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2018-02-25T01:50:58.115Z
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We’ve been hearing about Google adding HDR support for Chrome for Android since last year, and things are apparently starting to come together. In a post to Google’s blog, the company announced Chrome will now support HDR video on Windows 10 devices, as well as other platforms in the future, hopefully including Android as has been hinted.

With HDR support, whether it be on desktop or mobile, users should see more vibrant colors, darker blacks, and brighter whites. This, of course, is a good thing.

Not only should users be excited about HDR support, but Google also mentions VR for the web, which would be virtual reality experiences powered solely by the web. Google spoke about this last year, too, but clarifies that we will be seeing much more of it in 2018.

If you are on a Windows 10 device today and using Chrome, congratulations, you now have HDR support (so go buy a new 4K + HDR monitor!).

// Google

Chrome Adding HDR Support, Starts Off With Windows 10 Devices is a post from: Droid Life

If you cruise over to the Android Beta Program page today, you’ll more than likely have a message awaiting you that says “there are no eligible devices associated with this Google account.” That’s odd, right? You own a Pixel or Pixel 2 or Nexus 6P and typically see those devices listed with buttons to enroll or unenroll from the program. Don’t freakout, Google is just cleaning up the program’s page, we’re told.

The reason you aren’t seeing any of your devices listed at the moment, for one, is because there aren’t any betas running. We’re at stable Android 8.1 at this point. And that makes sense, but again, even with no betas running, we’re pretty sure this page still used to list out your devices that were eligible and would let you enroll or unenroll at any time. You also just stayed enrolled in the Android Beta from one to the next, even with stable releases in between.

Either way, Google plans to update the Android Beta page and make it clearer that there are no betas running at the moment. I’d imagine that they’ll add the Pixel 2 and 2 XL to the list of eligible devices too, and hopefully give you the power to enroll or unenroll again, especially since many of you needed to unenroll in order to pickup stable...

When we first learned (thanks to the FCC) that Google’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL would feature a squeezable side that could launch Google Assistant, I don’t know that anyone considered (at the time) it to be a fanboy-creating feature. Well guess what? I’m a squeezy side, Active Edge, Google Assistant, Pixel 2 XL fanboy. I really do love me some Google Assistant squeeze action. And I do for a couple of reasons.

Simplicity is the key

For one, it’s not complicated. Not that HTC’s Edge Sense is overly complicated, but because there are multiple squeeze sensitivities and more than a handful of options to customize, I never could quite get into using it when I was reviewing the HTC U11. I talked about how I could see it becoming a thing, but that something about HTC’s implementation just never stuck.

However, Google gave you all of three settings, a pressure meter, and a single result from a squeeze – launching Google Assistant. There’s no need to have it launch a selfie with a light squeeze, Chrome with a stronger squeeze, zoom when in this app, take a screenshot when in that app, and “like” something when in another app. That’s just too much stuff to remember (at least for me). But I can get down with only...

Taking place over on Amazon, buyers can pick up a Nest Cam Outdoor for just $168, down from its usual price of $199.

These are Nest’s 1st-generation outdoor cameras, capable of surviving the rain and other weather, while sending a video feed directly to your smartphone, tablet, or Android TV with the help of Google Assistant and other digital assistants that Nest works with (like Amazon Alexa).

For specs, the camera shoots 1080p video, can see in the dark, is weatherproof at IP65, connects via WiFi, sends notifications when it notices movement or hears noise, but needs to be plugged into an outlet 24-7. The camera is also compatible with Nest Aware, Nest’s subscription service that lets you store up to 10 days of video footage in the cloud for access at a later time.

If you have been wanting to get into the smart home game, like we ourselves are trying to do more of in 2018, follow the link below.

Amazon Link

DEAL: Save $30 on a Nest Cam Outdoor Through Amazon, Down to $168 is a post from: Droid Life

As Tim noted in yesterday’s QotD post, we plan to put a coverage focus on smart home products this year, as they certainly seem to be a growing industry and fun trend to follow. Who doesn’t want to have a cool as hell tech house? So while we prepare a possible series of posts to get you all started on your own smart homes, we’ll do our best to point out good smart home product deals along the way.

Today, those of you getting started in the smart home space may want to head over to Amazon and check out the 4-pack of Voltson WiFi Smart Plugs from Etekcity that is priced at just $49.99.

