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1 hour ago

U.S. Senate rebukes Trump, reimposes sanctions on ZTE

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U.S. Senate rebukes Trump, reimposes sanctions on ZTE

ZTE

ZTE's woes continue as the U.S. Senate rolls out a new bill that prohibits the manufacturer from doing business with U.S. firms.

ZTE

It's a turbulent time for ZTE. The U.S. government issued a Denial Order against the company back in April, essentially prohibiting the Chinese manufacturer from buying hardware components from the likes of Qualcomm or Intel. The order effectively killed ZTE's smartphone business as it prevented Google from certifying the manufacturer's phones.

10 hours ago

How to sign up for YouTube Premium

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How to sign up for YouTube Premium

YouTube's $12/month subscription gets you a lot for your money.

YouTube Premium is finally here, and if you've got $12/month to spend, it's absolutely worth the cash.

For that monthly fee, YouTube Premium grants you access to ad-free videos across all of YouTube, offline downloads, YouTube Original content, and all of the perks that come with YouTube Music.

Signing up for YouTube Premium is as easy as can be, and to get started, here's what you need to do.

  1. Open the YouTube app and tap the profile icon at the very top right.
  2. Tap on Get YouTube Premium.
  3. Tap Try It Free.

After selecting your payment method and completing the transaction, you'll then see a splash screen welcoming you to YouTube Premium. Tap the red Let's Go button, and you'll see that your subscription is now live thanks to the Premium tag at the upper-left corner of the app.

Now, start exploring

If you made it to this part of the article, that means you're now a YouTube Premium subscriber! Google's currently giving all new members a 3-month free trial of the service, so you won't be charged that $12/month fee until your first three months are up.

Now, stop reading this and start enjoying all of the benefits that come with your YouTube Premium subscription!

See at YouTube

11 hours ago

Samsung brings back customizable text message ringtones for each contact

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Samsung brings back customizable text message ringtones for each contact

Available as part of the v4.4.30.5 update for Samsung Messages.

The Android Oreo update brings a lot of goodies to Samsung phones. There's an updated UI for the Samsung Experience skin, more emojis, adaptive notification dots, and much more. However, it also removed something that struck a chord with a lot of users — customizable text message ringtones.

Prior to the Oreo update, you could have different ringtones/notification sounds for your text messages on a per-contact-basis. If your mom texted you, you heard one ringtone. If your brother texted you, you heard another. Samsung removed this for whatever reason with Oreo, but it's now coming back with the latest Samsung Messages app update.

The feature returns as part of the v.4.4.30.5 update that's rolling out to users now.

We've heard a lot of clamoring and complaining in the AC forums ever since this feature was removed, so this is likely to come as overwhelmingly good news to most all of you reading this.

What are you waiting for? Go grab that update now and start re-customizing your text notifications!

Android Messages for web is officially rolling out to all users

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

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12 hours ago

YouTube Music: Everything you need to know

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YouTube Music: Everything you need to know

YouTube Music

YouTube Music is here — and it's packing the biggest music library in the world.

That's what I like

YouTube is one of the most-viewed websites on the planet, and by far the most popular video platform today, so it's no surprise that millions upon millions of users turn to it every day for music. It's the default platform for music videos — especially viral music videos like This is America and Girls Like You — and it's also a place to find just about any song, remix, mashup, or fan cover you could ever want. Whether you're looking for lyrics to a song before karaoke night, music to sleep to, or a new remix to play at your next party, YouTube has what you're looking for.

Now, YouTube is ready to make another run at a music app built upon their video empire with YouTube Music. It's a music app with a truly unique interface, an unparalleled selection, and more than a few kinks to work out, but YouTube Music is here to stay and here to compete.

June 18, 2018 — YouTube Music is coming to 12 new countries and becoming available to all inside the original "Early Access" countries

YouTube has opened up YouTube Music to 12 new countries , as well as ending its awkward and often confusing "Early Access" period and making the service available to everyone in its original five countries.

This brings the number of countries YouTube Music serves up to 17 — Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States — and with the new YouTube Music also comes the new YouTube Premium pricing system.

May 23, 2018 — Your locally owned songs from Google Play Music will transfer over to YouTube Music… eventually

Upload your own music

Google wants all of its Play Music subscribers to migrate over to YouTube Music at some point in 2019, and to help make that process as seamless as possible, the company's confirmed that some of Play Music's best features will be coming to the new YouTube Music — the biggest of which is a music locker for storing copies of song you locally own.

This news was recently confirmed by Google to The Verge, with the Head of YouTube Music saying on Twitter that "Your collection, playlists and preferences from Google Play Music will be preserved at migrated to YouTube music for a soft landing."

In addition to having a place to store music you already own, YouTube Music will eventually allow you to buy new songs that you can add to your collection.

May 22, 2018 — The new YouTube Music is officially here!

Just like we expected, YouTube Music's new app and desktop site officially started rolling out on May 22. Google says the new look is currently in "early access" and is gradually becoming available for folks in the U.S., Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea.

To access YouTube Music, you can download the app from the Play Store or hit up the desktop site at music.youtube.com. If you're not seeing the changes quite yet, be sure to check back frequently to know when you've been graced with Google's good wishes.

The service starts at $9.99/month — but no one should pay that

Go Premium

There's no real sugar-coating it: using YouTube Music as a free user on Android is bad. There are ads every three to six songs, and you can't leave the Now Playing screen, so it hogs your screen and your battery. YouTube Music is worlds better when you unlock its paid features. YouTube Premium is absolutely worth paying for.

YouTube Music Premium, however, is not.

For the love of Duarte, don't buy YouTube Music Premium

What's happening to Google Play Music? Where's my likes and playlists?

Old vs new

Google wants all of its Play Music subscribers to migrate over to YouTube Music at some point in 2019. That means YouTube Music will be adding most of Google Play Music's tentpole features — the biggest of which is Google Play Music's free 50,000 song music locker.

What does YouTube Music mean for Google Play Music

That said, Google Play Music and YouTube Music's libraries and catalogs at the moment are completely disconnected and there's quite a bit that has to happen before that can change. The library migration is a long ways off, but in the meantime, Play Music users get two music apps to play with instead of one. So which one should you use?

YouTube Music vs. Google Play Music: Which should you use?

A mixtape full of promise

Zero to Hero

YouTube Music is built on a gold mine. YouTube is not only the most used video platform in the world, it might be the biggest catalog of professional, semi-professional, and amateur music available in the world. This isn't the first time Google has tried to capitalize on this, but this time is different. YouTube's music team has finally gotten its act together and made us all a mixtape full of promises.

But can it follow through on them?

YouTube Music review: A mixtape full of promise

Getting started

Get your library built

YouTube Music is an adjustment from traditional music services — especially because it is based around video rather than audio — but thanks to the Google's search prowess and downright uncanny predictions and recommendations, getting used to Google's newest music service should be as painless as possible. And since it's built around years of your YouTube history, YouTube Music already knows you better than you think.

Getting started with YouTube Music

Going offline

Download something

Networks fail. Your plane says it's going to have Wi-Fi, but nope. You get stuck in the car with your parents in the middle of nowhere, and you're outside cell range, and the radio stations are nothing but static and muffled AM country. Having music to listen to when you offline is important, and when the music service you're using is based around video — which eats data like nobody's business — how you save your music for offline playback is even more important.

