Goodbye productivity.

You can now play solitaire or tic-tac-toe directly in Google’s search results. Just search for solitaire or tic-tac-toe in the search engine on the web or from your phone, and you’ll get a playable version of either game above the search results.

Google’s take on solitaire is fairly basic, but you do get the option of selecting between easy and hard difficulty levels.

As for tic-tac-toe, you get to choose between easy. medium, and impossible levels, as well as the ability to play against a friend.

Google has baked in additional features into its search results as well. Searching for “flip a coin” generates a virtual coin toss, and typing “what sound does a horse make” provides an audio result.




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Travel back to October 2015, when the HTC A9 was shiny and new. Amid the controversy about the price and availability — too much and too little — or how it was just a copy of the iPhone that was just a copy of the HTC M9, there was a small glowing nugget of sunshine. A promise of software updates within 15 days of Google’s official phones.

Did you hear that? The Unlocked A9 will receive every Google SW update within 15 days of Nexus devices! #BeBrilliant

— HTC USA (@HTCUSA) October 20, 2015

At the time, I was skeptical and took this to mean monthly updates (which didn’t happen either) because of the way Android is developed in the Google vacuum instead of out in the public like a proper open-source thing. There would be too many things to go wrong, and when they all went wrong there was no way Google was going to hold off updating a phone because HTC needed more time. In any case, none of it matters now.

HTC tweeted a small and generic update schedule for the phones they are planning to update to Android 7.0, and we’re going to be waiting to see anything for the A9 until sometime after the HTC 10 gets updated in Q4 (October, November, and December) of 2016. I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is and I can count to 15. HTC was able to give us a statement when we asked about the discrepancy.

With the excitement around Android Nougat, we’re aligning engineering resources around our most popular flagship products where the most customers will benefit.

This doesn’t matter. Waiting for an update never hurt anyone, and even if they wait until the very last day in 2016 the A9 will get updated long before many other phones. But HTC has been in this game long enough to know that when they put a number or a date on anything, the internet will roast them when they miss it.




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A whole lot of phone for £369.

It’s official: the Honor 8 is coming to the UK, with a £369.99 SIM-free price tag. It’s launching first, unlocked and SIM-free, on Amazon, as well as Huawei’s vMall platform, along with free bundled goodies.

As for other retailers and carriers, we’ve got the first details on UK availability down below. It’s worth noting that for now, the only model available in the UK is the 32GB Honor 8, as opposed to the more expensive 64GB variant.

Amazon UK

Amazon is offering a free Fire TV Stick with Honor 8 purchases while stocks last. All three color options — black, blue and white — are priced at £369.99.

See at Amazon UK

vMall

The Huawei-branded ecommerce store has the Honor 8 for sale at the launch price of £369.90 in black, white and blue, with a free “anniversary package” worth £69.99 while stocks last. Buyers can pick between a combination of vouchers from Gameloft, Truecaller, Elec and Deezer, up to the value of £69.99. The first 2,000 Honor 8 customers get three free months of insurance on their new device.

See at vMall

Expansys

Expansys was named as one of the partners carrying the unlocked Honor 8, however there’s no mention of it on the retailer’s site just yet.

See Android phones at Expansys

Clove

Clove has the Honor 8 available to order in all three colors, priced £369.99.

See at Clove

Three

Honor has announced that three will exclusively carry the Honor 8 “in the coming weeks,” but there are no pricing details available at present.

See Android phones at Three


Picking up an Honor 8 in the UK? Still on the fence? Shout out in the comments and share your thoughts!




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You’re sure to stand out if you go with this color.

Looking for a little bump in sales as the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge have been out for several months now, Samsung has partnered up with Best Buy in the U.S. to launch an exclusive new “Pink Gold” color option of the phones. The new color will be available for Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T.

The color looks extremely flashy and adorns both the front and back of the phones, which may not be particularly sleek alongside the black-edged displays but then again Samsung obviously wasn’t thinking about “subtle” when it made this one. It’s also a solid departure from the more subtle looks of the black, silver and even gold colors that were available at launch for the phones.

