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[Update: HTC Alexa app released for the U11, enables hands free or Edge Sense activation] HTC U11 Edge Sense now updated to include Alexa integration, but it's not working yet

The HTC U11 is a pretty good phone, but it has one particularly divisive feature: Edge Sense. Squeezing the frame of the device can activate various software features, most notably a personal assistant (a feature the next generation Pixel XL is apparently set to borrow). When it was announced by HTC, the U11 was supposed to have a choice of three assistants, including the company's own HTC Companion, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa. The last of those didn't make it in time for launch, but it appears to be included in the latest update to Edge Sense.

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Amazon surveys customers about 'Anytime' messaging service

There is no shortage of messaging services in the world today. WhatsApp, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Allo, Hangouts - the list goes on and on. But it looks like Amazon could be preparing their own messaging service, called 'Anytime by Amazon.'

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Duo passes 100 million installs on the Google Play Store

Ever since Allo and Duo launched, Duo has seemed like the more 'complete' app. Whereas Allo is still missing critical functionality (like a desktop client/web app) nearly a year later, Duo has been a pretty solid product since day one. And now it has passed a major milestone, with the Play Store reporting that it has over 100 million installations.

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Google Feed now displays Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) links

Back in February of last year, Google unveiled Accelerated Mobile Pages - or AMP, for short. In a nutshell, sites can choose to generate AMP versions of their pages (with an automated tool or site plugin), which load extremely quick compared to normal sites. This is due to various restrictions, compression on the included images/video, and caching by Google's own servers.

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[Update: Live for everyone] You can disable all network media notifications for Chromecasts and Google Homes

The addition of Chromecast network notifications probably seemed like a good idea at the time. They allow you to control media even if you aren't the one who started playback. However, you see those notifications on your device even if you're not watching or listening to the content, and you can end up with multiple cast notifications on a busy network. Google is finally making these notifications optional with a toggle that turns off all the network notifications for your Chromecast or Google Home.

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Google is testing a translucent Google Feed page on the Pixel Launcher

Google has been tweaking the Google Feed (previously known as Google Now) page quite a bit recently. They started rolling out a dual-tabbed interface in December, but seemingly stopped shortly after. Last month, a new transparent Google Now pane appeared for one user, and now a modified version has showed up.

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TWRP released for Snapdragon Galaxy S8/S8+, but not the US models

Despite all having the name "Samsung Galaxy S8," there are in fact several different variants of Samsung's flagship phone. But all the S8 devices worldwide have one of two processors - the Qualcomm 835, or the Exynos 8895. TWRP for the Exynos models arrived in April, but now it's time for the Snapdragon variants.

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Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra arrives in the US for $399

Back in February, Sony announced a pair of "super mid-range" phones - the XA1 and XA1 Ultra. Both phones are powered by a MediaTek Helio P20 processor and have a nearly-identical design. The XA1 arrived in the United States in May, costing $299. Now the XA1 Ultra has arrived stateside for a hundred dollars more.

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Infinite Protection: Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ case review roundup (continuously updated)


Every new phone deserves to be protected, especially when you have an all-glass Samsung S8/S8+. I owned the much more fragile S7 Edge with its steeper curved display. There wasn’t a day where I wouldn’t have the phone in a case unless I was briefly taking it out for a cleaning. Since Samsung opted for an elegant, unique design with the S8, the display is costly to replace. I haven’t seen the official cost to repair the phone's display yet; although I’d imagine it’s more than the $250 for the S7 Edge. No case will guarantee 100% protection for your phone, but it will provide significantly more protection than no case at all.

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Businesses can now chat with customers through Allo or SMS

Google allows businesses to register themselves through Google My Business, where they can adjust the information that appears on their Google search/Google Maps listings. They can add a phone number, change opening hours, respond to reviews, and so on. A new feature is rolling out in the My Business dashboard that allows customers to directly message companies via SMS.

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