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39 min ago

Moto P30 goes live with iPhone X design, Huawei P20 paint job

2

Moto P30 goes live with iPhone X design, Huawei P20 paint job

Moto P30

The Moto P30 is the latest Android phone to copy the iPhone X design.

Moto P30

We've reached a point where Android manufacturers aren't trying to hide the fact that their designs are blatant iPhone X copies. The Moto P30 broke cover earlier this week with a design that looked more like an iPhone X than any of Motorola's previous devices, and the company has formally launched the phone in China.

As the leaks indicated, the Moto P30 follows in the footsteps of the ASUS ZenFone 5Z and the Xiaomi Mi 8 in offering a design that's essentially an iPhone X knockoff running Android. Whereas ASUS and Xiaomi were content with just ripping off Apple, Motorola went one step further and applied a gradient effect of the back of the P30 that's eerily similar to what we've seen on the Huawei P20 series.

1 hour ago

Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play: Game, set, match

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Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play: Game, set, match

Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play
Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play
Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play
Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play
Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play
Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play
Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play
Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play
Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play
Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play
Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play

If it's sheer performance you're after, you'll love what the Honor Play has to offer.

Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play

Xiaomi became the largest handset manufacturer in India at the end of last year, and it was all because of a strong showing in the budget category. Xiaomi now accounts for one out of three sales in the country, and over 95% of its market share comes from the sub-₹15,000 ($215) segment.

It isn't hard to see why Xiaomi is so dominant in this category. Earlier this year, the manufacturer launched the Redmi Note 5 Pro, offering robust hardware in the form of a Snapdragon 636, upgraded cameras, and a massive 4000mAh battery.

The Mi A2 builds on that by offering a Snapdragon 660 — normally featured on devices that cost twice as much — along with even better cameras and an 18:9 screen. The main draw, however, is the fact that the Mi A2 runs Android One, ensuring it receives timely updates.

Honor is also on the rise in India, with the company emulating Xiaomi's strategy. Its latest phone — the Honor Play — is interesting for several reasons.The Honor Play is powered by the Kirin 970, the same chipset behind the Honor 10 and the Huawei P20 Pro.

The Kirin 970 is just as powerful as the Snapdragon 845, and it's incredulous to think that the Honor Play is offering such enticing hardware for the equivalent of $290 (₹19,999). For gamers in particular, there isn't a device that comes close to the Honor Play in this segment.

Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play: Specs

Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play

Category Xiaomi Mi A2 Honor Play Operating System Android 8.1 Oreo
Android One Android 8.1 Oreo
EMUI 8.1 Display 5.99-inch 18:9 FHD+
(2160x1080) IPS LCD panel
Gorilla Glass 5 6.3-inch 19.5:9 FHD+
(2340x1080) IPS LCD panel SoC Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
4x2.2GHz Kryo 260 + 4x1.8GHz Kryo 260
14nm Octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 970
4x2.4 Cortex A73 + 4x1.80GHz Cortex A53 GPU Adreno 512 Mali-G72 MP12 RAM 4GB/6GB 4GB/6GB Storage 32GB/64GB/128GB 64GB/64GB Expandable No Yes, dedicated up to 256GB Rear camera 12MP (f/1.75, 1.25um) + 20MP (f/1.75, 1.0um)
PDAF, LED flash, 4K video recording 16MP (f/2.2) + 2MP (f/2.4)
LED flash, 4K video recording Front camera 20MP (f/1.75, 1.0um)
AI portrait mode
LED Selfie light
Beautify 4.0 16MP f/2.0 lens, 2.0um
1080p video recording Connectivity LTE with VoLTE
Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 5.0
GPS, GLONASS LTE with dual VoLTE
Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.2
GPS, GLONASS, FM radio
USB-C, 3.5mm jack Battery 3000mAh battery
Quick Charge 4.0 (India)
QC3.0 (ROW)
USB-C 3700mAh battery
Fast charging (18W) Fingerprint Rear fingerprint Rear fingerprint Dimensions 158.7 x 75.4 x 7.3mm 157.9 x 74.3 x 7.5mm Weight 166g 176g Colors Black, Rose Gold, Gold, Blue Midnight Black, Navy Blue, Violet

What the Mi A2 does better

Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play

The $250 Mi A2 is all about delivering a user experience that's devoid of clutter. Android One drives Google's vision for Android and makes it more accessible across various price points, and the Mi A2 is one of the best examples the program has to offer. For its part, Xiaomi has done a masterful job with its 2018 Android One phone, and if clean software along with timely security updates is a key factor in your purchasing decision, the Mi A2 is one of the best options for under $300.

Neither device is particularly striking on the design front — but the Mi A2 has a slight edge in this area as its back is subtly curved, facilitating better in-hand feel.

That said, the camera sensor on the Mi A2 protrudes quite a bit from the body, making the phone wobble when using it on a flat surface. On the subject of camera, the dual 12MP + 20MP configuration at the back is one of the best in this category. The Mi A2 consistently takes great photos in daylight and low-light scenarios, and the front camera is leagues ahead of what the Honor Play has to offer.

Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor PlayXiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play

Xiaomi Mi A2 to the left, Honor Play to the right.

Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor PlayXiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play

Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor PlayXiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play

While the Honor Play did outshine the Mi A2 in a few scenarios, mainly because of the AI, the Mi A2 is a more consistent shooter that delivers great images in any lighting condition.

What the Honor Play does better

Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play

The Honor Play is designed to do one thing, and one thing only: beat every other budget phone when it comes to performance. The Kirin 970 allows it to do just that, and although the Snapdragon 660 in the Mi A2 is plenty capable, it isn't quite as fast as the Kirin 970. In synthetic scores, the Kirin 970 is closer to the Snapdragon 845.

As a result, gaming is a delight on the Honor Play. The phone handles visually demanding games with aplomb, and playing PUBG on the device is loads of fun. Honor is also offering custom haptics in titles like PUBG that enhances the gaming experience.

With a 3700mAh battery under the hood, the Honor Play also delivers much better battery life. The phone consistently delivered over a day's worth of use, and it comes with Huawei's fast charging tech that delivers up to a 50% charge from flat in just 30 minutes.

And unlike the Mi A2, the Honor Play has a 3.5mm jack and a microSD slot.

Which should you buy? Honor Play

Xiaomi Mi A2 vs. Honor Play

With the latest batch of budget phones, it's easy to see that manufacturers are positioning their devices in such a way that there's a single marquee feature. The Mi A2 scores a double whammy as it comes with Android One and great cameras, but on the downside, it's missing out on key features like the 3.5mm jack and the microSD slot.

The Honor Play, meanwhile, is all about sheer performance. You're buying the device for the Kirin 970, and if you're a gamer, there isn't a phone that offers quite as much power. The Honor Play delivers performance that's on par with the likes of the OnePlus 6 for half the cost. That's a huge deal, but then again the camera isn't quite as good as the Mi A2 and you have to deal with EMUI.

Honestly, with so many great options in this segment, it's hard to go wrong with any one pick. Ultimately, it comes to what set of features you value over others. If you're more interested in playing visually intensive games on your phone, then the Honor Play is an easy recommendation. But if you want a clean user interface and fast updates, then the Mi A2 is a better bet.

The Honor Play is available for ₹19,999 ($290) for the variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. That's ₹3,000 ($40) more than what the Mi A2 costs in the country, and the premium is justified when you look at the hardware on offer.

See at Amazon India

6 hours ago

What is Project Fi, how does it work, and why do I want it?

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What is Project Fi, how does it work, and why do I want it?

Project Fi SIM card
Project Fi
Project Fi battery and Nexus 6

Project Fi SIM card

Google's own carrier offering definitely has appealing features.

If you're an Android enthusiast, you likely know about Project Fi. But that doesn't mean you necessarily know everything about it. And for everyone out there who doesn't have one of the handful of phones that work with the carrier are unlikely to have looked into Project Fi deeply. So we're here to give you the high-level view at the carrier option that comes directly from Google. Namely, just what the heck it is, how it works compared to other carriers and maybe a few reasons why you'd want to try it.

