Order the Google Pixel 2: Verizon | Best Buy | Shop: Black Friday 2017

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4 days ago

Amazon brings Alexa, and Echo speakers, to Canada

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The Echo speakers, and Alexa, are coming to Canada at awesome introductory prices.

After what seems like years smuggling grey market Echoes north of the border and using them with U.S. Amazon accounts (what, I never did that!), Canadians can now safely, and properly, use Amazon's Echo products with an Alexa assistant that's optimized for our "w-eh" of talking. Sorry.

Starting December 5, but available for pre-order now, Canadians can order the second-generation Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus. While the prices are slightly higher than their U.S. counterparts, due to exchange rates, introductory prices bring them down to a much more enticing level, and should help spur sales.

  • Echo: $129.99 ($99.99 right now)
  • Echo Plus: $199.99 ($169.99 right now)
  • Echo Dot: $69.99 ($49.99 right now)

Canadian developers and media companies have already commmitted to adding Alexa Skills in the coming days, including CBC, TELUS, theScore, TD Bank and more. Existing smart home services like Logitech Harmony and Philips Hue should also work with the Canadian versions of the Echo out of the box.

Amazon also announced that its Prime Music service is now available in Canada. While it's not the Music Unlimited offering that aims to rival Spotify and Google Play Music, it offers access to 1 million song at no additional cost as long as you're a Prime member.

Amazon Echo and Echo Plus review (2017)

See at Amazon

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4 days ago

Best Android Phone Under $700

Best overall

Google Pixel 2

See at Verizon See at Best Buy See at Google Store

The smaller of Google's new Pixel phones is also its best, thanks to a no-nonsense design and plenty of features to get enthusiasts excited. For a starting price of $649, it mirrors last year's 5-inch flagship, but has a laundry list of upgrades, including a faster processor, more default storage, a better-calibrated OLED display, and, of course, a stupendous 12MP camera that beats everything else on the market. Plus, the latest version of Android first — and for three years.

Bottom line: There's nothing quite like the Pixel, which marries hardware and software into an exceptional Android experience.

One more thing: The Pixel 2 XL has a bigger display and battery but may not be worth the extra $200.



Why the Pixel 2 is the best

If you weren't a fan of the first Pixel's looks but enjoyed everything else about it, the Pixel 2 is for you. Available in three awesome colors with a soft-touch metal finish that's perfect to hold without a case, the Pixel 2 is easy to use in one hand, extremely performant and reliable, and easily has the best camera on the Android market today.

Add to that the fact Google will first give its Pixel phones updates to the latest version of Android, but it's also promising three years of updates, which is unprecedented in the Android space. Google has done a lot to improve the reliability of the Pixel 2 (despite some early software issues) and battery life has also improved considerably over the first version.

Best for looks

HTC U11

See at Amazon See at HTC See at Sprint

This may come as a shock to you, but HTC is back, baby! In fact, the company never left, but its criminally underappreciated 2016 flagship, the HTC 10, has been replaced by a phone so good and so striking that it would be impossible not to consider it in 2017. That phone is the HTC U11.

It may lack the Stretch Armstrong screen dimensions of the Galaxy S8 and LG G6, but it makes up for it in admirable practicality. The phone is fast — like, crazy fast — and the rear camera is probably the best you'll find on the market today. And despite the fingerprint magnetic glass back, when it's clean it's stunning, like a work of art.

Bottom line: The HTC U11 is an amazing phone that you should absolutely consider if you're in the market for an under-$700 device.

One more thing: The phone is only available to purchase at Sprint in the U.S., so consider financing it from HTC directly if you want to use it elsewhere.



Best for single hands

LG G6+

See at Amazon

The LG G6+ is a great alternative for a sub-$700 smartphone, particularly if you aren't too interested in buying one of last year's Samsung devices as this year's daily driver.

Sure, LG was known to be chasing gimmicks with its flagship releases the last few years, but it's since changed its tune with the G6+. This hand-friendly smartphone features an attractive design, great build quality, and a stunning, nearly bezel-less 5.7-inch display. It also features Qi wireless charging (in North America), water resistance, a rear-facing fingerprint sensor that doubles as a power button, and a bevy of fun, wide-angle camera features.

The G6+ is a special edition of the G6, exclusive to Amazon Prime in the U.S., which features a high-quality 64-bit Quad DAC, and double the storage to 64GB — and it's very good value at $500.

