Black Friday – Honor 8 for $259 on Amazon

Another great Black Friday deal is available on Amazon today.  The Huawei Honor 8 is available for $140 off thanks to the sale and an instant discount when you put the phone in your cart.  First, the details.  The Honor 8 is being sold unlocked so it will work with any GSM carrier here in the US like AT&T and T-Mobile.  It has a 2.3GHz octa-core processor, 4GB of RAM and either 32GB or 64GB

Huawei Honor 8

Huawei Honor 8

of storage (expandable up to 256GB with the MicroSD slot).  The Honor 8 has a 5.2″ display, fingerprint scanner and a 12MP dual-camera rear shooter.

Normally the Honor 8 is $399.99 but today it is down to $289.99 for the 32GB model while the 64GB model is normally $449.99 and it is down to $339.99.  In both cases, when you drop the phone into your cart, you receive an additional $30 discount which drops the phones to $259 and $309 respectively.  Remember that this is the flagship device for Huawei when it launched in July and the company has committed to having an Android Nougat update out for the phone.  That is likely to come at the end of this year or early next.

Like other Black Friday deals, this one is for today only.  The Honor 8 is available in Black, White and Blue and all colors are eligible for the sale price.

Black Friday – Amazon Deal on The Moto G Lineup

For Black Friday, Amazon has rolled out special pricing on the Moto G lineup on the site.  Today you can get a great deal on the Moto G4, the Moto G4 Play and the Moto G4 Plus on the site with discounts ranging from $20 to $70 off.  These are great phones that, although they come with lock screen adverts from Amazon, are tough to be beat for the price.

Moto G Plus

The Moto G4 comes with 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of Storage, a 5.5″ display and a 13MP rear camera.

The smaller Moto G Play is a 5″ display device that comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.  The phone can have the storage expanded by an additional 128GB thanks to the MicroSD slot.

Finally there is the Moto G Plus.  This is a 5.5″ display phone with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and a 16MP main camera.  This is by far the most powerful of the lineup with an octa-core processor and the additional RAM and at $229, a heck of a deal.

As with most of the sales posts you will see today, these prices are good for today only.


Final Developer Preview of Android Nougat 7.1.1 Released

The Android team at Google has released what is slated to be the last Developer Preview of Android Nougat 7.1.1.  The update is already pushing out to devices that are enrolled in the beta program which now includes the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9 and Pixel C.  The builds you are looking for are NPF26F (Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9), NPF26H (Pixel C). For developers, Google has outlined that this is a near complete version of what will ship in early December to consumers and are urged to get their apps ready.

Developer Preview 2 is a release candidate for Android 7.1.1 that you can use to complete your app development and testing in preparation for the upcoming final release. In includes near-final system behaviors and UI, along with the latest bug fixes and optimizations across the system and Google apps.

To help developers, API Level 25 Platform updates have been rolled out to Android Studio 2.2.2 as part of the announcement today so final preparations and updates can be made to apps.

Review of Google Home – Powerful But Room to Grow

Google Home, in many ways, is the physical realization of the machine learning that Google has been doing for years.  Equipped with Google Assistant, this small, unassuming device that sits in your home is a gateway to Google and all of your personal information at a voice command away.  It is powerful and handy… but not perfect.  Like many first generation products, Google Home has room for growth in what it can do, the apps it can interact with and, of course, how it interacts with you.  I’ll borrow a phrase from my Google OnHub review earlier this year:  If you are an early adopter, Google Home is a great product for you to consider.  If not, you may want to give it a few months and software updates to improve.  And it will improve.  Unlike OnHub, which Google hasn’t fully abandoned but equally isn’t doing much more investing in thanks to Google Wi-Fi, Home is a central and key part of what Google considers the next technical transition we are to see.  That transition is from mobile to machines and Google Home will be at the center of this transition.

I’ve had my Google Home for about a week now and I have to say that it is very much a part of my daily routine and work flow.  It saves me from having to pick up my Nexus 6P or Nexus 9 to use the “OK Google” voice commands (if my phone is locked, I have to unlock it to get the results) and gives me a wealth of information all a voice command away.  But I can already see things I’d like to improve, particularly around app integration and more natural language discussions.  But that will come in time.  One thing is for sure:  The speakers in Google Home are impressive and have excellent sound.  For this, you won’t be disappointed.

Android Gingerbread and Honeycomb Support Ending in 2017

Google has announced that support for the six year old Google Gingerbread and 5 year old Google Honeycomb builds will be ending early in 2017.  The news came via an announcement about Google Play Service on the Android developer blog.  In the announcement, Google said that in the next release of Google Play Services, version 10.2.0, the minimum API supported will be API 14 which is Ice Cream Sandwich.  Previously API 9 was supported.

The Gingerbread platform is almost six years old. Many Android developers have already discontinued support for Gingerbread in their apps. This helps them build better apps that make use of the newer capabilities of the Android platform. For us, the situation is the same. By making this change, we will be able to provide a more robust collection of tools for Android developers with greater speed.

For end users, what this means is that any device running Gingerbread or Honeycomb will no longer be supported which means that they will likely not have access to the Google Play Store or very limited access.