See at Project Fi

The latest Project Fi news

August 15, 2018 — Project Fi is getting rid of text forwarding

Project Fi is chock-full of helpful features, one of which is text forwarding — the ability to have all of your text messages that are sent to your Fi number also go to other numbers you set up.

Unfortunately, text forwarding is going away after September 12 😞.

Call forwarding will continue to work (i.e. calls to your Fi number are sent to other numbers), but text forwarding will be no more. Google didn't provide any reasoning for this move, but in any case, we'll play our sad violin for any of you that relied on it. And in any case, if you need access to your Fi texts on other devices you can use the Hangouts app, which for now still has Fi integration.

🎻🎻🎻

July 16, 2018 — Get a $300 credit when pre-ordering the G7 or V35

It's been almost a month since the LG G7 and V35 appeared on Project Fi, and if you've been holding off on picking one up for yourself, a new promotion for a $300 Fi credit might finally push you over the edge.

Between now and July 29 (while supplies last), you can get a $300 credit that's applied towards your monthly Project Fi bill when pre-ordering either the G7 or V35 for $749 and $899, respectively.

If you already pre-ordered either of the phones when Google was running its $100 Fi credit promo, you'll be receiving an email shortly on how to claim your other $200.

See at Project Fi

June 19, 2018 — LG G7 and V35 now available for pre-order

LG's first Project Fi phones, the G7 and V35, are now available for pre-order!

The G7 is the more affordable of the two at $749 outright or $31.21/month for 24 months, whereas the V35 will set you back a hefty $899 or $37.46/month for 24 months.

No matter which one you choose, Google's offering a $100 Fi credit when you pre-order either one. This is a limited time offer and will only be available through July 7, 2018, at 11:59 PM PT.

See at Project Fi

June 5, 2018 — You can now add kids under 13-years-old to your family plan

Leveraging its Family Link suite of digital parental tools, Google now allows you to add kids to your Project Fi family plan that are under 13-years-old.

After making a Google account for your kiddo(s) through Family Link, you'll be able to add them to your Project Fi plan like any other adult user. They'll have access to all of the features everyone else on your plan has, but of course, you can limit how much time they spend on their phone through the Family Link app.

Kids also cost the same at $15/month for the Fi Basics (calling and texting) and then $10 per GB of data they use.

You can now add kids under 13 to Project Fi group plans via Family Link

What you need to know about Project Fi

What is Project Fi?

At the highest level, Project Fi is a phone carrier operated by Google. It works by giving you mobile data service on three mobile networks, which your phone will intelligently switch between — it also uses Wi-Fi to make calls and send texts whenever available. Project Fi is a "prepaid" carrier, meaning you pay upfront for your service in the trailing month, which is the opposite of a traditional carrier (Verizon, AT&T, etc.) that bills you after you use the service.

It's all about simplified billing with no hidden fees or overages.

Project Fi is focused on simplified billing. You pay $20 per month for unlimited talk and texting, and a flat rate of $10 per gigabyte of data used. At the start of each month you simply estimate how much data you'll use (by the gigabyte) and pay for that amount — at the end of the month you'll receive either a refund for data you didn't use, or pay a little extra on the next bill for data overages. You'll always pay at the same $10 per gigabyte rate either way. Bill Protection applies to international data usage the same as home usage.

The only time that doesn't apply is when you hit a level called "Bill Protection" — effectively an unlimited plan tier for Fi. Once you've used 6GB ($60) of data in a given month, your bill is then capped at that point for the month but you continue to get data service. You can use as much data as you want for the month without paying over $80 total ($20 base + $60 data). The only caveat here is that once you hit 15GB of total data usage, your speeds are slowed to 256kbps — alternatively, at the 15GB point you can choose to start paying $10 per GB again for full-speed data if needed.

The huge benefit here is that you don't have to pay for an "unlimited" plan every month — it's simply there if you use beyond 6GB of data in a month. All other months when you use less than 6GB of data your bill will be less than $80.

You can also set up a "Group Plan" on Project Fi for up to six people to share a single account and billing source. With a Group Plan, all of the same features of an individual plan apply, but you save $5 per person per month on the base plan charge. Billing is handled centrally by the account owner, along with data limitations for each user (if needed) — Bill Protection data usage limits are also handled on a per-person basis. Project Fi charges the group owner for everyone's bill collectively, but can also facilitate payments back to the account admin from each member to pay their share. Individuals can come and go from a Group Plan as they wish, without any contract.

Unlike most other prepaid carriers, Project Fi is available for just a handful of phones: the Google Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 2, Moto X4, Pixel XL, Pixel, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6. You can also use a data-only SIM card with any tablet that supports the T-Mobile network.

How does it work?

Project Fi works with a special SIM card — and a little software on your phone — that can authenticate you on T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular, and switch between them on the fly based on a variety of factors. On the new Pixel 2 and 2 XL, an integrated eSIM lets you use Project Fi without a physical SIM card and quickly switch between Project Fi and another carrier's SIM.

Using Wi-Fi for calls and texts, you can keep using your phone in places where mobile data isn't that great. Extra software called a "Wi-Fi assistant" will automatically connect your phone to open Wi-Fi access points when you're out of the house, reducing your data usage without any intervention on your part.

You get the power of three mobile networks, plus Wi-Fi, in a single SIM

When you use Project Fi, you also get some of the same features that have made Google Voice popular over the years. You can forward phone calls to your Fi number to any phone you want, as well as view voicemail, make calls and send texts with that number from any device using the Hangouts app and website.

Project Fi also works internationally in 120 countries around the world with no additional cost for data use or texting. You can call at a flat rate to any number while on the cellular networks abroad, or pay much lower rates when calling on Wi-Fi. You can also call back home to the U.S. on Wi-Fi for free. Data used internationally just comes out of your standard $10 per gigabyte bucket, but speeds can vary depending on the country you're in.

What phones are available?

When Project Fi launched in 2015, the only phone that supported it was the Nexus 6. Google's been expanding this list over the years, and while the list of compatible phones isn't nearly on the same level as carriers such as T-Mobile and Verizon, it's one that's growing all the time.

Along with Google's own Pixel 2 and 2 XL, other phones that work on Project Fi include the Moto G6, LG G7, LG V35, and others.

These phones work on Project Fi

Why do I want it?

Well, this is really a personal question of whether you actually want to try Project Fi. Chances are if you're reading Android Central you're at least one step closer to being the target audience for the Google-powered carrier, but there are a few other boxes to check that make it the right choice for you.

Simplicity in the service and billing are paramount to the experience.

The only big issue for most people is the limited phone choices. Google lets you use its latest phones, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, on Project Fi, in addition to a small selection of handsets from Motorola and LG — including the Moto G6, LG G7, and a couple others.

If you're okay with that limitation, you don't have many other hurdles to jump over. You can sign up for Project Fi online in minutes, and you can either buy a Pixel phone at the same time or Google will send you a SIM card to put in your existing Pixel or Nexus. Once it arrives, you can start the typical porting process of bringing your current phone number to Fi, or can start fresh with a new number. You can use Project Fi for as long or short as you want, as there aren't any contracts or commitments involved.

There are lots of cool features that make Project Fi a good choice, like the simplified billing, included international features and improved network coverage through the use of three carriers and Wi-Fi networks. Each one will have a different amount of draw for different people, though.

Project Fi's pricing isn't dramatically lower than other carriers out there, and whether it makes a good choice financially for you depends on your data usage and which features you want. We encourage you to do your pricing research before choosing which carrier is the best.

And whether you're still on the fence or just curious about it, be sure to follow all of our Project Fi coverage here at Android Central!

See at Project Fi

Google Project Fi

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Update June 19, 2018: Started a blog roll for the latest Project Fi news and added a section about the available phones.

*/ /*-->*/
7 hours ago

Android Pie: Everything you need to know about Android 9

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Android Pie: Everything you need to know about Android 9

 Google unveils Android Pie statue at the Googleplex

From new gestures to extending battery life, here's everything you need to know about Android Pie!

