The new Razer Phone 2 tries again to make the 120Hz gamer phone a thing

Razer

Razer has announced the second iteration of its gaming-focused Razer Phone. Called the Razer Phone 2, the device improves the camera, adds wireless charging, and bumps up the specs across the board compared to its predecessor.

The main draw is still its screen. The 5.7-inch LCD display has a 2560×1440-pixel resolution, HDR support (HDR-10), 645 nits of maximum brightness, and Wide Color Gamut with 98.4% of DCI-P3. But the big claim to fame is a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz with Ultramotion technology; the refresh rate is variable, going as low as 40Hz. The audio setup is also notable; this phone has stereo speakers that are Dolby Atmos certified.

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Chrome OS may be the 2-in-1 solution we’ve been waiting for

Tech’s biggest companies are all about the 2-in-1. Google’s latest effort is the Pixel Slate — a tablet that becomes a sort-of laptop when you snap on its keyboard folio. This is a formula we’ve seen rise in popularity since the first Surface tablet. Think: the iPad Pro, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S4, HP’s Envy x2 detachables and more. These devices are doing so well they’re apparently all people want to buy anymore. According to IDC data, 2-in-1 shipments will grow by almost 10 percent this year, while traditional PCs are expected to decline.

Google announces its first tablet in three years, the Pixel Slate

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Enlarge (credit: Google)

After the death of Android tablets, Google has been slowly rebooting its tablet ambitions under the Chrome OS banner. After debuting the concept with the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, Google now has its first-party Chrome OS tablet hardware, the Pixel Slate.

The device has a more-than-passing resemblance to the Microsoft Surface or iPad Pro: there’s a tablet, and a keyboard cover, and a pen. The tablet is an Intel-powered device with 8-16GB of RAM and a 3000×2000 display. Single USB-C ports are found on the left and right sides, and a pogo pin connection is on the bottom.

This is the first Chrome OS device to support biometrics—on the top of the device is a power button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner. Inside, Google has a Titan security chip (originally designed for its cloud servers) to protect against various kinds of tampering and provide safe

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Apple Music comes to Android Auto

Apple Music on Android

More good news for Android users — Apple Music now works with Android Auto

In yet another major move to boost in-car integration between the Apple and Google ecosystems, the latest edition of Apple Music for Android introduces support for Android Auto for the first time.

Apple, you can drive my car

Apple and Google are both sharing the front seat in the car at present:

Earlier this week we saw the long-anticipated debut of iOS 12 and a new version of Google Maps which now work together on CarPlay systems. We also saw integration between Google Maps and Siri Shortcuts made available when Google updated its Google Maps app for iOS.

The latest edition of Apple Music for Android lets drivers select Apple’s streaming music service as a source when they connect their device to Android Auto.

A neat car

Most cars, including the Audi 03, now ship with systems compatible with

TNSO MFi Certified Phone Cable 5 Pack [3/3/6/6/10FT] Extra Long Nylon Braided USB Charging & Syncing Cord Compatible iPhone Charger X/8/8Plus/7/7Plus/6S/6S Plus/SE Black and Blue
Pioneer AVH-2300NEX Multimedia DVD Receiver with 7" WVGA Display/Apple CarPlay/Android Auto/Built-in Bluetooth/SiriusXM-Ready/AppRadio Mode +

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Android 9 Pie, thoroughly reviewed

It’s time for another big Android release—and another big review to go along with it. The latest update for the world’s most popular operating system is Android 9 (not 9.0) Pie. While last year’s Android 8.0 Oreo release focused on under-the-hood changes, Android 9 Pie ships a ton of user-facing features and UI changes, making it feel like the “tock” to Oreo’s “tick.”

Android 9 Pie brings Google’s updated Material Design spec (don’t call it “Material Design 2”) to Android OS, and it begins a wave of UI updates that will spread across Google’s entire portfolio. In Android, that means revamped interfaces for the notification panel, Recent Apps, settings, and various bits of system UI. For future smartphone designs (like, say, the Pixel 3), Android 9 includes an experimental gesture navigation system and built-in notch support. There’s also a new screenshot editor, lots of improvements for text

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Apple Pay and Google Pay can buy you a Slurpee at 7-Eleven

After years of holding out, 7-Eleven is finally ready to embrace tap-to-pay in earnest. The convenience store chain has followed through on earlier teasers by supporting Apple Pay and Google Pay at its US stores. “Most” American locations will support both formats by the end of September, and the company told Engadget that it technically started the rollout in August. You could already use Samsung Pay, but this expands the audience to virtually anyone craving a late-night snack.