Today’s Deal – Sony Xperia XA for $199

Today over at Amazon you can pick up a great deal on the 5″ mid-market Sony Xperia XA.  At $199, the Xperia XA has a Mediatek MT6755 octa-core processor running at 2GHz, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage.  That onboard storage can be expanded up to an additional 200GB thanks the the MicroSD slot available.  The phone is sold unlocked and works with GSM carriers here in the United States like AT&T, T-Mobile and StraightTalk.  Sorry Sprint & Verizon customers, this phone won’t work on those networks.

Camera wise, you have a 13MP rear shooter with OIS with a front facing 8MP shooter.

Google Home Down to $99 Tomorrow

If you have been wanting to pick up a Google Home, tomorrow is the day to do it.  Tomorrow, November 23rd, you will be able to pick the Google Assistant powered smart speaker for just $99 at Google’s Store as well as Best Buy.  The sale is going to be limited to tomorrow and Google is indicating there will be limited quantities.  If you are wanting to get one, you need to jump on it quickly as at that price, they will sell pretty fast.

Home has been doing well by all indicates and while it certainly has some limitation on what it can do currently, you can see where Google wants to go with it as a centerpiece of the “AI first” movement.  Having had a Home in my office for a few weeks now (review coming later this week), I’ve found it be very handy and helpful with things but equally, I’ve bumped into some limitations that I hope are addressed soon.

OnePlus 3T Now Available Starting at $439

After being announced a couple of weeks ago, the new OnePlus 3T is now available for you to order.  The flagship device brings some nice improvements and updates from the OnePlus 3 including a 128GB storage option.  Powered by the Snapdragon 821 processor quad-core processor, the 5.5″ phone comes with 6GB of RAM and starts with 64GB of onboard storage.  The 64GB model starts at $439 and is available in Gunmetal Grey and Soft Gold (currently not in stock).  If you want the 128GB model, that is $479 and is only available in the Gunmetal grey color.  Both storage sizes are in stock and orders today are shipping and arriving by November 29th according to my order.

Today’s Deal – LG G5 Down to $399 on Amazon

Today’s Deal over at Amazon is on the solidly built and performing LG G5.  This 5.3″ display device with 32GB of storage and 4GB of RAM is down from it’s normal price of $649.99 to $399.99 on Amazon.  This is a great price on this phone and certainly should be one to consider if you are looking for a top-end phone at a mid-market price.  The G5 is powered by the Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor and coupled with the Adreno 530 GPU.  It has 4GB of RAM which is going to be enough to really do anything with this phone and has 32GB of onboard storage.  That storage can be expanded up to an additional 2TB (that’s right, 2 terabytes) thanks to the MicroSD card slot.

Camera wise, you have dual rear cameras in the LG G5 that give you 16MP images with laser auto-focus and OIS (Optical Image Stabilization).  It has a 2-stage LED flash while the front facing camera is an 8MP shooter with a nice 135 degree wide angle view.

LG G5 on Amazon

OneNote App Update Brings Accessibility Enhancements

Microsoft has begun rolling out a nice update to OneNote, bringing several fixes along with some key updates for those with accessibilities needs.  In the update, users can now have alternative text on images and embedded files in a page.  That means for those who cannot see images, they can have alternative text which can be read to them by recognition software.  This has been a common practice in web design for many years (in fact, every image on has alternative text) and it is good to see it come to a productivity app like OneNote for those who need it.

That’s not the only change of course.  There is now the ability to view images outside of OneNote itself.  Now when you tap on an image in a note, you can choose to open that in another app to view that image.  To this point, once you embedded an image, you had to view it within OneNote.  Also, related to this, you can view embedded files outside of OneNote too.

4K Movies Start Appearing in Google Play Movies

With the Chromecast Ultra starting to ship out, Google is starting to ramp up support for Ultra HD (4K) videos in the Google Play Movies & TV app.  A check of the store this morning shows that several movies are now available in UHD as well as the already offered HD and SD versions.  The number of movies will only increase as Google licenses out the UHD versions from the production studios and makes them available to end users.

But, if you have the Chromecast Ultra and a 4K television, be prepared to pay for these UHD versions.  In my research this morning, nearly every movie in UHD was twice the price of the HD version.  For example, one of my all time favorite movies, The Fifth Element, is $12.99 in HD but it is $24.99 in UHD.  Also, if you already own the HD version of the movie, there is no option for now to upgrade to UHD – at least for now.

Today’s Deal – Huawei MediaPad M3 Tablet – $299 on Amazon

Today’s Deal is on a well appointed new tablet from Huawei.  The MediaPad M3 is their latest offering and the 8.4″ tablet sports 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and a 2560 x 1600 pixel IPS display for $299.  To make this an even sweeter deal, the M3 has Harmon Kardon tuned sound so you should have a great media experience with it on top of the great overall specs.  The new tablet from Huawei was announced last month and hit the Amazon digital shelves yesterday.  If you are an Amazon Prime customer, shipping is free.

The MediaPad M3 is powered by the Octa-Core Kirin 950 processor running at 2.3GHz and it is coupled with the Mali-T880 MP4 GPU.  This combination should do great for everyday use and you have plenty of RAM to support the processor which always helps.