Following last year's Oreo release, 2018 is the year of Android 9 Pie.

Google's latest flavor of Android is jam-packed with all sorts of new features, including a brand-new gesture navigation system, new UI elements, and a heap of under-the-hood tweaks that aim to make this the best version of Android to date.

Without further ado, here's everything you need to know about Pie!

The latest Android Pie news

August 15, 2018 — Android 9 Pie (Go Editon) is coming this fall

With Android Oreo, Google launched a special "Go Edition" of it that was designed specifically with lower-end hardware in mind. With Pie, that same idea is continuing (and getting better) with Android 9 Pie (Go Edition).

Android 9 Pie (Go Edition) is keeping everything that made its Oreo sibling great while also adding faster device boot times, a dashboard for tracking your data usage, verified boot + other security features, and comes with an extra 500MB of internal storage compared to Oreo's version of Go (5.5GB vs. 5.0GB).

In other Go news, Google says that more than 100 OEMs will have Go phones on the market before the end of the year and that there are already 200+ devices available in over 120 countries.

August 15, 2018 — A fix is coming for slow-charging speeds on Pixel and Pixel XL running Pie

Google's Pixel and Pixel XL are among the first smartphones to be treated by the Android 9 Pie update, but after getting the new software, users have been complaining about slow charging speeds with both the official charger that's included with the phones and third-party ones. This bug's been reported by both Pixel and Pixel XL owners, so we're glad to hear that a fix is on the way.

According to The Verge, Google's currently testing a software update that resolves the issue. In a statement that was sent to the publication, Google said:

We're aware of an issue where non-Power Delivery (PD) USB-C chargers no longer rapidly charge the 2016 Pixel and Pixel XL after the upgrade to Android 9 Pie. The 18W rapid charger included in-box is a PD charger and does not exhibit this behavior. We are verifying a fix for non-PD USB-C chargers and will roll it out in the coming weeks.

A clearer timeframe than "the coming weeks" would be nice, but nonetheless, it's great to hear that these troubles with be over with soon.

August 6, 2018 — Google releases Pie's OTA images for Pixel and Nexus devices

If you're eager to start using Pie ASAP, Google's got you covered.

The full OTA images have already been released, meaning you can grab them and flash Pie onto your Pixel or Nexus phone this very second.

Go, go, go!

Grab the OTA files here

August 6, 2018 — Google unveils Android Pie statue at the Googleplex

 Google unveils Android Pie statue at the Googleplex

Every new version of Android is represented by a statue at Google's Mountain View campus, and with Pie going live, Google has unveiled the Android Pie statue.

The unveiling didn't have the same fanfare as last year, where Google held events in New York and Mountain View to launch Oreo. With Pie out of the way, it's time to start guessing what Android Q will be called next year.

August 6, 2018 — The Essential Phone is already being updated to Pie

Oh man — that was fast!

Just a few minutes after Google announced that Android Pie will begin rolling out to its Pixel phones, Essential announced on Twitter that the Essential Phone is also getting its Pie update today.

This is the first non-Pixel phone to get the Pie update so far, and as more are announced, we'll update this article accordingly.

August 6, 2018 — Android Pie is here!

After months and months of waiting, Google's officially announced that Android P is Android 9 Pie.

As expected, the update will roll out to Pixel and Nexus devices first with OEMs involved in the Android Beta Program to follow. Pixel phones will begin receiving the Pie update today, and while we don't have any exact dates yet as to when Pie will be available for the other beta program phones, it should be at some point this fall.

Android 9 Pie is official and the update is starting today

August 2, 2018 — Android P tipped for August 20 launch

We're expecting the final version of Android P to land any time now, and according to Evan Blass on Twitter, the new software is slated for a release on August 20.

That date lines up with the release schedule Google previously published, not to mention the fact that Oreo was released on August 21 last year.

Now, what in the world will it be called? 🤔

July 25, 2018 — Google pushes Android P Beta 4

"Android P is almost here!" That's how Google starts its blog post introducing Android P Beta 4, also known as Developer Preview 5, which is available on all supported devices starting today.

According to Google, "Today's Beta 4 update includes a release candidate build with final system behaviors and the official Android P APIs (API level 28), available since Beta 2. It includes everything you need to wrap up your testing in time for the upcoming official Android P release." In other words, this is basically the same version that will ship to Pixels later in August, when the public version is released.

How to install Android P on your Pixel right now (or roll back to Oreo)

July 20, 2018 — Android P engineers discuss dark mode, gestures, and more in Reddit AMA

Leading up to the official launch of Android P in about a month or so, the development team behind the new update recently got together for an AMA on Reddit to answer technical questions about P.

The dev team covered a ton of stuff, but there are a few highlights worth pointing out here. First off, when it comes to Android P's gesture navigation, they had this to say:

We evaluated many, (MANY!) options for navigation as part of this overall change to the system spaces (worth noting that our main impetus was about making All Apps/Overview more accessible from wherever you are in the system, similar to the notification shade). HOME and BACK are so central to Android navigation (both the system and the apps) - that ensuring the dependability of them via buttons with enough space led us to the current design. All that said - we really value both the aesthetic and functional appeal of a smaller nav bar / more gross-gesture navigation and are continuing to explore opportunities to bring that in.

A system-wide dark mode has also been on the minds of many, and to not much surprise, it was said that Google doesn't "have anything to announce about a unified dark mode."

The team also explained how maintaining Project Treble is actually more difficult than past efforts, said a fix is coming for Android's awful sharing menu, and more.

Read through the full AMA here

All the big details

Android P is officially Android 9 Pie

No Popsicles or Pineapples here. On August 6, 2018, Google revealed that its next version of Android is Android 9 Pie.

Along with the name change, the number this year is also slightly different. Rather than following the trend of 7.0, 8.0, etc., Pie is referred to as 9. This probably doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things, but it's still an interesting move on Google's part.

Check out our full review!

Every new Android version builds upon the previous one, meaning that each new update is better than the last.

However, in day-to-day use, how does really Pie hold up? What's it like using the new gestures instead of the traditional navigation buttons? How do the subtle UI tweaks compare to Oreo? What's performance like?

All those questions and much, much more are answered in our full review, so be sure to give it a read and watch!

Android 9 Pie review: Greater than the sum of its slices

How to upgrade to Pie

We could talk about Android Pie all day long, but if you don't know how to actually use the new software for yourself, what's the fun in that?

Most users will likely upgrade to Pie via a simple OTA update, but if you don't feel like waiting on Google to serve that to you, you can manually flash it on your phone, too.

Jerry's got all the details of how to start using Pie right now, so be sure to give his guide a look.

How to install Android Pie on your Pixel right now (or downgrade to Oreo)

See what Google has to say about Pie in our interview with Android's UX Manager

Android Pie is a big deal for Google. Between the gestures, digital wellbeing initiative, and more, there's a lot going on all at once.

Andrew recently had the chance to talk with Android's UX Manager, EK Chung, about all things Pie to get a better understanding of why this is such a big release for the company.

This is a longer read, but it's absolutely worth a look if you want a deeper understanding of what all went into crafting Pie into the final build that we have today.

Interview: Google's EK Chung on Android 9 Pie design, simplicity and digital wellbeing

It completely changes Android's navigation system

Back in 2011 with Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Google introduced Android's iconic three-button navigation system we've come to know and love – Back, Home, and Recents. Seven years later with Android Pie, these are being eliminated in favor of a gesture-based system.

Android Pie is the first time Google's heavily relying on gestures for navigating the UI, and in their current form, they work as follows:

  • Tap the Home button/pill to go home
  • Swipe up to access the recent apps page
  • Swipe up twice or do a long swipe for the app drawer
  • The Back button only appears in certain apps/menus when it's needed

This combination of taps and swipes can be confusing at first, but with enough practice and patience, are fairly easy to master in a short amount of time. Phones that are updated to Pie will still use the three-button nav by default, but if you want to turn them on, doing so is fairly simple.