How to download music for offline playback in YouTube Music

What is it missing?

I'm all alone and I need you now

YouTube Music is a brand-new service — albeit one built on an old app of the same name — and like most things that are shiny, new, and different, there are a lot of bugs to be worked out. There are a lot features that are still missing — from basic audio quality settings to more complicated endeavours like gapless playback and library management — and we've got a handy list of what's missing and when we could maybe see some of it.

On that note — YouTube Music's library does not include every video on YouTube, nor does it include every song and album on Google Play Music right now.

What YouTube Music still needs

Making the most of things

There's somethin' holding you back

YouTube Music is "Early Access" right now, which means the service is essentially a beta and it is definitely buggy. While time and updates will fix some of those bugs, there are some things you can do to make the most of its current state.

6 tips and tricks for using YouTube Music

Also, even if you've never used YouTube Music before, it has years and years of your YouTube history to work off of. That means that YouTube Music could already have a good idea what you like, or it could have things completely wrong because you've mostly used YouTube to pull up music when your nieces are over or you're hosting a party for your country-obsessed friends. Here's how to help YouTube help you with better suggestions.

How to improve YouTube Music recommendations

Can it dethrone Spotify?

YouTube Music Premium is meant to compete with Spotify Premium

Spotify has spent the last decade building up a loyal user base, building algorithms that few companies can even begin to touch, and building up a reputation as the best brand in streaming music. YouTube, however, is one of the most used sites on the internet, period, a selection you can't find anywhere else — a selection that will be absolutely unbeatable in the future — and Google is bringing its best algorithmic game with YouTube Music.

It's still early days, but YouTube Music will be enough to dethrone Spotify soon?

YouTube Music vs. Spotify

Updated June 2018: We've reorganized and expanded this guide to better organize information for new, old, and prospective YouTube Music users as the service launches in a new batch of countries.

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13 hours ago

Android Messages for web is officially rolling out to all users

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Android Messages for web is officially rolling out to all users

Google also highlights smaller features that are now available in Messages.

In late-April, Google's plans for turning Android Messages into something of an iMessage competitor were revealed. There are a lot of moving parts with this effort, but one of the biggest ones is finally coming to light — desktop messaging.

If you head to messages.android.com, you'll see a new website with a large bit of text saying you can "Text on your computer with Messages for web." There's a QR code to the right of this and instructions for scanning it through the Android Messages app on your phone.

To get started, open Android Messages on your phone, tap the three dots at the top right, and tap the new "Messages for web" option. If you don't see that in your app quite yet, Google says it's rolling it out to users starting today and over this coming week.

Along with announcing the desktop site, Google also took some time to highlight other new features in Android Messages — such as a GIF search button, Smart Replies being available for everyone that uses English, in-line link previews, and a copy button that's attached to a notification when you get a one-time code to log into your bank, Google account, etc.

I've noticed just about all these over the last few days, so most (if not all) of them should already be live.

Are you excited to start using Android Messages for web?

Chrome OS to soon offer 'integration' with Android Messages

Updated 3:10 PM ET: Updated this guide to reflect Google's official statement since the desktop site was first discovered.

13 hours ago

The Kindle Voyage, a Logitech webcam, a headphone stand, and more are all discounted today

The Kindle Voyage, a Logitech webcam, a headphone stand, 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 Kindle Voyage, the Logitech C920 Pro webcam, Twelve South's headphone stand, and more! Time's running out to take advantage of these prices, so hurry!

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!

13 hours ago

These are Android Central's favorite laptop bags

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These are Android Central's favorite laptop bags

Carry me away.

Everyone carries a bag of some sort of bag, from tiny leather shoulder bags to massive 40L rucksacks that can carry everyone one needs for a week-long getaway.

Being a remote company, we're always ready to work, either with a laptop, a tablet, or just a phone and a prayer.

The bag one wears is important: it speaks a lot about a person's lifestyle, and about their priorities. Given that we spend a lot of time reviewing gadgets, it's really important that we have the right bag to carry all of our gadgets, cameras, and other accessories.

So without further ado, here are the Bags of Android Central.

Hayato Huseman, Associate Editor

Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L The bag that ended my bag addiction

What Hayato loves about this bag: Whenever I travel for work, I need to bring a few things that help me write, film, and edit videos. The Everyday Backpack has enough room to fit my 15-inch MacBook Pro, camera, and various accessories like spare batteries, an ND filter, a wireless mic kit, Bluetooth headphones, and even a portable slider. The side pockets expand out enough to hold my travel tripod, and there are plenty of hidden compartments to stow away keys, passports, or anything else.

What Hayato doesn't love about this bag: The straps are pretty stiff and poorly padded, so if you tend to overstuff your bag, it'll wear on your shoulders pretty quickly. There's not much protecting your laptop from impact either, and while the bag's side access design can be great, it also puts all of your things on display — expensive gadgets and dirty laundry alike.

The ideal user for this bag: Anyone can enjoy the Everyday Backpack, but it's specially geared towards photographers. If you're a frequent traveler who never goes anywhere without a camera and a spare lens or two, this bag is probably a good fit. If you need a bit more space, there's also a larger 30L version available.

Price: $259.95

See at Amazon

Tom Westrick, Freelance Writer

Timbuk2 Uptown backpack All the space and compartments I need

What Tom loves about this bag: My favorite thing about this bag is how small it is when it's relatively empty. Other bags I had were issued to me when I was in the Air Force, and they were gigantic and unwieldy even when they were completely empty. I can stuff this one to the brim with clothes, laptops, and other equipment and it all fits comfortably, but it shrinks back down when I just have one or two things inside. The most I've held inside has been six Dell Latitude 3330 laptops, and while my back didn't enjoy that, this backpack held up with no issues.

Another thing I love is that despite all the abuse I've put this bag through for the past year and a half, it still looks like the day I bought it. This bag has been by my side through pouring rain, on the floor of a moving van, and countless day trips, and it still looks brand new. And if something ever does go wrong, the bag has a lifetime warranty.

What Tom doesn't love about this bag: I do wish the compartments were designed a little better. The two big compartments are great for just piling laptops into, but I wish there was a bit more organization available within those pockets. The bag also doesn't stand up on its own, meaning it always has to lean against a wall or just lay flat on the ground.

The ideal user for this bag: While this isn't as expensive as the Peak Design bag, $120 is still a hefty chunk of change. If you're willing to invest in a durable bag for day trips, and you need something that can grow with the amount of stuff you're carrying, this bag is for you.

Price: $120

See at Amazon

Marc Lagace, Gaming Editor

MATEIN Travel Laptop Backpack A great backpack when you're on a tight budget

What Marc loves about this bag: Straight up, I bought this bag because it matched my grey gym bag and because it was among the cheapest options that was well-reviewed on Amazon.ca — and for just $30, it's a heck of a deal. What I've come to love about it after using it is the plethora of zipper compartments and pockets for storing all my stuff, the built-in support for a portable battery pack that I actually make use of, and the overall look and feel of it. It's comfortable to wear even when it's jam-packed full of gear and compact enough to be stowed under an airplane seat for travel.

