mardi 31 octobre 2017

Google is Extending Preferred Care to 2 Years and Eliminating Deductibles for Pixel 2 & Pixel 2 XL Customers

Rejoice! If you own a brand new Google Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, then we have some good news to share. Google is sending out emails to its Preferred Care customers tonight telling them that they are extending the manufacturer’s warranty from 1 to 2 years. Not only that, they are also eliminating deductibles if you experience hardware failures due to normal wear and tear during the warranty period!

This news comes in light of the recent display-related troubles that some Pixel 2 XL owners have been having experiencing. Some people took issue with the muted colors of the display’s default calibration profile while others experienced temporary burn in and blue tint color shifting. To address these issues, Google announced that they would offer an update that would bring a more saturated color profile to the Google Pixel 2 XL. Furthermore, to make things up to their customers, they announced that they would extend the 1 year manufacturer warranty to 2 years.

At the time, however, the company stated that Preferred Care customers would not receive an extension to their warranty contract. Preferred Care customers were understandably miffed that regular customers would receive these added benefits but their premium warranty contract did not receive any extra benefits. Given that customers have to pay $129 to buy Preferred Care and also a $79 deductible to process a claim, it seemed odd that nothing would be done for these users.

Google Pixel 2 Preferred Care

Email sent out to customers

Thankfully, Google has reversed course and is now offering 2 years of warranty under the Preferred Care plan, and they’re even waiving the deductible on top of it! This might sweeten the deal for existing users and entice even more people into purchasing the plan. Personally, I baby every device I own but for those of you who are more prone to accidentally damage your device (or just want to be extra cautious), then you’ll have another year of Preferred Care coverage to enjoy.

Thanks XDA Member Nathan for the tip!

from xda-developers

HTC U11+ & U11 Life Appear in Hands-On Video Ahead of Launch Event

It’s now 2 days until HTC officially announces their final 2017 devices, the flagship HTC U11+ (with a larger 6″ 18:9 LCD display and key improvements over the regular U11) and the mid-range HTC U11 Life (an Android One device with a Snapdragon 630 SoC many U11 features at a cheaper price point). As we approach launch day, the rumor mill starts turning faster and faster. Both the HTC U11+ and the U11 Life have been leaked in full during the past few days, so we already know what to expect from HTC’s launch event. This time around, though, both devices have appeared in a full hands-on video before their release.

A German-language news outlet called Blick has managed to get a hold of the HTC U11+ and HTC U11 Life, giving us a close look at what is going to be announced on Thursday.

HTC U11+: HTC Hops into the 18:9 Trend

HTC U11+ translucentThe star of the show will, obviously, be the HTC U11+, HTC’s latest flagship refresh which will be marketed as the superior alternative to the U11. The video confirms that the device will feature a 6″ QHD+ display with considerably reduced screen bezels as well as wireless charging capabilities, contextually aware Edge Sense, and a mammoth ~4000 mAh battery while keeping the water resistance rating. The phone also adds some extra software features like a rotary-dial like app shortcut reachability feature which can be accessed by long-pressing the frame.

The device will also come in a translucent version together with the regular color options. This translucent version, while it’s not completely transparent like JerryRigEverything’s clear back mods, does leave the wireless charging coil and other internal components visible from the back of the phone. The phone will be available in a 128 GB storage configuration, but it’s not clear yet whether we’ll find other storage configurations like on the U11.

There are also some visible improvements that are not directly referenced in the video, however. For example, the phone in the video sports the stock white Android Oreo notification shade with Sense UI icons and the Sense Home launcher features what looks like adaptive icons for Dialer, Messages, Camera, and Google Chrome. While the Android version is never directly shown during the video, these two things, together with the previous rumors that the device was launching with the newest version of Android, give us some fair confidence that the U11+ will indeed launch with Android 8.0 out of the box. And this would mean that users will be able to take advantage of other added benefits, like Project Treble for better update support.

HTC U11 Life: An Android One Mid-ranger with Some Flagship Features

HTC U11 Life Android OneThe black edition of the HTC U11 Life, the HTC U11’s upcoming mid-range little brother, is also depicted in the video. The first thing we notice is that the phone swaps the glass back found in the U11 and U11+ for a much more modest polycarbonate back, likely to keep costs low, and downsizes the U11’s 5.5-inch display for a 5.2″ panel. It does feature Edge Sense and other features found in the U11 and U11+, though.

However, the similarities end there. The main seen difference between both devices, aside from the external looks, is the radically different software. That’s because the U11 Life is a part of the Android One program, and as such, the phone runs stock Android (with some HTC additions like the camera app) instead of HTC’s own Sense UI skin. Previous rumors said that the phone would come in both Android One and retail editions, featuring stock Android 8.0 and Sense Android 7.1 respectively, so there’s no surprises here.


Finally, the video also covers the pricing aspect for both devices. The HTC U11+ will retail in Switzerland at a hefty 849 Swiss Francs, which equals 851 dollars, while the HTC U11 Life will retail for a much more modest 349 Swiss Francs ($350). We can expect the HTC U11+ to retail for something like $699 or $749 in the United States given the typical pricing disparity. The U11 Life’s $350 price tag, however, is something we can expect for the US as well, given that its direct competitor, the Moto X4, is available for $399.

It is not clear yet whether this was an intentional leak or the site accidentally broke embargo on the pre-recorded video, since the video was taken down shortly after being published on Blick‘s official Facebook page and there’s currently nothing regarding both devices on their website. But if you would like to have a look at the video yourself, you can have a look at a video mirror here. Both of these phones will be officially announced this Thursday, so be sure to stay tuned to XDA to know more about the U11+ and the U11 Life as soon as they are announced.

Source: Blick (Mirror) Via: /r/android

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Create Custom Voice Activated Hotwords for Tasker with the Hotword Plugin

Many have wondered why Google doesn’t allow you to create custom hotwords for its voice assistant when other OEMs like Motorola do. Thankfully, we can handle the issue ourselves with the help of Tasker and this new free plugin called Hotword Plugin. The Tasker plugin is from XDA Senior Member Humpie and it uses Snowboy Hotword to listen to audio from the mic and process it completely locally. Different hotword models can be trained on the Snowboy website and you can then import them directly into the plugin. Check it out!

Hotword Plugin Free [Tasker] (Free, XDA Labs) →

Check out the Hotword Plugin in our Tasker Tips & Tricks forum

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Get the New Pixel 2 Boot Animation on Any Device (Flashable Zip)

Just a few weeks after the Pixel 2 and 2 XL launch, we’ve managed to show you how you can easily get many of the Pixel 2’s “exclusive” software features on your device. That includes the new Pixel Launcher with the bottom search bar, updated Google Camera app with Portrait Mode and Motion Photo, as well as the new Google Wallpaper app which brings the much-requested Beach Live wallpaper.

Now, thanks to XDA Senior Member Rishi2906, you can also enjoy the Pixel 2 boot animation on your device, as long as you have a custom recovery installed. If you want to give it a shot, the flashable zip and installation instructions can be found in the main thread linked below. Go check it out!

Download Pixel 2 boot animation for your device from our forums!


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Google has Resolved Android 8.1 Developer Preview 1 Installation Issues

Fast Pair Enables Quick Bluetooth Pairing with Compatible Devices

Some like to point at how long it takes for major versions of Android to roll out as a fragmentation issue. While that is definitely something that needs to be worked on, a lot of new features can come from Google Play Services updates. These new updates are rolled out via the Play Store and quickly reach the majority of active devices on the market. Today, Google has announced a new Google Play Services feature called Fast Pair that will be added to Android 6.0+ devices running version 11.7 or higher of Google Play Services.

Bluetooth pairing can be a hassle for some people but thankfully it doesn’t need to be done frequently. Still, opening up that new pair of headphones or needing to switch from one device to another can be much more inconvenient than just plugging in a 3.5mm headphone jack. To make this process faster and easier, Google has just announced the Fast Pair feature that enables discovery and pairing of compatible devices with ease for those running Android 6.0+ with the latest version of Google Play Services.

