Latest Microsoft To-Do Update Improves In-App Searches

Microsoft To-Do for Android

Microsoft has released a significant update to the task management app, Microsoft To-Do, for Android.  The updated build is version 1.11.29 for those keeping score at home and brings some nice improvements and new features.

First, and for those who have managed accounts (like Office 365) you can now add those accounts to To-Do.  Previously, the app would only work with @Outlook.com or @Hotmail.com accounts which was fine, but if you want to have all of your information within your Office 365 account, you couldn’t do it.  In order for this feature to work, you must have To-Do enabled on your account which is something that your administrator will need to do if you can’t sign in with your managed account credentials.  Also keep in mind that if you are adding a managed account, permissions to your Contacts will be required for it to work properly.

The ability to integrate with Office 365 accounts was something that the company said would be coming when the announced the original preview of Microsoft To-Do back in April.

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Microsoft Bing Now Sits at 33% Market Share in The US

Microsoft Bing for Android

Microsoft Bing is a mirror reflection to a large degree with that of Microsoft’s mobile device strategy.  It’s been hyped, gutted and updates numerous times and, at one point, somewhat left for dead.  But unlike Microsoft’s mobile device strategy, Bing survived and is now thriving thanks to continual nurturing from Microsoft and more users coming to it for their search and news needs.

On Thursday of last week, Bing tweeted out two stats about the search engine during a webcast they were having at the time.  The first tweet highlighted not only the 33% market share in the US, but the market share in other countries.

This is interesting in that we normally don’t see a country-by-country breakdown of this information.  As you can see, the US had the biggest market share with Taiwan at 26% and the UK at 23%.

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Essential PH-1 Now Available to Order

Essential Phone

After pre-order customers were notified yesterday that shipping would happen within a week, the Essential PH-1 is now available from Sprint, Best Buy and Amazon to purchase.  The unlocked variant of the phone is $699 through the Essentials site.  You can also purchase it through Amazon for the same price but orders placed at the online retailer won’t ship until September 1st.

Carriers are in the mix too.  Sprint is offering the PH-1 at a substantial discount, some $250 off, if you purchase it through them and sign up for service.  For those looking for payment options, if you order it through the carrier now, the price is a mere $15 per month for 18 months on the phone.

The Essential PH-1 has a titanium body with a ceramic back, a 5.7″ 2560 x 1320 Quad-HD display, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage built-in.  It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor.  This octa-core processor has four cores running at 2.45GHz and the remaining four clocked at 1.9GHz.

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Nokia 8 Announced With Impressive Specs

Nokia 8

HMD Global, the OEM who owns the Nokia brand, have finally announced their first flagship device, the Nokia 8.  Sporting impressive specs throughout, the Nokia 8 will be available in September, starting in Europe, for €599.  That translates to $704 at today’s exchange rate.  It is expected that the device will make it to the US at some point this year but for September, expect it to be in Europe and China first.  It will also likely be at a lower cost than $700 as device tend to be a bit less here than in Europe.

At that price point, the Nokia 8 is in the flagship category which begs the question of if the specs justify the price.  On the surface, it would appear that way.  The 5.3′ QHD device is powered by the Snadragon 835 octa-core processor and is coupled with the Adreno 540 GPU.   It has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.  That storage can be expanded by an additional 256GB thanks to the MicroSD slot.  The phone is rated as splashproof with an IP54 certification and will run a near AOSP version of Android Nougat 7.1.1.

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Google Home Support for Hands-Free Calling Rolling Out

My Google Home

Google Home has a server-side update rolling out that brings a much desired feature to the Smart Speaker device:  Hands-free calling.  Home users in the United States & Canada will now have the ability to place a call to a local business or a contact by saying, “Hey Google, call (business or contact)”.  It is a feature that was highlighted earlier this year at Google I/O as Google continues to improve the device.

The new feature means that instead of having to pick up your mobile, you can simply make a call from any Google Home device you have in your home.  Obviously the call is broadcasted via the speaker built into the device so private calls should still be dealt with from your phone.

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Google Docs Update Brings Big Collaboration Changes

Google Docs for Android

Google has begun the rollout of several big changes to the G Suite of apps, Google Docs, Sheets & Slides.  The updates are rolling out to the web-based versions of the apps currently but you can expect some of this functionality to eventually make it to the mobile apps.

According to the announcement from Google, there are four improvements that are rolling out now.

  1. Name versions of a Doc, Sheet or Slide. Being able to assign custom names to versions of your document is a great way to keep a historical record of your team’s progress. It’s also helpful for communicating when a document is actually final. You can organize and track your team’s changes in one place under “Version history” (formerly known as “Revision history”) on the web. Select File > Version history > Name current version. For even quicker recall, there’s an option to select “Only show named versions” in Docs, Sheets or Slides.
  2. Preview “clean versions” of Docs to see what your Doc looks like without comments or suggested edits. Select Tools > Review suggested edits > Preview accept all OR Preview reject all.
  3. Accept or reject all edit suggestions at once in your Doc so your team doesn’t have to review every single punctuation mark or formatting update. Select Tools > Review suggested edits > Accept all OR Reject all.
  4. Suggest changes in a Doc from an Android, iPhone or iPad device. Click the three dots menu in the bottom right of your Doc screen to suggest edits on-the-go. Turn on the “Suggest changes” toggle and start typing in “suggestion mode.”

All of these changes are aimed at making it quicker and easier for you to collaborate on documents and work through the change process on them.

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Today’s Deal – Huawei Mate 9 Down to $435 on Amazon

Huawei Mate 9

For those of you who have had your eye on the Huawei Mate 9, today is your day to pick one up.  For Today’s Deal, you can pick up the 5.9″ phablet with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage for $435 in Grey, a savings of $150 off its original $599 pricetag.  I reviewed the Mate 9 earlier this year and it is an outstanding device with an awesome display, great battery life and excellent cameras.  At this price, it is well worth considering.

So what does $435 get you in the Huawei Mate 9?  A lot frankly.  It is a 5.9″ phone running Android Nougat, an octa-core processor running at 2.4GHz and Leica optics dual-camera setup shooting at 20MP and 12MP respectively with OIS.  The front facing selfie camera is 8MP shooter.  You also have 64GB of built-in storage that can be expanded up to an additional  256GB thanks to the MicroSD slot.  Finally, it comes with a US warranty so you are not buying an international version of the phone.

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