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Friday, January 6, 2017

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Google purchases Limes Audio to improve audio quality of its services

Posted: 06 Jan 2017 02:25 PM PST

Limes Audio is a company that develops technology that improves audio quality in communication. Obviously that's something that Google will value, so Google has purchased the company.

With many businesses using Google's video chat system and a few people still using Hangouts, improving audio quality is very important. Things like poor connection, echoes, and ambient noise are all factors that worsen audio and Google aims to improve them with the help of the Limes Audio team. Hopefully we'll see significant improvements soon!


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New Balance unveils RunIQ fitness-focused Android Wear watch

Posted: 06 Jan 2017 01:20 PM PST

We've seen a lot of different companies join the Android Wear platform, and now New Balance is getting in on the action, too.

New Balance is doubling down on its fitness focus as it moves into the wearables market. The company has officially announced the RunIQ, a fitness-focused Android Wear smartwatch. New Balance is partnering up with Google for the software, Strava for run tracking, and Intel for the hardware under the hood.

As far as specs go, New Balance says that the battery will last about five hours when using GPS or up to 24 hours with "typical usage." There's a heart rate monitor on board, built-in GPS, and it is waterproof up to 5ATM of pressure.

New Balance is now taking pre-orders for the Run IQ ahead of its February 1 launch. Pricing is set at $299.99.


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Kodak’s Ektra smartphone coming to North America in April

Posted: 06 Jan 2017 01:20 PM PST

Kodak is a company that saw its peak in the age of film, and since the rise of digital photography, has seen a slow decline as it has worked to make up for lost time. This past year, Kodak took a new step with its latest smartphone, the Kodak Ektra. Built around its camera, the Ektra is a new opportunity for Kodak to make progress in the mobile photography scene.

After a successful European launch in December, Kodak has announced that the Ektra will be see a US and Canadian release in April 2017. The device will be priced at $549.

The Ektra features a 21-megapixel rear camera with an anti-reflective coating and f/2.0 aperture. In addition, the camera is outfitted with optical image stabilization and features fast phase-detection autofocus. Inside, the device is powered by a 2.3GHz decacore Helio X20 processor that's paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage plus a microSD card slot. Kodak has also included a 13-megapixel front-facing camera, full manual controls and a 3000mAh battery with fast charging.

The full success of the Kodak Ektra remains to be seen, but we'll be sure to keep an eye on its impact in North America.


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Google finally posts Android 7.1.1 factory and OTA images for Nexus 6

Posted: 06 Jan 2017 01:20 PM PST

While other Nexus devices have been on Android 7.1.1 for some time, the Nexus 6 has been left behind. It has gotten security updates, but not the latest and greatest version of Android.

Fortunately, the wait is now over. Google has posted both the factory image and the OTA image for the Nexus 6. You can now manually flash your device to Android 7.1.1. If you're not keen on flashing, the over the air rollout should start soon as well. Though it's late, we're glad that Google hasn't abandoned the aging Nexus 6.

Source: Google Developers (2)


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AT&T is raising grandfathered unlimited data plan price

Posted: 06 Jan 2017 01:20 PM PST

AT&T has done away with unlimited data plans for the most part, but grandfathered plans still exist for those who have clung to them. Unfortunately, the big blue carrier is making those plans more expensive.

AT&T has quietly announced that it will hike the price of grandfathered unlimited data plans by $5 per month. The change will go into effect beginning in March of this year, and it will bring the cost of the plans to $40 per month. AT&T did this same thing back in February of 2016.

AT&T says that the folks who have a grandfathered plan but don't want to pay for the price increase can cancel their plan within 60 days of the price hike appearing on their bill and AT&T will waive their early termination fee.

Do you still have an unlimited data plan from AT&T? If so, will you keep it with another price hike on the way?


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Top 10 Android app updates this week: NBC Sports, Telegram

Posted: 06 Jan 2017 12:20 PM PST

Welcome back to our weekly Top 10 Android App Updates column, where we take a look at the most frequently upgraded apps for the week. We've found that one of the best ways to discover useful apps is to find the ones that are actually being updated by the developers rather than selecting the apps with the most installs. As in the past, we're going to filter out minor updates for the super-popular apps that have over 10 million installs, but we'll make exceptions for apps that have had significant updates. We hope you enjoy this weekly feature and that you discover some apps that end up being useful.

 PowerDirector Video Editor App - Version 4.0.1

PowerDirector

What's new in this version:

  • Supports UltraHD video output
  • New free holiday-style stickers
  • New stickers to buy: Holiday Pack Vol.4

 

Google Docs – Version 1.6.482

Google Docs

What's new in this version:

  • Page setup in Google Docs
  • You can also now export Docs files to EPUB (commonly used with e-readers) and OpenDocument Text files (often used with LibreOffice and OpenOffice). 

