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Asus ZenFone Zoom Now Available In The States Exclusively From B&H

Asus announced the ZenFone Zoom over a year ago, but despite how long the phone has taken to arrive stateside (after having long ago launched in other parts of the world), the phone is still a unique piece of hardware. Optical zoom is a rare thing to find in a smartphone camera, as is the dedicated camera button.

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Google Play Music's Podcasts Interface And Functionality Is Live For Some Users

We've known since last October that Google Play Music was getting ready to welcome podcasts into its fold of audio entertainment, but yesterday Sportscaster Bill Simmons broke the news that the feature was going live this month. It turns out that the option is already active for a few Android users through the weird magic of server-side A/B testing.

Our own Cody had already gone through a mini teardown of version 6.3 of Google Play Music that was released last week, and found lots of hints that podcast support was being thoroughly implemented. It seems that the feature was almost ready by then and the switch has been flipped for a few users who have started seeing a Podcasts icon in their app's side menu.

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Unannounced Alcatel Idol 4 And 4S Leak In [Lots Of] Detail On Support Site Ahead Of Launch

It looks like Alcatel's MWC launch plans have been spoiled a bit, based on a couple of leaked support pages on the company's website just tipped to us. The Idol 4 and 4S follow up the rather nice Alcatel Idol 3 with beefed-up specifications all around. Though we don't have much in the way of visuals, we do have a lot of information.

idol4

The Idol 4 and 4S will have 5.2 and 5.5" screens, respectively, with the 4S clearly being the up-market device of the two. It has a brand-new Snapdragon 652 octacore processor, Quad HD Super AMOLED display, 3000mAh battery, and 16MP camera with dual-tone flash and something called an "8MP slow motion sub-camera" - whatever that means (maybe it's referring to front-facing).

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Amazon Now Local Shopping Deliveries For Bangalore, India Gets A Dedicated Android App

Amazon has been rolling out Amazon Prime Now, its local service for delivering goods from nearby retailers in hours instead of days, in a few cities in the US. In India there is no Amazon Prime, so the same service is simply referred to as Amazon Now. (Not to be confused with Google Now, which doesn't have anything to do with shopping.) There was already a dedicated app for the American version, but now the Indian model gets one too.

Unfortunately Amazon Now suffers from the same drawback as all local delivery services: a limited services area. It's currently only available in Bangalore, and even there, only in specific PIN codes (the Indian equivalent of zip codes).

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Sportscaster Bill Simmons May Have Just Leaked Play Music Podcast Launch For Later This Month [Update: Tweet Deleted]

Google announced podcasts were coming to Play Music back in October, but you've probably noticed they still aren't here. That brings us to popular Sportscaster Bill Simmons, who just tweeted that his "BS Podcast" will be on Play Music Podcasts... when it launches later this month.

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NVIDIA Has Halted The Android 6.0 Update For The SHIELD Tablet Because It Might Break Your WiFi

NVIDIA started rolling the Android 6.0 update out to its original SHIELD Tablet yesterday after getting the K1 variant on Marshmallow a few weeks ago. Things haven't been going awesomely for early upgraders, though. NVIDIA has pulled the SHIELD update while it investigates an issue that can break WiFi connectivity on the tablet.

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Google OnHub App Update Finally Allows Device Renaming And Opens Up Guest Wi-Fi

When Ryan reviewed the Google OnHub back in September of last year, one of his major complaints about the router's usage was the inability to rename devices, which created a messed up soup of unnamed and/or vaguely named devices in your list of connected hardware. That's about to change with the new update to Google On, the OnHub's companion Android app, which adds the ability to give custom names to all of your devices so you can tell which Samsung phone is which and what that no-name computer is.

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[Update: Xiaomi Statement] Xiaomi Devices Sold By No-Name US Carrier Are Not "Legit," Sales Likely Not Condoned By Xiaomi

An article on PC Mag published earlier today claims that US Mobile is the "first legit" Xiaomi and Meizu carrier in America. This is, frankly, misleading. To clarify immediately: some US T-Mobile MVNO that no one has heard of is working with an electronics distributor in Hong Kong to sell gray market Xiaomi and Meizu devices on its online store, and they don't even support US LTE bands.

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Google Parent Company Alphabet Is, For The Moment, The Most Valuable Company On Earth

Google stopped being the Google we all knew last year when it formed a new umbrella parent company called Alphabet. Now, following the first quarterly earnings call for Alphabet, the company's market capitalization (a measure of value based on the price of outstanding shares) has topped that of Apple. That means by one measure, Alphabet is the most valuable company on the planet.

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Report: Nexus Program May Push For Greater Control Of Hardware, Nexus 5X And 6P Not Meeting Sales Goals

A rather lengthy report on The Information was published this morning about the state of Google's Nexus program, and if I had to put it in one word, the state of Nexus seems to be "fluctuating." While there's a lot to chew through here, there are a few talking points worth pulling out specifically to digest and analyze, so let's dive in.

  • Google will take more control over Nexus device development and branding in the future. Maybe.

What does this actually mean? It really is impossible to know. The Information carefully clads these statements in a lot of "ifs," "mays," and "coulds." Google clearly already does nearly all of the aesthetic design on Nexus devices and likely many major feature or hardware decisions - neither the Nexus 5X nor the 6P look anything like what LG or Huawei currently produce.

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