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Google will now let you download a new free App every week. This is coming with their new feature which allows Android users to download one paid app for free every week. The app shows up in the recently introduced 'Free App of the Week' section on the Google Play Store.




The aim of this seems to be one that pays all parties. The idea is to offer paid apps free every week and in turn promote the app. 

This is not particularly new as they did this in 2015 but the promotional offer was discontinued later for unknown reasons.


Google appears to be working hard to expand the reach of its Android apps. The search giant recently targeted countries which have poor network connectivity in certain areas.









Google finally ended our suffering (or at least a part of it) and launched a developers-only preview version of Android O, version 8.0 of its mobile operating system, yesterday.





So with that being said lets see what was added to the new update.


To get Android O all you need to do is download it. Note that the version available for download requires you to flash your device, deleting all of the content on it currently. 

Also to be noted is that this is an early version that's far from final, so according to Google, "there are more features coming, and there's plenty of stabilization and performance work ahead of us."

New Features

Better battery life 


Giving devices longer battery life is the goal of Background Limits, the top-billed feature in the release notes for the developer preview of Android O. To accomplish that, Google is "adding automatic limits on what apps can do in the background," which it started work on in Android N, version 7.

Among other things, the new background limits will put caps on the amount of background services and location updates that can be performed in a specific amount of time. By organizing and limiting these actions, Google's hoping your apps won't be able to do too much damage to your battery when you're not using them.

Improved notifications


Android O will also introduce Notification Channels, which will categorize notifications into channels. This way, users can block or change kinds of notifications in group, rather than muting all the things an individual app is trying to communicate.
Android's new copy feature


Android O's plans to allow you to let Android take the wheel when it comes to typing and stuff. Google's already revealed that this new version will include Autofill APIs, which allow users to select autofill apps, "similar to the way they select a keyboard app." Autofill apps can store and secure user data including addresses, usernames and passwords.



Gesture-based actions

Also rumoured is that Google's developed a feature that lets gestures trigger actions in Android. According to a report featured on Venture Beat, a user could draw the letter C onscreen could bring up a list of your recent contacts.


As for when the Android O will be available to everyone, we can expect May's Google I/O developer conference to feature a deeper dive into the update. Google I/O kicks off on May 17.






Seems everyone is excited for the new Google update as they have teased about the Android 8.0 which is sure to pack a punch.


When is it coming though? According to rumours, it could be pretty soon. The news making the rounds is that the Android 8.0 OS is expected to be revealed on Google's I/O 2017 developer festival on May 17 to 19.




According to Pocket Lint, the Android 8.0 operating system (OS) is generally rumored to be named as "Android Oreo," which is based on Google's traditional naming system after desserts. 

In case you don't know (or have forgotten *wink*) Google have generally named their operating systems under the desserts such as; Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop, Marshmallow, and Nougat.

READ: HANDY HACK TO GET GOOGLE ASSISTANT ON YOUR ANDROID PHONE

So what does the new update feature? Well, according to reports, the Google Android 8.0 OS might feature the "Copy Less" feature. This option improves the process of copying details. Instead of copy and pasting information, users will get the text as a suggestion.


"[If] you and a friend are having a conversation in a chat about where to eat dinner and you find a good restaurant in the Yelp app, when you go back to your conversation and type "it's at," one automatically generated suggestion in Gboard would be the restaurant's address," NDTV said in an article.




The other feature which has gotten people excited is an option that first appeared on Apple's iOS. This is the responsive text option which give users the ability to tap on an address, phone number, or date in a message and open the respective apps automatically. Now on the Android Oreo OS, the feature could be released as an updated mode on Google's standard-issue Gboard virtual keyboard app or on the Android software.


Gesture recognition might also make it on the Android O software. Reports suggest that Google might add finger gestures to trigger actions in Android. For instance, users could open a short list of contact just by drawing the letter "C" on the phone's screen.


To be fair, Google hasn't officially announced any of this, so we still have to wait for a bit, but it is hoped that these new features can indeed be implemented.

