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Direct carrier billing starts going live for Airtel and Vodafone postpaid customers in India

Users in India have a couple of options when purchasing content from Google Play: credit or debit cards, gift cards, the newly added Netbanking payment method, and direct carrier billing on Idea. But more alternatives are on the way for customers of Airtel and Vodafone.

The news was actually announced in October at the Google Playtime event in India and was tweeted by attendees at the presentation. Over the past couple of weeks, users have started seeing the option pop up in their payment methods on the Play Store. We've received reports of both Airtel and Vodafone (postpaid) showing up, though the authorization SMS doesn't seem to be working just yet according to our tipsters.

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[Deal Alert] Sprint's LG V20 is 50% off ($16.50 per month) through the end of the year

Sprint can't seem to figure out what the deal is with those new jobs it announced, but it knows it would very much like you to buy a new LG V20. This device has been discounted a whopping 50%, but you need to sign up or upgrade your Sprint line by the end of 2016 to get the deal.

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Amazon adds limited context functionality to Alexa, but it's still no match for Google

Amazon hopped on the voice assistant train a few years ago with the Echo, and has since added its Alexa platform to a myriad of products. While Alexa is great at things like controlling smart home devices, its ability to answer multiple queries is not so great. It appears to be getting better, though. Amazon has added some limited contextual awareness to Alexa.

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T-Mobile ZTE ZMAX gets November security updates... but it still runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat

I'm honestly conflicted. When I spotted this new software on T-Mobile's support pages, I had to do a double take. How come a phone that's still stuck on Android 4.4.2 KitKat is getting the November 2016 security updates? It's ridiculous and awesome to a point that I just couldn't pass up the news.

The ZTE ZMAX was announced and released in September of 2014 on T-Mobile. It had midrange specs with a 5.7" 720 display, Snapdragon 400, 8MP back camera and 1MP on the front. The major selling point was the 3400mAh battery and the $252 price point. At the time of release, it ran Android 4.4 KitKat and it has managed to stick to that version for two years, no version bumps whatsoever for ZMAX owners.

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[Update: Down to just singles] Google Wifi single and 3-packs are back in stock at Best Buy

If you've been shopping for a Google Wifi (or three) lately, it's hard not to notice that all of the direct sales avenues have either been sold out or priced so far above MSRP that you'd think they were scalping playoff tickets. Fortunately, this drought couldn't last forever – Best Buy currently has both single and 3-packs of the mesh wireless router available at regular prices with fast shipping or in-store pickup.

The 3-packs are gone

Holy cow, that didn't last long. About an hour after this post went live, Best Buy ran out of 3-packs.

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Samsung Gear S3 review: A good smartwatch, but probably not enough to win over smartwatch skeptics

Let's get this out of the way first: smartwatches have not been the big sellers that many technology firms were hoping they would be. Android Wear is stumbling, and even Apple is having trouble convincing its rabid fans to pony up $300 to $1000 on a wearable device. Samsung has taken a long and winding road through the land of wearables, having released an Android-powered smartwatch before Android Wear existed, then adopting Android Wear ever so briefly, then diving into its own Tizen-powered watch ecosystem.

That's where we are now—Samsung is making its own smartwatches running Tizen, but unlike earlier devices, the Gear S3 works on all Android devices.

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The OnePlus 3 receives Open Beta 10, featuring mostly optimizations

December, and 2016 with it, is winding down. In a few days, a lot of us will be celebrating the coming of the New Year. If you will recall for a moment, OnePlus said that its third flagship would receive stable Nougat by year's end. While the Chinese OEM followed through on its promise to get Nougat out in beta form by the end of November, time is running quite short. Instead of the official jump to Android 7.0, we have another release of the Open Beta (which is on Nougat, of course).

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[Leica Boss] Huawei has shipped more than 10 Million P9 and P9 Plus units globally

The end of the year seems to be the best time for companies to reflect on their performances and pat themselves on the back for a job well done. Last year for example, LG was happy to have sold 450,000 LG V10 units in 45 days despite a release in a few limited markets. This year, it's Huawei's turn to puff its feathers and flaunt its numbers in front of everyone: the P9 and P9 Plus have shipped over 10M units worldwide. Hooray!

The P9 and P9 Plus were announced back in April and hailed as Huawei's flagship phones and some of the best hardware the company could put together.

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Renders of the LG G6 appear, no Friends modules to be found

2017 is right around the corner (thank goodness), and that means new flagship phones. Courtesy of OnLeaks and Gear India, renders derived from CAD data of the LG G6 have been released, showing a black, rectangular, slab-like object.

 

I joke, but in all seriousness, this is a departure from the ill-fated and generally badly reviewed LG G5 and its modular concept. On the renders, we can see volume buttons, a rear-facing fingerprint scanner that doubles as a power button, dual cameras and flash on the back, bottom-firing speakers, a USB-C port, a headphone jack on the top of the phone, and what looks like a glossy, possibly glass, back, although other renders dispute this.

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Lost Journey becomes the first ever $0.01 Play Store sale (probably by accident) [Update: More]

Google is having a sale in the Play Store right now, and a lot of developers have their apps and games featured in it. One game in particular has the distinction of being really, really cheap. Lost Journey is literally as cheap as it can be without being free. It's $0.01 right now—yes, just a penny. This is probably a mistake.

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