That’s not as big of a discount as Amazon shows (they say it’s $50 off, yet it’s more like $5 off), but the value in a 4-pack of highly rated WiFi smart plugs for $50 is kind of off the charts. For example, I own a bunch of TP-Link smart plugs that cost $25 a piece on most days. I’m a fool, I know.

What can you do with a WiFi smart plug? A lot! You can schedule plugs to be active or turned-off at certain times (for lights, coffee makers, fans, etc.), track their power usage, and control them from wherever, since...

For the people who can’t post enough Stories to Instagram, the app is adding GIF stickers for usage on your photos and videos that go directly into Stories.

When selecting a photo or video to add to a Story, you’ll see many GIF stickers to choose from, like funny faces, a dog with sunglasses, a floating cheeseburger, plus plenty more.

Not only did Instagram introduce GIF stickers, but they also teased the soon-to-be-released ability to change the size of photos inside of Stories. For example, if you have a photo that was taken in landscape, the upload of the photo should no longer cut off the sides, unless you want it to. It’s like when Instagram added this ability to its main feed, bringing more variation in the images you see (not just 1×1 squares).

GIF stickers are rolling out now, and once Instagram makes the photo sizing option available, we’ll let you know.

// Instagram

Instagram Adds GIF Stickers for Stories, Teases Ability to Change Photo Sizes is a post from: Droid Life

Verizon’s big BOGO (buy one, get one) deal is now live and it’s quite the deal, to be honest. If you take advantage (both current and new customers), you could get a Pixel 2 or 2 XL, Galaxy S8 or S8+, V30, or Moto Z2 Force, along with another for free, as long as you trade-in another phone.

Verizon BOGO-Trade Deal

In order to get the deal, which is only here for a limited time, you pick a phone that you’ll buy on a device payment plan. For the second phone, you’ll do the same (another payment plan), but in order to get the deal, it has to be from the same manufacturer as the first phone. You then have to switch to an unlimited plan, if not already on one, and then trade in your old phone within 30 days.

The list of phones that are acceptable for trade to Verizon include devices like the Galaxy S6/S7/S8, LG G4/5/6/V10/V20/V30, Moto Z and Z2 lines, HTC 10, and a whole bunch of iPhones. The full list can be seen below.

There are a couple of extra things to note here. For one, it’s not a true...

Over the weekend, hints of an Audiobooks section launching on Google Play surfaced, leading us to believe that Google would announce details at some point early this week. As it turns out, today is the day – Google Play Audiobooks are now official.

With Audiobooks from Google Play, you can buy single audiobooks (no subscription required), add them to your Family Library, tell Google Assistant on your phone or Google Home to read your books (including setting timers), Cast them to supported devices, and pick-up where you left off from one device to another. Android Auto support is coming soon.

Google is rolling out Audiobooks to 45 countries starting today and in nine languages on Android, iOS, and the web.

If interested in audiobooks, Google will knock 50% off your first purchase. Just hit up that Google Play link below and look for the “50% off Your First Audiobook” banner.

// Google Play | Google

Google Play Audiobooks Section Now Live! is a post from: Droid Life

In July of last year, high-end camera maker RED announced Hydrogen One, an Android-powered smartphone with a price tag of $1200+ and a shipping timeline of Q1 in 2018. Pre-orders went up at that same time, so people who had the money for a purchase like that have been patiently waiting to hear a lot of details concerning the device.

It’s now January, 2018 and the folks at RED have posted to their forums a few of the details customers have been waiting to hear.

At the time of announcement, RED pushed a few unique aspects of the device, such as the 5.7″ “Hydrogen Holographic” display. In this post, RED states, “There is no way to describe this. You just have to see it. So far, everyone that has seen it gasps, swears or just grins.” When not in 4V mode, though, it should look like any other smartphone display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440.

For the highlighted multichannel spatial sound from the external speakers and included headphone jack, “The audio demo has achieved as high of marks as the display tech. Same reactions. Again, no way to describe. You just need to hear it.”

Are you seeing a trend so far? I am. Basically, RED is asking potential buyers to take a leap of faith with their $1200+ purchase, while saying fancy words...

This morning, T-Mobile announced that it had closed its Layer3 TV acquisition, which means they can officially move forward with their plans to “disrupt” the TV industry. No specific plans were announced, in terms of how this TV service will work or what its pricing scheme will entail, but T-Mobile did say that they will have exclusive offers for those who sign-up to be notified of the service’s launch.

