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

MIUI 10

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 Xiaomi.eu 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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Budget Nokia 2 gets an Android 8.1 Oreo beta

nokia 2

HMD Global unleashed a storm of new smartphones last year. This year, they continue releasing new phones for different price categories. Just last week, the Nokia 5.1 Plus got leaked. They're popular on the market because they're available everywhere at any price category and they get a lot of updates. Nokia even has a beta program for these devices dubbed "Beta Labs." Just now, the Nokia 2 got added to the program.

The device has received its first Android 8.1 Oreo beta build. The Nokia 2 is a budget phone by HMD Global that was released back in October of 2017. While being thin on the wallet, it still offers some unique features such as 4,100mAh battery. Nokia claims that it is able to last up to 2 days.

This new beta update contains Android Go optimizations. HMD Global's Chief Product Officer, Juho Sarvikas, announced Android 8.1 Oreo availability for Nokia 2 seven months ago. He also promised that the device's performance will only get better over time and an update will not slow down the device at all, despite the fact that it contains a 1GB RAM. Other than that, the Nokia 2 also features a 5-inch 720p LCD display, Snapdragon 212 SoC, and a price tag of $100.

HMD Global promised that all Nokia phones released by them will get the Android P update. Release times are not yet known, but it's still nice to know that even budget phones will receive the latest and greatest Android update. The fact that HMD also cares about stability and performance of the devices makes the fact only better. Android Go optimizations will definitely help out these kinds of $100 devices.

You can join Beta Labs program from the link below. Registration and enrolling a device is pretty straightforward processes.

Nokia Beta Labs Program


Source: Twitter @sarvikas



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Android-x86 based on Android 8.1 Oreo now available for your PC

Android x86 Android 8.1 Oreo

Android x86 is an unofficial attempt at porting Google's Android OS from Smartphones over to the Personal Computer. Although there are numerous ways to have the Android experience through notebooks and PCs, Android-x86 is free of any form of emulator-spam and/or advertisements creeping into the native experience.

The project is completely open-source and has been designed to run on computers with the "x86" architecture, which is basically devices with Intel chips. Android-x86 has now received an update, bumping the project up to the 8.1-rc1 release which brings Android 8.1 Oreo to the users. Based on the latest Android 8.1 Oreo MR1 release (8.1.0_r33), 8.1-rc1 includes the following features:

  • Support for both 64-bit and 32-bit kernels and user-spaces has been added.
  • This release supports OpenGL ES 3.x hardware acceleration for Intel/AMD/Nvidia, VMWare and QEMU(virgl) by Mesa 18.1.2.
  • For unsupported GPU devices, OpenGL ES 2.0 is now supported via SwiftShader for software rendering.
  • For devices with Intel HD and the G45 graphics family, hardware accelerated codecs are now supported.
  • A text-based GUI Installer has been added.
  • Secure booting from UEFI and installing to UEFI disk is now supported.
  • Theme support to GRUB-EFI has now been added as well.
  • Multi-touch, Audio, WiFi, Bluetooth, Sensors, Camera and Ethernet (DHCP only) are not supported as well.
  • External USB Drive and SDCard support have also been added to this release.
  • Taskbar, an alternative launcher (which puts a start menu and recent apps tray on top of the screen of the user) has been added to the release.
  • For devices which lack known sensors, ForceDefaultOrientation has been enabled which lets portrait apps run in devices with landscape orientation without having the user rotate
  • the screen.
  • ARM Arch apps are now supported via the native bridge mechanism. The option is available at the "Android-x86 options" menu inside Settings.

Although this release is fairly stable, there are two known issues:

  • Google Play Services might crash at times on 32-bit images.
  • For some devices, "suspend" and "resume" features don't work.

Hit the link below to read the full release notes and find the pre-built images.


Source: Android-x86.org



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Oppo Find X has no notch, slim bezels, and a pop-up camera

oppo find x

The Oppo Find X is official. We already knew a good bit about the device thanks to leaks ahead of time, but we now have confirmed specifications and images from the company themselves.

