MyFitnessPal Adds Item Nutrition Information to Diary Entries

The calorie and diet tracking app MyFitnessPal has an update rolling out to Android users that will more granular nutrition information to your diary entries.  When you add an item to your diary, be it from a manual entry or a barcode scan, the app will now give you information such as calories, carbs, fat and protein in that item.  It will also give you the percentages of your daily goals in these areas with everyone getting calorie percentages while Premium subscribers get carbs fat and protein percentages.

The information is aimed at helping you make informed and wise food and drink decisions to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Smart Reply in Gmail Now Rolling Out to Everyone

One of the announcements this week at Google I/O ’17 was the addition of Smart Reply to Gmail.  This one-tap feature allows you to reply to an email quickly and without having to type anything in response.  It is a feature that has been in Google Inbox for some time now and it appears that users of the Gmail app on Android are starting to see it show up.  If you aren’t familiar with Smart Reply, here is how it works at a high level.

Using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, the email you receive is interrogated for information – Is there a question?  Is there a date or time?  Those kinds of things.  If such an item is found in the email, you will see a selection of replies to that question at the bottom of the page.  Just tap the appropriate response and a new email pane is opened.  Tap send and you are done.  That’s it.

Samsung Chromebook Pro Now Available for Pre-Order at Amazon

After being announced at CES in January, the much anticipated Samsung Chromebook Pro is finally available for pre-order.  The bigger, more powerful brother of the Chromebook Plus, which is already available, can be ordered on Amazon for $549.99 and it will ship starting May 28th.  The Chromebook Pro is one of just a handful of Chrome OS devices that can run Android apps and with some pretty serious specs for a Chromebook, it will have the horsepower to run the core OS and these apps with no trouble.

In case you don’t remember, the Chromebook Pro is powered by the Intel Core M3 6Y30 processor with integrated Intel graphics.  The processor is clocked at 2.2GHz and is coupled with 4GB of RAM (LPDDR3 for those interested).  It has 32GB of internal storage which is generally more than enough for a Chromebook and has a 12.3″ touchscreen that renders Quad HD resolution.  That display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and there is an digitized stylus that comes with it.

Today’s Deal – LG G6 Unlocked for $625 on Amazon

Today’s Deal is on LG’s latest flagship, the LG G6.  Right now on Amazon you can pick on up in Black or Ice Platinum for $624.99.  If you want the White version, it is $617.99 but quantities are very limited.  The great things is, this is the unlocked version of the phone.  It will work with any GSM carrier in there in the US like AT&T and T-Mobile.  That makes this price less than what most carriers here in the US are offering the phone for locked to their network.

In case you don’t remember, the specs for the LG G6 are solid.   It is powered by the Snapdragon 821 processor and is coupled with 4GB of RAM.  Storage wise, it has 32GB onboard which can be expanded up to an additional 256GB thanks to the MicroSD slot.  It is powered by a 33oomAh battery and supports Quick Charge 3.0 technology for rapid charging.  The G6 has a fingerprint scanner in the back which is also the  physical power button for the device.

Reality Check – Don’t Expect Project Treble on Your Android O Upgraded Phone

Friday for the Android faithful was a fun day.  Ahead of Google I/O, which starts this week, the company announced Project Treble, a modularized change to Android that will make it far easier for Google themselves to upgrade the core OS while leaving the manufactures and carriers to upgrade their bits on your phone.  It has a huge amount of promise and would go a long way in sorting out one of Android’s biggest problems – timely updates.

Timely updates, particularly security updates, has always been a challenge.  Manufactures are slow (and don’t really have an incentive to keep things upgraded) and carriers just add to the pain. It is a key reason I have chosen Google Nexus and Pixel products as my main drivers.  I know I will get timely updates.   Treble would leave the base level OS upgrades to Google who could upgrade your devices directly for things like security patches without having to involve the manufactures or carriers.

Unfortunately, I have to rain on everyone’s parade a bit.  Treble is coming for Android O and this week at I/O we are likely going to hear a lot more about it.  But don’t expect it to hit your current phone.  Even if you have a Google Pixel, don’t expect it.  Why?  Two Words:  System Partition.

Netflix No Longer Installs on Rooted or Unlocked Devices

For those of you who have a rooted or bootloader unlocked phone, the Netflix app just got a bit more difficult to installed.  If your device rooted or unlocked, you will no longer be able to install it directly from the Google Play Store.  Netflix has confirmed to the team over at Android Police that they are fully reliant on the Widevine DRM provided by Google and thus, devices that are unlocked or rooted will no longer be able to install the latest app.  Widevine, for those that do not know, is a Google created DRM technology that works across multiple platforms.

The good news is that, for now, the app will still work if you have it installed already or you side load it.

