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10
Jul

Netflix adds ‘Smart Downloads’ to delete watched videos, then download the next


It’s for Android devices, for now.

Netflix today announced “Smart Downloads,” which automates the process of deleting videos you’ve watched — and then automatically downloading the next one in the series.

So if you’ve downloaded, say, the first three episodes in a series and then watch the first ep, it’ll automatically delete that file and start downloading episode 4. As you’d expect, this only works when you’re connected to Wifi. It’s also an optional feature — you can turn it off in the app settings, if you want.

We’re not seeing Smart Downloads live in our most recent update of Netflix for Android, so stay tuned. You can get the Netflix Android app here.

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10
Jul

How to edit playlists in the Spotify Android app


The day has come — you can now edit your playlists in Spotify’s Android app 🙏

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Spotify’s Android app is stuffed to the gills with a variety of features to mess around with, but there’s a key one that’s been missing ever since its inception — the ability to edit playlists.

While you could use the Android app for making and sharing playlists, you previously had to find an iPhone or computer if you wanted to edit the positions of songs in one. However, this is no more with the latest version of the Spotify Android app (v8.4.61.683).

So, how in the world does this feature work?

Open the Spotify app.
Tap Your Library from the bottom navigation bar.
Tap Playlists.

Tap the playlist you want to edit.

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Tap the three dots at the top right.
Tap Edit playlist.

Tap and hold the three lines to the right of a song and then move it up/down as you please.

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Once you’re done, tap Save at the top right.

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Enjoy your music!

There you go — you can now customize the order of songs in any playlist to your heart’s content.

Need some extra help? Want to chat about your favorite songs? Sound off in the comments below 🎶

Download: Spotify Music (free)

10
Jul

OnePlus 6: Everything you need to know!


Unlock the secrets.

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The OnePlus 6 is now available, and it’s a compelling option for someone looking for an unlocked phone at a reasonable price — starting at $529 to be specific. But price aside, it’s a great choice for anyone, even those considering more expensive options, thanks to a combination of hardware and software, and a community that continues to support the company and one another.

Here’s everything you need to know about the OnePlus 6!

The latest OnePlus 6 news

July 10, 2018 — The OnePlus 6 Red is now available for purchase

The day has finally come! You can now buy the striking OnePlus 6 Red exclusively from OnePlus’s website.

This limited edition model of the phone costs $579, and for that price, you’re getting the most powerful configuration with 8GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage.

OnePlus is making a limited run of this color, so once it’s gone, it’s gone.

See at OnePlus

July 3, 2018 — OnePlus shows off different colors/patterns it was testing for the OnePlus 6

OnePlus recently launched the lustrous OnePlus 6 Red, and while there’s no doubt it’s one of the most gorgeous phones on the market right now, it was just one of many designs that the company was toying with before ultimately selecting the red we now have.

PCMag was recently invited to tour OnePlus’s headquarters in Shenzen, China, and during the visit, got a chance to look at some other colors OnePlus was testing for the 6. As you can see in the video above, OnePlus was messing with glass backs that had subtle patterns, gradiant designs, and much more.

The video also showcases early prototypes of not only the OnePlus 6, but other OnePlus phones, too. I’m a big fan of the OnePlus 6 we ended up getting, but it is cool to see what could have been.

Read our review and watch the video

First thing’s first, watch the video and read the review. There’s plenty about the phone to learn, even though much of it is familiar. But the essential question a review tries to answer is, Should you buy this thing? And the response is an unrestrained, Yes.

The OnePlus 6 is the company’s finest phone ever, with excellent design, build quality, battery life and, for the first time, cameras.

Read the review

Review the specs

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Once you’re done reading the review, you should, ahem, review the specifications. The phone is powerful — like one of the most powerful on the market today — with plenty of headroom and legroom (it’s proverbially spacious is what I’m trying to say) for whatever you want to throw at it. Apps-wise, not like object-wise.

OnePlus 6 specifications

How does it compare to other phones?

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Of course, the OnePlus 6 doesn’t exist in a bubble — you have to compare it to other devices if you’re going to decide whether you should buy it. Thankfully, we’ve done most of the work for you, comparing it to the best flagships on the market right now.

  • OnePlus 6 vs. Google Pixel 2 XL: Which should you buy?
  • OnePlus 6 vs. Samsung Galaxy S9+: Which should you buy?