We'll have more information on the going ons of the new Android update soon enough.





Many reports have stated that in terms of best-selling phones, Google's Pixel and Pixel XL are right up there, they were even crowned the best phones of the second half of 2016 (online of course).

You'd think this will mean that they will be everywhere since everyone wants to buy it, but no, they're actually pretty rare. After nearly five months on sale, the Pixel just went out of stock on the Google Store yet again.



Go on, try it, Head to the Google Store, click on the Pixel, and see. All you get is a waitlist. There's not a single version of either size in stock. So, you can't even buy a Pixel with a multi-week shipping timeline right now. 


READ: PIXEL 2 MIGHT BE GOING THE SAME ROUTE AS APPLE


Now it's not uncommon for a popular phone to be scarce when first launched as demand usually outweighs supply. What makes the case of Google so perplexing is that it's a continuous situation that has yet to let up. There always some versions out of stock.


It might be a weird marketing strategy to get people to keep buying and make it kind of like a 'cool' phone that not just anyone can have. Whether that's a good business practise, i don't know especially when you consider that the Google Pixel is not a luxury phone, high end, yes, but certainly not luxury. 

Or maybe Google is frustrated because HTC doesn't have the necessary capacity. Who knows?

But it's certainly something we'll like to see fixed.







A couple of days ago, Wikileaks released a huge amount of Data that showed that the CIA had been spying on Americans and looking for ways to hack both the iPhone and Android.

Apple released a statement saying that the issues highlighted in the data released had been patched with the latest iOS security update.

Yesterday, a security expert noted that hundreds of millions of Android users are at risk due to the hacking tools used by the CIA to exploit vulnerabilities in smartphones, tablets, computers, wireless routers, cars and other devices, allowing the agency to spy on people without their knowledge.


Google has followed suit stating that users of Android and Chrome OS devices should rest easy.


According to Google, “As we’ve reviewed the documents, we’re confident that security updates and protections in both Chrome and Android already shield users from many of these alleged vulnerabilities,” said Heather Adkins, Google’s director of information security and privacy, in a statement to ZDNet. “Our analysis is ongoing and we will implement any further necessary protections. We’ve always made security a top priority and we continue to invest in our defenses.”

All things being equal, the vulnerabilities aren't that bad for newer versions of the Android device, but those using older versions will have to be careful as some of these vulnerabilities still exist. 

Another issue is that while iPhones and iPads have access to Apple’s new software updates the moment they are released, many Android devices don’t gain access to updates for months or even more than a year after they are released.

This means that many Android users are still on old versions of their OS which is still vulnerable. Google's plan for this is as yet unknown.

If you're on an old OS version and you can get an upgrade, please do. It is hoped that Google does something about their issues.







First things first, it is important to note that your Android needs to be an Android 6.0 Marshmallow or over to enable Google Assistant with this hack.



Checked? Done? Right, so here goes.

The Google Assistant is Google's response to Siri and Bixby and it was unveiled in October 2016 along with the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. 

Initially, the AI was supposed to be exclusive to certain devices, but all that changed a while ago at the Mobile World Congress, when it was announced that a host of Android phones would be getting the Google assistant as will Marshmellow and Nougat devices. 

However, the update was scheduled to roll out only for English (US) regions with other English variants along with German soon to follow. 

So naturally a hack had to come up for it. Here's a neat little one you can try. Note it may not work, but you can give it the good ol college try


READ: GOOGLE'S AI ASSISTANT COMING FOR OTHER PHONES BEYOND PIXEL


1: Make sure the Google Play Services on your devices is updated to version 10.2.98 or later. If not, either download the latest version from here, or wait for your device to update it automatically.



2: Change your device's language to English (US). To do so, navigate to Device Settings > Language & Input > Change it to English (US).



3: Now make sure your Google App is updated to the latest version. If not, just go to Google Play Store and update the Google App. My device was running version 6.13.25.21 at the time of writing this story.



