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7
Jun

Shawn Mendes Breaks Apple Music Record to Become Most-Streamed Pop Album of 2018 in One Week


Singer/songwriter Shawn Mendes has broken the latest Apple Music record, with his self-titled third album becoming the most-streamed pop album of 2018 in under one week (via Billboard). Released on May 25, the new Shawn Mendes album was accompanied by a collection of bonus material on Apple Music, including a Beats 1 interview with Zane Lowe, exclusive live concert and Q&A session, playlists, and more.

The previous record holder for most-streamed pop album of 2018 was Justin Timberlake’s “Man of the Woods,” which launched in February. In the wake of the news, Apple Music confirmed that Mendes has also surpassed one billion global streams on the music service, encompassing his three studio albums, singles, and live recordings.

There have been a few record breaking stories related to Apple Music this year, most recently with rapper J. Cole breaking the record for most album streams in the first 24 hours in the United States. Prior to that, Cardi B’s “Invasion of Privacy” set a new record for first-week streams by a female artist on Apple Music, beating Taylor Swift’s “Reputation.”

According to the last count, Apple Music has over 50 million users total, combining those paying for the service and anyone on a free trial. The last specific paid count sat at 40 million in April, compared to 71 million listeners paying for Spotify.

Apple Music isn’t tipped for a major revamp in iOS 12, but beta testers have discovered that artist profiles will be slightly upgraded in the new software with bigger portraits and a handy shuffle-all Play button. Subscribers will also be able to search for some songs even if they only know a snippet of the track’s lyrics.

Tag: Apple Music
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7
Jun

Class Action Lawsuit: Apple Watches Have Defective Displays That Can Spontaneously Detach


A new class action lawsuit filed against Apple this week alleges that all Apple Watch models suffer from a defect that causes the display to “crack, shatter, or detach from the body of the watch, through no fault of the wearer.”

The proposed class is all current and former owners of all models, sizes, and variants of the Apple Watch, including the original, Series 1, Series 2, and Series 3 generations, purchased in the United States between April 2015 and present, according to court documents obtained by MacRumors.

The complaint, filed in Northern California district court, alleges that Apple has sold millions of watches with the defect throughout the United States, and “either knew, or should have known,” about the display issues. Apple is said to have “actively concealed” and “failed to disclose” the defect to customers.

The complaint adds that Apple’s internal policy is to “deny the existence of the defect, claim the defect is the result of accidental damage caused by consumers, and then refuse to honor its limited warranty on those grounds,” resulting in customers facing expensive fees to repair or replace their defective watches.

Apple Watch out-of-warranty service fees range from $229 to $329 in the United States, excluding high-end Edition models.

The lawsuit was brought against Apple by Colorado resident Kenneth Sciacca, who purchased an Apple Watch Series 2 in December 2016. In or around March 2018, the screen on Sciacca’s watch is said to have “unexpectedly detached from the watch’s body shortly after he removed the watch from its charger.”

The complaint cites a handful of comments from the Apple Support Communities, and similar complaints can be found scattered across the MacRumors forums, Reddit, Twitter, and other discussion platforms.

Apple has acknowledged issues with swollen batteries in select original and Series 2 models, which can cause the display to pop off, and offered free repairs up to three years after purchase, according to internal guidelines previously obtained by MacRumors. However, the complaint alleges that Apple refuses to extend the free repairs to watches with detached displays but no swollen battery.

Apple is accused of unlawful business acts and practices, in violation of California’s Business and Professions Code, in addition to violating California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, breaching express and implied warranties, and unjust enrichment.

The complaint is seeking damages to fully compensate affected Apple Watch owners for all losses sustained as a result of the alleged defect, plus further relief as seen fit by the court. A jury trial has been demanded.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4Tag: lawsuitBuyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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7
Jun

US DOJ to Consult With MVNOs on T-Mobile/Sprint Merger


As part of its antitrust examination into the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, the US Department of Justice is looking at how the two firms combining would affect smaller wireless carriers that frequently buy network access on larger networks to resell to “pre-paid or price-conscious consumers” according to a report from Reuters.

There are concerns, the report claims, that because Sprint and T-Mobile are more popular for smaller mobile virtual network operator or MVNO carriers looking to resell cellular service to users, a combined firm may result in higher costs for those MVNOs and their customers because of decreased competition.

The Justice Department, which is evaluating T-Mobile’s $26 billion deal to buy Sprint, has been speaking with small wireless operators that buy access to the major wireless networks at wholesale rates, and is seeking their opinions about the merger.

There’s no indication yet that this part of the antitrust investigation could cause any issues for the merger, but it does illustrate how complicated these large telecom mergers can be and how many different issues they can affect.

Back in April, Sprint and T-Mobile — the third- and fourth-largest mobile carriers in the US – agreed to combine into a giant carrier with more customers than AT&T. The companies hope to complete the merger by the first half of next year, but have to get approval from antitrust regulators first.

