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Alexa app update adds full Alexa voice interactions

Amazon partnered with Huawei a year ago to launch the Mate 9 as the first Alexa-enabled phone, but there have only been a few since then. Simply installing the Alexa app on your other devices didn't get you Alexa voice commands. Well, until now. Amazon says an update is rolling out that adds Alexa to the Alexa app. Seems fitting.

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Google's Linux workstations are switching from Ubuntu to Debian

Like many companies, Google uses a variety of operating systems in-house. macOS and Windows are used by a large number of employees, a modified build of Debian Linux is used on its servers (as of 2014, at least), and Chrome OS and Android devices are commonplace. In work environments where Linux is needed, Google uses a customized version of Ubuntu 14.04 called 'Goobuntu,' which has never been released publicly.

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T-Mobile tops JD Power wireless customer care rankings, Sprint a distant fourth place

T-Mobile has un-carried itself back to the top of J.D. Power's customers care rankings for full-service wireless carriers. The latest survey, which evaluates consumers' satisfaction with their carriers' customer service, shows Verizon and AT&T taking spots two and three respectively, and Sprint...well, someone needs to do something about Sprint.

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Google Trips 1.6 adds videos and blog posts to help you discover your upcoming destinations [APK Download]

Google Trips is one of the hidden gems of Google's arsenal of apps. What started as a small app that manages your flight and hotel reservations is now nearly a full-blown travel planner with essential tips on how to get around and what you need to know about the city/country you're going to, management for many reservation types, saved places that sync with Google Maps, discounts and offers on various activities, and a complete list of places to visit with ratings and reviews from the Maps community.

It's the latter part that's getting updated now with one small, but handy, addition.

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WhatsApp adds notification channels on Android Oreo 8.0 so you can now choose what to do with each notification type

Android 8.0 Oreo introduced one cool feature for app notifications: channels. Since not all notifications are created equal, even if they come from the same app, this would allow you to choose how different types of notifications appear, sound, and vibrate, or not, on your phone. However, that created one big issue: Google didn't have a fallback in place for apps that don't get updated to support the channels, which means that you couldn't assign importance to any notification coming from the app. That, as you can imagine, was very annoying with apps like WhatsApp where you couldn't disable the permanent WhatsApp Web running notification without disabling all of the app's notifications, for example.

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[Update: 2 Home Minis for $37.49] Deal alert: Verizon Business customers can get a Google Home Max and Home Mini for just $337.48 (25% off)

Like many Google products, the Home Max isn't easy to find at a discount, especially given its very recent entry to the market. However, Verizon Business is offering a Home Max and Home Mini bundle for just $337.48, or $112.50 off the combined MSRPs of both Home devices. That's pretty nuts. Unfortunately, you will need access to a Verizon Business (B2B) account to take advantage of this deal. And no, your run-of-the-mill Verizon account won't do.

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Hands-on: Unnotification brings back your last dismissed notification

Android has a native way to see a log of the notifications you receive, but it's quite hidden from most eyes. To access it, you need to add a widget, choose Settings among the list of widgets, and then Notification log. It helps you see a notification you may have dismissed by mistake and, more recently, I've used it to figure out which notification channel something was coming from after dismissing it and thinking that I don't need that particular type of notification or I want to lower its priority.

But if you don't want to mess with the notification log, there's an app you can install to bring back the last dismissed notification, kind of like an undo button, and it's simply called Unnotification.

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Google Express adds Overstock to its list of shops you can buy from

Google Express is kind of a central aggregate site you go to to make purchases from various stores. Instead of heading to different sites and adding your details to each, you have one central hub, and it's been adding more and more partners. Walmart is still one of the most important ones, but right now there are a little over 50 supported and Overstock has joined them.

I don't live in the US so I've heard very little about the store, but from my quick research it does seem to have a bit of everything with focus on home furniture/decoration and household products.

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WhatsApp could be ready to launch digital payments in India next month

Thanks to a government-backed platform called UPI (Unified Payment Interface), developers are able to more easily integrate digital payments for India into their apps. Google's Tez uses UPI for bill payments, and social app Truecaller added the functionality in a recent update. The country's most used messaging app shouldn't be too far behind as Facebook-owned WhatsApp could be ready to offer a payment solution based on UPI as early as next month.

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Amazon's Echo line, Alexa voice services, and Music Unlimited are coming to Australia and New Zealand in February, pre-orders are up

Alexa, Alexa everywhere! Amazon is continuing to push its voice assistant and devices everywhere it can and the newest countries after the US, UK, Germany, Japan, India, Ireland, and Canada, to join in on the fun are Australia and New Zealand.

Yesterday (sorry we're late on this), Amazon announced that its Alexa Skills Kit (to create voice commands for your service) and Alexa Voice Service (to integrate Alexa itself into your product) are coming to Australia and New Zealand. They're bringing along the three current Echo devices from Amazon's line-up, which are now up for pre-order at introductory prices, with even cheaper special 2-pack discounts. And I can only hope Amazon set up Alexa to answer with "Oi Oi Oi" everytime it hears you scream "Aussie Aussie Aussie!" otherwise it'd be a wasted opportunity.

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