The Oppo Find series is the company's flagship line of devices that first put them on the map back in 2014. The Oppo Find 7 came with a 1440p display, and since then we've not had much else from them. The Oppo Find X is the first proper flagship device from the company that we've seen in years. It's looking to be a pretty great device with some powerful specifications running it. We already know the company intends to bring the device to France with a launch event later today, so will this be their first international big break? It's been a few years since their last flagship, so how does this device fare against the current competition? The Verge has published their initial thoughts on the device, along with some specifications.

Oppo Find X Oppo Find X Oppo Find X Oppo Find X

Source: The Verge

Oppo Find X Specifications

Specs Oppo Find X
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 @ 2.8GHz
RAM 8GB
Camera Rear: 20MP (f/2.0) + 16MP (f/2.2), 4k video recording support

Front: 25MP (f/2.0) 1080p video recording

Storage Up to 256GB
Display 6.4-inch 2340×1080 AMOLED
Audio No 3.5mm headphone jack, speaker
Battery 3,730mAh supporting VOOC fast charging (same as Dash Charge)
Ports One USB-C port
Miscellaneous NFC and OTG supported, Dual Nano-SIM
Price Unknown

Oppo Find X Connectivity and LTE Band Information

Specs Oppo Find X
Connectivity Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4GHz/5GHz

Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy

NFC: Yes

Positioning: GPS/A-GPS

Band support GSM: 850/900/1800/1900WCDMA: 1/2/4/5/6/8/19

LTE FDD: 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/18/19/20/25/26/28/29/32/66

TD-LTE: 34/38/39/40/41(2496-2690MHz)



Performance

First and foremost, the Oppo Find X is powered by the latest Qualcomm system-on-chip, a must for any flagship launched in 2018. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 is an absolute powerhouse, so this device should have absolutely no problem running anything you throw at it. Gaming performance should be stellar as well, between the Adreno 630 onboard and the 1080p display. It's certainly not a gaming phone, but it'll do you just fine for all of your daily tasks and some light gaming on the side. With that killer SoC you also get 8GB of RAM, plenty for anything you'd do on your smartphone. You'll have no problem of running out of memory, so you don't have to worry about that either. Along with the both of those, you'll get up to 256GB, a huge amount. The only problem is it's non-expandable, meaning no microSD card slot. The device comes with ColorOS, which has a lot of similarities to Grace UX on Samsung devices and iOS. Color OS is based on Android 8.1 Oreo, so you'll get all of the latest features.

Display

The display has an unusual aspect ratio of 19.5:9, just like the OnePlus 6. This device also has a 403 PPI at 6.4 inches. It's unusual, but it's not so unusual that it will make media consumption or gaming uncomfortable. You'll just have to put up with some unused screen either side of most media you're consuming.

But we've missed out on one of the most important details, there is no notch present. Oppo has instead opted to have the camera slide out of the device when launching the camera application. The earpiece, proximity sensor, and light sensor have all been placed underneath the screen. This avoids having a notch while also retaining functionality. With a 92.5% screen to body ratio, the only real bezel on the device is the small chin at the bottom. It looks beautiful and it's one of the defining features of this device in terms of specifications.

Oppo Find X

Source: The Verge

Camera

Here's where things get really, really cool. The Oppo Find X doesn't have a notch, which means it doesn't have room for a front facing camera either. So how does the company achieve a selfie camera? Simple, by adding a sliding mechanism at the top of the phone. The phone extends about a centimetre taller, and a housing for both the front and rear cameras extends outwards. It's a genius design and it looks a whole lot nicer than a display notch.

oppo find x

Source: The Verge

Bur what about the actual camera hardware itself? The primary camera is compromised of a dual camera setup – one 20MP f/2.0 shooter combined with one 16MP f/2.2 shooter. The selfie camera is 25MP with an f/2.0 aperture. The camera hardware looks spectacular, but it's often the software that makes or breaks a camera. We'll have to wait and see how the device fares against the competition once it reaches the hands of consumers. There's a number of AI features present in the camera, including 3D face scanning and beautifying modes.

Battery

Battery life should be a major win for this phone, as it clocks in at 3,730mAh. That's a huge amount for any smartphone, especially as processors get more and more efficient. With such a large screen though, a larger battery is needed to power it. The device also supports VOOC fast charging, so that there is no crazy three hour wait time. VOOC is the original Dash Charge that OnePlus uses, so your device will get to 60% in about half an hour. With such a large battery, fast charging is really important.

