Showing posts with label android. Show all posts

Dr. Mario World is up for pre-registration on the Play Store


If you're champing at the bit to eliminate some cartoon viruses by lobbing like-colored pills at them, now's your chance to get in line. The latest in Nintendo's ever-expanding library of mobile titles, Dr. Mario World, is up for pre-registration on the Play Store.

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Dr. Mario World is up for pre-registration on the Play Store was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

from Android Police – Android news, reviews, apps, games, phones, tablets

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Verizon will start selling the LG V50 ThinQ on June 20


The LG V50 ThinQ 5G has endured a stop-and-go release schedule. In the midst of growing pains with South Korea's next-gen cellular grid, the company pushed its original home market launch date of April 19 by nearly a month. Sprint, the U.S. carrier that claimed the early lead on the device, started sales on May 31. We knew that Verizon would also take up the V50 this "summer," but it wasn't until now that we learned it would be this week — on the last day of spring.

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Verizon will start selling the LG V50 ThinQ on June 20 was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

from Android Police – Android news, reviews, apps, games, phones, tablets

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Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency is official, Calibra wallet app coming 2020


Rumors have swirled for some time about a Facebook cryptocurrency and now it's official. It's called Libra and its lofty mission is similar to that of other digital currencies that have come before it, to "reinvent money" and "transform the global economy." At the same time, Facebook is sharing the wider plans for Calibra, a newly-formed subsidiary in charge of blockchain and financial services products going forward.

Calibra's first order of business is a digital wallet product that will exist as a standalone app as well as within Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, due for launch in 2020.

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Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency is official, Calibra wallet app coming 2020 was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

from Android Police – Android news, reviews, apps, games, phones, tablets

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DoodleLens brings your silly drawings to life in AR


Augmented Reality can be used for serious applications but also for fun. Besides taking photos with Captain America or inviting a panda into your living room, you can now bring your doodles to life and use them to add a bit of flair to your photos and videos thanks to a new app, DoodleLens. The concept is similar to Google's own Just a Line, but instead of scribbling on a screen, you can take your time to create more elaborate drawings on paper and apply several edits and animations to them.

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DoodleLens brings your silly drawings to life in AR was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

from Android Police – Android news, reviews, apps, games, phones, tablets

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12 things you need to know in tech today


Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Tuesday, June 18, 2019!

1. Facebook announces Calibra (≋)

Facebook has finally confirmed it will launch a cryptocurrency called Libra, with a crypto wallet for the currency known as Calibra. There’s an ASCII symbol for it: ≋ – or a triple tilde.

What we now know:

  • Calibra via will house the Facebook-subsidiary wallet, and provide financial services on the Libra network.
  • It’s powered by blockchain, and will be available on iOS and Android in Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app, with Facebook aiming for a 2020 launch.
  • The idea is to initially send money to people directly, with low or zero fees (just ‘gas’ costs, as per ethereum’s model).
  • Example: Convert your US Dollars to Libra, send Libra to your parents in Canada, they convert that to Canadian dollars without losing percentage slices to bank fees, or PayPal fees. Or, pay Spotify in Libra for your premium subscription.
  • Facebook says your Libra transaction data will be private, and won’t be shared with Facebook or partners, and won’t be used for ad targeting.
  • You also don’t need a Facebook account to use the service.
  • To meet regulations, there is a Know Your Customer (KYC) anti-fraud process for every user to go through.
  • There’s a rather elite group of partners: Mastercard, Visa, eBay, PayPal, Stripe, Spotify, Coinbase, Uber, Lyft, and Vodafone are all on board, which is understood to have meant at least a $10 million upfront payment to be part of the network (Engadget).
  • Owning Libra currency doesn’t sound like it will be an investment/gamble like owning Bitcoin might be today. It’s maintained at a one-one basis, so not pegged or traded against a currency beyond an expected small range
  • The Libra Blockchain will be open-sourced, which lets people build apps onto it, using the Move coding language.
  • That’s all complex stuff, but the reality will be consumer-level fast-sending of cryptocash.