Bottom line: LG is back to making really solid smartphones and the G6+ is a worthy buy if camera hardware is especially important to you.

One more thing: If you want to save some money, you can grab the G6 — still a great phone, just sans Quad DAC and 64GB storage — for $400.



Best for updates

Google Pixel XL

See at Verizon See at Google Store

If you don't need the latest and greatest from Google but still value everything else that's great about the Pixel lineup, the Pixel XL is the way to go. It's the larger of Google's 2016 Pixels, and now discounted to $669, it's even better value.

It may not have the OIS of the Pixel 2 XL, but the original Pixel XL still has one of the best cameras on the market, and the OLED display is considerably better than its successor's.

Bottom line: The Pixel XL is a fantastic phone that's guaranteed to get Android P in 2018, as well as security updates well into 2019.

One more thing: You can purchase device protection insurance for your Pixel. It covers accidental damage from a drop or water ingress, as well as any general malfunctions for two years.

Conclusion

The Pixel 2 is the best phone you can buy right now, period — and it happens to be under $700. But if you want some visual alternatives, the LG G6+, HTC U11, and Pixel XL are great options, too.

Best overall

Google Pixel 2

See at Verizon See at Best Buy See at Google Store

The smaller of Google's new Pixel phones is also its best, thanks to a no-nonsense design and plenty of features to get enthusiasts excited. For a starting price of $649, it mirrors last year's 5-inch flagship, but has a laundry list of upgrades, including a faster processor, more default storage, a better-calibrated OLED display, and, of course, a stupendous 12MP camera that beats everything else on the market. Plus, the latest version of Android first — and for three years.

Bottom line: There's nothing quite like the Pixel, which marries hardware and software into an exceptional Android experience.

One more thing: The Pixel 2 XL has a bigger display and battery but may not be worth the extra $200.

Updated November 2017: The Google Pixel 2 is our latest pick, and the HTC U11 has been moved to our best-looking phone.

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4 days ago

Deal: HTC Bolt available for just $200 with coupon code (60% off)

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HTC's running a heavy discount on its Bolt handset from last year, and while the savings might be large, you may want to still hold back.

We're currently in the best time of year for buying new tech thanks to the numerous savings and promotions that are being run in preparation for the holiday season, and one of the latest companies to follow suit with this is HTC. However, the savings being offered are on a phone you might have forgotten about.

The HTC Bolt was released just about a year ago, and it was one of the most peculiar phones of 2016. It featured a great, metal build, respectable cameras, and shipped with Android Nougat. On the other hand, it also came equipped with a heap of Sprint bloatware, lacked a headphone jack, and used a processor from 2015 (the Snapdragon 810 to be exact).

Of all the issues with the HTC Bolt, one of the biggest was with its price of $600. HTC has since lowered that to $500, but if you buy the phone right now and use the coupon code BOLT200 at checkout, you'll be able to pick it up for just $200.

$200 is a lot more reasonable than $600 or $500, but even so, make sure to shop around a bit before hopping right on this deal. Devices like the Moto G5S Plus can be purchased for as little as $240 right now, and for $40 extra you're getting a newer processor, dual-cameras, better chance of being updated to Oreo, and compatibility on all major carriers in the U.S.

With that said, if you're an HTC fanatic and the Bolt sounds like the phone for you, you can check it out at the link below.

See at HTC

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4 days ago

Have you disabled Bixby on your Samsung phone?

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Bixby's been out for a few months at this point, and this is how some of our forum users choose to deal with Samsung's virtual assistant.

If you're the owner of a Galaxy S8/S8+ or Note 8, you've run into Bixby at least once or twice. Between the left-most home screen and dedicated hardware button, Samsung's want for users to interact with its AI is quite apparent.

Bixby has proven itself to be surprisingly great for certain tasks, but to no one's surprise, it still falls behind Google Assistant in other areas. Now that Bixby's been out in the wild for a few months, we wanted to check back in with some of our forum users to see whether or not you're still using Bixby.

Here's what you had to say.

*/
tuckertje01 11-13-2017 01:23 PM “

I have been using Bixby Remapper for a while now, and I love it. I have remapped the button to open gallery instead, but I'm still using Bixby voice commands occasionally. I also use Button Mapper to have more uses for double click and long press volume up/down buttons. The reason why I chose these apps instead of others like BxActions is that the others require installing using a computer and...