The branding for the Amazon.ca model is slightly different than the Amazon.com bag I've listed below, but it's essentially the same look and style as the one I'm rocking.

What Marc doesn't like about this bag: I've owned this backpack for just about a year and it's held up fine... but I still can't help but think of the old adage "you get what you pay for" and expect it to fail me at some point down the line. I've gone through a number of backpacks in my life — and gotten less use out of bags I've spent more money on — so there's a side of me that still thinks this thing is going to let me down at some point. The surprising part is that it hasn't, despite its "disposal" price point.

The ideal user for this bag: This is a great utilitarian bag for anyone who needs a functional backpack to store their laptop and other gear — whether you're in University or work a job that has you travelling a lot. At just $30, frankly I don't think you could find a better deal for a laptop backpack.

Price: $30 for grey / $36 for other color styles

See at Amazon

Ara Wagoner, Writer

ThinkGeek Handbag of Holding Darling, durable, and… Discontinued?!?

What Ara loves about this bag: Just like the Dungeons and Dragons item the bag is named for, the Handbag of Holding can fit an ungodly amount of things within its muted canvas covers. I can easily fit two Chromebooks, their chargers, their sleeves, a Bluetooth mouse, six Android phones, two portable batteries, six charging cables, my big noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones, my smaller backup Bluetooth headphones, my backup backup wired earbuds, a journal, some pens, two pill bottles, and four different kinds of snacks in the lavender-lined tote-cum-messenger bag.

I have stuffed this thing to the gills before severe weather shifts and cross-country flights, but it still maintains its shape and stability whether light or heavy. Four metal feet help keep the bag stable even on shag carpet, and so long as you've packed the bag relatively evenly, it should stay upright.

While the Handbag of Holding comes with a detachable shoulder strap, I find it far easier to carry day-to-day via its sturdy, heavily reinforced tote straps. Carrying it as a tote allows me to better handle the weight and doesn't snag my shoulder holster the way messenger bags and backpacks do.

What Ara doesn't love about this bag: While the Handbag of holding can easily fit a laptop — or three — it lacks a dedicated laptop sleeve, so I bent and shoved a quilted Rapha House laptop sleeve into one side of the main compartment to fill the role. It's also quite easy to lose items in all of the pouches and pocket dimensions of the Handbag of Holding; I've forgotten items in here for months a time. It's like a TARDIS with tote straps: you can fit everything in here somewhere, but things disappear in its space every now and then.

The biggest downside to the Handbag of Holding right now is that you can't buy one anymore.

There are other bags in the Bag of Holding line available at ThinkGeek right now, but all versions of the Handbag of Holding are Out of Stock forever. I can only hope that there's a new, improved model on the way, but there's really no way to know. If you're interested in buying one, tell ThinkGeek to bring it back!

The ideal user for this bag: This is a bag for tech-savvy women who want one bag for light days and heavy-duty work trips, nerdy to its d20 core but sophisticated enough to pass as a business bag — especially if you spring for the vegan leather Deluxe Handbag of Holding. It's highly adaptable so long as you pack it properly, and over a year into its use I am still genuinely surprised at how much I can fit in my Handbag of Holding at a moment's notice.

Price: When it was in stock, the Handbag of Holding ran from $50 for the standard canvas model to over $100 for some of the vegan leather models, but it's priceless now. If you still want a Bag of Holding, there is a slightly smaller satchel-style Con Survival Edition available for $35, as well as a Convertible Fast Travel Bag of Holding that can switch from a messenger bag to a backpack and can everything for your weekend trip into a carry-on bag that will fit easily under your seat for a neat $30.

See at ThinkGeek

Harish Jonnalagadda, Regional Editor

Xiaomi Mi Travel Backpack Enough pockets to store all my gear

What Harish loves about this bag: I picked up the Mi Travel Backpack for the amount of space it offers. The bag doesn't look huge at first glance, but it fits all my gear with ease, and has space left over for a change of clothes — which comes in handy for overnight travel.

There's a padded section that comfortably slots in a 15-inch MacBook, and you get a sleeve for a tablet as well. I particularly like the fact that it has more than enough compartments, which makes it convenient to store the plethora of accessories I carry around.

The shoulder straps and the back are adequately padded, and it's comfortable to wear with a full loadout of gear. I've been using the bag for close to a year now, and it has held up very well to the usual wear and tear.

What I don't love about this bag: The one quibble I have with the Mi Travel bag is that it doesn't have a water bottle holder. There are lined pockets on either side of the bag, and the compact size means there's no room to store a water bottle.

The ideal user for this bag: What I like about the Mi Travel Backpack is that there's no branding anywhere, and it looks like a regular bag. If you want an affordable bag to store all your gear, then this is the one to get.

Price: $55

See at GearBest

Joe Maring, News Editor

Ibagbar Vintage Canvas Backpack Cheap, boring, effective

What Joe loves about this bag: I initially picked up this Ibagbar backpack to get me through my last semester of college at the beginning of the year, but even after I graduated in May, it's served me well for packing up my things and heading out to the nearest Starbucks to scope out news for the day.

What I love the most about this backpack is how it looks. It's not flashy and isn't as modern-looking as the famous Peak Design Everyday Carry, but I'm a sucker for this vintage aesthetic. It's clean, simple, and the fabric it's made out of has held up nicely after about 6 months of regular use.

Something else I'm a fan of is the interior. The main compartment is great for housing headphones and notebooks while a sectioned off area at the very back holds by Pixelbook like a glove. There are also two small pockets near the front that work great for stowing away a charging cable and AC adapter.

Lastly, it's hard to argue with that price. $26.99 is a steal considering the quality and function this bag offers, and for a cheapskate like me, that's what got me to pull the trigger on buying it in the first place.

What Joe doesn't love about this bag: As well as this backpack has served me, I do have on minor complaint. Although I usually don't carry a ton of stuff with me, I do wish this bag offered a better way to organize my belongings. The two zippered areas on the front work well in conjunction with the main part of the bag, but the lack of any extra compartments in these make it hard to sort smaller gadgets and gizmos.

The ideal user for this bag: If all you need is an affordable, simple backpack for lugging around a laptop, notebook, headphones, and more, Ibagbar has a great solution here for doing just that. The bag's stylish, is comfortable to wear, and does a good job at holding all your junk. Plus, for under 30 bucks, it offers a tremendous value proposition for the budget-savvy out there.

Price: $26.99

See at Amazon

Daniel Bader, Managing Editor

Booq Pack Pro The most comfortable traveler's bag

What Daniel loves about the Pack Pro: The Booq Pack Pro is, according to the company that makes it, "a tank," and that couldn't be more accurate. I've taken this backpack to half a dozen countries, subjected it to every abuse imaginable — trade shows are not bag-friendly — and it still looks new. Like, brand new.

What I love is how versatile this bag is. There's a place for everything inside the spacious interior, with a number of obvious and hidden compartments ready to stow the most valuable of possessions. Behind it, a dedicated padded laptop sleeve can carry up to a 17-inch MacBook Pro or larger Surface Book 2, and there's even a tertiary tablet/ebook reader compartment around back.