Minor Update for Chrome OS Released for Most Devices

A small security and bug fix update is currently rolling out for most devices in the Chrome OS Stable channel.  The update takes devices to build 58.0.3029.112 (Platform version: 9334.69.0).  This build from the Chromium team appears to be for a wide range of devices with no exceptions noted in the release notes.  This is somewhat different than the last few major releases as there have been specific devices excluded from the updates.  Those devices have been for the most part the handful of Chromebooks and Chromeboxes that can run Android apps.

As for what is fixed in this update or patched, that information was not released.  That is the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for the Chrome OS team as they tend to not release specifics on an update until the majority of devices have been updated.

Today’s Deal – Big Savings on Anker Speakers and Headphones

Today’s Deal is on a range of Bluetooth speakers and headsets from Anker.  Anker has been known for a long time for their Android and iPhone accessories and I feature their products often as part of Today’s Deal.  Their products are rock solid and their range of speakers and headsets are no different.  Amazon has a range of them on sale today that you should check out.

Perhaps the best deal of the bunch is on the Anker SoundCore Sport XL.  This Bluetooth speaker sports 16W of audio output and has 2 subwoofers.  It is IP67 rated so it is dustproof and waterproof.  It has 15 hours of play time and a 66′ range from your phone when you pair it.  Normally this is $159.99 but today it is down to $44.99.    That’s a savings of 72% and for any outdoor speaker that has an IP67 rating, is a great deal.

Today’s Deal – Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet Down to $64.99

Today’s Deal is on the well appointed and budget friendly Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet.  The 8″ tablet is on sale for $64.99 for the 16GB variant that includes Amazon adverts on the lock screen.  If you prefer to not have those adverts, it is $79.99 for the tablet.  In either case, you are saving $25 off the regular price and that discount also applies to the 32GB variant of the tablet.  The 32GB model is on sale for $94.99.

The Fire HD 8 has a 1280 x 800 display, is powered by a Quad-core 1.3 GHz processor and you can expand the storage by up to 200GB thanks to the MicroSD slot.  It has dual-band Wi-Fi for solid wireless performance and is powered by 3210 mAh battery that is rated to give users up to 12 hours of use in mixed usage.  It also has dual Dolby powered speakers and of course, Alexa is integrated into the device much like Google Assistant on other Android devices.

Screener Update Adds Notification Controls and Automatic Backgrounds

One of the most common questions I get about is how I make the screenshots that you see in reviews, how to’s and articles like this one.  The answer is Screener.  The app is made by Toastcode and they just released a nice update to the app in the Play Store.  The updated build is version 2.5 for those keeping score and it brings a redesigned user experience and some other nice features that make taking screenshots of you Android devices easy.  A bit about Screener.  It is an app that allows you to take a screenshot you have taken on your phone (most often this is the combination of Volume Down + Power button) and put that into a frame of a popular Android device (and iPhones too).  There are hundreds of frames, some of which are 3D, and there are frames for both phones and Android Wear devices.

This update to the app brings improved Notifications so you can be informed of when new device frames are available, app updates are available or other information from the developer.  You can now control which, if any, you get notifications for on your device.  To change this, go to Menu>Settings>Notifications.

AccuWeather Platinum Update Brings App Shortcuts

AccuWeather Platinum, the pay version of the free weather app in the Google Play Store, has been updated today with several new features and enhancements.  The updated build is version 4.7.2-paid for those keeping score at home and if you have Android Nougat 7.1.1 on your device, you can take advantage of the new app shortcuts.  Long pressing the app’s icon will get you to shortcuts that will take you directly to the Daily Forecast, the Hourly Forecast or a Map with local weather radar.  All three of these can be dragged to your Home page so you can have them just a tap away if you want to do so.

The Widgets for the app have also been updated.  You can now select to see what AccuWeather calls “RealFeel” temperatures on the widgets.  RealFeel is the temperature with considerations made for windchill or humidity to give you a more accurate idea of what it feels like outside.

Today’s Deal – Poweradd Pilot 20,000mAh Battery Pack for $16.49

Today’s Deal is a great option for those who need an external battery pack to charge your devices.  The Poweradd Pilot X7 is a 20,000mAh battery with dual USB ports and right now is just $16.49 on Amazon.  The two USB-A ports output 2.1A of power so you can charge your devices efficiently.  The pack doesn’t support Quick Charge technology but for a pack this size at this price, it is not too surprising.

The 20,000mAh means that you can charge most devices 4-6 times before the battery itself depletes.  With the dual ports, you can charge two devices at once but keep in mind that it will take longer to charge both devices.  Charging of the pack is done via a MicroUSB port and the charging cable comes with the pack.  It is also backed by a 24 month warranty.  Built into the pack is an LED flashlight.

To get more details on Today’s Deal, head over to Amazon.  There are other color options available:  Blue, and Black with Red.  Those color options are a bit more at $17.99 but still a great deal overall.  For those of you who are Amazon Prime customers, shipping is free for you on whichever color option you select.