Diverse emoji are better emoji.

For many of us, emoji are a part of our daily conversations. I text my best friend with a heart emoji and a sunrise emoji every morning, and I use the raised hands emoji to let my co-workers know that I’m having an IRL physical reaction to something in the Mobile Nations Slack chat.

Emoji are not just for fun, however. Since they’ve become a part of our daily rhetoric, they’ve also become a new way for us to show solidarity. Take Apple’s controversial decision to replace the pistol emoji in iOS 10 with a green water gun. The company basically took a stance in favor of gun control, and while there were plenty of its users that didn’t take kindly to the move, many considered it to be a brave political statement on Apple’s part.

Google’s on track to do the same. Earlier this year, it announced that it would be updating the emoji in Android 7.1 with 63 new characters related to gender empowerment and fair gender representation. If you’ve got a new Pixel or Pixel XL in your hands, you can freely use these emoji right now.

As a woman, part of the appeal of being an Android user is knowing how much Google attempts to make me feel included, but I’m aware that not everyone understands why this is important. Google knows this too, so Rachel Been, one of the designers behind the new emoji, and Agustin Fonts, one of the product managers, put together this informative post on why the company chose to focus primarily on gender inclusiveness in its latest batch of emoji.

We are very proud of these new emoji, in part because we had a hand in making them a reality, and also because they sparked meaningful discussion and spurred a new way of thinking about the representation of humans in emoji.

In addition to depicting more women in various industries, Google also added dual gender counterparts for emoji that previously only had male or female representation. Take a gander at the post to learn more about why Google made the decisions it did. Been and Fonts also get into the nitty-gritty of how Google designed the emoji to match the rest of the Android aesthetic.

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Thanks, Obama — for making the Android Central News Briefing, October 20, 2016.

There are many things we like to see: puppies, hot coffee and croissants together, and the release of our favorite new devices in the wild. The Pixel and Pixel XL are now making their way to customers around the world, and we’re excited to see what people think.

But don’t forget the Moto Z Play, which is also available for $200 less than the Pixel, and you get a pretty great experience, too.

Mainly, I’m just happy that this weekly cadence of phone releases is calming down so I can get back to writing the great Canadian novel, Drake’s BlackBerry.

With that, here’s today’s top stories!

BlackBerry’s app updates for October are rolling out

BlackBerry’s Android apps are getting their monthly update, and we’re expected to see improvements for Hub+, Camera, Keyboard, Password Keeper and more. Additional improvements for the Priv and DTEK50 camera and keyboard are also on the way. More

Unlocked Moto Z Play comes to Amazon, B&H and others

The Moto Z Play, one of the best phones you may have overlooked this year, is now available unlocked from several e-commerce sites. It’s $450, which is more expensive than Verizon sells it for, but it lacks bloatware, and has official support for AT&T and T-Mobile’s networks. See at Amazon

Google Pixel is available today

The Google Pixel is now available in many countries around the world, including the U.S. and Canada. The phone can be purchased at Google’s online store and, in the U.S., at Verizon. In Canada, it’s available from a number of outlets, including Rogers, Bell, Telus and others. More

Daydream View available at the Google Store after all

And here we thought that only Pixel pre-orders would get the luxury of being first to snag a Daydream View. Google’s virtual reality headset is officially on sale for $79. You’ll need a Daydream-ready smartphone to use it, however, so make sure you’ve got a Pixel on the way or a ZTE Axon 7 in-hand before you order one. More

Chromecast Ultra now available from Google, but get it from Best Buy

Google is on a hardware release streak. In addition to the Pixel itself and a small number of Daydream units, the Chromecast Ultra is now available from Google and Best Buy, and is shipping November 7. Who’s buying? More

Obama burns Samsung at press conference

Obama took a nice, clean shot at Samsung’s fiery Note 7 at a press conference today. Thanks, Obama.

Verizon has no 128GB Pixel XLs and won’t have any until November 18

The 128GB Pixel XL (in any color) is sold out at Verizon. According to TechTimes more aren’t expected until November 18. With Google’s own store and best Buy sold out of 128GB models, it looks like it will be 32GB or a wait for potential Pixel buyers.

