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15
Aug

Did you pre-order the Samsung Galaxy Watch?


Samsung’s new wearable starts at $329.

The Galaxy Note 9 was definitely the star of the show at Samsung’s big Unpacked event last week, but even so, we’re still plenty excited about the company’s latest smartwatch — the Galaxy Watch.

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The Galaxy Watch doesn’t offer anything we haven’t seen before from a Samsung wearable, but features like the circular design, rotating bezel, NFC for Samsung Pay, and robust fitness-tracking with Samsung Health still have us excited to see how the Galaxy Watch performs in day-to-day use.

Looking through the AC forums, it would appear that most people are also pretty keen on checking out the new gadget.

avatar1065439_2.gifbhatech
08-13-2018 11:58 PM

Just placed the order for the 46mm Galaxy watch from Samsung direct. Should be delivered around the same time my Note 9 delivers from Amazon.

Reply

avatar1782136_1.gifJoePa2624
08-14-2018 10:47 PM

Ordered 512gb blue Note, 46mm watch and wireless duo. Sold iPhone X, series 3 watch but keeping airpods

Reply

avatar361670_3.gifnrfitchett4
08-13-2018 04:11 PM

Yep. Trading in my iPhone 7+, already sold my Apple Watch and air pods to help pay for the Galaxy watch.

Reply

avatar1416960_1.gifBIG CAT 7
08-13-2018 05:01 PM

No MST in the new watch so no order for me. I may head out and grab a Gear S3 though.

Reply

How about you? Did you pre-order the Galaxy Watch?

Join the conversation in the forums!

15
Aug

Amazon Basics sound bar is basic, and not bad


amazon-basics-soundbar-7.jpg?itok=y2Xkpz The Amazon Basics 2.1 Sound Bar. ($99 at Amazon)

An integrated subwoofer and three EQ options produce better sound than your TV, for less than $100.

The Amazon Basics 2.1 Sound Bar is a basic sound bar. From Amazon. Blessed be the tech product whose name actually describes what it is.

Here’s what else it is: A 31-inch sound bar that does what it does pretty well, and does it for $99. It’s also a “2.1” sound bar, meaning it’s got two channels of speakers (left and right), plus a subwoofer. Not a separate, external subwoofer, mind you. Instead, it’s built into the sound bar.

Plus this one has a few features you won’t find in other similarly priced sound bars.

All in all? Not a bad product for just under a hundred bucks. Still need more before buying? Read on.

See at Amazon

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More basics on this basic Amazon Basics sound bar: It’s got a 2.7-inch downward-firing subwoofer. It spits out the bottom of the sound bar itself, and that explains the rather large feet that lift the body of the sound bar about three-eighths of an inch above whatever surface you place it on. Air needs room to move, and the sound needs room to escape. (Three speakers per channel make up the mids and highs on the front end.)

That brings the overall footprint of the sound bar to 31.5 inches wide, about 3.2 inches tall, and 3.5 inches deep. It’s not the most svelte sound bar in this class (that title belongs to Vizio), and it’s got a full on power brick that you’ll have to hide away somewhere. But the power cable itself has enough length to it to keep from being too big a negative. The front end is covered in that sort of speaker mesh stuff that’s fine until it’s not.

amazon-basics-soundbar-5.jpg?itok=QYcL4q The downward-facing subwoofer on the Amazon Basics 2.1 Sound Bar.

If you prefer to do the wall mount thing, Amazon has included the proper hardware in the box. (I’m using it on a hanging mount, and the included screws work just fine for it, too.)

There are nicely placed physical controls atop the sound bar, so you don’t have to use the remote control if you don’t want to. And there’s a blue LED hidden in the front face that indicates when you’re changing volume, and it blinks if the sound is muted.

For inputs, you’ve got optical (which is preferred, of course), RCA, 3.5mm aux, and Bluetooth 2.1. There’s no HDMI, and you’re very unlikely to find it at this price point (Because lawyers and licensing). That also means there’s a pretty good chance you won’t be able to control the volume level with whatever remote control you’re using. But, hey. $99.

The remote control itself isn’t anything to write home about. It’s got buttons for all the things, allowing you to switch inputs and adjust playback on the fly. For some inexplicable reason, the Bluetooth input button is huge. I’d have preferred the mute button to get the additional real estate. But it works, and Amazon included a couple of Amazon-branded AAA batteries. Thanks for not cheaping out on that.