Going forward, phones like the Pixel 3 will have gestures turned on by default with no way to revert back to them. So, while you can keep using your Back, Home, and Recents for now, you'll need to get aclimated with the gestures sooner or later.

How to master the new Android Pie gestures

The user interface is more rounded and colorful

Android Pie isn't as drastic of a visual change like we saw with the jump from KitKat to Lolipop, but compared to Oreo, there are some elements that are noticeably different.

At first glance, things like the colorful icons in Settings, circular Quick Settings icons, and rounded corners for just about every menu jump out like a sore thumb. These elements do take some getting used to, but I ultimately came around to liking them quite a bit.

Something else you'll notice with Pie is just how alive it feels. Between the new gestures and updated animations, Android moves in a way that I've never seen before. Oreo was smooth and buttery, but Pie flies underneath your fingertips in a way that can only be experienced in-person.

There are tools for helping you use your phone less

Google talked a lot about helping people with their "digital wellbeing" at this year's I/O conference, and a lot of those efforts are baked right into Android Pie.

Although not live quite yet, later versions of Pie will introduce a new system called Android Dashboard. Android Dashboard will offer a quick glimpse into how you're using your phone, including stats on which apps you're using the most, how many times you've turned on the screen, how many notifications you've received, and how much time you've spent on each app.

You'll also find a feature called App Timers that'll restrict you from using a certain app after you've spent x amount of time on it, as well as tools for easily turning on Do Not Disturb and switching your screen to a monochrome color palette to help you wind down for bed.

Google's Digital Wellbeing initiative: Everything you need to know

Google's trying to squeeze as much juice as possible out of your battery

It seems like Google's always trying to find ways to maximize your phone's battery life as much as possible, and with Android Pie, those efforts are present in a new Adaptive Battery mode.

Similar to how Adaptive Brightness automatically adjusts your display's brightness level based on your environment and usage, Adaptive Battery will examine how you use your phone and limit CPU usage to apps you infrequently use.

Google notes that Adaptive Battery can lower CPU usage by as much as 30%, and thanks to the use of Machine Learning, it'll only get better the more you use your phone.

How to save battery life on Android Pie

App shortcuts are everywhere

With Android Nougat, Google introduced us to App Shortcuts for the first time. Holding down on an app icon to quickly access certain elements of it can be genuinely useful at times, and with Android Pie, Google's taking these to the next level with App Actions and Slices.

App Actions will try to determine what you'll do next with your phone and give you recommend shortcuts for doing so within the app drawer, Assistant, and more. For example, if you watch Good Mythical Morning each day with breakfast, you might see an App Shortcut in your app drawer for searching Rhett and Link on YouTube during the morning.

On the other hand, Slices will allow you to perform more complex actions from the Assistant or Google Search. In the example Google gave at I/O, searching "I want to book a ride" will give you a special link to call a ride home via Lyft (assuming you've got the app installed).

Android Pie features you'll love: App Actions

157 new emoji

In Android 9, Google's added a ton of new emojis to keep your conversations bright and colorful — 157 of them, to be exact.

Although we won't run through the entire list, some of the highlights include red hair, superhero, face with three hearts, bagel with cream cheese, mooncake, lobster, and llama.

There are also improvements to existing emoji, including two new gender-neutral family and couple designs and updated looks for the bacon, salad, turtle, and cricket emojis.

Check out all of the new emoji here!

A new standard for biometric authentication

Fingerprint sensors and face unlock systems make it easier than ever to access private information on our phones, and in Android P Developer Preview 3, Google added a brand-new standard for this called "BiometricPrompt API."

Thanks to the new API, developers no longer have to create their own dialog for using biometric systems with their apps. This isn't something you'll notice in day-to-day use, but it's an important background change we're more than happy to see.

Android Pie features you'll love: Better, faster biometrics

All the little things

In addition to the big changes found in Android Pie, there are a ton of smaller elements also scattered throughout the update. Some of my favorites include:

  • Built-in screenshot editor
  • Zoom pop-up when highlighting text
  • Changing the volume now defaults to your media volume
  • Volume controls appear on the right of your screen instead of the top
  • Do Not Disturb is more customizable and easier to understand

Updated August 6, 2018: This article was revamped/refreshed with up-to-date content now that Android Pie is official!

Android 9 Pie

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9 hours ago

Win a Galaxy Note 9, Dome Glass 2 pack, and Clear Case from Whitestone and Android Central! [U.S. only]

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Win a Galaxy Note 9, Dome Glass 2 pack, and Clear Case from Whitestone and Android Central! [U.S. only]

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has just been unpacked, and the phone officially goes on sale in two weeks, but we wanted to give you a chance to WIN one along with some cool accessories from Whitestone to keep it safe.

Whitestone's Dome Glass, which is already a top seller and is touted as one of the best-tempered glass protectors by the largest cellular provider in Japan, has the maximum strength and scratch resistance rating of 9H (hardness measurement), provides full touch and total edge to edge coverage without any gaps or bubbles, and does not fade or fog with extended use.

Created from Samsung's original blueprints, the Whitestone Levitation case exhibits precise cutouts that align perfectly with your Note 9. This durable, shock absorbing clear case provides the ultimate protection for the best smartphone. And with only 1 mm between you and your phone, this clear case is light and not bulky; it'll feel like your device is completely bare. You will definitely want to check out these products to protect your new Note 9!

For a limited time, Android Central readers can score 30% off these accessories on Amazon with coupon code THRIFT30!

Use Coupon code THRIFT30 for 30% off Note 9 Dome Glass Use Coupon code THRIFT30 for 30% off Note 9 Dome Case

Enter to win a Galaxy Note 9 and more!

THE PRIZE: One Android Central reader will receive Galaxy Note 9, a 2 pack of Dome Glass, and a Clear Case. An additional 10 runners-up will receive a Dome Glass 2 pack and a Clear Case.

THE GIVEAWAY: Use the widget at the bottom of this page. There are multiple ways to enter, each with varying point values. Complete all of the tasks for maximum entries and your best shot at winning! Keep in mind that all winning entries are verified and if the task was not completed or cannot be verified, a new winner will be chosen. Please note that this giveaway is available in the U.S. only.

The giveaway is open through August 22, 2018, and the winner will be announced right here shortly after the closing date. Good luck!

Win a Galaxy Note 9, Dome Glass 2 pack, and Clear Case from Whitestone and Android Central!

By entering you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.

9 hours ago

Whitestone Dome Glass – The Ultimate Protection for the unpacked Samsung Galaxy Note 9

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Whitestone Dome Glass – The Ultimate Protection for the unpacked Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Under the Dome, is Life.

It is time, the wait is over. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has just been unpacked, but if you missed the live stream in New York you don't need to be left out. The phone officially goes on sale in two weeks, so once you get yours, you need to decide what protection is best for you. Well, Whitestone has the answer, and it is DOME GLASS. Whitestone Dome Glass is a specialized brand for the entire high-end market of cellular bezel-less devices, like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

In today's world, everyone wants smartphones that are thinner and lighter, but still want to watch videos and play games on the biggest possible screens. Therefore, edge phones and bezel-less phones are leading the way. They make use of limited screen size and maximize it to its fullest extent. The Note 9 is no different. It has increased the screen size to 6.4 inches (up from 6.3") and slimmed the screen bezel.

With the larger screen and slimmer bezel, it is that much more important to protect every inch. Whitestone provides the first true "full-screen adhesive" tempered glass screen protector for curved bezel-less phones. They do this by using their patented LOCA technology which stands for 'Liquid Optical Clear Adhesive'. LOCA is a liquid glass which evenly disperses over the entire screen, including repairing existing scratches and scuffs and sets to create a watertight edge to edge protection. Their revolutionary liquid glass adhesive forms around the curved screen to create a single, solid layer of anti-shatter glass. Thus, giving you (and your new Note 9) complete security.

