Android Police

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Start the week with 43 temporarily free and 44 on-sale apps

Hello, and welcome to the start of another week. February keeps trucking along, with Valentine's Day in just a couple of days. To... "celebrate," we have quite a few apps to get through today, so prepare yourselves. I will see you all again on Wednesday.

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Samsung's emojis are no longer 💩 with Android 8.0 Oreo update

For years, some Android manufacturers have been replacing the default emojis with their own set, usually to differentiate their devices. Samsung's set has always been bad, with several emojis showing completely different emotions than what is intended. The company has started rolling out Android 8.0 Oreo to its phones, and the included emojis are a much-needed improvement.

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Bloomberg: Android P will have notch optimizations and more Assistant integration

We're expecting Google to drop the first developer preview for Android P in the coming weeks, assuming it holds to the same approximate schedule from the past two years. According to a report from Bloomberg, Android P may include support for a particular hardware feature: the notch. Devices like the Essential Phone with a "notch" missing from the display have some UI peculiarities, and Google may be looking to get ahead of things.

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Verizon to stop honoring FCC restriction on not SIM-locking phones because nothing matters anymore

According to CNET, Verizon Wireless will begin SIM-locking its smartphones out of the box at some point this Spring. Essentially no details are provided about how this will be implemented, but it really doesn't matter, because Verizon rather explicitly agreed not to do this ten years ago.

Per the restrictions imposed by the 700MHz Upper Block C spectrum auction it won in 2008, Verizon is expressly barred from locking down handsets on its network that utilize this spectrum. The plain text from the restrictions makes this absolutely clear.

(e)Handset locking prohibited. No licensee may disable features on handsets it provides to customers, to the extent such features are compliant with the licensee's standards pursuant to paragraph (b)of this section, nor configure handsets it provides to prohibit use of such handsets on other providers' networks. (Emphasis added)

So, Verizon's announcement today is complete and utter bullshit.

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Google Calendar 5.8.18 finally lets you copy and duplicate (but not move) events [APK Download]

We don't use the word "finally" in titles gratuitously on Android Police, but this instance warrants it. For years and years, we've heard the same complaint when covering Google Calendar: you can't change an event's calendar on the Android app. You need to use the web app or if you're bound to your phone, you have to delete the event from one calendar and manually create another in the second one. The update to version 5.8.18 of Calendar solves this issue by adding two new options: copy and duplicate. Sadly, moving an event from one calendar to another still seems to elude the team...

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Project Treble compatibility unofficially ported to Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, more devices likely to follow

One of Android's biggest criticisms over the years has been how fragmented its version distribution is at any given time. At Google I/O in May last year, Google unveiled a plan to modularize the OS and make it easier to update. Project Treble, in short, separates out the base-level Android framework from the vendor implementation so OEMs are able to release OS updates without having to wait for chipmakers to update drivers.

Faster updates should increase the distribution numbers for the latest version of Android, but Treble could also be useful for custom ROM developers, allowing generic AOSP builds ("Treble ROMs") to be installed on more phones.

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Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: The first benchmark results - compared to Galaxy S8, Pixel 2, OnePlus 5T, and more

Last week, we attended an event at Qualcomm's corporate headquarters in San Diego to test out the company's latest high-end smartphone chip, the Snapdragon 845. We ran some benchmarks and ate some food. There was probably more eating than benchmarking, if I'm honest.

Full disclosure: Qualcomm paid to fly me out to San Diego, put me up in a nice little hotel for three nights next to their campus, and fed me lots of food and bought me lots of drinks. Of particular note: some pretty delicious hot wings at midnight.

Introduction

First and foremost, let me be clear that we place essentially zero weight on benchmark results as a reflection of real-world performance or user experience.

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Android Police has switched to HTTPS

The whole web is slowly marching towards HTTPS, especially since browsers like Chrome are starting to shame HTTP-only sites. After years of readers asking why we haven't already done so, I'm proud to announce that Android Police now supports HTTPS! If you're wondering what exactly that is, or why it matters, read on.

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Weekend poll: Do you use a notification mirroring service?

Smartphone tech has come a long way over the last ten years, but a few commonly requested features are still lacking. Battery life can't be measured in weeks yet, Android still doesn't have a decent iMessage competitor, and there aren't any first-party cross-platform notification mirroring services. Some of our desires might not be reasonable, but others are. And, at least in the case of notification synchronization, there are plenty of third-party services that can fill the gap. Do you use one?

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Update Notes for Gmail, Photoscan, Google+, and Trips (Feb 11, 2018)

Every week, I examine somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred app updates while looking for changes. The most interesting things turn into APK Teardowns or Download posts. Many of the remaining updates are unremarkable, amounting to a few bug fixes, routine updates to libraries, or even just pixel-level adjustments to layouts and images. However, there are usually a few updates that land somewhere in between. I don't want to spam readers with dozens of short posts, but I hate to ignore things that people might want to know about, so I'm going to wrap up the leftovers for a little weekend reading and call it Update Notes.

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