December Android Security Update Released for The Sony Xperia XZ, XZs and X Performance

Sony Xperia XZs

Over the past few months, Sony has been making great strides in keeping their phones up to date with major Android releases as well as the monthly Android Security Update patches.  This month it would seem is no exception.  The Japanese company has rolled out the December security update to the Xperia XZ, Xperia XZs and the Xperia X Performance.

The update is firmware build 41.3.A.2.24 for all three devices and the update is hitting unlocked phones first as you likely suspect.  The update is small, less than 200MB, so it is a quick install but does require a reboot of your phone once you have it downloaded and installed.

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Grammarly Keyboard Makes its Way to Android

Grammarly Keyboard for Android

After making its debut on iOS last month, the new Grammarly Keyboard has now made its way to Android.  The new keyboard looks at the grammar used in your emails, texts and other apps to assure that you have proper spelling and grammar.

If you haven’t used Grammarly before, it is an excellent service that has been available as a Chrome extension for years.  More-or-less, this new keyboard app functions like the extension.  This new keyboard option is able to analyze your typing in any app on your phone to provide you suggestions on grammar and spelling.

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Google Translate Update Brings More Offline Language Support

Google Translate Offline Languages

Google Translate, the app that allows you to translate between 103 different languages, has a small but important update rolling out in the Play Store today.  The update is version 5.15.0.RC08 for those keeping score at home and should be hitting everyone’s devices via an OTA update this week.

The new version brings offline translation support to seven new languages from English.  These translations also include the instant camera translations.  If you aren’t familiar with the instant camera feature of the app, this is where you can point your phone’s camera at a sign in a foreign language and it will be translated into your native tongue. The new offline translation languages supported are:

  • Bengali
  • Gujarati
  • Kannada
  • Marathi
  • Tamil
  • Telugu
  • Urdu

In order for the offline translations to work, you will need to make sure you download these languages as well as others to your phone.  Most of the translation packs are less than 50MB in size.

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Today’s Deal – Huawei Honor 6X is $149 on Amazon

Honor 6X

Today’s Deal is on the powerful yet budget friendly Honor 6X.  Honor is the sub-brand of Huawei and the 6X is one of their late-2016 models.  I reviewed the phone back in March and it was the first Honor product I’ve reviewed.  I was impressed, especially for the price point.  That price has gone down to $149 on Amazon and that makes it an even better deal.

The Honor 6X measures 150.9 x 76.2 x 8.2 mm or 5.94 x 3.00 x 0.32 inches in old money.  It weighs 162g or 5.71 ounces.  The display on the phone measures 5.5″ and renders a Full HD resolution of 1080 x 1920.  That gives you an approximate pixel-per-inch count of 403.  It has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, which can be expanded thanks to the MicroSD slot.

The main camera configuration of the 6X consists of dual-cameras rated at 12MP and 2MP.  The Sony built sensor has a 1.25µm pixel size and has phase detection autofocus.  It has an LED flash for low light photography.  On the front, the selfie camera is an 8MP shooter.  Both the front and the rear cameras are capable of shooting HD video at 1080p at 30fps.

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Google to Improve Menus in G Suite Online

Google Docs Online

Google has announced that they will be making some minor menu updates to some of the G Suite apps starting in January.  The updates are primarily focused on Google Docs and Google Slides with the idea being to make it easier for users to find certain menu settings.

The changes that Google outlined will be coming to the apps starting January 4, 2018 with the schedule release of the updates.  It should be noted that the changes that are coming are only for the online version of the apps.  Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides for Android and iOS are not impacted by this change.

As for the changes themselves, most of them are renaming of features and not necessarily moving them.  For example, in both Google Docs and Google Slides, “Lists” in the Format menu have been renamed to “Bullets and numbering”.

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Google Backup and Sync Gets Big Improvements in Latest Update

Google Backup and Sync

Google Backup and Sync, the desktop app that synchronizes files with your Google Drive, has an update rolling out that brings a lot of feature improvements and fixes.  The new build is version 3.38.7642.3857 for both Windows and MacOS.  Given that updates to the app are done in the background, it is possible that you have already received this new update.

Google has laid out all of the changes in this update in the release notes but here are the highlights:

  • You can now switch between syncing all files and folders versus photos and videos only. In Backup and Sync Preferences, click Change in the “My Computer” section to choose which files sync.
  • You can now ignore files by extension. In the “My Computer” section of Backup and Sync Preferences, click Changeand thenAdvanced settings, and then enter the file extensions to ignore. Note that this applies only to directories on your computer, not to the “My Drive” folder.
  • You can now right-click any folder and select Sync this folder to start syncing that folder to Google Drive.
  • Users are now notified when Backup and Sync can’t convert photos to high quality.
  • Fixed an issue where multiple copies of the executable were being created in Windows.
  • Fixed an issue where quitting Backup and Sync was taking a long time.
  • More bug fixes and performance improvements.

As you can see, it is an extensive list that addresses several issues with the app for both Windows and Mac users.

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Google PhotoScan Update Brings Auto Saving to Google Photos

Google PhotoScan for Android

Google PhotoScan, the app for scanning older photos to save digitally, has a new update rolling out that brings several improvements.  The new build is version 1.5 for those keeping score at home and is rolling out into the Play Store today.

The first change that users of PhotoScan will likely appreciate the most is the automatic saving of scanned photos to your Google Photos account.  Previously, when you scanned a photo, it was saved to its own library on your phone and you had to then manually sync that library with Photos.  Now when you scan a photo, it is automatically saved to your Google Photos library, eliminating the manual step.

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