Android Police

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Google Now is testing search shortcuts in a new circletastic UI

Google is always trying something new with its different apps. Our personal nightmare is YouTube — ask Cody, trying to monitor the dozens of tips we get each week about a new YouTube UI are his personal nightmare. But Google Now might be an exception. The app's stream of cards has looked the same for a while and it's rather consistent between users. Not anymore.

The server-side switch plague has claimed another victim. Some users are seeing a series of blue circle icons on top of their Google Now stream for weather, dining, movies, and shopping. Others, like me, are not.

google-now-circles-search-hints-1 google-now-circles-search-hints-2

The icons don't do anything beside launch a search — and thus trigger smart cards and results — for their respective purposes. They're basically glorified search shortcuts, or maybe big hints for those who don't know what exactly you can search for on Google Now.

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Huawei's MediaPad M3 has a slim 8.4" body and stereo speakers co-engineered with Harman-Kardon

Beside the new nova and nova plus phones, Huawei introduced a follow-up to its MediaPad M2 today at IFA. The MediaPad M3 is a sleek new tablet from Huawei with a focus on a premium audio experience. Its stereo speakers have been designed and fine-tuned in collaboration with Harman Kardon, and the tablet ships with AKG H300 earphones that are specifically designed for it.

The 8.4" 2560x1600 display can filter out the harmful blue light in dark conditions and takes up most of the front of the device, at an 82% screen-to-body ratio. The rest of the tablet is encased in an aerospace-class aluminum body.

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Huawei unveils new metallic 5" nova and 5.5" nova plus with obvious Nexus 6P inspiration

Today at IFA Huawei introduced two new Android phones, one of which might look a little more than familiar. The nova and nova plus are now part of Huawei's high midrange smartphone lineup and you'll find that the first one carries one controversial design element from Huawei's lauded Nexus 6P.

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Xiaomi introduces mobile payment solution Mi Pay with support for cards from 20 banks in China

The mobile payments solution market is quickly becoming crowded and complicated. Depending on the country you live in, the device you carry, the smartphone OS it runs, the bank you get your cards from, and maybe even your operator, chances are you have to use a very specific payment solution. And vendors, banks, developers, are left to figure out a way to make it work for the largest number of customers.

Chinese users with a Xiaomi phone will have one more option now: Mi Pay. Launching today with China UnionPay, a large payment network similar to Visa and Mastercard, Mi Pay supports credit cards from 20 banks and debit cards from 12, including Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Bank of Communications, and China Merchants Bank, as well as public transportation cards from six cities (that's another known payment method in China). The Mi Wallet app can tie up to 8 cards to one Xiaomi device and its users will also benefit from promos and rewards.

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Chrome Dev adds a downloads manager and the ability to save a page for offline viewing

On both mobile and desktop, downloading things from the internet is pretty obviously a big deal. Since it launched in 2008, Chrome has had a download manager, and now the Android version is following suit, with a Download menu appearing in the latest version of Chrome Dev, version 54.0.2840.6.

'Downloads' is in the overflow dropdown menu. It's basically exactly what it says it is: a manager for files downloaded through the browser. However, it seems like it's a bit broken at the moment, as some files don't show up in the UI while others do. I downloaded an MP3 file and it didn't appear despite being on my phone, while a picture did show.

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HTC One A9s is official with more iPhone similarities and worse specs than the A9

We only heard of the new HTC iPhone One A9s a couple of days ago when Evan Blass leaked the first render of the phone. Thankfully, we didn't have to go through weeks of more torturous rumors over the existence and purpose of this device, as HTC has just officially announced it at IFA.

The "successor" to the One A9 pushes its iPhone inspiration to new levels (yes, we know HTC introduced the general look first, but this is more of a blatant copy than the iPhone ever was of the One series) thanks to a top left rear camera and LED flash, removed HTC logo from the front, and smaller earpiece.

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Google adds 11 new countries to Google Patents

Google Patents might not be the most exciting of Google's search products, but it's one that's essential in realizing Google's mission of organizing the world's information and making it universally accessible and useful. However, the world is made up of more than just a half-dozen countries, which is why Google has just announced that it's adding 11 new countries to its patent database, bringing the total to 17 patent offices around the globe.

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Qualcomm releases details for the Snapdragon 821, the processor likely to power the upcoming Sailfish and Marlin phones

Qualcomm's latest generation Snapdragon 821 chipset was announced back in July, but details have remained scarce until now. Today, Qualcomm has shared a lot more information on what we believe will likely be the processor that powers the next generation of Google's flagship phones.

In addition to having CPU speeds of up to 2.4 GHz, we now know that the GPU on the Snapdragon 821 is an Adreno 530 running at 653 MHz, representing a 5% bump over the same chip on the Snapdragon 820. Qualcomm has also revealed that the new 64-bit processor will allow for 10% shorter boot and app launch times and a 5% lower power consumption when compared to the 820.

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Press photos for Xperia XZ and Xperia X Compact leak ahead of launch

Xperia Blog has gotten its hands on press photos for the Xperia XZ and Xperia X Compact — two of the products that Sony is widely expected to launch tomorrow at IFA in Berlin. We had already seen images of the Xperia X Compact earlier this week, but it's the first time we get to view official photos of either device.

The images confirm that Sony's new phones will support USB Type-C, adding to the growing list that are upgrading from microUSB. This would make these the first of Sony's smartphones to use the new standard — including the Xperia X on which the X Compact is based.

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21 Best Android Wear Apps And Watch Faces From 6/1/16—8/31/16

Your wrist is looking rather bereft of apps and watch faces, but we can assist with this roundup. Contained herein are all the best things to hit Android Wear in the last couple months. Slap on your watch and get ready to test.

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