Pixel and Pixel XL get the “Nexus” factory image treatment at launch

As expected, Google hasn’t strayed too far from the Nexus legacy when it comes to releasing factory images and OTA updates. These files are now available to sideload at will for those who want to bring their devices back to factory settings. More

Qualcomm reportedly ready to close deal and buy NXP Semiconductors

What to do when you’re sitting on $30+ billion in cash? If you’re Qualcomm, you buy a company who can help lessen your dependency on one market and branch into new ones. According to Bloomberg Qualcomm is ready to do just that.

Chrome 54 for Android brings background audio because we’re not animals

Android is a pretty powerful desktop-class operating system, but there are some mystifying shortcomings that occasionally keep it down. One of them is Google’s inconsistent application of background audio in apps like Chrome and YouTube. We already know why YouTube doesn’t allow for background audio — artists gotta get paid — but there was no reason to prevent Chrome from working with some sites. With Chrome 54, that’s now possible.

Your Snapdragon 820 phone is better than your friend’s iPhone 7 in one important way

OK, this is a little inside baseball, but stay with me: Apple made two versions of the iPhone 7, one with an Intel baseband and the other with a Qualcomm one. Ostensibly they’re identical, but RF experts at Cellular Insights have tested both versions and found the Qualcomm one to be significantly faster.

How does this affect you? Because that chip is the same one found in Qualcomm’s X12 modem solution inside most Android devices running a Snapdragon 820. In other words, rock on!

That’s it from us, see you tomorrow!

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Since HTC isn’t distributing review units of the Pixel, we haven’t been able to get our hands on either of the devices yet. We have a Pixel scheduled to show up on our doorstep in the next week or so, … Read More

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 | Posted by | Categories: HTC |

The HTC 10 is one of the best smartphones of 2016. The device is incredibly powerful, its design is like no other smartphone on the market and its camera is second best to the HTC-built Pixel. But if you’re reading … Read More

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No pre-ordering required, go get the latest from Google today.

We watched, we waited and we may have even salivated … but today is the day the Pixel and Pixel XL are actually on sale. No more pre-order nonsense or wondering when they would actually ship. Depending on which model exactly you want, you can pick up the phone today and start using it right away.

Even if you’re a bit pickier about which color, storage option and retailer you use, there are still choices out there that’ll get you a Pixel very quickly.

Though stock has taken a hit with pre-orders being open for two weeks, the Google Store still has some models of the Pixel available — namely 128GB black and silver, or 32GB black. Shipping times are listed as 3-4 weeks, though, which is a downer for some. For those looking to get a Pixel right now Verizon will have them in stores starting today, and of course you can guarantee the specific model you want by ordering online instead with fast shipping. At the time of writing Verizon has all three colors and both storage options available for the Pixel. Best Buy seems to roughly match Verizon’s availability, as it’s selling the Verizon model.

See at Google Store
See at Verizon
See at Best Buy

If you’ve had your eyes on a Pixel XL since reading our review, things are slightly more difficult. The Google Store (and by extension, Project Fi) is straight-up out of Pixel XL stock, no matter the color or storage configuration you desire. Verizon, on the other hand, has 32GB silver and black models ready to roll — if you want blue or 128GB, the shipping date is listed as November 18. Best Buy has a few SKUs available, but some are also backorderd about a month.

See at Verizon
See at Best Buy

But say you’re not in the U.S. … well, we have you covered. Check out these handy guides for all of the places you can pick up a Pixel!

Where to buy the Pixel and Pixel XL in Canada
Where to buy the Pixel and Pixel XL in the UK
Where to buy the Pixel and Pixel XL in India

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The best small Android phone you can buy.

It’s been a fun few days, what with unboxing the Pixel and trying to get to know it as quickly as possible.

And in that time, I’ve realized a few important things about the device, from its feel in the hand (great!) to the Assistant (WIP!) and everything in between. Andrew and Alex have each put their thoughts down on paper already, but since I’m the only one of the three to spend any length of the time with the smaller Pixel so far, it’s a good opportunity to give my less formal take on this new phone.

More: Google Pixel specs

Hold me

This is the right size for me

The Pixel is not a big phone. Seriously, get over those chins, because in person — at least on the smaller version — they just aren’t distracting. In fact, the bezel below the screen is perfectly sized for holding the phone in landscape and manipulating the screen — especially the camera— with your thumb.

