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4 months ago

Digital Offers: Learn to code with Python for only $22.50

Just about everything relies on some type of code nowadays. Cars are computerized; we use computers all day long, and we're glued to our smartphones from sunup to sundown. Python is a major coding language for apps and it's an excellent tool if you're wanting to enter the field of software development, especially if you want to build apps for a living.

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But you can't just learn to code with Python overnight. You need training, and Python may not be offered at your college of choice. Or, you already have a full-time job and don't have the time to attend classes, day or night. You need online courses and you need to be able to take them at your leisure — even if that means it takes a couple years.

The Python Power Coder Bonus Bundle is a great way for you to get started and to learn to build apps from scratch and learn web programming, as well as other applicable skills that you can use to forge your career as an app developer or programmer. You'll get lifetime access to eight courses, totaling roughly 70 hours of content, and you'll build 17 apps during your studies.

Were you to go anywhere else for these courses, you'd end up paying over $700. But right now through Android Central Digital Offers, you'll only pay $22.50 for the whole bundle when using the code LEARN50. That's eight courses, over 600 lessons, and about 70 hours of content for over 93% off.

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It's a great time to get into the world of app development and programming for the web, but you first need the tools to get a foot in the door. Python is one of the biggest coding languages when it comes to apps and learning to use it and use it well is an invaluable asset right now. But don't pay over $700 for courses. Get the Python Power Coder Bonus Bundle for only $22.50 with code LEARN50 through Android Central Digital Offers.

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4 months ago

Telegram adds support for themes in latest update

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You can now design custom themes in Telegram.

Encrypted messaging platform Telegram has added support for themes with the v3.17 update. You can now select from three themes — the default one, a blue theme, and a dark theme — and there's also the option to design your own via a theme editor.

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4 months ago

The real sticker artists behind Allo, Google's underrated messaging app

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Mauro Gatti and Marylou Faure walk us through what the design process is like for art that's used in a messaging app.

Ever wonder who the artists are behind the digital stickers you use in your favorite chat app? I certainly have, especially after I started using Allo. The app's included Google-commissioned sticker packs are not only unique, they were designed by prominent and prolific artists, including Gemma Correll, GIF animator Cecile Dormeau, and BuzzFeed.

I managed to sneak some talk-time with two of Allo's artists, Mauro Gatti and Marylou Faure. Gatti's sticker packs include Funder the Sea, a collaboration with Stefano Meazza, while Faure's include the vibrantly colored 90s Baby and Worst Day Ever sticker packs. I talked to both about how they each became artists, what their respective processes in designing, and what it was like to design for a messaging app.

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4 months ago

WhatsApp continues to be way better than Allo with its latest update

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Happy birthday, WhatsApp! What'd you get me?

A ton of people around the world use WhatsApp, and have for quite a while now. What started as a simple SMS replacement app has grown tremendously over the last eight years, and now does way more than just text. According to WhatsApp, 50 billion messages are sent each day alongside 760 million video and 80 million gifs. The point is, this app is a big deal even if you aren't using it.

To help celebrate eight years of improvement, WhatsApp is improving the Status feature. Here's how it's going to work, according to the WhatsApp blog:

As soon as you open the new Status tab, you'll see updates from friends and family who are WhatsApp users in your address book. You can reply privately to your friends' updates and control who sees what you share. All updates expire after 24 hours. And like other types of messages, you can mute or unmute contacts at any time.

Status messages can be text, video, gif, and it can all be improved with drawing or emoji like any other message. For people that live inside WhatsApp, this is almost like turning the Status page into its own little social network. It's an exciting change, and you can expect to see it rolling out to users all over the world this week.

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4 months ago

Great SAT Prep apps for Android to get you ready for test day

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These apps will help you to succeed on the big test day.

For many high school students, one of the biggest tests they will ever take is the SAT. It can cement their chances of getting into the university of their dreams, or derail those plans. While the SAT can be plenty stressful, by employing a solid studying strategy you can do everything to prepare yourself for the big day. These apps will make sure that you have a solid grasp on what you need to know on the big day.