Reply
*/
strikeIII 11-13-2017 03:20 PM “

Well, I actually never setup Bixby to begin with so it doesn't even launch at all when I remap it with BxActions. I even have my Bixby home disabled as well.

Reply
*/
Methos1979 11-13-2017 04:40 PM “

I did it. It works reliably for me. I use BK Disabler. I mapped Google Maps to the button. Note that I also still have Bixby voice activated and use it for just a couple programmed Voice Commands. Not a big fan of Bixby but there are a couple things it can do that I want it for.

Reply
*/
jeetu4444 11-13-2017 07:01 PM “

i used bixby button to activate Google assistant

Reply

With all that said, what about you – Are you still using Bixby on your phone?

Join the conversation in the forums!

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4 days ago

Accessibility Services: What they are and why Google is cracking down on their misuse

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A lot of your favorite apps might use Accessibility Services for certain features, but this is why Google's new limitations on them are important.

There are a lot of moving parts to all of our favorite applications. You might not think about this when scrolling through your timeline on Twitter or watching videos on YouTube, but the amount of stuff going on behind the scenes to make all of these apps work the way they're supposed to is actually pretty incredible.

Certain apps like LastPass, Tasker, and Clipboard Actions tap into Android's Accessibility Services to allow for deeper features that otherwise couldn't exist, but Google recently announced that applications using them without directly benefiting those with disabilities could be removed from the Play Store.

Accessibility Services are an interesting tool, and to get a better idea of what exactly is taking place here, we need to take a closer look.

What are Accessibility Services?

Accessibility Services are found within Android and allow phones and tablets to be easier to use by those with disabilities. When you go to the Accessibility settings page on your Android device, you'll see an array of controls that Google has enabled by default. Some of the items here include the likes of tapping items on your screen to have your device read them out to you, spoken feedback that reads aloud all of your actions, increasing the size of items on the display, etc.

As expected, the general theme here is to make Android easier and simpler to use for people that need some extra assistance.

In addition to the services that are built into Android by default, developers can tap into Accessibility Services with their own apps to create new features that take advantage of them. On the Android Developers site, Accessibility Services are described as follows:

Accessibility services should only be used to assist users with disabilities in using Android devices and apps. They run in the background and receive callbacks by the system when AccessibilityEvents are fired. Such events denote some state transition in the user interface, for example, the focus has changed, a button has been clicked, etc. Such a service can optionally request the capability for querying the content of the active window. Development of an accessibility service requires extending this class and implementing its abstract methods.

Why some apps use them

Although the main goal of Accessibility Services is to allow developers to create tools targeted at individuals with disabilities, we've seen a number of apps over the years that have tapped into this resource to create expanded features that can technically benefit everyone.

Android's pre-installed Accessibility Services are all targeted at people with disabilities, and for a reason.

Accessibility Services can be used legitimately, but that, unfortunately, doesn't always happen.

For example, LastPass's App Fill reveals an overlay on top of whatever screen or other app you're on so you can easily add username and password information without having to open up the full LastPass application. Clipboard Actions also taps into Accessibility Services so you can more easily manage links you've copied and take action on them without having to be in the full Clipboard Actions app.

This is a method that developers have been using for quite some time now, and while it technically works, it does create for vulnerabilities that Google doesn't like to see.

Google's reasoning for the new limitations

As great as Accessibility Services can be when used legitimately, it's also possible for the service to be used maliciously. Apps that use Accessibility Services open up greater security threats than ones that don't, and this leaves devices at risk for attacks.

Shortly after Google announced the decision to limit applications that can use Accessibility Services, it was discovered that the change was likely connected to a "toast overlay" attack that had been discovered by security firm TrendMicro. Essentially, the toast overlay attack allows malicious apps to display images and buttons over what should really be shown in order to steal personal information or completely lock users out of their device.

Apps using this toast overlay attack have since been removed from the Play Store and a patch with the September Security Bulletin resolves the vulnerability, but this is just one example of how an app tapping into Accessibility Services can cause serious damage.

The future is APIs

Apps that are using Accessibility Services to help the disabled in legitimate ways will continue to exist, but for those that aren't targeted at this specific demographic, Google has a solution – APIs. In the example of LastPass, the new Autofill API with Android Oreo allows LastPass to offer similar functionality to its Auto Fill feature without having to use Accessibility Services.