Connectivity

A dual-SIM variant of the device is being launched worldwide, and the device will have the same bands no matter which market it's sold in. That's great and can help keep manufacturing costs down, but it means those on unsupported networks are out of luck without switching their carrier.

The device supports Wi-Fi 2GHz, 5GHz and 5.8GHz though. Also included is NFC support and Bluetooth 5.0, so there's nothing really left out here in terms of connectivity. Oppo appears to have all bases covered with this device for just about anything you'd need.

Ports

This is where the device starts to fall down, as there is one, single USB-C port. There is no 3.5mm headphone jack in the Oppo Find X. You can use USB-C audio if you want, and it's currently unknown if a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone adapter is included in the box or not. This is pretty disappointing given the other devices being launched with one recently, but it's also not too surprising either. It feels like a coin toss much of the time whether a newly released device will have one or not.

Pricing

There is no information on pricing at this point in time, but once the device is launched we should know more and we will update this article. It's expected to be reasonably priced in comparison to other flagships, but we'll know for sure later today. One thing is for sure – if Oppo sets too high of a price, then it may be hard or this device to break into the market.

Join the Oppo Find X Forums!



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Google Podcasts gets its own app and a full global launch

It's no secret that Google has been wanting in on the podcast game for a long time now. Google Play Music already supports podcasting, and we saw podcasts enter Google Search results around the same time too. Google seemed content with this setup for a while, but it appears that's changing. Google Podcasts is getting its own app and a fully global launch. Note that while the service is getting its own application, there's nothing to suggest that it's getting any new functionality now. It looks to be what's in Google Play Music already.

google podcasts google podcasts google podcasts google podcasts google podcasts

There appears to be no new functionality here whatsoever. It's simply just Google separating out podcasts from the Google Play Music app. Google sees that there is still a lot of room for expansion in the podcast market, so it's possible that we could see new features in the future. For now, you can search for podcasts, download them, and play them. It's your standard podcast player. It'll keep you up to date on all of your subscribed podcasts, while also recommending top and trending ones too.

If that's not enough, it's also fully integrated into the Google Assistant and Google Home. You can ask your phone to play a podcast and it will offer to play it through Google Podcasts if it's available. Google also plans to eventually introduce artificial intelligence-related features. One such feature includes the ability to have closed captions made available for reading on your device's screen as a podcast plays.

Google isn't just investing in its podcasting platform either, but it wants to invest in the actual podcast industry as well. The company is forming an advisory board in order to promote podcast production amongst everybody. The company is also looking into potentially making audio equipment available for those who can't afford it. You can download the application below. Let us know what you think in the comments!

Google Podcasts (Free, Google Play) →



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Xiaomi Mi 8 reportedly launches in Europe in August with 2 variants

Xiaomi Mi 8

The Xiaomi Mi 8 was announced at an event in China just a couple of weeks ago. Xiaomi launched three devices in the family: Mi 8, Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition, and Xiaomi Mi 8 SE. The devices all look very 2018. Slim bezels on all sides, slightly thicker chin, and the infamous display notch up top. One of these variants is headed to Europe later this Summer.

According to a report from WinFuture, the standard Xiaomi Mi 8 model is coming to the European continent in August. The fancier Explorer Edition or the 8GB of RAM variant is not coming at this time. There will be two storage sizes to choose from: 6GB RAM + 64GB storage or 6GB RAM + 128GB storage. The phone will also be available in black and blue colors.

