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Apple has poached Google's head of AI

In a surprise move, Google's chief of search and artificial intelligence John Giannandrea stepped down on Monday. Yesterday, it was reported that he's been hired by Apple. Giannandrea had been with Google since its acquisition of startup Metaweb in 2010.

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Samsung files patent for pull-to-expand smartphone display

Foldable smartphones have been patented, demoed, and scrapped more times than any of us can count over the years. Maybe foldable phones aren't the future—maybe the future is going to be about expandable phones. Samsung has filed a patent for a smartphone display that expands when you pull on the sides. It's like carrying a smartphone and a tablet at the same time.

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Samsung reportedly readying '3D Emoji' feature for the Galaxy S9, similar to Apple's Animojis

The unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+ is less than 2 weeks away, and thanks to the now customary series of leaks, we already know a fair amount about what to expect from the new flagship. Thanks to a report by Korean outlet ETNews, we potentially know a little bit more about a certain software feature that Samsung is preparing.

With the release of the iPhone X, Apple threw its substantial marketing clout behind a new animated emoji feature (Animojis) that mimics your facial expressions as you speak or sing. Apparently, Samsung has something similar up its sleeve for the Galaxy S9, and the report also mentions several other potential inclusions.

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The Play Store hit 19 billion downloads in Q4 2017, increasing its lead over Apple's App Store to 145%

People are downloading more apps than ever. According to App Annie, the Google Play Store saw over 19 billion downloads in Q4 2017, with year-over-year growth at 10%. That's around 145% more than the Apple App Store, which garnered around 7.7 billion downloads. That being said, the App Store still blew the Play Store away in terms of revenue.

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The US smartphone market is devolving into a Samsung and Apple market - and that's bad for Android

If you live in the United States and walk into a Verizon store, you have essentially four options when it comes to choosing a premium smartphone brand: Apple, Samsung, LG, and Google. Yesterday, we learned that continuing to expect LG will be one of these options probably isn't the best bet.

While there may yet be a premium LG phone that launches on Verizon, the Korean conglomerate looks poised to join Motorola as one of Verizon's when-it's-convenient handset partners, and is quite possibly on its way to the Verizon graveyard with the likes of HTC, Sony, and BlackBerry.

The same can generally be said of AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint.

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Fascinating read: How Google Maps has moved so far ahead of the competition

Justin O’Beirne is what you would call a modern cartographer. He has long believed that the future of map making has to be intertwined with technology, and his career has seen him work in Cupertino contributing to Apple's Maps platform. He's also an avid blogger and public speaker and even spoke at Google I/O back in 2011 about styling digital maps for enhanced usability.

On his website, O'Beirne likes to track the progress of different map apps, comparing them against previous versions and each other. His most recent post looks in depth at Google Maps and just how far ahead of the rest of the pack it is.

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Apple confirms it is buying Shazam

Last week, a report from TechCrunch claimed that Apple was about to buy Shazam for an unknown amount. For the unacquainted, Shazam is a music-detection app, but the company behind it has been looking into AR and other technologies Apple could be interested in. The buyout has now been confirmed by Apple in a public announcement.

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Shazam reportedly about to be purchased by Apple

Shazam was one of the first third-party applications available on the iPhone, as it launched in 2008 alongside the iOS App Store. Later that year, it arrived on Android, and it has continued to maintain a strong userbase. According to a report from TechCrunch, Apple could be looking to buy Shazam as soon as Monday.

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Android to iPhone, part two: What I've liked about switching to the iPhone X

I can already tell I’ll have a hard time going back to Android’s software navigation keys.

One of the most pleasantly surprising features of the iPhone X - and something that’s going to read like it’s straight out of Phil Schiller’s marketing playbook - comes in the form of what Apple removed from the phone: the home button. By forcing the issue of gesture navigation instead of going half-in with soft keys, Apple’s made a convert of me. I like gesture nav.

It’s also kind of broken. There’s no universal gesture to go back (some apps let you swipe from the left - sometimes), and the quick switcher button at the top left of the phone requires some serious thumb acrobatics to reach.

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I’ve never used an iPhone, part one: Switching to the iPhone X and first thoughts

On a fall day over eight years ago, I walked into an AT&T store in Davis, my college town, to see the iPhone 3GS. I held it, stared at it, looked at the price card, then back at the phone, and then down at the price card again. Reality began to set in.

I was locked into a contract with my Sony-Ericsson feature phone for another six months. I asked about early upgrade pricing - $200 on top of the $199 AT&T already charged for the phone - but I was a student, and my meager checking account balance could barely withstand the regular on-contract price and accompanying increase in the monthly service fee.

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