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4 days ago

Android Security Bulletin: Everything you need to know

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Fixing the latest bugs and exploits in Android every month.

Google has detailed the latest Android Security Bulletin and released the fixes for Nexus and Pixel devices.

These are exploits and other security concerns that affect Android as a whole. Issues with the operating system, kernel patches, and driver updates may not affect any particular device, but these need to be fixed in the Android base by the folks maintaining the operating system code. That means Google, and they've detailed the things they have improved for this month.

Updated factory images for Pixel and Nexus devices that are supported are available, and over-the-air updates are rolling out to users. If you don't want to wait you can download and flash the factory image or OTA update file manually, and here are some handy instructions to get you started.

How to manually update your Nexus or Pixel

The company who made your phone uses these patches to send an update out to you.

These changes have been released to the people making Android phones for at least 30 days, but Google can't force anyone to deliver them to you. If you're using a phone from Samsung, LG or anyone besides Google, you'll need to wait for them to send an update and shouldn't try to flash any of the above files.

Of course, Google has safety checks in place to prevent any problems on your phone because of any security exploits. Verify Apps and SafetyNet are at work anytime you add an app to your phone, and seamless updates to Google Play Services will keep them up to date regardless of any hold up from a manufacturer or carrier. Details and incident numbers can be found in the yearly Android Security Review (.pdf file).

Highlights for December 2016

December 2016's update comes with two patch dates: 12/01/2016 and 12/05/2016.

  • Fixes in the 12/01 update cover Android in general, and address issues with the Android operating system itself. The most serious exploit addressed was in the CURL library (software used to transfer data that covers most transfer protocols and security certificates), where a man-in-the-middle attack could be performed by someone with a spoofed security certificate. Other patches for Smart Lock, the telephony system, and comm stack are also included.
  • The 12/05 patch date covers issues with the kernel or drivers. These aren't part of Android, but Google is the central maintainer and assembles updated code and resources from the folks making the hardware components. This time we see fixes for serious exploits from Qualcomm, MediaTek, and NVIDIA — so chances are your phone needs these. Samsung's Exynos chips are covered outside of the Android Security Bulletin and are patched by Samsung themselves.

If you get an update with a patch date of 12/05 you also have every issue addressed by the 12/01 update in place.

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4 days ago

Android is not iOS, December 2016 edition

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Marshmallow rises while KitKat slowly melts.

December's Android distribution numbers are out, and they're boring. Android is still not iOS, and things don't change in large increments, so haters will still hate and defenders will still hate.

Impressively, Android 6.0 Marshmallow now holds the single version crown with 26.3% share. That takes over Android 4.4 KitKat, the previous leader, which dropped 1.2% to 24% even. Lollipop cumulatively holds the lead with 34%, divided between versions 5.0 and 5.1.

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4 days ago

Gmail: Boost your productivity with these tips and tricks

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Master your inbox with these Gmail tips and tricks.

We covered the basics of Gmail for Android in an extensive guide, and now it's time to take a look at features that extend the functionality of the email client. Whether it's creating labels to categorize your email or using filters to automatically sort incoming mail, Gmail offers a variety of tools aimed at managing your inbox clutter.

If you haven't already, you should enable two-factor authentication on your Gmail account. Two-factor authentication works by combining something you know (a password) with something you have (your phone), effectively doubling your account's security.

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4 days ago

Essential Accessories For Moto G4 + Moto G4 Plus

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Essential accessories for Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus

What are the essential accessories for the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus?

The Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus are awesome. We know it, you know it. And awesomeness deserves, well, more awesome. We've rounded up all the very best essentials for your favorite new phone.

Screen protectors

For some added protection and security, a tempered glass screen protector is an excellent investment. No need to worry about cracks or shattered glass with one of these in place.

Jasinber tempered glass screen protector

Jasinber tempered glass screen protector

A quality tempered glass screen protector won't interfere with the touch screen on your Moto G4 or Moto G4 Plus, and that's true of the screen protector from Jasinber. For good measure, your purchase comes with two.

The adhesive on the back of the tempered glass spreads automatically when applied to the surface of your phone, so installation is precise and simple. It offers exceptional clarity; you won't even realize it's there, but you'll be glad it is.

See at Amazon

OMOTON tempered glass screen protector

OMOTON screen protector

OMOTON's tempered glass screen protector offers a lifetime warranty; pair that with the two-for-one pricing and you've got security and a great deal.

Application is bubble-free and it won't leave behind any gooey residue if or when you remove it. It's clear, oleophobic, hydrophobic, and completely scratch resistant, which means you don't have to worry about fingerprints, oils, and all the daily crud that tries to get onto your phone screen.