Use Coupon code THRIFT30 for 30% off Note 9 Dome Glass Use Coupon code THRIFT30 for 30% off Note 9 Dome Case

Now, Whitestone Dome Glass is not cheap, but nor should it be. It was created for high-end model smartphones. Whitestone is the only tempered glass screen protector recognized by SMAPP (Samsung Mobile Accessory Partnership Program) and as such is the best option for your Note 9. The other plastic or urethane protectors have no true protection, are vulnerable to scratches, and even can reduce transparency. Also, most other well-known brands of tempered glass protectors only cover the flat side of your device and falsely advertises themselves as a full-cover tempered glass. They attempt to trick you by using a black cover adhesive along the side to hide lifts, or they cover the areas between glass and screen with dots which makes the device prone to touchscreen errors. But that's not the case with Dome Glass. Get your Note 9 the security it deserves. Why invest in the top of the line phone and settle for second-rate protection?

Why invest in the top of the line phone and settle for second-rate protection? Get your Note 9 the security it deserves.

The one major difficulty with this screen protector is because it really works so well, you only get one shot at putting it on, so you need to do it right. It's not hard, but you can't rush through it. Quality is reflected through commitment, so make sure you have enough time and patience to get an undeniably perfect result.

To prevent errors and air bubbles, an install frame and UV curing light are included. If you just want to throw on a screen protector in a minute before you walk out the door, then this is not the one for you. But, if you follow the simple installation steps, you will get the best shielding available. For help with installation, here is a link to some of their reviews and tutorial videos that show you step-by-step how to do a proper installation.

On top of the comprehensive 3D glass curved surface protection and liquid dispersion technology, it also provides protection against Blue Light. As more and more people are so reliant on their cell phone, it has become even more important to identify the harmful side effects. One of the negative effects of smartphones is the emitting of shorter wavelengths called Blue Light. Studies suggest that, over time, exposure to blue light (especially at night), can cause insomnia or even more serious long-term damage to your eyes. Whitestone Dome Glass decreases the strength of blue light by up to 25%, protecting you and your smart device!

Dome Glass, which is already a top seller on Amazon Worldwide and AT&T and is touted as one of the best-tempered glass protectors by NTT Docomo (the largest cellular provider in Japan) has the maximum strength and scratch resistance rating of 9H (hardness measurement) provides full touch and total edge to edge coverage without any gaps or bubbles and does not fade or fog with extended use.

To top it all off, every Whitestone Dome Glass product comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty which means that if your Dome Glass is damaged or worn, you could request a replacement through Whitestone's webpage. Also, for a limited time, our very own Android Central readers can use the code ANDROIDCENTRAL to save 30% off Whitestone Dome Glass for their Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Just click here to order today and for their web page and more information on these screen protectors visit whitestonedome.com. Whitestone Dome Glass protector is #1 in protecting your entire screen and is an essential accessory for any new Note 9 owner. So, with the Samsung Galaxy being unpacked today, it is only right to get it the protection it deserves.

Don't forget to use coupon code THRIFT30 to save 30% off the Note 9 Dome Glass 2 pack and Note 9 Dome Case on Amazon for a limited time!

Use Coupon code THRIFT30 for 30% off Note 9 Dome Glass Use Coupon code THRIFT30 for 30% off Note 9 Dome Case

9 hours ago

Google will soon begin mandatory quality reviews for Wear OS apps

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Google will soon begin mandatory quality reviews for Wear OS apps

Better Wear OS apps are coming soon 🙏

While it may be in something of a slump right now, one strong suit that Wear OS has had for some time is its developer support. There are a ton of apps available for Google's wearable platform, and starting this year, Google will be implementing measures to ensure that apps created for Wear OS are as high quality as can be.

Google currently has an optional review process that Wear OS apps can go through, but starting October 1, 2018, all new apps that are created will be required to go through and pass it.

As Google notes in its blog post on the Android Developers Blog:

We hope this lightweight app review process will improve the quality of Wear app experiences across the wide range of devices available to your users. In addition, since screenshots are required for the Wear app review, this will improve the discovery and presentation of your Wear apps in the Google Play Store.

This review process was first introduced alongside the release of Android Wear 2.0 in February 2017, and for existing Wear OS apps, they'll need to follow it starting March 4, 2019.

While this announcement isn't particularly exciting on its own, it's yet another reminder that exciting things on the horizon for Wear OS. Qualcomm will be announcing its first wearable processor in two years on September 10, and later in October, we're expecting Google to finally announce its first-ever Pixel Watch.

What are you hoping to see from Wear OS this year?

TicWatch Pro review: A best-of-both-worlds hybrid

Google Wear OS

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10 hours ago

Synology and Android: Everything you need to know

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Synology and Android: Everything you need to know

Synology on Android
Synology on Android
Synology on Android
Synology QuickConnect

Synology on Android

Making your smart storage even smarter.

Setting up a Synology Network Attached Storage at home or in the office is a great way of creating a centralized location to store large amounts of data, be it important documents, media, or system backups. Since Android is used by millions worldwide, Synology has some form of support for the mobile OS in both the browser and in the form of an app collection on the Play Store. If you're considering a Synology NAS, here's all you need to know.

10 hours ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Everything you need to know!

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Everything you need to know!

It's finally here. After relentless leaks, rumors, and more, Samsung's finally unveiled the Galaxy Note 9.

Even though we already knew a lot about the phone prior to its official announcement, there's still plenty to talk about. What colors does it come in? What are the final specs? Were we impressed during our hands-on preview?

All those questions and more are answered right here, so without further ado, here's everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

The latest Galaxy Note 9 news

August 15, 2018 — Samsung talks about what it took to make the Note 9 so darn pretty 😍

It's no secret that Samsung makes stunning phones, and with the Galaxy Note 9, the company put all of its design prowess on full display. However, as much fun as it is to look at and hold the Note 9, it's even more exciting to take a closer look at just what goes into crafting a device of its caliber.

Samsung's Infinity Display is once again being used on the Note 9, and measuring in at 6.4-inches, is the biggest the company's created to-date. Samsung also says that the Note 9's screen is an ever deeper black compared to past handsets, which "allows it to blend in with the bezels when the device is off and enhances the overall aesthetic."

A process called Die-cutting was used to craft the Note 9's frame, and as a result of this laborious process, the frame of the Note 9 " features an interplay of glossy and matte finishes that complements the Galaxy Note9's premium design cues."

To read more about the Note 9's design and the time/attention that went into its S Pen, check out Samsung's full deep dive below.

Beautiful From Every Angle: The Design of the Galaxy Note 9

All the big details

Check out our hands-on preview

Before you do anything else, be sure to check out our initial hands-on preview of the Galaxy Note 9!

This is Samsung's biggest and most powerful phone of the year, and during our early look, we got a chance to check out the Note 9's design, new S Pen features, cameras, and more.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 hands-on preview: $1000 well spent

Here are the specs

Like past Notes before it, the Galaxy Note 9 is packed to the gills with all of the latest available tech. That means it has the latest processor, a massive battery, an insane amount of RAM, and much more.

Here are all the specs you can look forward to.

Category Spec Operating system Android 8.1 Oreo
Samsung Experience 9.5 Display 6.4-inch Super AMOLED, 2960x1440 (18.5:9) Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Storage 128/512GB Expandable MicroSD up to 2TB RAM 6/8GB Primary rear camera 12MP Super Speed Dual Pixel, OIS, f/1.5 or f/2.4 Secondary rear camera 12MP, OIS, f/2.4, telephoto lens Front camera 8MP, f/1.7, auto focus Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11ac MIMO, 1.2Gbps (Cat-18) LTE, Bluetooth 5.0 LE
ANT+, NFC, GPS, Glonass Audio Stereo speakers
Dolby Atmos
3.5mm headphone Battery 4000mAh
Non-removable Charging Water resistance IP68 Security One-touch fingerprint sensor
Iris scanner
Samsung KNOX Dimensions Colors Ocean Blue, Lavender Purple (U.S.)
Midnight Black, Metallic Copper (intl)

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 specifications

The 4,000 mAh battery is huge

Samsung's Galaxy Note phones have typically been known for packing huge batteries, but following the disaster that was the Note 7, Samsung decided to play it safe with the Note 8 by including a fairly modest 3,300 mAh battery.

