About the Author

Ben Schoon

@NexusBen

Obsessed with all things tech, Ben has a soft spot for Google’s products from Pixel to Android TV and more. He can be found writing news daily on 9to5Google and creating videos and reviews for the site’s YouTube channel. Before starting at 9to5, Ben ran a small publication which a friend now owns. He married his wife Melissa in June of 2019.

Ben is active on Twitter, but you can also directly reach him for questions or tips through email.

Email: schoon@9to5mac.com | Encrypted Email: benschoon@protonmail.com

Twitter: @nexusben | Instagram: @nexusben | benschoon.com

Ben Schoon's Favorite Gear

Today

After being announced earlier this month at CES, Verizon has just put the new Fossil Gen 5 LTE up for sale in the United States, though it does come with one caveat.

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Stadia offers Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, WWE 2K Battlegrounds free this weekend [U]

Google Stadia has offered a few “free play” weekends for select games over the past several months. Now, you can play Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint and WWE 2K Battlegrounds for free on Stadia for a few days.

In an effort to bring all of your messaging apps into a single place, Beeper does the heavy lifting and can even bring iMessage to Android and Windows.

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Nvidia GeForce Now expands to Australia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia this year

2020 was a huge year for cloud gaming as Google Stadia fell into its own, Amazon Luna launched in early access, and Microsoft xCloud opened to the public. Through all of that, Nvidia GeForce Now has also been working on expansions, and today, the platform has a big reveal. GeForce Now is heading to Australia later this year in its latest country expansion.

January 20

Roku is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of TCL’s TV lineup, but the company has been producing Android TV-equipped models for a few years now. This week, TCL has confirmed that it will update its 2019 and 2020 releases to Android TV 11.

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LG’s space in the smartphone market has been chipped away at for years, but next year the company might actually call it quits. That’s right, LG has officially confirmed that it’s considering leaving the smartphone market in 2022.

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January 19

One of our favorite streaming devices available today is the $49 Chromecast with Google TV. However, since the device launched in September, quite a few users have run into a problem with the Chromecast with Google TV crashing and showing a “can’t load Android system, your data may be corrupt” screen. Here’s how to fix that if it happens to you.

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If you’re an Nvidia Shield TV owner, another update is headed your way. Shield Experience Upgrade 8.2.2 brings support for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S controllers to Nvidia Shield TV.

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Galaxy Tab S7 series gets Android 11 update, adds ‘Second Screen’ support for Windows PCs

Samsung’s One UI 3.0 rollout has expanded to quite a few different smartphones at this point, and now it’s heading to tablets. The Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+ are now getting Android 11.

Stadia-exclusive Outcasters adds two new character packs, bug fixes w/ latest patch

One of the few compelling exclusives on Stadia is the multiplayer Outcasters. Now, Outcasters is picking up its first update of 2021 with support for two new character packs and a bunch of bug fixes.

Last year’s Snapdragon 865 series of flagship chips has been replaced by the Snapdragon 888, but it turns out Qualcomm isn’t done with its 800 series just yet. As an alternative to the top-end chip, the Snapdragon 870 is coming this year, and it’s already confirmed for quite a few devices.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 3 arrives in US w/ Wireless DeX, removable battery, rugged hardware

Samsung’s tablet portfolio has included rugged options for quite some time, and today the company is launching another model. The Galaxy Tab Active 3 brings mostly mid-range specs, but some welcome additions too.

January 18

Last year’s Galaxy Buds+ were some of the best truly wireless earbuds to date, but they still left quite a bit of room for improvement. For 2021, Samsung is launching the Galaxy Buds Pro that provide a new design, additional features, and a higher price tag. Through it all, they might be Samsung’s best earbuds to date.

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We’ve already called Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro some of our favorites in recent memory, and now they’re getting a first update that delivers two enhancements and a collection of bug fixes and performance improvements.

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On January 20th, Hitman 3 is set to debut on Google Stadia alongside other platforms. In preparation for that release, IO Interactive is taking Hitman 1 and 2 offline on Stadia for the sake of maintenance.

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Samsung has updated these phones to Android 11

It usually takes Android OEMs a fair bit to get the latest version of the OS on older devices, but Samsung has been getting better and better at this every year. For Android 11, the official update schedule kicked off in early December and continues to expand. Here’s every device Samsung has updated to Android 11 so far.

Android updates nowadays are usually pretty stable, but issues can still crop up and go some time without a patch. With Android 11, some users have noticed problems with game controller input being ignored by the system, and it’s still happening.

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After announcing that a partnership with Google would bring Nest devices to SmartThings this year, Samsung is about to integrate with one of Google’s platforms. Alongside the reveal of the Galaxy S21 series, Samsung has revealed that SmartThings is coming to Android Auto.

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The more affordable but still excellent Galaxy S20 FE is one of our favorite Samsung phones of the year, which had us a bit disappointed that it was left out of Samsung’s initial Android 11 rollout. Now, Samsung is starting to roll Android 11 and One UI 3.0 to the S20 FE.

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January 16

Google may require AV1 codec support on all new Android TV devices starting March 31

Google’s Android TV platform powers set-top boxes, dongles, projectors, and even TVs themselves. As the shift to Google TV has been ongoing, Google is laying down a new requirement for all new Android TV devices — they must support the AV1 streaming codec.

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