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Diamond glass, lasers, the FBI, Huawei, and burgers - finally, a smartphone story with everything

Yesterday, Bloomberg Businessweek published a piece about a recent FBI investigation against Huawei for potentially attempting to steal trade secrets from an American company, this time with a serious twist: The tech that may have been stolen doesn't just apply to phones, it could also be used in weapons. The complicated story weaves its way from San Diego to Chicago and Las Vegas, recounting Akhan Semiconductor's attempts to license to Huawei its new Miraj Diamond Glass — a layered material alleged to be 6 times stronger and 10 times more scratch resistant than your current phone's Gorilla Glass, but with potential applications in powerful military lasers.

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Pixel phones now let you schedule reboots after an OTA update, pause updates while phone is 'in use'

Security updates come every month for Pixel owners, but we don't usually expect any user-facing changes to arrive with them. With the February patches, however, there appear to be a few little differences. The most minor of those is the moving of the 'About Phone' menu in the settings, but the update process itself has some new features.

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The new Amazon Echo Show is $50 off ($180) and comes with a free Hue bulb

Whether you're thinking of setting up a smart home infrastructure or improving your existing one, now is a good time to do so. The second generation Echo Show, Amazon's new assistant with a 10" screen and upgraded built-in speakers, is currently down to $179.99 instead of $229.99 and comes with a free Philips Hue bulb.

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'About Phone' becomes a top-level setting with the February security update

February's security patch began rolling out yesterday, and whether you grabbed it by checking for an OTA update or by downloading the file straight from Google and applying it, you may (or may not, really) notice one tiny change. The About phone section of settings is jumping up to become a top-level item.

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Google Play gift cards are now available in Saudi Arabia

About a decade ago, buying apps and games for our phones was nothing short of a hassle. Now, it's easier than ever to just find a payment method that works for you, be it operator billing, credit/debit card, Paypal, or even gift card, and fill up your device with all the software and media that you want. If you live in Saudi Arabia, you'll be happy to know you can now use the last option, i.e. gift cards, to pay for your Google Play content.

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Alphabet's 2018 financial results show 23% increase in revenue and strong profits

Google's parent company Alphabet has reported positive financial results for 2018, although stocks in the company still fell 3% in after-hours trading. An operating margin 3% lower than the 24% posted in Q4 2017 and higher expenditure are considered to be reasons for the drop-off, but Alphabet remains profitable.

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[Update: 7 more] YouTube Kids expands to six new European countries (including the return of Croatia)

When it comes to watching YouTube Kids you'll need to be in one of the countries officially supported by the app. That's because if you download while in an unsupported nation, the app will disable itself and keep you from watching. Today there's good news for six new countries in Europe who don't have to worry about that anymore, as YouTube Kids has expanded again, bringing the total number of countries covered up to 53.

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Acer announces two all-in-one Chrome OS desktops for businesses

There are plenty of Chromebooks, and a few Chrome OS desktop boxes, but there is a major lack of all-in-one options. If you wanted something akin to an iMac running Chrome OS, your only real choice was to find a 2016 Acer Chromebase. Acer announced two new all-in-one Chrome OS desktops today, both designed for use in schools and businesses.

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Essential Phone February security patch already rolling out

Hot on the heels of Google pushing the latest update to the Pixel devices, Essential shows it still means business and has issued its February security patch for the Essential Phone PH-1.

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Google releases Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier apps to improve Android for the hearing-impaired

Google's focus on making Android more accessible has been evident — it opened last year's I/O keynote with morse code input on Gboard. In addition to that, Android Pie brought with it an array of new accessibility features, letting motor-impaired users easily jump to nine common interactions on their phones. Today, the Android Accessibility team announced Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier, two new apps that look to materially improve quality of life for deaf and hard-of-hearing users. The apps are currently being tested on the Play Store and will be pushed to all Pixel 3 users in the next update.

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