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Wrap up CES with 52 temporarily free and 37 on-sale apps

Hi, there! Welcome back to Android Police's app sales roundup! I've returned from CES (lots of fun) and my PC is back up and running, so I figured that it was time for me to dive back into the messy world that is Android app sales. The list today is not that bad, all things considered. Think of today as being a sign that I am getting back on the normal Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule for these posts, which I shall try to adhere to.

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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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InBrief
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Hangouts Meet's dial-in feature now works in nine additional European countries

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Google bought a U.K. sound startup specializing in haptics and turning surfaces into speakers last year

According to a recent article by Bloomberg, late last year Google sneakily picked up a U.K.-based startup called Redux that was working on some snazzy tech which can turn surfaces—like the screen on a phone or tablet—into speakers, and even provide more focused haptic effects. The precise date of the acquisition isn't certain, but according to Crunchbase, the deal was announced last August. 

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Even more Google Assistant speakers are on their way, from the likes of Anker, B&O, and Klipsch

According to Google, the company has been selling Home speakers at a rate of more than one per second since the Home Mini was released late last year. That's an incredible statistic, and it doesn't even take into account Assistant speakers from third-parties that have been available since last fall. Last year, we learned about devices from Mobvoi, Panasonic, Sony, and Anker's Zolo sub-brand. They were clearly the tip of the iceberg.

CES 2018 in Las Vegas has been awash with new Assistant products as Google takes the fight to Amazon's Alexa. Even the monorail has been taken over by Assistant branding.

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A new search bar design is being tested for the Google feed

Over the years, the Google Now page has undergone more than a few changes, and it was even renamed a few months ago to 'feed.' Some users are reporting that they're seeing a new search bar design in their Google feed. Now that it's here (again), it's a bit confusing why it disappeared in the first place.

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Google is looking into Android 8.1 lockscreen swipe issues on Pixel devices

I'd wager that most owners of Pixel phones use the fingerprint sensors on the back to unlock their phones, but there are circumstances in which using the backup PIN, pattern, or password is necessary. Many Pixel owners, myself included, have noticed that it's become rather difficult to swipe the lockscreen up on Android 8.1 Oreo. Google is aware of the problem and is looking into it.

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The Kinda Blue Pixel 2 is now available on Project Fi

Google has this nasty habit of making the prettiest Pixels the hardest to get. Remember the Really Blue limited edition Pixel last year? This year, the Kinda Blue variant is only available in the smaller 5-inch form factor, and it's been exclusive to Verizon all this time. That changes today. You can now get the Kinda Blue Pixel 2 on Project Fi as well.

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PSA: At A Glance widget on Pixel 2 added flight information

When the Pixel 2 was announced in October, the new At A Glance widget at the top of the launcher was introduced and said to have calendar events, with traffic and flight updates coming later. Then when the Pixel 2 launched, traffic updates were already there as well, but flight info was still missing. That's been there for several weeks, I first noticed it around mid-December when I was traveling to Dubai, but it could have been added even earlier. However, Artem just realized it was there for him a couple of days ago.

Since not everyone might be aware of this new addition (you need to have an upcoming flight to see it) or since maybe the toggle is turned off by default on your device, we thought we'd share the news with you so you can make sure you have flight updates enabled on At A Glance, if you're using the default Pixel Launcher that is.

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InBrief
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Google Text-to-speech 3.14.9 adds support for Estonian, Romanian, and Slovak [APK Download]

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