Fast Pair

I say compatible devices because this feature is currently only possible with the Google Pixel Buds or Libratone’s Q Adapt On-Ear headphones at this time. Soon, you’ll also be able to achieve this with the Plantronics Voyager 8200 series wireless headsets though but as we can see the device selection is rather limited. Fast Pair uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to advertise and discover compatible devices and then pairs them the traditional way.

The compatible headset needs to be in close proximity to the smartphone or tablet you wish to pair it with. Then you’ll receive a Nearby notification as shown in the image above. Simply tap on that notification and you’ll see that transition to a pairing notification which will then go away once it has been paired successfully.

Source: Android Developer’s Blog

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Google Issue Tracker Exploit Allowed the Viewing of Unpatched Vulnerabilities

Google recently launched a new Issue Tracker and with all new pieces of software, there are bound to be various bugs that may not have been brought to the attention of the developers. Recently, a security researcher named Alex Birsan started noticing his vulnerability reports were being handled by opening a thread within the platform. Inciting his curiosity, the researcher started trying to “break it” and what resulted was a bug that allowed someone to view a full list of known, unpatched vulnerabilities within Google.

Many of us are familiar with Android’s monthly security updates as we talk about them each and every month. But some people may not realize the process that goes into this entire cycle. What generally happens is the security researcher finds the vulnerability, contacts Google about it and then has it verified through the Android bounty program. The two parties agree to time frame as to when they can go public with it and by then Google is generally able to get the patches to 3rd-party OEMs a month before they begin updating their Nexus and Pixel devices.

This means that at any given time the Google Issue Tracker has a list of vulnerabilities that are unpatched and that can be quite dangerous in the hands of the wrong person. This doesn’t only happen with Android devices either since Google uses this Issue Tracker for all of its services. Mr. Birsan found three vulnerabilities within the Google Issue Tracker with the largest of the three allowing them to see a full list of known, unpatched vulnerabilities within Google.

Thankfully Mr. Birsan contacted Google about these vulnerabilities and Google was very quick to respond and fix them (within hours). The company says that so far, there hasn’t been any evidence discovered that would lead them to believe someone else found the bugs and exploited them. For those who are more interested in the details, you’ll definitely want to read through his experience on his recent Medium article.

Via: Motherboard Source: @alex.birsan

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Kickstart a Lucrative Career in IT with This Comprehensive Training Bundle

Few industries offer more career opportunities than IT. Whether it’s increasingly competitive salaries, more job availability and flexibility, or job security, IT sets itself apart from a slew of other career fields.

It’s for these reasons, however, that IT has experienced a boom, especially for newcomers. Those who are interested in entering this exciting and lucrative industry are often discouraged by costly graduate school fees, and the idea of spending thousands of hours in a classroom.

But you don’t need to invest countless hours and just as many dollars in a formal degree to land a career in IT. The Comprehensive IT Career Kickstarter Bundle will prepare you for the top IT certifications that employers respect for just $49.

Any successful career in IT starts with a CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) certification, which proves to potential employers that you have what it takes to work with a wide variety of tech platforms and systems.

With 11 in-depth courses provided by world-renowned iCollege instructors, this bundle will walk you through everything you need to know in order to ace the CompTIA A+, Network+, Cloud+, Project+, and Security+ certification exams, while teaching you the ins and outs of server installation, administration, and much more.

Don’t waste your money on a time-consuming and antiquated IT degree. The Comprehensive IT Career Kickstarter Bundle will give you the skills you need to be competitive in the field for a tiny fraction of tuition at just $49—over 95% off for a limited time.

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Android 8.1 Lets Users Restore Data After Initial Device Setup

In Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Google added the option to backup app data, device settings, call history and SMS messages to Google Drive, thus significantly removing one of the major pain points which had existed in Android for years. To restore app data, users had been relying on solutions which required root such as Titanium Backup. To restore call history and SMS messages, users had to rely on different apps as well, and so on. The feature addition in Marshmallow was a much-needed move, as it increased convenience for users and allowed them to change devices without having to lose their data or go out of their way to restore it.

However, the problem with restoring data until now was that the option to restore data was only present during the initial device setup. Once users had setup their devices, they could not restore their data from the cloud. If they skipped the option during the setup, they were out of luck if they wanted to restore the backed up data at a later point in time. The only option, in this case, would be to factory reset the device again. Some users even had their restoration process halt or fail, leaving them unable to get their backed data on the device even if they chose to restore it from Google Drive.

Android 8.1 Oreo rectifies this by adding an option to finish restoring data even after the initial device setup has completed. The new option is visible as a banner in the ‘Suggestions’ section of the Android Settings app. Once users tap on the option, they are presented with the choice to either restore from the web (cloud storage), or to restore data from an iPhone.

Android 8.1 Restore Data Android 8.1 Restore Data from Backup Android 8.1 Restore Data from Backup


When they choose “backup from the cloud” option, their backed up data is visible and users can choose which portions to restore from app data, device settings, call history, SMS messages, etc. Users can then choose to restore any specific portion or to restore everything from the backup.

Our take on this is that the new option polishes Google’s backup and restore capabilities. At one time, stock Android’s capabilities were lacking here, as custom OEM ROMs such as MIUI already have a full device backup and restore tool, which can be used anytime, not just during the initial device setup. Now, Google has caught up in this regard. This new capability will be part of the stable version of Android 8.1 Oreo, which will be released in December.

Source: Henry Roggy
Via: Android Police

from xda-developers

Remap Bixby Button with bxActions

Eric has a tutorial for anyone who wants to get more from their dedicated Bixby button. This video shows you how to remap your button to use it with other apps, or disable it altogether.

bxActions Official Thread bxActions on the Play store

from xda-developers

Google is Adding AAC Bluetooth Audio Codec for All Devices in AOSP

Android has been criticized in the past for the way Bluetooth as a whole performs on Google’s mobile platform. Some people have issues getting Bluetooth devices to connect properly, others have come across audio playback skipping and there’s also been complaints about the audio quality itself. With the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL dropping the 3.5mm headphone jack it seems Google is doing more work to improve the Bluetooth audio experience and we’ve just noticed they are adding the AAC Bluetooth audio codec for all devices via AOSP.

Just this month, we’ve seen two big changes happening to Bluetooth on the Android OS platform that many have been asking about for years. We first shared some commits that we had uncovered that show you will soon be able to initiate a conversation with the Google Assistant and end it entirely with your voice on devices with the Bluetooth Hands-Free Profile (HFP).  Sadly, some have also experienced audio skipping during Bluetooth playback when the device is under high load. To relieve this issue, Google is working to grant real-time CPU scheduling of the Bluetooth audio playback.

These two changes go a long way to improving the Bluetooth audio experience on Android but Google’s work doesn’t seem to be stopping there. Some new commits merged to AOSP show that Google is adding the AAC Bluetooth audio codec to all devices. Granted, this doesn’t mean that it will show up on every device running a new version of Android, but it should help make the decision to implement it easier on the OEM.

For example, the OnePlus 5 only has the option to choose between aptX, aptX HD, and SBC. Then, when we look at the Pixel phones from Google (both first and 2nd generation running Android 8.0 Oreo), we can see that we can choose between SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, and LDAC Bluetooth audio codecs.


from xda-developers

Asus Announces the ZenFone 4 Pro, the ZenFone 4, and the ZenFone 4 Max for North America

Asus has launched the ZenFone 4 series in North America. To be precise, the ZenFone 4 Pro, ZenFone 4, and ZenFone 4 Max are now available in the United States. Asus states they are the first family of smartphones to all have dual cameras. The price range of these devices goes from $169 for the 5.2-inch ZenFone 4 Max) and all the way to $599 for the flagship ZenFone 4 Pro.

