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Amazon launches the Echo Spot in India, discounts all Echo devices in the process

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

The Echo Spot has an introductory price of ₹10,499 ($155), after which it will retail for ₹12,999 ($195).

Amazon introduced the Echo family in India at the end of last year, and the company is now launching the Echo Spot in the country. The Echo Spot has an introductory price of ₹10,499 ($155), after which it will retail for ₹12,999 ($195). The device offers the same great functionality as other Echo devices, but you also get a 2.5-inch screen that facilitates video calling.

The device itself is considerably smaller than the Echo, and there's a front camera along with volume controls and a four-mic array. It comes with a 1.4-inch single speaker, and Amazon says that the screen makes it an ideal device for the nightstand — allowing you to easily view your calendar, get weather updates, and more.

The Echo Spot will be able to play videos from local news outlets like NDTV, Aaj Tak, Times Now and India Today, and you'll even be able to view movie trailers from Prime Video. The device is also the ideal conduit for Alexa-to-Alexa calls, so if your friend or family member also has an Echo device, you'll be able to conveniently call them using Alexa.

Amazon Echo Spot review

Like the rest of the Echo family, the Echo Spot is customized for the Indian market, and you'll be able to watch cricket highlights on ESPNCricinfo, book a cab on Ola and view real-time updates directly on the screen, discover nearby restaurants with Zomato, and much more. Amazon has invested a lot of resources into localizing Alexa, and the virtual assistant has a lot of tricks up its sleeve.

These are the 10 best Alexa skills for India

If you're interested, you can now pick up the Echo Spot for ₹10,499 in the country. If you're making the purchase with an ICICI debit or credit card, you can get an additional cashback of ₹1,499, bringing the effective price down to just ₹9,000 ($135). That's just $5 more than what the Echo Spot goes for on Amazon U.S., making it a stellar deal.

If you're picking up two units, you'll receive an additional ₹1,000 off, bringing the cost down to ₹19,998 (or ₹18,498 with your ICICI card). Amazon mentions that the discount is an introductory offer, and the cashback via ICICI bank is valid through May 31, so

See at Amazon

Amazon is also knocking down the price of other Echo devices, with the Echo Dot now available for ₹3,999 ($60). The Echo is on sale for ₹7,999 ($120), and while the Echo Plus still costs ₹14,999 ($225), you get a free Hue bulb.

See at Amazon

Google is testing an alternative Material redesign for Chrome

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

It looks like Chrome's iconic trapezoidal tabs might soon be going away. The tab's design, which has remained essentially the same since Chrome was first released almost 10 years ago, is undergoing a bit of a refresh, shifting from their old shape into more of a rounded-corner rectangle. The change is currently present (as an option) in the experimental Canary build of the browser.

We've been expecting a redesign for a while, with the first references to a "Material Design 2" spotted as early as February in the Chromium Gerrit.

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Google is testing an alternative Material redesign for Chrome was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

The LG G7 will have an extra-tall 6.1-inch display that gets really, really bright

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

More than meets the eye.

In its way, LG is the most leak-friendly company in the world, mainly because as its phones meander towards a public announcement, it peppers the media with teases and press releases meant to keep the hoards satisfied.

To that end, the company has announced that the LG G7 ThinQ will have a 6.1-inch IPS LCD display that goes up to 1000 nits, which makes it the brightest panel using that technology we've seen to date. Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 and S9 series can go beyond 1,000 nits, but only when in bright sunlight and can't be specified by the user.

These screenshots prove that you'll be able to disable the LG G7's notch through software.

The G7's display will also be taller than its predecessor's, the LG G6, with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio — identical to the iPhone X — which accommodates the notch portion of the screen without sacrificing additional real estate. According to a pair of screenshots provided to Android Central, it appears you'll be able to turn off the notch portion of the display and harmonize the top portion of the user interface.

LG says that in addition to the screen going really, really bright, it's also 30% more power-efficient than the QHD+ panel of the LG G6, and will have a smaller bezel portion below the screen. Finally, the screen is able to reproduce 100% of the DCI-P3 color space, a stat prized for its accuracy and versatility when conveying photos and video. There will also be six explicit screen settings — Auto, Eco, Cinema, Sports, Game and Expert — to choose from.

Previous leaks have revealed that the LG G7 will have a Snapdragon 845, a dual camera setup, a notch, and a dedicated Google Assistant button.

It's not clear when the LG G7 ThinQ will be announced, nor when it will become available around the world, but it shouldn't be long now.