 

NBC Sports - Version 5.0.0

NBC Sports

What's new in this version:

  • New filters for NBA, MLB, Golf, and College Football in the Highlights section
  • Various bug fixes

 

SwiftKey Beta - Version 6.5.0.52

SwiftKey Beta

What's new in this version:

  • Type in eight new languages: Somali, Haitian Creole, Yiddish, Maori, Akan, Udmurt, Kabardian & Tamazight
  • We've added extra punctuation characters for Transliteration languages (Hindi full-stop) to the punctuation slider

 

Google Sheets - Version 1.6.482

What's new in this version:

  • You can now use the IMAGE function to display images inside of cells.
  • You can also now import/export OpenDocument Spreadsheet files (.ods).

 

Expensify – Version 7.4.2.0

Expensify

What's new in this version:

  • You can now cc multiple emails on reports!
  • We've made SSO improvements!
  • An odometer tagging issue has been fixed!

 

Telegram – Version 3.16.0

Telegram

What's new in this version:

  • Delete recently sent messages for everyone.
  • Network Usage in 'Data and Storage' Settings.
  • App remembers scroll position when switching to another chat and back.
  • Messages from one sender are grouped together.
  • Added a floating date to the top of the screen when scrolling.
  • Recently downloaded files are shown when sharing a file.

 

Google Calendar – Version Varies

Google Calendar

What's new in this version:

  • Links to both Google Fit and Apple Health to help you keep track of your fitness efforts.

 

Google Slides - Version 1.6.502

Google Slides

What's new in this version:

  • The ability to import/export OpenDocument Presentation files (.odp).

 

Google Photos – Version 2.6.0

Google Photos

What's new in this version:

  • Users can select a different "feature photo" for contacts in face detection.

 


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Samsung 2017 Galaxy A5 Launching in Canada, Release Date Soon

Posted: 06 Jan 2017 11:33 AM PST

Earlier this week, Samsung introduced the new Galaxy A series (2017) which includes three models: the Galaxy A7, Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A3.

At launch, Samsung mentioned the trio will go on sale in Russia in early January with more markets to be added soon. Well today we bring you news that the Galaxy A5 (2017) will make it out on the Canadian market…soon. Samsung Canada has announced the availability of the phone in the country without specifying the price or exact release date.

While we wait for the Galaxy A5 to hit retail locations, let us remind you the phone arrives with a 5.2-inch display with 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution and is kept alive by an Exynos 7880 chipset clocked at 1.9GHz working in concert with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage (microSD card slot available).

Like the OnePlus 3T, the Galaxy A5 features a 16MP/16MP camera combo. The phone is IP68 certified for water and dust resistance and features a sleek 7.9mm thick metal body. Also there's an USB Type-C port, 3,000 mAh battery and Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box (sadly no Nougat at launch).

We should also mention the presence of Secure Folder, a Note7-specific feature which is now present onboard of Samsung's new middle-range series.

Are you going to buy the Galaxy A5 (2017)?

[Samsung press release]

The post Samsung 2017 Galaxy A5 Launching in Canada, Release Date Soon appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.


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Despite Galaxy Note7 Fiasco, Samsung’s Profits Are On the Rise

Posted: 06 Jan 2017 10:23 AM PST

We've been telling you that Samsung lost a ton of money after it was forced to pull the plug on the Galaxy Note7. Analysts expected the company to receive a $17 billion hit to its profits, while forecasting a grim 2016 outcome for Samsung.

However, Samsung managed to elude expectations once more and despite the massive Galaxy Note7 flop, announced it is expecting a massive increase in year-over-year operating profit in Q4 2016. The news is brought to us by Reuters.

According to the Korean tech giant, the company operating income is expected to reach approximately $10.3 CAD billion in the period mentioned above. The sum marks a 50% increase from the operating income reported in Q4 2015. It's the highest operating income the company has seen since Q3 2013.

Mind you, all this profit doesn't come from Samsung's mobile unit. Strong sales in OLED screen panels and chipsets are actually to be thanked for this unexpected results.

Analysts reveal that the Korean tech giant's chip business was responsible for bringing in approximately $5.02 CAD billion. The demand prompted investors to push Samsung's shares up 43% last year, despite the grand Galaxy Note7 failure.

The report claims that Samsung's mobile division is expected to rebound in Q4, compared to Q3 when the Note7 losses were registered. Samsung kept selling a healthy amount of Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge smartphones and with the Galaxy S8 incoming, things are bound to get better for the company.

However, Samsung did mention that Q4 2016 revenue saw a decrease of 0.6% from same time last year.

[REUTERS]

The post Despite Galaxy Note7 Fiasco, Samsung's Profits Are On the Rise appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.


