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canada

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Looks like Best Buy might include a Google Home Mini with the purchase of a Pixel 2

We are just mere moments away from the official Google Pixel event, but that hasn't stopped a lot of stuff leaking. Last night, redditor /u/FireYoshiQc posted a flyer from Best Buy Canada that showed a promo offer: buy a Pixel 2, get a free Google Home Mini.

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You can now make Alexa-to-phone number calls in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Alexa-to-Alexa calls in the UK, Germany, and Austria

Amazon introduced calling and messaging to its Echo speakers back in May then implemented the same feature inside the Alexa app so you could start a call or receive one from your phone, without having to be near your Echo. However, the feature had one main limitation: the person you were calling had to have an Echo or at least Alexa calling set up. Calls to phone numbers weren't possible, but now they are.

Amazon secretly enabled the option a couple of days ago and has now officially added it to the Alexa app changelog. After setting up Alexa calling and messaging in the app's Conversations tab, you can say something like, "Call dad's phone," or, "Call dad's mobile phone number," and it will perform a call to the phone number.

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Facebook launches the data-sipping Messenger Lite in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, and Canada

To call the Facebook suite of apps a bloated mess would be an understatement, most especially the ever-growing Messenger — I think I've used it once, after which I uninstalled it. However, in a surprising turn of events, Facebook has launched the "lite" version of the app in North America, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. 

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[Update: Germany only] Google Home users could get 3 months of Deezer Premium+ for $0.99 (US, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia)

Here's an almost-freebie to start off your week: Google Home's promotions page has added one new offer for you to take advantage of: 3 months of Deezer Premium+ for $0.99. That's one buck for 3 months of unlimited, on-demand streaming, no ads, but with offline saves and high-quality audio. Deezer Premium+ normally costs $6/month or thereabout, depending on where you live, so you'd be saving around $17.

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Unreleased NVIDIA Shield Portable 2 found at pawn shop in Canada

The original NVIDIA Shield Portable (just called 'NVIDIA Shield' at first) was released back in 2013, and is still a very unique device. It had the form factor of a flip handheld console, like a Nintendo DS, but was much beefier and used NVIDIA's own Tegra 4 chipset. The result was a beast of a gaming system that ran stock Android, and could stream games from your PC (as long as you had an NVIDIA GPU).

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Essential Phone pre-orders are live in Canada, but only on Telus

It took a few months longer than expected, but the Essential Phone went up for pre-order in the US yesterday. Our friends north of the border didn't have any way to buy the phone at the time, but that changes today. The Essential Phone is now live on the Telus website... and that's all. Telus is the only place you can get the Essential Phone in Canada.

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American Express is now supported by Android Pay in Canada

Android Pay has barely been available in Canada for a month, but it already has a good selection of debit and credit cards signed up to use the service. The latest to get on board is American Express, adding the first card that isn't a MasterCard or Visa to Android Pay in the country.

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[Update: It's out] Google Home is coming to Canada on June 26th, pre-orders available now via Google and Best Buy

Google Assistant debuted last year in Allo, but it wasn't until Assistant arrived on the Pixel and Google Home that we really got to see what it could do. However, Home was only available in the US at first. It came to the UK later, but America's neighbor to the north was left hanging. Not anymore—Google Home launches in Canada on June 26th.

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Locked phones and unlocking fees will be banned in Canada starting December 1st

Here in the US, unlocking policies are pretty lackluster. Sure, they've improved over time, but these regulations still aren't something we can be proud of. But up in the Great White North, the CRTC (Canada's telecom commission) is hard at work. Starting on December 1st, 2017, all mobile devices will have the capability of being unlocked for free, and all new devices will be unlocked out of the box.

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Essential phone will be a Telus exclusive in Canada, unlocked model will also be available

Andy Rubin's startup company, Essential, wants to get the new Essential phone into the hands of as many customers as possible. At least in the US and Canada, that means partnering with carriers. Earlier this week, Sprint announced that it would be the only US carrier to sell the phone. Now it seems Essential has struck a similar deal with Canadian telecom company Telus.

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