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The Galaxy S10e is Samsung’s answer to the iPhone XR, and it offers a ton for $749

At today's glitzy Unpacked event in San Francisco, Samsung unveiled a raft of new products, some of which are mostly aspirational for the time being. One device the company will hope to sell a boatload of in the coming months is the Galaxy S10e, a new cheaper variant in the popular series. It's a departure from the norm for Samsung, and a response to growing consumer unrest at the rising price of high-end flagship phones. It also serves to counter Apple's more affordable iPhone XR, obvious from the identical $749 starting price and variety of bright colors being made available.

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[Update: Reinstated] Apple kills Google's internal iOS apps for violating developer policies

Yesterday Apple pulled Facebook's ability to distribute internal apps for employees on iOS in the wake of an investigation performed by TechCrunch, which alleged that Facebook was not only paying teenagers to use an app to record their activity, but that the app was also abusing Apple's Enterprise Developer Program to be distributed in the first place. In follow-up coverage, it was noted that Google was also using the same method to distribute a consumer-facing app called "Screenwise Meter," which Google subsequently pulled. Regardless, The Verge is reporting that Apple has pulled Google's certificate, just as it did Facebook's.

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[Update: Rollout starts today] Roku Channel adds paid subscriptions for Showtime, Starz, and more

The Roku Channel, currently a library of free ad-supported movies and TV shows, will soon grow to include paid subscription services including, most notably, Showtime and Starz. The savvy business move will draw in more channel viewers and likely boost ad revenue, as well as allow the company to play a more active role in the content that runs on its devices. From a user perspective, there are two main benefits: easier, consolidated content searching in one channel, and the ability to pay for multiple subscriptions through one monthly bill.

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Google hires high-ranking Apple engineer to launch mysterious Fuchsia OS

It's no secret that Google has been working on a new operating system (and potential Android replacement) called Fuchsia since at least 2016, but details are otherwise few and far between. The most recent tidbit to emerge publicly? High-ranking Apple engineer Bill Stevenson says he's joining Google to help bring the new OS to market.

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Verizon now includes free Apple Music subscription with its Beyond and Above Unlimited plans

Verizon announced yesterday that its expanding its partnership with Apple. The carrier is now offering a gratis premium subscription to the latter's music streaming service to all Beyond Unlimited and Above Unlimited users — those on the Go Unlimited tier get a free six-month trial.

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Samsung and LG warn of profit decline in fourth quarter as smartphone market stagnates

Turns out Apple is not the only company expecting to disappoint investors with its next set of quarterly results — Samsung and LG are in the same boat. Whether or not it's for precisely the same reasons is unclear, but it seems a plateauing smartphone market is at least partially to blame for all three companies' guidance misses. 

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[Update: Rolling out now] Apple Music is coming to Amazon Echo devices in December

Music streaming is a popular use for smart speakers, but the particular speaker you have dictates which services you have access to. Amazon's speakers are getting better in that regard in the near future, as the company has announced that Apple Music will be available on Echo devices later this year.

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Fake heads are predictably great at fooling Android face unlock

Facial recognition on Android isn't the most robust method of securing your phone; it even says as much when you set it up. It shouldn't be very surprising, then, that it can be fooled by what is probably the least likely thing someone trying to get into your device will have access to: a lifelike, 3D-printed replica of your head.

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Project Fi is now Google Fi and supports phones from Samsung, OnePlus, and even iPhones

 

Project Fi has made the leap that all fledgling Google projects aspire to - after around three-and-a-half years, it has dropped the "project" and evolved into "Google Fi," with a brand new logo to boot. Along with the name change, Google has announced that the wireless provider now supports "the majority of Android devices," including Samsung and OnePlus handsets, and iPhones (in beta).

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Mark Zuckerberg ordered Facebook's executives to use Android phones

According to a report out of the New York Times yesterday, Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg ordered the company's high-level managers to switch to Android phones earlier this year. It's not clear if the order was ever enforced, or to what degree, but it apparently came on the heels of an MSNBC interview in which Tim Cook openly criticized Facebook's data collection and privacy policies in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and associated congressional hearings.

Cook's remarks apparently so upset Zuckerberg that he issued the Android phone directive - though, as The Verge points out, it seems unlikely that it worked (at least very well):

[W]e checked Twitter activity from several Facebook executives, including blockchain lead David Marcus and VP of AR and VR Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, all of whom are still shown to be using iPhones.

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