Press release:

New Super Bright Display Allows Stunning Display Quality While Lowering Power Consumption

LG's upcoming premium smartphone, the LG G7 ThinQ, will be equipped with a brand new 6.1-inch display QHD+ (3120 x 1440 resolution) FullVision display that is rated at a maximum of 1,000 nit, making it the brightest and most vibrant display on the smartphone market today.

Powered by LG's latest LCD technology Super Bright Display, the LG G7 ThinQ allows users the convenience of operating the phone in almost any lighting condition, notably under bright sunlight while reducing power consumption by as much as 30 percent than the LG G6.

Building on the well-received LG G6's display-to-body ratio, the LG G7 ThinQ will be easy and comfortable to operate and hold in one hand, especially with the ergonomic and beautiful curved tempered glass. The previous 18:9 FullVision display of the LG G6 has also been enhanced on the LG G7 ThinQ with a new 19.5:9 FullVision screen ratio complemented by almost 50 percent slimmer bottom bezel than its predecessor.

Color tones on the LG G7 ThinQ will look rich and natural even under bright light courtesy of the newly developed Super Bright Display by LG that covers 100 percent of DCI-P3 color space. Additionally, the LG G7 ThinQ can automatically adapt to six screen color settings for different content such as Auto, Eco, Cinema, Sports, Game and Expert. Auto mode enables LG G7 ThinQ to automatically analyze current content, such as video, game, photo or web, and optimize display setting while reducing power consumption.

For power users that are looking for total control over their smartphone's display, the LG G7 ThinQ allows users to fine-tune the screen by conveniently scrolling each RGB color level option while supporting modes are activated. LG has offered a similar feature with its camera in the past for shutterbugs, and it is doing the same for users desiring a higher-level degree of control with their displays.

Google Play Music might be killed off this year in favor of YouTube Remix

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Users are said to be forced off Play Music by the end of the year.

Right now, the state of Google's music streaming services is a bit of a mess. Google Play Music is the company's most notable player, but you can also listen to tunes and watch music videos via YouTube Red. If you're on mobile, you can separately download the YouTube Music app that also comes with a Play Music/YouTube Red subscription. This jumble of services isn't the easiest to understand, and to fix this, Google might replace them with YouTube Remix.

This is a rumor that first popped up back in December, but according to a new report from Droid Life, it's said that Google will shut down Play Music following the launch of YouTube Remix. It's unknown how quickly the domino effect will happen, but users will reportedly be forced off of Play Music by the end of the year.

It's unclear at this time if playlists, liked songs, and saved local files will transfer over to YouTube Remix, but I've got to imagine Google's got some sort of system in place for making the transition as seamless as possible.

If YouTube Remix replaces Play Music, what'll happen to YouTube Red?

YouTube began signing deals with record labels for Remix towards the end of 2017, and just before this year's SXSW, a representative from the company confirmed the service was in the works but wouldn't launch in March (which it clearly didn't).

If YouTube Remix will replace Play Music, does that mean YouTube Red will stick around? What about YouTube Music? I personally think Google's best bet would be to kill off the YouTube Music app entirely and just house Play Music and YouTube Red's offerings under the new YouTube Remix branding, but they could also choose to go an entirely different route. This is Google we're talking about after all.

Google I/O is set to begin on Tuesday, May 8, and in my eyes, that's as good a place as any for Google to officially unveil what it's been working on.

Download: Google Play Music (while you still can)

Google is turning its pistol emoji into a squirt gun

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

A few years ago, Apple was the first big emoji designer to stop rendering the "pistol" emoji as a real gun. It went from a revolver to a green squirt gun, and other companies have just started coming around. Twitter and Samsung already made the change, and now it's Google's turn. Say goodbye to the revolver and hello to the super soaker.

Google has updated its Noto Color Emoji repository on GitHub with the new emoji.

Read More

Google is turning its pistol emoji into a squirt gun was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Instagram finally lets you download your photos, gets batch uploading in Stories

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Instagram has just announced improvements to Stories which will be coming to the Android and iOS apps soon. Instagram Stories, which have become increasing popular on the platform, replicate the ephemerality of Snapchat by having photos and videos expire automatically 24 hours after being uploaded.

With the app update that is currently rolling out, users will be able to upload multiple photos and videos to their Stories at a time. Now, when selecting gallery content to add to Stories, a user will see a new icon on the top right of the screen which will allow them to pick up to 10 photos and videos to upload all at once.

