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Volkswagen plans to integrate Amazon Alexa with its vehicles

Just yesterday Ford announced that it was planning to bring Alexa support to its cars in the coming months, and now a second auto maker is apparently on-board. Amazon says that Volkswagen has decided to build Alexa into its vehicles and launch a new Alexa skill. There's no information about a timeline or supported models, but it's happening.

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[Deal Alert] Grab a 64GB Moto X Pure Edition from Best Buy for $250 ($150 off)

Even in the midst of CES, there are still deals to be found. This one is from Best Buy, which has the unlocked 64GB Moto X Pure Edition on sale for $249.99. That is a respectable savings of $150 for a decent phone by today's standards. Even though it may not run circles around the best of yesteryear, this is still a good deal.

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Google acquires Limes Audio to create "the best online voice quality on the market"

Google today announced that it has acquired Limes Audio, a Swedish sound company specializing in acoustic echo cancellation and speech enhancement. The move reaffirms Google's intentions to continue improving sound and call quality across its suite of products, particularly in Google Hangouts.

Poor internet connections or noisy environments like coffee shops can have a significantly adverse effect on the audio quality in an online chat, making it hard to understand the person on the other end. Hardware solutions like noise cancelling microphones are designed to filter out ambient noise and today come standard in most mid- to high-end phones, but they do little to reduce echos — and do nothing to address connectivity issues.

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Sony's CES announcements include new sound bars, TVs, and headphones

Sony is, of course, at CES 2017 in Las Vegas. As you'd expect it has a great many new products, ranging from new TVs to new Blu-Ray players. However, in our opinion, what is most exciting in Sony's announcements are the Chromecast built-in (or is that Google Cast?) products and the newly-unveiled Android TVs, plus some new headphones.

Sound bars and speakers

First up is a new sound bar, the catchily named HT-ST5000. This is Sony's flagship sound bar for 2017, so it has all the top-of-the-line features, such as Dolby Atmos, hi-res audio, and twelve advanced speakers. Sony says the HT-ST5000 is for home theater setups, and proves that with the number or ports and connectivity options: three HDMI ports, one HDMI ARC port, a USB input, Bluetooth and NFC, and a number of digital and analog connections.

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Google Calendar goals now have Google Fit integration [APK Download]

For a while now, Google Calendar has let you add goals so you can keep track of your efforts at self-improvement. One of the most popular uses (especially this time of year) is exercise goals. In the latest version of Calendar, you can plug in Google Fit to automatically complete your goals.

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Android 7.1.1 image and OTA files finally available for the Nexus 6

Google's shiny new Pixel phones and the slightly older Nexus 5X and 6P, and the Pixel C tablet have had access to the latest and most tasty flavor of Nougat for a month now, but the Nexus 6 (from 2014, if we're keeping score) has been puttering along on the more outdated 7.0 build. As promised, the 7.1.1 update is now available for Nexus 6 owners in both full system image and over-the-air update form - though of course, it may be a while before you see the actual OTA roll out to your phone.

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Polaroid shows off 4K TVs with built-in Chromecast at CES

Believe it or not, Polaroid does still exist. The company is no longer the entity it once was, living on now as a shell to license the brand and forge hardware partnerships. Still, Polaroid has something new at CES you might find interesting; a new line of 4K TVs with Google Chromecast built-in. They start at just $499.

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Big 5.9" Huawei Mate 9 now available in the US for $599.99 with Amazon Alexa on board

The Huawei Mate 9 was announced in November and set to launch in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, with no sign of US availability. Now at CES, the company has announced that it's bringing the giant phone across the Atlantic (or Pacific, depending on which way you're traveling) and making it available for purchase immediately.

The Mate 9 is a large phone with a 5.9" 1080p IPS LCD and a massive 4000mAh battery that should easily last 2 days and charge quickly with "SuperCharge technology." It packs Huawei's new Kirin 960 processor, with ARM Cortex-A73/A53 Octa-core CPU and Mali G71 GPU, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and Huawei's now signature collaboration with Leica in the camera department: on the back, the Mate 9 has a dual-lens camera with a 12MP RGB sensor and a 20MP monochrome sensor.

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[Update: Now rolling out] Verizon: Just kidding, we will brick your Note7 after all, just not until January 5th

After a lot of huffing and puffing about consumer safety, it seems Verizon has now decided it will brick your Galaxy Note7 after all. Just not until January 5th. Originally, Verizon had rebuffed a statement issued by Samsung saying it would begin sending out an OTA to prevent Galaxy Note7s from charging on December 19th. It turns out, at least apparently, Verizon was most miffed by the date, not the actual prospect of disabling customer devices.

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[Deal Alert] Nextbit Robin on sale for $139 on Amazon with Prime shipping

The Nextbit Robin came out a little over a year ago, and it was a pretty good phone. It's actually amazing when you consider Nextbit had never made a phone before. It's also an undeniably funky device, so good on them for that. The price has been coming down as it gets older, and now the Robin has reached an all-time low price on Amazon—just $139 with Prime shipping.

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