What about to other OnePlus phones?

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Yeah, OnePlus owners like to keep it in the family, so to speak, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see many upgrading, or thinking of upgrading, from an existing OnePlus device, like a 3, 3T, 5, or 5T. Of course, with the company releasing two phones a year these days, it won’t be long until the next upgrade cycle hits, but that also means that the existing phones age quite well, thanks to frequent software updates (the joys of not going through carriers).

If you have a OnePlus 5 or 5T, you can probably hold onto those phones for a bit longer — unless you need the camera improvements. OnePlus’s 2016 phones, on the other hand, may be getting a bit long in the tooth and could use a replacement.

  • OnePlus 6 vs. OnePlus 5T: Should you upgrade?
  • OnePlus 6 vs. OnePlus 5: Should you upgrade?
  • OnePlus 6 vs. OnePlus 3T & 3: Should you upgrade?

Is the OnePlus 6 camera that much better than before?

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This photo was taken in nearly pitch-dark conditions. OnePlus ramps up the light sensitivity to ISO6400, which would normally produce a lot of grain, but this photo is totally usable thanks to better software processing.

Yes! The OnePlus 6 has a larger 16MP sensor than previous OnePlus devices, with pixels that are 19% bigger, so low-light photography is immensely improved. It’s not going to overtake the Huawei P20 Pro or Pixel 2 for Low Light Champion Of The World, but it’s reliable in all conditions, and that’s more important than anything else.

The camera is probably the biggest improvement over previous OnePlus models.

The phone’s main sensor is aided by a fast ƒ/1.7 aperture, so true depth of field is a thing, along with drastically improved image signal processing from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845. Together, the phone is able to detect the correct settings more quickly, take multiple shots if necessary, enable HDR mode automatically, and reduce or eliminate grain in dark conditions.

There’s also Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), which was in the OnePlus 3 line but removed in last year’s series for unknown reasons. It’s back now, and paired with a larger sensor and faster main lens, the results speak for themselves.

On the other hand, the OnePlus 6’s secondary camera has less to do — it’s a 20MP sensor with an ƒ/1.7 lens, but its main purpose is to facilitate portrait mode which, while good, isn’t enough reason to have a second sensor in the first place.

Is the notch distracting?

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The notch is what it is. You may hate it out of an aversion to all things Apple, or you may learn to live with it and forget it’s there. Most people will fall somewhere in the middle — it’s a character trait, like a freckle or a certain hairstyle.

What it does, though, is open up spme additional real estate on the 6.28-inch screen, which is great. But it also limits the number of icons that can be seen in the notification area, which is a bummer. Plus, the clock on the left side of the notification bar will never make sense. If you watch the video below, though, you can see ways to tweak the notification area to your liking. And you can also disable the notch altogether if you want to.

How’s the software?

It’s good! Running Android 8.1 Oreo, OxygenOS has turned into one of the most enjoyable, reliable versions of Android to date. OnePlus has also added a number of additions to make the whole thing run more smoothly, especially if you’re looking to maximize your screen real estate.

One of the more interesting changes to the software is a set of gestures that eliminates the bottom navigation keys, relying on swipes up from different areas of the bottom edge to go back, home, and enter multitasking. It’s different, but not bad. You’ll have to try it yourself.

As for tips and tricks, we’ve already got that list going, so if you’re looking to make the most of your OxygenOS experience, we have you covered.

  • How to enable navigation gestures on the OnePlus 6
  • How to disable the notch on the OnePlus 6

What’s it cost?

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The OnePlus 6 starts at $529 USD for the base model and goes up to $629 for additional RAM and storage. There are three configurations and three colors, and here’s a breakdown of which one to buy.

Here’s how the pricing breaks down in various regions.

6/64 $529 €519 £469 $699
8/128 $579 €569 £519 $769
8/256 $629 €619 £569 $839

See at OnePlus

Tell me more about the colors

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There are four colors: Mirror Black, Midnight Black, Silk White, and Red.

  • Mirror Black is going to be the most common, since it’s the only color offered in the cheapest tier. It’s shiny, reflective glass, so it gets fingerprint-y, but that’s OK because you’ll likely put the phone in a case (see below). It’s also a little slippery, which is to be expected. Mirror Black is offered in 6GB / 64GB configurations for $529.

