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[Compress this!] Google issues a machine learning challenge to build a better JPEG

When you navigate to a website on your expensive new Android device, or try to view an image that someone has sent you on your gorgeous Super AMOLED Quad HD display, the last thing you want is to find yourself standing there, waiting for a progress bar to crawl across the screen, or to squint angrily at the spinning loading icon as it sputters.

(Did you know that the loading icon is called a “throbber”? I just found out, and I’m now stuck on the idea of a “sputtering throbber.” That’s neither here nor there.)

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HTC U11 EYEs to have 6.0" 1080p LCD, 3,930 mAh battery, Android Nougat, and more

HTC already has two phones aside from the standard U11 under the same branding, the U11+ and U11 life, but it looks like a third variant may be about to join them. The interestingly-named U11 EYEs actually seems like it could be a pretty nice smartphone, judging from the specifications and photos leaked by famed leakster @evleaks - that is, aside from its inclusion of Android Nougat.

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Alleged Galaxy S9 box reveals 'Super Speed' camera with variable apertures, 'Super Slow-mo,' and AKG-tuned stereo speakers

With Samsung slated to unveil the Galaxy S9-series of phones next month, it's actually a bit surprising how few leaks there have been. That might be about to change, though, with a photo of an alleged retail box for the Galaxy S9 having been posted on reddit. It reveals a decent amount of information, including a 'Super Speed' camera with an aperture of f/1.5, 'Super Slow-mo,' and stereo speakers that have been tuned by AKG.

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Amazon is streaming 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' for free from now until Monday night

Like Netflix, Amazon has taken to creating more than a few original series, the most famous of which include The Grand TourMozart in the Jungle, and The Man in the High Castle. One of the newest shows coming out of Amazon Studios is The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which was released just over two months ago but has already won two Golden Globe Awards. To celebrate this, Amazon is making the show free to watch for several days, starting right now. It's too bad it's not watchable via Android TV.

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Microsoft partners with Signal to bring end-to-end encryption to Skype

The Signal protocol—which powers the Edward Snowden-approved Signal Private Messenger—is being used to bring end-to-end encryption in Skype. The new "Private Conversations" feature is available to Skype Insiders running version 8.13.76.8, and is planned for a full rollout later this year. Naturally, both parties in a conversation must be running a supported Skype version for the feature to be usable.

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Duo calls can now be made with some users that don't have it installed, Allo chats also improved

Google recently began rolling out a slightly updated look to the contact list on the Duo video calling app. Alongside this fun rearrangement of pixels, there was also a very real, very significant change made: You can now call people that haven't installed or registered with Duo in the past. It works almost exactly like a normal Duo call, including the Knock-Knock feature.

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Magisk updated with fingerprint security option for root requests

Magisk is probably one of the most well-known and widely used root solutions these days, made famous for its root-detection mitigation strategies. Now both Magisk and the accompanying Magisk Manager have been updated to v15.3 and v5.4.4, respectively, this time bringing the convenience of fingerprint authorization to the dialog which grants root access. 

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[Update: Explanation] OnePlus 3T beta accidentally shipped with HydrogenOS China-only clipboard feature, fix on the way

An intrepid user on the OnePlus forums, v1nc, noticed a suspicious new system app "com.oneplus.clipboard" attempting to access the network after upgrading to a beta release of Oreo with the December 1st security update. Suspiciously, the IP address led to a block owned by Chinese conglomerate Alibaba. Android Police reached out to OnePlus, which confirmed that this was present in the beta.

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InBrief
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Hangouts Meet's dial-in feature now works in nine additional European countries

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SMS Backup+ sees first update in two years, new beta leaves Holo design behind

SMS Backup+ was a popular app back in the day, and for many, it's still indispensable. For the unfamiliar, it's an open source app that allows you to backup your SMS and MMS messages into a simple and intuitive conversation view in Gmail, so not only are they automatically stored elsewhere, you can quickly and easily sort through them.

Up until recently, the app looked a bit dated, with a decidedly Holo-esque aesthetic and no updates since 2015, but a new beta version (1.5.11-beta8) was just released with some UI modernization and other improvements. 

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