Using the Pixel is like taking a masterclass in regression: trying to use a 5-inch phone after spending years manipulating ones up to 20% larger forces you to relearn the basics in some ways. With the Pixel, I end up using it in one hand for almost everything except typing, and effortlessly reaching up to the notification shade with my thumb is a pleasure.

Seriously, get over those chins, because in person they just aren’t distracting.

To be fair, this isn’t the first “small” phone I’ve used in 2016: I’ve spent plenty of time with the Honor 8 (5.2 inches, but almost the same physical footprint), the Sony Xperia X Performance (5 inches, slightly smaller footprint), and even the iPhone 7 (4.7 inches, notably smaller footprint). But it’s the one that, in its smaller size, convinced me almost immediately that there are no real compromises with the product.

I’ll talk about it in the next section, but it’s more important that a phone feels right than looks good, and the Pixel was designed to be held. Its rounded bevel meets the contour of your hand perfectly, and the smaller Pixel’s narrowness means it’s easy to grip comfortable and securely.

Don’t stare

If looks could kill

An inordinate number of people find themselves comparing the Pixel to the iPhone — mainly the 6s, but also the 7 — of which the phone looks nothing alike. Sure, there are generalities some could point to — exposed antenna lines, aluminum chassis, chamfers — but the two phones are in a world where devices need to look a certain way to perform their function.

Anyone calling the iPhone 7 ugly and boring hasn’t used an iPhone 7. Anyone who says the same of the Pixel hasn’t used a Pixel.

People accusing the Pixel of looking like the iPhone 7 are, in the next breath, defending the iPhone 7′s familiar design against calls for drastic change for change sake. When my colleague Rene Ritchie talks about grading the Pixel on a curve, he means that people are willing to look past the phone’s purported similarities to the iPhone — or its inherent ugliness, which is it? — because Google is finally, finally making its own phones. He writes:

I even get the reception we’re seeing. After years in the Google desert, we’re finally being thrown a cracker, and so we’re so hungry for it, we’re telling ourselves it tastes like a Ritz. Meanwhile, we’re taking Apple’s year-over-year crackers for granted, and looking at them like they’re just regular old saltines. The human brain is a real jerk that way. It only takes perspective when you force it to.

The problem with that argument, in my mind, is that you’re inserting Apple into the wrong end of the argument: Anyone calling the iPhone 7 ugly and boring hasn’t used an iPhone 7. Anyone who says the same of the Pixel hasn’t used a Pixel.

The Pixel isn’t beautiful; it’s modern and utilitarian, as if it were designed to get stuff done. Which is exactly what I want.

But the Pixel isn’t beautiful; it doesn’t have the sleek curves of the Note 7 or the flashiness reflectiveness of the Honor 8. My “Very Silver” Pixel is modern and utilitarian, as if it were designed to get stuff done. That suits me, because as much as I enjoy affectionately staring and purring at my devices, I prefer to actually, you know, use them. And for that purpose, the Pixel performs its job admirably. While I’m not a huge fan of the distracting white front of the Very Silver model — I wish there was an option for a black front with the same white-on-silver rear, but that will never happen — I like the dual-toned nature of the phone’s back, and think it plays well into Google’s design ethic.

Speed demon

The Pixel is the fastest phone I’ve ever used

The iPhone is fast. The Galaxy S7 is fast. But the Pixel is uproariously quick. Using off the shelf components, with few, if any, customizations, Google has pulled off the greatest platform coup yet: making Android instant. The progress started way back when Android 4.1 was released, with Project Butter, and has progressed rapidly since then, but the Pixel is the something else.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Android head Hiroshi Lockheimer said that the Google hardware team behind the Pixel gets access to the same underlying Android code as Samsung or LG, and is free to “build on top of it” like those OEMs. The difference, though, is that despite the firewall within Google, there is a clear parallel intention: to simplify and optimize Android as much as possible. Like Motorola, the progenitor of the company’s current hardware strategy when it was inside Google (run by the same guy, Rick Osterloh), Big G has no reason to undermine its approach to software development.