Asus ZenFone 4 Pro

The ZenFone 4 Pro is the flagship offering from Asus in 2017. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, 6GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage with a microSD card slot powering a 5.5-inch Full HD (1920×1080) AMOLED display. For the main camera, the 4 Pro features a 12MP primary rear camera with a 1/2.55-inch sensor, 1.4 micron pixels, f/1.7 aperture, and OIS, combined with a 16MP 2x optical zoom camera. The front facing camera is 8MP, and the battery capacity is 3,600mAh. Software-wise, all three phones are identical, as they are powered by Android Nougat with ZenUI 4.0. Asus will be delivering an update to Android Oreo for these phones as well.

Moving on, the ZenFone 4 is the mid-range option with a price tag of $399. This device packs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 SoC paired with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage with a microSD card slot,  and sports a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display. For the rear camera, we have 12MP primary camera with a Sony IMX362 sensor, 1.4 micron pixels, and a f/1.8 aperture combined with an 8MP wide-angle camera with 120 degree wide-angle lens. The front facing camera is 8MP, and the battery size is 3,300mAh. The phone comes in two colors: midnight black and moonlight white.

ASUS ZenFone 4 Max

Finally, for the budget price segment, Asus has launched two versions of the ZenFone 4 Max. They are intended for users who want excellent battery life and good camera quality, just like previous phones launched in the ZenFone Max series. The 5.2-inch version ($169) has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 SoC, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage with a microSD card slot, and a 5.2-inch Full HD IPS display. Its camera setup consists of a 13MP primary rear camera with a 5MP 120 degree wide-angle camera, 8MP front facing camera with flash, and it packs a huge 4,100mAh battery with support for fast charging.

The 5.5-inch version ($199.), on the other hand, has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 SoC, 3GB of RAM with 32GB of storage (and a microSD card slot), a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display. For its camera setup, it brings a 13MP primary rear camera with a 5MP 120 degree wide-angle camera, 8MP front facing camera with flash. Finally, it also comes with an enormous 5,000mAh battery.

The ZenFone 4 series is now on sale today at major retailers such as Asus Store, B&H, Amazon, Best Buy, Newegg and others in the United States.

Source: Asus
Via: The Verge

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T-Mobile & Sprint Merger Efforts Have Been Reportedly Dropped

A few months back, we reported that T-Mobile and Sprint were in talks for a potential merger, months after a previous attempt. Previously, problems relating to the US Department of Justice may have posed a problem to the telecom giants in America, but doubts about the Trump administration’s views meant that the merge may have been able to go ahead. Now it seems that the potential merger has been dropped entirely, largely due to how much control of the Sprint telecom SoftBank would have to give to Deutsche Telekom, the parent company of T-Mobile. SoftBank’s chairman and founder, Masayoshi Son, allegedly is afraid of giving up too much control of the company. Not only that, it seems that the two firms struggled to come to an agreement on the valuation of Sprint’s shares. Talks may still be revived at any time, but for now, sources close to the companies claim talks have been dropped.

The previously mentioned reaction of the stock market towards Sprint’s shares may also come into consideration. Sprint’s shares have dropped for months, along with the profitability of the firm. The company has been hemorrhaging money for several years now, and that coupled with its dropping share prices means that the companies cannot agree on a valuation of Sprint’s shares. People close to Sprint claim that the company now wishes to invest money into its services. T-Mobile’s shares have dropped recently too, as a result of this potential union being allegedly dropped. However the company has been in a much stronger position than its prospective merger in recent years.

We’ll see if talks pick up again between the companies, but for now, it seems the deal is off. This is a good thing for those who may have been afraid of a stronger oligopoly in the American telecoms market, so we’ll see what happens next.

The Wallstreet Journal

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The Upcoming HTC U11 Life Leaks in Full, Courtesy of T-Mobile

HTC is now preparing for an event on Thursday, where they’ll announce new additions to the HTC U lineup. The star of the show will allegedly be the HTC U11+, which is pretty much a revision of the critically acclaimed HTC U11, swapping the 5.5″ 16:9 display for a bigger 6″ display with a beefier battery to match. But we’re also getting a midrange device: the HTC U11 Life, which will allegedly also be sold as an Android One device. T-Mobile has now told us all we need to know about the HTC U11 Life, which has accidentally popped up on their support website.

The T-Mobile support website pretty much confirms most of the rumors we’ve heard until now. We’re getting a Snapdragon 630 processor, which should provide plenty of horsepower for the average customer, coupled with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage with microSD expansion. Specwise, it’s identical to the Motorola Moto X4 (which also offers its own Android One flavor). However, similarities mostly end there.

While the Moto X4 features dual cameras on the back, the U11 Life has 16 MP sensors (single) on both the back and the front. A 3,000 mAh battery powers Motorola’s midrange device, while the HTC equivalent downgrades to a smaller – and rather lackluster – 2,600 mAh battery. However, there are some discrepancies with the rumored specs, mainly in the software. The phone, which is rumored to come with a clean stock build of Android 8.0 (as a part of the Android One program), seems to be instead powered by the same software as the U11: Android 7.1.1 with the Sense UI skin, as well as Amazon Alexa and Sense Companion as add-on voice assistants.

Now, this does not mean that’s the software that is going to run on all U11 Life devices. As it was the case with the Moto X4, we’ll could be seeing both a retail model with the stock software sold at retailers and carriers and an Android One model with the Google-supervised software sold exclusively through the Google Store/Project Fi. But, this does mean that those getting the retail model will be dealing with an arguably inferior software experience, as well as slower updates and very possibly a lower Android version (if the Android One model does come with Android Oreo after all) out of the box.

The support page was pulled just as quickly as it came online, but if you’d still like to have a look at it, you can check out an archived version here.

Source: Android Police

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NVIDIA SHIELD Experience 6.1 Rolling Out with New Assistant Actions, IR Remote Controls, New YouTube TV App, and More

Roughly a month ago, NVIDIA began rolling out yet another major version update, the NVIDIA SHIELD Experience 6.0, to the NVIDIA Shield TV. While it didn’t bring a major Android version bump or any UI changes, it did bring with it two important improvements. First off, we got Google Assistant support, bringing the conversational voice assistant to NVIDIA’s Android TV-powered device. And we also received SmartThings support, which gives the Shield TV the ability to work as a SmartThings hub for your smart home, and allows you to control different (previously paired) smart components of your home, like your thermostat or your lights. NVIDIA is now rolling out yet another update, which further improves the previously introduced features while adding other enhancements.

With this SHIELD Experience 6.1 update, Google Assistant keeps getting smarter for US owners of the Shield TV. Now you can use your voice to navigate, open shows and control playback on Hulu, as well as ordering takeout food or Uber rides and shopping at Target, Costco, Walmart, and more. The update also adds support for TV on/off over IR for the SHIELD Remote, by tapping home + back, together with support for the recently launched YouTube TV app for Android TV devices.

The update also brings security patches, including a patch for the dreaded KRACK vulnerability, as well as some minor bug fixes, features and improvements. So, if you own an NVIDIA Shield TV, remember that, as we said in the beginning of the article, the update is now rolling out globally so be sure to check for an update coming soon to your device. If you own other Android TV devices, like a Sony Bravia TV set, then you’ll have to wait for news from your manufacturer if you’d like to get YouTube TV and other features on your TV set. As always, we’re looking forward to new updates for this device.

GeForce Forums

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The ZTE Axon M Will be Available for Purchase from AT&T Starting November 1st

The announcement of the ZTE Axon M phone, has taken many people by surprise despite its frequent leaks and rumors. Instead of going for a conventional smartphone with top-of-the-line specs, as everyone is currently doing, ZTE is instead going for a more “experimental” approach with their 2017 Axon flagship. That’s why the Axon M, in true Nintendo DS fashion, features dual 5.2-inch LCD displays – one on the front and another one on the back – with a hinge that allows the phone to be folded like a book. The unusual (yet interesting) looking device is now right around the corner, and US customers might get a taste of the phone on AT&T as soon as Wednesday comes.

