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Hyundai announces support for Google Home control of cars via Blue Link

Hyundai has been pretty quick to take advantage of Google features over the years. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata was the first car with Android Auto at launch, for example. At CES 2017, the company has announced that users of Hyundai's Blue Link service can now use Google Home to issue commands to their cars.

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Lenovo announces new Smart Assistant speaker with Amazon Alexa

The Amazon Echo and its integrated assistant Alexa have seen a lot of success and popularity over the past year, and now more companies have been tempted to build their own iterations of the product. Some, like Lenovo, have decided to nearly copy the entire idea, from the form factor to the Alexa integration. The result is the Lenovo Smart Assistant Speaker.

It's a cylindrical tower, much like the Echo, with a speaker grille at the bottom and what seems to be a rising control panel with volume and trigger buttons and an array of 8 360-deg far-field microphones with noise suppression that can pick up voices from up to 5m away.

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Samsung unveils its second-generation smart refrigerators, bringing new app partners and enhanced features

It looks like Samsung is still pushing the smart fridge thing. The electronics giant has introduced its newest Family Hub 2.0 connected refrigerators, bringing the number of models to ten. With the new version of the software, Samsung is bringing on new app partners and better integration. "A full range" of Samsung's popular 3- and 4-door French Door models will be supported, which obviously means more choices for consumers.

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Qualcomm accidentally reveals the Asus ZenFone AR, the newest Tango phone

This is definitely an "Oops" moment for Qualcomm. The chipset manufacturer accidentally leaked/revealed the newest Asus device ahead of the CES announcement. While new devices are sometimes worth getting excited about, this one is actually special: the ZenFone AR, as it is named, will be the second phone with Tango built in. Qualcomm noted in its now removed blog post that the ZenFone AR will use the Snapdragon 821 SoC and that the new phone would also be Daydream-ready. Of course, this would be the first device to run both of Google's augmented and virtual reality platforms. 

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Samsung announces new Galaxy A 2017 series, now with certified water resistance

Samsung is starting off the new year with a bang, namely with several new phone releases. This time it's the mid-range Galaxy A 2017 series, with the A3, the A5, and the A7. All three phones seem reasonably similar, using aluminum construction and glass backs, with features such as fingerprint scanners, IP68 water resistance, Micro SD card slots, and Samsung Pay present.

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[Deal Alert] ZTE Axon 7 Mini only $199 ($100 off) at Newegg and Best Buy

The ZTE Axon 7 Mini, as the name might imply, is a slightly-smaller version of ZTE's Axon 7 with downgraded specifications. The phone has a Snapdragon 617 CPU, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage with microSD expansion (if the second SIM tray isn't being used), and a 2,705mAh non-removable battery. Now you can grab it for just $199.99, $100 off the normal MSRP.

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Gboard (formerly Google Keyboard) hits 500 million installs in the Play Store

There are many, many keyboard apps in the Play Store, but Google Keyboard has long been my go-to option. With the Gboard re-branding, Google added a few long-awaited features like multiple active languages and integrated search. That was enough to push it over the 500 million download threshold, joining apps like Photos, Dropbox, and Super-Bright LED Flashlight.

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The previously announced Google Play billing for Drive storage is already live for some

Google announced a couple weeks ago that billing for Google Drive would move over to the Play Store subscription system. At the time it said this would happen sometime in January, but it looks like it's already live for some people. Time to check your Google Play account page.

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[Update] After Cyanogen collapse, Wileyfox is working on its own software updates for Nougat

Wileyfox is a tiny phone manufacturer based in Britain that focuses on solid budget and mid-range designs, with low profit margins partially enabled thanks to a partnership with Cyanogen Inc. for the phones' Android software. That partnership doesn't seem to be long for this world, after it was announced that Cyanogen is more or less shutting down its full Android development team. That leaves Wileyfox customers (among many others) in something of a lurch. According to a few Reddit posts, the company is actively looking into alternatives.

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The OnePlus 3 and 3T receive OxygenOS 4.0 (Nougat) today

I would like to take this opportunity to say that I was wrong. When I received nothing but another beta build a few days ago on my OnePlus 3, I was highly skeptical about OnePlus making its goal of getting Nougat out on the stable channel for its flagship devices by the end of 2016. Well, here we are in the final hours of the year and the notorious manufacturer has come through. Both the OnePlus 3 and 3T are receiving OxygenOS 4.0, i.e. Nougat, via a staged rollout starting today.

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