See at Amazon

Cases

Make a statement or enhance the look of your Moto G4 or Moto G4 Plus with a case that protects and fits like a glove.

Orzly FlexiCase

Orzly FlexiCase

Orzly's FlexiCase has a non-slip gloss finish so your Moto G4 or Moto G4 Plus will be easier to grip. It's a slim fit that won't bulk up your phone, and it's made of a flexible silicone gel that won't move around or let dirt and dust get it.

The case allows you access to every port, button, and screen feature you want, and it's available in black, blue, red, purple, or a simple clear finish that shows off the hardware on your Moto G4 or Moto G4 Plus.

See at Amazon

Abacus24-7 flip cover wallet

Abacus24-7 flip cover wallet

Odds are, if you're leaving the house with your Moto G4 or Moto G4 Plus, you're also leaving with cash and cards. The flip cover wallet case from Abacus24-7 will keep all of your essentials in one convenient place.

Take your pick from four colors of vegan synthetic leather that feels like the real thing. Your phone stays safe and the screen stays protected while you get space for three credit cards (one with a clear window that's perfect for your ID), and separate compartment for some cash.

See at Amazon

Headphones

Take your tunes and your talk on your daily run, walk, or commute with the right headphones for the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus.

Jaybird X2 Sport Bluetooth headphones

Jaybird X2 Sport headphones

There are six color variations of the Jaybird X2 Sport Bluetooth headphones, and they start at under $100. That's a good buy, folks.

You can choose an under-ear or over-ear fit, and either way they're not going to budge no matter how active you are. They ship with multiple tips so you're virtually guaranteed to find the perfect, comfortable fit. You'll have up to eight hours of music or talk time, and the sweat proof lifetime warranty is a huge bonus.

See at Amazon

SoundPEATS Bluetooth headphones

SoundPEATS Bluetooth headphones

For HD sound, noise cancellation, and a low price point to boot, SoundPEATS Bluetooth headphones are where it's at. The nine vibrant color variations give you plenty to pick from; maybe match a pair to your favorite case?

You'll get up to six hours of play or talk time, and they're sweat-resistant, so run all you like and don't worry about a thing. SoundPEATS include several different sizes for the ear tips which means you can find a comfortable fit that won't move on you.

See at Amazon

Bluetooth speakers

Bring the party with you wherever you go with portable Bluetooth speakers. Your Moto G4 or Moto G4 Plus has the soundtrack, and you can have the ultimate sound system to match, wherever the party may be.

UE Boom 2

UE Boom 2 speaker

The waterproof, shockproof UE Boom 2 is an impressive Bluetooth speaker. Its six color options range from the vibrant to the subtle, and they're among the best-reviewed portable speakers out there.

With a 15 hour battery life and a 100-foot range, they suit virtually any environment. You get 360-degree sound with excellent bass; no one will believe all that sound is coming from such a tiny speaker. The Blockparty feature allows you to go between three friends' devices on one speaker, or you can choose to pair a second speaker to your Moto G4 or Moto G4 Plus.

See at Amazon

JBL Flip 3 portable speaker

JBL Flip 3 speaker

If you want quality and a speaker that stays under the $100 mark, the JBL Flip 3 portable speaker is right up your alley. It's splash proof (because water happens) and comes in eight different color options.

The bass radiator creates sound that will keep the party going long into the night. If you feel like sharing, you can connect up to three devices to the same speaker (but everybody knows your playlist is the best).

See at Amazon

Car Mounts

Always on the road? Keep in touch and get where you're going safely with a car mount that will keep your Moto G4 or Moto G4 Plus secure and hands-free.

iOttie Easy One Touch XL

iOttie Easy One Touch car mount

You can choose a dashboard or a windshield mount with the iOttie Easy One Touch XL car mount. The XL will fit your Moto G4 or Moto G4 Plus even with a case on, so you don't have to constantly take it out of the case to install it.

The car mount really is a one-touch device to lock your phone into place or to remove it. It's fully adjustable with 360 degrees of rotation, which is necessary if you're using your Moto G4 or Moto G4 Plus as a GPS device.

See at Amazon

New Trent Arcadia magnetic car mount

New Trent Arcadia car mount

The New Trent Arcadia car mount offers an alternative to windshield or dashboard mounting by using your car's air vents and a powerful magnet. The mount is available in black or blue.

The slim magnet adapter will fit inside virtually any phone case and hold your Moto G4 or Moto G4 Plus securely in place. The car mount allows you to fully rotate your phone without the need for an extended arm, and there's no cradle; just pop on your phone and go.

