Blog Archives

Google Chrome update adds picture-in-picture video support for Android O

Picture-in-picture support for video is already available in the Android O Developer Preview with some apps and it’s going to be one of the standout features of Android 8.0 when it’s released later this year. Picture-in-picture mode, or PiP, is a feature which allows Android users to play a video and place it somewhere on the screen while working on another task.

This was previously available in apps such as YouTube, Duo and Play Movies but, according to Android Police, it’s now supported in Chrome too. If you’re running the Android O Developer Preview, simply tap the Home button when watching a video in full screen via Chrome and it will pop out into its own box which can be moved around the display.

See also:

AutoVoice Chrome extension for the PC now works with Google Assistant

May 2, 2017

This works for any video you watch in Chrome but it’s not yet clear which versions of Chrome it’s compatible with (if it’s not working for you, try updating to the latest version).

For more on what Android O is capable of, visit our Android O features roundup at the link. If you want to install the latest version of Chrome, download it at the button below.

Download Chrome

Previous updates

New offline features

May 9: In a Google blog post, product manager Tal Oppenheimer announced some new improvements coming to Chrome for Android’s offline features. You can now tap and hold on any link to download it with the “Download link” option — something that is also possible with article suggestions that appear when you open a new tab. What’s more, the dinosaur page you’ll find in Chrome if you try to access a page while you’re offline now includes a “Download Page Later,” button. Tapping this will mean the page is automatically downloaded when you reconnect to the internet.

Finally, Google has also altered the “new tab” page so that you’ll now see your offline articles, indicated by their “offline badge.” Your most recent downloads will also be shown there at the right-side of the page, too.

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OnePlus CEO Pete Lau addresses recent OnePlus 5 criticism

With slogans like “Flagship Killer” and “Never Settle,” it’s not exactly surprising that OnePlus flagships are sometimes accused of failing to deliver on the promise. But when you also add questionable marketing campaigns, concerns over benchmark “rigging” and a failure to provide an expected software update for one of its flagship phones, it becomes ever clearer why the company often draws criticism.

Its latest flagship phone, the OnePlus 5, hasn’t even been fully released yet and it’s already on the receiving end of complaints. Some of these are simply from fans wishing for this feature or that, while others are more pertinent troubles, like the aforementioned benchmark hullabaloo. Pete Lau, the OnePlus co-founder and CEO, spoke to The Indian Express recently to discuss the OnePlus 5.

See also:

OnePlus 5 International Giveaway!

1 day ago

Waterproofing

As we noted in our OnePlus 5 review, the new handset lacks water resistance, unlike many competing Android flagships. Lau told The Indian Express that he is “not convinced” that waterproofing is “a big consumer requirement,” and added that it just “ends up making the phone thicker and heavier.” He also said the OnePlus 5 does, in fact, come with water resistance, to a degree, but said the company didn’t want to advertise it.

On this score, I think consumers should avoid the phone if it doesn’t have a feature they want, but I don’t think it’s necessarily an area where OnePlus is at fault. It’s not like waterproofing a device is free and uncomplicated. It affects the whole design of a device and would have increased the manufacturing costs. If a company doesn’t think it’s a big deal, that’s its prerogative, right? The phone does cost hundreds of dollars less than other flagships (you can pre-order the base model for $479).

Benchmark rigging

Commenting on recent concerns that it was “fixing” benchmark results, Lau explained that it was important for a phone to have effective heat dissipation in order to maintain strong CPU performance. “If there is heating the performance of the CPU will not reach the maximum. We only try to tap the full potential of the CPU. We don’t even know how to overclock,” he said.

See also:

OnePlus 5 vs OnePlus 3T: quick look

2 days ago

This seems like a bit of a smokescreen. OnePlus was never accused of overclocking, the XDA article that uncovered the rigging states that. What it is, is manipulating the device so that it provides strong results specifically in certain benchmarking apps, when this isn’t representative of normal device performance.

OnePlus says this “best displays the true performance capabilities of the OnePlus 5,” but others say it’s disingenuous.

iPhone similarities

On the OnePlus 5’s similarities with the iPhone 7, Lau claimed he’d heard similar comments since the OnePlus One. “But time has proved everything. OnePlus One has become a classic,” he said.

True, it’s hard to make phones completely distinctive given the limitations (they are phones, they all have similar components and purposes), but it’s not impossible. The Nextbit Robin looks unique.