With the Note 9, Samsung's going all the way with a seriously huge 4,000 mAh pack.

It's being touted that the Note 9 will offer XX hours of use on a single charge, and while we'll certainly need to put the phone through its paces to see how accurate that claim is, we've got high hopes considering the battery's size and power efficiency of the Snapdragon 845.

When you do finally drain the Note 9, you'll be able to top it up via wired and wireless fast charging.

Should you upgrade from the Note 8?

As exciting as the Galaxy Note 9 is shaping up to be, last year's Note 8 is still one heck of a smartphone.

The Note 9 offers the expected improvements in regards to RAM, camera performance, etc., but really gets a strong edge over its predecessor thanks to its improved S Pen and a massive battery.

Then again, if you already have the Note 8 and don't feel like throwing down $900 (?) on a new phone, maybe upgrading isn't the right move for you?

Let Andrew break everything down for you in his comparison of the Note 8 and Note 9

How's it compare to other phones?

That's fine and dandy, but how's the Note 9 hold up against other non-Note devices?

Without a doubt, one of the Note 9's biggest competitors comes from Samsung itself with the Galaxy S9+. A lot of features are shared between the two phones, including a large Super AMOLED display, Snapdragon 845, Samsung's custom software, excellent dual cameras, and more.

The Note 9 is obviously the only one of the two that uses the S Pen, but is that reason enough to make the pricey upgrade?

Similarly, there are still plenty of other phones that are scheduled to come out before 2018 is over — most importantly the Google Pixel 3 XL. Rumors and leaks are hinting at a phone with considerably slimmer bezels, an even better camera package, and an all-glass back (not to mention the ginormous notch).

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs. Galaxy S9+

Should you buy the Galaxy Note 9 or wait for the Google Pixel 3 XL?

A lot is new with the S Pen

The S Pen is easily the biggest reason so many people flock to the Note series year after year, and this time around, Samsung's giving the S Pen one of its biggest upgrades in years.

For the first time, Samsung's adding Bluetooth Low Energy to the S Pen. With this new connectivity, the S Pen picks up a heap of new features that allow you to control the Note 9 from a distance.

Some use cases include being able to use the S Pen and its button as a camera shutter, navigating through presentations, and more. The presence of Bluetooth also means this is the first S Pen to have a battery, and as with all things that have a battery, the S Pen will need to be charged.

Thankfully, seeing as how the S Pen seamlessly charges in the background when stored inside the Note 9, this shouldn't ever prove to be an issue of any sort.

Get the official wallpapers right here!

New Samsung phones always come with striking wallpapers to help jazz up your home screen, and even if you don't have the funds/interest to get a Note 9 right now, you can still bring its look to your exisitng handset with its official wallpapers.

We've got all 12 listed above for your viewing pleasure, and if you want to throw one (or all) of them on your phone, feel free to download 'em as you see fit.

These are all the colors

Samsung's typically one of the better OEMs when it comes to offering a good variety of colors, and with the Note 9, that's no different.

In the United States, buyers will be able to choose from Ocean Blue and Lavender Purple. In other parts of the world, Samsung's releasing Midnight Black and Metallic Copper.

Here's where you can buy the Note 9

There are a lot of reasons you may want to pick up the Note 9, and whatever those reasons may be, you've got a lot of options for deciding where to get it.

In the United States, pricing starts at $999.99 for the 128GB model and goes up to $1249.99 for the 512GB one.

You'll be able to get the phone at Best Buy, Amazon, Samsung's website, all of the major carriers, and more.

Where to buy the Galaxy Note 9: Best deals for your new phone

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

AT&T Verizon T-Mobile Samsung

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Updated August 10, 2018: Added the Note 9's official wallpapers!

10 hours ago

Video games, over-the-air antennas, Bluetooth headphones, and more are all discounted today

Video games, over-the-air antennas, Bluetooth headphones, and more are all discounted today

Whether you're looking for new tech gear or household items, we've got you covered.

We found plenty of great deals today that include big discounts on the Mohu Curve 30 over-the-air antenna, Sony's Bluetooth headphones, the video game Octopath Traveler, and more!

If you want to know about the deals as soon as they are happening, you'll want to follow Thrifter on Twitter, and sign up for the newsletter, because missing out on a great deal stinks!

10 hours ago

What you need to know about Roku and ad-tracking

4

What you need to know about Roku and ad-tracking

It's all right there in the privacy policy — you just have to read it.

CordCutters.com

Here's the thing, folks. You've got to read the fine print. And you've got to pay attention to those setup screens. Because absolutely nothing that Roku is doing in regards to data collection and ad tracking should be a surprise. It's all right there in its privacy policy, and it's repeated in a number of its setup screens.

The good news? You can opt-out of ad-tracking on Roku devices. You can turn off the "Smart TV Experience." Or, ya know, you could always just choose to buy something else.

The point is, the power is in our hands as consumers when it comes to this sort of thing — but we have to do our homework first. Read more about this kerfuffle, and what you can do about it, at CordCutters.com.

Read: Roku privacy policy and ad-tracking — What you need to know

Introducing CordCutters.com

Get the latest deals

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11 hours ago

Everyone in the U.S. can now sign up for Google One

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Everyone in the U.S. can now sign up for Google One

Google's replacement for paid Drive plans is ready for primetime.

This past May, Google announced that it was taking its paid Drive storage plans and rebranding them as "Google One." The service has been accepting new members on a limited basis since then, but starting today, it's opening up to everyone in the United States.

In a blog post that was published on August 15, Google noted that:

Recently, we introduced Google One, a plan that gives you expanded storage and helps you get more out of Google. Over the past few months, people with Google Drive paid plans have been upgraded to Google One. And starting today, people in the U.S. can choose to upgrade to Google One.

Along with the name change, Google One comes with some decent upgrades over the old paid Google Drive storage plans.

There's a new 200GB tier that you can get for $2.99/month, the $9.99/month 1TB plan is upgraded to 2TB, and subscribers frequently get various rewards such as Google Play credit, hotel deals, expert customer service, etc.

If you don't feel like paying for your storage, you can still sign up for Google One and get a free 15GB to get started.

See at Google One

11 hours ago

How to install Linux apps on your Chromebook

7

How to install Linux apps on your Chromebook

Be aware of software bugs.

Chromebooks are great because they're simple: there's a lot you can get done with web services without exposing yourself to the troubles and security issues that plague more complex platforms.

But if you need to do a bit more with your Chromebook, you have a few options. Most Chromebooks these days allow you to install apps from the Google Play Store, which should fill most productivity gaps. If not, you'll soon have one more option: installing Linux apps. To be clear, you've been able to install Linux apps on Chromebooks for years because Chrome OS is Linux. But, it's about to get much easier.

Move to the Developer channel

Right now, the only way to install Linux apps is to move to the Developer software channel of Chrome OS. This isn't Developer Mode, so it won't make your device any less secure and you won't be annoyed by a warning every time your laptop turns on. Changing to the Developer channel just takes a few clicks and time to download the software update.

More: How to change your software channel on Chrome OS

Enable the Crostini flag

Once your Chromebook is updated to the developer channel software version, you'll need to change one of the Chrome flags. Flags are semi-hidden settings that let you try experimental features.

  1. Click on the address bar.
  2. Type chrome://flags and press Enter.
  3. Press Ctrl + F on your keyboard.
  4. Type Crostini in the search bar.
  5. You should see the flag titled Experimental Crostini. Click the checkbox, then select Enable.
  6. Click Restart at the bottom of the screen.

Turn on Linux apps

There are just a couple more steps before being able to run Steam and other Linux apps.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click the Hamburger icon in the upper-left corner.
  3. Click Linux (Beta) in the menu.
  4. Click Turn on.

  5. Click Install.
  6. The Chromebook will download the files it needs. When that's complete, click the white circle in the lower-left corner to open the app drawer.
  7. Click the Terminal icon.