Tags: Sprint, T-Mobile
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7
Jun

BlackBerry KEY2 hands-on: It’s all about speed


BlackBerry’s renaissance launched with aplomb last year with the BlackBerry KEYone. A year on, and two new variants later, including the first dual SIM BlackBerry ever, the company is back with its new keyboard-toting phone, the BlackBerry KEY2. It’s got an updated design, a new special key, and the first ever dual camera on a BlackBerry, but should this be your new phone? Let’s take a look!

blackberry key2

The KEYone inspired nostalgia amongst BlackBerry users everywhere, with a design reminiscent of iconic devices such as the BlackBerry Bold 9000. The BlackBerry KEY2 brings a few tweaks based on feedback from users, partners, and customers, and builds on this with an emphasis on a better overall typing experience. The curves of the KEYone have been replaced by a flatter design with straighter edges, and the device is one millimeter thinner as well as 12 grams lighter. The result is a much better in-hand experience more conducive to one-handed typing. The keys have also moved to the righthand side of the KEY2 — with the power button gaining a textured finish — to provide a more seamless experience and look.

The KEY2’s typing experience is where it really shines thanks to 20% larger keys

The KEY2’s typing experience is where it really shines. The keys are now 20 percent larger and there’s more room for them, now that the glass display stretches all the way to the top of the phone. Personally, I found the KEYone keyboard to be a little cramped, but the KEY2 is more comfortable to use. Like the KEYone, there’s the fingerprint sensor in the space bar, and it works well whether the phone is flat on a table or in your hand.

blackberry key2

The big addition to the keyboard is the new speed key. One of the best parts of the BlackBerry experience is the ability to program a key to quickly launch apps, shortcuts, or other features directly from your homescreen when you tap or long press it. On the KEYone, you had to go back to the homescreen to use it, but you no longer have to with BlackBerry KEY2 — pressing the speed key and activating your shortcut will work regardless of which app you are in. The larger keys provide excellent tactile feedback and the keyboard still comes with all the swipe gestures and functionality we’ve come to expect from BlackBerry’s physical keyboards.

blackberry key2

The speed key isn’t the only new feature on the KEY2, it also features the company’s first dual camera offering. The back has two 12MP sensors, with the main sensor offering f/1.8 aperture and 1.28μm pixel size. The second sensor has a 12MP resolution with an f/2.6 aperture, 1µ pixel size, and a telephoto lens offering 2X zoom. The BlackBerry KEY2 uses both lenses to offer a portrait mode because it’s 2018 and every camera offers this feature. The front camera has an 8MP sensor with an f/2.0 aperture and 1.12μm pixel size.

Neither rear camera offers optical image stabilization and portrait mode is limited to just the rear cameras, but it’s an improvement over previous BlackBerry devices nonetheless. While the hardware is new, the real story is the software, which BlackBerry said it heavily refined to capture much better pictures. We’ll have to wait for the full review to confirm this, but the early signs are promising.

blackberry key2

The BlackBerry KEY2 runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, and BlackBerry confirmed the device will get an update to Android P, although it wouldn’t say past that. The software experience is largely what we’ve come to expect from BlackBerry, and its best-in-class DTEK security suite now features an updated UI. A couple of interesting additions to DTEK include the ability to see whether apps are running in the background or foreground, which is particularly useful for finding apps you’ve never opened that consistently run in the background and turning them off.

DTEK has also gained new sensitive permissions, which will help alleviate any security concerns users may have. Out of the box, the microphone and camera are set as sensitive permissions. When an app is trying to use either of these, you’ll get a notification and will have to explicitly grant it access. This could stop rogue apps and also provide you with an understanding of which apps use these features. If the phone app asks for permission to use the microphone, you’ll obviously want to grant it. If the calculator asks to use your microphone, you might want to think twice.

blackberry key2

The other big addition to the software experience is a new Private Locker feature, which creates a private area on your phone. While other Android phones also offer this feature, BlackBerry’s integration is a little different. Inside the locker you can add apps, photos, files, documents and more. Photos added to the locker don’t appear in the regular gallery and won’t back up to the cloud.

The Private locker lets you hide apps from your homescreen or app drawer, which is great for hiding your banking apps

Even more interesting, the Private locker lets you hide apps in the locker from your homescreen or app drawer. This is particularly useful for hiding sensitive items like banking apps, and the only way to launch them is to either access via the locker or using keyboard shortcuts. Everything in the Private Locker is only accessible via your fingerprint, password, or pin. Even when you launch an app in the locker using a keyboard shortcut, you’ll need to authenticate before opening it.

blackberry key2

Those changes aside, the rest of the BlackBerry KEY2 experience is similar to the KEYone, with a few hardware updates. The KEY2 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor and comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage standard. The first version of the KEYone — which only had 3GB of RAM — was a little sluggish in every day use. 6GB of RAM will go a long way to prevent any performance issues this time around. Versions with up to 128GB of storage and dual SIM functionality will be available in select non-U.S. markets, but the KEY2 will only come in the 6GB and 64GB variant stateside.

The display is the same 4.5-inch Full HD LCD panel with 3:2 aspect ratio as the KEYone, though the glass extending to the top of the phone makes it feel a little more immersive. There’s a USB Type-C port, as well as a headphone jack (which Blackberry said it has no plans to drop anytime soon). There’s also dual speakers, improvements in the antenna positioning, LTE Cat 9 offering 300Mbps download speeds, and Gorilla Glass 3 protection over the display.

blackberry key2

The 3,500mAh battery unit supports Quick Charge 3.0 and should last about two days, according to the company. To improve your battery experience, the new Power Center app lets you see how much battery individual apps are using, and whether any apps are slowing your device down. The app gives you recommendations on improving battery life.