Source: PR Newswire

Apple Pay and Google Pay can buy you a Slurpee at 7-Eleven

After years of holding out, 7-Eleven is finally ready to embrace tap-to-pay in earnest. The convenience store chain has followed through on earlier teasers by supporting Apple Pay and Google Pay at its US stores. “Most” American locations will support both formats by the end of September, and the company told Engadget that it technically started the rollout in August. You could already use Samsung Pay, but this expands the audience to virtually anyone craving a late-night snack.

Source: PR Newswire

Fortnite reaches 15 million Android downloads without Google Play

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Enlarge / Disclaimer: Artist’s conception. Do not play Fortnite while skydiving. Ars Technica and Epic Games will not be held liable for any injuries sustained jumping out of planes while playing the game. Void where prohibited.

In bringing Fortnite to Android this summer, Epic gambled that the biggest video game phenomenon in the world could find success without relying on the centralized Google Play storefront (and its 30 percent cut of all revenues). That gamble seems to have paid off so far—Epic reports 15 million Fortnite downloads and 23 million players on Android just 21 days after the game’s beta release.

For context, the iOS version of the game saw roughly 11 million installations in its first month, according to analysis firm Sensor Tower, though the first two weeks of that period were a more limited “closed beta.” It took the iOS version of Fortnite about three months

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Apple’s 2019 iPhones Won’t Adopt Fingerprint on Display Technology

Apple doesn’t plan to return to fingerprint recognition for biometric authentication features with its 2019 iPhone lineup, according to a new note to investors shared this morning by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo does not expect Apple’s 2019 iPhones to support fingerprint on display technology, which would allow the iPhone to read a fingerprint through its display, doing away with the need for a physical Home button.



Instead, Apple is likely to continue to use the TrueDepth Camera System for Face ID as a biometric authentication method in the iPhone and other devices.

According to Kuo, Android manufacturers are keen to adopt fingerprint on display technology as a way to differentiate their devices from the iPhone.

All main Android brands currently treat FOD as the important function to differentiate themselves from iPhone (we expect 2H19 iPhone models will not support FOD). The reasons are as follows: (1) The user feedback

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Apple Music will soon work with Android Auto

Apple Music has been available for Android for most of the service’s existence, but it doesn’t exactly reach deep into the Android ecosystem. You can listen on your phone or tablet, and that’s about it. Apple is opening up ever so slightly, though. The latest beta version of Apple Music for Android includes support for Android Auto, bringing a native in-car interface to non-iPhone users for the first time. You won’t be browsing the “For You” section from your infotainment screen, but the playback controls you do get are easier and safer than reaching for your phone.

Via: Android Police

Source: Google Groups, Google Play

Survey Explores Why People Switch Mobile Operating Systems

During quarterly earnings calls, Apple CEO Tim Cook often boasts about the high rate of customers who are switching from Android devices over to iPhones. Recent research data has suggested Android switchers account for 15 to 20 percent of iPhone purchases.

A new survey of 2,500 people conducted by PCMag delves into the reasons why iOS users switch to Android and why Android users switch to iOS.



18 percent of customers who switched mobile operating systems went from Android to iOS, while just 11 percent dropped iOS for Android.

47 percent of customers who switched over to iOS from Android said that they chose to do so for a “better user experience,” while 25 percent cited “better features” like camera and design.

11 percent of respondents switched to Android for better prices, while other reasons for switching included more apps, faster software updates, and better customer service.

On the Android

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Idle Android Devices Send Data to Google Nearly 10 Times More Often Than iOS Devices do to Apple, Research Finds

Idle Android devices typically send almost ten times as much data to Google as iOS devices send to Apple’s servers, according to new research shared by trade association Digital Content Next.

In a paper titled “Google Data Collection,” Douglas C. Schmidt, a computer science professor at Vanderbilt University, arrives at some stark conclusions regarding how much Google is collecting about consumers who use the company’s products, even when they aren’t interacting with their smartphones and tablets.

Among several findings, Schmidt’s experiments found that an idle Android phone with Chrome web browser active in the background communicated location information to Google 340 times during a 24-hour period. An equivalent experiment found that on an iOS device with Safari open but not Chrome, Google could not collect any appreciable data unless a user was interacting with the device.



In addition, he found that an idle Android phone running Chrome sends

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Pokémon Go file check opens new front in war on rooted Android phones

A new update to Niantic’s Pokémon Go takes a more zealous approach to ferreting out potential cheaters by scanning Android phones for certain jailbreak-related folder names, regardless of the user’s permissions. Ars has independently confirmed reports that Pokémon Go will not launch on Android phones that have an empty folder named “MagiskManager” on their SD card.

That folder name is associated with a popular piece of rooting software, which gives users low-level access to the phone and finer control over the way it functions. But the Pokémon Go check currently blocks access even on unrooted phones where the MagiskManager software hasn’t even been downloaded. The folder name alone is enough to generate an “unauthorized_device_lockout” error from the game, and that error goes away if the folder is deleted.