Specs Xiaomi Mi 8
Size 154.9 x 74.8 x 7.6 mm, 175g
Software MIUI 10 on top of Android 8.1 Oreo
CPU Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (4x 2.8GHz Kryo 385 Gold + 4x 1.8GHz Kryo 385 Silver cores)
GPU Adreno 630
RAM and storage 6GB of RAM with 64GB/128GB
Battery 3400mAh, Quick Charge 4.0+ (Quick Charge 3 adapter bundled in the box)
Display 6.21-inch Full HD+ (2248×1080) AMOLED, 600 nits brightness, supports HDR10, DCI-P3 gamut
Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB Type-C port, dual nano SIM slots
Bands GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
WCDMA: 850/900/1700/1900/2100MHz
FDD-LTE: Bands 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/20
TDD-LTE: Bands 34/38/39/40/41
Rear camera 12MP camera with 1.4μm pixels, f/1.8 aperture, Dual Pixel autofocus, 4-axis OIS
12MP telephoto camera with f/2.4 aperture, 2x optical zoom
Video recording up to 4K at 60FPS, Slow motion at 1080p240
Front camera 20MP front-facing camera, uses pixel binning to simulate 1.8μm pixels, f/1.8 aperture

 

One of the cool features of the Mi 8 is the dual-frequency GPS. It uses a newer L5 band on top of the older L1 band to increase location accuracy by up to 5 times. The Xiaomi Mi 8 is listed for 480 and 520 Euros in Switzerland, which makes it a pretty nice deal, but still not as cheap as Xiaomi's home country of China. If you're looking to grab a top-notch Xiaomi device in Europe, this could be a nice option.


Source: WinFuture



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User gets Google Play Store working on 2014 Acer Chromebook C720P

chrome os android chromebooks

As you may already know, Google's Chrome OS is a pretty minimalist browser-based operating system with simplicity in mind. They have never been used as powerhouses or for power-intensive tasks. But, installing Android apps via Play Store on Chromebooks has been possible for a while now. Unfortunately, not all Chrome OS devices are supported. Many people have been trying to run the Play Store on unsupported devices here on XDA forums. Today, Junior Member nabil2000 managed to get the Google Play Store on the 2014 Acer Chromebook C720P.

He mentioned in his tweets that he suspected the device was capable of installing Android apps, but Google and Acer were lazy. He did some hacking here and there and finally managed to run Android apps on the 2014 Chromebook. For the trick to work, you need to upgrade a kernel and adjust some things. He also posted a modified image with Play Store built in.

If you have Acer Chromebook C720P and want to run the Play Store and many Android apps with it, just head to the thread and follow the instructions. It may not be the easiest or the most straightforward process, but it's the only way at this moment. Even Nabil mentioned that "it was convoluted but doable."

Install Play Store on Acer Chromebook C720P



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Ex-Google & Instagram employees want to make vertical videos the new norm

Ex-Google and Instagram employees have created a new company called "Dreams," and they have one goal – to make vertical videos the standard for video and film. They've already received $5 million worth of investment and have done an immense amount of research on the topic to see if it was deemed profitable. The office of Dreams plays TV shows reformatted for vertical television, according to BusinessInsider. The company has a very strange sales model, but it might just work if their research is correct. Are vertical videos the next big thing for multimedia consumption?

"It's not comfortable for your wrist to hold a phone on its side," said Dreams co-founder Tom Bender, a former Google product manager. "When we started thinking about TV for the phone, we decided that it has to be vertical. It has to be formatted for the way that you hold your phone."

The company is betting that nobody will want to watch shows and movies on large television sets anymore, instead opting to use their smartphones. The Dreams application already has a number of TV shows available in vertical video format from the likes of HGTV, Food Network, and Animal Planet. Simply open the application and tune into any of the available channels.

dreams animal planet vertical videos

How are these shows being remade in a vertical video format? Dreams has a team of video editors who resize all of the content. Creativity is also important, as it can be difficult to deal with certain scenes. How do you show a horizontal plane on a vertical screen? This is the kind of question that Dreams is tackling head-on. The company has developed software which identifies who is talking in a particular scene and will focus on them in the video.

"This is different from YouTube TV or a skinny bundle. We wanted to make new mobile channels for a world where billions of people carry smartphones," said Bender. "The goal for this is international."

Dreams - TV For Your Phone (Free, Google Play) →


Source: BusinessInsider



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International LG G7 can now be bootloader unlocked

Unlocking a bootloader, rooting a device, and flashing custom ROMs are popular hobbies here on XDA. Unfortunately, some manufacturers don't allow those procedures for "security concerns." Traditionally, if unlocking the bootloader is allowed, you can do so on the manufacturer's website. Just now, LG's developer website got updated and added the international version of the LG G7 ThinQ. This is model number LMG710EM for the European market.

