Android Police

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HTC U11 hands-on: HTC gets a little closer to the mark

After the thoroughly underwhelming and slightly weird U Ultra, it's safe to say many HTC fans have been waiting for a "return to form" sort of product from the struggling smartphone manufacturer. While the U11 isn't what I'd call a massive leap forward, it does take steps in the right direction - some obvious, some less so. But this isn't a phone without compromises.

The headphone jack is still gone. HTC tries to suggest that since it includes its U Sonic earbuds (now with active noise cancellation) and an adapter in the box, the pain of this will be offset for most consumers - but I'm getting ahead of myself here.

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The HTC U11 is official, pre-orders start today for unlocked and Sprint versions

Sometimes phones leak a little, and sometimes they leak a lot. The HTC U11 has fallen solidly in the latter category. There won't be any more leaks now, though. The U11 is official, and you can pre-order one this very day. We already know a lot about the U11, including the existence of HTC's squeezable Edge Sense. There are still a few surprises, though.

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Android Auto is now on three new 2017+ Mercedes-Benz vehicles

Android Auto is becoming available on an increasing number of vehicles. Even if it's not as cool as the recently-announced 'Android Automotive,' it's still pretty nifty. Premium German marque Mercedes-Benz has just added support for Auto on three of its cars, starting from the 2017 model year.

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Mobile Passport gets updated with fingerprint authentication, PHX airport support, and more

Fingerprint sensors are on so many smartphones these days, and for good reason: they're quick and secure. For those reasons, they can also be used as extra security for apps that have private information such as PayPal and banking solutions. The rather nifty Mobile Passport is the latest app to add this functionality, along with support for Phoenix's Sky Harbor airport and a few other things.

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The T-Mobile LG Stylo 2 Plus is getting an Android 7.0 update, for real this time

The LG Stylo 2 Plus is a pretty standard budget phone, with a Snapdragon 430 processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 2,900mAh battery. The phone's standout feature is a large 5.7" display, with the low resolution of 720x1280 (again, because it's a budget phone). It shipped with Android 6.0, but now the T-Mobile model is getting a bump to 7.0 Nougat.

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[Deal Alert] 23k gold-plated LG Watch Urbane Luxe is just $150 at B&H ($150+ off)

The Luxe model of the LG Watch Urbane was originally a limited release of 500 units at $1,200, so I assume something must have changed, or that the model B&H is advertising is a slightly different version under the same name. Even now the Luxe version goes for over $500 at retailers that still sell it. Given that the images of the model B&H is selling show a different strap I'd be inclined to think that this might be a franken-Luxe combo of various parts. At $150, though, even the standard version would be a decent deal. Since we've never seen the Luxe model sold for any decent price, whole or not, I thought it might be of interest to those hoping to match their metals with something other than the rose gold and silver models.

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Google Maps v9.53 brings back a setting for transit notifications and prepares for better-informed commutes [APK Teardown + Download]

An update to Google Maps began rolling out over the weekend and this one appears to be focused on keeping people in the know on their commutes. This version brings back a toggle to control notifications about delays and interruptions at mass transit stations, and this time it might be here to stay. A teardown also shows we'll soon have traffic notifications for the commute between home and work and that more modes of travel will be respected besides just driving and mass transit.

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Atop the Wizard's Tower is a VR tower defense game from the maker of Ski Safari

Some may say VR is dying or never had a chance, but if you look at all of the recent Daydream releases on Android in the last few months, you have to wonder if the naysayers are wrong. From the creators of Ski Safari, Atop the Wizard's Tower is a new VR tower defense game available on the Play Store for Daydream devices.

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[Deal Alert] Monday is here with 19 temporarily free and 6 on-sale apps

Well, it's the start of a new week, but I think this one is more special than most. Google I/O kicks off on Wednesday, and I am sure that there will be plenty of exciting news. To tide you over until then, I've got the first round of app sales for the week.

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Alexa can now double-check if you actually said a wake word

My Google Home isn't the best at figuring out if me (or someone else) actually says "Hey Google" or "OK Google." Sometimes I'll be watching a video where no one says anything remotely similar to those phrases, and the lights on my Home flip on. But I have noticed that most of the time, the lights turn off a split-second later, as the Home actually realizes that no one called for it (presumably once the voice clip is processed by Google's servers).

Amazon appears to be giving Alexa a similar ability, with the introduction of 'Cloud-based wake word verification.'

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