As for the sound, it’s about as good as you’d expect for a $99 sound bar. It’s almost certainly better than the TV to which it is attached, and louder, too. What’s interesting here is that Amazon has included three EQ presets — “Standard,” “News” and “Movie.” The latter is the only one with any real bass, and it’s where I’ve left things throughout my testing time. Standard is OK, but still somewhat hollow, and I have to question the sanity of anyone who prefers the bassless “News” setting. But options are always good, even if they won’t necessarily be used. There’s also just enough stereo separation to remind you why even a cheap sound bar is better than a TV’s internal speakers.

The bottom line

This is exactly the sort of sound bar you should expect for $99. It’s basic. It sounds better than your TV, most likely. And while it’s not quite good as Vizio’s offering regarding looks and sound quality, it definitely gets the job done.

4.5
out of 5


And the addition of three preset EQs is a nice, if not necessary, touch.

See at Amazon

15
Aug

BlackBerry KEYone in Canada is finally getting its official Oreo update


Now, where’s that Oreo update for the U.S.?

In mid-July, BlackBerry announced it was running an invite-only Android Oreo beta for the KEYone to trial the software update before rolling it out to all users. Starting today, August 15, that update is finally being released to all KEyone owners in Canada.

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The Oreo update will start rolling out around 9:00 AM ET, and if you don’t get a notification for it, you can always manually check for the update by going to Settings -> System -> System Updates.

All of the features we’ve come to know and love from Oreo are here, including picture-in-picture, Google’s Autofill API for easier password entry, adaptive icons, and more.

Oreo’s taste might seem a bit stale at this point considering that Android Pie is already rolling out to certain handsets, but even so, a software update is still a software update.

BlackBerry KEY2 review: Just my type

BlackBerry KEYone

  • BlackBerry KEYone review
  • KEYone vs. Priv: Battle of the BlackBerry keyboards
  • BlackBerry KEYone specs
  • The latest KEYone news
  • Join the discussion in the forums

Amazon
Best Buy
BlackBerry Mobile

15
Aug

The Ultimate Guide to PlayStation VR


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Let this be your extended user manual for all things PlayStation VR!

It wasn’t all that long ago VR was considered either something simple you added to a phone for a quick distraction or something amazingly complex for those who could afford the lengthy requirements of ownership. Sony created a compelling middle ground by doing what they do best — making something you actually want to have in your living room. PlayStation VR is a companion for your PlayStation 4 that elevates your current games and helps you explore an entirely new way to feel like you are the character you’re playing.

Being able to fully enjoy this experience requires more than just taking one out of the box. Here’s our complete user manual for all things PSVR! Don’t forget to stay updated with our PlayStation VR Newsfeed!

Try before you buy!

Which PlayStation 4 should I use for my VR system?

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There’s more than one box named PlayStation 4, but don’t panic! They all work with PlayStation VR, but one may offer better experiences. If you’re using a PlayStation 4 Pro, you have a few more options than you would with a normal PlayStation 4. Here’s what you need to know!

  • Which PlayStation 4 is the best for VR?
  • How to keep HDR support when using PlayStation VR
  • Every PlayStation VR game enhanced through PlayStation Pro

Meet your PlayStation VR

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Now that you’ve settled on which console to run, you’re ready for the unboxing of your new piece of equipment. Sony’s first efforts in VR are incredible, and in several important ways, quite a bit ahead of the more expensive Desktop PC-based system. If you don’t already own a PlayStation VR, here are a few reasons you should seriously consider dropping everything and grabbing one today!

  • I tried PlayStation VR and bought a PlayStation 4 the next day
  • How to get the perfect PlayStation VR room setup
  • How to get the perfect fit with your new VR headset
  • PlayStation Move controllers vs HTC Vive controllers vs Oculus Touch controllers
  • Why there’s no “screen-door effect” in PlayStation VR
  • PlayStation VR vs Oculus Rift
  • Everything you can do with a PlayStation VR besides gaming
  • The true cost of PlayStation VR
  • Where to buy used VR headsets

See PlayStation VR at Amazon

Getting started with your PlayStation VR

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Taking PlayStation VR out of the box is step one, but there’s a lot more you should know about making sure you and whoever you share this system with have the best possible experience. You need space to move around, and you need to make sure the headset stays comfortable while you are doing so. Here are the best ways to get yourself not only set up but comfortable!