  • Midnight Black is the color we’ve come to expect from OnePlus over the years, though the matte-looking finish belies a glass back, too, like the Mirror Black. Midnight Black is only available in 8GB / 128GB and 8GB / 256GB configurations for $579 and $629, respectively.

  • Silk White is one of the more limited of the four colors. It’s also covered in glass, but like the Midnight Black model it has a matte finish and is easier to grip. Its white back has rose gold accents, and it’s definitely the nicest and most unique of the three colors. It’s only available in the 8GB / 128GB configuration for $579, and once the run is sold out, OnePlus is not making any more.

  • Red is also a limited edition color and is easily the most vibrant of the four that are available. It has a similar shiny finish like Mirror Black but uses a translucent orange layer and red base layer to create one of the most powerful reds we’ve ever seen on a smartphone. Sales open on July 10 and it’ll be available with 8GB RAM + 128GB storage for $579.

What color OnePlus 6 should you buy?

I heard there’s an Avengers version — TELL ME EVERYTHING

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Yes, you heard right: OnePlus has once again worked with Disney on licensing a special version of the OnePlus 6 for the Chinese and Indian markets. Last year, OnePlus offered an understated Start Wars variant of the OnePlus 5T, and now the Avengers version takes advantage of the hype behind the recent film release.

The Avengers version comes in a unique box and includes an Iron Man case and a OnePlus/Avengers co-branded medallion, which is neat. And while there’s a familiar glass back on the Avengers Edition, it has a Kevlar-style design underneath. Because Kevlar=superheroes, or something.

While the special edition isn’t coming to the U.S. officially, I’m sure that some entrepreneurial Indian and Chinese resellers will do the dirty business of importing some of them at a huge premium to this side of the world.

This is the OnePlus 6 Marvel Avengers Edition

The OnePlus 6 doesn’t work on Sprint or Verizon

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The OnePlus 6 technically supports the CDMA bands for Verizon and Sprint in the U.S., but the phone lacks certification for their networks, so those users — just under half the smartphone-wielding U.S. population, is out of luck.

We’ve got your full technical explainer below.

The OnePlus 6 doesn’t work on Sprint or Verizon

Do you like cases?

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As it does with all of its phones, OnePlus has unveiled a series of first-party cases for the OnePlus 6, and they’re all pretty great.

This year, there’s a fancy new protective bumper made of woven nylon, and while it adds a bit more bulk than the typical snap-on, I think it looks and feels awesome.

These are the official OnePlus 6 cases you can buy at launch

What are your thoughts on the OnePlus 6?

Let us know in the comments!

OnePlus 6

  • OnePlus 6 review
  • OnePlus 6 vs. OnePlus 5T: How much changes in six months?
  • OnePlus 6 vs. OnePlus 5: Should you upgrade?
  • These are the official OnePlus 6 cases
  • The OnePlus 6 doesn’t work on Verizon or Sprint
  • Join the discussion in the forums

Updated July 3, 2018: Added the OnePlus Red to the list of colors!

10
Jul

OnePlus 6 Red hands-on: This is the one to get


This hot new color is available for purchase now!

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The OnePlus 6 is easily the best-looking phone OnePlus has released to-date, and while Mirror Black, Midnight Black, and Silk White are all fantastic colors, there’s one that’s been noticeably absent so far — the striking Lava Red from the OnePlus 5T.

Thankfully, that’s now changing as OnePlus has officially unveiled the OnePlus 6 Red.

As soon as you take it out of its box, the OnePlus 6 Red assaults all of your senses in the best way possible with its incredibly bright and vibrant paint job. The same six-layer glass design used on other OnePlus 6 variants is present, in addition to an extra “anti-reflective layer” that OnePlus says allows for more light to reach the bottom sections of glass before any light is reflected off the phone.

To concoct the red that’s present here, OnePlus mixed a translucent orange glass panel with a red base layer. The end result is one of the deepest, brightest, and most pleasing reds I’ve ever seen on a phone (even surpassing the red iPhone 8).

Along with the back of the phone, the red also makes its way to the frame, buttons, and alert slider. To complement all of this red, OnePlus also added a sleek gold accent to the OnePlus Logo, “Design by OnePlus” branding, and around the rear camera lens and fingerprint sensor.