The exterior is made of 1680 denier ballistic nylon, and the zippers are fully waterproof. I don't think I could damage them even if I wanted to.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the shoulder straps are supremely comfortable; I wore the Pack Pro for upwards of 6-hours straight walking around CES this past January, and my back was perfectly fine. (My feet on the other hand…)

What Daniel doesn't like about the Pack Pro: For all of its benefits, the Pack Pro is for a certain kind of traveler; this isn't a weekend getaway bag (too small) or a hiker's bag (too heavy). It's for people who travel on airplanes and subject their stuff to the hardships of travel. It's also not designed for camera equipment, as the single main pocket is a little tight for the average DSLR.

It's also expensive, at $249, and may be a bit overkill for the average city slicker. It's also a little plain-looking, opting for sparse branding and only a single color, black.

The ideal user for this bag: The average traveler doesn't need a bag like this. Instead, the Pack Pro is for the workhorse, someone who stuffs backpacks under airplane seats and into trade show corners. It's for people with valuables they don't want crushed or broken.

Price: $249

See at Amazon

Quentyn Kennemer, Freelance Writer

Thule Crossover 32L Backpack Tons of space, Tons of Durability

What Quentyn loves about this bag: Being one of the last holdouts to the messenger bag craze, I knew my options for a great tech backpack were slim. Thankfully, Thule's Crossover 32L backpack fits my needs almost perfectly. Seeing as I have a glutton of camera equipment, a massive 17-inch gaming laptop, a smaller work laptop, a tablet, headphones, a portable battery pack, and my phone with me (and all the associated cables I need) on any given trip, the biggest thing I need is massive capacity.

And yes, the Crossover can hold all of that, and then some. It's not just the sheer size of the thing, though. The innards are expertly crafted with multiple compartments, some of which are elevated by aluminum to ensure no one area of the bag becomes unusable.

There's also a healthy amount of padding to protect all your stuff, including a crush-proof compartment to protect your phone or other small valuables. And while I'm no textile materials expert, I can say that the Crossover has held up far longer than any other ordinary bag I've owned. I haven't seen a single rip or tear in the two years I've owned it. Oh, and it also looks really, really nice.

What Quentyn doesn't love about this bag: I do wish the crush-proof compartment was a bit bigger. I'm the kind of guy who loves big headphones with massive drivers, and I'd love to be able to take them with me without having to bring a dedicated carrying case.

I'd have loved it more with a built-in roller for when my back needs a break, especially considering it can reach the size of a small carry-on when filled to the brim.

The ideal user for this bag: If you have tons of stuff you have to carry around on a regular basis or if your equipment is just more bulky than most ordinary bags can handle, this is for you. If you have a bad back, however, then you'll want to look for something with wheels on it.

Price: $129

See at Amazon

Andrew Martonik, Executive Editor

Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L Just enough space for what you need

What Andrew loves about the Everyday Sling: I enjoy the security of having necessary gear (think laptop, battery, cables, camera) everywhere I go, and I understand that that means I also have to deal with that gear — typically in a bag. Size, comfort, flexibility (physically and conceptually) and style are all factors when choosing one. I've tried a lot of different bags for this sort of "daily essentials" set of stuff I carry, and for this duty I love the the Peak Design Everyday Sling — particularly, the larger 10L size.

What I love about the Everyday Sling is that it isn't a large multi-purpose oriented messenger bag — it's small, structured and doesn't have a ton of expandability. It's just the right size for the things I need to carry every day, and nothing more.

To that point, the Everyday Sling snugly holds my 13-inch MacBook Pro, plus a small camera, a backup phone and a few extra accessories like cables and batteries. And that's it. The movable divider system inside lets you tightly organize items to keep them from crashing around as you move, and small zipper areas on the inside and outside hold onto smaller items. There's a tiny bit of expandability with the outside pouch, but not much.

It's a small thing, but I love how the top of the bag both zips closed and hinges away from you — as compared to almost all messengers that hinge toward you. This makes it incredibly simple to pull the Sling around to your front, zip it open and have quick access to everything. And the full zipper gives the inside water resistance from all angles, unlike the fold-and-clip style open bags.

If you've ever seen or used a Peak Design product, you know the kind of fantastic quality you'll get with the Everyday Sling. Zipper are firm and close snugly. The fabrics are extremely tough and well-stitched. It feels like you could pull a truck with the metal clasps. The fabric on the back provides just a little grip to keep it from sliding on your back. And there are two side mounting points for Peak Design's Capture camera clip system, which I love to use.

What Andrew doesn't love about the Everyday Sling: The main downside to this bag is the strap, which really isn't as wide or comfortable as I'd like it to be, and doesn't really compare well to my Timbuk2 messenger bag. To be fair to the Everyday Sling this isn't intended to be a carry-everything-everywhere messenger, and is built for lighter duties, but the strap still disappoints in its padding. It also has the habit of loosening ever-so-slightly, but consistently, over time and needs shortened back up to the proper length.

Being compact and light cuts both ways, and that makes the Everyday Sling a poor choice for people who need to carry a lot with them. One of the biggest upsides for me is how small the Sling is because it means it won't ever get too heavy, but that's a big restriction for a lot of people. It can barely fit a 13-inch MacBook Pro, so larger laptop users are instantly ruled out.

The ideal user for this bag: If you've tried to find a small, compact bag to carry the essentials and nothing more, the Peak Design Everyday Sling 10L is for you. It's built out of fantastic materials that won't let you down, and is filled with genius little design touches that make it functional and practical for any sort of profession or adventure. The Everyday Sling isn't for long trips or heavy gear, but if you don't need that much space this bag is great.

Price: $149

See at Amazon

What's your favorite bag?

Everyone needs to carry stuff, and whether that container is big, small, expensive or cheap-and-cheerful, we'd love to know what you carry with you on the go!

*/
13 hours ago

Google's Datally app gets guest mode, daily limits, and other features

2

Google's Datally app gets guest mode, daily limits, and other features

All of this is rolling out to the app now.

In late 2017, Google launched an app to help you cut down on your mobile data usage called "Datally." Datally's already pretty great as is, but Google recently announced four new features for the app that aim to help you use even less data.

The feature that users will likely find the most useful is Daily Limit. With this, you can tell Datally how much mobile data you want to use each day. Once you hit that number, you can either keep using your data or block it for the rest of the day.

Another big addition is Guest Mode. If you've got a friend, kid, or someone else that wants to play around with your phone, you can use Guest Mode to enable a data limit before handing them your phone so you can make sure they only use the data you allow them to.

On top of Daily Limit and Guest Mode, Datally is also getting a map that shows nearby Wi-Fi networks and an Unused Apps tool that'll sniff out apps you aren't using but are still eating up your data in the background. Datally will then present these apps in a list, show you how long ago it was opened, how much data it's used, and give you a shortcut for quickly uninstalling it.

All four of these features are rolling out to the Datally app today on the Google Play Store.

Download: Datally (free)

13 hours ago

Complete the new Developer Economics Survey: Voice your opinion and win a Galaxy S9!

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Complete the new Developer Economics Survey: Voice your opinion and win a Galaxy S9!