Don’t worry, we know updates can be a little scary so we even have a walkthrough of Everything different about the new PlayStation VR for those who have had their consoles a little longer!

  • How to set up your PlayStation VR
  • How to get the perfect PlayStation VR room setup
  • What’s the ideal camera height for PlayStation VR?
  • How to make the most of your PlayStation VR play space
  • How to get the perfect fit for PlayStation VR
  • Readjust your VR space after decorating for the holidays
  • Everything you can do with the PlayStation Aim controller

Now that you’re set up, check out some of the best gear to add to your PlayStation VR! We’ve gone through and tested quite a few products to find you the best not just in performance, but fir your wallet too!

  • Best headphones for PSVR
  • These are the best travel cases for PlayStation VR
  • The best charging docks for PlayStation VR
  • The best HOTAS controllers for PSVR
  • Best place to buy you PlayStation Aim controller

Getting to know Cinematic Mode

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PlayStation VR isn’t just for playing virtual reality games. In fact, anything you can do through your PlayStation 4 can be done through PlayStation VR thanks to Cinematic Mode. A wide virtual screen that floats in front of you and fills your vision can free you from distractions, and maybe for some, become the only screen you use to enjoy your PlayStation.

  • What to expect with PlayStation VR Cinematic Mode
  • PlayStation VR’s Cinematic Mode got an update and it’s better than ever!
  • The best VR180 videos to watch on PSVR
  • Best 3D Blu-Ray movies to watch on your PlayStation VR
  • The best music videos to watch in VR
  • How to watch 360-degree and 3D YouTube on PlayStation VR
  • Get the best possible 3D Blue-Ray experience with your PlayStation VR
  • Best events you can watch live on PSVR

Gaming in PlayStation VR

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This is what we’re all here for, right? Leaning over a virtual pool table to sink the perfect shot, losing your balance a little as you fling your body from tree to tree, and screaming as a demon gets a little too close before you squeeze the trigger. VR games are intense and incredibly enjoyable. The audio and video fill you and replaces the real world, letting you dive in and become someone else for a little while. Here’s what we’ve found so far!

Don’t forget, every month we update the PlayStation VR games coming out this month! So be sure to check out that list often to see what new types of experiences are coming your way!

The best games

  • The best PSVR games Updated often!
  • The most anticipated PSVR games Updated often!
  • The best PSVR games for move controllers
  • The best shooters for VR
  • The best PlayStation 4 games for kids
  • The best free games your probobally haven’t heard of
  • These are the exclusive games for PlayStation VR
  • The best multiplayer games for PlayStation VR

Looking for a certain game type?

  • 20 minute games for under $20 on PlayStation VR
  • The most physical games for PSVR
  • Every PlayStation VR game with HOTAS support

Apps

  • The best free apps for PlayStation VR
  • PlayStation VR add-on experiences, ranked!

Available game reviews, tips, and tricks

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Seeing lists of the best of the best not enough to get your blood pumping to decide which game to choose? It’s okay, we’ve got a few detailed reviews on the games you really wanna check out, complete with some Tips and Tricks as well! Don’t see a review listed here for a game you wanna know more about? Let us know in the comment section below!

  • Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality Ultimate Guide
  • Doom VFR: Tips, Tricks and Cheats
  • Skyrim VR review: a clumsy, hilarious trip through a familiar world
  • Skyrim Tips and Tricks for survival
  • Monsters of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV review
  • Farpoint review
  • Rec Room review
  • UltraWings review
  • Werewolves Within review
  • Star Trek Bridge Crew review
  • RIGS: Mechanized Combat League review
  • Battlezone review
  • Eagle Flight review
  • Killing Floor Incursion

Doing more with PlayStation VR

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Gaming is an increasingly social experience, and that means some games are meant to be shared with everyone. That can occasionally mean sharing with others — even those who don’t have a PlayStation 4. Sharing can also be as simple as a screenshot, or maybe you’re ready to share your whole session on Twitch. Whatever your choice, know that your hardware is built to listen (unless you tell it not to). Here’s a helpful list of how-tos when it comes to your PlayStation VR!