If you want to pick up a OnePlus 6 Red for yourself, it’s on sale now at OnePlus’s website for $579 with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. OnePlus is only making a limited numer of the OnePlus 6 Red, so be sure to act fast if you want to secure one for yourself!

See at OnePlus

OnePlus 6

  • OnePlus 6 review
  • OnePlus 6 vs. OnePlus 5T: How much changes in six months?
  • OnePlus 6 vs. OnePlus 5: Should you upgrade?
  • These are the official OnePlus 6 cases
  • The OnePlus 6 doesn’t work on Verizon or Sprint
  • Join the discussion in the forums

10
Jul

These are the Android apps I can’t live without


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These days, it’s easy to forget that smartphones didn’t always have vast app stores and ecosystems; just over a decade ago, the apps that came on your phone were the apps you were stuck with. These days, we’re spoiled by the enormous selection of apps and services at our disposal that fill our phones with endless potential.

Among the millions of apps out there, most people have narrowed down their needs and found the apps that work for their lifestyle. Apps that feel like absolute necessities, without which your phone would feel almost useless. These are some of the apps that I use on a daily basis, ignoring the basics like banking, social, and work apps that are practically mandates for smartphone owners.

Spotify

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Whether I’m driving across town listening to my car stereo, pacing around my gate at the airport with my noise-canceling headphones, or sitting at my desk writing this article with my studio monitors cranked, I’m almost always listening to music. That’s why Spotify is one of the first apps I install on every new phone I set up, and it gets more use than almost any other service on my devices.

There are plenty of great music services out there, from YouTube Music to Apple Music, Soundcloud, and even specialty services like Tidal, but Spotify has been my streaming app of choice for over half a decade. It’s not lossless quality, but the high-quality streaming sounds plenty good to my ears, and I absolutely love the end-of-year analysis Spotify provides to explore your most frequented genres and artists.

Download: Spotify (free)

LastPass

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Say it with me: everybody needs a password manager. No matter who you are or how careful you try to be online, you’re always vulnerable to data breaches, and if you use the same password across multiple sites — we’ve all done it — you’re practically handing your digital life away to anyone that gets ahold of it. Password managers are a great way to make sure that doesn’t happen.

I started using LastPass about a year ago, and it’s since made my life easier and more secure — you don’t usually get both. I don’t even know any of my passwords anymore; I just let LastPass generate a random string of numbers, letters, and symbols, and it automatically fills login pages with my info. LastPass also handles my codes for sites that support two-factor authentication, which is another absolute must. There are other options like 1Password and Dashlane that probably do an equally great job, so play around with each of them until you find one that works — which service you use doesn’t really matter, as long as you’re using a password manager at all.

Download: LastPass (free)

Google Podcasts

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This one’s more recent than the rest, and I’m still not sure if I prefer Google Podcasts over my previous pick, Pocketcasts, but I just like having some way of listening to podcasts when I’m not listening to music and want to hear from my coworkers or learn about new camera techniques. Regardless, Google Podcasts has been working great for me over the last few weeks, and I love that it syncs with my Google Home so that I can move between my house and my car without losing my place in each episode.

Admittedly, I don’t listen to as many podcasts as I used to, but I still at the very least catch up to a few shows every week, and it’s one of my favorite ways to kill time on a flight — well, it’s between that and sleeping.

Download: Google Podcasts (free)

Cash App

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I love going on road trips with friends, but that usually means making a stop for fast food along the way. You can’t exactly split the bill at most drive-throughs, so I always find myself getting caught in the cycle of covering everyone’s meal and hoping they remember to buy my food on the next round. Sometimes it works … more often than not, it doesn’t. I downloaded Cash App a few months back, and it’s definitely made this dilemma a little easier.

I resisted using Cash App for the longest time, but I’m honestly not sure why anymore. The interface is simple and money transfers happen almost instantly, withdrawing or depositing directly into your bank account. If my friend and I go through the same bank, I still prefer using that bank’s app to handle money transfers — Square charges a small fee for every Cash App transaction, after all — but for all other times, this has made it significantly easier to handle group payments with one card.

Download: Cash App (free)

What are your must-have apps?

You’ve seen what I use, now it’s your turn. What are some of the first apps you install on every new phone, the apps that you open multiple times a day and can’t imagine not having? Let us know in the comments below.

10
Jul

Prime members who spend $10 at Whole Foods Market will get $10 to spend at Amazon Prime Day


It’s like free money.