Suggested Reading: Hands-on with the ZTE Axon M – A Compelling Modern Dual Screen Smartphones

The ZTE Axon M will be available exclusively through AT&T in the United States, and customers will be able to order their device starting on November 1st, right after Halloween ends. You will be able to order it online through AT&T Next at 24.17$ a month during a 30-month device financing period, also giving away that the retail price for the device would be somewhere around $720. The device will also be available in stores starting on November 17, before the Christmas season kicks off.

It’s still unclear whether the device will be available on other carriers, or even as a GSM unlocked model, sooner or later. However, given AT&T previous track record with exclusive devices, like the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active, we wouldn’t get our hopes too high. Also, AT&T devices are known to be bootloader locked, so if you’re the kind of person who’s into modding and rooting, then you’re probably going to have to import an unlocked model. Otherwise, if you want to take advantage of AT&T financing or you’re already using AT&T, you can order the phone from here starting Wednesday.

Source: PMNewsWire

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Essential Phone Receiving OTA That Fixes KRACK Vulnerability and Adds Fingerprint Gestures

Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone announcement received a ton of hype it’s easy to understand why. The man behind the company is considered “the father of Android”, so many looked forward to experiencing his vision of a perfect (or essential) Android phone and ecosystem. As it turns out, the new startup has come across a number of issues since its announcement but at least there’s some progress being made. The latest update to roll out to the Essential Phone patches the WPA2 KRACK vulnerability and it also adds fingerprint gestures as well.

One of the selling points of the Essential Phone was that it would be a pure Android experience. Therefore, we were to expect there wouldn’t be any additional bloatware installed and that there wouldn’t be an OEM ROM holding the phone back in terms of performance. Such barebones ROMs are great for those who love Stock Android, but the lack of features might turn some enthusiasts off as well should they be more used to something like OxygenOS.

Over time, we’ve seen the company roll out a number of OTA updates that have managed to improve various aspects of the device. The recent update which focused on camera quality likely stands out to most, since this was something that was really lacking in the past. As the team continues to work on Android, and the upcoming Oreo update, we’re likely to see more refinements added and that is what we’re seeing now with the latest OTA update being rolled out.

Those who are focused on security will be happy to see that this update (build NMJ20D) brings the highly anticipated patches that fix the WPA2 KRACK vulnerability. We’re also seeing that fingerprint gestures support has been added as a feature. It also fixes the resolution/touch scrolling issues that have been reported by multiple users. This is definitely an update that you’ll want to download and install immediately.

Let us know your thoughts on this update!

Source: @essential

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Nokia 2 with 4,100 mAh battery and Snapdragon 212 SoC Launched For €99

In its global launch event today in India, HMD Global unveiled their new Nokia 2 smartphone. The Nokia 2 is the latest entry in the Nokia lineup and its the 5th Nokia device to be launched in India. The launch of the Nokia 2 comes just after the company launched its latest flagship device, the Nokia 8, in India last month.

The Nokia 2 is an entry-level device aimed at first-time smartphone buyers. HMD Global says that the Nokia 2, while still maintaining its affordable price tag, doesn’t cut corners on important aspects like display, build quality and camera performance, unlike other budget smartphones. The new smartphone is targeted at those making the first jump from feature phones to smartphones, promising to offer the same solid build quality, long-lasting battery life, and the kind of great long-lasting value they’re used to seeing in feature phones.

The Nokia 2 features a 6000-series aluminum frame with a Gorilla Glass 3 protection on the front and a polycarbonate back. On the front, the device also boasts a 5” HD LCD display with LTPS technology, which the company claims is up to 50% more power efficient when compared to other display technology such as IPS.

On the inside of the phone is the Qualcomm’s entry-level Snapdragon 212 SoC, featuring 4x ARM Cortex-A7 cores clocked at 1.3 GHz coupled with Adreno 304 GPU and the X5 LTE modem. You get 1GB of LPDDR3 RAM and 8GB of internal storage and it also comes with a microSD card slot for further storage expansion.

On the back, the Nokia 2 features an 8MP rear camera with automatic scene detection, autofocus and an LED flash while the front camera is a 5MP shooter for selfies. The device comes running a pure version of Android 7.1.1 Nougat out-of-the-box and HMD Global promises that it will eventually receive an update to Android Oreo.

To keep the show running, the Nokia 2 packs a hefty 4,100 mAh battery, which the company claims can easily get you through 2 days of usage on a single charge.

Finally, the phone comes with 4G LTE support, Bluetooth 4.1, IP52 dust and drip protection, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a hybrid dual SIM slot. However, there is no fingerprint scanner on board, unfortunately.

Available in three colors —Copper Black, Pewter Black, and Pewter White— the Nokia 2 will go on sale globally in mid-November “at an average global retail price of €99”.

Source: Nokia

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Samsung Internet v6.2 is Now Stable, Adds Night Mode, Tracking Blocker and More

When it comes to web browsers on Android, Google Chrome remains the most popular option simply because of the fact that it is installed by default on Android phones. However, we are now seeing a surge in popularity for third-party web browsers, and Samsung Internet has been riding on the very top of that surge.

Samsung recently announced that its Internet browser, previously available only for Galaxy and Nexus/Pixel devices, would be available for all Android 5.0+ devices. Version 6 of the app has been in beta stage since then, but this will change soon, as Samsung Internet v6.2 is now in the stable channel and will soon be released on the Play Store.

The browser is based on the Chromium engine at its core, and in v6.2, the Chromium engine has been updated to M56. On Samsung Galaxy devices, Samsung Internet has offered better JavaScript web performance than Google Chrome on the same hardware, thanks to optimizations.

Samsung Internet Night Mode

Night Mode and High Contrast Mode on Samsung Internet

There are several new features in v6.2. Samsung has added Night Mode and High Contrast mode to its browser, to reduce eyestrain by cutting down on the amount of bright light. Night Mode works by reducing the amount of bright light in web pages, and is intended for users browsing in bed. It can be turned on by tapping on the ‘Turn on Night mode’ menu.  High Contrast Mode, on the other hand, will show white text with a black background, and is intended as an accessibility feature. Users can enable it by going to Settings > Accessibility.

Samsung Internet Content Blockers

Content Blockers in Samsung Internet

Moving on, content blockers can be downloaded, installed and managed directly from the content blockers section in the settings of Samsung Internet. There is also a new Tracking Blocker, which will block all trackers that many websites use to follow users’ browsing activity. This will make a user’s web browsing private, and users can turn on its toggle. In Secret Mode, the tracking blocker is enabled by default. The built-in extension is powered by Disconnect Inc.

Samsung Internet Tracking Blocker

The new Tracking Blocker in Samsung Internet

Samsung Internet now also has the capability of syncing bookmarks with the desktop version of Google Chrome, thanks to a new desktop Chrome extension. Users can then access Chrome desktop bookmarks on Samsung’s mobile browser and vice versa. The ‘Sync with Samsung Cloud’ option allows syncing of bookmarks, open tabs and saved pages with all of a user’s Android devices.

The aforementioned Chromium M56 upgrade brings support for CSS grid, which gives developers the ability to create 2 dimensional layouts allowing control over columns and rows of elements.

In the US, Samsung Pay will be available to use for Web Payments. Users can also earn Samsung Rewards points in a variety of ways on Samsung Pay-eligible devices by using Samsung Internet. Finally, v6.2 of the browser will introduce some experimental new features that can be enabled via internet://flags, such as WebVR, Web Bluetooth, WebGL 2, and GamePad Extensions.


Android Police

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Chrome OS v62 Fixes KRACK Vulnerabilities, Revamps Notification Design

Chrome OS is Google’s platform for computers and laptops to act as an in-between of a full-blown OS and a light, productivity-based OS. With the whole Google suite of applications, Chrome OS is generally for people who don’t need a full computer experience but rather a lighter one. You can run Android applications, play some games and go on the internet on them, but they are not really intended for heavy usage. Google have just released version 62 Chrome OS, and with it come a number of fixes, most notably for the KRACK exploit. There are also a few new features listed below, which are taken from the Google Chrome OS stable channel update announcement.

