exclusively for Sprint customers, giving them access to music, videos, interviews and more.

Tidal is notable for exclusive releases, with prime examples such as The Life of Pablo by Kanye West and Lemonade by Beyonce. Though the company has exclusive content, it has also struggled to stay relevant against competitors such as Spotify. With this partnership, Tidal is clearly hoping to lure in new subscribers.

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Samsung: Galaxy Note 7 fires caused by two separate battery issues

Posted: 22 Jan 2017 06:41 PM PST

Samsung Electronics today confirmed the cause of its Galaxy Note 7 fires, stating that the crisis stemmed from two separate battery issues. The first round was caused by a flaw in the battery design, which could cause electrodes to bend and eventually allow the positive and negative tabs to come into contact, short circuiting the battery. The second round of batteries, which came from a supplier in Hong Kong, had no flaws in the design. Rather, these batteries faced similar problems due to a manufacturer issue after production was quickly ramped up to provide Samsung with batteries. In the rush to produce batteries, a welding defect occurred in the batteries, which caused them to short circuit.

Samsung's explanation partially correlates with a report from The Wall Street Journal, released on Friday, which stated that the battery fires were caused by two separate issues.

In the end, it turns out that there was no defect with the device itself, but with the batteries. It's unfortunate that Samsung was hit with these two separate issues, which led to a complete shutdown and recall, amounting to billions of dollars lost.

To prevent further incidents in the future, Samsung is implementing a number of new safety measures and an 8-point battery safety check. The company has also assembled a Battery Advisory Group composed of experts, academics, and external advisers. This group will help to ensure that Samsung continues to innovate and promote safety within its batteries.

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