Android Police

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Chromecast Ultra owners can get Ghostbusters (2016) for free from Google Play Movies

Google is known for periodically offering free goodies to Chromecast owners. Most recently, Google gave three free months of HBO Now with purchase of a Chromecast. In the Chromecast Ultra's first promotion, you can grab a free copy of the Ghostbusters remake in 4K from Google Play Movies. It may not be the best-performing movie this year, but you can't beat free.

The offer is available to anyone who has purchased and activated a Chromecast Ultra before December 31st, and you can redeem the offer until April 30. As you might expect, this is only valid in the United States and Canada.

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Project Fi's holiday-themed site offers $10 Google Play credit and cheerful activities to subscribers

Are you a Project Fi subscriber? If so, you're in for a pretty cool treat this holiday season. Open up fiholiday.withgoogle.com to check out Project Fi's World of Thanks site. Awaiting you is an assortment of interesting and cheerful online activities. You'll find cute tools to create custom digital cards and snow globes, a trivia game, a suggestion to set a seasonally appropriate voicemail greeting – sure, why not? – and best of all, a $10 Google Play gift code.

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Google figures out how to reduce app update size by 65%

Way back in the day, app updates in Google Play would be the whole new APK. That changed back in 2012, and Google has been working to reduce the size of updates ever since. In its most recent triumph, the Google Play team has devised a system to reduce app update sizes by an average of 65%, but it won't be used all the time.

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Meizu announces the newest member of the M-Series line, the M5 Note

Chinese manufacturer Meizu revealed the latest entry into its M-Series of smartphones, the M5 Note. Not to be confused with BMW's line of cars, this smartphone family usually sits in the lower end of the "mid-range" category. The M5 Note is no exception, packing decent specifications into an affordable price point.

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ASUS ZenPad 3S 10 review: The iPad Air running Android

The history of Android on tablets is complicated. Just as Apple had done in 2007 with the first iPhone, the iPad's release in 2010 set a very high standard for the rest of the market. The next year, Google released Android 3.0 Honeycomb on the Motorola Xoom, designed specifically with tablets in mind. The Xoom wasn't the iPad killer that Motorola had hoped for, and there have been very few Android tablets that could stack up to Apple's iPad line.

Since Honeycomb, Android has shifted away from most tablet-specific features in favor of a shared UI on all screen sizes. There's still a large number of major applications clearly not designed for tablets (Hangouts comes to mind).

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Android 7.1.1 update seems to fix some LTE Band 4 issues for the Pixel

Every new phone has at least a couple of issues out of the gate that need to be addressed (and can hopefully be fixed with a software update, rather than scrapping a billion-dollar product line). So it is with Google's Pixel and Pixel XL: last month a subset of users reported spotty connection problems with the flagships, apparently when using LTE Band 4 (1700MHz) on certain carriers outside the US. Owners aired their grievances on Google's product forum, and were heard fairly quickly.

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Google makes 4K video official in Google Play, but only for the US and Canada right now

We started getting reports of 4K videos rolling out in Google Play several weeks ago, but not everyone could see the 4K option and Google didn't list a separate price for it. Google has now made it official—4K video is available for rental or purchase in the Play Store. However, there isn't very much of it right now, and you can't even get 4K everywhere.

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Google commits to 100% renewable energy for its global operations, starting in 2017

Google is one of the largest and most far-reaching companies in worldwide tech, but it's also known for progressive (if not necessarily selfless) projects that go beyond its standard interests. Those include sponsorships and massive purchases for renewable energy, like buying portions of solar and wind energy production from farms in the US, Chile, and Sweden. According to the latest post on Google's Keyword blog, those purchases combined with renewable energy credits will account for 100% of the company's business operations in 2017.

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Google Home makes a guest appearance on Modern Family to the absolute delight of Phil

Modern Family's resident nerd and geek, the awkwardly and adorably funny Phil Dunphy is no stranger to hot gadgets and new technology products that we all drool over. In the last Modern Family episode, Phil seems to have decked the Dunphy house with some Google love: there's a Google Home right on the kitchen counter and it's not just there for show, it's also part of the plot — albeit a very small part.

Toward the start of The Alliance episode (season 8, episode 8), Claire talks about the romantic Italian movie she and Phil watched the evening before. Phil then turns toward Google Home and says, "OK Google, play the soundtrack to Spaghetti for Pepe." The nice female voice in Home answers him and starts playing some Italian-sounding music.

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Samsung Galaxy S8 rumored to drop the headphone jack [Update]

There are some hardware advances that make sense—moving to the USB Type-C standard, for example. It's a pain at first, but the benefits are clear. Removing the headphone jack, however, seems dumb at this juncture. Still, SamMobile says that Samsung is planning to drop this port in the upcoming Galaxy S8. Boo.

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