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Opinion: Motorola's Z phones are quickly becoming little more than Mod money grabs

Motorola announced the Z2 Force at an event in New York City yesterday, ostensibly the 2017 flagship for the struggling smartphone brand, following up the Z and Z Force of 2016. The Z series is notable both for marking a major transition in Moto's flagship strategy, but also for the Moto Mods that underpinned the alleged reasoning behind that shift.

Motorola loves to toss out figures about the adoption rate for Moto Mods, but it hasn't issued any really solid ones in regard to which Mods people are using or how often they're using them. The reality is that this is probably because the battery Mod - the most painfully, glaringly, obvious use case for Mods - makes up the great bulk of that uptake.

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[Update: Officially live] Actions on Google will soon support British English

In a bid to make its Assistant more powerful, Actions on Google was launched in the US late last year. The service allows third-party developers to build their own voice actions for the Assistant, integrating it with their own apps. To encourage development, Google introduced a competition with cash prizes to anyone making compelling actions. Until now the service has only supported US English, but after support for more languages was previously promised, it seems the UK will be next to see Actions rolled out.

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Android O feature spotlight: Google's "grinning face with smiling eyes" emoji no longer looks constipated

Different types of emoji, trivial as they may seem, can manufacture lots of controversy. Just look at how many votes and comments our blobmoji vs O-moji poll generated, or the fact that it caused a Change.org petition to be created. However, I think we can all agree that the "grinning face with smiling eyes" emoji that Google used in the first three Android O developer previews looked pretty stupid; it didn't so much look like a grin as it did constipated. Thankfully, Android O DP4 has fixed this terrible issue.

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Phiaton announces travel-friendly wireless headphones that won't break the bank

Designer brand Phiaton has developed a reputation for premium headphones and earphones with high-quality sound to match their good looks. Unless you can find a good deal, the products are usually out of reach for most people due to the prohibitive price points. That's where the BT 390 comes in. These brand new on-ear headphones are designed to bring the brand a new group of followers, enticing them with a much more affordable $79 price tag.

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[Deal Alert] Some Udacity Android Nanodegrees are 50% off for the next two days

Most of our famed Deal Alerts tend to be for commercial products, but this one is a bit unique. Udacity, a provider of so-called "Nanodegree" certificates in computer science subjects, is offering discounts for certificates in Android development in the next two days. So if you've always wanted to work in application development, and if you think you can handle the workload that such an education will provide, you can get 50% off your first two monthly tuition payments if you sign up by tomorrow. 

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Meizu makes the Pro 7 and Pro 7 Plus official, dual cameras and secondary AMOLED screen in tow

Meizu has finally put all the leaks and rumors of its latest flagship phone to rest. The Pro 7 and Pro 7 Plus are officially official, though details are still rolling in. From all appearances, most of the information we've heard in the last few months was pretty accurate. Both phones come with dual cameras, a secondary display on the back, and Flyme OS 6 (Meizu's fork of Android).

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Google app starts autoplaying in-line videos and adds toggle to turn the feature off

Back in March, Cody discovered hints of the Google app adding video previews and autoplay functionality. Since then, we didn't hear anything about the feature or spot any signs of it until today when reader Tycho pointed that there's a new "Video" section in the Google app's settings.

I've checked all my devices, ranging from a Galaxy S7 Edge on the latest Google app beta to the Nexus 7 (2013) which I rarely update and is still on version 7.3.19.21 of the Google app from many moons ago: they all have it. I'm quasi-sure the setting wasn't there before, I've also searched every recent screenshot we've received of the Google app's settings and it's not there.

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[Update: APK download] Waze for Android Auto is out of private beta and available today

The private beta for Waze on Android Auto rolled out early last month, and two months of testing seem to have been enough. The feature once promised at I/O 2016 is now here. According to a blog post, today Waze will be available for everyone on Android Auto. Avoiding bad traffic just became that much easier.

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eBay will soon let you search for products using images instead of words

Searching on eBay isn't the easiest thing to do now. The search engine looks at literal results for your words and doesn't take into consideration typos, interchangeable words ("bag" and "purse"), multiple languages and translations ("case" and "hülle"), and multiple product names ("Galaxy Tab S2 8.0" and "T710"). So you often end up missing listings because the seller didn't word the title exactly like what you thought to search for. But that's about to get better thanks to new image-based searches.

eBay just announced a new Image Search feature that leverages computer vision and deep learning to look at photos you upload to the app, recognize the object you're searching for, and surface corresponding results among the 1.1 billion listings on the site.

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PSA: Chrome for Android automatically suggests copied links when you search

Ever noticed that Chrome suggests copied links when you go to search or enter a URL? What at first glance might have seemed like a new feature in the 4th developer preview of Android O now appears to have been around for a while, and have nothing to do with the OS itself.

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