APIs allow for similar (and often better) experiences than what hacky dev tricks can produce.

This does mean that users need to be running newer versions of Android to access all of the features of some of their favorite titles, but at the end of the day, your functionality is remaining while also cutting down on possible security risks.

We understand the annoyance that some users have towards this change, but when looking at it from Google's perspective, it's a move that just makes sense. Accessibility Services were never intended to be used for a large portion of the ways that certain devs are tapping into them, and it's something that Google needs to crack down on.

At the end of the day, once apps get updated to support Google's numerous APIs, we'll get similar features with greater protection from attacks. What more could you ask for?

Android Oreo

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4 days ago

Ring Doorbell Pro is easily worth $200, so you should definitely buy it at $100

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The Ring Doorbell is one of the best smart home products at full price — at half off, it's an amazing deal.

Five years ago, I optimistically spent $170 on a connected doorbell from a hardware startup with dubious credibility and no success stories. That product, DoorBot, eventually shipped, but I never could get it to work. I wrote it off as the cost of doing early adopter business and forgot about it. (It's still in a drawer somewhere.)

Two years later, I heard that the company behind DoorBot, Edison Junior, was rebranding to Ring and it was going to release an updated version of that poorly-received initial project, the Ring Doorbell. I was skeptical.

Then the reviews started rolling in, and they were so positive I threw caution into the wind a second time and bought one. When I moved into my new house in early 2016, I ripped off the old analog bell, installed a Ring, and sort of forgot about it. It worked as a doorbell that would ping my phone whenever someone was there. Cool. Thing is, I was home — I could hear the bell myself and wasn't about to sit on my butt checking the camera in my doorbell when I could walk to the front door and look through the peephole.

A few days later, I was out of the house at a meeting and right before I walked through the door to the building, my phone pinged in my pocket. It was the Ring app telling me someone was at my door. I opened the app and in a couple seconds, I was staring at the FedEx guy, asking whether he could leave the package with a neighbor. It was a short conversation — maybe 10 seconds — but it was life-changing. The Ring hardware, the app, the LTE connection — it all just worked. It just worked. I was hooked.

To say the Ring Doorbell has changed my life would be an understatement. To say it is the most reliable piece of smart home tech I own would not be an exaggeration. I love this product. I regularly answer the door from other countries (I did so today, from New York City) and it feels like magic.

I recently got a Ring Doorbell Pro as an upgrade to my older model. Slimmer and more stylish, it also films at 1080p, and thanks to improvements in power transfer, is much faster to connect. I'll be sharing my thoughts about it in the coming weeks, but suffice it to say, I would spend $200 on this thing.

Thankfully, you can get one for half that amount. Until Friday, November 18, as part of Thrifter's ongoing Black Friday doorbuster deals, you can get a Ring Doorbell Pro for $99.95. Because quantities are limited, you need to apply for the chance to buy it at that price, but it'll just takes a few minutes, and it'll be worth — promise.

Thrifter Black Friday Doorbuster: Ring Doorbell Pro for $100

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4 days ago

Where to buy the Galaxy Note 8

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Where to buy the Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Where can I buy the Galaxy Note 8?

You won't be short of choices when it comes to buying the Galaxy Note 8, no matter what country you're in or the carrier you're on.

The Galaxy Note 8 is expensive, for sure, and that means people are going to be cross-shopping a bit to see what carrier or retailer can give them the best deal. Here are all of the most popular places to buy the Galaxy Note 8 around the world, and how much they're charging.

U.S.

Best Buy

Best Buy is offering the AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and proper U.S. unlocked versions of the Note 8 in Midnight Black and Orchid Grey. The pricing is in line with what the carriers themselves are charging, and the unlocked version will be available for $950. Best Buy will also be the exclusive retailer for the deep sea blue variant when that is launched.

Best Buy has some rotating discounts for each of the different carrier models, which seem to be regularly changing. Verizon is offering big discounts when you trade in your existing phone, up to 50% off the Note 8. AT&T is offering a free Galaxy S8 if you're a DirecTV customer. Sprint is offering a 50% off promo when you lease the phone, and Best Buy is throwing in a $100 gift card on top of that.