Though the Pixel’s version of Android 7.1 may have a few visual and function tweaks, Google’s approach to building software for it has not fundamentally changed from its years of building Nexus. The main difference is that the hardware team, in choosing the right camera sensor or GPS chip, could walk over to the people optimizing Android’s software and tell them explicitly to focus on making this happen, or that work better. It’s a strategy that Apple has been improving for years, and Google’s next step — if it wants to take the Pixel seriously — will be to customize its hardware components to a fine tip.

Samsung is already most of the way there, building its own screens, processors, RAM, and many other parts of the animal, but its fundamental inability to control Android is what keeps its software mired in occasional slowdown. Admittedly, Samsung has improved dramatically in this regard in 2016, but it’s not all the way there yet. Google, with the Pixel, not only got there, but lapped Samsung — twice — and isn’t even out of breath.


Battery life is a concern

I’m a week or so into this phone, so I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but the 2,770mAh battery in the smaller Pixel is definitely a concern for all-day usage.

I get the impression that the combination of Android 7.1 and very efficient Snapdragon 821 chip does perform some measure of magic.

I’ve managed to eke a full day several times — 7 a.m. off the charger to midnight — but more than once I felt the need to top up for half an hour during lunch, or risk seeing the scary red exclamation around dinner. That’s par for the course on any phone of this size these days, but I was kind of hoping for Google to, with its aforementioned control of the hardware and software, pull a magical battery rabbit from its hat and optimize the hell out of this thing.

I do get the impression that the combination of Android 7.1 and a very efficient Snapdragon 821 chip does perform some measure of magic, and that with the same software running on, say, a Snapdragon 810 and Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow the phone would shave a couple of hours off its uptime, but that’s conjecture. What I do know is that in switching to a 5-inch phone with a comparatively small battery, I’m opening myself up to the kind of charging anxiety I used to feel on a regular basis, and haven’t since moving to a combination of Galaxy S7 edge, OnePlus 3, or iPhone 7 Plus. (I felt a very different type of battery anxiety with the Note 7, but I digress.)

Sweet as Nougat

The software improvements are substantial

Even without the Google Assistant, the assiduously considered software improvements on the Pixel make it, in my opinion, the most mature and interesting implementation of Android yet. From the Pixel Launcher, which right now looks like it will stay a Google hardware exclusive indefinitely, to the resurgent Live Wallpapers that take advantage of the Pixel’s ample graphical abilities, everyone can find something to like here.

I am less critical of the Pixel’s rounded icons, and the inconsistency derived from the early state of Google’s admittedly haphazard promulgation of that strategy — a round icon API is only available on the Android 7.1 Developer Preview right now — than my peers. Some icons do look better than others, but that’s been true of Google’s own apps, rounded or not, for years. The company can’t seem to settle on an aesthetic for its many brands, and though I am no fan of indecision, I find them neither distracting, nor the heavy criticism against them justified.

I can find more things to criticize about Google Assistant, which is definitely disappointing in its current state, not because it is “dumb,” as some others have said, but because it overemphasizes voice interaction when it should operate, like it does in Allo, as a bot. Even the flawed Now on Tap, which Google deprecated on the Pixel in favor of Assistant, offered a search bar if the contextual offerings weren’t sufficient. By forcing users to head to the Feed (nee Google Now) for a search bar, Google is adding an unnecessary step to the proceedings.

Most of the frustration with Assistant comes from the fact that we know where it is going, and we don’t want to wait the two or so years until it gets there.

Assistant as a product is fine right now. I’ve yet to be wowed, and I’ve yet to yell out in frustration. As Alex said in his review, it’s a 1.0 product that fakes its way to a 1.5 every once in a while. Most of the frustration comes from the fact that we know where it is going, and we don’t want to wait the two or so years until it gets there.

Let’s also talk about notifications. I know there’s nothing especially new about them on the Pixel, but this is my first time spending a large chunk of time with a phone running Nougat, and I have to commend Google for improving and standardizing a system that was already way beyond iOS and Windows 10 Mobile. Kudos.

Imperfect formula

There are still problems

The Pixel isn’t perfect. I am that guy who leaves his phone on the table at lunch, or next to him while working. I want to be able to quickly check it and get back to what I was doing. (Don’t tell me that’s what a smartwatch is for :P )

Having the fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone, combined with an ambient mode that isn’t nearly as useful as Motorola’s Moto Display, makes it hard to quickly check my notifications and get back to it. You also can’t double-tap to turn on the screen, which I feel is a wasted opportunity to alleviate the awkward motion of picking up the phone and holding one of your index fingers to the sensor just to turn it on.

