December 31, 2018

The advent of any new technology is accompanied with complaints, as seen with Wing’s delivery drones, but in the case of self-driving cars there have been more radical expressions of discontent. As Waymo tests and operates vehicles in Phoenix, some Arizona residents have taken to threatening or even damaging the cars.

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New Year’s is just around the corner and, as every year, events around the world are ringing in 2019 with huge celebrations. If you’re staying home but don’t want to miss out on the fun, here’s where to watch New Year’s Eve celebrations on Chromecast, Android TV, and more.

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Earlier this month, the Play Store added a built-in feature to make donations to charitable organizations right from Android. At the same time, Google Assistant quietly added an even simpler way to contribute to good causes with just your voice on all your smart devices.

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9to5Toys Last Call: Anker Gold Box from $11, Philips Hue HomeKit Lighting 25% off, Fire TV Cube $60, more

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Chrome OS was originally a laptop platform, but slowly it’s being reworked for tablet form factors. However, as that goes on, there have been some hiccups. Most recently, many have noted the poor performance of tablet mode especially on Chrome OS products like the Pixel Slate, but it seems a fix for that lag is incoming.

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Once a faucet starts to leak, often times that tap is going to keep on leaking. That’s exactly what happens with almost every major smartphone launch, including the Samsung Galaxy S10.  expand full story

Security researchers hijack celebrity Twitter accounts, and prove claimed fix failed

Security researchers have hijacked a number of celebrity Twitter accounts – including that of Louis Theroux – to post unauthorized tweets. They have also demonstrated that Twitter’s claimed fix for the problem didn’t work …

Google’s work in messaging services has resulted mostly in a lot of headaches, but one major success for the company has been its video calling app Duo. Now, we’re getting a first look at Google Duo group calls as well as a new low light mode.

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LG G7 ThinQ kicks off 2019 w/ official Android Pie update

LG has had a tough time over the past couple of years, even despite releasing a few quality handsets and some very impressive hardware — at least on paper. That said, the LG G7 ThinQ might have flown under the radar for most out there, but is set to get its taste of Android Pie tomorrow.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 gets a fourth Android Pie beta update w/ touchscreen issue fixes

Updates for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Android Pie beta are coming thick and fast. We’ve already seen the device get a few updates already, but now for users in India, Germany and South Korea, a fourth update is steadily rolling out with the rest of the world getting the update very soon.

Nokia 9 PureView leak of press images seemingly confirm 5 cameras, in-display fingerprint reader

The latest flagship from HMD Global, the Nokia 9 PureView, with its odd trypophobia-inducing rear camera array has leaked yet again, this time in press renders. These renders showcase the rear and drop a massive hint that the Nokia 9 PureView will also include an in-display fingerprint reader.

A study of 34 of the most popular Android apps found that at least 20 of them are sending user data to Facebook without consent.

The data transmitted ranges from the innocuous to the sensitive – such as whether the user has children – and is likely to be illegal in the case of European citizens …

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December 30, 2018

The Chromecast celebrated its fifth anniversary this year and was Google’s first big hardware success. It is a very affordable and easy to use streaming device, though an upcoming update next month will remove the ability to set the dongle up from Chrome for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

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Featured Snippets in Google Search provide users with direct answers and are leveraged during voice queries on Assistant and Home speakers. On the web, Google sometimes shows videos queued to the relevant timestamp and is now directly highlighting answers on AMP articles when users click-through to the full answer.

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For Google, “presenting” major sporting events and award shows have served as a good way to advertise its brand and paid services. The latest sponsorship is for the Times Square Ball Drop broadcast and musical show on New Year’s Eve to showcase YouTube Music.

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December 29, 2018

From face recognition to fingerprints, biometric data is widely used in today’s consumer technology to sort through pictures, unlock phones, and more. Some states have passed privacy laws to govern usage, with the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) in Illinois allowing individuals to seek damages. A lawsuit involving Google Photos was just dismissed in a win for the company.

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In this week’s top stories: Fresh news on Google’s Android TV, Samsung’s Android Pie roadmap is revealed, all we’ve seen of Fuchsia disappears, Google’s Messages web app changes its URL, and much more.