Surprisingly, Ars testing

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Dealmaster: The Essential Phone fire sale continues, now just $224

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Essential really seems to want to get rid of whatever phones it has left in stock. Last month we highlighted a deal in which the struggling startup’s first and only Android phone was marked down to $250 on Amazon Prime Day. On Monday, the device is going for even less than that, as Amazon is selling the “Halo Gray” edition of the handset for $224.

The Essential Phone first sold for $699 when it launched last summer and has undergone a couple of permanent price drops after sales reportedly fell well short of expectations. To be clear, the device still has its share of issues: there’s no waterproofing, no microSD slot, no headphone jack, and some users have reported issues with reception on T-Mobile. Battery life is just okay, and even after several updates the camera isn’t really competitive with any other flagship phone from last year. Essential’s

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Apple Music’s ‘Friends Mix’ is a playlist of your pals’ top tunes

Apple is giving your friends the keys to your Music account. Okay, not really, but every Monday, it’ll compile 25 songs your friends are listening to into a playlist dubbed, you guessed it, “Friends Mix.” 9to5Mac notes that this doesn’t seem to be tied to a specific iOS update. From the sounds of it, the new trick relies heavily on the social features (seeing your friends’ listening history, specifically) announced last June.

Of course, this isn’t the only playlist feature Apple Music has going for it. There’s also “My Chill Mix” and the weekly new release mix. Editorial and personalized playlists have been Spotify’s bread and butter for awhile, and Apple Music is keen to take a few notes from its competitor. The feature is currently in a staggered rollout so, if you don’t see the mix pop up in your For You section, or Siri doesn’t respond when Continue reading “Apple Music’s ‘Friends Mix’ is a playlist of your pals’ top tunes”

Google Releases Android 9 Pie as Previous Oreo Release is Installed on Just 12% of Devices

Google’s latest Android operating system update, Android 9 Pie, was officially released to customers today following a beta testing period that started earlier this year.

Android Pie introduces a new gesture-based system interface that’s similar to the interface of the iPhone X, with iPhone-like swipes for navigating through the operating system. We went hands-on with Android Pie earlier this year when it was in a beta testing phase.

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The new update also introduces the Android Dashboard, designed to tell you how much time you’re spending on your device, which is similar to Apple’s own Screen Time feature. A new Do Not Disturb option called “Shush” silences Android devices when placed facedown, and a Wind Down option lets Android users select a specific bedtime to turn the interface gray to discourage smartphone usage at night.

Android Pie also includes an Adaptive

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Latest Windows 10 build will support “Your Phone” content sharing

Enlarge / With Your Phone you can drag and drop a photo from the phone onto the PC, without having to plug the phone in. (credit: Microsoft)

Back at its Build conference in May, Microsoft showed Your Phone, a Windows 10 app (with companion apps on Android and iOS) that helped bridge between the smartphone world and the PC world. The company showed syncing of photos, SMS messages, and notifications between the phone and the PC, hoping to put an end to time-honored traditions such as e-mailing yourself a picture you took on your phone just so you can use it on your computer.

The latest Insider Preview build of this autumn’s Windows 10 update, released yesterday, finally enables this syncing. Or at least, it enables the Windows-side portion of it. The phone-side updates are merely “coming soon.” An Android app, requiring Android 7.0 or better,

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“P is for Power”—Android engineers talk battery life improvements in Android P

Enlarge / This interview is all about battery life.

With the last version of the Android P Developer Preview released, we’re quickly heading towards the final build of another major Android version. And for Android P—aka version 9.0—battery life is a major focus. The Adaptive Battery feature will dole out background access to only the apps you use. A new auto brightness scheme has been devised. And the Android team has made changes to how background work runs on the CPU. All together, battery life should be batter (err, better) than ever.

To get a bit more detail about how all this works, we sat down with a pair of Android engineers: Benjamin Poiesz, Group Product Manager for the Android Framework, and Tim Murray, a Senior Staff Software Engineer for Android. And over the course of our second fireside Android chat, we learned a bit more about Android P

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Vertical video sheds its black bars on YouTube, Android app adds dark mode

The YouTube desktop site was designed for 16:9 video, with videos in any other aspect ratio—most commonly 4:3 for old TV material or 9:16 for vertical smartphone video—padded with black bars until they fit the 16:9 box. In a change that Google is currently rolling out, those black bars are now being scrapped, and the video box will instead take on the aspect ratio of the content it’s showing.

For 4:3 content, this means a bigger picture. It will be both wider and taller, pushing the title, description, and comments further down the page. For vertical video, the benefits are less apparent—empty space will open up on each side of the video—but even there, removal of the black bars means that narrow browser windows are less likely to cause the video to be sized down. Even 16:9 video is getting a little larger due to reduced margins and white space.

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