Commands

  • How to take a screenshot in PlayStation VR
  • How to change the screen size in Cinematic Mode
  • How to update your PlayStation VR

Equipment

  • The best driving wheel for PlayStation VR
  • How to turn off the microphone on your PlayStation Camera
  • PlayStation VR and macOS can play together thanks to MacMorpheus!
  • How to connect PlayStation VR to your PC
  • How to put prescription lenses in your VR headset

Helpful Hints

  • How to get the best Twitch stream with PlayStation VR
  • How to buy PlayStation 4 games from the Japanese store
  • How to view comments while streaming

Troubleshooting

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Like anything, your PlayStation VR may not always behave exactly as it should. To help with that, we’ve assembled a troubleshooting guide to help you deal with everything that could potentially go wrong with your headset.

  • How to deal with a shaking image in PlayStation VR
  • Check out our PlayStation VR Troubleshooting Guide!
  • Change the color hue of your room to help with tracking
  • Your wireless headphones will not work with PlayStation VR
  • How to prevent lens fog in any VR headset
  • How to deal with Aim controller drift
  • How to deal with menu stutter on PlayStation VR
  • How to fix every tracking issue on PlayStation VR
  • Fixing lense scratches on your VR headset
  • How to get the best light calibration
  • How to deal with nausea while playing PSVR
  • How to deal with blurry images in PlayStation VR
  • Getting your PSVR to work with a Christmas tree, or any other multi-light source!
  • How to fix screen mirroring issues

Selling your PlayStation VR

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Maybe you’ve decided this isn’t for you, or maybe you’re in immediate need of some cash. Whatever your reason, if you need to sell your PlayStation VR quickly there’s no need to rush out to the closest electronics shop and take their slim values. You have options, and we can help!

  • How to clean your PlayStation VR
  • Getting the best deal when selling your PlayStation VR

Updated August 2018 We’ve updated this Ultimate Guide with some articles to help you get started. Like how to put prescriptions lenses in your headset, or getting the perfect set up. Check it out!

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

15
Aug

Anker’s new $20 PowerPort Cube fits plenty of power in its compact design


Power for everything you own!

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The Anker PowerPort Cube 3-outlet 3 USB port ultra compact power strip is down to $19.54. This is a brand new product from Anker and doesn’t really have much of a pricing history to speak of. It sells for $26 normally and has dropped down to just over $21 with a coupon code recently.

This is about as small a power strip you can expect to find, especially considering it manages to fit six plugs (3 AC outlets, 3 USB ports) in a compact fashion. The USB ports have a max output of 18W and the outlets have a max of 1250W, which is plenty of power for whatever you’re plugging. At less than 2.5 cubic inches, it won’t take up any space wherever you choose to put it. Anker also backs it up with an 18-month warranty.

See at Amazon

15
Aug

Google’s developing a fix for slow Pixel / Pixel XL charging speeds on Pie


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From new gestures to extending battery life, here’s everything you need to know about Android Pie!

Following last year’s Oreo release, 2018 is the year of Android 9 Pie.

Google’s latest flavor of Android is jam-packed with all sorts of new features, including a brand-new gesture navigation system, new UI elements, and a heap of under-the-hood tweaks that aim to make this the best version of Android to date.

Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about Pie!

The latest Android Pie news

August 15, 2018 — A fix is coming for slow-charging speeds on Pixel and Pixel XL running Pie

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Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL are among the first smartphones to be treated by the Android 9 Pie update, but after getting the new software, users have been complaining about slow charging speeds with both the official charger that’s included with the phones and third-party ones. This bug’s been reported by both Pixel and Pixel XL owners, so we’re glad to hear that a fix is on the way.

According to The Verge, Google’s currently testing a software update that resolves the issue. In a statement that was sent to the publication, Google said:

We’re aware of an issue where non-Power Delivery (PD) USB-C chargers no longer rapidly charge the 2016 Pixel and Pixel XL after the upgrade to Android 9 Pie. The 18W rapid charger included in-box is a PD charger and does not exhibit this behavior. We are verifying a fix for non-PD USB-C chargers and will roll it out in the coming weeks.

A clearer timeframe than “the coming weeks” would be nice, but nonetheless, it’s great to hear that these troubles with be over with soon.

August 6, 2018 — Google releases Pie’s OTA images for Pixel and Nexus devices

If you’re eager to start using Pie ASAP, Google’s got you covered.

The full OTA images have already been released, meaning you can grab them and flash Pie onto your Pixel or Nexus phone this very second.

Go, go, go!

Grab the OTA files here

All the big details

Android P is officially Android 9 Pie

No Popsicles or Pineapples here. On August 6, 2018, Google revealed that its next version of Android is Android 9 Pie.