The LG G7 ThinQ was released in May. It's already taken more than a month for LG to support bootloader unlocking for the device, but this is still better than not providing unlocking at all. We even mentioned in our mini review of the LG G7 ThinQ that LG is not one of the best OEMs when it comes to software. They can be slow to update devices when newer Android versions are released. That's why we believe unlocking the bootloader is still relevant and important. Android enthusiasts who don't want to wait for major OS updates can flash a custom AOSP-based ROM such as LineageOS if it's available. An unlockable bootloader opens up a plethora of new capabilities like flashing TWRP, rooting your phone, flashing a custom ROM, flashing custom kernels, and more.

LG has never been super developer-friendly when it comes to unlocking the bootloader, but they haven't been strict either. You can say that they've been inconsistent, usually due to the requirements from carriers. Regardless, it's always good to see a new addition to the list of bootloader unlockable devices.

If your device qualifies, you can find instructions for getting the unlock code and unlocking the bootloader on the page linked below. Again, this is the LG G7 ThinQ model LMG710EM for the European market.

Unlock bootloader of the LG G7 ThinQ



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Monday, June 18, 2018

ARCore 1.3 adds support for the OnePlus 5T, Xiaomi Mi 8, Honor 10, and more

Google ARCore is a platform for augmented reality applications on Android. Version 1.3 of the Android application started to roll out on the Play Store today, and within the APK are new device profiles hinting at support for a plethora of new devices including the OnePlus 5T, Xiaomi Mi 8, Honor 10, Nokia 6, Nokia 7 Plus, and much more.

For those of you who aren't familiar with ARCore, it's best to see a demonstration of the technology to understand what it's about.

Since ARCore doesn't need specialized hardware, it is available on a range of Android devices already. Here's the current list of devices that already support Google's augmented reality platform, as taken from the official page listing supported devices.

List of devices that support ARCore as of June 19th, 2018

* Samsung Galaxy devices with a model number that ends in 0 or 8 are not supported.

And thanks to the latest update, the following devices will soon support the AR platform.

List of devices that will soon support ARCore

I can't say for certain when these devices will receive support for the augmented reality platform. Google hasn't yet updated the official listing to confirm the rollout. The only way to find out for yourself is to download ARCore from the Google Play Store below—if it installs and you're able to launch a supported app, then you're golden. I have linked a simple AR app for you to try out if you're interested. Let us know below if your device is supported!

ARCore by Google (Free, Google Play) →

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



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OnePlus One, Samsung Galaxy S5 Plus, and Oppo Find 7 now support official LineageOS 15.1

LineageOS is the go-to custom ROM for those whose devices have been long forgotten by manufacturers. LineageOS 15.1, which is based on Android 8.1 Oreo, adds a lot of customization to the stock Android Oreo experience while maintaining stability for a wide range of devices. Today, the team is rolling out official builds for the OnePlus One, Samsung Galaxy S5 Plus (+Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE-A), and Oppo Find 7/Find 7A.

The OnePlus One is one of the most active models running the custom ROM as 62,099 OnePlus One devices are running LineageOS according to the official statistics. The older Samsung Galaxy and the OPO's twin brother, the Oppo Find 7/7A, are also quite popular. You can download official LineageOS 15.1 for mentioned devices from the links below. If you aren't sure what features LineageOS 15.1 brings or want to know more about it, check out our overview. Here are the download links:

Download LineageOS 15.1 for the OnePlus One
Download LineageOS 15.1 for the Samsung Galaxy S5 Plus
Download LineageOS 15.1 for the Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE-A
Download LineageOS 15.1 for the OPPO Find 7

In order to install the custom ROM, you'll first need to have unlocked your bootloader. Then, you'll need to flash a custom recovery—usually TWRP. Fortunately, the LineageOS team publishes installation instructions that you can easily follow. You can also check out our forums for these devices where you'll usually find the support thread for the ROM. You'll also find plenty of other ROMs, kernels, modifications… to put it in simply, almost everything for your flashing needs.