  8. Type sudo apt update in the command window. This will list the Linux components that require an update. Press Enter.
  9. Type sudo apt upgrade in the command window. This will upgrade all the components that were just listed. Press Enter.
  10. When that's finished, type y to remove excess files. Press Enter.

With that, all the necessary parts of the Linux operating system are installed so you can just install .deb applications from the file browser.

Download and Install an application

With the prep work done, it's finally time to install an application. Grab the necessary Linux installation file from your software vendor's site — we're using Steam for this guide.

  1. Once the installation file is downloaded, open the File browser.
  2. Right click or two finger tap on the trackpad while your pointer hovers over the file name.
  3. Click Install with Linux (Beta).

The program will install, and when it's done, you can open it from the app drawer.

What apps do you use?

What are some Linux apps you want to try on your Chromebook? Let us know down below!

Chromebooks

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11 hours ago

Should you buy physical or digital PlayStation 4 games?

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Should you buy physical or digital PlayStation 4 games?

Can't decide on physical or digital? Let us help!

Digital or physical? It's an age-old question that only started being asked just recently. Once all of our consoles were constantly connected to the Internet, we entered a world where it was no longer necessary to trudge out to your local game store to acquire the newest game. You can now sit in the comfort of your own home and the games come to you. If you have a PlayStation 4 and you're having trouble deciding what format to buy games in, read on and we will go over the benefits of each format in order to help you choose

All in on Digital

Saving space- If you are a gamer with an unending thirst for new games but a finite amount of space, then digital may be the way to go. You can build a massive library of games which only consumes space on your hard drive but none in meatspace. With hard drives that take up barely any room, your library can continue to grow without needing to make your space do the same

Get games sooner- If you want to start playing a game the very second that release day starts, then you probably want to go digital. Often, with digital releases you can pre-install the game and the moment midnight strikes, you can start playing. Your friends that play physical games will have to wait until the store opens in the morning. And even if there is a midnight release at a local retailer, physical gamers will almost always have to download some updates before they get started.

Savings– If you're looking to save some bucks, you may want to look to the PSN Store. In what seems to be an obvious attempt to compete with Steam, PSN has offered some pretty incredible sales and discounts in the last few years. Brick and mortar retailers are often unable to offer such deep discounts, especially with a great membership like PlayStation Plus. If savings is your number one priority, then digital may be your best solution.

Only Physical for me!

Visibility is key– Some of us absolutely love seeing all of our games stacked up in neat little rows, and this is an itch that a digital library simply cannot scratch. It's a great way to show off all of the options you have to visitors, and you can look pretty cool with physical games. If you like having a visible library of games to look at and show off to your friends, then physical games are definitely going to be the choice for you.

Resale value- One thing that digital games simply cannot offer is the ability to resell your games. If you're the sort of person that finishes a game and never picks it up again, then it might make sense to take it back to your brick and mortar in order to make a dent in the cost of your next purchase. You might also be able to send it to a friend or family member for the amount you bought it for, breaking even on your game. Who doesn't love sharing games so others can feel the way you do about a game?

Buy local- Another upside to buying physical games is that it offers you the opportunity to support local gaming shops in your area. If the ability to go into a store and browse games is a thing that's important to you, then it's important to remember to spend some money there. If you want to ensure that game shops don't go the way of the video stores, then this is something to keep in mind.

Or don't buy local- If you don't give a hoot about supporting your local gaming shops, you can always order through Amazon. For the most part, if you pre-order games through Amazon, they will arrive the day they are released. In addition, if you are an Amazon Prime member and you pre-order a game, you can get about twenty percent off of your purchase. If you don't have an Amazon Prime membership, you can try it free for one month here

Ultimately, the choice between digital and physical formats is a matter of preference. Although we can list ways for you to decide, you have to figure out what is most important to you and your game library. Make your decision based on those needs and you'll be happy for the rest of your gaming life. There is no right or wrong answer, just the one that fits your lifestyle best.

How do you buy your games?

Do you prefer digital or physical video games? Let us know your reasoning below!

Why are we talking about PlayStation 4 on Android Central? Let us explain.

Updated August 2018: Updated with details about ordering physical through Prime

PlayStation 4

Amazon

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11 hours ago

MoviePass: Everything you need to know

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MoviePass: Everything you need to know

Here's your one-stop-shop for all the MoviePass news, controversies, and more.

Unless you've been living under a rock lately, there's a good chance you've heard a thing or two about MoviePass. Although the company was founded way back in 2011, it's picked up a lot of steam over the past year or so with its too-good-to-be-true offer of allowing you to see one movie per day for just $9.95/month.

That offer's a bit less magical now that subscribers are limited to three movies per month for the same price, and the road to this new strategy has been far from smooth.

MoviePass has become one of the most disruptive companies of recent memory, and whether you're looking for the latest controversies or want to learn more about the service before you sign up, you've come to the right place.

Without further ado, this is everything you need to know about MoviePass!

The latest MoviePass news

August 15, 2018 — MoviePass rolls out new 3-movie-per-month plan, includes choosing from "up to 6 films per day"

As of today, MoviePass is officially transitioning to its new business model that'll hopefully allow it to keep chugging along for the foreseeable future.

For $9.95/month, subscribers can see up to 3 movies each month. If you want to see additional films, you get up to a $5 discount on tickets that are purchased through the app.

Subscribers are able to see "blockbuster and independent films" and can choose between "up to 6 films daily." That last note suggests that MoviePass will continue to limit showtimes as it sees fit, so here's to hoping the selection process is better than what users have been putting up with for the past few days.

August 6, 2018 — The new MoviePass plan will remain at $9.95/month but limit subscribers to 3 movies per month

Just about a week after MoviePass announced that it was raising its monthly subscription cost to $14.95/month, the company has since issued another press release to outline a tweaked version of its business model that'll hopefully allow for better sustainability.

Starting on August 15, 2018, MoviePass's new plan will officially go into effect. It'll still cost $9.95/month as usual, but instead of subscribers being able to see up to one new movie per day, they'll be limited to just 3 movies each month. The plan will "include many major studio first-run films", and after you see your 3 movies, you'll be able to get up to a $5 discount on additional tickets you purchase through the app.

Additionally, subscribers of the new plan won't have to deal with the controversial Peak Pricing or the Ticket Verification system that requires you to take a photo of your ticket before you can see another movie.

If you're currently subscribed to any of the exisitng monthly or yearly plans, you won't be transitioned to the new model until your plan is up for renewal. In other words, you'll still be able to see one movie per day but will have to put up with Peak Pricing, Ticket Verification, and being limited from seeing new releases.

July 31, 2018 —MoviePass is raising its price to $14.95/month, First Run Movies will be limited in availability for the first two weeks

In an official press release issued by MoviePass's parent company Helios & Matheson, a few big changes were announced as an effort for MoviePass to cut its cash burn by 60%

Perhaps the biggest change is with the service's cost. The iconic $9.95/month plan that allows you to see one new movie per day will be increased to $14.95/month within the next 30 days. Even with the higher monthly rate, Peak Pricing isn't going anywhere.

It was also confirmed that "First Run Movies opening on 1,000+ Screens" will see limited availability during their first two weeks of release unless the studio makes a promotional deal with MoviePass. From the way the press release reads, that sounds like yet another limitation on top of the restrictions we heard about yesterday for movies like The Meg and Christopher Robin.

July 30, 2018 — MoviePass CEO says subscribers will no longer be able to watch big, well-known movies

Following an outage that's been affecting customers all throughout the weekend and today, Business Insider reported that MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe called for an "all-hands meeting" in which he confirmed that the app will no longer allow users to see "big upcoming movies."

This means that you won't be able to use your MoviePass to see titles such as The Meg, Christopher Robin, etc.

Users first got a taste of this practice earlier this week when they were blocked from seeing Mission Impossible: Fallout at theaters that weren't partnered with MoviePass to support E-Ticketing, but from the sound of things, all theaters will be blocked from upcoming big releases going forward. Apparently, Lowe noted that this change will be in effect for the foreseeable future.