Another bold color choice from Samsung, several months later for some reason

It’s also rather annoying to those who bought their phone in the past couple of months and may have liked a flashier color choice. Though I completely understand the need to get a little spike in sales, launching an altogether new color within a year of the original launch can sometimes rub people the wrong way. Keeping it exclusive to Best Buy goes a step further in accomplishing that annoyance for customers.

But that group of would-be potential customers will surely be overshadowed by the number of people who will walk into a Best Buy and just pick up a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge, not understanding all of the color options prior to their interest in the phones. It’s a brand new color that will definitely stand out, both in stores and out in the wild after you take it home.

If you’re going to pick up a Pink Gold Galaxy S7 from Best Buy, you’ll also get the added benefit of a $150 Best Buy gift card when you activate it in the store, which is a generous gift — plenty big enough to pick up a couple cases and a wireless charger, if you wish.

See at Best Buy




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What does the LG V20 look like? Kind of like a BlackBerry Z30.

We already know a fair bit about the LG V20, since the Korean company enjoys, in the run-up to its phone announcements, what we in the industry consider a “trollout.” Based on LG’s official word, it will be the first phone outside of Google’s own Nexus line to run Android 7.0 Nougat. And thanks to a few choice leaks over the past few weeks, we suspect that it may have the same modular bones of the G5, which was unveiled earlier this year.

Now, thanks to prolific leaker, Evan Blass, we have a front view of the upcoming phone, which is set to be officially unveiled on September 6. While the headpiece bears a close resemblance to that of the BlackBerry Z30, the phone appears to retain its secondary display, which arrived on the V10 to a mixed response.

Our own Phil Nickinson noted in his V10 review that “the Second Screen is nicely implemented, but [he] just didn’t find it all that useful.” Not a great endorsement, and one largely shared throughout the industry.

On the software side, the render — together with what Google teased of the V20 with the Nougat launch — all but confirms that LG will ship the V20 with an overlay largely identical to its Marshmallow-based G5 skin, which eschews the traditional app drawer in favor of a horizontal pane. Of course, like that phone, the V20 will probably have an option to enable the app drawer. You know, for the purists.

Finally, get already knew that the V20 would have the world’s first 32-bit Quad DAC, but this week LG also shared that the V20 will “feature best-in-class audio functions developed in partnership with B&O PLAY.” You’ll recall that one of the “Friends” meant to ship with the G5 earlier this year was a B&O-powered plug-in DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) that promised to give the modular phone a superior sound experience through headphones. While LG didn’t hint that a similar module would be arriving with the V20, it did note:

LG and B&O PLAY worked closely together to bring the best sound to users by optimizing the audio capabilities of the V20 smartphone. Acoustic engineers collaborated to achieve B&O PLAY’s philosophy of delivering a natural and balanced sound in a portable package. To enhance the total experience, the V20 set will include a special pair of B&O PLAY earphones and a set of wallpapers designed for the V20 which includes the official logo of B&O PLAY, as a certification of B&O PLAY premium audio.

We’ll know lots more about the V20 when it debuts on September 6. In the meantime, let us know what you think of how the V20 is shaping up!




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The successor to Xiaomi’s best-selling phone of the year is here.

Xiaomi has unveiled the Redmi Note 4, the first phone to offer MIUI 8 out of the box. The phone retains the 5.5-inch Full HD display as the Redmi Note 3, but we’re now looking at a metal unibody design with chamfered edges and much-needed 2.5D glass at the front.

Specs on offer include a MediaTek Helio X20 SoC with ten CPU cores (two Cortex A72 at 2.1GHz, four Cortex A53 at 1.8GHz, and four Cortex A53 at 1.4GHz), dual SIM slots with a hybrid microSD slot, 13MP f/2.0 camera with PDAF, storage configurations of 16GB and 64GB, and a massive 4100mAh battery. Like the Redmi Note 3, the Note 4 offers a fingerprint sensor at the back.

