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Andy Rubin says Essential Phone will be available 'in a few weeks'

Smartphone startup Essential is headed by Android founder Andy Rubin, but that doesn't mean it's immune from delays. After promising to launch the Essential Phone in June, the company missed the deadline with nary a word. Rubin has now relayed a message to those who registered to buy the phone, informing them it'll just be a few more weeks.

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[Deal Alert] Best Buy has Verizon Galaxy S8 for $17.50/month ($420) and S8+ for $21.50/month ($516)

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are getting extremely cheap for what it is, especially considering they're only about three months old. We're not entirely sure why, but hey, we're not going to complain about it. The latest deal is for the Verizon models at Best Buy, where you can pick the S8 up for just $17.50 a month ($420 total) or the S8+ for just $21.50 a month ($516 total).

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Google Search upgrades its dictionary card with a separate search box, autocomplete, and history

No matter what crazy projects Google works on, Search is still the company's bread and butter. Over the years, it's continued to build up the good old Google Search page with small but useful improvements. The latest of these is a change to the way its built-in dictionary operates, separating it out from the main search function.

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[Update: It's now live in all 10 locations] YouTube TV will be expanding to 10 more markets soon

When YouTube TV was announced a few months ago, it was off to a slow start and limited to a few markets. Our very own Ryan had to do some tomfoolery to get it to work in his hometown so he could write up his thoughts. In the beginning, this initiative was available only to customers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. But as part of a slew of new announcements, YouTube has stated that the live TV service is expanding to ten more markets.

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Actions on Google will soon support British English

In a bid to make its Assistant more powerful, Actions on Google was launched in the US late last year. The service allows third-party developers to build their own voice actions for the Assistant, integrating it with their own apps. To encourage development, Google introduced a competition with cash prizes to anyone making compelling actions. Until now the service has only supported US English, but after support for more languages was previously promised, it seems the UK will be next to see Actions rolled out.

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Fail: Android Wear 2.0's Russian and Hungarian keyboards are missing letters, but a fix is coming soon

Something that Android Wear 1.x was sorely missing was support for on-screen keyboards. It just isn't ideal in some circumstances to have to talk to your watch. Naturally, one of the features people got most excited for in Wear 2.0 was the ability to type using a keyboard. However, it appears that some languages' keyboards have some missing characters.

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YouTube's Video Editor and photo slideshows are being discontinued on September 20th

YouTube has been the biggest video-sharing site out there for many years, but that doesn't mean that everything about it is good. Two of those not-so-good things include the Video Editor and photo slideshows, which are both sparingly used. For that reason, YouTube is discontinuing the use of these two features after September 20th, 2017.

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Alexa is finally rolling out to Amazon's Android app, starting this week

Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant is best known for being on its Echo line of speakers, but it's available on both iOS and Android. There's a dedicated Alexa app on both of those operating systems, but only iOS has Alexa built into the main Amazon app. However, that's changing very soon.

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Level 6+ Local Guides can apply to preview new Google Maps features before they go public

Google's Local Guides program for Google Maps has proven to be quite successful, with tons of people offering additional feedback and providing photos about various destinations. Part of this is due to the rewards that Google gives to Local Guides; for instance, Google is currently offering me three months of free Play Music and 75% off a movie rental. The latest reward is kind of a double whammy for Google - an opportunity to preview new Google Maps features before the public does.

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Google creates coffee making sim to test VR learning

Most VR experiences so far have been games and 360-degree videos, but Google is exploring the idea that VR can be a way to learn real life skills. The skill it chose to use as a test of this hypothesis is making coffee. So of course, it created a coffee making simulator in VR. The result was surprisingly supportive of VR learning.

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