What we don’t know:

  • There’s still a lot of detail to parse out, but the real question is: how consequential will this be?
  • The problem is Facebook’s involvement.
  • After the past years of deep strife it has created, who’d want to give their real money to Mark Zuckerberg to get ZuckBucks?
  • But while that might bother people and readers like you, will the wider general public just get it, and will expected low-low fees just be too convenient?
  • All the ideals of blockchain are about to be born out by a massive enterprise approach, but run by a not-for-profit Foundation.


  • A number of publications have clearly been pre-briefed, and there’s much to read on building the new PayPal, the Libra Association foundation, blockchain-basis.
  • If you read just one article, check the deep dive from TechCrunch: Facebook announces Libra cryptocurrency: All you need to know (TechCrunch).

2. Android’s own iMessage-clone is coming: ‘Chat’

Chances are if you use an iPhone, you use iMessage to chat with friends and family, especially if you’re in North America. Apple did iMessage well when first replacing SMS, with the blue/green bubbles still largely unchanged as a differentiator between iPhone-iPhone and iPhone-and-the-rest communications.

Android has never quite had the same one-app for all. Chances are if you use a Samsung, Huawei, OnePlus, and so on, you use some combination of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Signal, Snapchat, depending on what’s in use by your friends and family. (For example, Whatsapp had a 98% install rate on phones in Spain back in 2015.)

Now Google has taken control of its upcoming Android-specific messaging system, a replacement for SMS texting, called Rich Communication Services or RCS. It’s called Chat, and the promise is that as long as you and the person you’re communicating with are using Messages on smartphones, regardless of make, model, or carrier, you can exchange messages on a default app.

‘Chat’ is coming:

  • This change by Google, first reported by The Verge, will upset carriers which cede further ground on SMS messaging, and to Google as well.
  • But it seems Google has had enough of carriers agreeing to implement RCS without, er, actually doing so, and has pushed for implementation right now.
  • The new app will be called ‘Chat’ and trials start in the UK and France this month.
  • Carriers have long agreed to implement RCS, but with dragging heels and a lack of cohesive effort from Google on its other chat apps, Google has now taken control.

There are two catches, though:

  • The service won’t offer end-to-end encryption, at least at first, which should just be a standard in this era of better understanding of privacy.
  • And, as The Verge writes: “If you’re an Android user, this RCS news is cause for celebration. If you’re worried about Google’s market power, it’s cause for concern.”
  • As C. Scott Brown wrote on Android Authority: “There are two billion Android devices around the world, most of which are smartphones. With this new RCS system, Google could control how around 75 percent of the total global devices communicate.”
  • Google did want to avoid this by asking carriers to implement RCS, which didn’t happen on time.
  • Now we’re here. Android’s iMessage equivalent is rolling out. Can Google claw back what’s already been ceded to Facebook/WhatsApp, and others?

3. The 15 best premium apps for Android (the pay once, not-a-subscription apps) (Android Authority).

4. Nintendo’s Dr. Mario World on iOS and Android gets a launch date: July 10 (

5. The 5G iPhone is coming in 2020 (The Verge).

6. Meanwhile – 6G research is underway! “Samsung, SK Telecom join hands for 6G R&D” (Korea Times).

7. Report: Hospitals and patients are being plagued by robocalls – 4,500 in two hours (Washington Post).

8. Did you know there’s a safer version of YouTube for kids? It’s called YouTube Kids and barely any kids (or their parents) use it (Bloomberg).

9. Here are the signs you might be sleeping too much (GQ)

10. This is a very cool (and NSFW!) interactive music video, which shows data of every viewer’s mouse location:

11. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx sends photo of Asteroid Bennu from just 0.4 miles away (NASA).

12. The best travel photographs of 2019 (National Geographic).

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from Android Authority

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The U.S. phone market is about to get even more expensive


Trade War more expensive phones article thumbnail

The last week of May, I attended Computex in Taipei, Taiwan. The event showcases the newest innovations in the computer industry, highlighting thousands of new products set to launch later in the year. We saw new technology from Qualcomm, Dell, Asus, AMD, and Intel, with hundreds of other companies set to launch new and innovative products in the coming months.