See at Best Buy

T-Mobile

Pricing for the T-Mobile Note 8 breaks down like this: $100 down, and an additional $30 per month for 24 months. Quick math will tell you that's a full retail price of $820 if you want to buy it outright. If you're part of T-Mobile's Jump! On Demand program, you'll be able to grab it for $0 down, but also spend $39 per month instead. You can choose between black and orchid grey, just like the other carriers.

T-Mobile is of course participating in Samsung's promotional giveaway for those who order early, offering a free Gear 360 camera (regularly $229) or an SD card and wireless charger ($190) when you pick up your Note 8. You can also get a buy-one-get-one deal for another Note 8 if you start a new line of service and finance both phones.

See at T-Mobile


Verizon

The big red carrier has the Midnight Black and Orchid Grey available. The phone will be available for $960 total, or $40 per month spread over two years. For a limited time, users will be able to get a bundled 128GB SD card and Fast Wireless Charger (a $190 value) or a bundled Samsung Gear 360 camera (valued at $230). Users will also be able to save $100 on the Gear S3 with purchase. Users can also save $50 on a wireless charger, portable charger and car charger bundle.

Verizon will also have the new Gear VR headset with controller online and in stores beginning September 15 for $130.

See at Verizon


AT&T

AT&T has the Note 8 for $950 total, or as spread out as $31.67 per month for 30 months. AT&T is also offering a buy-one, get-one free deal on the Note 8 when it is purchased on AT&T Next with a DirecTV subscription. Customers with DirecTV will also qualify for $500 off a Samsung TV when they purchase the Note 8. AT&T will also offer the Gear S2 for 99 cents or Gear S3 for $50 on a 2-year agreement when customers buy a Note 8 on AT&T Next. Finally, AT&T is letting customers trade in existing devices for up to $200 in credits.

AT&T also notes the Note 8 will be one of the first devices compatible with its "5G evolution" network.

See at AT&T


Sprint

Customers switching to Sprint will be able to get the Note 8 for 50% off when leasing the phone, only paying $20 per month for 18 months as part of Sprint's "Sprint Flex" program. That totals only $360, which is a pretty great deal on the device. Existing Sprint customers will be able to get the device for $40 per month for 18 months, totaling $720. Users can also participate in Sprint's "Galaxy Forever" program, which will let them upgrade to a new Samsung flagship after 12 months.

If you want to skip the lease and go to a proper purchase, you can finish out payments of $40 per month for 24 months, totaling $960.

See at Sprint


Samsung

Going to Samsung directly is the best way to pick up the proper U.S. unlocked Galaxy Note 8. The unlocked model is initially only offered in black, but that may not be an issue for you particularly when you consider that it will lack any carrier bloatware. The U.S. unlocked model is designed to work on all major U.S. carriers, so you won't have to worry about compatibility issues. Pricing is set at $950.

You can, of course, also buy carrier versions from Samsung as well, if you so desire.

See at Samsung

Amazon

Amazon, too, has the proper U.S. unlocked Galaxy Note 8, coming in at $931. While we'd still recommend buying from Samsung if the price is close or the same, Amazon often offers people a better shopping option since they can use their Amazon credit card, gift cards and the like.

See at Amazon

UK

Carphone Warehouse

Carphone Warehouse has the Note 8 in Midnight Black or Maple Gold for £869 SIM-free for the 64GB model. It also has a variety of plans with different down payments, like £30 up-front and an additional £64 per month for a 5GB plan.

See at Carphone Warehouse

Samsung

Samsung has the Note 8 in both colors for the same RRP — £869 — as Carphone Warehouse. The manufacturer's online storefront is also the only place to get hold of a dual-SIM version of the phone, in either color, for the same price as the single-SIM model.

See at Samsung

O2

O2 has the Note 8 up for order on a wide range of plans, with prices starting at £29.99 upfront and £63 per month, for 24 months. Data allowances come in at between 3GB and 50GB, and you can adjust your upfront fee to cut down on your monthly expenditure.

See at O2

EE

EE's Note 8 plans start at £57.99 per month and £89.99 upfront, which gets you a 5GB allowance and up to 60Mbps speed. Step up to £62.99 monthly and £49.99 upfront for a 12GB allowance at EE's fastest speeds. Or max out at £72.99 per month and £29.99 upfront with a 40GB plan, which comes with BT Sport access.