See at Amazon

Charging accessories

Keep your Moto G4 or Moto G4 Plus charged to the max no matter where you are with some handy charging accessories for home, office, or the road.

APLUS desktop charging cradle

APLUS desktop charging cradle

The APLUS desktop charging cradle is specifically designed to fit the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus. It keeps your phone propped up and plainly in sight while it charges, which is perfect for speakerphone calls or video watching.

The charging cradle can also become the regular resting place for your Moto G4 or Moto G4 Plus, even when it's not charging. Keeping it up off of a flat surface means you won't misplace it or lose it under papers and other desk junk again.

See at Amazon


AUKEY 30W 2-port USB car charger

AUKEY 30W 2-port USB car charger

When you're going to be on the road for a good stretch, why not use that time to charge your Moto G4 or Moto G4 Plus? The car charger from AUKEY allows you to charge two devices at once at equal speeds.

It includes a 3.3-foot USB cable, so you can charge your phone and use it in a car mount for speakerphone or GPS purposes. There are built-in safeguards to protect your Moto G4 or Moto G4 Plus from overheating and overcharging so you can be mindful of the road and not worry about how the charging is going.

See at Amazon

Moto G4 and G4 Plus

Moto G4:

Amazon Motorola

Moto G4 Plus:

Amazon Motorola

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4 days ago

Save $80 when buying an Amazon Tap and Fire tablet together

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Best Buy is currently offering an $80 savings when you purchase the Amazon Tap and 7-inch Fire tablet together. To get the offer all you need to do is add both items to your cart, and then the $80 will be subtracted. With the savings, it is essentially like getting the Fire tablet (normally $69) for free and $10 off the Amazon Tap (normally $129). With the Tap, you'll be able to use your voice to order Amazon items, check the weather and much more with Alexa, and the tablet is great for browsing the web, watching videos and playing some games.

So, for $119 plus tax you can get both of these great items, which is a pretty awesome deal. This offer is only good for today, December 5, so don't wait long to place your order.

See at Best Buy

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4 days ago

Quartz 'texts' you the news with new app

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Quartz app gives you the latest news in conversational tone.

It can be hard to stay on top of what's happening in the news throughout the day. Quartz is trying to keep things conversational with its new news app that delivers you the headlines as if you're having a text chat with your best friend who just happens to also be a knowledgeable journalist.

If you ever feel overwhelmed when you check out other news sites or apps by the wall of sensationalized headlines vying for your clicks, you definitely need to check out Quartz. It pulls headlines and news stories from their own news site, along with other reputable news sources including The New York Times, The Guardian, and the BBC, delivering them one at a time.

If a headline is relevant to your interests, you tap the response to read more about the story. If you're not interested, tap "next" or "anything else" to move onto the next story. Headlines are occasionally coupled with semi-relevant animated GIFs (because it's 2016, so of course there's GIFs), and if a story requires a deep dive, you can always tap to go out to the original source.

There's some amount of customization you can do by swiping right. By default, the app will send you notifications for "really, really big news", as well as for any news items might be worth your notice along with a few daily pokes when there's a queue of things to read in the app. If you'd prefer a notification-free experience, it's easy to hit the switches on those features.

For a more chill way of staying on top of the day's biggest news, check out the Quartz news app from the Google Play Store.

The best news apps for Android

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4 days ago

How to get Android 7.1.1 Nougat on your Nexus or Pixel right now

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How do I get Android 7.1.1 Nougat on your Nexus phone right now?

Android 7.1.1 Nougat is officially available for the Pixel, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, and Pixel C, but your phone may not get the OTA (over-the-air) update for another couple of weeks. If you don't have a Nexus, you can get a feel for when (or if) your phone will get Nougat based on our expectations.

If you know your way around a command line, you can skip the waiting game by downloading the factory image for your particular device and flashing it on top of your software. But there are some caveats you need to know about when flashing a factory image, so read on to find out what you need to know.

Updated on December 5th with new information and latest links to OTA files.

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4 days ago

Android 7.1.1 is here for the Pixel and some Nexus devices

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Sideload or wait for the update? That's the question.

Android 7.1.1 is slowly rolling out to the Google Pixel and select Nexus devices, with Google updating its factory images and over-the-air (OTA) pages to reflect the new builds.

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4 days ago

Galaxy S8: 5 things the GS7's Nougat update reveals about Samsung's next flagship

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Galaxy S7 Nougat

We don't yet know for sure what Samsung's next big thing will look like — but the Galaxy S7's Nougat beta gives us a few important clues.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Android 7.0 Nougat update is currently in beta, being tested by users around the world. In addition to new Android OS features, Samsung is giving beta testers an early look at its updated TouchWiz UI, which builds on the early work we saw in the Note 7.

