Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Google Home and Google Home Mini launch in Austria, Ireland, and Spain

google home

The original Google Assistant-powered Google Home was launched back in 2016. It offers high-quality sound in a portable form factor. About a year later, the Google Home Mini and Google Home Max were introduced. They're also equipped with Assistant onboard, but offer an alternative for those looking for a smart home speaker in a different form factor and/or price point. The Home is available in the United States, CanadaFrance, the United Kingdom, India, and other countries. Three new countries have joined the list—Austria, Ireland, and Spain.

Starting today, customers from these three countries will be able to purchase the Google Home and Google Home Mini too. They are already available for sale from the Google Store. You can order them from the links below:

That brings the current number of countries in which the Home can be purchased up to 13. The number of languages that Google Assistant supports is 6.

Google Home, Google Home Mini, Google Assistant

It's always welcoming news when we see a Google product being made available in more countries. They recently expanded the new YouTube Music and YouTube Premium services to Canada and 11 European nations as well. We hope to see their products and services available in as many countries as possible for the sake of competition. Google's aggressive sales push over the holidays has brought the Home into millions of households. With new features such as multiple query understanding, more detailed weather information, and better integration with popular food services, Google is challenging Amazon for the smart speaker throne.

Source: Google Via: The Verge

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

MIUI 10 China Developer ROM now available for 10 Xiaomi phones


The MIUI 10 Global ROM was announced nearly 2 weeks ago along the Xiaomi Redmi Y2 unveiling in India. This came about a week after the MIUI 10 China ROM was announced. The latest version of MIUI is a completely redesigned and reimagined version of Xiaomi's skin. We've covered every new feature it offered and the availability of the closed beta China Developer ROMs and Global Developer ROMs. Now, Xiaomi has announced the general availability of the MIUI 10 China Developer ROM for 10 Xiaomi phones. This includes the following devices:

Originally, the list included the Xiaomi Mi 6X but it was removed because of issues with the camera. What has changed since the first closed beta ROMs leaked is unknown. If you're already on the MIUI 9 Global Developer ROM, there's no need for manual flashing as you can just open up the 'Updater' app on your phone and check for updates. If you're on an older version of MIUI, you'll need to head to this page, download the image, and flash it via fastboot. Keep in mind that flashing the update via fastboot requires an unlocked bootloader. Xiaomi has official instructions for how to unlock the bootloader.

The China ROMs lack Google Play apps and services, so you'll need to install them manually. Also, there will be some UI elements that are displayed in Mandarin, though the majority of them can be switched to English if you change the system-wide language setting. Xiaomi will likely roll out the Global Developer ROM shortly, and there's word that the unofficial community will have builds up soon if you would rather wait.

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OnePlus 6 now supports Google ARCore

Google launched ARCore in the Play Store back in December 2017. It's Google's augmented reality platform that replaced Project Tango's need for dedicated hardware. Nearly every week we see a new device that gains ARCore support. Just recently with the latest version of ARCore (1.3), we found out that plenty of new devices such as the Xiaomi Mi 8, Honor 10, and OnePlus 5T are getting support. A surprise addition to that list—one that was neither mentioned in the device profile list nor on Google's official list—is the OnePlus 6.

As it turns out, you can now install ARCore on the OnePlus 6. Although the Google Play Store shows the application as unsupported, you can sideload the APK file manually. We were tipped off about this and our very own Display Analyst Dylan Raga tested it on his OnePlus 6 and can confirm that it works without any problems. It's unknown when the app will be available to install from the Google Play Store, but sideloading it works just fine.

oneplus 6 arcore

Photo by Dylan Raga

Google hasn't updated the official 'Supported Devices' list for ARCore just yet. This likely explains why many of the devices we reported earlier are unable to download the app from the Play Store—Google has yet to whitelist them in the Play Developer Console.

If you would like to get started with augmented reality apps on your OnePlus 6, then check out the list available on the Google Play Store. A simple one we recommend trying out is Google's very own "Just a Line" app.