See at EE

Three

Three has the Galaxy Note 8 available from £44.00 a month, with £99 payable upfront — thought hat only gets you a paltry 500MB data allowance. A more reasonable 12GB data bucket costs £79.00 upfront and £56 per month, though plans are available with up to 100GB, or unlimited "All You Can Eat" data.

See at Three

Vodafone UK

Vodafone has the Note 8 with 64GB storage in black or gold, with a whole host of plans that vary the monthly payments. You can have an up-front cost of as little as £50 with a £60 monthly plan, or as high as £300 down with £43 per month thereafter.

See at Vodafone UK

Canada

Telus

Telus has the Midnight Black and Deep Sea Blue 64GB Note 8's for (finish consuming any liquids) $1299 outright, or $550 or $750 down and the rest of the cost spread over a 2-year contract. Canadian customers are still eligible for the 128GB microSD card and Fast Wireless Charger bundle for those that order in the first month.

See at Telus

Rogers

Rogers has both the Midnight Black and Deep Sea Blue Note 8 for $549 on a 2-year Share Everything Premium+ plan, or $749 on a 2-year Share Everything Premium plan. The phone is also available for $1325 outright, which is higher than some of the other carriers in the country.

All orders come with a free 128GB microSD card and Samsung's excellent convertible fast wireless charger.

See at Rogers

Bell

Bell has the same configurations as its competitors — 64GB, Midnight Black and Deep Sea Blue — at identical pricing to Rogers, except for one thing: the outright price is $1349.99, not $1325.

The two-year pricing is $549.99 on a price plan $70 or more, or $749.99 on a price plan of $60 or more.

All orders come with a free 128GB microSD card and Samsung's excellent convertible fast wireless charger.

See at Bell

Update, November 2017: This article was updated with the latest pricing and availability.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint Best Buy

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4 days ago

Amazon UK slashes the price of Echo ahead of Black Friday

0

Save big on the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot.

Both the Echo and Echo Dot are handy connected devices that allow you to run a wide array of commands with nothing but your voice. To provide something to customers to tie them over until Black Friday deals hit the UK, Amazon has discounted both Echo speakers allowing you to save up to 30 percent.

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4 days ago

Flipkart's awkwardly-named Billion Capture+ is now up for sale in India

4

Flipkart's first phone offers unlimited cloud storage and dual rear cameras for just ₹10,999.

Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart has made its foray into the smartphone segment with its first self-branded phone, the Billion Capture+. Weird naming issues aside, the phone has a lot going for it: you get a 5.5-inch 1080p panel protected by Dragontrail glass, 3GB/4GB of RAM and 32GB/64GB of storage, microSD slot, dual rear cameras, and a 3500mAh battery with USB-C and Quick Charge. The variant with 3GB of RAM costs just ₹10,999 ($170), with the 4GB version retailing for ₹12,999 ($200).

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4 days ago

Taiwanese variant of the HTC U11 is now receiving the Oreo update

10

HTC kicks off the stable Oreo update to the U11.

HTC said it'll roll out Oreo to the U11 before the end of the year, and while it didn't specify a timeline, the update was expected sometime this month. The company is now kicking off the Android 8.0 Oreo update to the device, starting with the Taiwanese variant. The OTA update comes in at 1.3GB, and includes VoWifi service for Chunghwa Telecom customers in Taiwan.

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4 days ago

Essential Phone gets an Oreo treat in beta form

8

Essential Phone users can now get Oreo in beta, but expect bugs.

If you've been following the trials and tribulations of the Essential Phone, you'll know that it arrived to market with a few showstopping bugs and a camera that wouldn't quit. Oh, wait — a camera that always Force Quit.

Anyway, months later, the Essential Phone is now $200 less — a cool $499 — and considerably more stable, with improved camera quality and speed. And, as promised during a tell-all AMA, the phone now has access to Android 8.0 Oreo in beta.

The installation process is a bit convoluted and involves using the command line to sideload a new ROM through ADB, so if that the preceding words made no sense to you, it's probably best to wait until the release is public, and available through an over-the-air update.

If those words made you salivate, though, the instructions are fairly straightforward.

Essential Phone

Amazon Best Buy Sprint Telus

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4 days ago

Android Central is giving away a gold Honor 6X!

The Honor 6X is a great phone at an affordable price, and we have one to give away! Keep reading to enter!