Along with the name change, the number this year is also slightly different. Rather than following the trend of 7.0, 8.0, etc., Pie is referred to as 9. This probably doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s still an interesting move on Google’s part.

Check out our full review!

Every new Android version builds upon the previous one, meaning that each new update is better than the last.

However, in day-to-day use, how does really Pie hold up? What’s it like using the new gestures instead of the traditional navigation buttons? How do the subtle UI tweaks compare to Oreo? What’s performance like?

All those questions and much, much more are answered in our full review, so be sure to give it a read and watch!

Android 9 Pie review: Greater than the sum of its slices

How to upgrade to Pie

We could talk about Android Pie all day long, but if you don’t know how to actually use the new software for yourself, what’s the fun in that?

Most users will likely upgrade to Pie via a simple OTA update, but if you don’t feel like waiting on Google to serve that to you, you can manually flash it on your phone, too.

Jerry’s got all the details of how to start using Pie right now, so be sure to give his guide a look.

How to install Android Pie on your Pixel right now (or downgrade to Oreo)

See what Google has to say about Pie in our interview with Android’s UX Manager

Android Pie is a big deal for Google. Between the gestures, digital wellbeing initiative, and more, there’s a lot going on all at once.

Andrew recently had the chance to talk with Android’s UX Manager, EK Chung, about all things Pie to get a better understanding of why this is such a big release for the company.

This is a longer read, but it’s absolutely worth a look if you want a deeper understanding of what all went into crafting Pie into the final build that we have today.

Interview: Google’s EK Chung on Android 9 Pie design, simplicity and digital wellbeing

It completely changes Android’s navigation system

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Back in 2011 with Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Google introduced Android’s iconic three-button navigation system we’ve come to know and love – Back, Home, and Recents. Seven years later with Android Pie, these are being eliminated in favor of a gesture-based system.

Android Pie is the first time Google’s heavily relying on gestures for navigating the UI, and in their current form, they work as follows:

  • Tap the Home button/pill to go home
  • Swipe up to access the recent apps page
  • Swipe up twice or do a long swipe for the app drawer
  • The Back button only appears in certain apps/menus when it’s needed

This combination of taps and swipes can be confusing at first, but with enough practice and patience, are fairly easy to master in a short amount of time. Phones that are updated to Pie will still use the three-button nav by default, but if you want to turn them on, doing so is fairly simple.

Going forward, phones like the Pixel 3 will have gestures turned on by default with no way to revert back to them. So, while you can keep using your Back, Home, and Recents for now, you’ll need to get aclimated with the gestures sooner or later.

How to master the new Android Pie gestures

The user interface is more rounded and colorful

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Android Pie isn’t as drastic of a visual change like we saw with the jump from KitKat to Lolipop, but compared to Oreo, there are some elements that are noticeably different.

At first glance, things like the colorful icons in Settings, circular Quick Settings icons, and rounded corners for just about every menu jump out like a sore thumb. These elements do take some getting used to, but I ultimately came around to liking them quite a bit.

Something else you’ll notice with Pie is just how alive it feels. Between the new gestures and updated animations, Android moves in a way that I’ve never seen before. Oreo was smooth and buttery, but Pie flies underneath your fingertips in a way that can only be experienced in-person.

There are tools for helping you use your phone less

Google talked a lot about helping people with their “digital wellbeing” at this year’s I/O conference, and a lot of those efforts are baked right into Android Pie.

Although not live quite yet, later versions of Pie will introduce a new system called Android Dashboard. Android Dashboard will offer a quick glimpse into how you’re using your phone, including stats on which apps you’re using the most, how many times you’ve turned on the screen, how many notifications you’ve received, and how much time you’ve spent on each app.

You’ll also find a feature called App Timers that’ll restrict you from using a certain app after you’ve spent x amount of time on it, as well as tools for easily turning on Do Not Disturb and switching your screen to a monochrome color palette to help you wind down for bed.

Google’s Digital Wellbeing initiative: Everything you need to know

Google’s trying to squeeze as much juice as possible out of your battery

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It seems like Google’s always trying to find ways to maximize your phone’s battery life as much as possible, and with Android Pie, those efforts are present in a new Adaptive Battery mode.

Similar to how Adaptive Brightness automatically adjusts your display’s brightness level based on your environment and usage, Adaptive Battery will examine how you use your phone and limit CPU usage to apps you infrequently use.