Aka, MoviePass is dead.

July 27, 2018 — MoviePass experiences widespread outage due to a lack of cash; parent company borrows $5 million to keep the lights on

If you tried using your MoviePass last night, chances are things didn't work out so well. At 5:12 PM ET on Thursday, July 26, MoviePass announced on its Twitter account that it was aware of "an issue that is preventing users from checking-in to movies." In the interim, it was said you could still use the app at theaters that accept E-Ticketing with MoviePass without any problem.

Today, Business Insider confirmed that the reason for this outage was that MoviePass ran out of cash and couldn't afford to pay its payment processor that handles the physical MoviePass cards.

Following this, parent company Helios and Matheson announced through an SEC filing that it's decided to borrow $5 million in cash to keep things running. It's being reported that some users are still unable to check-in to showtimes even after the additonal funds were borrowed, so keep an eye on MoviePass's Twitter page for further updates.

July 12, 2018 — Support for IMAX and 3D movies will be available by September 3

While the addition of Peak Pricing isn't the most welcome change to hit MoviePass, CEO Mitch Lowe recently shared some good news with Business Insider.

According to Lowe, MoviePass subscribers will be able to see IMAX, 3D, and other premium showings by Labor Day (September 3). A charge of $2 - $5 will be applied for these more expensive formats, but considering that IMAX tickets can cost as much as $20+ per ticket, that's still a good value even with the $9.99/month recurring fee in mind.

As for MoviePass's other new feature, Bring-A-Guest, that should also be rolled out around the same time.

Lastly, Lowe noted that Peak Pricing will be implemented for all MoviePass subscribers by the end of the month.

July 5, 2018 — Peak Pricing is now rolling out to all MoviePass users

After being announced late last month, MoviePass is officially launching its new Peak Pricing system.

Like we mentioned in the last news update, Peak Pricing will add a small surcharge to certain showtimes based on the movie you're seeing and what time it's playing. A red lightning bolt icon next to a showtime indicates that it is affected by Peak Pricing while a grey-colored one notes that Peak Pricing may go into effect for it soon.

If you're checking in for a show with Peak Pricing, you'll see a confirmation screen highlighting the amount you'll be charged.

MoviePass notes that Peak Pricing is "rolling out gradually over the next several weeks."

June 22, 2018 — MoviePass Peak Pricing, Bring-A-Guest, and Premium Showings

Get ready, folks. There's a lot changing with MoviePass, so let's dive right into the big highlights:

  • Bring-A-Guest: If you're going to the movies with a friend or family member that doesn't have MoviePass, you can purchase their ticket from the MoviePass app. You'll still pay the full ticket price, but it should make the ticket-buying process a bit more seamless. You can pick a seat for you and your guest if you're going to a theater that supports e-ticketing and reserved seating, and if your friend signs up for MoviePass without 24 hours of your showtime, you'll get a full refund for the ticket price.

  • Peak Pricing: For showtimes where "the combination of demand for a title, date or part of day is higher", you'll need to pay a "small additional fee" for your ticket. You can avoid the added cost by seeing a different movie or seeing that same title on a different day, and MoviePass will give you a Peak Pass once a month that waives the fee for you. If you're billed annually or quarterly, you won't be subject to Peak Pricing until your subscription resets.

  • Premium Showings: No matter what plan you're on, you'll have the option of seeing RealD 3D, 2D IMAX, 3D, and other Premium Large Format movies by paying an upgrade fee.

MoviePass says these features will be rolling out to members "in the coming weeks."

June 11, 2018 — A family plan is coming!

Since MoviePass's inception, one of the features users have been asking for the most is a family plan. We've been waiting and waiting for something along these lines to be announced, and on June 11, Helios and Matheson Analytics CEO (MoviePass's parent company) Ted Farnsworth confirmed that a family plan is, in fact, in the works.

With MoviePass's family plan, you'll be able to book tickets for you and your family members/significant other all in one app/transaction. There won't be any sort of discount for the family plan, but the added convenience of not having to bother with multiple apps and subscriptions will be a welcome treat.

Farnsworth said that they "might do something down the road to get more of a discount for the family plan", but it's unclear if/when that'll happen.

April 27, 2018 — You can no longer see the same movie more than once

Well, I suppose we all knew this day would come sooner or later.

On April 27, MoviePass updated its Terms of Service so that it reads as follows:

We recently updated our Terms of Service to reflect that MoviePass subscribers are only permitted to see a select movie in theaters once with your MoviePass. We hope this will encourage you to see new movies and enjoy something different!

In other words, you only get to watch Infinity War once with your MoviePass. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

All the important details

There's now only one plan

MoviePass previously offered two plans to choose from, but as of August 15, 2018, there's only one.

For $9.95/month, you get the following:

  • See up to 3 movies per month
  • Choose between up to 6 films each day
  • Purchase additional tickets through the app and get up to a $5 discount
  • Watch movies at 91% of movie theaters in the U.S.
  • Get invited to special events and screenings throughout the year

This is quite a bit different from the movie per day model that MoviePass was previously running, but even so, it's still a tremendous deal considering that you break even or come out on top after having seen just one movie.

Also under the new plan, subscribers won't have to deal with Peak Pricing or Ticket Verification — two "features" that caused for a lot of headache with older plans.

See at MoviePass

E-ticketing makes everything easier

MoviePass is regularly partnering with more and more theater chains to support e-ticketing, and if you happen to live near one that offers this, you're in for a real treat.

For theaters that don't support e-ticketing, using MoviePass requires you to be within 100 yards of the theater you're going to, check-in to the showtime on your phone, and then swipe your card to get your ticket. If the showing happens to sell out by the time you get to the theater, you can either choose another movie or call it a night.

However, if there's a theater near you that does support e-ticketing, the process is way simpler. Once you find the showtime you want to go to, a "Get E-Ticket" button will pop up instead of the "Check In" one.

E-tickets can't be canceled once you buy them, but they do have the added benefit of allowing you buy them wherever you are. Also, if you're theater supports e-ticketing and reserved seating, you can even choose your seat right from the MoviePass app! Once you get to the theater, just type in the redemption code for your e-ticket or scan the QR code.

Right now, e-ticketing with MoviePass works at Goodrich Quality Theaters, Studio Movie Grill, and MJR Theaters.

Only 2D movies are supported, at least for now

As it currently stands, you can only use your MoviePass to watch regular 2D movies. In the near future, however, that will soon be changing.

By Labor Day (September 3), MoviePass will allow you to pay an upgrade fee to see RealD 3D, IMAX 2D, 3D, and other Premium Large Format movies.

That fee will range between $2 - $5 depending on what kind of premium show you're seeing.

You can't rewatch movies

As good of a deal as MoiePass is, it's not without a few limits here and there — the first of which is the fact that you can't rewatch movies.

MoviePass experimented with letting people rewatch the same movie over and over again for a few months but eventually decided to revoke the right to prevent ticket-scalping and other misuses of the service.

It would certainly be nice to have the option of seeing a movie again that you particularly like, but don't expect this to come back anytime soon.

You can still benefit from your theater's loyalty program

If your theater has a loyalty program that rewards you with points for buying tickets and concessions, you can link it up to your MoviePass account and still get rewarded for the tickets you "buy" with your MoviePass subscription.

As it currently stands, you can link loyalty programs from Goodrich Quality Theaters, D Place Entertainment, and Starlight Cinemas.

It's an admittedly small list right now, but it's one that should only grow more and more as time goes on.

Be mindful of the device authorization limit

If you're someone that lives the two phone life or frequently goes from device to device, you'll want to keep MoviePass's device authorization limit in mind.

To "keep your account secure", MoviePass only allows you to be signed into the MoviePass app on one phone at a time. However, if you do get a new phone or need to sign into another one for whatever reason, you can log into your account on another phone every 30 days.

Just download the app, enter your credentials, and confirm that you want to use that as your authorized device.

Updated August 15, 2018: Updated pricing details and removed Peak Pricing section as it no longer applies to the current plan.

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