News

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Google app v7.11 beta suggests the next Android version is 8.1, adds battery levels for Bisto headphones, prepares to tweak user-defined actions, and more [APK Teardown]

The latest update to the Google app is rolling out to beta channel members right now. There aren't any immediately obvious changes on the surface, but as the tradition often goes, there are some things under the hood worthy of discussion in a teardown. This version brings a pretty good indicator that 8.1 will be the next version of Android. There are also signs that user-defined actions are going to get some changes in the future. We're also going to hit an option to turn off the built-in screenshot handler and a little bit more about Google's upcoming "Bisto" headphones.

Teardown

Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
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Atom Visualizer is the first ARCore app, and you can try it now on select devices

Google's Tango platform has been in development for years, but it relies upon special hardware modules that only two phones have shipped with so far. That's why Google recently announced ARCore, a way to get augmented reality apps on more Android phones. The first preview app for ARCore is now available, but it won't work on all phones.

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[Update: Wide rollout] YouTube is testing video previews when you adjust your position on the seek bar

Lately, YouTube has been pushing a ton of server-side changes to users. In just the span of a few weeks, the comments section has been tweaked, the bottom nav bar test returned, and expanded replies were improved upon. The video-sharing service isn't stopping there; today, it seems that YouTube has begun displaying to a few users little snapshots of the video you're watching when you seek through it.

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YouTube Live gets improvements to latency, chat moderation, and iOS streaming

It's been a busy time for YouTube recently, with the launch of a more material desktop version and a new logo, which also made its way to the Android app. A lot of that was superficial, of course, and the site still functions in pretty much the same way. An increasingly popular feature is live streaming, and Google has just announced some improvements designed to make YouTube Live "faster, easier and more accessible."

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Galaxy Note8 should be compatible with Daydream from Day 1

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ took their sweet time to get a software update that would enable Daydream compatibility, but it appears that won't be the case for Samsung's latest and hottest flagship, the Note8.

According to a Samsung spokesperson who talked to NieuweMobiel, Daydream support will be enabled out of the box for the Note8 so you won't have to wait months for any software update to let you slip that shiny phone into your Daydream headset and turn it into a window for VR content... and probably be one of the test subjects for the new Note's capacity to not burst into flames when overheated.

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[Deal Alert] eero Pro 2nd generation down 10-12% in various packs (3-pack for $439.99)

WiFi routers are seeing a complete renaissance the last couple of years thanks to mesh networks, and eero was one of the first to spearhead this movement. This June, eero released the 2nd generation of its routers and these are the ones being discounted now.

The 3-router pack is the most discounted, dropping from $499 to $439.99. The router + 2 beacons pack is down from $399 to $356. And finally the router + 1 beacon pack is down from $299 to $267.99. The discounts may not be huge, but for a super recent product that has never dipped in price, this 10-12% off is a good deal especially if you were already considering getting a mesh system.

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Super cool Inside Music experiment from Google and Song Exploder lets you visualize the layers of songs

I love music but I was definitely not blessed with a musical ear that's able to peel away layers and guess notes from one listen — a conclusion that took an excruciating 7 years of piano and keyboards lessons to get to. However, I am always trying to bring out the engineering mind inside me to figure out the exact way a song is built. That's why I'm fascinated by Google's latest experiment, Inside Music.

Using WebVR and in collaboration with popular Radiotopia podcast Song Exploder, Google has made a site where you can visualize the layers of 6 different songs in 360deg.

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Verified WhatsApp business accounts are now official

To US readers, WhatsApp may not seem like much of a big deal. Things are different elsewhere, however, and with more than 1 billion daily active users it's easy to understand why Facebook paid so much money to acquire the messaging service. After a number of rumors and clues, business accounts similar to what you can already find in the Facebook Messenger app are now coming to WhatsApp.

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Google's Street View cameras are getting an upgrade

Eight years ago, Circuit City closed its remaining stores, Michael Jackson died, and Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States. Eight years ago was also the last time Google's Street View cameras got a major upgrade. According to Wired, the company has started rolling out updated cameras to its fleet of picture-snapping cars.

The new rig now features just seven cameras, down from the 15 mounted on the old version. Each camera has a 20MP sensor, and two 'cans' on the front and back for laser radar. All these upgrades will make for higher-resolution pictures with enhanced image clarity.

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[Update: Frank team responds] "Frank." isn’t just a phone, it’s a phony

The Android enthusiast community has always been hungry for phones that offer a flagship experience at a low cost. That's why people still mourn Google's Nexus program a year later, despite numerous hardware problems over the years (I should know, my 5 and 5X both died unexpectedly after about a year). And despite OnePlus' many misfires over the years, the company's phones are still praised.

Two entrepreneurs from Canada have been working on the "Frank." phone (which I will refer to as simply 'Frank'). The team's pitch is simple - companies charge far too much for smartphones. I'm sure many of you will agree with that - the $1000 starting price of the Note8 is insane.

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