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Feeling flat, musicians? Google Home can play you a key - just ask it (update: it's really broken)

Here's a Google Home trick we haven't seen really publicized: the Assistant in Home can play you a six-note scale in any key. (Note: This does not seem to work on the Pixel Assistant. Sigh. Correction: See update, this is just really broken in general, unfortunately.) Just tell Home to play you any key - for example, "play me a B sharp" - and the Assistant will respond with an ascending six-note scale. Neat.

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Sprint is offering up to $325 in account credits if you activate a Pixel, but you might have to ask nicely

The Pixel is kind of, sort of exclusive to Verizon. Actually, Verizon is the only carrier that can sell the phone directly, but Google sells them online as well. Then there's T-Mobile which offers account credits if you activate a Pixel, and now Sprint is doing the same. However, it's not advertising the promo, and you might have to ask nicely in order to get it.

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These are all the apps and services that will work with Google Home [Continuously Updated]

Google first talked about Google Home back at I/O, but the device became official at the recent October hardware event. The speakers didn't go into detail on all the apps and services that Home would work with, preferring instead to focus on a few specific demos. Now, Google has published a list of everything that works with Home, and we expect this will grow over time.

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AT&T's ZTE ZMAX 2 gets its Marshmallow over-the-air update

We're in that awkward phase of the Android upgrade cycle, when customers want nothing more than the latest release of the OS on their phones... but manufacturers and carriers are still slowly, slowly making their way through the backlog of updates from over a year ago. So it is with the ZMAX 2, a big-screen budget ZTE phone offered on AT&T starting in September of 2015. Today AT&T is sending out the Marshmallow update that probably should have come at least a year ago. Hey, don't knock it - a lot of budget phones don't ever get upgraded at all.

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Google, please kill the horrible ongoing casting notification for all devices on the network

If there's one Google complaint we've received regularly recently, it's in regard to the new casting control notification which started appearing on devices as part of a Play Services update in early November. Namely, the problem is that the notification goes to every Android device on your network. It's a well-intentioned feature, but one which results in a horrible user experience for a number of reasons. Specifically:

  1. People are naturally inclined to dismiss notifications they don't recognize or want (something I'm sure Google agrees with!)
  2. People tend to accidentally hit buttons
  3. People are jerks

Number one: Listen, just because you gave Uncle Steve the Wi-Fi password so he doesn't use up all of his gee-bees during his holiday visit this year doesn't mean you were also interested in giving him authority over your casting controls that he does not understand.

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[Deal Alert] Get an AT&T unlocked LG V10 for $259 ($470 off) at DailySteals

The LG V10 is a bit over a year old now, but it's still a more than capable phone that probably never got the attention it deserved. More important, you'll have a hard time finding many better phones for $259, its current sale price at DailySteals.

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Some Nexus 6Ps have developed a battery early shutoff problem, and it's becoming a safety issue

A number of Nexus 6P owners have reported an alarming battery problem with their phones as of Android 7.0 being released for the handset, which causes the phone to power down when the battery gauge still shows anywhere from 10 to 60% battery remaining. How widespread the issue is at this point isn't clear, but the main thread on the Google issue tracker has 229 stars. There are also a significant number of threads describing the problem on Google's Product Forums (see: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

Owners have linked it to Android 7.0, but even those who have attempted flashing back to Marshmallow report the problem still occurs, though generally at lower indicated remaining battery percentages than on Nougat.

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The Google Pixel appears to have a widespread speaker issue, but a software fix could address it

We've received a number of tips about this one, and it's definitely a bit annoying: the Google Pixel appears prone to producing harsh clipping or distorted sound through its speaker when playing certain audio at maximum volume. This trailer of The Mummy demoes the problem well - the first clip you'll hear is around 10 to 11 seconds in, and the issues continue thereafter. The problem appears to be widespread and currently is part of a post on r/android with nearly 1800 upvotes, as well as a long thread on the Google Product Forums. The issue does not seem to affect all Pixel handsets - some do not produce the distorted sound even at maximum volume, and there does not seem to be any consistency in terms of Pixel versus Pixel XL handsets being affected.

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[Deal Alert] The Nextbit Robin is $145 on Amazon ($105 off)

Well, here we are with another deal for you. Amazon has the Nextbit Robin for $145, which is a savings of $105 off the MSRP. If you want to get technical, it's only $35 off the price we have seen more recently for the device. Regardless, it's on a good sale.

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LG announces the G Pad III 10.1 FHD LTE tablet for the Korean market

Don't tell LG that Android tablets are dying: they're still working on a few. The latest is the G Pad III 10.1 FHD LTE. If you can't parse that mouthful of a product name, it's a 10.1-inch tablet with a full HD screen and a built-in LTE connection. Stop me if I'm going too fast for you here. Actually, since most 10-inch Android tablets use a 16:10 aspect ratio, this one has a 1920x1200 resolution. That's like "full HD" with a side of extra delicious pixels.

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