The Redmi Note 3 proved to be incredibly popular for Xiaomi in India, with the company seeing a record 880,000 shipments in Q2 2016. Since its debut in March, Xiaomi sold over 1.75 million units of the Redmi Note 3 in India. It isn’t hard to see why the phone did so well in the market. The Redmi Note 3 featured a great metal design, excellent hardware in the form of a Snapdragon 650 SoC, 3GB of RAM, 32GB storage, 16MP camera, and a huge 4100mAh battery that lasted at least a day and a half on a full charge.

With the Redmi Note 4, Xiaomi isn’t changing a lot (which is a good thing), with the major difference being the Helio X20 SoC and the 13MP camera. The design is also much more polished, and makes the Redmi Note 4 look premium.

Xiaomi will kick off sales of the Redmi Note 4 in China starting August 26 for ¥899 ($135) for the 16GB variant, and ¥1,199 ($180) for the model with 64GB of storage. No word as of now regarding availability in India or other Asian markets, but seeing as how Xiaomi will be looking to continue its momentum, it shouldn’t be too far off.

What do you guys think of the Redmi Note 4?




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It’s release week in Android land. It’s kinda like Christmas… if the presents took months to reach some of the good little geeks and nerds.

If you’re rocking Nougat right now, I’m happy for you. This is the benefit of buying a Nexus. For the rest of us, we’ll be waiting a little while for Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and the rest to get updates to our phones. Okay, some of us will be waiting a lotta while, but in the meantime, we’ve got a little piece of Nougat you can taste on your own device: a rocking new wallpaper, pulled from the Google Now Launcher that pushed with Nougat on the Nexus 6P and 5X.

It’s pink. It’s glorious. It’s dusky. And even though it’s not the most exciting wallpaper, it’s a wallpaper with a subtle grace and simplicity to add some class to your home screen.

Download: Dusk

I’m not entirely sure if this is sand or a coarse rock wall, but the lights and shadows at work here are breathtaking. I’d use two icon packs with this wall, one with the shadows and one with that beautiful golden rock.

Download: Sandy

This thin strip of sand along the deep, dark blue of the ocean is mesmerizing. It reminds me of trying to walk a delicate knife edge… Whether keeping balance or just remembering how thin the target you’re reaching for is, this wallpaper has you covered.

Download: Islet

As we navigate our lives, and the Android world, there’s always rocks we have to steer away from, and while lighthouses sometimes help, we all must be vigilant as we try to traverse our own oceans.

Download: Rocky

Waves are enigmatic things. Taming them is impossible. Riding them takes the experience and the faith to let it carry you away. Wave represent tension, conflict, and yet they are quite peaceful to watch, and especially to hear.

Download: Wave




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What are the best clear cases to show off your Galaxy Note 7

You just got your brand new Galaxy Note 7 and while you want to show it off, you also want to make sure it’s protected from scratches and scuffs. Some bulky opaque case that’ll turn your phone into a brick? Out of the question!

If you want to preserve the look and sleek feel of your new phone, you’re best bet is to get a clear case. That way you can keep your phone protected while still being able to show it off to all your friends. It’s the best of both worlds!

Spigen Neo Hybrid Crystal

If you refuse to sacrifice style for protection — and vice versa — the Spigen Neo Hybrid Crystal lets you have it all.

This two-piece case consists of a clear TPU shell that shows off your phone’s design, and a polycarbonate bumper that adds an extra layer of protection if you happen to drop your phone on its edge. Spigen claims this case is Military Grade Drop Certified, putting it into a similar category as other more heavy duty options they provide. The TPU shell features air space technology in each corner that help to mitigate the shock from a drop, so along with the bumper your phone should be well protected from drops.

