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Some are experiencing a rattling or buzzing problem with the Pixel 2 XL's speakers

Google's Pixel 2 XL might be a great phone, but it hasn't been without controversy. Now we can add one more issue to the growing list. For many, one or both of the phone's front-facing speakers suffer from distortion/rattling. In some cases, the problem only seems to crop up at louder volumes, but for others (including us here at AP) it occurs even at lower volumes such as during phone calls.

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Google Duo v25 prepares to help users deal with a low battery and low volume [APK Teardown]

As we hit the last few days before Christmas, app updates from Google have gone from a firehose to a slow trickle. It's only natural that most of the developers don't want to ship any major updates right before their holiday plans for fear that they might be called in to fix a catastrophe. Hey, I've done it too. Nevertheless, there's a new version of Google Duo rolling out today. It probably comes as no surprise that this one isn't taking any unnecessary risks either. There are a few very minor tweaks to the interface. However, there is a little bit for a quick teardown, so let's get into it.

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26 new and notable Android games from the last week (12/13/17 - 12/19/17)

Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android games that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous week or so.

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Google Maps v9.69 beta adds reviews and comments to lists, improves step-by-step transit notifications, prepares new location sharing option, and more [APK Teardown]

A new version of Google Maps hit the beta channel late Friday evening. At the same time, Google announced improvements to the step-by-step navigation features for moving through public transit. That announcement applies to v9.68 and above, but after poking around in 9.69, there are also a couple of new things to check out. You can now see your reviews on locations in your custom lists, and add comments to those places to add hints or recommendations. A teardown also provides some hints about upcoming features like a new option to share a location without having it track your movements.

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12 new and notable Android apps and live wallpapers from the last week (12/12/17 - 12/18/17)

Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous week or so.

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Android 8.1 may have made the Pixel 2 XL's fingerprint unlock slower for some

Have you noticed that it takes just a bit longer to unlock your Pixel 2 XL when you use the fingerprint reader? If so, you aren't alone. In the last few weeks since the update, there have been multiple reports that the Pixel 2 XL takes about a second longer to unlock the device when using the fingerprint reader. The good news is that Google is looking into it. 

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[Update: Official changelog posted] Gboard v6.8 adds a handwriting keyboard and enlarges emoji, hints at new theme engine, Motion Stills integration, and more [APK Teardown]

As Cyber Monday was wearing down, Google was already winding up some app updates. A new version of Gboard began rolling out late in the afternoon, and with it comes the long-anticipated handwriting support, meaning we can finally uninstall the separate handwriting keyboard. There are also some tweaks to the emoji picker. As we look to the teardown, there are signs of a new theme system with a few new options for more visual control, a new autospace feature, integration with the Motion Stills app, and more.

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Allo v25 enables automatic transcriptions for audio messages, may hint at threaded conversations [APK Teardown]

A new version of Allo is rolling out just in time for the holidays. If you're thinking about singing Christmas carols or wishing somebody a happy new year, things are going to get a little more interesting thanks to the latest update. Your audio messages will now be automatically transcribed to text, so people can decide when to listen and have some idea of what they're going to be hearing. There's also a clue that may suggest threaded conversations will be supported. We're still poking around for other changes, but let us know in the comments if you stumble across anything else.

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Most Wanted: The best smart home products you can buy

One of the biggest trends in consumer technology over the last few years has been the rise of the smart home. The number of different device categories that now make up the 'Internet of Things' (IoT) has grown immensely, with connected appliances now found in many households across the US and beyond.

The smart home was once an expensive hobby for tech-fiends only but has now become an affordable aspiration for normal people. You can get started for less than $30 these days, with some lights or a smart switch that can connect to your Wi-Fi network and be controlled with your phone.

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31 new and notable Android games from the last week (12/6/17 - 12/12/17)

Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android games that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous week or so.

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