A lack of waterproofing is a regression after spending most of my year with a Galaxy S7 edge.

There are a couple other nits to pick, too: A lack of waterproofing is a regression after spending most of my year with a Galaxy S7 edge, though I’m still aware that neither LG’s nor Motorola’s flagships are IP67-certified, either. The speaker, while loud, lacks HTC’s manufacturing legacy high-quality stereo components, and the AMOLED screen, while vivid and sharp, doesn’t get nearly as bright as the Galaxy S7 or iPhone 7.

None of these issues nags at me, but they’re present, and will continue to be justifications for people to rail against the Pixel’s high asking price in relation to its forebears, the Nexus line.

Better than you hoped for

This camera…

I don’t know what else to say besides, Holy Shit. This camera is amazing. I’m not saying it’s the best camera out there, because I haven’t tested it enough against our current champ, the Galaxy S7, to make a determination.

And yes, the Pixel sometimes screws up white balance and makes everything — especially indoor scenes — far too yellow. But that doesn’t happen often enough, or severely enough, to distract from the incredible photos, in almost any condition, this phone takes.

But the Pixel, even without OIS, manages to frame the beauty of a world that’s not always easy to capture.

Here’s my typical test for a phone camera: my friends sitting around a dinner table, doing their thing, a candid moment with a bit of movement and little preparation. If the shot comes out usable, without too much grain, properly exposed and in focus, the camera has my utmost trust for almost every other scene. And the Pixel not only passed the test, but it generated shots that I’d actually want to share with said friends.

Every phone takes great photos of the Statue of Liberty or Chicago’s Bean. Every camera focuses quickly on someone’s steady hand holding up a beautiful craft hamburger on a sunny patio. But the Pixel, even without OIS, manages to frame the beauty of a world that’s not always easy to capture.

Buy it

…Is worth the price

The question posed to me most often about the Pixel, and the criticism I see most often levelled against it, is its cost. How dare Google price this ugly, boring phone at the same level as the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7?

But if you were following along with the themes I presented above, I feel I more than adequately explained the reasons for the Pixel’s $649 starting price. This is a well-made phone that performs its function as a mobile computer better than any Android phone currently available, and potentially better than any phone, period. Some of that is thanks to its portability, which despite the slight battery shortcomings is, to me, a huge boost to one-hand friendliness and therefore productivity, but much of it is due to a no-BS design that just makes it easier to use the phone.

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LeEco is trying to make its case in the U.S., starting with inexpensive phones attached to a massive ecosystem.

We’ve seen LeEco phones before, mostly in Asia and India, but now the company is branching out to North America with its latest “ecophones,” the Le Pro3 and Le S3. The pair of 5.5-inch phones are supposed to be a one-two punch to get U.S. consumers introduced to the LeEco brand and excited about the value it provides with devices that have really solid specs at impressive prices.

We’ve seen countless phones come from Chinese companies at mid-range value-oriented prices before, but LeEco is hoping to differentiate itself with software, services and an ecosystem that only a company of its size can provide. Let’s take a look at the front-end smartphone hardware that brings it all together.

Le Pro3

As the name suggests, the Le Pro3 is the higher-end of the two phones, coming in at $399 to directly compete with the likes of the OnePlus 3, Honor 8, ZTE Axon 7 and others. And unsurprisingly the Le Pro3 looks very similar hardware-wise to these other Chinese phones — the OnePlus 3 and Huawei Mate 8, in particular, come to mind when I look at this brushed metal rectangle. (The difference, in my short time using the Le Pro3, is that the OnePlus 3 seems to be better executed.)

More: LeEco Le Pro3 and Le S3 specs

The 5.5-inch 1080p phone has no real design flair, but is instead a simple blank vessel to carry high-end specs that look great on paper: a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a massive 4070 mAh battery (with Quick Charge 3), a one-touch fingerprint sensor and a 16MP rear camera can all be found inside.

The metal itself is simple and coated with a high-gloss sheen that separates it from the Le S3′s more raw aluminum look, and aside from the capacitive buttons below the screen nothing actually stands out about the hardware design. Unless the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack is considered standing out at this point.