The Neo Hybrid Crystal also provides a 1.2mm lip of clearance around the screen, and a 1.4mm bezel around the camera on the back to keep them safe when you put your Galaxy Note 7 down on surfaces. The bumper is available in four stylish color options, each with precise cutouts at the bottom for easy access to the S-Pen, ports and speaker. And the case itself offers a bit more grip to help prevent the phone from slipping from your hands.

See at Amazon

Caseology Skyfall Series

Another clear option comes from Caseology, known for their stylish phone case. Their Skyfall Series features a 1.3mm TPU shell and a 1.5mm polycarbonate bumper, which is available in four stylish colours.

The bumper on this case wraps around the back edge of the phone a bit for enhanced sturdiness. There are precise cutouts for the volume and power buttons, which are made of hard TPU for good responsiveness and tactile feedback, which will come in handy when you need to quickly silence an alarm without everyone knowing it was you.

With big cutouts around the charging port and headphone jack, this case will easily accommodate all your accessories while ensuring your S-Pen is always accessible. And with air-space technology in the corners, the case’s dual-layer protection will keep your phone safe when it drops to the ground.

See at Amazon

Trianium Clarium Series

If pure minimalism is what you’re after, the Trianium Clarium Series case will offer you a clear view of your phone from every angle, while also offering protection guaranteed with a lifetime warrantee.

This case features a two-piece design, with a hard TPU shell and a rubberized bumper to help absorb the shock of any drop. Molded to hug your Galaxy Note 7 tight and protect it from scratches and scuffs, you’ll be able to show off your stylish new phone without worrying about it getting damaged. It’s also a very slim option, so you won’t be adding too much bulk.

See at Amazon

Spigen Ultra Hybrid S with kickstand

What? Another Spigen case on this list? Absolutely. Spigen offers a whole variety of clear cases, but what sets the Ultra Hybrid S apart from the others is the built-in kickstand. This added functionality is exceedingly rare in the clear case category, typically reserved for more heavy duty options.

The kickstand appears to be essentially the Spigen U100 universal kickstand Spigen we recently reviewed, which is made of metal and extremely easy to use.

Spigen went with a one-piece TPU shell design for this case, so it won’t offer as much protection as the two-piece options on this list. But with the kickstand allowing for easy media viewing and the TPU shell still providing full protection from any drops, scratches or scuffs, it’s a damn fine compromise to make in this case.

See at Amazon

Ringke FUSION Crystal Clear

Another trusted name in phone cases, Ringke offers the FUSION Crystal Clear case for your Galaxy Note 7. This case comes in two style options — Crystal Clear or Smoky Black — but regardless you go with, your phone’s beautiful design will always be on full display.

That’s due in part to Ringke’s claimed twice the clarity coating which they say enhances the original look of your Galaxy Note 7 without adding minimal bulk. With added TPU cushioning in the corners and certified military grade drop protection, this case will keep your phone protected and looking stylish. And if you ever get bored with looking at the backside of your phone, Ringke also includes a free DIY template for cutting out an image to place between your phone and your case, letting you express your creative side if you so choose.

See at Amazon

What do you think?

Is keeping your phone looking stylish as important as keeping it well-protected? Will you be picking up a clear case for your Galaxy Note 7? Let us know in the comments!




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How do I get Android 7.0 Nougat on your Nexus phone right now?

Android 7.0 Nougat is officially available for the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player and Pixel C (and the General Mobile 4G Android One), but your phone may not get the OTA (over-the-air) update for another couple of weeks. If you don’t have a Nexus, you can get a feel for when (or if) your phone will get Nougat based on our expectations.

If you know your way around a command line, you can skip the waiting game by downloading the factory image for your particular device and flashing it on top of your software. But there are some caveats you need to know about when flashing a factory image, so read on to find out what you need to know.

How to get Nougat through the Android Beta program

Another way to get Android 7.0 Nougat right now is by opting into the Android Beta program, which has been extended beyond the initial release of Nougat.

Any Nexus device eligible for the receiving Nougat can also opt into the Beta program — Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C — any continue receiving updates past the stable version. That is because Google has announced that it will continue offering preview versions of Nougat as it prepares the first of its Maintenance Releases, which is expected later this fall.