Amazon has announced that Prime members who spend $10 or more in a single transaction at Whole Foods Market between July 11 and 17 will get a $10 promotional credit to use on Prime Day. To qualify for this promotion, you’ll need to scan your Prime Code during checkout. You can find this in the Whole Foods Market or Amazon app once you’ve linked your two accounts, so be sure to do that before heading into the store.

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In addition, Prime members will be able to save even more on their Whole Foods purchase with a bunch of exclusive discounts, like two for $5 organic strawberries, 30% off vitamins and supplements, BOGO Honeynut Cheerios, and more. If you use your Amazon Prime Rewards Visa, you’ll get 10% cashback (up to $400) on all Whole Foods purchases between July 14 and 17.

Those who have yet to use Amazon’s Prime Pantry delivery service can get a $10 discount on a $40 purchase, plus a $10 credit towards a future purchase. You can’t combine these two promotions at the same time, though. You need to head into the store to qualify for the spend $10 get $10 promotion from above. There will also be in-store discounts for Prime Day on popular Alexa-enabled products like the Echo and Fire TV for those who prefer the instant gratification of walking out of an actual store with the item.

Remember, you do need to be a Prime member to take advantage of any Prime Day related promotions. If you aren’t currently a member, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial to take advantage of it all without spending any money.

If you want to stay up-to-date on all things Prime Day, our friends at Thrifter have you covered. Be sure to sign up for their Prime Day newsletter now to have all the latest information, leaks, and deals delivered right to your inbox.

10
Jul

TicWatch Pro on sale for $249, comes with GPS, NFC, and two displays


Mobvoi is touting 5-30 days of battery life with its new Essential Mode feature.

Mobvoi is one of the few companies that’s been keeping Wear OS alive for folks not interested in watches from Kate Spade and Michael Kors, and the latest addition to its lineup, the TicWatch Pro, is shaping up to be its most exciting release yet.

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Where Mobvoi’s TicWatch S and TicWatch E have been cheaper/more affordable watches, the TicWatch Pro aims to offer every feature you could ask for. There’s NFC for making mobile payments with Google Pay, a heart-rate sensor, step-tracking, GPS, an OLED display, etc.

All of that sounds like stuff you’d expect from a flagship smartwatch, but Mobvoi’s trying something different with the TicWatch Pro by adding a second FSTN LCD display on top of the OLED one. Here’s how it works.

When you’re interacting with the TicWatch Pro, you’ll see the OLED panel and use it like you would any other gadget. However, when you toggle the screen off or the watch is just sitting on your wrist, the OLED screen will turn off and the LCD one will kick into gear — showing basic information such as the time, your heart-rate, battery life, steps-taken, etc. When you lift the watch to your face or tap on the screen, the LCD will shut off and you’ll be met with your regular Wear OS interface and OLED display.

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The TicWatch Pro in normal mode (left) and with the power-sipping LCD panel (right)

Furthermore, the TicWatch Pro will also come with an “Essential Mode” that’ll completely turn off Wear OS and the OLED screen and only show you the basic info found on the LCD panel. If you want to toggle Wear OS back on, you’ll need to wait about one full minute for the boot process.

If you allow Essential Mode to automatically switch on, Mobvoi touts you can get 5 days of juice. If you exclusively use Essential Mode, you’re looking at an impressive 30 days of battery.

You can buy the TicWatch Pro from Amazon right now for just $249.99 in either Black or Silver colors. Do you plan on picking one up?

See at Amazon

10
Jul

Google Assistant: Everything you need to know


There’s a lot going on with the Google Assistant — let’s break down the important stuff.

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In May 2016, we got our very first taste of the Google Assistant with the debut of Allo. The Assistant was a big draw to Allo at the time, with Google marketing it as a helpful bot that could make restaurant reservations, search the web, and more within your conversations.

Since then, the Assistant has gained heaps of new features and expanded to smartphones, tablets, speakers, and more. Google’s shown no interest in slowing down development for the Assistant, meaning that it’s likely here for the long-haul.

Whether this is your first encounter with it or you just need a quick refresher, here’s everything you need to know about the Google Assistant.

The latest Google Assistant news

July 10, 2018 — Deezer Premium is now supported on Google Homes in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Italy

Deezer may not be as popular as rivals like Spotify and Pandora, but for subscribers of the paid Deezer Premium service, you’ll be happy to know that you can now listen to all of your Deezer songs and playlists through your Google Home.