BlackBerry is also using machine learning to help you manage your battery life. The Power Center application will learn your charging habits and use this data to predict whether you’ll run out of battery. If you always charge around 11 p.m., the phone will learn this. If you’ve been using the phone heavily in the morning, it’ll try and work out if you’re likely to make it to your charging window without running out of juice. Instead of having to wait to hit the five percent low battery warning, it’ll prompt you hours in advance so you have time to find an outlet and top the battery up.

Instead of having to wait to hit the low battery warning, it’ll prompt you hours in advance so you have time to find an outlet and top the battery up.

The BlackBerry KEY2 will launch by the end of June in the U.S. and other select markets like Canada, the U.K., Germany, France, and China. It’ll then roll out to other markets starting in July. It’ll cost $649 in the U.S., with pricing in other markets to be confirmed later.

The BlackBerry KEY2 brings a host of tweaks to improve the overall experience, but the updated keyboard is its biggest change. The larger keys make for a much better typing experience and will be a welcome change for anyone who had issues with the small keys of the original KEYone.

blackberry key2

What do you think of the BlackBerry KEY2 and do you plan to buy one? Check out the rest of our BlackBerry KEY2 coverage below and let us know your views in the comments below!

  • BlackBerry KEY2 Specs: two cameras and twice the power
  • BlackBerry KEY2: when can you buy it?
  • BlackBerry KEY2 is official: Better keyboard, more RAM, and dual cameras
  • Here are our favorite BlackBerry KEY2 features
7
Jun

Blackberry Key2 hands-on review



Research Center:

Blackberry Key2

Enough with the nostalgia, it’s back to business for BlackBerry. The BlackBerry Key2 is its follow-up to last year’s surprise hit, the BlackBerry KeyOne. Yes, BlackBerry is still around. Yes, there’s a physical keyboard. No, it’s not BlackBerry OS, but Android.

The Key2 is a spectacularly refined successor, improving on the KeyOne in every single way. If the Key2 were a person, it would be the dashing CEO to a successful megacorporation. It redefines suave.

Elegant and charming

Put the Key2 next to the KeyOne, and the differences are striking. The Key2, which is a tad taller, oozes elegance. It’s thinner and more angular all around, with chamfered edges offering a firm grip when held in the palm. The utilitarian design strips away all unnecessary fluff on the front of the phone.

The 4.5-inch screen moves up a little, and the bezels surrounding the display have shrunk, giving the Key2 a slightly more contemporary look. You’ll still find capacitive Android navigation controls below the screen, but all the other buttons on the phone are now on the right edge — including the power button and the Convenience Key. The power button is textured, so you’ll know which one you’re about to press.

At the bottom is a USB Type-C charging port, with speaker grilles surrounding it, and at the top edge is a headphone jack that’s slightly off-center. This slightly askew placement may be the only design flaw we’ve found with the Key2: It just looks strange, and we compulsively want to correct it ourselves.

If the Key2 were a person, it would be the dashing CEO to a successful megacorporation. It redefines suave.

The back of the phone isn’t too different from the KeyOne. The soft-touch material feels nice to the touch, and best of all, it doesn’t capture grubby fingerprint marks like most glass phones these days. It’ll almost always look presentable. The camera isn’t as big and bold as the KeyOne. There are two lenses now, but they manage to look understated.

The IPS LCD screen has a 1,620 x 1,080 pixel resolution, with a pixel density of 434 pixels per inch and a 3:2 aspect ratio. The screen looks sharp, colorful, and bright enough to see on an overcast day. Blacks don’t look as rich as we’ve seen on OLED screens, but we didn’t have any qualms about the 4.5-inch display here. It’s protected by Gorilla Glass 3, which is a bit of a disappointment as most flagship phones use the stronger Gorilla Glass 5.

Blackberry Key2 Compared To

Blackberry KeyOne

BlackBerry Priv

Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE

HTC Rezound

HTC Amaze 4G

T-Mobile Sidekick 4G

T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Slide

Samsung Infuse 4G

HTC Inspire 4G

Motorola Atrix 4G

Samsung Epic 4G

Motorola Devour

Samsung Moment

Motorola Cliq

T-Mobile G1

Despite being slightly taller in length than its predecessor, the Key2 is 12 grams lighter, and feels comfortable to hold. We also didn’t have any problems reaching the top of the screen. The only downside with the build of the phone is that it’s still not water resistant. It’s unfortunate, but understandable considering the technical hurdle with a physical keyboard.

The Key2 looks sharp, suave, and elegant. There are two color options: Silver and Black. We’re torn on which we’d pick, because we love the subtle look of the all-black color; but the accents on the silver color really do elevate the refined design of the Key2. It’s a good problem to have.

The perfect keyboard, and a new key

The Key2, like the KeyOne, is all about the physical keyboard. If it’s not good, then what’s the point? The company told Digital Trends it spent an enormous amount of time playing around with different designs of the keyboard to make sure it’s perfect. It is. We can’t think of a better word to describe it.