Honor's 6X brings high-end features like a dual-sensor rear camera at a highly affordable price point. Sporting a premium metal construction and a price that can be found as low as $250 unlocked, the 6X is an easy phone to consider. The display is a 5.5-inch Full HD 1080p IPS panel, surrounded by 2.5D curved glass and your choice of a gold, silver, or dark gray metal body. Huawei's octa-core Kirin processor, 3GB of RAM, and a 32GB internal storage you can expand via microSD card, along with Android 6.0, make the Honor 6X a compelling buy.

Now on to the giveaway!

THE PRIZE: One Android Central reader will win a Gold Honor 6x, MSRP: $199.99.

TO ENTER

  • Click HERE to go to the forums and post in the contest thread. This is mandatory and gains you one entry into the giveaway.
  • Once you have posted in the giveaway thread, you can earn more entries by participating in the Honor forums. Ask and answer questions, join in the conversation, and have fun! Just don't spam the forums with valueless comments because they won't count and could end up getting you disqualified from the giveaway.

Due to sponsor restrictions, this giveaway is only available in the US. We will keep it open until November 30, 2017, and the winner will be announced right here after the closing date. Good luck!

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4 days ago

UC Browser gets temporarily delisted on the Play Store for 'misleading' users

10

UC Browser has over 500 million downloads, and is a popular alternative to Chrome in India.

Alibaba-owned UC Browser is no longer available for download from the Play Store. The app is particularly popular in India, where it briefly overtook Chrome to become the most-used mobile web browser in the country earlier this year. The browser has a userbase of 420 million globally — racking up 500 million downloads on the Play Store last month — with over 100 million coming from India.

There's no statement as to why the app was taken down, but the prevailing theory on Reddit is that the malicious redirect ads served up by UC Web's affiliates to inflate installs prompted Google to take action and delist the browser.

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4 days ago

Cricket replaces 8GB and 12GB plans with two unlimited options

30

Two unlimited plans sounds nice, but there's a small catch.

Prepaid service plans are great options for customers that want affordable monthly bills without all the bells and whistles from the likes of AT&T and Verizon, and one of your better options in this field is Cricket Wireless. Cricket made some nice changes to its service plans earlier this month, but a new one that's just been spotted isn't quite as joyful.

According to Droid Life, Cricket removed its 8GB and 12GB data plans on November 8 and effectively replaced them with its Unlimited 2 and Unlimited options. Having two unlimited plans versus two limited ones might sound like an upgrade, but that isn't necessarily the case.

On one hand, you're looking at a potential larger monthly cost. The 8GB and 12GB plans used to cost $50/month and $60/month, whereas Unlimited 2 and Unlimited will set you back $55/month and $60/month, respectively. Unlimited 2 and Unlimited come with mostly the same features, but Unlimited 2 will limit your download speeds to a sluggish 3Mbps. If you upgrade to Unlimited for $5 more per month, you'll increase to Cricket's regular 8Mbps.

Along with the two unlimited plans, you still have access to Cricket's 2GB and 5GB data plans that recently got upgraded from 1GB and 4GB.

See at Cricket

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4 days ago

Action Launcher v31 adds adaptive folders, Essential Phone support, and more

8

New features, bug fixes, and a bigger focus on performance/stability are in store with Action Launcher v31.

The Google Play Store is filled with third-party launchers to tweak and customize the look of your phone, but one that we keep coming back to is Chirs Lacy's Action Launcher. The last v30 update that landed in late October added the Pixel 2's At a Glance widget and further customization options for the Quickbar, and now that v31 of the app is here, there are even more goodies to check out.

One of the biggest additions to Action Launcher with v31 is adaptive folders. Just like how adaptive icons change the shape of all your app icons to create for a more cohesive look, adaptive folders allow your app folders to match the shape of whatever your current adaptive icon style is set to. To celebrate this new feature, Lacy is making adaptive icon support free for all users – something that was previously reserved for Action Launcher Plus.

Also new with v31 is official support for the Essential Phone, the ability to use Google's Product Sans front throughout your entire desktop for an even more Googley look, as well as support for pinned widgets and shortcuts from other apps.

Adaptive folders in Action Launcher v31.

Top this off with more than 20 different bug fixes, a dedicated support site, and a renewed focus on overall stability and performance of the launcher, and there's a lot here to take in.

Action Launcher v31 is live on the Play Store now.

Google Now vs. Quickdrawer: An Action Launcher dilemma

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