Microsoft Launcher Update Brings More Customizations

Microsoft Launcher for Android

Another new update is rolling out to Microsoft Launcher, bringing with it more customizations as well as full support for Android Oreo.  The update is version 4.12 for those keeping score at home and that version has been in beta for a few weeks now.  If you have been running that beta build, there isn’t anything new for you but if you are in the stable channel, there’s lots to talk about.

First, folders and app icon gestures are now a thing.  You can now setup folders on your Home screen or apps to open when you swipe them.  This is done by long pressing the folder or icon, tapping the edit icon (the pencil) and the enabling swipe.

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Chrome OS Beta Channel Sees a Seventh Chrome 68 Build

All Open Windows View in Chrome OS

The Chrome OS Beta Channel has been updated but not in the way that was expected.  An almost unheard of seventh build has arrived to the channel in the current cycle and comes a few days after it was expected to be moved up a build.  The new build is still based on Chrome 68 and is build 68.0.3440.87 (Platform version: 10718.71.2).

Chrome 68 was expected to be in the Chrome OS Stable Channel by this point.  That release was suppose to happen on July 31st but clearly hasn’t yet.  While the release notes don’t indicate why there is a delay or any specific bug found, the delay in release likely indicates a last minute issue was discovered or something new cropped up.  That’s the life of beta software.

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Google Home Now Understands Location and Adjusts Smart Home Items in That Room Only

Google Home

Google Home has a new cloud-side update that brings a handy and much needed feature to the smart speaker.  It is now location aware and will only adjust the Smart Home items in the room it is located in, not just across the entire home.  Google hasn’t announced this year but the team over at Android Police posted on it yesterday and I can confirm it works for me too.

The problem this solves is straight forward.  Prior to this update, if I issued the command, “Hey Google, turn off the lights”, it would turn off all the smart lights in my house, regardless of their location.  With this update, if I issue the same command, it will only adjust the lights in the room in which my Google Home picked me up.  This is were tagging like “Living Room”, “Office” and other areas become key.

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Acer Announces Four New Chromebooks – Two 13″ and Two 15″ Models

Acer Chromebook 13

Acer has launched a set of four new Chromebooks, two 13″ models with impressive specs, and two 15″ models with so-so specs.  The new models are the Acer Chromebook 13, Acer Chromebook Spin 13,  Acer Chromebook 15, and the Acer Chromebook Spin 15.  As the name somewhat suggests, the two Spin models are 2-in-1 designs where you can fold the screen back onto the device to go into tablet mode.

The 13″ Chromebooks sport a 2256 x 1504 IPS display with a 3:2 aspect ratio.  They are powered by the Intel Core i3 or i5 processors and comes with a minimum of 8GB of RAM.  For the Chromebook 13, you get 32GB of Storage.  For the Chromebook Spin 13, you can get either 8GB or 16GB of RAM which is coupled up with 64GB or 128GB of storage depending on the configuration.

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Counterpoint Research Report Pegs Nokia’s Growth at Over 780% Since Last Year

Nokia 6, Nokia 7 Plus and Nokia 8 Sirocco

To be honest, if you have been paying attention to the smartphone market over the past year, you know that HMD Global’s Nokia brand has been making a serious comeback.  Now we have a more substantial report that reflect what everyone suspected:  Nokia has had a killer year.

Counterpoint Research has published their report on the Smartphone market and they, like IDC earlier in the week, confirm that Huawei has passed Apple as the number two smartphone company in the world.  But the Counterpoint report goes into more details than the IDC report on the “other” brands, of which Nokia is lumped into.  That’s where you find that the brand has gained some 782% in market share since Q2 2017.

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Android P Expected to be Released on August 20th

Android P Developer Preview 2 - May 2018

It looks like we don’t have much longer to wait for Android P.  August 20th appears to be the day and we have, once again, Evan Blass to thank for the news.  He posted on Twitter this morning a somewhat cryptic calendar with a bright green “P” on August 20th.

Given that it is pretty much a given that Android P will launch in August, it wasn’t super hard to figure out what was meant by the post.

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Gboard for Android Update Brings Support for 28 New Languages

Google GBoard for Anrdoid

Gboard for Android has another update rolling out, bringing the ability to make GIFs from text as well as support for 28 new languages.  The update is version 7.4.19 for those keeping score at home and is out in the Play Store now.

First up in this update is the ability to make a GIF from Text.  Gboard has had the ability for users to make their own GIFs for some time now but it was always photo based.  Now you can make one from text as well.

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Starbucks App Update Brings Support for Adding Funds from Google Pay

Add Funds to Your Starbucks Card From Google Pay

The Starbucks app for Android has been updated this morning and it brings the ability to do a one time adding of funds to your account from Google Pay.  The update is version 4.11.1 for those keeping score at home and should be out to everyone who has the app installed by now.

Once you have updated, you can go to the FAB (Floating Action Button) which has your current account balance and tap it and then go to the Add money option.  There you will see your credit card information you normally use to top up your card but if you use change the Payment type, you will see that Google Pay is an option.

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