  • Kerberos SSO integration for Active Directory managed Chrome OS devices
  • Ability to zoom legacy apps in tablet mode
  • Randomized Alternate Hosts for Captive Portal Detection
  • Chrome notification style & interactions refresh
  • Enhanced touch experience in Files app
  • Support for full-screen apps in Enterprise Public Session mode
  • ARC++ inbound network connections

As can be seen above, there are a few other small changes and performance optimisations. There’s not much else to be seen here in terms of the update, with the main focus being to fix the KRACK exploit. Of course there are some file manager enhancements and notification changes too. Taking a screenshot allows you to see the screenshot preview just like on Android, and also each notification has the application icon visible to the user so you know what application made it. It’s noteworthy that these are another set of changes which seem to indicate a push towards increasing the amount of shared features between Android and Chrome OS.

Overall, the main focus of this update is certainly security related. Devices should receive the update soon if they haven’t already, so upgrading as soon as possible is advised.

Source: Google Chrome OS Blog

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Google Firebase Dev Summit 2017 Brings Crashlytics, a UI Redsign, Machine Learning, and Much More!

Today in Amsterdam, Google held their yearly Firebase Dev Summit, where they showed off all the new tools and features for developers who are building on the Firebase platform.

While Google’s Firebase Predictions and Native A/B Testing support stole the show at the Firebase Dev Summit, they weren’t the only things announced.

Firebase Predictions Dashboard

First up is Crashlytics. When Google purchased Fabric from Twitter, one of the key pieces they acquired was the Crashlytics crash reporting system. Unfortunately, as with any acquisition, not everything was instantly integrated, despite what we may have wished. Google today is taking a step towards remedying this by fully integrating Crashlytics into the Firebase Console.

This mean that you will have easy access to information about where your app is crashing and how it is affecting performance, all in realtime. With Crashlytics integration, you will have an accessible overview of all known ongoing stability issues in your app, which will make it easy to figure out which bugs are the highest priorities and focus your efforts where they are needed, and potentially catch problems before they become major issues. While it will be a couple more weeks before Crashlytics integration is rolled out across Firebase as a whole, you can test it today at this link if you’re eager to get started.

Crashlytics will also be integrated into the rest of Firebase, bringing the ability to trigger Cloud Functions with Crashlytics events, allowing you to better handle the entire process of responding to crashes, from how your app responds to your users following the crash, to who in your organization the crash gets reported and escalated to. This can potentially be used to directly supply users who encounter particularly egregious ongoing bugs with a more targeted response, either explaining the situation with that bug, or potentially providing a call to action of what they can do to can help fix it going forward.

With the integrated of the Firebase and Fabric teams, Google is also launching a redesigned development console for Firebase, with the goal of making it easier to find the information you care about. Google has broken Firebase’s UI into four main categories in the left-hand navigation bar that they feel represent the app lifecycle: Develop, Stability, Analytics, and Grow. Google also announced at the Firebase Dev Summit that the main page in the Firebase Console, the Project Overview screen, will see a redesign, bringing your most important app statistics to the front and centre. Google will be displaying daily active users, monthly active users, crash-free user rate, and total crashes right on the Project Overview page, with sparklines to show how each of them are trending.

The Analytics section of the Firebase Console will be getting an overhaul as well, with an updated dashboard, and a focus on the information relevant to the latest version of your app, from stability to adoption rate, all updated in realtime. As with the Crashlytics integration, it will be a couple more weeks before the Firebase Console updates are rolled out across Firebase as a whole, but you can test it today at this link if you’re eager to get started.

Firebase Console Overview Before Firebase Console Overview After

Of course, the 2017 Firebase Dev Summit wouldn’t be complete without updates to the Cloud Messaging APIs. Google has announced that Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM) will be improving its ability to send cross-platform messages. Instead of having to create seperate messages for each platform, Google is launching a new RESTful API for FCM that will allow you to create the message once, and include the platform specific fields in that single notification. This will allow developers to take full advantage of platform specific notification features, like click_action support on Android, without having to segment your notification and users based on OS platform and send multiple API calls. Documentation of FCM and this feature is available at this link.

As with many Google events, there was simply too much to announce all the new products at the Firebase Dev Summit itself however, with Cloud Firestore’s announcement coming earlier this month instead.

Looking towards the future, Google also talked about how they are preparing support for the European Union’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ensuring that both Firebase itself and any organization using Firebase will be ready to easily support it, with documentation, tools, and data processing agreements where appropriate. You can read more about what Google is doing to prepare for GDPR in their FAQ.

Which new feature announced today are you most looking forward to? Are there any particular problems you would still like to see solved in the future? Are you planning on using these new tools? Let us know in the comments!

from xda-developers

Google Adds A/B Testing to Firebase as a First Class Feature

For a long time, A/B testing has been a bit of a pain to perform in Firebase, requiring manual segmentation of user groups in order to decide who to send each version of the app to, and requiring manual parsing of the data you received to find out which version was prefered.

Today at the 2017 Firebase Dev Summit in Amsterdam, Google announced that they will be integrating native support for A/B testing into Firebase itself. Google hopes that by making A/B testing easier, it will become more accessible for new developers, and more useful for experienced developers.

As part of this integration, if you use the native A/B testing support Google will automatically split the two versions of the app or notification to subsets of the group that you select to send it to, and will collect the major data points, and report back once it has statistically significant results. All you need to do is create an experiment with Remote Config or FCM, define what variant values and population sizes you are looking to test on, and set what goal you’re looking to accomplish with your test.

If you want to start using Google Firebase’s new A/B testing support right away, you’ll be able to give it a try at this link very shortly.

Have you attempted to set up an A/B test through Firebase before? Are you excited to try it now that it is easier to do? Have you found a good workaround in the past that may still work even better? Let us know in the comments!

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Google Launches Firebase Predictions for User Segmentation Using Machine Learning

Today in Amsterdam at the 2017 Firebase Dev Summit, Google launched Firebase Predictions, their attempt at helping you predict what your users are going to do, before your users actually do it.

Trying to figure out how to target promotions within your app has historically been an absolute pain, up until now requiring manual segmentation of your userbase in Firebase in order to decide who to send each promotion to. It required you to attempt to figure out what your users were likely to do with the limited information that you had available to you. With Firebase Predictions, Google is aiming to permanently change the way this works on all platforms that Firebase is with.

As with many of Google’s products that have been integrated with machine learning recently, Firebase Predictions uses Google’s custom built hardware and cutting edge software to attempt to take the raw data that we receive, and turn it into something useful and useable. Firebase Predictions currently works by looking at all the small things that users do to attempt to sort them into one of four categories:

  • Users who are predicted to churn in the next 7 days
  • Users who are predicted to stay engaged with your app
  • Users who are predicted to spend money
  • Users who are predicted to not spend money in the next 7 days

Using that segmentation, you can use Remote Config to target promotions or ads to specific subsets of your userbase that you are interested in. This will reduce the number of people who see your promotions that you are not interested in showing the promotions to (avoiding any annoyance that might come with showing an ad to the wrong person), and help ensure that the promotions get to the right users.

Firebase Predictions Dashboard

Firebase Predictions will also allow you to target for any custom Analytics conversion event you want, allowing you to segment based on users that seem likely or unlikely to hit that target, and send different in-app promotions with Remote Config to each group. One example that Google gave for a game would be to target it based on reaching a specific level in your app if you find that people who reach that level are likely to stay with your game long term. Once you define that custom Analytics conversion event, Google will use machine learning to try to predict which users are likely to hit that target, and which ones are likely to fall short, and allow you to aim your in-app promotions accordingly.

This can have a major impact on user retention, as a well timed promotion to the users that are likely to churn in the next 7 days can help turn them into users who are likely to stay engaged with your app. One of Google’s launch partners for this feature, Halfbrick Studios, found that by targeting their promotions, they saw a 20% increase in their 7 day retention rate. 20% may not sound like much out of context, but that is a substantial uptick in long term users, and is great to see. It should be interesting to see the affect it will have in the future as more developers get their hands on this tool, and have a chance to test it out for themselves.