Google notes that Adaptive Battery can lower CPU usage by as much as 30%, and thanks to the use of Machine Learning, it’ll only get better the more you use your phone.

How to save battery life on Android Pie

App shortcuts are everywhere

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With Android Nougat, Google introduced us to App Shortcuts for the first time. Holding down on an app icon to quickly access certain elements of it can be genuinely useful at times, and with Android Pie, Google’s taking these to the next level with App Actions and Slices.

App Actions will try to determine what you’ll do next with your phone and give you recommend shortcuts for doing so within the app drawer, Assistant, and more. For example, if you watch Good Mythical Morning each day with breakfast, you might see an App Shortcut in your app drawer for searching Rhett and Link on YouTube during the morning.

On the other hand, Slices will allow you to perform more complex actions from the Assistant or Google Search. In the example Google gave at I/O, searching “I want to book a ride” will give you a special link to call a ride home via Lyft (assuming you’ve got the app installed).

Android Pie features you’ll love: App Actions

157 new emoji

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In Android 9, Google’s added a ton of new emojis to keep your conversations bright and colorful — 157 of them, to be exact.

Although we won’t run through the entire list, some of the highlights include red hair, superhero, face with three hearts, bagel with cream cheese, mooncake, lobster, and llama.

There are also improvements to existing emoji, including two new gender-neutral family and couple designs and updated looks for the bacon, salad, turtle, and cricket emojis.

Check out all of the new emoji here!

A new standard for biometric authentication

Fingerprint sensors and face unlock systems make it easier than ever to access private information on our phones, and in Android P Developer Preview 3, Google added a brand-new standard for this called “BiometricPrompt API.”

Thanks to the new API, developers no longer have to create their own dialog for using biometric systems with their apps. This isn’t something you’ll notice in day-to-day use, but it’s an important background change we’re more than happy to see.

Android Pie features you’ll love: Better, faster biometrics

All the little things

In addition to the big changes found in Android Pie, there are a ton of smaller elements also scattered throughout the update. Some of my favorites include:

  • Built-in screenshot editor
  • Zoom pop-up when highlighting text
  • Changing the volume now defaults to your media volume
  • Volume controls appear on the right of your screen instead of the top
  • Do Not Disturb is more customizable and easier to understand

Updated August 6, 2018: This article was revamped/refreshed with up-to-date content now that Android Pie is official!

Android 9 Pie

  • Android 9 Pie review: Greater than the sum of its slices
  • Everything you need to know about Android 9 Pie!
  • Will my phone get Android Pie?
  • How to get Android 9 Pie on your Pixel right now
  • Join the Discussion

15
Aug

Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Which storage size should I buy?


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The answer is simple for most people.

Samsung pulled out the stops for the power-users with the launch of the Galaxy Note 9. Three of the biggest things spec hounds were looking for all received significant improvements over the last generation: battery, storage, and memory. At the same time, the price went up — and in the case of the 512GB model, it went way up. Most people who were originally excited about the idea of a 512GB storage Galaxy Note 9 quickly tempered their lust after seeing the $1249 price tag.

But even still, people will be looking at the upgraded model. As you consider your Note 9 purchase and try to decide which storage is right for you, we have a few things for you to keep in mind.

Who should get 128GB

128GB is the baseline Note 9 storage and will automatically grab a majority of sales because of it. Most people who had a 32 or 64GB phone previously will be extremely happy with the jump up to 128GB of storage by default. The price jump from the Note 8 up to $999 seems a little steep, but keep in mind that Samsung charges a $50 premium to go from 64 to 128GB on the Galaxy S9+ — so this isn’t that big of a deal if you were someone who was going to buy more storage anyway.

If you fit into a 64GB phone today, don’t hesitate about getting a 128GB Note 9.

With 128GB internally, you’re going to have well over 100GB of free space after your first start-up and installation of your typical apps. (After getting my own Note 9 set up, with plenty of data downloaded, I have 97GB free.) That’s a lot of space for Netflix downloads, big games, 4K video shooting and more. Even if you’re pushing the limits of your 64GB phone today, there’s a good chance you’re going to be able to make it work with an additional 64GB — and remember you always have a microSD card slot for any future overflow.

So if you’re in any way worried about the additional cost required to go up to 512GB, and fit into a 64GB phone currently, you should have no hesitations about getting the base model 128GB Note 9.

