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The best smart home devices you can buy right now (Winter 2018)

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Google finally rolls the new Discover out to the Google beta app

Google probably has an internal logic for rollouts that makes all the sense in the world to the developers running things. However, the process can seem bizarre and illogical on our end. Case in point: Google started turning the Feed into Discover back in October, but accounts on the Google beta app never got the update. Well, now they have.

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MediaTek announces the Helio P90, a premium AI chipset with ARCore and Google Lens support

Qualcomm is undeniably the darling of Android OEMs, with their chips being the only viable option for flagship smartphones and tablets. That's something MediaTek would obviously like to change with its latest premium SoC, the Helio P90.

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Google is testing a new UI for Assistant that puts Explore and your visual snapshot in the bottom bar

Google has toyed with Assistant's interface on Android countless times so far, adding a keyboard input method, Google Lens, then the Explore section, and finally the Now-like interface of upcoming cards (aka "visual snapshot"). But two things have puzzled me about it: one is that Explore and Visual Snapshot were almost invisible to people and I always had to explain where the icons were and what the did, and two is that getting to your Assistant's settings was an even more obscure process, and it was almost easier to just do it from the Google Home app than Assistant. Well, it seems that Google is working on solving at least the first of these problems.

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Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 hands-on: A notch-hater's dream

It's been a strange year for smartphone design. The notch has infiltrated pretty much every major OEM at every price point, yet everyone seems to hate it (or at least those most vocal on the internet). Manufacturers keep plowing on, however, with even Samsung jumping on the camera cutout bandwagon ahead of the Galaxy S10 launch. If you're patiently waiting for the display cutout fad to end, it's good to know some Chinese smartphone makers have already come up with alternative solutions for bezel-free phones.

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Sony's smaller 2018 flagship, the Xperia XZ2 Compact, is now just $450 ($200 off) at B&H

If you want a small flagship-level Android phone, your options are limited — namely, the Google Pixel 3, Galaxy S9, or Xperia XZ2 Compact. Sony's XZ2 Compact has now gone on sale, dropping to just $450 at B&H Photo. That's a $200 discount from the original price.

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Sony Xperia XA2 is $220 ($30 off), XA2 Ultra is $280 ($120 off) at B&H

If you're in the market for an affordable phone that's guaranteed to get some sweet Android 9 Pie action, have we got a pair of deals for you. Both the Sony Xperia XA2 and Xperia XA2 Ultra are on sale at B&H, and both are scheduled to get an update to the newest version of Android this spring.

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Anki's friendly Vector robot is getting Alexa support December 17

Anki's Vector robot launched in October. The little guy is certainly cute, and it's always had a useful trick or two; it can tell you the temperature outside or set timers, for example. But starting next week in the US and Canada, Vector is getting a whole lot more practical with the addition of Alexa functionality.

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Google Maps now features Lime bike and scooter transit in 13 cities

The shareable scooters and bikes from Lime have taken over dozens of cities around the world. You've probably seen them yourself, sometimes being ridden and other times discarded like trash. Now, Google Maps will help you find Lime bikes that haven't been dumped in a lake. Lime is now a Google Maps transit option in 13 cities.

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Get a Samsung Gear S3 Frontier for $200 ($100 off) from B&H

As far as smartwatches go, Samsung is still one of the best options to go with. Though the Galaxy Watch is new kid on the block, its predecessor the Gear S3 is still a very competent, and downright good, wearable. And you can pick up the Frontier version for just $199.99 over on B&H, a nice $100 off.

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Google Family Link arrives for all Chromebooks, brings a suite of parental control options

With technology ingrained in every facet of our lives, or so it seems, parenting has come with a new set of challenges on top of the ones that were already there. Managing your children's screen time is one of them, and Google is here to help you with that — Family Link is rolling out to Chromebooks on the stable channel (i.e. most of them).

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