Deezer Premium streaming has been available through Google Home since August 2017, but it was initially only live in France and Germany. This was later expanded to the United Kingdom in April of this year, and with this latest rollout, Deezer Premium now works on Google Homes that are in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Italy.

To link Deezer Premium to your Google Home, open the Home app, go to Music, and link your Deezer account.

The service regularly costs $9.99/month, but if you’re a new member, Google’s offering three months for just $0.99. If you want to take advatnage of this offer, it’s good until September 20.

June 26, 2018 — All Google Home speakers now support Spanish

While users have been able to talk to Assistant in Spanish on their phones, we’re just now getting the ability to do the same on Google Home speakers.

Now, users in the United States, Spain, Mexico and other countries can choose to speak to Google Assistant in Spanish. If you want to change what language Google Home uses, open the Home app on your phone. The tap Settings -> Preferences -> Español.

All Google Home Speakers now support Spanish

All the important details

Google Now paved the way for Google Assistant

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The Google Now page compared to the new Google Feed.

Before there was the Google Assistant, we had Google Now. Google Now was introduced to the world all the way back in 2012, offering contextual info through the Google Now page and helpful answers to random questions with an “OK Google” voice command.

A lot of what made Google Now so great can still be found in the Google Assistant today, with the exception of the Google Now page. The Google Now page used to be home to cards showcasing the weather, information on packages that had shipped from online orders, boarding passes, and more. It’s since been replaced by the Google Feed – a collection of news stories Google thinks you’ll be interested in – and it’s definitely the biggest departure between the two services.

The Google Assistant as a whole is still more powerful than Google Now ever was, but long-time Android users like myself are still mourning the loss of that Now page. RIP, old friend.

Read more: Google Now is being left to wither and die as Google Assistant takes the focus

It’s available on just about everything

In just a few short years, the Google Assistant’s gone from being exclusive to a now-failed chat app to being integrated into just about anything you can think of.

You’ll find Google Assistant built right into most Android phones, it’s the star of the show for the Google Home lineup, and it’s even making its way into sound bars.

Here’s the full list of devices with Google Assistant

Setting up the Google Assistant is as easy or complex as you want

When you set up a device for the first time that has the Assistant, getting started is pretty simple. Accessing it is just a voice command or tap away depending on what gadget you’re using, but if you want to really fine-tune your experience, Google’s got you covered.

Take a quick dive into your Assistant settings and you’ll find options for just about everything – including your weather preferences, changing the Assistant’s voice, retraining your voice model, picking out preferred news sources, and much more.

How to set up and customize Google Assistant

Google Assistant is available in multiple regions and languages

Of course, a smart voice assistant isn’t any good if you can’t actually use it. Fortunately, Google Assistant will be available in 52 countries —adding 38 countries this year — and 17 languages by the end of 2018.

More: Google Assistant will expand to 38 countries and 17 languages in 2018

Google Home’s the premier way to get the Assistant in your house (at least for now)

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It’s great to have the Google Assistant on your phone, but if you want to truly experience just how helpful it can be, you’ll want to consider picking up a Google Home.

Google Home is Google’s line of smart speakers that put the Assistant on full-display, allowing you to control smart devices, ask random questions, set timers, play music, and more by just using your voice.

You can spend as little as $49 for the Google Home Mini, $129 for the original Google Home, or a whopping $399 for the Google Home Max.

However, as great as the Home series is, don’t forget that Smart Displays are just on the horizon.

Announced at CES 2018, Smart Displays are essentially smart speakers with the Google Assistant and a touch screen display that can show you helpful visuals when talking to them. It’s basically Google’s answer to the Amazon Echo Show and Echo Spot, and we can’t wait to see more from them.

Everything you need to know about Google’s Home speakers

Then again, is an always-listening speaker the right fit for your home?

However, the convenience of a Google Home (or any smart speaker for that matter) does come at the cost of privacy. Speakers like the Google Home are “always listening”, meaning they’re constantly on the lookout for a hot word to know when you’re talking to it (such as “Ok, Google” and “Hey, Google”).

This means the microphone on a Google Home is always active, but it’s not necessarily storing all the audio it hears when it doesn’t detect its hot word.