See at Samsung

Who should get 512GB

We can’t talk about the benefits of the extra storage before first addressing the price increase. In order to get 512GB of storage, you’ll pay $250 (or, 25%) more for your Note 9. That’s a significant move on an already extremely expensive phone. It’s true that carrier and retailer financing programs can ease the burden of that extra price, but even on a 24-month payment plan we’re talking about moving from $41 to $52 per month — it’s still a big jump.

If you can eat the cost, the 512GB Note 9 is the ultimate expression of what the Galaxy Note line is all about.

But if you can eat the cost, the higher-end Note 9 with 512GB of storage and 8GB of RAM is the ultimate expression of what the Galaxy Note line is all about: doing everything to the biggest extent possible. You’re encouraged to never say the word “never,” but it’s hard to see how you’d fill up 512GB of storage given today’s file sizes for apps, music, games and video. Even if you throw out all thoughts of managing your storage in any way, and simply keep every single thing you download, you’d be hard-pressed to push the 512GB limit. (And I’d recommend that if you are storing that much on your phone that you should have a robust backup system for keeping a copy of that data safe elsewhere.)

With 512GB internally, you can add another 512GB with a microSD card (albeit for about $350) to go full-on crazy mode and have 1TB of storage available. Even if you keep things reasonable with a 256GB card (for about one-quarter the price), that’s over 750GB of storage in your hand everywhere you go.

With that kind of potential, and the knowledge that you’ll effectively never worry about how much storage you have left when downloading or creating content, if you can eat the extra cost it’s worth considering the big jump up to 512GB.

See at Samsung

More RAM is just a nice bonus

Like some other phones, Samsung offers extra RAM in the model with increased storage — in this case, a jump up to 8GB from 6GB. Just like we’ve discussed regarding the OnePlus 6’s extra RAM, we caution you against putting too much stock in what the extra memory can actually do for you.

Getting more RAM is a nice bonus — not a reason to spend $250 extra.

Yes, the extra memory gives you more room when running dozens of apps at the same time, or when running several intensive apps in the DeX desktop interface while running others on the phone itself. But the use cases where you’ll actually see a clear benefit between 6 and 8GB are minimal. With the base Galaxy Note 9 (and Galaxy S9+ as well) coming with 6GB of RAM, Samsung is designing all of its software for devices that have that memory size — it isn’t going to build things to expect 8GB of RAM, because a large majority of people won’t actually have that much.

Your choice to buy a higher-model Note 9 should start and end with a decision on whether you value having 512GB of storage at $250. The extra RAM is a nice bit of futureproofing — and bragging rights — but nothing more, and shouldn’t be a deciding factor for whether you make the jump to the higher model.

Which color Galaxy Note 9 should I buy: Blue, purple, gold, or black?

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 9 hands-on preview
  • Galaxy Note 9 vs. Note 8
  • Where to buy the Galaxy Note 9
  • Galaxy Note 9 specifications
  • Is the Note 8 still a good buy?
  • Join our Galaxy Note 9 forums

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15
Aug

Nissan Sentra Features CarPlay Starting With New 2019 Model


Nissan today announced that the 2019 Sentra, excluding the base Sentra S model, features standard CarPlay and Android Auto.

This is the first model year of the Sentra with CarPlay, following in the footsteps of the 2017 and newer Maxima, 2017 and newer Micra, 2017 and newer Murano, 2018 GT-R, 2018 Kicks, 2018 LEAF, 2018 Rogue, and 2019 Altima.

CarPlay enables iPhone users to access a range of apps from the NissanConnect infotainment system, including Messages, Apple Maps, Apple Music, Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, SiriusXM Radio, Pandora, WhatsApp, Downcast, Slacker Radio, Stitcher, and, starting with iOS 12, Google Maps and Waze.

The 2019 Sentra is on sale now at Nissan dealerships across the United States, with CarPlay-enabled packages starting at $19,090.

Related Roundup: CarPlayTag: Nissan
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15
Aug

Twitch Plans to ‘Aggressively Broaden’ its Content and Expand Beyond Gaming as it Battles YouTube


Twitch, the platform known as a place to watch streamers play games like League of Legends, Fortnite, and Overwatch, is now looking into becoming a “broader video service” that would cater to lifestyle vloggers from rival company YouTube.

