Today’s Deal – PNY Elite 64GB MicroSD Card for $18

Today’s Deal is on the PNY Elite 64GB MicroSD card.  Today over at Amazon you can pick one of these Class 10, UHC-I cards for just $17.99.  The card is fast with an 85MB/sec throughput so it will have no problem keeping up with your Android phone or tablet for storing data and photos.  In fact, it’s fast enough to work in most digital SLRs or video recorders (like a GoPro) or your drone.

As I always remind readers, make sure you check your device to make sure it can handle a 64GB card.  For the vast majority of Android phones and tablets, Today’s Deal will work great but double-

PNY Elite MicroSD

check anyway.  There are a few phones still out there that only accept 32GB cards.  If you are intending this card for another device, be sure to check the specifications out for it too.  Chances are if your device cannot accept 64GB cards, it will still work, you just won’t be able to access all of the storage.

To get this great deal, head over to Amazon.  If you are an Amazon Prime customer, shipping on this card is free too.  If you need a bit more storage, the 128GB version of the same card is on sale today too.  It is $34.34.

Google Improves Google Maps Voice Commands

It is pretty clear with the advent of “OK Google”, Google Assistant and the soon-to-be released Google Home that the Mountain View company wants you using your voice to get information or to give commands to your devices.  All of these voice-enabled apps & services improve all the time and the latest to see big improvements is Google Maps.  You’ve been able to use limited voice commands in Maps but yesterday Google made some back end changes that gave it a slew of new ones.  Now you can use commands like “Mute Voice Guidance” or “Navigate to Starbucks” all by voice without ever having to touch your phone while you are driving.  That’s safer for you, those in your car, and those around you.  Distracted driving leads to serious accidents and deaths each year and these new commands, hopefully, will cut that down some.

Gmail Update for Android Brings Improved Searching Functionality

Gmail for Android has been updated with several improvements for users.  The updated build, version 6.9.11.134426830.release for those keeping score at home and who like version number Bingo, is rolling out now in the Play Store and when you get it, you will find that you have much improved search features in the app.  Google has improved the search features in Gmail that give you much better search results of what is in your accounts whether you are offline or online.  Further, the search improvements work on both your Google accounts as well as your non-Google accounts.  You can search a variety of ways including the senders name and their email address.

Live Stream the Google Event on YouTube

Google is preparing in a big way for next Tuesday’s big Google Event.  Not only has there been a huge amount of advertising around the event, the company has already setup their YouTube channel for the event.  That means that you will be able to watch the event live for yourself.  I personally love the fact that they are doing this and making all of their announcements known to everyone.  And, given that it is on YouTube, that means you can watch it on-the-go from the YouTube app on any device.

Retrieved Trashed Files in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides for Android

It has been a busy day for the Google Cloud and G Suite team at Google.  They have just announced that new versions of the Android apps for Google Docs, Sheets and Slides have been released to the Play Store.  In those updated apps, you can now retrieve a trashed file within the app itself.  To this point, if you delete a file on purpose or accident and needed to retrieve it, you had to go to the Trash folder in the web-based version of the app or Google Drive on the web.  Now you can bypass that requirement and do it all from the apps on your phone or tablet.

Google Renames Google for Work to Google Cloud – Expands Services

Google today announced that what has been known as Google for Work has been rebranded as Google Cloud.  The new name encompasses many Google apps, platforms and services into one cloud-centric solution for businesses.

Google Cloud spans every layer. It includes all of Google Cloud Platform; our user facing collaboration and productivity applications — now named G Suite; all of our machine learning

Google Cloud

tools and APIs, the enterprise maps APIs; and the Android phones, tablets and Chromebooks that access the cloud. All of this, built for the cloud from the get-go.

Moreover, Google Cloud has been engineered in an enterprise appropriate way, with integrated systems that include guarantees at the service level — all components integrated and meeting the SLA for whatever price point the customer chooses.

The change in name and direction of the solution isn’t just about products.  It is also the backend support that Google will provide to their customers to go through the digital transformation that Google Cloud can offer.  As they put it, “We are in it together”.  Customers won’t have to figure it out on their own and that, especially for smaller businesses, can be a huge relief and cost savings.