Developers - Now is the time to share your opinions and enter to win amazing prizes like a Galaxy S9!

Is JavaScript giving you headaches? Do you wish other developers knew how important Swift and Rust will be in the coming years? It's your chance to turn your opinions into a tool of change! The new Developer Economics survey is open NOW, calling out all software developers to take part. Start right away!

Don't miss a chance to join over 40,000 developers from 160+ countries who take part in the Developer Economics surveys every year to tell the world where software development is going next.

Who can take the survey?

Pretty much everyone writing code and getting their hands on software development in Mobile, Desktop, IoT, AR/VR, Machine Learning & Data Science, Web, Backend and Games. It doesn't matter if you're a hobbyist, a startupper or an enterprise dev — the survey is open for all real developers out there!

What sort of questions are they asking?

The survey is designed to dive into real-life developer issues, from coding skills and favorite tools to satisfaction with learning resources and communities.

Expect questions like:

  • Which are your favorite tools and platforms and why?
  • Are you getting value from the available dev resources?
  • What are your goals for coding?

Ready to take the survey?

Why should you take the survey?

It's fun, for starters! The survey is designed to reveal your sci-fi profile, so the more you engage, the closer you get to finding out your place in the galaxy far, far away.

Then there are the PRIZES. This time, devs who complete the survey can win stuff like a Samsung S9+, an HTC Vive Pro, an iPhone X, GitHub Developer Plans, Amazon vouchers and other useful things to help you test your work or just play around. You can also take part in the referral program, which allows you to with up to $700 in cash by referring other developer friends to take the survey.

This year we're introducing a novelty - SlashData will donate funds to a coding charity to support their mission. We want to give back to the community, and we hope this encourages developers to take our survey and be a part of something larger and truly meaningful.

And last but not least, everyone who takes the survey will get insights with key findings from the survey, as well as a free report with the highlights and up-and-coming trends.

If you have a few minutes to spare and want to have a quality time, then this survey is for perfect for you! You can start right here. Extra tip: if you need to take a break, just click to save your responses and then you can come back and continue where you left off.

Good luck!

Take the survey now!

14 hours ago

Best Google Pixel 2 Cases in 2018

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Best Google Pixel 2 Cases in 2018

Enhance the funky look of your Google Pixel 2 with the right case!

The Google Pixel 2 Whether you love the design and want to enhance it, or simply looking for drop protection for your new phone, there's a case that's perfect for you.

Google has partnered with a number of accessory makers for its 'Made for Google" certification program featured in the Google Store, but you can also find a ton of quality third-party cases to fit your needs. We'll run through the best options available straight from Google, then look at some cheaper options from Amazon.

Google Live Cases

First up is the customizable Google Live Cases, which give you the option of customizing the back of your Pixel 2 with a personal photo or a wide range of styles curated by Google.

For instance, you can choose a gorgeous satellite photo from Google Earth, and the case will pair with a matching live wallpaper for a cohesive look around your device that's absolutely gorgeous. Looking to add a bit more of an artistic flair to your case? Check out the Artworks Live Case and find something that matches your style.

Google has curated a great selection of cases that feature artwork, photos from space, and naturally beautiful images that are really quite stunning. Prices range from $40 to $50 depending on the styling and your choice of a minimalist shell or a more rugged dual-layer case. Create and customize your own case via the Google Store.

See at Google Store

Google Fabric Cases

If you like a little texture on your phone case, you'll love the Google Fabric Case which brings the look and most importantly the feel of the fabric finish found on other Google products, like the Home Mini and even the Daydream View.

Designed in-house by Google, you can be sure of the build quality and fit. These cases offering a premium microfiber liner to ensure your device stays scuff-free and your choice of four color combinations for $40.

See at Google Store

Power Support Air Jacket

If you're looking for a certified "Made for Google" clear case, look no further than Power Support Air Jacket. it's about as minimalist as you can get — a single piece of crystal clear polycarbonate that'll clip onto your new phone and virtually disappear while keeping your Pixel 2 save from harm. It also features a self-healing coating that'll ensure your case looks fresh even if you put it through hell.

You can order yours from the Power Support website or buy it straight from Google with free shipping. However, at $35 it's also four times the price as other clear case options on this list.

See at Google Store

OtterBox Defender Series case

OtterBox is a brand that's become synonymous with rugged phone cases, so it comes as no surprise that Google would get OtterBox onboard with its "Made for Google" certification program.

The Defender Series is the classic OtterBox case that offers ultimate triple-layer protection for your phone — a shock-absorbing inner shell, rugged outer shell, and a screen protector up front. A cover prevents lint and dust from getting into the charging port, and despite its ruggedness, the case is designed to work with the Pixel 2's Active Edge technology.

You can get yours from OtterBox directly or from the Google Store for $50.

See at Google Store

Bellroy Leather Case

Looking to add a touch of class to your Pixel 2? How about an elegant leather case from Bellroy?

These cases are as slim as possible with a design that really compliments the Pixel 2 while keeping it protected from harm. Made using premium leather and featuring a soft microfiber lining this is a lightweight case that will keep your phone well protected and age beautifully over time. It's also backed by a 3-year warranty from Bellroy.

You can learn more about the case and materials used at Bellroy.com, then get yours from the Google Store for $45 with free shipping!

See at Google Store

Ringke Fusion

If you're debating whether to cover the design of your Pixel 2 in plastic or gamble by using it without a case, might we suggest a quality clear case?

Ringke has their rugged clear case available for the Pixel 2. Made with a rugged panel of polycarbonate on the back panel and an easy-grip TPU bumper, this case will keep your new device protected while also letting the Pixel 2's design shine through. You'll also get lifted bezels around the camera and screen to protect those important pieces of glass, along with precise cutouts for the charging port and fingerprint scanner.

Looking to save some money on your case? Yeah, us too. You can get this reliable case from Amazon for just $11.

See at Amazon

Spigen Rugged Armor

Spigen has its full line of cases available for the Pixel 2 at affordable prices, but we'll recommend the Rugged Armor because it's slim and rugged with a signature look and feel.

This is a lightweight case that adds little very little bulk, with carbon fiber detailing along the top and bottom. There's raised edges around the screen and around the camera on the back to protect against scratches and scuffs.

I've been using the Rugged Armor case on my Pixel XL and it's held up against all of my klutziness. If you want great protection for your new phone without the bulk (or high price) of other case options, get Spigen's Rugged Armor case for just $13 on Amazon.

See at Amazon

LK Slim Thin Pixel 2 Case

For those who want a cheap clear case to keep your phone protected without obscuring the Pixel 2's cool design, LK has a minimalist case for just $7.

If you go with the clear case, you'll barely notice it at all and it won't add much bulk to the phone. There's also more colorful options like purple and mint green as well as a classic black look. Because it's made of flexible TPU and is thin, it should not impede the use of the Active Edge functionality.

This case offers decent protection from anyone prone to dropping a new phone. Like me.

See at Amazon

Incipio Carnaby Series

If you like the look of that Google Fabric case, but can't wrap your head around paying that much for a phone case, you'll want to consider the Carnaby Series case from Incipio.