Most all speakers allow you to restore some privacy by being able to mute the microphone, but if you want to start asking the Assistant questions, you’ll need to unmute it first.

To learn more about these “always listening” speakers, I’ll pass the mic over to Jerry

Big upgrades are coming to the Assistant on Wear OS

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Switching gears for a second, the Google Assistant on Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) is about to get a big upgrade.

In the near future, the Assistant on Wear OS will support Assistant Actions (basically apps for the Assistant) and give you the option to hear its responses through your watch’s speaker or a pair of connected Bluetooth headphones.

Along with this, Google will be adding something called “smart suggestions.” After asking the Assistant for the weather, for example, you’ll see little bubbles for “weather tonight”, “use celsius”, and more so you can continue the conversation with just the tap of your finger. Google Assistant on Android offers something similar, and it’s a great tool to have.

IFTTT supercharges the Assistant’s usefulness

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IFTTT (If This Then That) is a powerful online tool that allows you trigger something (that) if a certain event (this) happens. You can connect IFTTT to the Google Assistant to create your own recipes using this formula, and it can allow for some incredibly helpful combinations.

Some of our favorite uses for IFTTT and the Assistant include adding contacts to your Google account, setting your Google Calendar status to Busy for a certain period of time, and much, much more.

Getting started with IFTTT can take some time and patience if you’re new to it, but once you’re all set up and ready to go, it can prove to be a lifesaver.

How to connect Google Home and IFTTT to do amazing things with your connected tech

You’ll get the same experience no matter what devices you use

With so many devices capable of running the Assistant, it’d be easy to think that the experience you get on one gadget would be different from another. This is something that Google struggled with for a while at first, but we’re finally in a position where the Assistant experience you get on a smart speaker, for example, is the same you’ll get on your phone.

There are a handful of features here and there that still create for some discrepency, but for the most part, the Assistant you use on your Pixel 2 is the same one found on Google Home.

Google Home and Google Assistant finally offer the same experience

Google Duplex is actually going to be a thing

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Google showed off Duplex — Google Assistant making natural-sounding phone calls on your behalf — at I/O 2018, but quickly noted that it was just an experiment. Flash forward a couple months, and Google announced that certain users have started testing Duplex, and a public release will be here in the next few months. Before you know it, Google Assistant will be able to book hotels, dinner reservations, hair appointments and more without you lifting a finger.

More: What is Google Duplex?

Updated July 2018: Added the Google Duplex and language support sections, as well as links to recent Assistant news.

10
Jul

Which Chromebook should you buy on Amazon Prime Day?


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These are the Chromebooks we hope to see on sale come Prime Day 2018.

Amazon Prime Day will be here before you know it. Centered around the longstanding tradition of buying lots of cool stuff while saving lots of money, it’s become a sort of holiday for many a gadgeteer like yourself. Or myself. Everyone expects this year to be just as awesome as the past years have been when it comes to products we just have to get.

There will be Chromebooks on sale for Prime Day this year. There are Chromebooks on sale every year and every year they sell out. It’s understandable — reliable, secure, and inexpensive, Chromebooks make for a great laptop for a lot of people. But not all Chromebooks are created equal, and if I had my druthers, there are a few specific models I’d like to see on sale. Any Chromebook purchased on Prime Day will probably be a crazy-good bargain, but don’t begrudge a man his wishes!

Samsung Chromebook Plus (2017)

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The new Chromebook Plus V2 changes the screen into something more cost-efficient and less insane-pixels-everywhere good, so last year’s still-incredible Chromebook Plus is now the cheapest way to get the very best display you’ll see on a Chromebook (or most any other laptop).

The latest Chromebook Pro also has the benefit of more storage and keyboard backlighting, so if you see it on sale you should definitely take a good look.

I will be.

See at Amazon

Acer Chromebook 11 (2018)

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The Acer Chromebook 11 normally sells for under $300, and it’s a perfect take on a classic Chromebook that has no aspirations to become your next Android tablet. It’s built out of solid space-age plastic, which happens to be a beautiful shade of blue that Acer calls indigo. It also runs like a champ and sips the battery for all-day usage.

The modern internals and a surprising display will make you smile, and a good sale price will give you that feeling that only a great product that’s worth more than you paid for it can bring.