Read: The Huawei controversy timeline: Everything you need to know!

Nearly all these companies announced release dates for their products. What many of them didn’t announce is pricing.

While in Taipei, I mentioned this oddity over dinner with Eber and Dmitry, video producers at the Hardware Canucks YouTube channel. When I brought it up, Eber was quick to inform me that the PC chassis manufacturer NZXT did release pricing for its new products announced at the show, but that United States pricing is $10 to $30 more expensive than the global pricing. This is due to the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, which brought tariffs of up to 25 percent on imports of certain materials and products.

NXZT USA Case Pricing Computex 2019

NXZT computer cases are now significantly more expensive in the U.S. compared to the rest of the world

NZXT had to increase the price of its products due to a U.S. tariff on Chinese steel and aluminum imports. But that left me wondering why so many other companies had refrained from disclosing pricing at Computex.

There are a number of likely answers and they are all very complicated, but a plausible one is a new set of tariffs on assembled electronics being imported to the U.S. from China. These new tariffs were announced on May 14, before Computex 2019 began, and could go into effect as soon as July 2nd.

In this article, I will try to explain a brief timeline of these tariffs, as well as the impact they’re set to have on the smartphone industry and the broader electronics industry in general.

The U.S.-China trade war: A brief history

On March 23, 2018, the U.S. imposed a 25 percent tariff on nearly all steel and aluminum imports, stating that importing the metals created a threat to national security. This, in turn, forced U.S. importers of steel and aluminum to raise prices in order to compensate. It also caused a lot of tension between China and the U.S.

There’s been a lot of trade negotiations and various tariff measures put in place since then, and I’m not going to list them all here. If you want a detailed list, have a look at this timeline. The bulk of this story is based on six key dates:

  • July 6, 2018: The U.S. implements a 25-percent tariff on 818 goods imported from China (List 1), including printed circuit boards (PCBs) and touchscreens used in smartphones and laptops.
  • August 23, 2018: The U.S. and China implement new reciprocal tariffs at rates of 25 percent. The U.S.’ tariff list (List 2) includes, among others, semiconductors. China’s list more directly targets markets like coal and medical equipment.
  • September 24, 2018: The U.S. and China implement new tariffs on one another. The new U.S. tariffs start at a rate of five to 10 percent (List 3).
  • January 7, 2019: The U.S. and China agree to a temporary truce, that would end March 1, 2019, if the two countries could not come to an agreement to end the trade war (they couldn’t).
  • May 10-13, 2019: The U.S. increases the tariff rate of List 3 products to 25 percent. Three days later, China increases tariffs on U.S. products by $60 billion, starting June 1, 2019.
  • May 14, 2019: The U.S. issues a new proposed list of items hit with tariffs, with rates of up to 25 percent. This new list would go into effect on July 2, after a seven-day rebuttal period following a public hearing starting June 17.

Another key date that’s not ostensibly related to the trade war, but was likely influenced by it, is May 17. On this day, the U.S. added Huawei to its so-called “Entity List”, which blocks the company from doing business with U.S. companies. A litany of companies – including Google, Arm, Intel, and Microsoft – have since stopped working with Huawei, putting one of China’s largest and most powerful companies in a precarious position. For reference, Huawei is the second largest smartphone manufacturer in the world and was widely expected to grab first place from Samsung within the next two years.

The key thing to know about the latest list of tariffs, which could go into effect July 2nd, is that it includes fully assembled electronic products shipped to the U.S. from China, including smartphones and laptops. Previously, U.S. tariffs only affected electronic components, not finished products.

A Google logo.

What do the latest tariffs mean for phone makers?

While some smartphone OEMs like Apple and Google are based outside of China, assembly is often done in China. For example, Apple products are assembled by Foxconn in Shenzhen, and early reports from JP Morgan estimate that the company would need to increase the price of the iPhone XS from $999 up to $1,142 (about 14 percent) in order to offset a 25 percent tariff.

