Earlier today, I went to the drug store to buy Halloween candy. It was fun, but it also reminded me that it's almost fall, which is also the end of launch season. As far as release years go, I think 2016 will go down in the books as being one of the more interesting: The subtle creep of the $400 powerhouse; Samsung's incredible beginning and disastrous end; along with Huawei's and Xiaomi's increasing dominance in every market they enter.
If you think the mobile market maturing is a sign that phones are getting boring, you're neglecting to think about how many more things we rely on phones for that we didn't just a year or two ago. I have a feeling that next year is going to be yet another banner time for phones, especially as they continue to drop in price, making them more accessible — and essential — to people in developing markets.
What do you do on your phone today that you didn't, or couldn't, a couple of years ago?
Stick a fork in it, the Note 7 is done
As of today, the Note 7 is officially finished, recalled by the CPSC for a second time. Sure, it's a formality after the actions of the past few days, but this does have some practical consequences for users stubbornly holding onto their Note 7s: It is now illegal to bring the phone onto a plane, since it is considered a "damaged good."
The CPSC notes that "Samsung has received 96 reports of batteries in Note7 phones overheating in the U.S., including 23 new reports since the September 15 recall announcement. Samsung has received 13 reports of burns and 47 reports of property damage associated with Note7 phones." More
Get $100 off a Galaxy S7 when you turn in your Note 7
Yes, there's more Note 7 stuff, but this is a good thing: In both the U.S. and Canada, Samsung is offering $100 bill credit towards a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge, or $25 if you're changing brands. Either way, the company is really sorry — DJ Koh, Samsung's head of mobile, held a press conference today at which he profusely apologized for the Note 7 debacle, and vowed to spare no expense at getting to the bottom of it. More
Google wants you to get out and vote
English and Spanish speakers can open the Google search app or visit Google.com in their web browser and ask "Who's on my ballot" to get information about the candidates as well as polling locations and general voting info. Asking "Where to vote" will open your current polling place in Google Maps and let you know what you need to bring with you.
Facebook adds cast support for videos
Starting today, users on the web can cast Facebook embedded videos to Chromecast, Android TV or Apple TV. The process is the same as we're used to, because they're using the same Cast protocols many other sites and apps use. Support for the Android and iOS apps is coming very soon.
Google's first-party smartwatches may debut next year alongside Android Wear 2.0
Google may have had more than one reason to keep Android Wear 2.0 in a developer preview state until early 2017: It will likely launch first-party smartwatch hardware alongside it. According to Evan Blass, Google will release two sizes of its watch in Q1 of next year.
An Android-powered pancreas could revolutionize diabetes management
Android is in a lot of things. Phones, TVs, microwave ovens and clothes dryers to name but a few. Now, it may be coming to an artificial pancreas. A closed-loop pump and everything needed to keep it running well, all controlled by your Android phone is in development. Awesome.
Signal for Android now supports disappearing messages
Today's update for Signal — a secure and encrypted messenger app for Android and iOS, brings along a feature many have asked for — messages that self-destruct. Much like the Snapchat feature, you can tell your messages to delete themselves after they are read to make sure the wrong eyes never see them.
A lucky Australian got his Pixel a week early
Well, this doesn't happen everyday, but when it does it's big news. A lucky Australian got his Pixel a week early thanks to carrier Telstra, which reportedly has a history of this kind of thing. Photos, software screenshots and camera samples abound, but don't blame us when you faint from jealousy.
Nokia's D1C mystery device turns out to be a 13.8-inch Android tablet
According to NokiaPowerUser, the Nokia D1C you might have been hearing about recently isn't a Windows device at all. It's a 13.8-inch 1080p Android tablet! Data garnered from various benchmarking utilities tells the tale of a giant slab with entry-level hardware. It should make for an interesting centerpiece on your coffee table if nothing else.
Google News wants you to know when news is actually news
Google is rolling out a new feature to users in the U.S. and UK to qualify particular pieces of news as fact-checked. When a third-party site has investigated a particular article, Google News will show the "fact check" tag next to it, which should help when you're not sure whether that story about an artificial, Android-powered pancreas is the real deal.