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[Update: Samsung reconsidering things] Samsung shamelessly aligns with off-brand Supreme in China

Brand partnerships are usually the least interesting part of a phone announcement, but Samsung's latest phone unveiling comes with some serious drama. The company's new Galaxy A8s announcement included the surprising announcement of a partnership with Supreme in China, where the company has not operated in the past. However, it's not the "real" Supreme; it's the fake Italian firm that has been such a thorn in Supreme's side.

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51 temporarily free and 26 on-sale apps to start the week

Another week has begun, so let's get right down to the app sales for today. It's a fair-sized list, so you might find something that you'll like. As always, my personal recommendation is in bold (just one today).

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[Update: Both deals are back] HP Chromebook x360 14" down to $450 ($200 off), Chromebook x2 down to $500 ($100 off)

HP's Chromebook x2 is the only high-end Chromebook tablet you can get until the Pixel Slate lands, making it a popular choice for many. But if you're after a bigger display in a laptop-first form factor, HP's 14" x360 could be a better choice. And right now, they've both been has knocked down to $500 at Best Buy, which is $100 off the x2's MSRP and ~$100 off comparable listings for the 14" x360 Chromebook. And if it's the bigger Chromebook that's caught your eye, HP also has an identical SKU that's a bit cheaper at $480 via its own storefront.

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LG Watch W7 drops to $220 ($230 off), quite possibly the biggest smartwatch flop of 2018

LG's announcement of the Watch W7 was met with jeers and derision. That was not only because mechanical hands on a smartwatch are a bit silly, but LG wanted a whopping $450 for the device. That was a tough sell in a world where Android smartwatches have yet to prove their utility, but that price didn't last long. After dropping almost immediately to $250, the Lg Watch Wy is now down another $30.

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Google Home Max is way down to $262 ($137 off) with coupon code at Belk

The Google Home Max is Google's biggest and best smart speaker, which makes it a front-runner for best smart speaker, period. It comes with a price tag to match, though, usually fetching $399. It's currently on sale all over the place for $349, but one retailer has an even better deal: department store Belk is selling the speaker for $262 — $137 off MSRP.

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Stable Android Pie rolling out to the Pocophone F1

The Xiaomi-made Pocophone F1 has been one of the hottest releases of 2018, as long as you live in a region where the phone exists. However, it came with Android Oreo. As you know, Pie is the new hotness, and now the Pocophone is getting its update. No OTA on your end yet? No problem—there's a download option.

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Google+ shutdown date moved to April 2019, following discovery of another API bug

Back in October, Google announced that it would shut down its Google+ social network, following the discovery of an API bug that could have led to user data being stolen. Even though there was no evidence that anyone took advantage of the API bug, Google decided it would be as good a time as ever to shut down the mostly-dead social network. Google+ was originally scheduled to shut down completely in August 2019, but now the timetable has moved up.

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Telegram hits v5.0 with streamlined settings, redesigned profiles, and more

With the current (and likely eternal) mess that is Google's approach to messaging, you might be looking for a better way to keep in touch with friends and family. Well, there's always Telegram. The app just got an update to v5.0 with a raft of changes like easier-to-use settings and redesigned profiles. You can even view more web pages from the chat with Instant View 2.0.

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Samsung announces its first hole-punch phone, the Galaxy A8s

Not to appear to be outdone by the View 20 introduction from Huawei sub-brand Honor, Samsung also took the wraps off its first phone with a hole-punch camera cutout, the Galaxy A8s. Using the Infinity-O screen design unveiled by the company last month, the mid-range device also features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 SoC and triple rear cameras.

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The Honor View 20 has a hole-punch front camera and 48MP rear sensor

Late last month we saw the first glimpse of a real phone with a "hole-punch' front camera (i.e. a camera cutout entirely surrounded by screen) in the form of the Huawei Nova 4, and now we're learning that sub-brand Honor is about to release the View 20. As well as the new screen design, it's one of the first smartphones to include a 48-megapixel rear camera.

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