Devices that are currently enrolled in the Beta program are the first to receive the stable version of Android 7.0, and the opt-in process is fairly easy.

  1. Head to Android Beta program portal on your Nexus phone or Pixel C tablet.
  2. Sign into the Google account associated with that phone.
  3. Scroll down to Your eligible devices.
  4. Find the device you want to enrol in the Beta program and tap Enrol device.
  5. Follow the prompts to accept the over-the-air download.

Note: Once you’ve updated to the stable version of Nougat, you can leave the Beta program without factory resetting. (This was a requirement for leaving the program whilst on one of the developer preview builds.) To leave the program, simply press the button on the Android Beta program page.

How to get Nougat by flashing a factory image

Get the right tools to flash a factory image

Note: This portion is performed on your computer.

The first thing you need to know about flashing a factory image on top of your Nexus phone is that you need to have a portion of Android SDK installed on your computer. Specifically, you need adb and fastboot, which you can download from the Android Studio portal.

  1. Go to Android Studio webpage
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page.
  3. Find command line tools for your platform — Windows, Mac, or Linux.
  4. Extract the accompanying file (.exe, .zip, .tgz)

The next thing you need to do after downloading the command line tools is to make sure that your phone is ready for flashing. This is a two-step process: you need to enable USB Debugging; and you need to unlock your bootloader. If you have already unlocked your bootloader, you can skip to flashing.

Enable developer settings and USB debugging

Note: This portion is performed on your device.

  1. Go to your Nexus’ Settings.
  2. Scroll down to About Phone/Tablet.
  3. Tap on the Build number seven times until the dialog box says you are now a developer.
  4. Open Settings and you should find a new option called Developer options.
  5. Click into the Developer options.
  6. Make sure that the developer options are turned on and that USB debugging is checked on.
  7. Check Enable OEM unlock.
  8. Plug your Nexus device into your computer.
  9. Tap OK on the dialog box asking you to Allow USB debugging while connected to the computer.

If done correctly, this will be everything you will need to do on your phone or tablet for the moment. After this, you need to unlock your phone’s bootloader.

Unlocking your bootloader

Note: This portion is performed on your device and computer .

Unlocking your bootloader is relatively simple, but you must know one thing: Your phone will factory reset, and you will lose all of your apps and personal data stored on the phone. Make sure that you back up your device before this process.

  1. Turn off your phone or tablet.
  2. Hold down the power button and the volume down button.
  3. On your computer, open Command Prompt (Windows) or Terminal (Mac). Navigate to folder with Platform tools.
  4. On your computer, type: ./fastboot flashing unlock in a terminal or command prompt.
  5. Press volume up button and the power button on your device to confirm bootloader unlock.
  6. On your computer, type: ./fastboot reboot

Now your bootloader is unlocked and ready to flash the Android 7.0 factory image for your device.

Flashing the Android 7.0 factory image

Note: The Android 7.0 factory images aren’t available for all devices yet. This portion is performed on your computer.

  1. Visit Nexus Factory Images page.
  2. Scroll down to your phone and find the Android 7.0 image for your phone.
  3. Once downloaded, extract the file in your Platform tools folder.
  4. Put your phone into bootloader mode (see above) and plug it into your computer.
  5. Open Command Prompt (Windows) or Terminal (Mac). Navigate to folder with Platform tools.
  6. On the command line, type:./adb devices to ensure your phone is seen by your computer.
  7. Type the flash-all command.
    On Windows, that will be flash-all.bat
    On Mac, that will be flash-all.sh

Note: The flash-all script is prone to failing on OS X/macOS, and by default wipes your phone. Follow our step-by-step manual flashing tutorial to bypass this issue.

Manually flash an OTA update

If you’re too impatient to wait for your Nexus device to get the Android 7.0 over-the-air update and don’t want to go through the process of signing up for the beta program (easiest method) or flashing a factory image (harder method), you can find the right over-the-air update file for your particular build and flash it in Recovery.