We’ve talked about transitioning from an iPhone X touchscreen keyboard to the BlackBerry KeyOne keyboard — a fun experiment, but our typing speed became a lot slower. With the Key2, moving the screen a little higher means there’s more room at the bottom for a slightly bigger keyboard. The raised frets are gone between the rows of keys, the keys are a tad bigger, and in general, there’s more breathing room.

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The matte keys slope down a bit, and they deliver a satisfying tactile sensation when pressed — they’re not too mushy, but they’re certainly not stiff. The extra room really does help us type faster. That’s not to mention the fact that the backlit keyboard is still capacitive, meaning you can flick upwards under the predictive word bar to use suggested words quickly for even faster typing.

The keyboard also doubles as a trackpad, allowing you to scroll through the Android operating system and apps. Each key also can be mapped to an app or shortcut twice — a short press and a long press. For example, tap the M key to launch Google Maps, and then press and hold the M key to launch a messaging app. That’s a lot of shortcuts, and they’re often easy to remember. It helps minimize contact with the touchscreen, so your fingers are always close to the convenient keyboard.

The matte keys slope down a bit, and they deliver a satisfying tactile sensation when pressed.

But the biggest change to the Key2’s keyboard is the addition of a new key. It’s called the Speed Key, and it replaces the extra shift key that sat on the far right side of the keyboard. If you’re in an app, press and hold the Speed Key, and then short tap or long tap any other key to jump to a remapped app. It’s kind of like alt-tabbing on a computer, but it gets you where you want to go much faster — perfect for multi-taskers. For example, if you’re in Chrome, but you want to jump to Gmail, press and hold the Speed Key, and then tap the G key (presuming you’ve remapped the G key to Gmail). You’ll jump straight into the app, without having to exit Chrome, opening the app drawer, and finding the Gmail icon.

We’ve fallen in love with the Key2’s keyboard in the brief time we’ve played around with it. Will it make us transition from a touchscreen keyboard? Maybe. Most likely not. But there’s a niche group of people that adore physical keyboards and desire them, and that’s who BlackBerry is successfully targeting.

Strong specifications, improved security and privacy

The Key2 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 660 processor with 6GB of RAM, which should be plenty of power for most people. The extra RAM will help with multitasking, but the Snapdragon 660 is no Snapdragon 845. The latter processor powers flagship phones like the Samsung Galaxy S9 and is more capable. Still, in our brief time with the phone, we encountered zero hiccups moving throughout the OS. Apps opened quickly and fluidly. We’ll do more testing to see if the Snapdragon 660 is capable enough.

There’s 64GB of internal storage in the U.S. model, and a 128GB model will be available in certain markets. There’s a MicroSD card slot too, so you can add more space when you need it.

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Key2 has a 3,500mAh battery capacity, which means it should still offer fantastic battery life. It’s only 5mAh smaller than the battery on the KeyOne, which could easily stay powered for two days. It supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0, so you can juice up faster.

The phone runs Android 8.1 Oreo, and BlackBerry said it will get two Android version upgrades. That means it will get Android P, though maybe not immediately after it’s launched, and it will get Android Q in 2019. The software is mostly stock Android, but there are a few changes made by BlackBerry and a whole lot of BlackBerry apps. The most noticeable visual addition is the BlackBerry Productivity Tab, which sticks out on the right edge of the screen — it now lets you add widgets, so you don’t need to swipe through too many home screens.

It’s only 5mAh smaller than the battery on the KeyOne, which could easily stay powered for two days.

The apps present on the phone will mostly be familiar for BlackBerry users, but there are a few new ones and big updates to older apps. There’s the BlackBerry Hub, where you can see all your notifications, BBM, BlackBerry Privacy Shade, and Locker. The Locker app now lets you store and hide apps, requiring a passcode or fingerprint activation (via the spacebar key) to open them. Handy if you want to keep a dating app a secret from coworkers, or other sensitive files. Locker also now has the privacy-focused Firefox Focus browser pre-installed, which deletes browsing history as soon as you leave the app. The default browser on the phone is still Chrome.

Photos taken with the fingerprint sensor are also hidden away in the gallery app, and they’re not uploaded to the Google Photos cloud — another privacy-friendly feature. A new app called Power Center tells you what apps are draining your battery, and it learns your charging habits so it will send an alert when it knows you won’t make it to your typical charging window.

BlackBerry said it has employed the use of machine learning throughout the operating system as well. For example, the DTEK app will tell you if there’s an app accessing sensitive information like a microphone, and you can deny the request. This happens after you have agreed to allow the app to access the microphone through Google Play permissions, as an extra security measure.

The Convenience Key — the physical button below the power button — now has three modes. There’s a Car profile, a Meeting profile, and a Home profile. So if you press the button when the phone is connected to your car’s Bluetooth, then it will present you with three pre-configured apps of your choosing such as Google Maps, or Spotify. The Work profile apps will show up when you’re connected to your work Wi-Fi, and your Home apps will be present on your home Wi-Fi. It’s succinctly convenient.

It can all feel overwhelming, but the minor redesigns and updates to apps and BlackBerry services in the Key2 make it fairly accessible for the average person to adapt to and use.

Dual camera

Jumping on the dual camera trend, BlackBerry’s Key2 has two 12-megapixel cameras on the back.