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December 28, 2018

Earlier this week, we reported that just about everything we’ve seen about Fuchsia is now gone, as the “Armadillo” UI has been deleted. In its place, we only have references to what seem, in context, to be three other “shells” or user interfaces which are all kept closed-source by Google. However, one of these, “Dragonglass,” may offer more answers than we initially thought.

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Google Photos suggesting ‘Best of 2018’ photo book as Google News recaps ‘Year in News’

The year is rapidly coming to a close and Google’s various services over the past few weeks have released recaps. Google News is now offering users a “Year in News” collection, while Google Photos is suggesting “Best of 2018” photo books.

The past year hasn’t been kind to Essential, the startup behind 2017’s PH-1. Now, the company has confirmed to 9to5Google that the Essential Phone won’t be restocked as the company shifts its focus to future products.

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Google begins rolling out Spam Protection in Messages

Earlier this month, our APK Insight of Messages 3.9 revealed Google’s work on “Spam Protection” for Android’s default SMS/RCS client. The feature is now beginning to roll out for some users.

9to5Toys Last Call: Fire HD Tablet $100, Linksys Velop Wi-Fi Routers $320, Amazon Digital Day HD Movie Sale, more

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9to5Toys Lunch Break delivers the best deals every day of the week at 12:30PM EST. This includes price drops on all sorts of Apple products from iPad to MacBook and everything in between, as well as HomeKit gear, accessories of all kinds and so much more.

You’ll also find our daily coverage of the coolest new gear and gadgets from across the internet along with our New Toy of the Day, product reviews, giveaways and app sales. Head below for today’s top deals and most interesting new products in the world of tech and beyond…

Hopefully, you’re enjoying your brand new Pixel 3, had one for a while or are thinking that you might get one soon, for that reason we’ve compiled a few of our best tips and tricks for any potential Pixel 3 user out there. expand full story

In the streaming market, Android TV is still far from the largest platform out there, paling in comparison to the mighty Roku. However, it’s clearly growing with the recent reveal that “tens of millions” of users are on the platform. Half of that comes from pay TV operators, but why? Here’s why pay TV operators seem to love Google’s Android TV so much.

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[Update: Not present in final build] Adoptable storage may be heading to Samsung devices w/ the Android Pie update

Google has introduced a lot of handy features to Android over the years, and one of the most useful is that of adoptable storage. Despite its huge benefits, though, Samsung has not enabled it on its various devices. Now, though, it appears Samsung adoptable storage may finally be coming thanks to Android Pie.

Hot on the heels of the Oxygen OS Open Beta 1 comes the Oxygen OS Open Beta 2 for the OnePlus 6T, whilst the Oxygen OS Open Beta 10 is heading to OnePlus 6. Both update packages bring with them a slew of system improvements, updates and UI tweaks with a focus on the display and color. expand full story

December 27, 2018

Just this week Google revealed new information about Android TV, confirming that over 100 pay TV operators are using the platform. Now, we’re getting a sneak peek at a new Android TV box from Windstream which, as a bonus, may be launching with Android Pie.

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9to5Toys Last Call: Bose QC 35 II Headphones $260, QNAP 3-bay NAS $170, Scosche 4000mAh USB-C Power Bank $15, more

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Last month, alleged photos of a device referred to by many as the Pixel 3 ‘Lite’ leaked suggesting that Google was developing a mid-range phone. This reveal was followed by a notch-less Pixel 3 XL ‘Lite’ in early December, with both Made by Google phones reportedly launching this spring in the U.S.

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The marriage of Chrome OS and Android apps is still very much in its early days. As Google continually works out bugs and improves things, new features are bound to make their way over from Android. Currently, it’s looking like Google is considering bringing adoptable storage over from Android to Chrome OS.

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Nokia’s Android Pie rollout continues this week with the mid-range Nokia 5.1 Plus

As Android Pie continues its slow rollout to various smartphones, Nokia is working its way through updating its portfolio. This week, that continues with the Nokia 5.1 Plus picking up its Android Pie update.

If CES 2019 proves anything like last year, we’re going to see a whole lot of Google Assistant at the show. Kicking things off this morning, just a couple of weeks ahead of the annual show, LG is showing off a new collection of high-end soundbars with Google Assistant built-in.