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Google app v6.10 beta prepares to add a "search gesture" and enable keyboard input for Google assistant [APK Teardown]

Posted: 06 Jan 2017 07:46 AM PST

google

We're barely into the new year and Google isn't wasting any time getting updates out to some of its apps. A new beta for the Google app turned up on Tuesday, but like the last few versions, there aren't any apparent new features jumping off the screen. However, there are a few clues hidden inside the apk that tell us about a few changes coming down the pipe in the future.

Read More

Google app v6.10 beta prepares to add a "search gesture" and enable keyboard input for Google assistant [APK Teardown] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Xiaomi debuts white Mi Mix, new Mi TV 4 that’s 4.9mm thick

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 09:15 PM PST

Xiaomi hit the CES 2017 stage today with a few new products to show.

First up, the Xiaomi Mi Mix is getting a new paint job. Xiaomi's edgeless smartphone will soon be available in white. The white Mi Mix will feature a full ceramic body that uses seamless connectors to fuse the body parts together without the use of adhesives.

Unfortunately, the white Mi Mix won't be launching in any new regions. Xiaomi says that the white Mi Mix will launch in China later this year.

xiaomimimix4rearaam

The second device shown by Xiaomi today is the new Mi Router HD. This router supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi with transfer speeds up to 2600Mbps. There's also 4×4 MU-MIMO, an up to 8TB surveillance-class hard drive, and an aluminum alloy housing.

Like the white Mi Mix, the Mi Router HD will only be available in China. It'll launch in Q1 at a price of $200 for the 1TB model and $500 for the 8TB version.

xiaomimirouterhdaam

Finally, there's the Mi TV 4. This ultra-thin set measures 4.9mm thick and comes with transparent stands to make the TV look like its floating. Another notable feature of the Mi TV 4 is its modular design that stores the motherboard in the soundbar, which lets you separately upgrade the display and motherboard if you'd like.

xiaomimitv4aam

The Mi TV 4 runs PatchWall software, a custom version of Android with deep learning AI. The software analyzes movie and TV metadata along with your viewing history to offer intelligent content recommendations.

Xiaomi says that the Mi TV 4 will launch in China later this year, with a starting price of $1500 that includes the television and soundbar. There will also be a $2000 bundle that'll add in a Dolby Atmos 3D spherical surround sound system.


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T-Mobile aims to simplify billing and give credit to low data users with Un-carrier Next

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 05:25 PM PST

T-Mobile today took to the CES 2017 stage to introduce Un-carrier Next, four years after revealing the first Un-carrier move.

Un-carrier Next is aimed at rate plans and helping to simplify them. The latest Un-carrier move is made up of three main features:

  • Taxes all-in with T-Mobile One: With the new T-Mobile One plan, all taxes and fees are included with the advertised price. That means that for the $70 single line T-Mo One plan, you'll pay exactly $70 per month, rather than $70 plus some added taxes and fees.
  • KickBack: Think of KickBack sort of like Google's Project Fi. For each line that uses 2GB of data or less in a month, T-Mobile will give you a $10 credit per line (up to 12 lines) on your next bill.
  • Un-contract: T-Mobile will not change the price of a customer's T-Mobile One plan unless the customer decides to change it.

Starting January 22, existing T-Mobile One customers and Simple Choice customers can switch to the new T-Mobile One plan with taxes and fees included. Meanwhile, KickBack is available to existing T-Mobile One customers, but you will need to opt-in to it through the T-Mobile app or account website.

Finally, T-Mobile today announced a new promotion. T-Mo says that it's giving consumers a "second rebate" by giving switchers $150 per line (up to 12 lines) for every line you switch to a T-Mobile One plan. There's no trade-in or equipment financing required.


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Now You Can Change Page Layout in Google Docs for Android

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 04:46 PM PST

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This week Google added a feature to the Docs Android app that should have been there long ago, the option to change your page layout. Within the app you can now change your page orientation from portrait to landscape, change the page size, and change the page color.

Other updates to the app include the ability to export your documents as EPUB or ODT files. You can also now import ODT files to view in the Docs app for Android.

Overall, these aren't huge changes to the app, but they will prove handy to some users. In particular, students who are using Android tablets or phones as their primary computer at home may appreciate the new layout options.


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Samsung to reveal cause of Note 7 explosions soon

Posted: 05 Jan 2017 04:25 PM PST

Samsung's investigation into the infamous Galaxy Note 7 fires is coming to a close, and it looks like the company has almost figured it out. Samsung took to CES 2017 to announce that the results will come soon.

Many theorize the fires stemmed not from bad batteries, but a poor design which put pressure on the batteries. We won't know until Samsung reveals the real reason. It is surprising how open the company is being about it rather than putting it behind them. Hopefully the results will teach them a valuable lesson for the future.


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