This is, I must say, one of the classier case styles I've seen emerge this year and the fact that it's also from a trusted brand like Incipio means that your phone will look great while also being well-protected from bumps and drops.

The bulk of the case is made from TPU for good protection, while the exterior features a soft cotton finish that will feel great in your hand — you'll never want to put your phone down! It also includes ample cutouts around the fingerprint sensor and camera, along with a lip around the front to protect that screen. Get yours in elegant blue-grey for just $17.50!

See at Amazon

Maxboost Folio Style Wallet Case

Cases typically offer a single function in that they keep our phones safe. Wallet cases are a different beast and let you keep the two most important things in your life — your phone and your money — all in one place.

Maxboost offers a well-reviewed wallet case for the Google Pixel 2 that's got a stylish look and all the functionality that you'd expect. We're talking three card slots on the inside flap, a hidden side pocket for some cash, and a magnetic flap that comes around to keep everything secure. You can also fold over the case to use as a kickstand when you're watching your YouTube videos. It does all that with clean cutouts around the camera, fingerprint sensor, and charging port, and even includes cutouts around the earpiece so you can talk while keeping your screen covered.

Available for just $13, it's a great option for your Pixel 2!

See at Amazon

Carved wooden cases

Carved has a bunch of great case options available for phones like the Pixel 2, including 52 stylish pre-made option featuring a mix of cool prints and fancy cut wood designs with prices ranging from $29 to $55, along with a selection of classic wood grain cases for just $24.

Carved also allows you to create your own custom case using an online case designer. They also offer the option to get a section of a map engraved or printed onto the case. With the right eye for design, you could design a case that uses the fingerprint scanner as part of your case's decoration.

See at Carved

RhinoShield SolidSuit Case

RhinoShield makes some fantastic phone accessories that always seem to go a step beyond. With the SolidSuit case, you get a rugged case that's designed to both protect your phone and also give you the option of using add-on lens attachments that will enhance the experience of using the superb camera on the Pixel 2. First, you'll need the $5 lens adapter and then you can start investing in the superb lens kits that Rhinoshield also offers.

The Pixel 2 is a great phone that really shines with the right accessories like this. Don't miss out on getting this RhinoShield case for just $35 on Amazon.

See at Amazon

Is the Pixel 2 too good looking for a case?

What do you think of the Google Pixel 2's design? Too cool to cover with a case? Which cases are you interested in? Let us know in the comments!

Updated June 2018: Added the RhinoShield SolidSuit to our list along with new pricing information These are still the best case options for the Pixel 2!

Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Best Buy Verizon Google Store Project Fi

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14 hours ago

Google Pixel 3: News, Rumors, Release Date, Specs, and more!

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Google Pixel 3: News, Rumors, Release Date, Specs, and more!

Everything we know about what'll likely be one of the year's best phones.

Google first introduced its Pixel series in 2016, and since then, has been hard at work to establish itself as a serious player in the smartphone market. Google may be one of the most powerful and iconic companies in the world, but when it comes to hardware, is still very much a newcomer.

We saw vast improvements with the Pixel 2 compared to the original Pixel line, and we're expecting to get that again with the Pixel 3. Google's quickly learning what it takes to compete with the likes of Samsung and Apple, and seeing as how the Pixel 2 was one of 2017's best phones, there's a lot riding on this year's entry.

Ladies and gentlemen, here's everything we know so far about the Google Pixel 3.

The latest Pixel 3 news

June 18, 2018 — Case render confirms Pixel 3 XL design

Ice Universe on Twitter has built up a reputation for being pretty accurate about leaks/rumors in the mobile space, and on June 18, they shared a case render that further confirms the Pixel 3 XL's design.

Like we saw with the hands-on photos on June 7 and 8, the Pixel 3 XL will have a notch in its screen, dual front-facing cameras, stereo speakers, rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, and a single rear camera.

It's rather peculiar that Google's choosing to use two cameras on the front while keeping just one on the back, but based on how excellent the Pixel 2's single rear camera is, I don't expect this will be a downside at all.

June 8, 2018 — Pixel 3 XL shown off in six more hands-on pictures

Less than a day after those first two hands-on photos of the Pixel 3 XL surfaced, six more have appeared.

These additional photos showcase the Pixel 3 XL from every possible angle, and when XDA Developers reached out to their forum member that shared them, they were able to confirm that the phone has a full glass back. In other words, it's possible this year's Pixel line may finally adopt wireless charging.

The front and back photos are pretty similar compared to what we saw yesterday, but the other images showcase a reflective glass frame around the phone, volume rocker and power/lock button on the right side, and a USB-C port and SIM slot on the bottom.

Also, as 9to5Google pointed out, that mysterious logo on the back of the Pixel 3 XL was used previously with old Pixel 2 prototypes.

June 7, 2018 — Hands-on photos apparently showcase a Pixel 3 XL prototype

Out of the blue, XDA Senior Member meraz9000 shared two photos on the XDA Forums showing what's supposed to be a prototype of the Pixel 3 XL. There's obviously no way we can confirm whether or not this is the real deal, but it sure does line up with the display panels that were leaked last month.

The photos show the Pixel 3 XL from both the front and back, with the front reiterating the point that the 3 XL will more than likely have a notch in its screen. For what it's worth, it does look like we'll be getting two front-facing cameras and a chin at the bottom to retain stereo front-facing speakers.

Around back, this Pixel 3 XL prototype looks nearly identical to that of the Pixel 2 XL. The glass panel seems to be ever-so-slightly smaller, but that could just be the way the photo was taken.

In any case, what do you think about how the Pixel 3 XL is shaping up?

June 4, 2018 — Google's apparently working on a mid-range Pixel phone

According to one tipster, Google's in the process of developing a mid-range Pixel phone that's codenamed "Bonito" and is powered by the Snapdragon 710 processor.

Rumors of a mid-range Pixel first popped up in April, but the old claim of it launching this July has since been replaced with a release scheduled for the first half of 2019.

That would suggest that Google may launch this new Pixel phone during I/O next year, but with so much discrepancy surrounding the release date, it's entirely possible it'll be announced alongside the Pixel 3 in October.

May 30, 2018 (part 2) — Verizon is said to be the exclusive carrier for the Pixel 3, again 😕

A report from Bloomberg recently surfaced confirming a few details about Google's upcoming phones per a source that's familiar with their production. According to the report:

  • The Pixel 3 series will once again be exclusive to Verizon Wireless in the U.S.
  • A notch will be present on the larger Pixel 3 XL
  • Google will announce/launch the phones in October
  • Foxconn will manufacture the Pixel 3/3 XL
  • Stereo speakers will be present on both phones
  • The Pixel 3 XL will have dual front-facing cameras
  • "Both models will include upgraded, single-lens cameras on the back"

May 30, 2018 — LG will reportedly manufacture the Pixel 3 XL's OLED display

Just a couple days after the Pixel 3 XL's notched panel leaked, a report's come out of Korea claiming that Google will once again use LG to manufacture and supply an OLED screen for the phone.

Furthermore, an official from LG Display that remains anonymous said, "We have maintained close ties with Google and the volume will not be much different from the previous one [the Pixel 2 XL]."