According to research firm Tech Insights, Apple makes a nearly 200 percent margin on devices like the iPhone XS Max, so it’s possible it could eat the cost to stay competitive. JP Morgan estimates Apple will see about a four-percent earnings decrease if the company were to simply absorb the tariff costs.

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But Apple’s fat margins are not representative of the smartphone industry as a whole. Many other manufacturers, and China-based OEMs in particular, tend to aim for high value at a low cost and have much smaller profit margins.

Companies like OnePlus and Xiaomi are great examples of OEMs that are likely to be affected by the new tariffs. OnePlus entered the U.S. carrier market just a year ago with the introduction of the OnePlus 6T, and the new OnePlus 7 Pro recently launched in the States to wide acclaim. While it’s possible the $130 price hike over the OnePlus 6T was in part made to prepare for situations like this, it’s highly unlikely OnePlus knew this particular tariff was coming.

I reached out to OnePlus to inquire about the effect the new tariffs will have on its devices, but a spokesperson told me the company could not provide comment.

Xiaomi’s situation is particularly interesting because it has publicly stated it will never make more than five percent profit on its hardware, after tax. The company does not yet sell smartphones in the United States (though it has stated it was hoping to do so in 2019), but select products like the Mi Electric Scooter and Mi Box S have become quite popular in the country. Xiaomi did not send me a response to questions about the tariffs before press time.


Other smartphone companies you may not expect to be impacted could also take a significant hit as a result of the changes. Like Apple, Google’s Pixel 3 is manufactured by Foxconn in China, meaning it could be subjected to the new tariff as well. Nokia and Lenovo-owned Motorola are in the same boat. Even Samsung, a South Korean company, still maintains two active factories in China, though the company is now prioritizing factories in Vietnam and India due to a sales slump in the Chinese market.

More extreme options are possible

If manufacturers want to avoid the tariffs altogether, they will need to shift production out of China. That’s not exactly easy to do though, even for the richest companies. In 2018, President Trump tweeted that Apple should move its manufacturing to the U.S. to avoid potential tariffs, but Bank of America-Merrill Lynch financial analyst Wamsi Mohan suggested Apple would need to increase its prices by up to 20 percent to offset costs of manufacturing in the U.S.

Recently, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou revealed that the company is planning on moving some manufacturing lines from China to Taiwan, to avoid paying U.S. tariffs. This could take a significant amount of pressure off individual OEMs, but only solves as much of the problem as Foxconn is willing to relocate. Plus, it’s unlikely Foxconn – or any other contract manufacturer – could satisfy demand with non-Chinese facilities only. Setting up a large factory can take years, and in the meantime, the companies that are willing to pay the highest prices – read: Apple – will get priority access to the production capacity.

It should also be noted that in 2017 Foxconn signed a deal to move some production to Wisconsin, but as of now, it has failed to actually build any factories there. Foxconn has apparently fallen so far behind schedule that its deal with the state may be renegotiated.

What happens next?

President Trump has said he will approve the new list of tariffs immediately if Chinese President Xi Jinping does not attend the G20 summit in Japan. If the two leaders meet, it’s possible the new tariffs could be avoided. If not, we’ll have to see how companies react. Pricing of new and existing products could jump significantly, so be prepared for more expensive devices if you live in the United States.

This tariff doesn’t cover phones alone, but also laptops, tablets, and really any other electronics product. It’s likely the pricing of nearly all electronics will increase after this tariff goes into effect. Not many manufacturers have the nearly-200 percent margin Apple has, but it’s possible some of them will prefer to take a temporary margin cut, rather than lose ground to competition.

While many companies will be taking a pretty massive hit from these tariffs, there are some that will see benefits from it competitively. Companies like Asus and LG, who manufacture devices in Taiwan and South Korea respectively, shouldn’t be hit with the tariff at all. If OnePlus and others are forced to increase prices while Asus and LG can stay the same, we could see a shift in market leaders over time.

Smaller players will be hit the hardest

Interestingly, while I was writing this piece, Bloomberg reported that Google is planning on moving much of its hardware production out of China, instead preferring to manufacture in places like Taiwan and Malaysia. Google previously shifted much of its motherboard production to Taiwan. Other U.S-focused companies probably think along the same lines, and, if the trend continues, we could see much less production in China overall. The long term implications are unclear.