See also:

OnePlus 5: after the thrill is gone

5 days ago

And, sure, people probably did compare the OnePlus One to other phones, but the OnePlus 5 looks more like the world’s most popular phone than the LG G6, Galaxy S8, and HTC U11 do, and it looks more like it than any previous OnePlus phone looked like an iPhone. Whether time will “prove” the OnePlus 5 is a classic or not, the iPhone 7 comparison is still there to be made. I mean, look at them.

QHD display

Some fans have also complained that the OnePlus 5 features an FHD (1920 x 1080 pixels) display rather than a 2K/QHD (2560 x 1440 pixels) resolution display like other 2017 Android flagships. The Indian Express said Lau was “dismissive” of the impact QHD displays have on a 5.5-inch screen, saying it increased power consumption and that “We don’t play around with specs, we just want to give our customers the best experience.”

It has been argued that the difference between Full HD and QHD at a phone held at arm’s length (or more than eight inches from your eyes) is difficult to discern, but QHD displays have implications for VR, where the display is right in front of your eyes. The price/performance trade-off of implementing a QHD screen might not have been worth it for OnePlus and it would consume more power, as Lau rightly suggests. Still, QHD resolutions stand to provide a better experience in VR than an FHD display.

Price

Concerning the device’s price, Lau said that component costs have gone up across the industry, and noted that they were using 8 GB of RAM — more memory than most of the 2017 flagships. He said that “Even the cost of the [OnePlus 5] box has gone up now.”

See also:

OnePlus 5 review – the Never Settle promise lives on

6 days ago

This I also kind of hard to argue with. The OnePlus 5 is more expensive than its predecessor due to higher component costs and more impressive hardware — that makes sense. It’s still a comparatively low price for what it offers.

That’s what Pete Lau had to say on these matters — does this change any of your thoughts on the OnePlus 5? Let us know in the comments.

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HTC teases new Edge Sense features for the U11

The biggest selling point of HTC’s U11 is obviously its unique Edge Sense features that allow you to literally squeeze the sides of the phone to do things with it. It’s a cool, albeit weird, design that helps the U11 stand out, and you can bet HTC will try to capitalize on it. HTC USA […]

Come comment on this article: HTC teases new Edge Sense features for the U11

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Samsung Pay now finally supports Discover cards

Samsung’s mobile payment service now finally works with Discover cards. This is great news for owners of the card, which have been waiting for Samsung Pay support since early 2016 when it was supposed to go live.

More than a year later, Discover users can now finally add their card to Samsung Pay and make purchases with the help of a smartphone, a Discover representative confirmed to The Verge.

Using Samsung’s mobile payment service is quite easy, as all you have to do is place your device near a payment terminal, authorize the purchase with a pin number, an iris scan, or your fingerprint, and wait for the transaction to be completed.

See also:

Samsung Pay expands to four new countries

April 27, 2017

One of the biggest advantages of Samsung Pay over its competition is that in addition to NFC, it also uses Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST). What this means is that the service works with older payment terminals that don’t support NFC.

Just keep in mind that the payment service is only compatible with Samsung-branded devices. These include the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Active, Galaxy S6, Gear S2 (with NFC only), and Gear S3.

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Samsung beats Fitbit for second place in wearable market

Samsung has another reason to celebrate. For the first time ever, the tech giant overtook Fitbit to become the second largest player in the wearable market. According to Strategy Analytics, the company grabbed 12.8 percent of the market in the first quarter of the year, while Fitbit’s market share was 12.2 percent.

As expected, Apple retained the number one spot. The company’s market share in Q1 was 53 percent, far ahead of Samsung and the rest of its competition.

Samsung was able to move up to second place thanks to the high demand for its devices, mainly the Gear S3. The smartwatch was announced back at IFA 2016 in September and went on sale in the US in November.

See also:

Verizon begins selling Samsung Gear S3 in its retail stores for $399

2 weeks ago

As a refresher, Samsung’s smartwatch is available in two versions – Classic and Frontier — both of which feature a 1.3-inch Super AMOLED fully circular display along with a rotating bezel, and sport an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance. They run Samsung’s Tizen OS and come equipped with GPS and an optical heart-rate monitor.

The two smartwatches look a bit different from one another with the Classic being the more elegant one, while the Frontier has a more rugged design. To learn more, check out our review of the Samsung Gear S3.

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