Just a Line - Draw Anywhere, with AR (Free, Google Play) →

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Xiaomi Mi Max 3 specifications and renders appear on TENAA

Xiaomi Mi Max 2

Months ago, we had exclusively revealed the possible specifications of Xiaomi's upcoming large screen behemoth, the Xiaomi Mi Max 3. The reveal was based upon information from the firmware files of the alleged Mi Max 3. Today, we have confirmation on several of the previously reported specifications, thanks to TENAA listings of the upcoming Xiaomi device.

The TENAA listing belongs to devices M1804E4CM1804E4T, and M1804E4A, all of which are likely different regional variants of what we believe is the Xiaomi Mi Max 3 based on the rest of the reported specifications. Since these listings are on the official website of China's regulatory authority, the specifications reported are final and confirmed.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 Xiaomi Mi Max 3 Xiaomi Mi Max 3 Xiaomi Mi Max 3

The Xiaomi Mi Max 3 will come with a 6.9-inch TFT LCD display with a resolution of 2160 x 1080 in an 18:9 aspect ratio. This means the device will likely have a small top and bottom bezel and no capacitive buttons. The size of the device is 176.15 × 87.4 × 7.99 mm, which is longer and thicker than the Xiaomi Mi Max 2. At 221g, the device is also heavier than the Mi Max 2, thanks to the bigger 5,400 mAh battery. The difference of 100 mAh from our previous report on Mi Max 3 can be attributed to a discrepancy between rated battery specification and actual battery specification. Other confirmed features include a 3.5mm headphone jack, an IR Blaster, and fast charging support (fast charging is mentioned on two out of the three reported variants).

On the inside, confirmed specifications point to an octa-core SoC clocked at 1.8GHz, which is very likely the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636. RAM options for the device will be 3GB, 4GB, and 6GB, while internal storage options will be 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB. The device will also feature microSD card support up to 128GB, though the listing does not mention if this is a dedicated slot or a hybrid dual SIM tray. The device will come with Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, which shall be accompanied by Xiaomi's MIUI skin on top. It is a no-brainer that the device will get MIUI 10, but it is not yet confirmed if this will be available out-of-the-box or through a future OTA.

The TENAA listing also mentions the existence of 3 cameras on the device in a possible dual-rear camera setup. The primary sensor on the back is a 12MP unit with support for shooting videos at 4K resolution, while the second sensor is a 5MP unit. The front camera is an 8MP snapper.

Here is a comparison table between the Xiaomi Mi Max 3 and the Xiaomi Mi Max 2:

Alleged Xiaomi Mi Max 3 Specifications vs. Xiaomi Mi Max 2

Specifications Mi Max 3 Mi Max 2
Screen Size 6.9″ 6.44″
Display Resolution and Aspect Ratio FHD+, 2160 x 1080; 18:9 FHD, 1920 x 1080; 16:9
Navigation Software buttons Capacitive buttons
Dimensions 176.15 × 87.4 × 7.99 mm 174.1 x 88.7 x 7.6 mm
Weight 221 g 211 g
Processor Octa-core SoC clocked @ 1.8GHz;
Very likely the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636
Octa-Core SoC clocked @2.0 GHz;
Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
RAM and Storage options 3GB/4GB/6GB + 32GB/64GB/128GB 4GB + 64GB/128GB
Micro-SD Card Support Upto 128GB Upto 256GB using the hybrid SIM tray
Rear Camera 12MP + 5MP 12MP
Front Camera 8MP 5MP
Battery 5400 mAh 5300 mAh
3.5mm Headphone jack Present Present

The Mi Max 3 will come in several color options such as Black, Rose Gold, Gold, White, Blue, Red, Pink, Gray, Silver, though we expect options to be limited regionally.

What are your thoughts on the Xiaomi Mi Max 3 so far? Let us know in the comments below!