4: Clear cache from your Google App data. This is will clear all the previous settings on your Google App. Also, make sure your Google App language is set to English (US)





5: Once done, just tap and hold the Home Button of your device and you will see a message pop from the bottom asking you get started with 'Google Assistant'. Enjoy!

So there you have it, hope it works for you.






So with Apple leading the charge and some rumours that Samsung were initially planning to go that route, it seems Google might be joining the Audio Jack(less) club.

According to 9to5Google, citing information from an internal Google document, the Mountain View-based company could ditch the 3.5mm audio jack in the next Google Pixel phone.


READ: PIXEL 2 IS COMING AND IT REMAINS A PREMIUM PHONE


There was no mention of what it would be replaced with, but going by the recent trend, it will surprise exactly no one if it's the single USB Type-C port.



This piece of info hasn't been confirmed by Google and seeing as the Pixel 2 is still in development it could well be an idea that is being used for now and could be changed later.



It will be interesting to see what Google does go with, we do know that it will be a Premium phone as they have announced that to the public.







We know that Google have announced that the Google Assistant AI will no longer be exclusive to just the Pixel phones, but other devices 
running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and Android 7.0 Nougat, so the natural question to follow of course is When?


According to Google's announcement, the personal voice assistant that launched on the Pixel phone will slowly make its way to all devices in the US with English set as the device language.




So back to the When?

Well....we really don't know, but what we can do is make it come faster for you, all you have to do is take the following steps:

Join the Google Play Services beta by opening this link and clicking on "Become a Tester" using the same Google account linked to your Android device.

Then next you wait a bit, then open the Play Store and go to the My Apps section. There you'll find an update listed for Play Services. You may have to open the Beta tab and manually start the Play Services update. While you're in the Play Store checking for updates, make sure the Google app itself doesn't have any pending updates.

Now's for the hard part: waiting. To check for Assistant on your Android device, hold the home button down for a few seconds.

You should see a prompt asking you to begin the setup process for Google Assistant instead of Google Now opening (Err, please keep in mind that this may not happen right now, you'll have to manually keep trying this till...you know...it works)







The Google Pixel which according to some reports was the top phone for the second half of 2016 is coming back!

Yay!

It also marked a move towaGoogle-branded smartphones along with a move to the ‘premium’ price range. 

Now before we get too excited, there are no official details on the phone and all but at least we know the Nexus is gone and the Pixel is here to stay.

 

According to a new report by AndroidPit, Rick Osterloh, the Senior Vice President of Hardware at Google confirmed at MWC 2017 that Pixel 2 is coming later this year and that ‘Pixel stays premium’.

He further went on to add that “There is an annual rhythm in the industry. So, you can count on us to follow it” when asked about the announcement and launch date of the successor.

We know nothing more at this point, what we know is that there will be no cheap variant to the Pixel but it remains a flagship phone. 

The Pixel 2 is expected to arrive in the second half of the year with Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and probably second generation of Google Daydream View. 







In an update that many tech users will be pleased by, Gmail now accepts attachments up to 50mb.

The limit used to be 25mb which was frustrating for some (graphic artists) as for instance it became a nightmare to send large files to clients and the like and people had to resort to alternatives such as dropbox or WeTransfer.




Now before anyone gets too excited, Google are saying that the 50mb increment only works for incoming mail as the sending size remains 25mb and perhaps the alternatives are still the best, but it is what it is.


Google says that the complete rollout of the increased incoming file sizes feature will be finished in 1-3 days for all Gmail users.





With the Mobile World Conference in Full swing a lot of announcements have been coming through and one of the most interesting was from Google who announced that their AI helper, Google Assistant, will begin rolling out to users with smartphones running Android 7.0 Nougat and Android 6.0 Marshmallow. 


This is a new direction with the AI previously being exclusive to the Google Pixel. 

The Google Assistant is reportedly going to arrive first to English users in the United States this week, followed soon after with an English debut in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. 

Then next up is German speakers and Google have said that it will "continue to add more languages over the coming year." Users with eligible Nougat and Marshmallow devices will automatically gain Google Assistant through Google Play Services. 