Microsoft OneNote Update Brings Multi-Window Support

Microsoft has released an update to their digital notebook app, OneNote, that adds a lot of new features.  The update is build is version 16.0.7369.1775 for those keeping score at home and like version number Bingo.  While it has the usual smattering of bug fixes and performance improvements, there are also some big feature changes to this update.  First, the app now supports multi-window use in Android Nougat.  To this point, if you tried to use OneNote in multi-window, it simply would not open.  That’s a thing of the past now and you can have the app and another app open at the same time on the screen on your phone or tablet.

Another big improvement in this update is the ability to open password-protected sections.  On the desktop version of OneNote, you can password protect those sections with sensitive information.  Previously the Android app (and iOS app for that matter) wouldn’t open up those sections.  That’s fixed and now you can open them although you still cannot create a password protected section within the app.  Support for inserting and viewing embedded files in your notes has also been added in this update.

Microsoft Arrow Launcher Update Brings Improved Searching

Microsoft has rolled out yet another update to their Android launcher, Arrow Launcher.  The update, version 2.4.0 for those keeping score at home, brings a handful of changes and improvements including a much improved search function.  Now within the launcher you can search not just the web but also apps and contacts on your phone.  This brings Arrow on par with other launchers that have similar functionality built into them.

This update also brings some needed performance improvements.  This has been an area that Microsoft has been working on the launcher for some time and every update it gets a little bit better.  This 2.4 update really made big strides.  Performance is noticeably faster, particularly when swiping from one page to another.  It also opens apps much faster than the previous build.

Microsoft News Pro Launches for Android

The Microsoft Garage team (think of it as a developer incubator) has released another new app that is designed to give you news and information based on your unique interests.  The new News Pro app leverages your social network interests to give you more personalized news and information based on your likes on those social networks.  You can sign in with LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and the information provided to you will be based on your profile on that particular network.  It is a great concept and in playing with the app, it works pretty well.

Google Photos Adds Photo Rotation Assistant

Google has rolled out another update to Google Photos and if you look at the release notes, you would think it was just a but fix release.  However, the new 2.1 version of the app has a new Assistant card that can help you with photos you shot sideways.  In previous versions of Photos – and other photo apps for that matter – if you shot a photo that was sideways, you would have to manually go in and edit that file by rotating it.  You can still do that in this update to Photos but now the app can analyze your photos and determine if it is sideways.  If so, it will give you an Assistant card suggesting that it can auto-rotate the photo for you without you having to manually do so.

Blackberry Ends Hardware Development Internally

While it is not very surprising, it is still sad to see.  Blackberry has announced that they will be halting all internal hardware development and will focus only on software development going forward.  The news came from the company’s 2nd Quarter financials report call, where the company announced revenue of just $334 million for the quarter.  That is down nearly 50% from last year and is a far cry from the billion-plus quarters of just a handful of years ago.  How the mighty have fallen.

To their credit and the credit of CEO John Chen, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  The company is shifting to a software company and the returns on that shift and investment are already starting to happen.  The new Blackberry will be building apps and services around security and productivity for Android devices, two areas that Blackberry has always excelled at doing.

Android Marshmallow Released for the OnePlus X

OnePlus has finally released its Android Marshmallow build for the OnePlus X.  The update comes in the form of OnePlus’ homebrew Android, OxygenOS, and you are looking for build 3.1.2 if you have the 5″ phone.  The update is rolling out now but it could take several days for everyone to get it.  The update includes, interestingly, the October security update (yes, we are still in September) along with Marshmallow 6.0.1.  Jump on it now X owners, this is likely the last major update for the phone.

Gmail Update for Android Brings Improved Searching Functionality
Retrieved Trashed Files in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides for Android
Google Renames Google for Work to Google Cloud – Expands Services
Microsoft OneNote Update Brings Multi-Window Support
Google Clearly Defines Update Support for Nexus Devices
Unicode 9.0 Formally Ratified
Android N Developer Preview 4 – A Progress Report
Android N Developer Preview 4 OTA Now Rolling Out
Chrome OS Sees Android Apps Hit The Stable Channel
The Bright Future That Awaits Chrome OS
Chrome OS Updated To Chrome 53 on Most Devices
New Android-Like Hangouts Chrome Extension Now Available
Wi-Fi Assistant Now Hitting Nexus Devices
Project Fi Set to Improve International Data Usage Tracking
Project Fi Update Brings Chat Support
Wi-Fi Assistant Coming To All Nexus Phones
Outlook.com To Get Improved Google Drive Support
Microsoft Edge Beats Out The Competition in Battery Life
Update – Gmail Accounts Working on Windows Phone
Starbucks App Finally Arrives on Windows Phone