Android Compatible Chrome OS Device List Updated

The Chromium team within Google has updated the list of Chrome OS devices that can or will have support for Android apps.  The update is a significant improvement over the laundry list of devices that they had released last year as this update now lists the devices that have the ability to run Android apps, in which channel, and which ones have support planned.  Right now, the list of devices that support apps in the Stable channel (the main production channel) is pretty limited.  That list is:

  • Acer Chromebook R11  (CB5-132T and C738T)
  • AOpen Chromebox Mini
  • AOpen Chromebase Mini
  • Chromebook Flip C100PA
  • Google Pixel (2015)
  • Samsung Chromebook Plus

The list of Chrome OS devices that support Android apps in the Beta channel are even fewer:

  • Acer Chromebook R13 (CB5-312T)
  • Asus Chromebook Flip C302

It isn’t hard to figure out that the vast majority of devices out there are still listed as Planned.

Chrome 58 for Android Released

Following the release of the desktop build and the Chrome OS build last week, Chrome 58 has made its way to Android.  The updated build is version 58.0.3029.83 and it has been released into the Google Play Store.  Keep in mind that it could take several days before the update hits your phone or tablet as the update is rolled out to users.

According to the release notes, there are three new features in this update to the browser:

  • View and manage in-progress downloads on the Downloads page
  • View and clear your browsing data more easily on the redesigned History page
  • Long-press a link to open it in a new Chrome tab (from Chrome Custom Tabs)

Along with these new features, there are several bug fixes and security improvements to the browser.

The Project Fi Travel Trolley Expands to 8 New Airports

Last year, the Project Fi team quietly added a travel vending machine at San Jose International Airport (SJC).  The machine allowed Fi subscribers to get free travel gear such as eye covers, charging cables and other travel centric goodies.  Now they have decided to expand a bit.  In a Tweet yesterday, the Fi team announced that the Travel Trolley as they are called will be coming to eight new airports throughout the United States.

The list is pretty good and cover many high traffic or popular airports across the country

  • PHL, Terminal F, just prior to the first gate
  • ORD, Terminal 3, between concourse K and H
  • MDW, Terminal 1, between Gate A5 & A3
  • SJC, Terminal B, across from Gate 25
  • MSP, Terminal 1, Concourse G
  • SMF, Terminal B, across from Gate 12
  • BUR, Terminal A, gate A3
  • SEA, Concourse A, gate A3
  • RDU, Terminal 2

The good news is that if you are not a Fi subscriber, you can still take part in the fun.

Pre-Order The Sony Xperia XA1 for $299

The new Sony Xperia XA1, which was announced back in February at Mobile World Congress, is now available to pre-order.  The XA1 will be $299 and you can place your order over at Amazon.  The phone won’t ship until May 1st and you won’t be charged until it does ship.  But for a Sony device at this price point and an impressive 23MP camera, they are likely going to sell well.  The 5″ phone has Full HD resolution at 1280 x 720 and is powered by the MediaTek P20 octa-core processor.  That processor has four cores running at 2.3GHz and four running at 1.6GHz which should provide excellent performance.  The processor is coupled with 3GB of RAM and it the phone has 32GB of internal storage.  That storage can be expanded up to 256GB thanks to the MicroSD slot.

As I mentioned, the Xperia XA1 has a 23MP rear camera with hybrid autofocus and an 8MP selfie camera.  Powering all of this is a 2300mAh battery with adaptive charging support.

The phone is sold unlocked and works with GSM carriers here in the United States like AT&T and T-Mobile.  Unfortunately it isn’t an option for Sprint and Verizon customers as CDMA isn’t supported.

Super Mario Run Update Adds Google Play Achievements

The first significant update to the popular Super Mario Run game is now rolling out to Android players.  The update ups the version to 2.1 and brings several improvements and additions to the game.  For those who haven’t kept up, in the game, you are the ever popular Mario and you are doing what you do best:  Collecting coins and progressing your way through six worlds in the game.  The way gameplay works is that you can only move forward, up or down so no going back to get coins you missed for example.  The object of the game is to collect as many coins as you can before get to the flagpole at the end of the level before time runs out.  Sound familiar? Oh, and yes you still can save Princess Peach and defeat Bowser too.  There are two other game play modes as well to keep you entertained.

With this update, the number of toads (which you collect through Toad Rally playing in the game) has now increased to 99,999.  This should make it limitless for casual players.  You can now also use your customized Mii character as your player icon that you have created in Miitomo.  Finding friends also got easier with this update as you can now find them with your associated Nintendo account in the game.

Microsoft Teams Update Brings Improved Chat Management

Microsoft has rolled out a pretty significant update to their enterprise chat & messaging client, Microsoft Teams.  The update, version 1.0.0.201742301 for those keeping score at home and who like to play version Bingo, and it brings some features that make it much more productive and useful.  First, you can now add and remove team members, something that was only available on the Teams site.  You can also create new channels in the app.  This was also something that was web-only when Teams launched and frankly, was a bit of a handicap for the app.  The ability to quickly create channels while on the go is a critical feature for this type of app, especially if Microsoft is positioning it as a Slack competitor.