The internals of the Le Pro3 are incredibly impressive, particularly for a $399 phone, but beyond that value there really isn’t much to be said about the looks or feel. This isn’t a phone you’re going to be particularly proud to show off as much as you’ll just be happy to fit in with the crowd of other metal slab phones.

Le S3

At a glance, the Le S3 doesn’t seem at all like a cheaper phone than the Le Pro3. It has nearly the same dimensions as the Le Pro3, the same quality of screen and a similar metal build that lacks the reflective coating of the more expensive phone but actually feels better to me. Of course LeEco cut back on the internals to hit a $249 price point — a slower Snapdragon 652 processor, along with less ram (3GB) and storage (32GB) than the Pro3. The Le S3 also has a lower-quality screen glass that isn’t sculpted as nicely on the edges, and is missing other fringe features like NFC.

Despite the shortcomings when compared to the Le Pro3, the Le S3 still offers a compelling set of hardware for $249, much in the same way that the Honor 5X did earlier this year. You’re getting solid internals and a much nicer build and design than most of the phones you can pick up in this price range. From that standpoint, the Le S3 is a bit more interesting than the Le Pro3 that has more competition at $399.

A common vision: The ecosystem

Though there are differences in internals and small tweaks of design between the two that lead to a solid difference in price, both the Le Pro3 and Le S3 are clearly here to accomplish the same goal: get LeEco’s software and ecosystem to you as simply as possible. Both of the phones run a customized version of Android 6.0 Marshmallow that is simple, clean and heavily focused on LeEco’s content.

The goal is to get you viewing LeEco’s video content.

Permanently placed in the center of the home screen dock is a “Live” button that takes you directly to LeEco’s live TV app. Above it, you’ll find the Le, LeVidi and LeView apps to give you access to various bits of LeEco’s content library. A swipe to the right on the home screen sends you to the live feed of the Le app showing you everything happening in the world of LeEco. That’s A LOT of LeEco to take in, and it’s all right there waiting for you to consume.

Of course you can install a new launcher, uninstall the Le series of apps and skip all of that, but that’s not really what LeEco expects people to do. If you were to remove that set of apps, there isn’t so much compelling about the Le Pro3 in particular … you can get very similar internals and better external hardware for the same money in a OnePlus 3, while also getting a better overall software experience.

The hardware on offer for the money with the Le Pro3 and Le S3 is extremely impressive, but that hardware clearly isn’t the end game for LeEco. We’ll have to see how its apps, services and content library stack up as a true value-add to these phones that can make them appealing overall devices.

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You can buy your LeEco phone at LeMall, but not the one with LeNordstroms.

Imagine if you had the new LeEco 85-inch uMax85 4k TV connected to your gaming computer to play Grand Theft Auto V. You would be able to see every little detail when the Note 7 you threw at your rival (which is Steve Haines no matter what anyone else says) blew up and caused a fire and/or a panic. You certainly won’t be watching it on YouTube, as Samsung has filed a DCMA claim over the video showcasing the popular mod. We get why Samsung isn’t finding the humor here, but abusing copyright laws isn’t how to fix it. Bad form, Samsung.

On a happier note that will get your freedom juices pumping (or something, cut me some slack) the Android 7.1 developer preview is now available for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Pixel C. You know the drill — enroll in beta, receive download, turn to internet to say how awesome/horrible it is. We’re checking it out, too.

And who would have thought that Verizon would be the cheapest place to find a V20?

Samsung files DMCA claim against GTA5 video showing Note 7 as a weapon

Techdirt points out a YouTube video about a GTA5 mod that turned a Note 7 into a handheld grenade has been pulled over copyright claims. This is funny and sad at the same time.

Android 7.1 Developer Preview now available

Google has released the Android 7.1 Developer Preview for three Nexus devices, allowing developers to publish their apps with support for circular icons, app shortcuts and a number of other features, on the Play Store. More

LeEco launching phones, TVs, and superbikes in the U.S.

LeEco made a big entrance to the U.S. market earlier today. Bringing two phones — the high-end Le Pro 3 and the low-end Le S3 to their online LeMall (Le all the things). They’re also serious about entertainment with a positively huge 4K TV and a streaming service to pair with it.

