Android Police

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Google Search on the web adds movie and TV ratings from users

The movie-going public owes a great debt to Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. The "thumbs up, thumbs down" system breaks down a complex opinion into a simple yes/no question, "did you like it or not?" Its effects can still be seen on Reddit and even in the comments section of this very article - now all we need is some digital implementation of The Wagging Finger of Shame. Google's on board with the thumb system of movie and TV reviews, and has lately implemented it on its search pages in the Knowledge Graph section.

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Report says Samsung will ditch the physical home button for the Galaxy S8

We're starting to hear a few Galaxy S8 rumors well ahead of the usual Mobile World Congress-ish reveal for Samsung's flagship series (usually around late February or March). That may or may not have something to do with the phenomenal failure of the Galaxy Note 7, after which Samsung must be scrambling to shift potential customers' attention elsewhere. So we're treated with two somewhat credible pieces of Galaxy S8 info in a single week: one that Samsung will drop the headphone jack, and another that the company will finally release its deathgrip on physical home buttons.

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CyanogenMod 14.1 nightlies come to the Galaxy S III, Moto X 2014, some Oppo phones, and more

It's no secret why CyanogenMod is the most popular custom ROM out there; not only does it support a metric crapload of Android devices, but it also keeps them going far past their primes. The latest devices to get support for CM14.1 (Android 7.1 Nougat) nightlies include two variants of the Galaxy S III, the second-generation Moto X, a few Oppo devices, two versions of the HTC One Max, two Xiaomi phones, and more.

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A second Michael Kors Android Wear model, Access Bradshaw, pops up in the Google Store for $350

Really, Michael Kors? You're calling your new Android Wear-powered smartwatch the "Access Bradshaw?" That sounds like the worst new podcast on the Fox Sports website. Oh well, if you really must - at least it's somewhat consistent with the equally awful name of the Access Dylan. The former is up on the Google Store for the same $350 price as the latter. It's shipping right now, if you're desperate to get into the depressingly shrunken wearables market before the end of the year.

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Cortana app now available in the UK after a user interface refresh in version 2.0

We haven't heard much from Microsoft's Cortana, the voice assistant that's built into Windows 10 and available in app form on Android and iOS, in a while. Amazon and Google, with their respective Alexa and Assistant/Home brands, have been far more vocal in the last few months. Today the Cortana app gets its first major update in the better part of a year. And in a move that probably should have come a lot sooner, the mobile version of Cortana is now available in the UK.

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Actions on Google opens to the public, developers now free to create custom voice actions for Google assistant

The Google assistant makes for a pretty awesome companion on the Pixel phones and Google Home, but it's still young and feels constrained by the very limited number of things it can do outside of Google's sandbox of supported services. During the October 4th announcement, Google declared plans to open up the platform in early December for developers to build their own services. Staying true to that schedule, the Actions on Google platform opened the door today, allowing developers to integrate their services. Google is also launching an early access program to begin testing new features and upcoming expansions.

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Android Police Readers' Choice Award 2016: Cast your vote for the best smartphone of the year

What's your pick for best smartphone of 2016? For the first time (well, that I can remember), we're asking you to cast your vote for the phone you think stole the show this year. I've assembled a list of 15 devices that I think stood out in one way or another in 2016, so please note that the list does not purport to be exhaustive - this is, gently, curated.

With that in mind, consider your vote carefully. The tallying will continue through December 16th at 11:59PM PST, at which point the poll will close. We will announce the winner in a separate post the following week, declaring that phone the recipient of the Android Police Readers' Choice Award for Best Smartphone of 2016.

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The Huawei Watch departs from the Google Store

With all the uncertainty, I don't imagine Android Wear smartwatches will be a hot item this holiday season. Some people are probably still willing to take a risk, but pickings are getting slim either way. Even though it launched more than a year ago, the Huawei Watch is still considered by many to be the best Android Wear device. It's no longer on sale in the Google Store, though.

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Raumfeld adds Chromecast support to all of its WiFi-enabled speakers

German audio firm Raumfeld is known for making some nice (and expensive) speakers with support for streaming services like Spotify and Tidal. Starting today, those speakers also support Chromecast. The update is rolling out to all of Raumfeld's WiFi speakers this very day.

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Starbucks Pokémon GO promotion begins, with 7800 new stops and gyms in the US

Developer Niantic has begun to unlock the full partner potential of the Pokémon GO augmented reality game. Just yesterday a partnership between the game and Sprint retail stores was announced, teasing new in-game locations corresponding to Sprint, Boost Mobile, and Radio Shack stores. That rollout doesn't technically begin until December 12th, but the previously-leaked Starbucks promotion should be live right now, turning 7800 coffee shops in the US into new Pokestops and Pokémon Gyms. 

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