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4 months ago

Learn to code your own Android app for less than $40

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Google Play is full of great apps, but not all of them always meet your needs perfectly. Ever have an idea for an app that you wish existed, but had no idea how to make it become a reality? Wish that you could make it for yourself, but don't know where to even begin? Don't spend all your time researching the things you need to get started, and instead start right here.

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The Ultimate Android N Development Bundle is a great set of resources that will get you right on your way. With five different courses that start you at the beginning and take you through the steps, you'll be well on your way to coding the app of your dreams, at your own pace.

  • Android 7: Master App Development - Beginner 1 - $79 Value
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Learn to develop for much less! Learn More

Normally, this great bundle would set you back over $400 but right now you can pay a fraction of that. You can grab all five courses for just $39 right now, but if you use the code AC10 you can save an additional 10% from that price. This offer won't last long, so grab it while you can!

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4 months ago

Let's talk about Andromeda

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Andromeda and Fuchsia look to be the mating of Chrome and Android, just not the way anyone thought it would be.

I got to completely geek out when Daniel Matte wrote up the things he found about Andromeda while looking through some Google source code earlier this week. It reinforced a lot of the things I thought when I first looked through all the code in August 2016, caught a lot more things that I overlooked, and examined the new code. I think Matte's assessments are pretty close to the mark here. Not because they confirmed some of my original thoughts, but because it points out things I got wrong. Or at least I think I got them wrong. Everything about Andromeda or Fuchsia is still just educated guessing.

More: 'Fuchsia' operating system project is interesting, lacking details that make it matter

At this point, I think we have a pretty good idea of where Google is going with Andromeda, Fuchsia, Android and Chrome. The future looks like it will be all about consolidating everything without making things the same. I've been digging and chatting and poking things for a couple days and that's my conclusion.

The Pixel C should have shipped with Fuchsia. Maybe the next one will.

Fuchsia is where we need to start. Fuchsia is a way to replace Linux and become an operating system for Chrome and Android to run on. Android is kind of weird. It can be built as an all-in-one OS waiting for some hardware support to be added making it ready to run, or it can also be a runtime(s) and support files for applications. The Nexus 6P is using Android as an operating system, the BlackBerry Classic is using Android as an application platform atop another operating system. If you were to hack Google's apps (Google Play, Play Services, etc) onto the Classic it could do everything the Nexus 6P can do when it comes to Android apps, even though it's not using "Android" as the operating system.

Fuchsia will work with the Android runtime and support everything using compatible APIs. In other words, we won't see any difference but the people developing Android will.

The future where everything is the same but different makes sense when done right.

Fuchsia will also power Andromeda. We have already seen stage one of Andromeda when Google Play came to some Chromebooks. Right now, Chrome OS is basically a user interface and application platform running on a fairly standard Linux kernel and middleware. If that sounds confusing, just think of Chrome OS as something like Ubuntu. That's close enough for what we're talking about here. Android apps run in Chrome natively, but not really natively. There's a layer that talks to Android apps and talks to that middleware through Chrome that makes it seamless to the user. That layer is step one of Andromeda.

Fuchsia will work with the Chrome application platform and framework and support everything with compatible APIs. In other words, we won't see any difference but the people developing Chromium will.

It looks like Andromeda and Fuchsia is a hybrid of Android and Chrome, but not the way people thought it would be. It's the software underneath it all that's being changed to support everything. And that's about as awesome as it gets for people who work with Android and Chrome every day.

More: How Google can use Andromeda to conquer everything

You and I are end users for Android and Chrome. We appreciate the changes (or hate them) to the operating system but are familiar with them both and choose to use them instead of something else. Changing that and offering something that looks and feels different is risky. Keep giving people the things they want to buy.

A universal OS is hard because not all screens are the same size.

Developers benefit from having one operating system that powers both platforms. As things advance, the lines between what a Chrome app is and what an Android app is will blur until there is only one app that runs on both. Developers can target the mobile, touch-friendly version or the full pointer-driven version, or both. This eliminates the biggest drawback to what Ubuntu and Microsoft are doing because a universal interface just won't work on a 4.5-inch screen and a 30-inch monitor.

Or everyone thinking about it all and guessing could be completely wrong. Wouldn't be the first time.