READ: HOW TO GET GOOGLE INSTANT APPS WORKING ON YOUR PHONE



Other Android phones will also be incorporating the Google Assistant from the get-go as well, like the LG G6 and some other "newly announced partner devices." Sony, Huawei, Samsung, and HTC are all listed as companies with Android smartphones that will support Google Assistant.

This is Google's way of fighting against Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa and since Android owns most of the market, the Google assistant might just win.

 This would be necessary as the iPhone 8 is reportedly going to be having a more knowledgeable Siri and Google needs an answer to that.

According to Google, the ultimate goal "is to make the Assistant available anywhere you need it." 

That seems like a noble goal if ever there was one.





Google's Instant Apps was announced last year at a Google event and it has now started to roll out on the Android platform.

What Instant Apps does essentially is let users access apps without needing to download them on the device.

According to Android Central, a few people were able to use the Wish shopping app on their smartphones running on Android 7.0 operating system. If you are using a smartphone running on Nougat too, you could look it up if you got access too, here’s how it works.

  • Go to your phone settings and move to Google settings from there. Look up Instant Apps option in there and switch the toggle on. Check the terms and conditions, if you agree that's that. 
  • Next up, you search for any random website or company, you might see a search result for an Instant App version. Reason for this is that at the moment the search is working only for Wish’s Instant App. So when you open the Instant App suggestion, you will be able to jump right into the app, without needing to download the app in your device.

Explaining why there's the need for Instant Apps, Google stated that it's all an “effort to help users discover and run apps with minimal friction.” 


In the same way streaming works, Instant Apps technology runs an Android app without the user having to install the original app on the device. Now this could be understood as a system where clicking on a link with an associated app will launch the bite-sized version of the app sans the need for installation. The feature is compatible with majority of Android devices that use Google Play services or with those running Jelly Bean and above.

On a deeper level, this means that apps are split into multiple modules and with deep linking Google Play fetches only those modules which are necessary to run it. Using search, social media links, messaging links, and other deep links, developers can thus offer a full app experience without the need to install the app first.

So for those who want to see what an app is like before downloading, much like watching a trailer before seeing the full movie, Instant Apps is for you.





When Google introduced the Pixel phones there was a lot of curiousity as to what the company would do with it and fast forward months later and we know-- and we love it!

The phones have been an overwhelming success selling off the shelves wherever they are. This is not to say it's a perfect phone as there have been complaints of sound distortion and so on, but it's still without a doubt the top Android phone of the moment.

According to a new report, Pixel “demand is exceeding supply” at Verizon.


Big Red is still the only US carrier selling Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL smartphone, and the investment has been paying off for the company. Verizon committed a $25 million marketing budget for the phone after its launch and continues to promote the phone, although spending has cooled.



According to Fierce Wireless, Wave7 Research shows that the Pixel is the most demanded Android phone even beyond the holidays

The report stated, “Along with Apple, Samsung, and Droid, the Pixel/XL continues to be heavily advertised—on an equal footing with top OEMs—at a price point of $10 (Pixel) or $15 (XL) per month with trade-in of a high-end smartphone,” the firm noted. “It is clear that demand is exceeding supply.”

Fierce conducted a survey of 50 carrier stores in the past week and their findings were that the Pixel accounted for 9.5% of smartphone sales at Verizon last month. 


What makes it even more amazing is that Verizon subscribers aren't the only buyers, the Pixel and Pixel XL can be used with other US carriers, and T-Mobile specifically targeted the handsets with a promotion not too long ago.

The report continued, “AT AT&T/T-Mobile/Sprint stores, 39% of reps (13 of 33) are aware of an average of ~2 Pixel activations each at these 13 stores,
 
“Most Pixel XL SKUs are shipping in March and most Pixel SKUs are out of stock as well.”

So perhaps you're looking to get an Android phone, perhaps you could go for the Pixel-- if you can actually find it.