Jumping on the dual camera trend, BlackBerry’s Key2 has two 12-megapixel cameras on the back — one with an f/1.8 aperture, and the other with an f/2.6 aperture. There’s 2x optical zoom now, as well as a Portrait Mode. The shutter reacts quickly, and the photos we took look pretty good. We were surprised with the camera on the KeyOne, and we’re expecting it to be quite capable on the Key2, though we’ll need to do more testing.

Price and availability

The BlackBerry Key2 costs $650, and it will be available in the U.S. this month. It’s slightly more expensive than last year’s KeyOne, and but we think the build quality and dedication to creating the perfect keyboard is going to make this phone worth its price tag — especially considering there are hardly any phones out there with a physical keyboard.

Sure, it doesn’t have the Snapdragon 845 like the OnePlus 6, but again, the people buying this phone care more about the keyboard than raw specifications. We can’t wait to use the Key2 more and put it through its paces.

7
Jun

Do you plan on upgrading to the Galaxy Note 9?


Samsung’s playing it safe this year.

Leaked renders of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 surfaced on June 6, and to not much surprise, revealed that the phone will look eerily similar to the Note 8.

samsung-galaxy-note-9-leaked-render-2%20

We’re still expecting the Note 9 to come equipped with a faster processor, new software features, and improved cameras, but when it comes to its design, it doesn’t appear that we’ll be seeing much change at all.

Some of the Android Central forum users were quick to leave their comments about the Note 9, and this is what they said.

avatar2910546_3.gifHermes Hidayat
06-06-2018 01:46 AM

i would wait for Note 10 instead.as so far from what Samsung has made is like big difference every 2 models…like S6 to S7 ,S8 to S9…

Reply

avatar29256_14.gifkj11
06-06-2018 07:00 PM

Doubt it. Given the leaked video posted on another forum it looks like a note 8 with a finger print scanner that’s been moved a little lower to appease everyone who thought it’s placement on the note 8 was the worst thing that’s ever happened to them.

I stuck with the note 5 for 2 years, shouldn’t be a problem to do the same with the 8

Reply

avatar2566644_2.gifTelstar1948
06-06-2018 06:48 AM

Not planning on it – unless my Note8 gets run over by a dump truck, then I probably will. I may decide to go with a 2-year replacement cycle so that I can get more use for my money.

Reply

avatar235300_3.gifcwbcpa
06-06-2018 11:36 AM

I have a wait and see attitude right now. I’m extremely happy with my Note 8 and certainly don’t need to upgrade. It would be a want rather than a need. Same with the Gear S4. My S3 is great but if they integrate Bixby or Google assistant into the next watch, I’ll get that too.

I feel like I’m in a good spot this year. If I choose to stick it out with the Note 8/S3 combo, I’ll be just fine.

Reply

Based on what we know so far — Do you plan on upgrading to the Galaxy Note 9?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

  • Galaxy Note 8 review
  • Galaxy Note 8 vs. Galaxy S8+
  • Which Note 8 color is best?
  • Complete Galaxy Note 8 specs
  • Join our Galaxy Note 8 forums

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7
Jun

Google Pixel 3: News, Rumors, Release Date, Specs, and more!


Everything we know about what’ll likely be one of the year’s best phones.

Google first introduced its Pixel series in 2016, and since then, has been hard at work to establish itself as a serious player in the smartphone market. Google may be one of the most powerful and iconic companies in the world, but when it comes to hardware, is still very much a newcomer.

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We saw vast improvements with the Pixel 2 compared to the original Pixel line, and we’re expecting to get that again with the Pixel 3. Google’s quickly learning what it takes to compete with the likes of Samsung and Apple, and seeing as how the Pixel 2 was one of 2017’s best phones, there’s a lot riding on this year’s entry.

Ladies and gentlemen, here’s everything we know so far about the Google Pixel 3.

June 4, 2018 — Google’s apparently working on a mid-range Pixel phone

According to one tipster, Google’s in the process of developing a mid-range Pixel phone that’s codenamed “Bonito” and is powered by the Snapdragon 710 processor.

Rumors of a mid-range Pixel first popped up in April, but the old claim of it launching this July has since been replaced with a release scheduled for the first half of 2019.

That would suggest that Google may launch this new Pixel phone during I/O next year, but with so much discrepancy surrounding the release date, it’s entirely possible it’ll be announced alongside the Pixel 3 in October.

May 30, 2018 (part 2) — Verizon is said to be the exclusive carrier for the Pixel 3, again 😕

A report from Bloomberg recently surfaced confirming a few details about Google’s upcoming phones per a source that’s familiar with their production. According to the report:

  • The Pixel 3 series will once again be exclusive to Verizon Wireless in the U.S.
  • A notch will be present on the larger Pixel 3 XL
  • Google will announce/launch the phones in October
  • Foxconn will manufacture the Pixel 3/3 XL
  • Stereo speakers will be present on both phones
  • The Pixel 3 XL will have dual front-facing cameras
  • “Both models will include upgraded, single-lens cameras on the back”

When will the Pixel 3 be released?

In 2016 and 2017, Google held its hardware event on October 4. We don’t have a concrete date for this year’s event quite yet, but there’s no reason to believe Google will deter from this pattern.

Another October 4 event isn’t out of the question seeing as how that falls on a Thursday this year, but at the very least, we should be looking at some point in early October.