Verizon is selling the V20 earlier and cheaper than everyone else

If you’re looking for an LG V20 and are a Verizon customer, you’ll be pleased to know that the phone hits online sales and store shelves October 20 — and it’s more than a few dollars cheaper than it is from anyone else. More

Android Pay is a go in Hong Kong

Starting today you can pay using your Android phone islandwide at over 5,000 locations in Hong Kong. This is of course in addition to the app perks like loyalty card management and app integration.

Bring a little bit of Pixel to your phone with the new Wallpapers app

Google has released the Wallpaper app from the Google pixel and Pixel XL to Google Play for everyone to download. There are tons of great wallpapers to choose from, both dynamic and static, and it’s worth having a look. More

Microsoft bringing new features to OneNote for Android

Password protection, proper multi-window support, voice input and file embedding round out the October changes in the OneNote for Android app. While Microsoft may be struggling as a hardware vendor, they are killing it on the software and services side.

That’s it for tonight! See you tomorrow.

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Well, that’s one less Pixel-exclusive feature.

Google has released a new app to the Play Store for all Android users running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and above. The app, simply called Wallpaper, offers almost the same functionality as the built-in wallpaper switcher on the Google Pixel, minus the array of interesting and unique Live Wallpapers that we covered in our review.

The upside is that now everyone has access to dozens of beautiful wallpapers curated by Google from Google Earth, Google+, and 500px’s extensive selection of photos taken in the following categories:

  • Earth
  • Landscape
  • Cityscapes
  • Life
  • Textures

Each of these has what I would consider the most interesting feature of the app itself: a Daily wallpaper toggle that downloads a new image every 24 hours. Many of the pre-loaded options are stunning high-resolution shots of everyday things, elevated to a new form thanks to professional post-processing and framing.

Those running Android 7.0 Nougat can also choose to apply a single wallpaper to both the lock screen and home screen at the same time, or apply two different images separately. Those running Jelly Bean to Marshmallow only have the option of changing the home screen through the app.

What do you think of the new Wallpaper app? Will it replace Muzei or another third-party option you’re currently using? Let us know in the comments below!

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Just the word summons up so many tastes, textures and of course smells. The sizzle of burgers on a grill at a backyard barbecue, the scent of low-temperature smoke going to town on a big ol’ pork butt, the taste of that smoke mingling with dry rubs and turning tough meat into dark, delicious gold…. And this week there will be plenty of that amazingness at the Big Android BBQ in Hurst, TX! We hope you join us there this weekend for Android development, interacting with developer and enthusiast alike, and lots of great food.

Ribs may be one of the most iconic barbecue cuts in the country, and there’s a reason for that: they are amazing. We take muscles that are moving and working literally every second of an animal’s life, breaking down some of the toughest fibers in the body, and turning them from tough to tasty. And while there are many forms of barbecue that will shun sauce, ribs is not one of them. Look at the lovely sheen it leaves atop the char, and the specs of spices visible throughout…


Look at those coals… Hot, fiery, perfect for putting the serious burn on some burgers, or on some skirt steak for fajitas… Mmmmm…. This might be a bit hot for true barbecue but it’s just right for firing me up for some time with the grill. Sing it with me now, everyone: HOT, HOT, HOT!

BBQ Fire

Look at that shellacking! The meat will always be the most important part of your ‘que, but there’s nothing saying your sauce can’t be plentiful and finger-licking good. This pile of sauce and meat is making your mouth water right now, isn’t it? Isn’t it?

Boston Butt

Smoky, and flavorful, and wonderful… Granted, we might not want our smoke quite that bright or thick… but at least there’s plenty of it! Smoke is a piece of barbecue that will linger long after the meat has been devoured, and will spread and bless the whole neighborhood with it’s wonderful aroma. No matter how little food there is to share, the smoke can be shared with everyone!


Ribs may be popular, and burgers may be easy, but if you want real barbecue, and a real challenge, get yourself some pork shoulder (or pork butt, because nothing can be named honestly) and smoke you up some pulled pork. Put it in a sandwich, mop it up alongside some slaw, hell, just eat it by the handful, if you’re feeling like unleashing your carnivorous side.

Pork Shoulder

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