With finalized Nougat updates for the GS7 and S7 edge likely to start rolling out in the next month or so, the current beta provides a useful window into what to expect from Samsung's next big thing. Just as 2015's GS6 Marshmallow beta foreshadowed the UI we would eventually see on the Galaxy S7 at launch, the GS7 Nougat beta gives us a few clues about what to expect from the Korean company's 2017 flagship.

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4 days ago

Google Pixel update on Verizon fixes Bluetooth issues and improves security

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Updates fixes voicemail issues and includes latest Android security patches.

Pixel users on Verizon should check for the new software update being rolled out today. On top of offering the latest Android security patches, the update also fixes issues some users have had with voicemail and call features on the Pixel.

Here's the full breakdown of what's new, straight from Verizon:

This update fixes these issues:

  • Customers couldn't retrieve their Visual Voicemail messages and were getting an error 9999 in some areas.
  • Voicemail icon notification was not displaying when a new voicemail message was received.
  • Device stopped playing voicemail messages over Bluetooth® after the screen timed out.
  • Device occasionally went to blue screen during an inbound call.
  • Email font was too small.
  • Text was garbled on the call screen/dialer and the text was corrupted on the Recent Calls and contact list screens.

This update improves:

  • You can now choose Cellular or Wi-Fi as your preferred way of calling while roaming internationally.
  • Latest Android™ security patches.

As always, before downloading and installing the software update, you'll want to connect via Wi-Fi or ensure you've got a strong connection to the Verizon network, and also make sure your device is plugged in or fully charged so there isn't any issues during the update.

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

Google Store Verizon

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4 days ago

5 Portable Battery Pack Gifts Under $25

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No one wants a dead phone, but for less than $25 you can make sure that doesn't happen again.

Cell phone batteries don't always last as long as our days do, and no one wants to be carrying around a dead phone or be tied to the wall to charge it up, right? Well, luckily you can charge your phone while you walk around, sit on the subway, have drinks with friends, or anywhere else you may be with ease. Portable batteries are a must-have these days since most phones have non-removable batteries, and they don't have to cost a fortune.

There are a bunch of great portable batteries out there, and here are some affordable ones to consider for less than $25.

Aukey mini 5000mAh

Your first thought about a portable battery is that you don't have the space to carry it around all day and don't want something big and bulky in your bag. Well, Aukey's 5000mAh power bank offers a nice small cylinder design that is shorter than a can of soda. You should be able to get up to two full charges out of the battery pack, so you can keep yourself powered up wherever you may be.

It has a single USB-A output, so you can bring your own charging cable, be it Micro-USB, USB-C, or even Lightning. You charge the battery itself with a Micro-USB cable, and it has built-in safeguards to protect against excessive currents, overheating, and overcharging. At $10, there is really no reason for everyone in your family not to have one of these.

See at Amazon

Kmashi 15000mAh

Depending on your usage habits or how many devices you are carrying around with you, you may need to have a large battery with you to be safe. Kmashi's 15000mAh portable battery should offer anywhere from three to five full charges, depending whether it is a phone or table that you are charging up. It has two USB outputs, so you can add the cable of your choice to charge what is in your hand.

The built-in LED lights will let you know how much power is left in the battery so you don't take a dead battery pack with you the following day. At under $15, this is the perfect option for anyone using more than one device during the day.

See at Amazon

Jackery 12000mAh

Looking for a happy medium between being small and having plenty of power to meet your needs? Jackery's 12000mAh portable battery is only just over 4 inches tall and 3 inches wide, so you should be able to easily keep this in your bag, jacket pocket, glove compartment or anywhere else you may find it useful. You'll have two USB outputs for charging your phone, tablet, action camera, or other electronics, and it charges through a Micro-USB port.

If you find yourself without power, or no flashlight around, the battery pack has a dual-LED flashlight built-in, so you can make sure you see where you are trying to go. Coming in at just over $20, it is a bit more expensive than some of the other options at this capacity, but the convenience of its size makes up for that.

See at Amazon

RAVPower 13400mAh

Some electronics need a higher output in order to avoid charging at a snail pace, and the RAVPower portable battery offers the highest output in the market. With 4.5A of output, the RAVPower 13400mAh power pack can charge two of your devices at the same time with ease. It utilizes exclusive iSmart technology which can automatically detect and deliver the optimal charging current for the device attached.

It has four LEDs to easily show you how much power remains in it, and thanks to its capacity you should be able to charge anywhere from three to five times depending on your device. Priced at just under $25, this is quite a value if you want a quicker charge while walking around.

