Monthly Archives: June 2017

Google Home now supports Bluetooth music streaming

Google is now rolling out an update for Bluetooth streaming support on the Google Home. This means you’ll be able to use your Google Home more like a typical Bluetooth speaker to stream audio from your Android or iOS smartphone.

The functionality is rolling out with firmware version 90387 (judging by screenshots from Android Police), and means you no longer need to have a Google Cast-enabled device to stream your favorite tunes.

This will come as welcome to news to Google Home owners as the device had been limited in this regard since its release last November, despite that it always housed the hardware to make it a perfectly serviceable Bluetooth speaker (it’s audio quality is rather impressive). In our original Google Home review, we noted that these limitations were one of the main downsides of the product, so we’re pleased to see this get addressed.

See also:

Google Home gets multi-user support in the UK

1 day ago

In other recent news, research suggests that the Google Home is six times more likely to answer a question than its competitor the Amazon Echo. The Amazon Echo has had Bluetooth audio streaming features for much longer. though.

As Amazon, Google and others battle to take control of your household with their proprietary connected speakers, you can expect these devices to improve pretty quickly. Amazon has just recently a model that includes a built-in display — the Amazon Echo Show. Perhaps Google will soon follow suit.

The Bluetooth streaming update will be rolling out to Google Home devices over the next few days; give your Home a restart if you want to try and scan for it now.

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Samsung smartphones with solid-state batteries could launch in the next two years

Solid-state batteries are expected to replace lithium-ion batteries that are currently found in smartphones and a bunch of other products in the near future. According to a report out of Korea, this is expected to happen over the next few years.

An anonymous executive with Samsung SDI (the battery manufacturing arm of the Samsung conglomerate) told The Korea Herald that the company will start manufacturing solid-state batteries in one to two years. The first application for these batteries will be in smartphones. Meanwhile, solid-state batteries for electric cars would take till 2025 to hit the market, due to the more stringent safety constraints.

“Our technological level to produce a solid-state battery for smartphones will be mature enough in one to two yearsHowever, it depends on Samsung Electronics whether it will be used for phones,” warned the executive.

Samsung SDI obviously isn’t the only company working on the new battery technology. There are quite a few others as well including LG Chem, which will reportedly start producing them around the same time.

See also:

What’s the difference between a Li-ion and solid-state battery?

November 8, 2016

The biggest advantage of the upcoming batteries is that they are made from solid instead of liquid electrolytes and, therefore, have a much lower risk of catching fire and exploding. Battery safety has become a major concern in the last year or so, after Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 was recalled due to battery safety issues.

Will we see solid-state batteries on flagship phones from 2019? It depends on how mature the technology is at launch. If it’s good enough to compete with conventional batteries in term of capacity, lifespan and charging speed, a release on a flagship phone is possible. If not, Samsung and its rivals may choose to introduce it on a lower-end or niche phone.

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[Update: Pre-orders with free JBL SoundBoost 2] Motorola reveals the Moto Z2 Play with a smaller 3,000mAh battery and new Moto Mods

Last year, Motorola (Lenovo) surprised everyone when it hit pause on its Moto X flagship line and introduced a new modular silo to take over the mantel. The Moto Z Play was the cheaper sibling of the Moto Z, with better battery life and a more affordable price tag, and both were designed to showcase the new Moto Mods attachments.

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[Update: Pre-orders with free JBL SoundBoost 2] Motorola reveals the Moto Z2 Play with a smaller 3,000mAh battery and new Moto Mods was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8: All the rumors in one place (Updated June 30)

In this post, which will be updated regularly, we take a closer look at the latest rumors surrounding Samsung’s upcoming flagship, the Galaxy Note 8.

The Galaxy Note 7 turned out to be a disaster for Samsung. The phone had major issues with its battery, that ultimately resulted in a total global recall. Nevertheless, the company will still release its successor, the highly anticipated Galaxy Note 8.

The Note series has always been popular among consumers, and it will be interesting to see if this changes in 2017 because of what happened with the Note 7. To make sure sales don’t suffer, Samsung’s upcoming smartphone has to bring a couple of new things to the table, while the tech giant must also convince people that the product is safe to use.

Although the smartphone is still a few months away, we already know quite a bit about it. In this post, we take a closer look at all the rumors surrounding the Galaxy Note 8 including when will it be released, what it will look like, how much it will set you back, and more. If you’re interested, keep reading. You’ll find all the info down below.

See also:

Samsung’s Secure Folder lands in the Play Store

3 weeks ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 8: release date

The Galaxy Note 7 was announced back in August 2016 and went on sale in the US in the same month. It looks like things won’t be much different this year. According to South Korean news website The Bell, Samsung will take the wraps off the Note 8 in mid-August. A more recent report by Naver is even more specific, claiming that the device will be revealed on August 26 in New York. It’s likely that the smartphone will then go up for pre-order more or less right away, with sales officially kicking off a couple of weeks later.

It was initially anticipated that the Note 8 might launch at a later date, but The Bell claims that the tech giant has decided to speed things up a bit in order to get a head-start on the iPhone 8 series, which is expected to be revealed sometime in September.

However, a report by SamMobile tells us a slightly different story, as it claims that the Note 8 just might be revealed at a later date after all. According to that story, Samsung may launch it at IFA in Berlin, which is scheduled to kick off on September 1.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8: specs and software

Just like the Galaxy S8 series, the Note 8 is expected to sport a curved Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2,960 x 1,440 pixels and 18.5:9 aspect ratio. However, it will be quite a bit bigger when compared to the one found on the Note 7, which features a 5.7-inch screen. The latest rumors suggest that the Note 8 will have either a 6.3- or a 6.4-inch display.