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4 months ago

How Nanab and Pinap berries in Pokémon Gen 2 will improve your game

With the new update Pokémon Go will add Pinap and Nanab berries to buffs you can use while capturing Pokémon.

Just when you thought the hype over Pokémon Go had cooled down to a simmer, Niantic announced a huge new update. To help you capture the 80 new species of Pokémon being added to the game, there is the addition of two new types of berries; Pinap and Nanab.

Nanab berries

The Nanab Berry isn't here to replace your Razzberries, instead it's going to help you to become even more effective when trying to catch Pokémon. Especially if you are dealing with a particularly shy Pokémon that is prone to running away — Abra, we're looking at you little buddy! The Ninab berry looks like a banana, but it's no joke.

Each time that you throw a Ninab Berry at a Pokémon you are attempting to capture it will slow it down. This means it will take them much longer to dodge, making them much easier to hit and capture. That also makes it extra handy when used in conjunction with the Razzberry, since you can slow down a Pokémon to capture him, and then ensure he has one heck of a time escaping your clutches.

Pinap Berries

Pinap Berries look like a Pineapple, but unlike Razzberries or Nanab Berries, it won't aid you in capturing a new Pokémon. Instead, it will ensure that you get the biggest perk possible once you eventually capture that pocket monster. Each time you use a Pinap Berry and then successfully catch a Pokémon you will receive double candy for your efforts.

While that might not seem like much for some Pokémon, it does mean that gathering up enough candy to finally evolve your Magikarp to a Gyarados. Likewise, that may mean you want to hold onto your Pinap Berries until you come across a rare Pokémon, or one that is just a few candies off from evolution in order to maximize the benefits of the candy.

Pokémon Go

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4 months ago

Get lifetime access to 1TB of cloud storage for only $39!

Our current, tech-obsessed world demands a storage solution for your multimedia data, the most convenient being cloud-based storage which you can access from anywhere. Most cloud-based storage services charge a monthly fee, which, over time, adds up to quite a fee. Those of you sick of subscription fees need a storage solution that requires a single payment for a lifetime of access. More importantly, you need cloud storage that is encrypted and can be accessed from all your devices.

Keep your stuff backed up for life! Learn More

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4 months ago

Why do new phones ship with older versions of Android?

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New phones shipping with outdated versions of Android isn't too surprising. The reasons? Release cycles, and Benjamin Franklin.

This summer, you'll see phones sold — expensive phones — that have older versions of Android. Brand new phones that cost hundreds of dollars and are the best models available. They will be on shelves beside other brand new phones that have "old" software on them, too. And not just models that have been available for a while, but just-released devices that we have heard about and are waiting to buy. For some, that can be frustrating. But there is a reason, and it's pretty simple.

It's known as opportunity cost. The idea behind opportunity cost is that all resources must be used efficiently. These resources could be monetary, but they also include things like time or any other corporate benefit. We're all more familiar with the idea the way Ben Franklin expressed it: "Remember that Time is Money."

It's no secret that most phones that run Android aren't using the latest software. The main reason is that it's not an easy task to keep phones updated because of Android's software licensing, and nobody involved in making your phone or the software on it wants things to change. Many of those same reasons apply when we see brand new shiny phones that have old software on them, too.

Building an operating system is hard and you can't change the platform in the middle of doing it.

Google only makes Android for the products they sell. They allow companies like Samsung or LG to build their own operating system based on Android any time they like because of a liberal software license. That's why Android became the dominant operating system so quickly, and it's also why your phone probably has an older version of Android, and has ever since you bought it.

It's not cheap to build and test an operating system. Sometimes it's comparatively easy; think of BlackBerry's Android phone and how they are patched on time every month when Google releases a security bulletin. The new code was designed to be merged into existing code, and all a company using it needs to do is check the parts they have changed compared to the download Google provides. Actual changes to the Android core are another matter, and even a bump from 7.0 to 7.1 can prove challenging. And expensive.

Software cycles versus hardware cycles

Samsung is likely going to show us a Galaxy S8 in late March. It may run Android 7.0 or it may run 7.1. The chance that it will be running 7.1.1 (the latest official version) is very slim because that particular version wasn't ready when Samsung was finalizing the software the way it wants it to be on the S8. And that's not going to be a big deal. It will be running Android Nougat and have the same application support as Google's Pixel. Phones that release near the beginning of the year are usually all like this and will only be a point or two behind.

