Alphabet reported today in its annual earnings call that the company's fiscal Q4 was a bit of a dismal one, owing to a decision to provision a new tax on foreign assets ahead into the 2017 fiscal year. Basically, Google took a $9.9 billion tax hit in the last quarter of 2017, dramatically lowering the effective net income the company earned for the whole of the fiscal year.
Google lost $3 billion in Q4, but for 2017 overall, it managed net income of $12.7 billion on revenues of $110.8 billion. While net income is down versus 2016 ($19.5 billion), revenues are way up - around 23%. Read More
Version 7.20 of the Google app rolled out just a few days ago with an assortment of new features and minor changes. Today, a minor update to v7.20.16 hit the Play Store, and in typical fashion for an update without a major version bump, it looks a lot like a typical bug fix update. However, this one does include a few new strings that are slightly interesting. There are mentions of something called Google Temperature that might be worth watching out for. Read More
Google doesn't pay much attention to the Google Now Launcher anymore, but that doesn't mean it's dead. The Google app powers this launcher, so small tweaks show up from time to time. Today, there's a noticeable and somewhat perplexing change in the Google Now Launcher. Some users have a new home button in the search box that launches the Google Feed. Read More
The default alarm tone for the Google Home may leave a tiny bit to be desired, but thankfully Google has just introduced an alternative: you can now set your next alarm to play music instead. So the next time you need to set an alarm for an impromptu nap or that bird in the oven, you can be jerked back to awareness with something a bit more entertaining. Read More
Google launched YouTube Go late last year in India, and then it rolled the app out to a dozen or so other nations. Today, it's pushing YouTube Go to most of the world with support for more than 130 countries. No, the US still isn't included, but it wasn't really designed for the developed world. YouTube Go includes features to make the most of a limited mobile data package. Read More
Since the demise of its own Windows Phone platform, Microsoft has been putting a lot of effort into creating a compelling suite of Android apps instead. Microsoft Launcher started life as the experimental Arrow Launcher but morphed into its current form late last year. It features a control center panel unlike any other Android home app and is unsurprisingly linked with Bing rather than Google for search.
A new beta update has just been released which integrates Microsoft's digital assistant, Cortana. It seems to work much as it does in the Cortana app (which doesn't need to be installed), but as an overlay on top of the launcher. Read More
Exporting your saved passwords from desktop Chrome has been possible in one way or another for years. However, the feature has always been missing from the Android browser - until now. Google is now testing the ability to import and export passwords straight from Chrome on Android, but only the latter function seems to be working right now. Read More
Sega has been releasing new Android games for their SEGA Forever program on a bi-weekly basis for quite a while now. Sonic CD Classic is the latest to hit the Play Store. It is, of course, an HD port of the classic Sega CD platformer. Just like every other SEGA Forever release, Sonic CD Classic is a free-to-play title with a single $1.99 in-app purchase to remove the game's plentiful advertisements. Sadly I do not recommend spending any of your money on this release, which I will detail in full below. Read More
U.S. Cellular has never been one of the country's major carriers, but for many areas (especially rural regions), it's one of the top choices. The company's previous $70/month unlimited plan was in line with unlimited plans from the big four carriers, but now U.S. Cellular is undercutting the competition. Read More
The standards organization JEDEC has released version 3.0 of the Universal Flash Storage (UFS) specification. The new specification more than doubles the bandwidth from the previous version, providing up to two lanes at 1450 MB/s, for a maximum of 2.9 GB/s, compared to a maximum of 1.2 GB/s. The standard also includes temperature reporting mechanisms on the storage controller intended specifically for the automotive market, where electronics are subject to more adverse conditions. Read More