For more information about Firebase Predictions, check out the Firebase Predictions webpage later today when it goes live, or check out the Youtube Video down below which talks a bit more about it.

Will you be using Firebase Predictions in your app? What do you think of the application of machine learning to user segmentation? Have you been successful with user segmentation in the past? Let us know in the comments!

from xda-developers

lundi 30 octobre 2017

Paranoid Android 7.3.1 Released with KRACK Vulnerability Patches, Anti-Shake mode in Camera, and more

After a long hiatus, Paranoid Android made a solid return to the custom ROM scene back in May of this year, bringing Android 7.1.2 Nougat-based builds with carefully-crafted features like Pie Controls and Color Engine to a range of supported devices. Over the course of the past four months, we have seen multiple updates to the ROM, mostly adding new features and refinements as well as updating the security patch level and fixing critical bugs.

The last update released by the Paranoid Android team was version 7.3.0, which brought a number of improvements and fixes including a new camera app, more launcher customization options, and the latest September security patches to name a few. The team said at the time that the 7.3.0 would be the last major release to be based on Android Nougat, adding that the next update would be mostly centered around fixing critical bugs before they start working on Android Oreo.

As such, today the Paranoid Android team announced Paranoid Android 7.3.1, the final release of Android Nougat as the team shifts all its focus to work on Android Oreo. The 7.3.1 update mostly focuses on improvements to the Paranoid Camera app, which was launched in the last update and PA’s announcement post notes that pretty much all user-reported bugs have been fixed in this update.

The new update also addresses the recently-discovered KRACK vulnerability and brings along the required patches for all supported devices. And since this is the last Nougat update, the final translations from Crowdin have also been added in this update, with a promise to add support for more languages in Android Oreo.

Changes affecting all devices in Paranoid Android 7.3.1

● Add Anti-Shake mode to Paranoid Camera

● Fix compatibility issues with third-party camera apps

● KRACK Vulnerability patches

● Various improvements to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity

● Performance and efficiency improvements for Pocket Lock

● Launcher improvements and fixes

● Various performance and battery improvements

● Other minor improvements and fixes

● Final update for translations

Device Specific Changes:

Google​ ​Nexus​ ​5:

● Patched BlueBorne kernel vulnerability

Google​ ​Nexus​ ​5X:

● Fixed Paranoid Camera issues

Google​ ​Nexus​ ​6:

● Merged latest Google security patch

Google​ ​Nexus​ ​6P:

● Fixed Paranoid Camera issues

Google​ ​Pixel​ ​/​ ​Pixel​ ​XL:

● Merged upstream scheduler changes

● Various kernel improvements

Le​ ​Eco​ ​Le​ ​Pro​ ​3:

● Updated all the proprietary blobs from latest EUI

● Imported IR remote Controller App and SDK from EUI

● Updated the Kernel against the latest CAF tag available.

● Updated F2FS

● Migrated F2FS GC mechanism to Kernel, reaching efficiency and compatibility improvement

● Adjusted audio platform configuration with N blobs

● General improvements to battery consumption.

● Big improvements in boot times, about 7 seconds faster

● Enhanced power supply mechanism to be safer and faster (QC 3.0)

● Fixed fingerprint sensor when pocket detection is enabled

OnePlus​ ​3/3T:

● Fixed ogg handling issues, fixes Google Assistant compatibility

● Majorly improved photo quality and processing time

● Improved GPS lock time

● Improved Wifi power consumption

● Improved Wifi stability

● Updated SRGB calibration

● Migrated F2FS GC mechanism to Kernel, reaching efficiency and compatibility improvements

● General performance improvements

● General improvements to power consumption

● General stability improvements

OnePlus​ ​X:

● Patched BlueBorne kernel vulnerability

OnePlus​ ​One:

● Patched BlueBorne kernel vulnerability

Nextbit​ ​Robin:

● Fixed fingerprint sensor not working for some users

● Improved Wi-Fi calling capability

Xiaomi​ ​Mi5:

● Updated to MIUI 7.9.22 Global dev blobs and configs

● Patched BlueBorne kernel vulnerability

● Other minor enhancements

Paranoid Android hasn’t yet provided any timeline as to when we should expect Android Oreo builds to start arriving, but we expect to hear more on that in the coming weeks.

The Paranoid Android 7.3.1 builds are now live for all devices! As always, you can check out the official downloads page to grab the latest build for your device, and you can also check out their Github, Gerrit and Official G+ community page to stay up-to-date with their latest development efforts.

Have you been enjoying Paranoid Android so far? Let us know in the comments!

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Action Launcher v30 Update Brings “At a Glance” Search Widget, Colored Search Box Icons and More

Custom launchers have always been popular on Android. Although Nova Launcher probably still remains the most popular third-party launcher, Action Launcher’s popularity has been accelerating quickly, thanks to its timely adaptations of Pixel Launcher features as well as unique functionality which it has had for years. It has now been updated to v30, bringing the “At a Glance” widget from the Pixel Launcher of the Google Pixel 2. The widget displays the date, weather and any upcoming calendar appointment.

In the v29 update, Action Launcher gained the Pixel 2-style dock search box. While the dock search box had limited customization capabilities in v29, the v30 update significantly expands the customization capabilities available. It does by introducing a dedicated icon editor that allows theming of dock icons with “en-vogue Google colors.”

Action Launcher v30

The new dock dock search box in Action Launcher v30

In addition, the dock search box has been refined to more closely match the size of the new Pixel Launcher, and it now has better support for Google Assistant.

In the v28 update, AdaptivePack was launched as a companion for Action Launcher, bringing Adaptive Icons to Lollipop, Marshmallow and Nougat devices. Today, the companion app has also received a substantial update. The icon count in AdaptivePack increases by 250, meaning it now supports over 2200 apps. Dynamic calendar support is also now available, which enables the Google Calendar app to display the current date. Action Launcher itself has also added support for the TouchWiz icon style, and the dynamic clock icon supports Adaptive cons.

According to the developer of Action Launcher, the v30 update includes the usual bug fixes and stability improvements. Also, compatibility with the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 devices is said to be markedly improved.

The detailed breakdown of the features and fixes of v30 can be found at the source link below. The latest update for Action Launcher is now available on the Play Store. It contains a Plus in-app upgrade which unlocks many features.

Action Launcher - Oreo + Pixel on your phone (Free+, Google Play) →

Source: Action Launcher
Via: Android Police

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Report: Android Oreo Update Worsened Android Audio Latency Issues

Android has had an audio latency issue that has negatively affected the operating system’s reputation among audio and music creators. Many professional musicians have preferred to work on iOS devices when they needed to as opposed to Android for years, but this was something Google was aware of. Not only were they aware of it, but they were making progress to reduce the audio latency issue with their recent versions of Android. However, a new report from Superpowered shows that the audio latency issue has actually gotten worse with the Android 8.0 Oreo update.

The folks over at Superpowered recently tested the latency of audio from a Nexus 6P that was updated to Android 8.0 Oreo. They used Google’s own “Rick’O’Rang app” (source and APK) and their in-house Latency Test (source and APK) applications. Their measurement methods are in fact different, but history has shown that the results have always been virtually identical. However, when testing the Android 8.0 Oreo update they noticed their own testing application was behaving strangely.

Normally they would do their tests and the logs would report “in, out, in out, in out” as they tested round-trip audio latency. However, with the Oreo update it was more like “in, in, in, in, out, out, out, out, in, in, in, etc.” This raised some concerns as both the Google and the Superpowered latency applications were using only one buffer. But one buffer is not enough to cover five, therefore all measurements, on both apps become erratic and inaccurate.