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MIUI 10 China beta now available for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

xiaomi redmi note 4 miui 10

MIUI 10 looks to be the best version of MIUI yet. With a number of new camera features and a newly re-worked UI with parts reminiscent of Android P, Xiaomi's flavor of Android is looking better than ever. If that has you excited, then you'll be happy to know that you can flash the MIUI 10 China beta right now on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (mido). This is courtesy of XDA Junior Member Camerado who posted the recovery ROM in our forum. The China Developer ROM is already available for a number of other devices, and the Global Developer ROM is likewise available for many devices. You can follow the same instructions to flash the ROM onto the Redmi Note 4.

If you want to install it, you'll need the right TWRP to flash the zip file below. Note that there may be a number of bugs present (we're told that portrait mode doesn't work), so it's not recommended to use as a daily driver yet. Keep in mind that this is still Android Nougat-based—flashing this won't update you to Android Oreo. Regardless, you'll be getting a lot of new goodies in the latest MIUI build so if you're interested download it below.

Download MIUI 10 for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

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Google Play Store will authenticate peer-to-peer app downloads and add to your Library

google play store

Piracy is one of the biggest problems for Android. The main reason for the problem is our favorite operating system's open nature. You can do virtually anything on your Android device, and that includes downloading applications illegally from outside the Google Play Store. While Android applications are pretty cheap compared to the competition, people still tend to do it.

As it turns out, Google's been thinking about what they can do with this problem, and now they've finally found a solution. Last year, Google announced a slew of updates to app security.  Today, they have expanded on that by adding small security metadata on top of developer's uploaded APKs in the Play Store. This will make sure that the application is distributed from Play Store.

As Google explains, they took the measure to make sure that developers reach a wider audience. They said that peer-to-peer application sharing is popular in countries where mobile data plans are expensive and not available for all. The following change will give people more confidence that an application is definitely from Play Store. In fact, apps downloaded from peer-to-peer sharing will be added to your Play Store library (assuming they are legit).

Another noteworthy change is that app authentication can now happen in offline mode. This means that you won't need any kind of internet connection for making sure of applications authenticity. Developers don't really need to do anything other than uploading an APK file, and that's nothing new for them. New metadata is now built into APP Signing Block. Google Play's maximum APK size will also be increased to take the added metadata into account.

Source: Android Developers Blog

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Microsoft Edge on Android gets Adblock Plus integration and intelligent visual search

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge's first beta version was made available back in October of 2017. Users had to sign up for a beta to be able to download the app. It was eventually made public just a month later. Since then, it has continued to get updates and new features. Today, Microsoft Edge has received four new features. One of them is probably one of the most requested features of all time: Adblock Plus integration, a.k.a. ad-blocking.

You can enable it by going into app's settings and the new "Content blockers" section. As you may have already figured, the browser only supports Adblock Plus at this time. You can also toggle "acceptable ads" and add your favorite websites to the whitelist.

The next new feature is intelligent visual search, which helps you find contact info, search by image, and more. It is enabled by default, so there's really not any toggles or complicated options to set it up. You can start using this feature right after downloading the new version. Edge 42 also includes performance improvements, as well as improved book reading experience, and organization-managed favorites. Here is the official changelog:

  • Content blocking with Adblock Plus is now available under Settings
  • Intelligent visual search gives you a cool new way to find contact info, identify landmarks, or find similar images based on a photo
  • See organization-managed favorites and internal web apps on Intune-managed work and school accounts
  • A better book reading experience including ability to see/add bookmarks and to change text spacing
  • Performance improvements

You can download Microsoft Edge from the link below if you haven't already. The update is already available for everyone to try. I think Microsoft's new approach of focusing on apps is working well, as they've been hard at work recently updating their applications for Android and iOS platforms. If you're curious about alternatives to Chrome, Edge is a nice option.

Microsoft Edge (Free, Google Play) →

Source: MSPoweruser

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