According to a report today by Bloomberg, Amazon-owned Twitch has decided to “aggressively broaden” the programming on the platform to directly compete with YouTube, and gain more advertising revenue in the process. Amazon and Twitch have reportedly pursued exclusive live-streaming deals with “dozens” of popular media companies and personalities who are currently on YouTube.

These deals are said to be worth “as much as a few million dollars a year,” and include a share of future advertising sales and subscription revenue. “A few deals have closed,” although some approached by Twitch have not agreed to the company’s terms, including a minimum amount of hours required to livestream per week.

Despite Twitch’s plans to add more non-gaming programming, the company is still focusing on live streaming video.

“There will be a steady drumbeat of lots of new content we’re bringing on,” says Michael Aragon, Twitch Interactive Inc.’s senior vice president of content. “We’re growing well, and that makes us an attractive destination for people looking to do new things in live, interactive entertainment.”

When Amazon bought Twitch in 2014, the live streaming service was exclusively focused on video games and didn’t let anyone post videos that weren’t related to gaming. In recent years, Amazon slightly expanded the scope of the platform with “Twitch Creative,” encouraging non-gamers like chefs and artists to stream on Twitch. There have also been marathons of old Saturday Night Live episodes and some live sports.

Despite this introduction of new content, Twitch is still primarily video game-focused today. When browsing the Discover tab on iOS, popular live gaming streams, gaming channels, game clips, and more fill up the space. While Twitch will retain all of the live-streaming features and community of gamers it currently has, today’s report suggests that users can expect to see more non-gaming streams in this area down the line.

This “broader video service” expansion appears to have gained even more momentum recently, as Twitch looks to bring people to its platform who might be more susceptible to advertising. As it stands, Twitch’s target audience of young male gamers “tend to be resistant to ads.” Justin Warden, CEO of e-sports marketing agency Ader Inc., explained that “few brands are excited about reaching an audience of hardcore gamers,” but there is interest for “working with an influencer or personality.”

YouTube has been losing favor in the creator community for a few years now, most recently causing controversy in May by testing a non-chronological video order in the user’s subscription feed. In January, YouTube and Google announced new rules surrounding creator monetization and partnerships, particularly de-monetizing videos that have controversial or inappropriate content. This caused many YouTubers to consider lessening their focus on the platform and look into supplementing their income with other services like Twitch.

Tags: YouTube, Twitch
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15
Aug

Apple Maps Now Features Indoor Maps at 18 Shopping Malls in Canada


Apple Maps has been updated with indoor maps of at least 18 shopping malls in several Canadian cities and suburbs, including Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton, Montréal, Calgary, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Dieppe, New Brunswick.

Nearly all of the shopping malls are Cadillac Fairview properties, with the sole exception being Square One in Mississauga:

  • Galeries D’Anjou in Montréal
  • Carrefour Laval in Laval
  • Promenades St-Bruno in Saint-Bruno
  • Fairview Pointe Claire in Pointe-Claire
  • Rideau Centre in Ottawa
  • Markville in Markham
  • Shops at Don Mills in Toronto
  • Fairview Mall in Toronto
  • Sherway Gardens in Toronto
  • Square One in Mississauga
  • Lime Ridge in Hamilton
  • Fairview Park in Kitchener
  • Masonville Place in London
  • Polo Park in Winnipeg
  • Chinook Centre in Calgary
  • Market Mall in Calgary
  • Richmond Centre in Richmond
  • Champlain Place in Dieppe, New Brunswick

Apple has yet to add indoor maps for the Eaton Centre in Toronto and the Pacific Centre in Vancouver, two of the biggest Cadillac Fairview malls. Two other notable exclusions are Yorkdale in Toronto and the Centre Eaton de Montréal.

Apple launched indoor maps at select airports and shopping malls in 2017, with a list of locations available on its iOS Feature Availability page. To view an indoor map, open the Apple Maps app on an iPhone or iPad running iOS 11 or later, search for a supported location, zoom in, and tap on “Look Inside” if necessary.

Indoor maps at shopping malls make it easier to find the exact location of stores, restaurants, and restrooms on each floor, in addition to guest services, parking, escalators, stairs, and so forth. Or, swipe up on the place card to browse by category, such as clothes, shoes, accessories, beauty, food, and drinks.

Likewise, at airports, Apple Maps users can zoom in to view terminals, boarding gates, security checkpoints, airline check-in desks, baggage claim carousels, information kiosks, restrooms, stores, restaurants, parking, and more.

Tags: Apple Maps, Canada
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