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President Trump is reported to be considering declaring a ‘national emergency’ that would see US companies banned from purchasing and using telecommunications equipment made by Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE.

An earlier ban prohibits government use of technology made by the two companies, extending to contractors working for the US government, but the new legislation would apply to all US companies …

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December 26, 2018

Google Store discounts Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL to $599 until New Year’s Eve

With the launch of the Pixel 3 in October, Google discounted the Pixel 2 XL. This marked the second year that the last-generation Made by Google phone saw a price drop. The Google Store is now discounting both the Pixel 2 and 2 XL by $50 until New Year’s Eve.

Retailers and tech companies like Alphabet and Amazon are exploring drones to more efficiently deliver goods to customers. Wing graduated from the X Moonshot Factory in July, but has been conducting tests for several years now. A new report details what living with the pilot program is like.

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In yet another nail in the coffin for the Android brand, Google will soon move its Messages web app from Android.com to Google.com, according to an upcoming change to Chrome OS.

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Our avid readers know that Google is working on a new operating system for phones, computers, and just about everything else, called Fuchsia. We’ve seen it in a variety of demos over the last year and a half, all of which featured a UI, codenamed “Armadillo.” Now it seems that Armadillo, and thus everything about Fuchsia we’ve “seen,” has been removed.

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Smartphones get more impressive year by year with better chipsets, better software, and more capable cameras. There are dozens of smartphones to pick from in the Android world, and selecting the best is actually pretty tough. As the year comes to a close, what phone would you give the award for the best Android smartphone of 2018?

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9to5Toys Last Call: Google Wifi Three-Pack $207, Yale Assure Smart Deadbolt $122, Anker 5W Qi Charger $20, more

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Honor View 20 fully unveiled w/ 6.4-inch punch-hole display, 48MP camera, laser-etched glass pattern

Following a brief teaser earlier month, Huawei’s sub-brand Honor has officially unveiled its latest smartphone. The new Honor View 20 is one of the first devices from the company to adopt the punch-hole display design, some crazy camera specs, and a spiffy new glass pattern on the back.

Android TV sees huge growth with over 100 pay TV providers around the world

Android TV is far from the leader in the streaming market right now. However, it continues to see growth each year. Now, it’s been revealed that Google’s platform has landed on over 100 pay TV operators around the world.

OnePlus is on the short list of Android OEMs who have pushed out updates to Android Pie. Today, though, the OnePlus 5 and 5T are getting final, stable updates to Android Pie via OTA.

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December 25, 2018

Google Play Store brings back one-time $.99 movie rental deal

Over the weekend, the Play Store offered some users discounts on apps, games, and IAPs. The latest Google Play deal ends on Wednesday and brings back the ever popular $.99 movie rental.

December 24, 2018

Christmas time is here and one of the most treasured aspects is about to kickoff when St. Nick leaves the North Pole to deliver presents around the world. Since 2004, the Google Santa Tracker has followed that journey and this year is no different. Google has added more features over time, like fun educational games and even the ability to Call Santa.

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9to5Toys Lunch Break: Samsung Dex Pad $53, LG V35 ThinQ + DayDream VR $500, Sennheiser Headphones $112, more

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Made by Google is well into its third year with the hardware business especially benefiting from the holidays. A lot of Google Home speakers, Home Hub Smart Displays, and other Assistant devices will likely get unboxed tomorrow morning following a flurry of deals. One investor predicts that Google will make approximately $3 billion in profit this year from hardware.

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HQ Words app launches, hoping to revive growth after declining interest in HQ Trivia

HQ Trivia, first launched on the iPhone and iPad, and later rolled out to Apple TV, has seen its popularity wane since its launch in the summer of 2017. Intermedia Labs is now hoping that its latest offering, HQ Words, will restore growth …

Nova Launcher Prime drops to ‘lowest possible price’ for the holidays as it celebrates 7 years

Third-party launchers are a powerful part of Android, and Nova Launcher has long been the go-to option for thousands of users. Now, for the holiday season, Nova Launcher Prime is getting a huge discount to its “lowest possible price.”

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