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Google Assistant male voice (Voice II) is now live on phones and Google Home

Since its launch last year, the embodiment of Google Assistant has been a somewhat robotic female voice. Starting now, you have your choice of that voice or a similarly robotic male voice. Google's creative name for this one is "Voice II."

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31 new and notable Android games from the last week (9/27/17 - 10/3/17)

Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android games that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous week or so.

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Firebase is launching Cloud Firestore, a new document database featuring realtime sync, no-hassle scaling, and offline support

Ever since Google acquired Firebase in 2014, it has grown to be a formidable platform for mobile and web app developers. Earlier this year, Google used its I/O 2017 app to feature some of the advantages provided by the Firebase Realtime Database and Cloud Functions for Firebase. Now Firebase is launching a new product called Cloud Firestore, a fully-managed NoSQL document database, and it boasts a pretty compelling set of features for developers.

Like the Firebase Realtime Database, Cloud Firestore is built on top of Google Cloud Platform for high reliability and performance. Firebase also designed it to automatically scale based on user demand so it can handle spikes if an app suddenly becomes popular, and Cloud Firestore performs multi-regional replication so it has low latency and reliability in the event a node goes down.

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Facebook launches the data-sipping Messenger Lite in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, and Canada

To call the Facebook suite of apps a bloated mess would be an understatement, most especially the ever-growing Messenger — I think I've used it once, after which I uninstalled it. However, in a surprising turn of events, Facebook has launched the "lite" version of the app in North America, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. 

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Huawei stealthily unveils the Nova 2i with four cameras and a FullView display

Huawei has unceremoniously unveiled the latest in its mid-range line, the Nova 2i. Complete with the company's 18:9 FullView display and four cameras, this phone appeared on Vmall, Huawei's official store. Astute readers may notice a similarity here.

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Ring announces a DIY home security system called Ring Protect

Apparently, everyone is getting into the home security market lately. Nest announced its Nest Secure system recently, and then earlier today Samsung SmartThings unveiled an ADT-infused security setup. Now it's time for Ring to announce its own suspiciously timed security system. Ring Protect comes with a keypad and some sensors, plus it integrates with Ring's existing camera products.

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17 new and notable Android apps and live wallpapers from the last week (9/26/17 - 10/2/17)

Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous week or so.

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Sleep as Android team launches its own sleep-tracking hardware on Indiegogo

Sleep as Android is a hugely popular app in the Play Store with more than 10 million downloads. The app uses sensors in your phone or certain wearables to analyze your sleep, but the team behind Sleep as Android is now looking to make a dedicated piece of tracking hardware, and it's a bit unusual. The Sleep Phaser on Indigogo is a bedside sensor that tracks your sleep without any direct contact.

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Google uploaded a pile of videos showing off how the Google Assistant works on headphones

The Google Help account uploaded three new videos a few days back, detailing exactly how to use the Google Assistant on devices like Bose's recently released QuietComfort 35 II. If you've been wondering how, exactly, the Google Assistant works in that type of environment, it actually looks reasonably intuitive. And either way, the videos are pretty short and worth a watch. 

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Linux kernel's long-term support releases now last for 6 years, and that's good for Android

In a recent presentation at Linaro Connect, it was revealed that the Linux kernel would be moving to a six-year LTS. Right now LTS kernels are only supported for two years, which can be a problem when a hardware design pipeline can take more than 12-18 months for a device to make it into a consumer's hands, and that's not even taking into account SoC development. This new change, combined with Google's Project Treble, could further extend device support for Android updates and might spell good news for consumers.

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