Recommended Reading: Android’s Audio Latency Problems

Their app showed a latency value fluctuation while Google’s own application displayed good, plausible, and moreover, low latency values. Although, Google’s glitch measurement feature suggested that something was wrong, many users simply overlooked this since it didn’t raise enough concern. The folks over at Superpowered implemented a fix for this in their testing application and if Google decides to implement it, then theirs will be updated in the near future.

android 8.0

As you can see, on both the Nexus 6P as well as the Pixel XL, we’re seeing much higher audio latency on Android 8.0 as compared to Android 7.0. This could be hardware related or vary across devices, as Reddit member u/sylocheed tested Superpowered‘s application on their Pixel 2 XL with their results showing that it was a little faster than the Nexus 6P and Pixel XL results, but it was still slower than Android Nougat’s OpenSL ES.

Source: Superpowered

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Google Tez has Gained 7.5 Million Users in 5 Weeks in India

Google made its foray into the ever-growing mobile payments sector in India on September 18th 2017 by launching its mobile wallet app Google Tez. Google Tez is a mobile payments service by Google based on the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) platform developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). UPI is a government-run platform for all mobile transactions, powering payment services like PhonePe.

Tez works on a huge array of smartphones (with apps for both Android and iOS). The Android app supports a variety of Indic languages such as Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu. “Tez” is the Hindi/Urdu word for “Fast”.

A Google account and a bank account-linked mobile number are required to use the Tez app. The app itself is protected by a Google pin and your device’s security method (fingerprint, pass code or pattern unlock). The transactions on Tez are secured by ‘Tez Shield’ which detects fraud, prevents hacking, and verifies identity. As an added layer of security, the app refuses to work on rooted phones. 

With Tez users can pay/transfer money directly from their bank accounts. Tez users can transfer the money without requiring the bank account details of the recipient. The UPI ID of the recipient is used as a substitute for the account number and IFSC code, thereby simplifying money transfers. Unlike most other wallet apps, it does not require money to be stored in the app to make digital payments.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai proclaimed to investors and analysts that the Tez app had clocked 7.5 million installs within 37 days after its launch and was able to register 30 million transactions within 5 weeks during a quarterly enarnings call. Figures from Google Play show that the app has been downloaded between 5 to 10 million times.

Mr. Pichai further added: “I’m really excited about the potential this brings for India’s mostly cash-based economy”. Tez is expected to add support for card payments by the end of this year by integrating the technology of Google’s global mobile payment platform, Android Pay.

Source: MediaNama

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Xposed for Nougat Updated with Better MIUI Support

Many of us within the enthusiast Android community waited patiently for the Xposed Framework to be updated with Nougat support and that day arrived as an early Halloween gift this month. Since then, we’ve seen XDA Senior Recognized Developer rovo89 push out a quick compatibility update for Samsung device.  Today, the developer has announced an update to Xposed Framework that brings it up to v88.2 with its big addition including better support for MIUI devices.

As Xposed Framework for Nougat has been released, we’ve seen a number of popular Modules updated for it. For those who are interested, be sure to check out our tag to see all of the modules we’ve talked about here on XDA. The first quick bugfix update of Xposed did improve MIUI compatibility issues, but there were still some who had been reporting issues with it. For a while, people were using an unofficial release from XDA Senior Member Psy_Man which allowed version 88.1 to work on MIUI 7.9.21+ deodexed ROMs.

Earlier today before lunch rovo89 announced a new update to Xposed Framework that brings it up to version 88.2 and improves the framework’s support for MIUI devices. There is still a current issue open for these devices, but they recommend you try disabling resource hooks in the installer if you still get bootloops. We’re hopeful that this issue will be resolved in the near future but it’s not something that we should expect to happen immediately.

This new update also brings some other changes though, including another fix for Samsung devices that were bootlooping (specifically the Galaxy Note 8), and a fix for an odd bug that caused a crashes on OnePlus devices when they were at 100% battery. The new update will also attempt to detect an outdated (and therefore incompatible) Xposed Installer as well.

Check out this update in our Xposed forum

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Amazon Alexa App Now Available in India for the Upcoming Release of Echo

Amazon released Alexa and Echo for India on October 4, and now the Amazon Alexa app is available in India on the Google Play Store. The timing of the release of the app in India is crucial as the Amazon Echo lineup of smart speakers will ship to consumers later this week, and the app is necessary for the service. Amazon has beaten Google here in terms of timing, as the Google Home lineup still isn’t available in India. The Amazon Echo and Echo Plus cost INR 9999 ($154) and INR 14999 ($230) respectively in the country, and the Echo Dot is available for INR 4499 ($70).

The Alexa app can be used to add new skills, change settings, create new routines, and much more. The app can also be used for going through to-do lists when users are out shopping.

Ahead of the Echo launch, Amazon has partnered with local companies and brands to create India-specific skills. This includes the likes of NDTV, Ola, Saavn, Sportskeeda, Syska, and Times of India among others. Amazon has said there are already 10,000 skills available for India.

In terms of music, users will be able to choose from Amazon Music, Saavn, and TuneIn. NDTV stated that they could not get the Amazon Music to work, with their requests either being pushed to Saavn or Alexa saying that it couldn’t find the requested song in their library. They also faced an error with TuneIn.

If users already own an Echo device and wish to access local skills such as the ability to ask for local weather and traffic, setting up the app from from scratch is the best way, according to NDTV. Users can then choose from English (India) out of the four language options during setup. Users will also need to switch their residence address to India to ensure that the app works properly.

The Alexa app also has an option to setup the Amazon Tap, which isn’t available in India yet. For now, this should benefit users who have imported it, although it is unknown whether Tap will be launched in India.

Download Amazon Alexa from Google Play Store
Source: NDTV Gadgets 360

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Google Announces the YouTube TV Application for Android TV Devices

After many months of rumors and reports, Google officially announced YouTube TV back in April of this year. Since then, the company has worked on expanding the number of markets the service is available in and they’ve also added some additional content to the service. Today, the team at Google has revealed they will be releasing a dedicated Android TV application for those who are subscribed to their YouTube TV service.

YouTube has been the largest video-based website on the internet for years. Acquired by Google all the way back in 2006, we’ve seen the platform grow and transition into the mainstream media platform that it is today. Many video content creators are able to make a living on just the ad revenue brought in by their YouTube videos. Google had plans to continue expanding the brand though and they leveraged the infrastructure to launch YouTube TV earlier this year.

For $35 per month you can watch live TV from over 40 different networks and it comes with cloud storage with no DVR limits. However, it was only available on the smartphone or a web browser. For a service as important as YouTube TV, it was strange to see Google ignore their TV platform at launch. Thankfully it won’t be that way for long as the company has just announced a dedicated Android TV application for YouTube TV.

Not only will the application be made available on dedicated Android TV boxes (like the Nexus Player and NVIDIA Shield TV), but it will also be made available on smart TVs including those from LG, Samsung, and Sony. Other devices to receive this dedicated application include Apple TV and the Xbox One family of devices (Xbox One, Xbox One S, and soon Xbox One X). We aren’t told exactly when the application will be made available though, but Google says it should be available on Android TV “in the next few days.”

Here’s what’s new on this TV app:

  • Control your live TV experience with your TV’s remote control or game controller.
  • For a more cinematic look, [they] made the background dark on your TVs.
  • A new Live guide made for your big screen so you can get a sneak-peek at what’s airing soon.
  • Never miss the action with our background playback experience built for your big screen.
  • Easily pick up where you left off on another device when you get home.

Source: YouTube Blog

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Canalys: Smartphone Shipments Decline in China, Huawei Remains the Top Smartphone Manufacturer

A few days after publishing its report of the Indian smartphone market in Q3 2017, Canalys has published a report of the Chinese smartphone market in that same quarter. The Chinese smartphone market is the largest smartphone market in the world, with India having now overtaken the US to become the second largest market. However, according to the firm, smartphone shipments declined in China this quarter by 5% to 119 million units.

Huawei remains the top smartphone manufacturer in China, but the gap between the first, second and third-placed manufacturers is narrow, as Huawei, Oppo and Vivo took 19%, 18% and 17% market share respectively.