2017 is upon us and Google has released the January security patch for supported Nexus and Pixel devices. 

According to Google, the Android 7.1.1 Nougat factory images containing the January security patch are now available for download via Google's developers website. The following devices are now eligible for the January security update: Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus Player and Nexus 9 (Wi-Fi).


What's new with the updates? Well, the most pressing issue was a critical security vulnerability that could enable remote code execution on any affected device via multiple methods, including email, web browsing, and MMS when processing media files which this security update has now patched.

Google also noted that it did not receive any reports of any Android user having been affected by any of these newly reported issues that have been patched in the January security update though it's still early days, so we'll see.

The update will come soon enough, but if you're the impatient type, you can flash the factory images.



The Google Pixel has had its fair share of problems in recent times with their flagship phone. Recently it was reported that there was some sound distortion when the phone reaching the top three decibel bars.
Now another problem has reared its ugly head with some users reporting that the smartphone appears to be affected by an early shutoff bug in which the phone would die even with some battery power left, and the only way to get it operational again would be to plug it into a charger.
On the website Reddit, some Pixel owners have complained of this problem. A user by the name of vrski_15 said, “My Google Pixel (32 GB), less than a month old is facing worrisome battery issues. Twice in last 5 days, has the phone shutdown abruptly while I am in middle of something. In both instances, battery was between 25-35%, and the phone under normal conditions should have lasted for at least next 3-4 hours.”
“I ignored it the first time, when happened couple of days ago, but today I run into the same issue. I am on a business trip in India, and the customer service wasn’t really helpful. All they could come up was that I should factory reset my phone and wait for it to happen again, and then visit them.” This problem seems to be faced by other Pixel owners, although thankfully it doesn’t seem to be too widespread at the moment.
The actual problem is unknown and it seems Google hasn't said anything about it. It is hoped that it doesn't become too widespread before something is done about it.




Google Doodle is a very popular feature on the search engine that usually pops up on special days; Mother's day, Health day, Christmas etc and in its little way it educates people on those important days thereby sensitising them to it. 

Now it seems Facebook has a plan of their own to battle this and rival Google's ingenious plan.

"We are introducing a marketing programme to invite people to share and talk about events and moments that are happening in their communities and around the world," Gary Briggs, Chief Marketing Officer at Facebook, wrote in a post. 

The plan by Facebook is to have messages appear at the top of News Feed about a specific event or moment. 

The goal of the message will be "to give people ways to connect and share with friends during holidays and events". 

The programme will also help people discover fun and interesting cultural moments and celebrate moments in history that continue to make the world more open and connected. 

"Users will start seeing a message from Facebook in their News Feed wishing them Happy Holidays. People will be invited to share a holiday card with their friends on Facebook and choose from a set of 18 custom-designed cards," the post read.



Google's parent company, Alphabet, is reportedly putting its plans for building a car without a steering wheel or pedals on hold.
It has been reported that Alphabet plans instead to focus on partnerships with automakers to produce a vehicle that drives itself but still retains the traditional cockpit features currently necessary to pilot a car. 

The change could help the company launch a ride-sharing service with autonomous cars by the end of 2017, people close to the project told the site.
Google had wowed the world with its prototype self-driving car in 2014, a true spectacle that was said to work without a steering or brakes. Instead of the car controls indispensable to today's drivers, Google's prototype relied on built-in sensors and a software system to safely maneuver the vehicle.
Alphabet have long since planned to have self driving cars, experimenting since 2009, with an eye for eventually creating a business providing software to traditional car manufacturers. One of the main incentives for developing autonomous vehicles is to make roads safer by eliminating the possibility for crashes caused by human error.
According to CNET, Alphabet CEO Larry Page is also moving ahead with plans to promote the self-driving car effort from a project at its experimental lab X to its own business under the Alphabet umbrella, The Information reported. The move began when it started separating the car group's finances at the beginning of the year, X chief Astro Teller said in October during the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.D Live global technology conference.