If this turns out to be true, one can only hope that LG's improved the quality of its mobile panels since last year. The LG-made Pixel 2 XL display was the center of a lot of controversy for the phone's first few weeks out in the wild, and Google really can't afford to go through that again with gen-three.

What do you think about LG making the Pixel 3 XL's display?

May 28, 2018 — The Pixel 3 goes 2:1 and the Pixel 3 XL gets a notch

Here's an interesting leak that, while not necessarily all-telling, gives us an indication of where Google is taking the series in 2018. Specifically, the larger Pixel 3 XL looks to have a notch while the smaller Pixel 3, though moving to a 2:1 aspect ratio, will lack one. At the same time, we see some sensors that may indicate Google is adding either a second front camera to the phones or, more likely, some sort of dedicated biometric sensor for faster/more reliable face unlock.

The leak comes from Weibo (by way of Slashleaks) and reportedly shows two front glass panels for the new phones. Given that we're almost in June, this would be the time for accessory makers to begin testing products for the final phone design. It's also good to see Google maintaining dual front-facing speakers for the lineup.

What do you think of this latest leak?

May 10, 2018 — The Pixel 3 could be joined by second-gen Pixel Buds and a Pixel Watch

Google's hardware events surround the Pixel phones with a heap of other product announcements, and this year, it's reported that we'll see a second-gen version of Pixel Buds and Google's first Pixel-branded smartwatch.

Specifics on these gadgets are still up in the air, and as excited as I am to see how Google improves its wireless earbud game, I'm beyond ecstatic to see how the company's first smartwatch turns out.

Wear OS is in an awkward stage right now, but a proper Pixel Watch and new silicon from Qualcomm could bring it back into the limelight. Assuming Google handles this right, the Apple Watch may soon be faced with some of its stiffest competition yet.

When will the Pixel 3 be released?

In 2016 and 2017, Google held its hardware event on October 4. We don't have a concrete date for this year's event quite yet, but there's no reason to believe Google will deter from this pattern.

Another October 4 event isn't out of the question seeing as how that falls on a Thursday this year, but at the very least, we should be looking at some point in early October.

Pre-orders for the Pixel 3 will likely open shortly after it's announced that same day with shipments going out at least a couple of weeks later.

How much will the Pixel 3 cost?

Over the past couple years, pricing for Google's Pixel phones has remained mostly the same. The MSRP for the Pixel and Pixel 2 series is as follows:

  • Pixel w/ 32GB — $649
  • Pixel w/ 128GB — $749
  • Pixel 2 w/ 64GB — $649
  • Pixel 2 w/ 128GB — $749
  • Pixel XL w/ 32GB — $769
  • Pixel XL w/ 128GB — $869
  • Pixel 2 XL w/ 64GB —$849
  • Pixel 2 XL w/ 128GB — $949

I imagine we'll see similar numbers with the Pixel 3, but don't be too surprised if we get a Pixel 3 XL variant that crosses the $1000 threshold.

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Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

Best Buy Verizon Google Store Project Fi

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15 hours ago

Lock screen customization is dead

29

Lock screen customization is dead

Blink and you'll miss it

From start to finish, this kind of theming was a complete mess.

If you don't like a launcher on Android, you get a new one. Hate your keyboard? Use a third-party keyboard. After all, Android is all about choice, and customization is an essential part of the Android experience… but lock screen customization is bad. Third-party lock screen customization is especially bad. There was a very, very brief moment in history when it was less bad, but it's bad today.

And that's OK, because it's not worth your time.

15 hours ago

Hands-on photos show 'Project V' — a foldable Samsung phone that never was

2

Hands-on photos show 'Project V' — a foldable Samsung phone that never was

It's widely expected that 2019 will be the year Samsung finally launches the Galaxy X — its long-awaited foldable/bendable smartphone. Patents from years past have indicated Samsung's been toying around with the idea of a foldable phone for some time, and thanks to a user on Twitter, we now have an idea of what one of those prototypes looked like.

Referred to as "Project V", the above phone was being developed by Samsung between 2015 and 2016 as evident by the UI and clock widget on the home screen. Rather than being a phone with a bendable screen, Project V was similar to ZTE's Axon M in the sense that it had two screens on the front and back.

Project V could be used like a regular phone, but using a hinge mechanism, the second display could be moved to the front for double the screen real-estate.

The photos show that Project V was a pretty chunky gadget, and although its construction isn't quite as refined as the Axon M, it's impressive Samsung had such a similar device ready to go about two years before ZTE.

Samsung's Project V won't ever see a proper release, but it'll be interesting to compare this to the Galaxy X whenever it's actually released.

Based on what we're seeing here, are you glad Samsung canceled Project V or do you think you would have purchased it?

Samsung Galaxy X foldable phone: Rumors, Images, Details, and More!

16 hours ago

From Google to your phone: The life of an Android security update

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From Google to your phone: The life of an Android security update

Security patches aren't simple updates that can go out as soon as they are written.

At the beginning of every month, Google releases the monthly Android Security Bulletin and starts to send updates to Pixel phones. It's great that the company is transparent about what is going on and how things are being fixed even if you're not the type of person who likes to read the source code.

There is a lot of work that goes into these patches before they are made public, and there is even more work involved before it comes to other phones — if it comes at all. Let's take a look at how the sausage is made and try to have a better understanding of why the timeline for security patches is a little blurry.

First you fix Android

Android is a complicated beast. Over 5 million lines of code, it exists to help companies that make mobile products get up and running with a complete application platform including access to Google Play and other services. It's not something that can be used as-is; these companies spend a lot of time trying to get Android tailored to merge into the other software they may be using to create a nice homogenized operating system.

Google has some rules about how this should be done should a company want to include its services, but manufacturers have a long leash on how the final product is built.

This code is where a security patch comes to life. Someone, be it a security researcher or just an average Joe, finds a flaw in a phone that could be used to lessen the device's security layer. If that flaw isn't something an OEM created, the Android team is tasked to find out what's happening, why it's happening, and how to fix it in the least disruptive way.

If a security flaw is found and it's part of the base Android code, Google has to fix it then send it along to everyone else.

Often, the flaw isn't something Google can fix. Like us, Google doesn't have access to firmware from companies that make hardware like Qualcomm or LG. If the flaw needs to be addressed at the hardware level there is a good chance the company that supplies some of the components used will need to make changes first. If this is the case, those changes are forwarded to Google so that it can see what needs to be done to accommodate them in Android's code.

These changes take time, especially if a hardware vendor is involved. There is patching and testing and more patching and more testing for each and every flaw addressed in a patch. Once Google is confident that they have a valid fix for a security flaw, every company who makes Android phones is given early access (at least 30 days before the patch is made public by Google) so they can get to work.

Phase two

This is where most of the work is done. Google may write and maintain Android itself, but the bulk of devices that use it are not made by Google. The ones that are — Pixel phones — are also included here. Google hardware is a customer of Android the same way Samsung or Motorola is.

The Samsungs and LGs of the mobile industry, which make a lot of changes to Android, have a lot of work involved when it's time to merge a patch.

All of these companies get to work on a couple of things as soon as they have new code from Google. The first — and possibly most important — part is determining what part of the patch is not needed. And there are plenty of things in every patch a single company can freely ignore.