The upcoming phablet is rumored to be powered by either the latest Snapdragon 835 chipset or the upgraded (and unannounced) Snapdragon 836. Well, at least the US model. Samsung is also expected to offer a variant with the Exynos 8895 processor under the hood in Europe and other markets, which also powers the Galaxy S8.

The Note 8 will come with either 4 or 6 GB of RAM and should, according to most rumors, be equipped with a dual-camera setup on the back. The device is expected to sport two 13 MP sensors with autofocus, f/2.0 aperture, and 1.12µm pixel size. The setup consists of a monochrome and RGB sensor, which is the same configuration we have seen on quite a few other smartphones including the Huawei P10. It’s part of the new ISOCELL lineup of camera sensors that Samsung recently showed off during MWC in Shanghai. The device will also have an 8 MP selfie snapper on board.

It’s worth pointing out that the Note 8 might not be Samsung’s first smartphone with a dual-camera setup. That title may go to the upcoming Galaxy C10, which will likely be announced sometime in July.

Moving on to the fingerprint sensor, it looks like it won’t be built into the screen of the device as originally expected. According to a report by Naver, there are still various technical limitations when it comes to in-display fingerprint scanners, which is why Samsung will not use it on the Note 8. Interestingly, multiple reports claim Apple has managed to do so on the upcoming iPhone.

See also:

Vivo, not Samsung, could win the race to put fingerprint sensors into phone screens

2 weeks ago

Based on the fact that the Note 8 will feature small bezels around the screen (more on this later), the company won’t be able to mount the fingerprint sensor on the front either, as there’s just not enough room available below the screen. This means that once again the fingerprint scanner will likely be found on the back of the device. Let’s just hope that Samsung won’t place it right next to the camera like on the Galaxy S8 series.

Other things worth pointing out are that the Note 8 is expected to be waterproof (IP68), will naturally come equipped with the popular S Pen as well as an iris scanner, and pack at least a 3,500 mAh battery. The latest rumors also suggest that the device will be available with 64 GB and 128 GB of storage, which you’ll be able to expand for an additional 256 GB with the help of a microSD card.

When it comes to software, the phone will run Android 7.1.1 Nougat with Samsung’s custom user interface on top. It will likely have a more fully-fledged version of Bixby on board, the company’s digital assistant that made its debut on the Galaxy S8. This means it’ll probably have the same dedicated Bixby button on the side, which not everyone is a fan of.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8: design

OnLeaks and 91mobiles have joined forces and released a set of alleged renders, as well as a 360-degree video, of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 8. They show the device from all angles leaving nothing to the imagination.

As you can see, the Note 8 will look more or less the same as the Galaxy S8 series, with a few minor differences here and there. It will be a little bit bigger and have a slightly redesigned back thanks to the dual-camera setup. Unfortunately, the images above show that the fingerprint scanner will be positioned on the right side of the cameras just like on the Galaxy S8, which a lot of users don’t really like. The device will have a glass back, a metal frame, and come equipped with the popular S Pen that pops out from the bottom of the device.

The design of the device has potentially also appeared in a recently leaked video showing what is claimed to be the front glass cover of the Note 8. As always, there’s a lot of debate about the veracity of the screen shown, but you can check it out for yourself below.

Although the leaks we’ve seen so far haven’t been confirmed yet, it seems very likely that the Note 8 will look a lot like the Galaxy S8 series, only bigger. There’s really no need to change the design based on the fact that it has been so well received among consumers. We’d also expect the same software design as that found on the Galaxy S8.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8: price

The Galaxy Note series is known as being quite expensive. Unfortunately, that probably won’t change with the Note 8. There’s actually a very good chance that the phone will cost even more than the Note 7.

When the Note 7 launched in the US, it retailed for around $850 on average or $80 more than the unlocked version of the Galaxy S7 Edge. As the Galaxy S8 Plus is more expensive than its predecessor ($824.99 unlocked), it’s quite possible that Samsung will also increase the price of the Note 8.

There’s still a chance that you’ll be able to get the smartphone for around $850, but a price tag of $900 or maybe even a bit more seems like a safer bet at this point. If the base storage goes up and the phone gets an additional camera, Samsung might have no choice but to bump up the price. In Europe, the smartphone is expected to retail for around €1,000.

That’s a lot of money to pay so it will be interesting to see how high the demand will be for the smartphone, especially considering the fact that Samsung’s reputation has taken a beating in the US as well as in other countries in the past year.

The good news is that Samsung will likely give out some free goodies along with the Note 8, at least during the pre-order period. The tech giant used this strategy last year when it offered products like a 256 GB microSD card, the Gear Fit 2, and the Gear VR headset for free with every purchase.

These are all the rumors regarding the Galaxy Note 8 we have come across so far. We’ll update this page as soon as we hear more.

Meanwhile, do let us know your thoughts on Samsung’s upcoming smartphone. Would you consider buying it if it will be more expensive than its predecessor? Let us know by posting a comment down below.

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Google Play Store makes it easier to see what’s new in each app update

Google is rolling out the version 8.0 of the Play Store with a small but useful feature on board. The company added in-line change logs in the app updates menu, which basically show you everything that’s new in the latest version of an app.

There’s now a small icon next to the update button that will bring up the “What’s new” section of an app when you tap on it. This is displayed on the same screen, so you don’t have to open an app’s page on the Play Store to see the new features the update brings to the table. You can see exactly what this looks like in the image above.

See also:

Google Play Store has a new offline page, notifies you when you’re online again

2 weeks ago

As already mentioned, Google is currently rolling out the new version of the Play Store, which means it’s not available for all users yet. Let us know what you think!

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