If you’re looking for those files, here are the ones to download. We’ll be adding more as they become available.

How to manually flash an OTA update

Learning about Nougat

Once you flash the Android 7.0 Nougat factory image onto your Nexus phone, you should reboot into the operating system. Depending on whether you unlocked your bootloader (and wiped your phone in the process), or kept your data intact by flashing the images manually, Nougat should look considerably different to Marshmallow. Now you have to learn what’s new in Nougat.

Everything you need to know about Android 7.0 Nougat

Your turn

Having issues flashing your Nexus phone? Just want to wait until the OTA is pushed to your phone? Tell us your experience with flashing the Nougat factory image in the comments below.

How to manually flash your Nexus

Continue the conversation in the forum




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There’s a new Pokemon Go update. Here’s what you need to know!

Pokémon Go updates aren’t common, but they are a big deal. Here’s what you need to know about each major one!

Update, August 23: Added information about version 0.35.0 with the new Appraisal system!

Version 0.35.0 – August 23, 2016

This update introduced the Appraisal system, which allows players to ask their team leaders to analyze captured and evolved Pokémon to determine the best way to use it. This relies on the Individual Value of the Pokémon being analyzed, which will tell users whether their version of a Pokémon is good for attacking or defending Gyms.

Here’s the official change log:

  • Implemented Pokémon Appraisal: Trainers will now be able to learn about a Pokémon’s attack and defense capabilities from their Team Leader (Candela, Blanche or Spark) to determine which of their Pokémon have the most potential for battle.
  • We are still working hard on several new and exciting features to come in the future of Pokémon GO.
  • Minor bot fixes

It’s unclear if Niantic has invited more users to try out the Nearby beta system that has been in place since the last update, but currently there is no way to request access.

More: How to check your Pokémon’s stats with the new Appraise feature in Pokémon Go

Show older updates

Version 0.33.0 – August 8, 2016

This version introduces a number of new features, including the ability to rename your trainer once — so consider it carefully — and a warning when the game detects that you’re moving in a vehicle, asking you to confirm that you are not actually driving while playing.

Here’s the official change log:

  • Added a dialog to remind Trainers that they should not play while traveling above a certain speed; Trainers will have to indicate they aren’t the driver
  • Fixed a bug that prevented “Nice,” “Great,” and “Excellent” Poké Ball throws from awarding the appropriate XP bonuses
  • Enabled the ability for Trainers to change their nickname one time, so please choose your new nickname wisely
  • Added visuals of Team Leaders Candela, Blanche, and Spark.
  • We’re currently testing a variation of the “Nearby Pokémon” feature with a subset of users. During this period you may see some variation in the nearby Pokémon UI.

With this update, the game also introduces a change to the “Nearby Pokémon” box in the lower right of the screen, changing the wording to “Sightings”, along with the graphics behind the Pokémon in your vicinity. While we’re not sure how the new “Sightings” feature works just yet — and how different it is to the original “Nearby — we are exploring it and will update when we know more.

Version 0.31.0 — July 30, 2016

This version introduces a number of big changes to the game, including the contested removal of footprints for easily tracking nearby Pokémon. It also allows for the customization of Trainers after they have been outfitted, and introduces warnings to players against trespassing and playing the game dangerously.

  • Avatars can now be re-customized from the Trainer profile screen
  • Adjusted battle move damage values for some Pokémon
  • Refined certain Gym animations
  • Improved memory issues
  • Removed footprints of nearby Pokémon
  • Modified battle damage calculation
  • Various bug fixes during wild Pokémon encounter
  • Updated Pokémon details screen
  • Updated achievement medal images
  • Fixed issues with displaying certain map features
  • Minor text fixes

Version 0.29.2 — July 13, 2016

This update fixes problems with Android Nougat Developer Preview users.


Version 0.29.1 — July 5, 2016

This is the original release for Android. Happy catchin’!




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