OnePlus One Forum
Samsung Galaxy S5 Plus Forum
OPPO Find 7 Forum

LineageOS always keeps improving by adding new features. Just recently they announced Trust, an interface to help users take control of their security and privacy. You can find more information about it here.



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Google announces partnership with Chinese retailer JD.com

Google has been putting a lot of effort into getting their foot in the door in China and it seems to be slow progress for them. Last year, the company launched a dedicated artificial intelligence center within the country and shortly afterward they increased the number of engineers in its China-based hardware team from 20 to 150. So while they have yet to bring their staples (such as search and advertising) back to the market, they are slowly working on the transition process. Today, both Google and JD.com announced a new partnership which will enable both companies the ability to explore joint development of retail solutions.

Unless you live near the country, you likely haven't heard of JD.com before. They describe themselves as China's leading technology-driven e-commerce company thanks to its cutting-edge retail infrastructure. This allows them to offer products to their customers whenever they want and wherever they want. Doing this in the massive country of China requires building relationships to create your own supply chain while also developing the logistics to actually get the products delivered to the customer on time.

Google realizes that the Asia-Pacific region is one of the largest and fastest growing e-commerce marketplaces in the world. They're expected to spend over $88 billion online by the year 2025. So Google is investing $550 million into JD.com in an attempt to accelerate how retail ecosystems deliver consumer experiences that are helpful, personalized, and high quality. Google will be helping JD.com by applying their technology strengths to JD.com's established supply chain and logistics expertise.

They will also team up together to explore new ways retailers can make shopping effortless for their consumers. Not only this, but Google has agreed to include JD.com in their Google Shopping service which will allow them to bring some high-quality products to consumers in multiple regions around the world.


Source: JD



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Action Launcher v37 brings customizable desktop shortcuts and more

According to Chris Lacy's post on the Action Launcher blog, the application has received it's fourth feature update of the year marked as the 37th version. The last update we talked about added a few features from the Android P Pixel Launcher. This update brings customizable desktop shortcuts among other things. Take a look at the full list of changes and features below.

Here's all that's changed:

  • Desktop Shortcuts take Android P's functionality of long-pressing on the desktop and adds a splash of color to it. In addition, Action Launcher lets you fully customize its shortcuts.
  • Although the "Dock Dash" (small line above the Search bar) feature from Android P Beta 1 has been removed for the second iteration of the Beta, Action Launcher retains it.
  • The app's settings have received a UX (User Experience) upgrade. Prior to the update, the process of changing the application's settings used to be slow and (at times) inclusive of killing and restarting the application.
  • The latest scale for all icons from Pixel Launcher has been included.
  • All apps folders from v35 can now be dragged to the desktop.
  • The "Unread Count" feature has been optimized (rewritten) to occupy less memory and consume lesser juice.

The application is now in-line with Android P's APIs, and bug + stability fixes have been rounded up as well. In addition, you can read the full release notes as well. Download Action Launcher version 37 below.

Action Launcher (Free+, Google Play) →



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[Update: Senate Rejects Plan] ZTE may return to business as company reportedly signs agreement with US Government

Update 6/7/18: According to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the U.S. has reached a deal with ZTE to reverse the ban.

Update 6/18/18: The U.S. Senate has voted to reinstate the U.S. ban on ZTE.

Following the ban on selling U.S.-made hardware (and potentially software) to ZTE earlier this year, it appears that the company may have reached a compromise with the U.S. government, according to Reuters. This compromise would allow the company to once again use U.S.-made components in their products—although at a large cost.

For those unaware, Shenzhen-based ZTE violated sanctions placed on both Iran and North Korea by the U.S. A fine was imposed on ZTE and the company promised to reprimand the employees responsible for the violations, yet they only fired 4 senior employees and failed to discipline the other 35 responsible. As a result, ZTE was banned from using U.S.-made components for 7 years starting from April 2017. Since then, the company appears to have signed a preliminary agreement that would see them pay a larger fine and then have the ban lifted. It's important to note that this deal is not confirmed, with Commerce Department spokesman James Rockas saying that "no definitive agreement has been signed by both parties."