Pre-orders for the Pixel 3 will likely open shortly after it’s announced that same day with shipments going out at least a couple of weeks later.

How much will the Pixel 3 cost?

Over the past couple years, pricing for Google’s Pixel phones has remained mostly the same. The MSRP for the Pixel and Pixel 2 series is as follows:

  • Pixel w/ 32GB — $649
  • Pixel w/ 128GB — $749
  • Pixel 2 w/ 64GB — $649
  • Pixel 2 w/ 128GB — $749
  • Pixel XL w/ 32GB — $769
  • Pixel XL w/ 128GB — $869
  • Pixel 2 XL w/ 64GB —$849
  • Pixel 2 XL w/ 128GB — $949

I imagine we’ll see similar numbers with the Pixel 3, but don’t be too surprised if we get a Pixel 3 XL variant that crosses the $1000 threshold.

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

  • Pixel 2 FAQ: Everything you need to know!
  • Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL review: The new standard
  • Google Pixel 2 specs
  • Google Pixel 2 vs. Pixel 2 XL: What’s the difference?
  • Join our Pixel 2 forums

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7
Jun

Take advantage of Sony’s big pre-E3 PlayStation 4 sales event


Sony’s celebrating gamers with discounts on games, consoles, and a brand new limited edition PS4.

days%20of%20play%20ps4%206.jpg?itok=WdQo

Just ahead of E3 2018, Sony is flashing its celebratory side with a big sales event for no reason other than they love their PlayStation community. It’s being called Days of Play, and there are discounts in the U.S. and Canada for both new and existing PlayStation 4 owners on tap.

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It starts with a brand new limited edition Days of Play Blue PS4 console. It features the DualShock’s iconic face buttons and the PlayStation logo on the top surface of the PS4 in gold, and the accompanying DualShock 4 controller has gold face button lettering on its trackpad. Otherwise, it’s just a really deep, striking shade of blue that’ll draw the eye of anyone in your living room. It starts at $299.

Other highlights for hardware include a PS4 Pro for $349 and PlayStation VR bundles starting at $199. PS VR titles are starting as low as $14.99, with other exclusive games such as Horizon Zero Dawn and Gran Turismo Sport starting at $19.99. For those who are in need of subscriptions, 12 months of PlayStation Plus can be added to your account for $49.99.

These deals and more will be available starting June 8th through June 18th. Take a look at the full slate of discounts straight ahead.

Hardware Deals

  • Jet Black PS4 Pro: $349.99 USD / $449.99 CDN
  • PlayStation VR bundles: starting at $199.99 USD / $249.99 CDN
  • DualShock 4 wireless controller (all colors): $39.99 USD / $49.99 CDN
  • PlayStation Move motion controller (2 pack): $79.99 USD / $99.99 CDN
  • PlayStation VR Aim controller (US only): $49.99 USD
  • Catalog titles: check with your local retailer

Game Deals

  • God of War: $49.99 USD / $59.99 CDN
  • Gran Turismo Sport: $19.99 USD / $29.99 CDN
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: $19.99 USD / $29.99 CDN
  • MLB The Show 18: $39.99 USD / $49.99 CDN
  • Shadow of the Colossus: $19.99 USD / $29.99 CDN
  • Bravo Team (PS VR): $29.99 USD / $39.99 CDN
  • Farpoint (PS VR): $14.99 USD/ $19.99 CDN
  • The Inpatient (PS VR): $14.99 USD / $19.99 CDN

Subscription Deals

  • PlayStation Plus: $49.99 USD / $59.99 CDN for a 12-Month PS Plus membership (terms & conditions here)
  • PlayStation Vue (available in the US only): $10 USD per month off the Core plan standard price for the first two months ($44.99 USD per month thereafter)

Every limited edition PlayStation 4 you can buy today.

PlayStation 4

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  • PS4 vs. PS4 Slim vs. PS4 Pro: Which should you buy?
  • PlayStation VR Review
  • Playing PS4 games through your phone is awesome

Amazon

7
Jun

These are all the Huawei/Honor phones coming out in 2018


Having trouble keeping up with Huawei’s countless phones? You’re in the right place.

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Although it may not be as popular as Samsung or Apple in the U.S., one of the world’s biggest smartphone brands is Huawei.

Huawei often releases some of the best and most interesting Android phones of the year, including powerful flagships and more affordable options through its Honor sub-brand.

It can be hard to keep up with Huawei’s endless releases, so to help keep you in check, here are all the phones the company’s launching in 2018.

The phones we’re still expecting

Huawei Mate 11

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The Mate 10 Pro

Towards the end of 2017, Huawei decided to go out with a bang with the impressive Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro.

The Mate 10 Pro paved the way for Huawei’s 2018 lineup, featuring the Kirin 970, a large 6-inch 18:9 screen, and fantastic dual cameras.

Rumors surrounding its successor are still pretty light, but if it’s anything like last year’s model, it’ll be big, powerful, and a true beauty to look at. The Mate 10 Pro was the first in the series to adopt a new glass back, and we’ll likely see Huawei continue that trend this year with the Mate 11.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro review: Best Android flagship for battery life

Huawei Nova 3/Nova 3 Plus

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The Huawei Nova 2

During IFA last year, we got a chance to go hands-on with the Huawei Nova 2 and Nova 2 Plus. The phones featured much more similar designs compared to the drastic difference between the original Nova and Nova Plus and offered comparable specs for just $360 and $426, respectively.