Compared to Q3 2016, Huawei grew shipments by 23% to to ship 22 million units. Oppo’s smartphone shipments, on the other hand, declined to 21 million units. Vivo’s growth rate was the best of the top five with 26% growth, making it the most impressive performer in the top 3 after shipping over 20 million units. Xiaomi and Apple placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

Canalys China Smartphone Market

Top five smartphone manufacturers in China

According to Canalys, Apple’s story of declining smartphone shipments in China is over for now, as shipments grew 40% from 8 million in Q3 2016 to 11 million in Q3 2017. This is Apple’s best performance in China in the last eight quarters, where the growth of the company has slowed considerably since the launch of the iPhone 6S in September 2015. The report stated that the mix of the iPhone 8 series at launch is also higher than the corresponding mix of the iPhone 7 series at launch last year. However, Canalys warned that “despite launching three new devices this year, Apple’s success in China could be short-lived.”

Canalys: Apple's recovery in China

Apple’s recovery in China in Q3 2017

According to Canalys Research Analyst Mo Jia, Apple’s growth this quarter is temporary. He stated that the high sell-in caters to the pent-up demand of iPhone upgraders in the absence of the iPhone X. Also, price cuts on previous generation iPhones after announcing the iPhone 8 have also helped. He predicted that it is unlikely for Apple to sustain this growth in Q4 2017.

The iPhone X has been regarded as an expensive device globally, but excitement for the launch of the iPhone X is building in China. Mr. Jia stated that even though the device would launch this week, the pricing structure and supply issues will restrain growth. He added that the iPhone X would enjoy a healthy grey market status, but Apple’s popularity is unlikely to be helped by it in the short term.

Declining shipments have become a major concern for many vendors in China, according to the market analysis firm. Canalys Research Analyst Hattie He predicted that the competition among the top vendors in China would remain tight with no clear winner in Q4. She also said that Q4 will be a highly competitive quarter because of the 11.11 online shopping festival.

Canalys also expects Xiaomi break the dominance of Huawei, Oppo and Vivo in Q4, on the account of its aggressive offline expansion in the country. This will result in even tighter competition for the top spot of the Chinese smartphone market.

Source: Canalys

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Master the Entire Microsoft Office Suite with These Immersive Courses

Anyone who’s worked in an office in the past decade is likely familiar with the Microsoft Office suite of applications. These are arguably the most popular and widely-used office programs in the world, and having at least a basic knowledge of programs like Word, Excel, and Powerpoint is a prerequisite for practically any modern job.

But knowing the basics of these programs isn’t enough to land you a competitive position anymore. This eLearnExcel + eLearnOffice course bundle will turn you into a Microsoft Office master, and a lifetime subscription is on sale now for just $49.

Through easy-to-follow lessons and bite-sized instructional videos led by Microsoft-approved experts, this bundle will get you up to speed on Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive, Outlook, Access, and Calendar—walking you through everything from the basics to the more advanced and specialized functions.

You’ll learn how to make calculations with complex formulas, create reports, analyze raw data values more effectively, and much more. And at the end of your training, you’ll even receive an internationally recognized, CPD-Certified master diploma in Excel to add to your resume. 

Stand out from the crowd and give your career the boost it deserves by acing the Microsoft Office suite with this eLearnExcel + eLearnOffice learning bundle. It’s on sale for 95% off at just $49.


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Huawei Encourages an Open ICT Ecosystem at this Year’s Huawei Eco-Connect Europe Event

Huawei recently held an event in Berlin for their Huawei Eco-Connect Europe conference and this year’s theme was “Go Digital – Go Cloud.” This is the company’s flagship event for the European region with the goal of emphasizing the need to create and shape an open and innovative information and communications technology (ICT) ecosystem which can empower the digital transformation of European businesses. The President of Huawei Western European Region, Vincent Pang, spoke during the event to share the company’s thoughts.

The company says that the “digital transformation” isn’t something that is to be considered a “future trend.” Telling the audience that “it’s happening now” while also believing that the process cannot be completed by one single company, or organization, alone.” This is the reason why they are working to build an open digital ecosystem as it will take the effort of many companies around the world for the transformation to go smoothly.

Huawei hopes that they are able to facilitate this open and innovative information and communications technology ecosystem by encouraging cross-industry innovation, creating a welcoming digital culture, and by bringing clear value to many European communities and enterprises. Again, the company feels that collaboration is key here and that is why they’ve worked to build over 2,000 partnerships including Intel, Altair, Commvault, KUKA, Orange Business Services, SAP and others.

Along with this digital transformation they also feel the cloud will also be important so during this event in Berlin, they announced plans to build a global cloud network that is based on its own public services. But again, they are also collaborating here so there will also be a number of cloud networks that are built together with partners. The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has been running their workloads on the public cloud that was jointly developed by Huawei and T-system, and the company hopes to expand upon this with help from the industry as the market grows.

Source: Huawei

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Partial Render of the OnePlus 5T Leaks, Shows Thinner Bezels

Many of us are still getting used to the idea of OnePlus releasing more than one flagship smartphone each year. This raised a lot of resentment last year as it was simply unexpected, but now that we’re hearing rumors about it happening again, which makes it seem as if this could be a yearly thing. Many of other smartphone OEMs release two flagship smartphones each year and today we get a nice, clear look at the top half of what has become known as the OnePlus 5T.

Many are assuming that it will follow the same naming scheme as last year, which would further establish the “T” revisions as a yearly release. Exactly one week ago we reported on an alleged render of the OnePlus 5T and in that image we saw almost non-existent side bezels with very slim top and bottom bezels. This matches the trend we’ve been seeing in the smartphone industry this year so again, it makes sense that OnePlus would release such a device.

Today, we’re getting another look at the device and while we’re only seeing the top half of the OnePlus 5T, it’s a much clearer and detailed view of the device. Again, we’re seeing very thin side bezels and a much slimmer top bezel than we’re used to seeing from OnePlus smartphones. Since we know there won’t be a Snapdragon 836 SoC from Qualcomm for them to upgrade, we should look at other improvements OnePlus made last year to see what we can expect this year.

Besides the improved SoC, we also saw an upgrade to the front-facing camera. So it would make sense to see OnePlus upgrade the cameras in the OnePlus 5T when compared to the OnePlus 5. Rumor has it that we’ll be seeing a dual camera setup on the back of the device like the OnePlus 5, but this time it will be with dual 20MP sensors.

Source: @evleaks

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MIUI 9 Global Stable ROM is Rolling Out to the Mi 6 and Mi Mix 2

Xiaomi first announced MIUI 9 back in July of this year and since then we’ve seen the company testing the beta version of the update with multiple batches of devices. The company has given us a list of which devices will be receiving the Global Beta and we can assume that each of them will eventually be receiving the Global Stable version as well. Today, we have learned that people with the Mi Mix 2 and the Mi 6 are both currently receiving the Global Stable build of MIUI 9.

We’re seeing MIUI V9.0.1.0.NCAMEI as the firmware version that is currently being rolled out to the Mi Mix 2, and MIUI V9.0.1.0.NDDMIEI as the version that is being sent to the Mi Max 2. These are a couple of Xiaomi’s latest smartphone releases, so it makes sense for them to be receiving a stable build of MIUI 9. This is how most smartphone OEMs handle these things as well since they want to reward those who most recently spent money on their devices.

As we mentioned during the launch event of MIUI 9, this update brings a lot of features to the table that fans of Xiaomi have been waiting for. Many felt that MIUI 8 was very fast and brought a lot of good features (besides the notification system), and the company continues that progress with this latest update. Those receiving the new update will see new icons, new animations when closing and launching applications and a number of system optimizations all across the platform.

MIUI 9 users will now have access to the multi-window mode and they’ll have the ability to search for applications in the Dual applications mode. The improvements of the new update include better protection from unintentional tapping for Dial pad, improved timers for Silent/DND mode, and a redesigned home page. There have also been some changes made to the cleaner and virus scan features of the platform.

Source: GSM Arena Source: Xiaomi

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