While these tariffs will most directly affect U.S. consumers, we’ll likely see a ripple effect throughout the world. Companies that keep their prices the same in the U.S. to stay competitive will likely try to make up for these losses in other ways. This could take the form of anything from increasing in the price of subscription services to small price hikes around the globe.

We’ve still got a few days for all this to backtrack, but we’ll be monitoring the situation closely, so check back often to see the latest updates.

from Android Authority

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Unlocked version of the tiny Palm Phone now available for pre-order


Palm announced the unlocked version of the diminutive Palm Phone, which you can now pre-order from Palm’s website. The unlocked version won’t replace the existing Palm Phone.

Unlike the existing Palm Phone variants that must be used on Verizon’s network, the unlocked version works on GSM networks, such as T-Mobile and AT&T. Unfortunately, the unlocked Palm Phone doesn’t support CDMA networks, such as Verizon and Sprint.

The unlocked Palm Phone can be yours for $349.99. That’s not an insubstantial amount of money, since you can pick up the excellent Google Pixel 3a for only $50 more. Palm will throw in a free leather case with neck and wrist lanyards, which saves you $30.

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More important is what it tries to achieve. With the increasing prevalence of smartphones over the years brought with it an increased dependence to the point where phone addiction is now a talking point. With its small size and lower-tier specs, the Palm Phone tries to supplement your phone and not have you use it as much.

To quickly recap, the Palm Phone features a 3.3-inch display, 12MP rear camera, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, an 800mAh battery, and Android 8.1 Oreo.

The Palm Phone didn’t win us over in our review, but it might be just what some people are looking for. If you’re interested, you can pre-order the unlocked version at the link below.

from Android Authority

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QR code app on Play Store ripping people off for $100+ through shady trial scheme


With over two million applications in the Play Store, there are bound to be a few bad apples here and there. However, the creatively named "QR Code Reader-Barcode scanner & QR Code Scanner" might be one of the absolute worst apps in the entire marketplace. At over one million installs, there's a lot of dirty money in play if even a small fraction of people were defrauded out of roughly $100 each.

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QR code app on Play Store ripping people off for $100+ through shady trial scheme was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

from Android Police – Android news, reviews, apps, games, phones, tablets

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Honor 20 Pro could go on sale soon after finally getting Google certification

Huawei’s ongoing troubles with the US government’s decision to place it on the ‘entity’ list came just before the launch of the Honor 20 Pro on May 21st. The impact of the blacklisting meant that although the regular Honor 20 achieved Google certification before the cutoff date of May 16th, the Pro version was left […]

Come comment on this article: Honor 20 Pro could go on sale soon after finally getting Google certification

from TalkAndroid

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The Anker Nebula Prizm II is a no-frills projector at a decent price


We've tried out plenty of Anker projectors over the past few years, most recently the Android TV-equipped Nebula Capsule II. The Capsule II is great, but it's also very expensive the regular price comes in at $579.99. If you want something just as bright, and you're willing to sacrifice on the portability (and the Android OS), Anker has another model just for you.

The Prizm II is a home projector designed to be sat on a table and not moved around often.

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The Anker Nebula Prizm II is a no-frills projector at a decent price was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

from Android Police – Android news, reviews, apps, games, phones, tablets

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ASUS ZenFone 4 receives Android 9 Pie beta


ASUS is killing it with updates lately, and this trend just continues. After the ZenFone 4 Max and Selfie received betas of Android 9 Pie, their smaller brother is now getting a similar treatment with ASUS announcing an update to the same OS version for the regular ZenFone 4. It's impressive that the company is committed to updating phones that were released back in 2017.

The firm hasn't announced much about what users can expect from the new version over the older one, but it does tell us that "the user experience will be different" — which is to be expected with a new Android flavor.

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ASUS ZenFone 4 receives Android 9 Pie beta was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

from Android Police – Android news, reviews, apps, games, phones, tablets

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