The Nova 2 and 2 Plus were metal-clad phones with dual cameras, 1080p LCD displays, the Kirin 659 processor, and dual cameras.

There’s no reason to believe Huawei won’t release a Nova 3 series before 2018 is over, so we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for a Nova 3 and 3 Plus over the coming months.

Huawei Nova 2 + Nova 2 Plus hands-on

Honor 8X

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Released at the very end of last year, the Honor 7X continues to be one of the best ways to spend less than $200 on a smartphone well into 2018.

Honor really hit the nail on the head with the 7X, offering a sturdy metal design, fast Kirin 659 processor, 5.93-inch 18:9 display, and respectable dual cameras for just $199 in the U.S.

We fully expect an Honor 8X to be announced before 2018 is over, featuring a similar price and even more bang-for-your-buck.

Honor 7X review: The new budget champion

The phones that have already come out

Huawei P20/P20 Lite/P20 Pro

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A few months after the Mate 10’s U.S. launch, Huawei came out swinging once more with its P20 series — consisting of the P20, P20 Lite, and P20 Pro.

There are a lot of similarities with the three phones, including glass designs, fingerprint sensors, and notches in their displays.

While all of the handsets are worth a look, the P20 Pro is easily the most eye-catching. In addition to its ultra-reflective and color-changing glass back with the Twilight color, you’ll find not one, not two, but three rear cameras — including a 40MP RGB sensor, 20MP mono sensor, and 8MP telephoto one.

The end result of this wild combination are some of the best photographs you can take from a smartphone, especially when it comes to low-light shots.

You’ll find a lot to love about the P20 Pro, but depending on where you live, buying it could prove to be a bit tricky.

Where to buy the Huawei P20 Pro in the U.S. and Canada

Huawei Porsche Design Mate RS

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If the P20 Pro isn’t cool enough for you and you’ve got endless amounts of cash to burn through, the Huawei Porsche Design Mate RS might be the perfect fit.

This is essentially the same phone as the P20 Pro, but it’s got a different design, stunning red color, in-screen fingerprint sensor, and a pain-inducing $2000 price tag.

The Porsche Design Mate RS certainly isn’t for everyone, but it’s easily the most eye-catching phone in all of Huawei’s lineup for the year.

See at Porsche Design

Huawei Mate SE

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On the complete polar opposite end of the spectrum from the Mate RS is the Huawei Mate SE.

The Mate SE costs just $249 in the States and comes with a 5.93-inch edge-to-edge 18:9 FHD+ display, dual 16MP and 2MP rear cameras, Kirin 659 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB of storage, and a large 3,340 mAh battery. It’s also available in both Grey and Gold colors.

You get a lot of bang-for-your-buck with the Mate SE, but if you want to stretch your dollars even further, I’d suggest checking out the Honor 7X that was released at the tail-end of 2017.

Honor 7X vs. Huawei Mate SE: What’s the difference?

Honor View 10

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Honor’s first phone for 2018 was the Honor View 10, and boy does it have a lot to offer. This is one of the pricier Honor phones at $499, but it comes equipped with just about every flagship feature you could ask for.

The Honor 10 impresses at first glance with a metal unibody design and ultra-slim bezels. The display measures in at 5.99-inches with an 18:9 aspect ratio and has a resolution of 2160 x 1080. There’s a fingerprint sensor underneath it, 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom of the frame, and dual 16MP + 20MP cameras on the back.

Other goodies include the Kirin 970, 6GB RAM, 128GB of storage, NFC, and Android 8.0 Oreo with EMUI 8.0 on top of it. Add all that together with a face unlock feature and a long-lasting 3,750 mAh battery, and you end up with one heck of a phone.

See at Amazon

Honor 10

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The Honor 10 was released in late April, and it has more in common with the Honor View 10 than just a similar name. Just like the View 10, the Honor 10 has the Kirin 970, 6GB RAM, and either 128GB or 64GB of storage. However, that’s where the similarities end.

You’ll find dual cameras on the Honor 10, but they’re a bit different with 16MP and 24MP sensors. There’s also a 24MP shooter for the selfie camera, 5.84-inch 1080p LCD screen with a notch at the top, and a reflective, color-changing glass back just like the Huawei P20 Pro.

The Honor 10 is available in China and the UK, and depending on the storage configuration you choose, you’ll spend between $414 and $478.

Honor 10 announced with the P20’s design and a much lower price

Honor 7A/7C

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Next up, we’ve got the Honor 7A and 7C. These are the cheapest phones on this list, coming in at £139.99 and £169.99, respectively.

You won’t find the most impressive specs on the 7A and 7C, but what you do get is all the basics for a solid experience at an incredible price.

The 7A is the more affordable of the two, offering a plastic body with a metal-like finish, Snapdragon 430 processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB of storage, and a single 13MP camera. With the 7C, you get a faster Snapdragon 450, 3GB RAM, 32GB of storage, and a depth-sensing 2MP camera to go along with the primary 13MP shooter.

You can purchase the Honor 7A and 7C in the UK and India.

