Microsoft Launcher Now Has 1 Million Active Users

Microsoft Launcher

Microsoft Launcher has hit an important stage in its usage:  1 Million.

That is the number of active users of the launcher from Redmond which was formerly known as Arrow Launcher.  The news of this important milestone came from Microsoft’s Joshua Bradley via Twitter.

In the grand scheme of the Play Store, 1 million active users might seem small but for a launcher that the company has only really started promoting hard over the past couple of months, it is a nice figure.

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Firefox Dumps Yahoo for Google as its Search Engine

Firefox for Android

Right, so pay attention on this one because this is going to get interesting.

Firefox, the Internet browser from Mozilla, has a new branding and messaging.  The new name:  Firefox Quantum and the company reports that it is up to 30% faster than Google Chrome.  Great, competition is good and Firefox is a solid browser.

The interesting part is the default browser in this latest update.  It is now Google Search, not Yahoo has it has been since 2015.  That’s when Yahoo agreed to pay some $375 million to Mozilla to have Yahoo as the default search engine in Firefox.  The deal was reportedly through 2019.  Deals like this are not new.  But there appears to have been a kicker in the deal for Mozilla.

To be clear, we are talking about the default search engine here in the United States.  In other parts of the world, Google has been the default, not Yahoo.

It has come to light that a clause in the agreement that, if Yahoo were purchased, Mozilla could change the default search engine and still get the payments through 2019.  That means, assuming payments for 2017 were paid, Yahoo would still have to pay Mozilla some $750 million – and not be the default browser.

For those that don’t remember, Verizon purchased Yahoo earlier this year.  Anyone want to make bets at the number of Verizon lawyers looking this over?

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AT&T Updates The Note8 with KRACK Exploit Fixes

Samsung Galaxy Note8

If you have a Samsung Galaxy Note8 on the AT&T network, there is an important update rolling out to you starting today.  The new update brings a wide range of fixes, most notably for the KRACK WiFi exploit as well as the BlueBorne Bluetooth exploit.  The new update is build N950USQU2BQJA for those keeping score at home.

The update will range 377MB to 386MB so it is recommend that Note8 owners download the update via WiFi.  Once downloaded, the install will take about 10 minutes and will require a reboot of your phone.  The update, in addition to the exploit fixes mentioned above, also brings the October Android Security Update to the device.

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Android App Support Expands to More Chromebooks

Google+ Android App Running on Chrome OS

The expansion of Android app support on Chromebooks continues with the addition of three more devices supported in the latest Chrome OS update.  The Lenovo Thinkpad 13, the HP Chromebook 13 G1 and the Samsung Chromebook 3 are the latest to gain Android app support in the Stable channel.  This came with the latest Chrome 62 build that rolled out to these devices earlier this month.

If you have one of these Chromebooks, once you have received the update (you can force the issue by typing chrome://help in the browser), you should see the Google Play Store in your App Drawer.  Click on it and get things configured and you can then install Android apps on these devices.

In addition to these in the Stable channel, the Dell Chromebook 13 and the Acer C740 also have Android app support but only in the Beta Channel.

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Android Oreo Begins Rolling Out to the HTC U11 in Taiwan

HTC U11

For those of you who have the HTC U11, there is good news this morning.  The company has begun rolling out their Android Oreo update to the phone but, for now, it is only in Taiwan.  The update to the company’s home country is likely their version of “phasing” meaning that they are going to make sure that the update performs as expected before rolling out globally.

Assuming that everything goes smooth in Taiwan, you can expect the roll out of Oreo to the U11 to happen globally pretty quickly.

As for the update itself, it is big at 1.3GB which is not uncommon for major version changes in Android.  The update also has the November Android Security Updates baked in, has support for Voice over WiFi.  In Taiwan, VoWiFi is only support with Chunghwa Telecom so it isn’t clear if this will be available on the likes of T-Mobile when the upgrade comes to devices in the US.

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Razer Phone is Now Available for Purchase

Razer Phone

Two weeks after making its debut, the gaming and entertainment centric Razer Phone is now available for purchase.  The phone which sports a 120Hz refresh rate, 8GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, is priced at $699 with free shipping available to customers in the United States.  The company is also offering a thin case for $19.99 and an advanced Bluetooth headset for an additional $99.99.

For those that don’t recall, the specs of the Razer Phone are eye-catching.  It is powered by the Snapdragon 835 SoC, has an impressive 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 64GB of onboard storage.  The phone will support a MicroSD card so you can expand that storage up to 256GB.  Display wise, it is a 5.7″ LCD that renders at 2560 x 1440 at, wait for it, 120Hz.

If you haven’t put it together yet, this phone is squarely aimed at being an entertainment device, both for gaming and for video watching.

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Google Assistant Now Available in Singapore English

Google Assistant

Good news today for those who live in Singapore and have Singapore English as their language on their Android phones.  Google Assistant now supports you!  The addition of Singapore English comes on the heals of Spanish and Italian being added a few weeks back and while the roll out of language support has been slow, at least some progress is being made.

For those of you who have Singapore English as your default language on your phone, there isn’t anything you need to do.  If you have Google Now on Tap, you will automatically be moved over to Assistant once it rolls out to your account.  You’ll know you have it when you long press the Home button on your phone and you get Assistant instead of Google Now on Tap.  This should work on any Android phone running Lollipop or later.

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