Those point releases are nice but not critical. 7.1 is still just fine.

This becomes more of a problem for phones that come later in the year. Android gets its yearly platform update every autumn. Recent versions have had a beta testing cycle so we get to see them a few months before. But companies can't build their software based on beta code so any phone in late stages of production before the Android platform update will be a full platform version behind. That can have major implications when it comes to security and app compatibility.

In both cases, the time it would take to stop production and update the software before selling them would directly affect the amount of money a company makes from selling them. Companies that make things like phones exist only to make money.

Nobody at Samsung or LG or anyone else wants you to have old software on your phone. But because they have to do the updating themselves, it takes time. And time equals money.

Android Nougat

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4 months ago

Master Product Management with this bundle for 79% off

Product Management is a skill that many companies are looking for these days as they bring new products to market, test new ideas, and figure out which direction to go. In today's world, things change so fast that you've always got to be ahead of the curve or you get left behind quickly, and no one wants that. Wouldn't it be cool to get involved with the next big thing, before it is the next big thing? Well, you can with the right skills.

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  • Buyer Personas for Your B2B Business - $20 Value

Take a chance at a new career for 79% off! Learn More

Normally, you'd pay around $220 for these courses on their own, but right now you can pay a fraction of that. Priced at just $45 for a limited time you can finally make the move towards a new career path without going broke. Be sure to act quick as this deal won't last long, your future self will thank you.

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4 months ago

Getting 'GPS signal not found' error in Pokémon Go? Here's how to fix it!

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Don't let GPS errors stop you from playing Pokémon Go!

Pokémon Go is everywhere, and that's great for Android gamers around the world. But if you're getting a "GPS signal not found" error when you launch the game, here's how to fix it!

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4 months ago

Facebook videos will now auto-play with the sound on by default

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Facebook's auto-playing videos are about to get much more annoying.

If you're not a fan of Facebook's auto-playing videos, get ready to be annoyed. Starting today, videos will auto-play with the sound enabled by default. If you don't have your phone set on silent, every time you scroll past an auto-playing video, you'll now hear the audio associated with it.

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4 months ago

BlackBerry's Notable app lets you quickly annotate screenshots

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BlackBerry may not be making its smartphones anymore, but it's still producing productivity-focused apps.

To help extend the excitement of the forthcoming BlackBerry Mercury, the company has launched BlackBerry Notable for BlackBerry Hub+ users. The app allows you to annotate screenshots before opening them up in other applications, or you can start with a blank canvas. You can draw, add text, and make collages. It's a fairly simplistic app that looks and functions a bit like Google Keep. As an added bonus, you can program it to open up with a gesture or the press of a hardware shortcut key.

At present, the app is only available for BlackBerry device users, including the DTEK60, DTEK50, and the Priv. The company says the app will eventually come to other devices with a subscription to BlackBerry Hub+, but you don't have to wait: there are already plenty of apps in the Play Store that offer similar functionality.

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4 months ago

Nest Cam update literally shows you the door

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An update to the Nest app for Android makes some big improvements to notifications using machine learning.

It sounds like a bad joke, but thanks to advancements in machine learning, Nest is now able to automatically add "activity zones" for doors, something that had to be done manually before now.

The company announced the software update for its Nest Cam line, which includes the excellent Nest Outdoor Cam, along with a number of notification improvements to its Android app.

When you get an alert from Nest Cam, there's a thumbnail image that shows you what's going on at a glance. Nest Aware subscribers using Android 7 or iOS 10 can even see an animated preview of the Nest Cam video clip – without having to open the app.

We're also improving the alerts that Nest Cam owners get from Nest Protect. Now, if Nest Protect warns you of smoke or dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, you'll automatically see live video from all your Nest Cams. It's just another way Nest products work better together.

The company also revealed that Nest's app now supports App Shortcuts on devices running Android 7.1 Nougat — a small number for now, but it's great that the Google-owned company is paying attention to the market.

Do you own a Nest Cam? Do you use activity zones?

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