Today’s Deal – Nokia 6 with Amazon Prime Ads for $149

Nokia 6

Today’s Deal is on the new Nokia 6 from HMD Global.  The 5.5″ Full HD phone with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable memory is on sale for $149 over at Amazon.  This is fully unlocked and works on GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile and has the Amazon Prime adverts on the lock screen.  It is also in the popular Copper color. If you don’t want those ads on the lock screen, the non-Prime version is $229.

It is powered by the Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz.  It has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage on board.  That storage can be expanded up to an additional 128GB thanks to the MicroSD slot.  It has a 5.5″ 2.5D Full HD display coupled with Dolby Atmos sound with 7.2W of output.  It has a a 16MP rear facing camera and 8MP selfie camera with the rear camera having a dual-tone flash for warmer flash photos.

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“Hey Google” Hot Word Now Available on Phones

Google Assistant

Since its release last year, Google Home has always responded to two hot words:  “OK Google” or “Hey Google”.  On phones, however, it has been “OK Google” since Google Assistant began rolling out to a broader set of devices.  That now appears to be changing.

Google has made a cloud side change for Google Assistant that now allows your phone to respond to “Hey Google”.  This change has been touted for months now, really since the October Pixel event where it was demonstrated.  The goal of this change is to allow users to have one consistent hot word to use and to make Google Assistant more conversational.

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Chrome App for Android Has Another Minor Update Released

Google Chrome for Android

A small, midstream update to Chrome App for Android is now rolling out in the Google Play store for users.  The update is build 63.0.3239.111 for those keeping score at home and is a bug fix update to the browser.  It is the second update of the month for the browser, following the release to Chrome 63 a week ago and fits with Google’s normal update scheme of these past few months.  That is, a major update early in the month with a mid-month minor update.

Functionally, you won’t find any difference in this new build compared to the one released last week.  This update is purely focused on bug fixes and is a pretty small download once it does get to your Google account.

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Microsoft Launcher Hits 10 Million Download Mark

Microsoft Launcher in Google Play Store

Just a month after hitting the 1 million download mark, Microsoft Launcher has now pushed passed 10 million downloads according to the Google Play Store.  It is an incredible download increase rate and while downloads don’t necessarily reflect day-to-day users, clearly there are people downloading it to at the very least try it out.

2017 has been an incredible year for Microsoft Launcher.  It was rebranded from Arrow Launcher in the summer and with that came a significant rebuild of the app that made it more customizable and user friendly.  Those tweaks continue as earlier this month the update to version 4.3 brought more customizing that users can do.

I have contended for quite some time, including in my review, that this launcher is likely the best out there for readers who are entrenched in the Microsoft ecosystem.

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Android Wear Devices Seeing Oreo Update is Progressing Rapidly

Ticwatch E

Last week I published a list of Android Wear watches that would be seeing the Android Oreo update.  At the time of that post, only a handful of watches had started to see the update being pushed down to them via an OTA.

What a difference a week makes.

Google has updated the list on their site and now 15 of the 30 watches slated to get the update how have it rolling out.  It is a very fast roll out for a big update like this.  Here are the Android Wear watches that now have Oreo coming to them via an OTA update:

  • Fossil Q Venture
  • LG Watch Sport
  • Louis Vuitton Tambour
  • Michael Kors Sofie
  • Montblanc Summit
  • Hugo BOSS BOSS Touch
  • Movado Connect
  • Tommy Hilfiger 24/7 You
  • Guess Connect
  • Gc Connect
  • Fossil Q Founder 2.0
  • Fossil Q Marshal
  • Fossil Q Wander
  • Michael Kors Access Bradshaw
  • Michael Kors Access Dylan

As for those watches that are slated to get it but haven’t seen it yet, they are after the break.

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Google Shuttering Project Tango in March 2018

Lenovo Phab 2 Pro

Google’s Project Tango will be shut down on March 1, 2018 as the company turns their attention, and that of developers, to the software-only ARCore.  The news came from the Project Tango Twitter account where the Google team behind it thanked developers for their work over the past three years on the hardware-software Augmented Reality solution.

The news should not be shocking at this point for developers or consumers for that matter. Google has been clear over the course of 2017 that ARCore, which is now in Developer Preview 2, will be the company’s AR solution going forward.  It has a lot of benefits including being hardware independent.

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Gboard Update Brings Handwriting Input and 20 New Languages

Gboard v6.8 Handwriting Support

Google Gboard, the keyboard app that is now native on a wide range of Android phones, has a big update rolling out this morning.  The update is version 6.8 for those keeping score but given the number of improvements and changes, this really feels like a major “dot oh” release.

The headline new feature for the app is Handwriting input support.  Now you can use a stylus or your finger to write instead of typing on the QWERTY keyboard.  Previously, to use handwriting input, you had to have a separate app.  If you are wanting to have this new input method in your install of Gboard, you will need to make sure you enable it.

To enable, open up the Gboard app settings and then tap on the Languages section.  At the bottom, tap the “Add Keyboard” button then tap on English (US).  The first option you see should be a Handwriting keyboard.  Select it then tap the Add button.  This will now make it an option on the keyboard.

Now to an app where you would type and you should see a globe icon on the keyboard next to the space button.  Tap that icon and you should alternate between your normal keyboard and the handwriting panel.

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