Honor 7A + 7C bring face unlock to the sub-£170 price point

Honor Play

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There’s been a recent interest in gaming phones in the Android space, with notable handsets including the Razer Phone and Asus ROG Phone. Honor’s the latest company to take a stab at this growing niche with the Honor Play.

A good gaming phone needs to be plenty powerful, and the Honor Play delivers here. It’s powered by the Kirin 970 and comes with a feature called GPU Turbo that allows you to eek out even more performance when playing particularly demanding titles.

You’ve got your choice between 4 and 6GB of RAM depending on the model you choose and 64GB of storage is present for housing all your local files. Other specs include a 3,750 mAh battery, Android 8.1 Oreo, and a 6.3-inch 19:9 screen with a resolution of 1080 x 2280.

The Honor Play is launching first in China with a starting price of around $375.

See at VMall

Honor 9i

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The Honor 9i was also announced alongside the Honor Play, but it ditches the gaming focus and instead aims to be your typical Honor mid-ranger.

Up front is a 5.84-inch 19:9 display with a 1080 x 2280 resolution. The Kirin 659 powers the phone along with 4GB RAM and a 3,000 mAh battery should offer respectable endurance.

Other features include dual 13MP + 12MP cameras on the back, 64 or 128GB of storage, and Android 8.0 Oreo.

Similar to the Honor Play, the Honor 9i is also launching in China and carries a starting price of $220.

See at VMall

Huawei P20 + P20 Pro

  • Huawei P20 and P20 Pro hands-on
  • Huawei P20 and P20 Pro specs
  • The Porsche Design Mate RS is a P20 Pro that costs $2000
  • Join the discussion in the forums

Updated June 7, 2018: Added the Honor Play and Honor 9i to the list.

7
Jun

The biggest problem facing YouTube Music comes from within


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The biggest problem facing YouTube Music isn’t a slow rollout. It isn’t casting bugs, or wacky library sorting, or missing albums, or poor handling of going offline. No, no, no, my friends, YouTube Music’s biggest problem is a YouTube that predates the service by years. And with how important rating songs in YouTube Music is, this problem is going to bite music-lovers, long-time YouTube users, and YouTuber creators hard.

While evaluating YouTube Music’s capabilities compared to other platforms, I asked if the 5,000-video limit on YouTube playlists applies to YouTube Music and specifically if it applies to Liked Songs. YouTube’s response was one line:

Currently YouTube has a 5,000-song limit for any playlist.

I will say right off the bat here that this doesn’t quite limit your library size the way Spotify’s 10,000 song limit does. Every album you add to your library doesn’t automatically get added to Liked Songs. If you add albums to your library rather than just liking single songs, you can expand your library without contributing to your Liked songs cap. You can also move songs between playlists if you need to free up space in Liked songs, but you shouldn’t have to.

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Liked songs is a critical piece of YouTube Music.

When listening to Your mixtape, the way to shape the mix it serves up is to thumbs songs up and down. If there’s a limit to what you can thumbs up, there’s a point where you stop being able to reinforce the algorithm when it picks good songs, leaving you with only thumbing down bad songs. Offline Mixtape, recommendations and radio stations are impacted by your listening history and your library, but Liked videos also has a big impact on them, too.

This limit is a double-whammy for avid YouTube users, because Liked songs has another name in the main YouTube app, and it’s one we’re all familiar with: Liked videos.

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Yep, Likes songs and Liked videos are actually the same playlist, and so they both contribute to that 5,000 song limit. So, even if you’ve never, ever opened YouTube Music before, your Liked songs playlist could be half-full already if you’re someone who rewards YouTube videos like ours with likes. While this means that music videos you’ve liked in the main YouTube app have given you a leg up on dialing in YouTube Music’s algorithms, it’s going to limit what you can do once you’re using the service.

This is bad for YouTube Music users, and even worse for YouTube creators, because it turns likes into an even more limited commodity. If I like a non-music video on YouTube, that’s one fewer song I can like in YouTube Music, one fewer song I can add to my library without adding the whole album. 5,000 videos sounds like a lot, but 5,000 songs is something that’s very easy to hit, especially for the users most-likely to jump on YouTube Music: hard-core YouTube users.

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This is something that can be overcome, even without YouTube raising or removing the playlist video/song limit:

  • Add singles to a user-created playlist rather than adding them to Liked Songs or adding the entire album to your library.
  • Be picky with your likes so they go further.
  • When you’re starting to get close, go to Liked Videos. Scroll to the very bottom of the playlist and start working your way up, removing older videos that don’t matter to you anymore, songs that don’t match your current tastes, and any “Removed videos”. This will free up space and help clear out older music videos that might be skewing your YouTube Music recommendations.

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Really, though, this is something that needs to be fixed. YouTube Music has hundreds of millions of songs out there, and if they want to market themselves as the biggest catalog of exclusive content, then you need to be able to rate more than 5,000 songs while listening to its radio stations. You need to be able to add more than 5,000 songs to your library without hassling with adding entire albums or making a new playlist for every genre you like.

If it’s any consolation, YouTube has confirmed to Android Central that users can have up to 10,000 playlists/albums in their library — albums function like playlists right now, so that means that albums count towards the 10,000 playlist limit — so even if Liked songs fills up, you’ll still be able to load up other playlists with new music.

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