See at Amazon

Anker Astro 5200mAh

If small is what you are looking for, Anker's Astro 5200mAh is a great option to look at. While only marginally larger in capacity than some of the others in this size, it offers exclusive PowerIQ technology to detect the best charging for your phone or tablet and then offer that output (up to 2A). This means that it will charge your device as quick as it can, but it doesn't support Qualcomm Quick Charge.

It is available in white, black, and red, so you can pick which one may be most visually appealing, or have one of each laying around to match your outfit. Coming in at just over $15, this is a great option to have around for yourself as well as grabbing a few for loved ones.

See at Amazon

Your favorite?

Do you have a favorite portable battery pack under $25 that isn't listed here? Be sure to drop a line in the comments with a link to the battery and why you like it so much!

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4 days ago

How to set up a Google Pixel from an old iPhone or Android

7

What's the best way to transfer data from my old phone to my Pixel?

One of the first things you'll want to do when you get your brand new Pixel phone is make sure all the data from your is transferred over from your old phone, and Google has done the work to make sure it's as painless as possible.

Included in the box with your Pixel is a USB-C to USB-A adapter which is used for the quickest and easiest method for transferring your data. We'll walk you through how to transfer your data from either an Android device or an iPhone. The process is mostly the same, with a few differences.

How to transfer your data from another Android phone

  1. If you've just powered up your Pixel for the first time, tap Let's Go to start the setup process.
  2. Tap Copy your data.
  3. Tap to connect to a trusted Wi-Fi network.

  4. Enter the password for your Wi-Fi network and then tap Connect.
  5. Once your phone is connected to the internet, it will automatically check for system updates.
  6. Connect your old Android phone to your Pixel with the USB-A to USB-C adapter and a USB cable as shown in the diagram.

  7. Switch back to your old phone and follow the onscreen instructions to unlock your phone.
  8. Tap Copy on your old phone to start the transfer process.
  9. Switch back over to your Pixel. Swipe up to scroll down and review the data to be transferred.

  10. Back on the Pixel, swipe up to scroll down and review the data to be transferred.
  11. Tap Copy to begin the transfer process. It will likely take a few minutes.
  12. Once your data transfer is complete, tap Next to continue with the setup process.

How to transfer your data from an iPhone

  1. If you've just powered up your Pixel for the first time, tap Let's Go to start the setup process.
  2. Tap Copy your data.
  3. Tap to connect to a trusted Wi-Fi network.

  4. Enter the password for your Wi-Fi network and then tap Connect.
  5. Once your phone is connected to the internet, it will automatically check for system updates.
  6. Connect your iPhone to your Pixel with the USB-A to USB-C adapter and a Lightning cable as shown in the diagram.

  7. Let the Pixel find your iPhone.
  8. Select the data you want to transfer over to the Pixel.
  9. Tap Copy to begin the transfer process. It will likely take a few minutes.
  10. Once your data transfer is complete, tap Next to continue with the setup process.

Questions? Having problems?

Let us know in the comments if you're having issues! With our iPhone, messages and photo attachments were automatically added to the Messages app, while photos were added to the main photos app.

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

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4 days ago

LG V20 makes its debut in India for ₹54,999

7

Sales kick off December 6 at retail stores and Amazon India.

The LG V20 is now official in India. The phone will be available from retail stores and online on Amazon India starting tomorrow, December 6, for ₹54,999 ($805). LG is throwing in a free B&O Play in-ear headphones for free with every order.

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4 days ago

Grab a refurbished Acer Chromebook for just $99 today

9

If you have been considering picking up a Chromebook, you won't want to miss out on this deal. Right now you can grab a refurbished Acer Chromebook for just $99, which is 50% of its original price. While it may not be the latest, nor the greatest Chromebook out there, it does come with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and an 11.6-inch display.

This model will run Android apps when the functionality is finally enabled, and for anyone looking to try one out for the first time, this is a great deal. You'll only be able to take advantage of this deal today, December 5, so don't wait too long to make your purchase.

See at Newegg

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4 days ago

Report claims Galaxy Note 7 batteries exploded because they were too big

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Galaxy Note 7

Instrumental report says there wasn't sufficient clearance between the battery and its enclosure, and that 'aggressive design' led to the battery being squeezed.

Ever since the late Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was withdrawn from sale, there has been no shortage of theories — both legitimate and dubious — about exactly what caused the phone's battery to go boom. Samsung originally blamed a battery cell issue in cells from one supplier, however the second recall and subsequent cancellation of the phone would seem to discount that.

Now a report from engineering firm Instrumental claims to have solved the mystery.

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