The deal which ZTE has agreed to would see the company pay a $1 billion fine, with $400 million in escrow should the company break the terms of agreement again. The U.S. Department of Commerce wishes to amend the settlement agreement so that the $361 million that the company had already paid would be included. This means that they could be fined up to $1.7 billion in total.

Also as part of the deal, the company must allow audits of their sites so that it can be seen U.S. components are being used as claimed. They must also post calculations of the usage of U.S.-made components on a public website.  Not only that, but the entire board and executive teams must be fully replaced within 30 days from the time of signing the agreement. The U.S. government has not signed the deal yet, however, ZTE has agreed to a previously drawn up deal. This means that the deal will likely go through, possibly saving the company from near-certain demise.

Update 1: Deal Confirmed by Trump Administration

According to Reuters, the deal will require ZTE to change its board and management within 30 days, pay a $1 billion fine, put $400 million in escrow, and retain a new compliance team selected by the U.S.

"We think this settlement, which brought the company, a $17 billion company, to its knees, more or less put them out of business … should serve as a very strong deterrent not only for them but for other potential bad actors," said Ross.

Update 2: Deal in jeopardy due to Congress

The U.S. Senate voted to reject the Trump administration's deal with ZTE, reports Axios.

"We're heartened that both parties made it clear that protecting American jobs and national security must come first when making deals with countries like China, which has a history of having little regard for either. It is vital that our colleagues in the House keep this bipartisan provision in the bill as it heads towards a conference," said Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) in a joint statement.

Now the provision must pass in the U.S. House of Representatives for the plan to truly fall through. This means ZTE's future is once again uncertain. We will keep you updated on any new major developments.



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Here’s how to try out Android Messages for web right now [Root]

The long-awaited Android Messages for web client has started to roll out today. It lets you send text messages from your PC via a web browser like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Apple Safari, and Microsoft Edge. It's totally free to use and supports emojis, sending images, syncing messages, and notifying you of new messages. The web client has a beautiful Google Material Design theme and even a dark theme. We've posted a tutorial on how to enable Android Messages for web so you can send SMS from your laptop or desktop, but if you haven't received the feature yet and are dying to try it out, we've got you covered. Here's how to forcefully enable the feature right now on any rooted Android device.

Android Messages for Web Android Messages for Web Android Messages for Web Android Messages for Web Android Messages for Web

Screenshots credit: XDA Recognized Developer Quinny899

How to forcefully enable Android Messages for web

Credits for these steps belong to XDA Recognized Developer Quinny899.

Android Messages (Free, Google Play) →

Preferences Manager (Free, Google Play) →

  1. Download the latest Android Messages app (version 3.3.043.) If you aren't seeing it on the Google Play Store, grab it from here.
  2. Download Preferences Manager from the Google Play Store.
  3. Open Preferences Manager and grant it root access when requested.
  4. If Android Messages was pre-installed as a system app like on the Google Pixel or Android One devices, press the three-dot menu in the top right and select "show system apps."
  5. Find "Messages."
  6. Swipe left-right until you find "PhenotypePrefs.xml"
  7. Search for "Multi."
  8. Change the two preferences highlighted in red in the screenshots below from "false" to "true."
  9. Search again for "override" and change the two preferences that appear.
  10. Force close Android Messages. DO NOT OPEN THE APP YET!
  11. From ADB shell, enter the following commands:
    1. adb shell
    2. su
    3. am start -n com.google.android.apps.messaging/com.google.android.apps.messaging.ui.ditto.DittoActivity
  12. Alternatively, if you have a terminal emulator app like Material Terminal installed then you can enter these commands:
    1. su
    2. am start -n com.google.android.apps.messaging/com.google.android.apps.messaging.ui.ditto.DittoActivity
  13. Now you can follow these steps to complete setup.
Enable Android Messages for web Enable Android Messages for web Enable Android Messages for web Enable Android Messages for web Enable Android Messages for web Enable Android Messages for web Enable Android Messages for web

I've had the Android Messages for web client running via my Google Pixel 2 XL on Android P for about an hour now. Quinny899 reported that the connection closed on him, so your mileage may vary. This method is a quick way to try out all of the features in the web client. I'm sure the feature will roll out widely soon, so I wouldn't rely on this method to access the web client for the future.



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