Every Android user knows the playstore. Every Android user has probably at one point or the other used the Playstore, be it for games, Apps and even more recently, movies, series and so on.
The major problem with it was the difficulty of sometimes finding what you want with all the subsections and so on. So it was with great excitement that it was discovered that Google might be doing something about this.
According to a Pixel user, apps and games were clearly separate in different categories on the front page of the store. 
This change small as it is could be of great help to many Android users. It does seem that at the moment the separation appears to be live for some users while some aren't experiencing the changes.
But this is natural and all users should see the changes soon. This sort of change is often made server-side, which means that the change could appear on your device at any time, and does not require an update to the Play Store app itself. Regardless, this is the sort of change that should give users a lot to be happy about, as browsing for software in the Play Store has often been something of a poor experience, while search rarely helps much, either.
Separating apps and games on the device side of things will help users find something they want, without having to go through several different subcategories, and it’s likely that this is the sort of change that will help users discover certain titles they might not otherwise when browsing. 





It could be a bit of a chore to try controlling your Google Home and you sometimes would rather not have to say anything to the device.

Sometimes it just might be that the speakers are too far and so on. There are ways to do what you want without having to scream at a speaker.


Below are a few ways to control the personal assistant without saying anything.

Taps and Swipes- Along with your Google Home device comes a few cheat sheets, detailing various aspects of using the shiny device. Here's are a few things you could do: Tap the top of Home to play or pause music or videos playing on a nearby TV through Chromecast.

Long-press until the Assistant's lights start blinking, awaiting your command.
Drawing a circle in a clockwise motion increases volume.
Drawing a circle in counter-clockwise motion decreases volume.
Adjust volume from your phone

Google Home works just as any other Chromecast device when streaming content from your phone or tablet, so you can adjust the volume without touching Home or using a voice command.

To do so, open the Home app and navigate to the Devices section. Tap on the speaker icon for Home, then adjust the volume as you see fit. 

Alternatively, if you're casting music from an app on your phone or tablet you can use the volume slider in said app or the physical volume buttons on your device to adjust playback levels.



Well if you're an Android fan then the news that Lenovo‘s giant Phab 2 Pro will be the first smartphone to feature Google's Tango AR feature should be pretty exciting.
Even better is the news that it is now actually available for purchase at a not-so-cheap-but-relatively-affordable $499 in the United States. 
According to Talkandroid.com, the Phab 2 Pro carries three cameras on the rear panel consisting of the main 16MP RGB fast focus camera, a depth sensor and a motion tracking sensor with a fish-eye lens that helps with ultra-wide panorama photos. There’s an 8MP camera with f/2.2 aperture and 1.4um big pixel on the front of the phone for taking selfies and video chat. A fingerprint scanner is also present just below the cameras.
As for the AR, the three sensors on the rear panel serve to map the user’s surroundings, providing the information and the scenario to the AR apps, and that allows the user to view an enriched environment. 
Meaning that while you're in the park or just calmly walking on the road, you actually might be saving the world with huge machines and giant robots coming for you on the street.

Gaming isn't the AR's only strength, it can be used for a few more practical things like interior decoration and the like.
Besides featuring AR and VR technology, Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro sports an aluminum unibody design. 2.5G curved glass, a huge 6.4-inch QHD IPS display, a Snapdragon 652 processor that was custom-built for Tango, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage and MicroSD card support.
With a 6.4-inch display, you can expect some sizable dimensions and the Phab 2 Pro certainly isn’t a tiny phone being 88.57mm wide and 179.83mm long, it also isn’t the lightest phone around at 259 grams.

In terms of connectivity, Lenovo's Phab 2 Pro supports dual nano-SIM’s, as well as WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz and 5GHz). There’s a non-removable 4,050mAh battery storing the power, which you can top up using Fast Charging, it’s unclear at the moment whether it’s Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology or something proprietary from Lenovo. Finally, the Phab 2 Pro runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
You can order yours from some retailers who will have them for sale and even get it shipped depending on location. You can sound off in the comments and let us know how excited you are about the new Tango phone.
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