Other improvements around chats include the ability to rename group chats and add members to existing chats.

Android Messages Update Improves Group Messaging

Google has begun rolling out an update to their text messaging client, Android Messages.  The update, version 2.2 for those keeping score at home, has a few minor UI tweaks but the big news is around group messaging.  With this new update, when you are in a conversation with someone via SMS, you can add another person quickly and easily to the conversation.  To do this, while you are in a conversation, go to the overflow menu (the three vertical dots) then tap on People & Options.  At the bottom of this page there is a button which you can tap to open up your contacts and add them to the conversation.  This is a big improvement over the previous build which essentially required you to start an entirely new conversation for group messaging.

This update also has added the ability to create a group message from the FAB (Floating Action Button) from which you can add your contacts to the conversation.  Both of these improvements lower the number of taps required to start a group MMS.

Android Nougat 7.1.1 Rolls Out to The Sony Xperia XZ and X Performance

Good news this morning for those of you who have the Sony Xperia XZ or the Xperia X Performance.  Sony has released the Android Nougat 7.1.1 update for both of these phones and it is already rolling out to users.  The updated build is 41.2.A.2.199 for both devices and along with the improvements that come with 7.1.1, the April Android Security patch is also in this build.

The big change with 7.1.1 is the support for app shortcuts.  This allows you to long press an icon and be able to get to a particular part of an app (for example, in Gmail you can tap-and-hold to start composing an email in a particular account).  The problem is that the Sony launcher doesn’t support app shortcuts, at least not yet.  If you are using a launcher that does support them on either of these phones (like Nova Launcher), then you will get to use the new feature.  Also, the 7.1.1 update brings Unicode v9 emoji to these devices.

T-Mobile Reports Over 1 Million New Customers in The Last Quarter

T-Mobile continues to be a growing force to reckon with here in the United States.  The carrier reported their last quarter financials yesterday and in it, pointed to so heady numbers both financially and with their customer base.  In the last quarter, the “uncarrier” added 1.1 million total new customers, 914,000 of which were postpay while an additional 386,000 were pre-pay thanks to the MetroPCS division.  That marks four years straight in which the carrier has added over 1 million new customers per quarter.  Perhaps even more impressive, the company only had a 1.18% churn rate (the rate of customers leaving) which is shockingly good for any service provider, let alone a mobile carrier.

Financially, the carrier is on solid footing.  T-Mobile reported $9.6 billion in total revenue with $698 million in net income.  That revenue number is an increase of 11% while the income was up 46%.  The company also has $1.7 billion in net cash available with $185 million in free cash flow.

Today’s Deal – iClever BoostCube 2-Port USB Charger for $10

Today over at Amazon, you can pick up a great deal on the iClever BoostCube dual port USB wall charger.  Right now you can pick on up for $9.99.  This charger, about the same size as the single charger for Apple’s iPad, sports two USB 2.4A ports and 24W of power to easily charge two devices at once.  It also has built-in LEDs in each port so you can find it in the dark and has iClever’s SmartID technology to charge your devices efficiently and quickly.

iClever recently redesigned this charger, aiming at squarely for those who travel.  The AC prongs now fold into the chassis of the charger itself, making it easy to pack and a bit more compact.  Performance wise, it is an excellent accessory whether it is for your home, office or traveling.  It can charge Android and iOS devices handily and with the SmartID technology, you don’t have to worry about over charging of your devices.

I recently reviewed this charger and it goes with me on every business trip I make.  It is a solid performer and the fold away prongs make it nice and compact.

OneDrive for Android Update Brings Offline Folder Support

Microsoft has rolled out another update to OneDrive for Android, bringing the ability to mark folders available for offline use.  The updated build is version 4.12 for those keeping score and is out in the Play Store now.  Expect the update to hit your devices over the course of the new few days.  The new offline folder feature is available for Office 365 Personal, Home and Solo users currently with support for work and education accounts “will be rolled out soon!”.  When is soon?  That’s not clear but given Microsoft’s consistent updating of their Android apps, likely not very long.

But not all is lost in this update for work and education users of OneDrive.  This update brings an updated design to the Discovery view which now gives you access to a feed of the most relevant content across your company or campus.

 

T-Mobile Releases Android Nougat for the Galaxy Note 5

T-Mobile has joined the list of carriers that have officially released the Android Nougat 7.0 update for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.  The update was announced last week but will start rolling out to the two year old phablet starting today.  The update will bring the Nougat update and all the greatness it includes to the device as well as the March 2017 Android Security update.  For those who need a reminder, Nougat includes things like multi-window viewing of apps, improved Doze and lots of other features.  Here is a summary of the highlights.

This update will take about 15-20 min to download and install.  It is best to download the update via Wi-Fi as it is over a 1GB download.  Once it is downloaded, you will need to reboot your device after the install.