Android Police

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Amazon wants to bring Alexa to more mobile accessories with new dev tools

You can already get Alexa in phones, speakers, and a few accessories. Amazon wants more, though. The handful of Alexa-powered accessories on the market were developed with standalone smart features, but that's tough to do. Now, Amazon is looking to strengthen Alexa's position by making it easier to get the virtual assistant integrated with accessories like headphones, smartwatches, and more. These devices will, however, require a phone connection.

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[Deal Alert] BAFX Bluetooth OBDII scanner is only $13.99 ($16 off) on Amazon

As someone whose only car is a 23 year-old V12 BMW, I have a deep understanding of the need for a quick and easy way to pull codes from your car when that pesky 'check engine' or 'service engine soon' light comes on. For this reason, I have a Bluetooth OBDII scanner that I can quickly plug into my OBDII port to check what's wrong with my car this time. BAFX's 34t5 Bluetooth OBDII scan tool is just $13.99 on Amazon right now, representing a price drop of over 50% from the MSRP.

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The FAA's new VR app lets you experience ADS-B tech through a plane's cockpit

If you're not an airplane buff (I'm not), chances are that you haven't heard of ADS-B tech. In layman's terms, it's a surveillance technology that uses satellite navigation to position and track an aircraft, and it's gradually replacing ground radar. The FAA has created a virtual reality app to showcase what using ADS-B is like in flight, and it's out now on the Play Store.

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HTC's new screenshot tool adds Galaxy-like scrolling and markup features

On the same day it released an update to its Edge Launcher, HTC today updated its screenshot tool to give it some very useful and overdue features. The new utility, melodiously named "HTC Screen capture tool," adds the ability to do Samsung-like scrolling screenshots, crops, and annotations with text and drawing.

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HTC posts the RUU file for the T-Mobile U11 life Oreo update

HTC released the Android 8.0 Oreo update for its midrange U11 life on T-Mobile in December, but if somehow you haven't received the OTA yet and you'd like to flash it manually, you can do so now that the RUU file is available.

It's starting to take quite a while for HTC to publish RUU files after the OTA begins rolling: the unlocked U11 life's took a little less than 2 weeks and now the T-Mobile one has taken even more. But it's been a holiday period and at least HTC does make these files available so that you can flash the update even if you haven't seen the OTA notification just yet.

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HTC squeezes more functionality out of Edge Launcher

In its thankless quest to prove the squeeze skeptics wrong, HTC updated its Edge Launcher today with more customization options.

Introduced with the release of the U11+ in November, Edge Launcher presents users with a customizable Lazy Susan of apps and actions when the phone is squeezed. With only one hand, the user can scroll through the rotating circular menu and quick-launch the items within.

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Nokia 6 (2018) is now official, with a mid-range Snapdragon 630 chip and 'bothie' camera mode

After being leaked by a Chinese retailer just yesterday, the second generation Nokia 6 is now official. Thanks to a page on Nokia's China website, we can confirm a lot of the details we learned yesterday. The 2018 version is in many ways an iterative update, but it also makes some improvements, not least upgrading to a mid-range Snapdragon 630 chipset instead of the lower-end 430 that came with last year's model.

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Google Home and Assistant now work with more than 1500 smart home devices from 200+ brands

The list of supported smart home partners on Google Assistant and Home continues to grow and that growth even seems to be accelerating as time passes. Just last October, we reported on 65 direct partners being supported by Assistant and now if you go over to the Home Control section of your Google Home app or Assistant's settings, you can find that the number has jumped a little over 100. But that's not the entire story.

As we all know, smart home companies can integrate into Google Assistant/Home in one of two ways. One is directly through Home Control, which is easily recognizable by the fact that all the devices imported show up in a list, you can assign them to rooms, you can use regular voice commands to trigger them, and the same Assistant voice will answer you back.

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Toshiba introduces Symbio, a smart home hub, security camera and system, and Alexa speaker in one

I look around at my hallway console nowadays and see a Canary camera, a Google Home, and a SmartThings Hub v2. Not to mention the Synology server, router, and a few other miscellaneous tech items. The idea of having all three integrated in the same device, saving space and unnecessary wiring is quite appealing, and that's what Toshiba's new Symbio aims to do.

It's a 6-in-1 device: a 1080p wide-angle "low-light" camera with sound and motion alerts, a smart sound detector for babies and pets and even legacy alarms around the house, a Bluetooth and WiFi streaming speaker with ODMD driver, a voice control interface with Amazon Alexa built-in, a smart home hub with ZigBee and Z-Wave radios, and an intercom for communicating between Symbios and phones.

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Alexa will soon operate your very complicated microwave for you

The more capable a microwave oven is, the harder it is to figure out what buttons to press to make it do the thing you want. Or so I've heard. Today, Amazon announced that it will save us all from furiously button-mashing to just heat up some leftovers by adding cooking capabilities to its Smart Home Skill API and working with appliance manufacturers to add its Alexa assistant to cloud-connected microwave ovens.

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