For example, if NVIDIA had to make changes that are pushed back into Android, no Samsung phones will need that part of the patch. A more extreme example would be the changes that BlackBerry or Samsung made that already address the problem in a different way. Finding out what's needed and what isn't can be time-consuming, especially when a company makes large changes to certain portions of the operating system. Google investigated accusations that OEMs were sending security patches that did not address some things they should have, and this is what it found.

Not every part of a patch is needed on every phone.

Once that's done, the rest of the patch needs to be merged into a vendor's custom Android code, then built and tested. The "built and tested" part can become a big headache if the patch can't just be applied because it touches files that custom code is using or depends on. We see that a lot, too. Whenever Bluetooth or Wi-Fi is patched, whether it be the hardware or the software behind them, it will touch code that has been altered by a large OEM that makes a fancier operating system than "stock" Android. There are a lot of parts of Android that an OEM can touch.

Once the engineers at Samsung or another vendor get an operating system that boots up and runs, it needs to be tested. And tested some more. The testing may include getting network engineers from various carriers involved, as well as having Google and/or the manufacturer of any component back into the mix. It has to be right. A patch sent out to thousands and thousands of phones could potentially cripple a carrier's network, eat up every user's data cap, or even cause the phone itself to stop working. Anything of the sort is unacceptable and has to be found before it leaves the building.

The rollout

The company that made your phone, Google, and maybe your carrier work together to get a mass over-the-air update ready. If you've ever seen the URL that is used to download a patch, you'll notice it has "Google" in the web address. That's because the engine inside your phone that can fetch and process an OTA update is looking in a very specific place for a patch. It needs to know that the patch is 100% correct and signed by the right digital signature. It will check this again once the patch is fully downloaded.

If you bought your phone from a carrier, it has plenty of input during the entire life of a patch.

Your carrier may have some rules about when and who can download a patch once it's live if their name is on the phone. Companies like Samsung or LG make custom versions of their most popular models for each carrier, which has plenty of input into how things are done. It should since its name is on the box. This can be frustrating, but it makes sense. If everyone in Pittsburgh (for example) who has a Samsung Galaxy S8 phone tries to fetch an 800MB patch at the same time, the network is going to crumble in spots. Your carrier will do anything it needs to do in order to keep the network alive.

Google also places a sort of hold on OTA rollouts. A specific number of users will receive a patch, and after a set amount of time, Google determines if those users had a good experience or a bad one. If all goes well, a larger number of users will get the patch in a second wave. This repeats several times before the floodgates are opened. Users who do not wish to wait for this final testing can manually download a patch through their device settings.

When it's your turn and you gave your phone the green light to grab that file, it's downloaded and then your phone takes control.

In your hands

A patch is downloaded to your phone and verified as being the right stuff. Older versions of Android have a dedicated cache, which is a section of your storage that has been divided off for things like an update file to live; things that are only temporarily on the phone. Phones that use Android's seamless update feature (which should be most phones running Android Nougat when sold) "slip" the downloaded files into what are called slots. In either case, you need to have enough space for the OTA file to be extracted and worked on.

Phones with older versions of Android may have a dedicated cache partition that's used during an update. It needs to be 2.5 times bigger in size than the OTA file you downloaded.

The OTA updater software in your phone is a part of Android. A script in the downloaded file tells it how to go about finding the files that need altered and it copies those files either into your device cache or into the designated slot. It then compares the original files on your phone with the files that have been downloaded. Some may be a simple swap — take file X from the phone and delete it, then replace it with file X from the OTA download. Others aren't the full file and only contain small specific changes. The updater and installer software in your phone know what to do here.

Many files in Android, especially the applications and software libraries, are really a lot of files compressed into a special archive. You can take an APK file and change it to a .zip file and open it with Windows. Sometimes these archives need to be opened and portions of them need to be swapped with new versions downloaded for the security patch. That's why you need that working space in your cache partition — that's where these files are extracted.

A lot of files on your phone are really archives containing many files — including other archives of files. It's complicated.

Once every file in the OTA update has been processed and changes made to copies of system files, it's time to run the system with them. This happens when the phone asks you to reboot after it processes the OTA you received because there are often files that need to be patched but are in use while the phone is running. You may see a screen showing that there is work going on during the reboot or you may just see the Android logo. In either case, files are being checked, moved into place, and checked again. The old files are kept in the cache just in case there is a problem and you can't boot with the new files.

All that's left is for you to make sure everything is still just how you like it, and you have a newer date for the Security Patch version in the settings of your phone. Now you're ready for the next update!

Android P

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16 hours ago

What is YouTube Premium? Everything you need to know!

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What is YouTube Premium? Everything you need to know!

The service costs $11.99/month and gives you access to a ton of stuff.

Back in 2015, YouTube Red launched as a way for people to get an even better YouTube experience than what was offered in the free version. For $9.99/month, YouTube Red gave you access to ad-free videos, all-new original shows, and much more.

YouTube Red is now being replaced by YouTube Premium, and for folks that are hardcore or just moderate YouTube users, it's definitely worth checking out.

June 18, 2018 — YouTube Premium is finally launching!

It's been over a month since Google first announced YouTube Premium, but starting June 18, the service is finally rolling out to replace YouTube Red in 17 countries around the globe.

YouTube Premium is initially rolling out to the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico and will then expand to additional markets. If you never signed up for YouTube Red and want to give Premium a try, Google's giving away three months of the service for a limited time.

What's included?

As mentioned above, YouTube Premium comes with a load of goodies that make its monthly fee well worth the asking price.

All of the old features from YouTube Red are here, including:

  • Ad-free videos
  • Play videos in the background
  • Download videos for offline use
  • Access to all YouTube Originals content

In addition to these perks, a YouTube Premium subscription also gives you full access to YouTube Music. With a YouTube Premium plan, you can use YouTube Music to listen to music without ads, let your tunes play in the background, and download songs/playlists for offline listening.

How much does it cost?

That's all fine and dandy, but how much will you be paying for all this?

YouTube Premium costs $11.99/month, and you can cancel or change your plan at any time. However, YouTube now has a second, more affordable option you can check out called YouTube Music.

What's the deal with YouTube Music?

For a cheaper $9.99/month, you can subscribe to YouTube Music. That monthly fee will allow you to listen to music ad-free, let songs play in the background, and download them so you can keep jamming even when you're without an internet connection, but you won't get any of the perks in the bullet list above.

If you subscribe to YouTube Music but decide you want to upgrade to YouTube Premium later on, you can make that change at any time.

You'll access your tunes through the recently upgraded YouTube Music app, and while new features are in the works, it's already pretty great in its current form.

Download: YouTube Music (free)

What if I was already subscribed to YouTube Red?

YouTube Premium is a pretty great deal, but old YouTube Red subscribers might think differently. YouTube Premium has all of the same features that were previously found in Red, but it now costs $2 more each month.

Thankfully, if you were previously subscribed to YouTube Red on or before May 21, 2018, you get access to all of YouTube Premium for YouTube Red's old pricing of $9.99/month.

YouTube Music has the potential to solve Google's streaming conundrum

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