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Instagram finally lets you download your photos, gets batch uploading in Stories was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

22 new and notable Android games from the last week (4/18/18 – 4/24/18)

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android games that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous week or so.

Please wait for this page to load in full in order to see the widgets, which include ratings and pricing info.

Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.

Featured Product

BESTEK 300W Power Inverter

Today's roundup is presented by BESTEK.

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22 new and notable Android games from the last week (4/18/18 - 4/24/18) was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Instagram’s ‘Data Download’ lets you save all your content offline

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Available now on desktop, coming soon to Android and iOS apps.

Earlier this month, Instagram announced that it was working on a tool to allow users to download and save offline copies of their data. Today, that tool is being launched as Data Download.

Data Download is rolling out to Instagram now, with access currently available on the web and coming soon to the Android and iOS apps. You'll find Data Download within your privacy settings, and after requesting your info, it'll be compiled and delivered within a matter of hours/days.

Once your data is ready to go, you'll have offline copies of your photos, videos, any stories you've archived, comments, direct messages, and your profile info.

Why is Instagram just now releasing something like this? While Data Download should have been in place a while ago, it also ensures that Instagram is in compliance with the European Union's new GDPR privacy law that'll officially go live on May 25, 2018.

If you want to check out Data Download for yourself right now, here's what you need to do:

  1. Go to Instagram from your computer
  2. Click on your profile and then the gear icon
  3. Choose Privacy and Security
  4. Scroll down and click Request Download under the Data Download section
  5. Enter your email and click Next

Download: Instagram (free)

Six months later, Google Lens still isn’t great

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

I know it's a preview, but I want to use this every day.

For a company aimed at being the knowledge graph of the entire planet, image-based AI services are an obvious thing for Google to want to get right. And for anyone using Google Photos over the last couple of years, you know there have been huge strides made in enhancing these capabilities. Facial and object recognition in Google Photos, can be incredible, and there's a lot of good that can come from using these features in the real world. Being able to offer a camera with the ability to rapidly identify storefronts and street signs to visually impaired people alone is incredible.

Google Lens is headed in the right direction, but it's clearly not ready for daily use just yet.

As a Google Pixel owner, I've had access to Lens for six months now. This beta period for Lens has been a little clumsy, which is to be expected. I point Lens at an unusual book a friend of mine had, and instead of telling me where I can buy that book for myself I get a text snippet from the cover identified. I ask Lens to scan a photo of a movie theater marquis, it has no idea what is in the photo and does not offer me the ability to but tickets for the show like it was supposed to. I take a photo of my Shetland Sheepdog, Lens identifies her as a Rough Collie. Alright, so that last one is nearly impossible to get right in a photo, but the point is Google Lens doesn't reliably do most of the things it claims to be able to do yet.

To Google's credit, the things Lens gets right it gets right fast. I love being able to use Lens for real-time language translation. Point Lens at a menu written in another language, you will get immediate translations right on the page as though you were looking at the menu in English the whole time. Snap a photo of a business card, Lens is ready to add that information to my contacts book. I've used individual apps for these features that have worked reasonably well in the past, but unifying these features in the same place I access all of my photos is excellent.

I'm also aware that this is still very early days for Lens. It says 'Preview' right in the app, after all. While Pixel owners have had access to the feature for half a year, most of the Android world has only had access to it for a little over a month at this point. And when you understand how this software works, that's an important detail. Google's machine learning information relies heavily on massive contributions of knowledge, so it can quickly sift through it all and use thing that have been properly identified to better identify the next thing. It could be argued Google Lens has only just begun its beta test, now that everyone has access to it.

At the same time, Lens was announced a full year ago at this point, and I still can't reliably point it at a flower and have it tell me which kind it is. It's a cool thing to have access to, but I sincerely hope Google is able to make this feature something special in the not-too-distant future.

This popular TP-Link smart plug is back down to its lowest price ever

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Lowest barrier of entry for you to start your smart home is right here.

The TP-Link smart plug is down to $19.99 on Amazon, which is a match for its lowest price. It normally sells for closer to $30. The mini version, which takes up less space, is available for just a few dollars more if you'd prefer it.

This is one of the easiest ways to start adding smart home elements to your appliances. It needs no hub and comes with a free app. So all you have to do is plug it in, connect it to your Wi-Fi, download the free app, and you can turn whatever you've plugged into it on and off with your phone.

If you do already have an Echo Dot or something similar, you can connect it to that easily to enable voice control. The smart plug has 4.3 stars based on more than 18,000 user reviews.

See on Amazon

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