See at Amazon

ASUS Chromebook Flip 101

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There are a handful of versions of one of ASUS’ best little Chromebooks, and seeing any of them on sale would be awesome. They aren’t the most powerful of models and they don’t have the best display you’ll ever see, but these little 10-inch Chromebooks are awesome for toting around. The 10-inch size not only makes them small and lightweight but also a good substitute for a tablet for those times you want to touch things instead of using a trackpad.

See at Amaon

ASUS Chromebook Flip C302

A twofer of ASUS Flips for my list because the ASUS 302 was one of 2017’s best available and only overshadowed by an impressive display from Samsung.

The Flip 302 does happen to have a good display of its own even if it can’t match the best out there, and you’ll find that many of the other specs exceed 2017’s Pro and Plus models from Samsung. ASUS knows how to make a dependable Chromebook, and the Flip 302 is still a good buy a year later. being on sale would sweeten the pot.

See at Amazon

Acer Chromebook 15

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Some of us want something small and portable to carry around every day, but other want a Chromebook with a gigantic bright display and don’t mind the extra size or weight. those people would love the Acer Chromebook 15.

You can pair that 15.6-inch display with either of two Intel chips; A Celeron model for everyday computing and regular Chromebooking, or an Intel Core-M model for those extreme Chromebook sports. Both are a great buy at the regular price, and seeing either with a hefty Prime Day discount would be awesome.

See at Amazon

Your pick?

If you’re looking for a Chromebook this Prime Day, which model(s) tickle your fancy? Here’s to seeing a great deal or two in 2018! 🍻

Chromebooks

  • The best Chromebooks
  • Chromebooks in education: Everything you need to know
  • Should you buy a Chromebook?
  • Chromebook Buyers Guide
  • Google Pixelbook review
  • Join our Chromebook forums

10
Jul

Live Streaming TV Service ‘Philo’ Launches on Apple TV


Live streaming television service Philo today launched on the fourth- and fifth-generation Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, after first launching on iPhone, Roku, smart TVs, desktop and web browsers, and more last November.

With the Apple TV app, subscribers can sign into their Philo accounts and watch 40 channels at the cost of $16 per month. The service mainly attracts customers who aren’t interested in sports as it has no such channels, which helps to decrease subscription costs.

“Our goal is to build a television service that people love. The expansion onto Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV is a natural extension for us and allows many new people to discover and enjoy Philo, as well as expanding the viewing options for our existing subscribers,” explained Andrew McCollum, Philo’s CEO. “We’re thrilled with the response we’ve seen to Philo so far, but we’re always looking for ways to make it even better, and this is another big step forward in that direction.”

With the connected apps — now including Apple TV — users can watch their favorite channels live or on demand, pause live TV, restart programs from the beginning, save shows to a 30-day DVR, and watch on up to three devices at once.

The company promises that a native Android app is coming soon, and also announced that it has raised more than $40 million from investors with AMC Networks, Discovery, and Viacom leading its Series C round of funding. The money will go towards “product features” and “enhancements” to Philo, which will soon include a “socially-driven TV experience.”

Earlier in the spring, Philo also introduced the ability for subscribers to unlock the streaming apps for TV networks included in their Philo subscription. Now, more than 35 participating TV Everywhere apps support this feature, so that if users pay to stream a channel like AMC on Philo, they can use their Philo log-in within the AMC app to access paywalled content.


Philo’s $16/month tier now provides access to 40 channels, including A&E, AMC, BBC America, Lifetime, TLC, Travel Channel, and VH1. There’s also a $20/month option that increases the channel count to 49, adding in options like Logo and Nicktoons. Philo’s entertainment-focused lineup lacks sports, live news, major broadcast networks, and local channels — all of which help lower the monthly cost of the service.

Philo’s low-cost angle comes in contrast to rival services that include sports and local channels, at a hit to subscribers’ wallets since most have announced price hikes in recent months. YouTube TV started off by increasing its cost from $35/month to $40/month to align with Hulu with Live TV and PlayStation Vue’s $40/month starting price. Then in July, DirecTV Now announced the increase of all plan prices by $5/month, meaning its cheapest plan also starts at $40/month.

Sling TV’s $20/month Sling Orange plan was one of the closest tiers to Philo on the market, but this plan will increase in price as well, jumping to $25/month beginning in August.

Those interested in Philo can download the Apple TV app today on the tvOS App Store, and the service’s iOS app [Direct Link] is also available to watch on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Tag: Philo
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