For those not familiar, Layer3 TV is a small Denver-based TV company that pushes a 4K broadcast through your house using a main hub or box that sends a signal to other modules or WiFi points in additional rooms. The box appears to be where all the magic happens. It not only supports 4K, but it includes DVR (1TB of storage, record 8 shows at once) and support for over 200 HD channels without the need to attach to a cable jack.

T-Mobile’s plan for Layer3 TV

We don’t know how T-Mobile plans to integrate Layer3 TV into their current line-up of services, but my guess is that not much will change outside of the color scheme of Layer3’s technology and branding. In other words, expect the Layer3 experience, only in magenta and with more reach (Layer3 is currently only available in limited areas). T-Mobile is suggesting that they won’t just toss out...

We may be 20 days removed from Google posting the initial batch of files for January’s Nexus/Pixel security patch, but that hasn’t stopped them from adding some new ones. Tonight, Google gave us new files for Pixel/Nexus devices on Verizon, Softbank, and Telstra.

For Verizon Pixel 2 owners (not 2 XL, just the 2), you are getting a new Android 8.1 (r8) update that arrives as build OPM2.171019.016. Nexus 6P owners using the phone with Softbank, you are getting a new Android 8.1 build of OPM5.171019.014 (r9). And finally, Nexus 5X owners with Telstra or Softbank, you have that same 8.1 build of OPM5.171019.014.

You can grab each image or OTA file at the links below. For instructions on how to flash a factory image, here you go. For instructions on how to flash an OTA .zip file, here you go.

Links:

Google Posts Additional January 8.1 Images for Verizon, Softbank, Telstra Pixel and Nexus Devices is a post from: Droid Life

I’m rather late to the smart home game, but I’m getting there. I have an ecobee thermostat, couple Google Home units, Amazon Echo, few Philips Hue lightbulbs, and I think the next purchase for my house will be a Nest Hello doorbell. There are countless smart home products already available to consumers, with loads more launching, so it seems like a great time to start upgrading things if you haven’t already.

Kellen has been much better as an adopter. I know he’s rocking a Nest thermostat, smart cameras all over the place, Hue lightbulbs, plus a bit more.

Going into 2018, I think both of us will be emphasizing smart home tech around Droid Life much more, so if you’re into improving things around your home, it should be a good year for you.

How about yourself, though? What smart tech goodies are you currently utilizing and how do you like them? Is there a particular product you have your eye on or something we should check out?

Question of the Day: What Smart Home Tech Do You Use in Your House? is a post from: Droid Life

This may be the final day of this deal, but Verizon’s current “up to $450 off” promo isn’t a terrible choice for those looking to switch to Big Red today. I think it might be the last day, because Verizon has told us that a new BOGO deal (plus trade-in) is kicking off tomorrow. Still, this one gets you up to $450 off a Pixel 2 (2 XL), Galaxy Note 8, iPhone X, Galaxy S8, iPhone 8, etc., with pretty decent trade-in prices for a number of phones.

The deal is as follows: If you switch to Verizon, port-in your number while buying a phone on a device payment plan, and trade-in your current phone, they’ll give you a $150 MasterCard prepaid card, along with up to $300 off for your trade.

As with any Verizon deal, the goal is to lock you in for 2 years on a device payment plan, so that trade-in value is spread out over 2 years. Additionally, the $150 MasterCard could take up to 8 weeks to arrive.

As for which phones you can trade, the full list can be seen below. Some of the values that stick out to me are the Galaxy S7, iPhone 6s, and Pixel for $300 off, plus the Moto Z, Galaxy S6, and G5 for $200 off. When you...

With the introduction of Android 8.1, Google tossed in a feature that’ll surely come in handy as you enter a public space and want to jump on an open WiFi network. It’s a speed estimate or speed label that’ll tell you the type of connection you should expect should you connect. Unfortunately, until today, it hasn’t been included in Android 8.1, though that is changing now.

Google first mentioned WiFi Speed Labels as they were announcing the rollout of Android 8.1 stable in early December. Then, they told us a week or so ago on Twitter that the feature was now ready, but quickly deleted that tweet, causing some confusion. This morning, they re-posted that tweet, which hopefully means today is the day.

What are Android 8.1 WiFi Speed Labels?

You can see how they’ll look in the GIF below, but the basics are as follows. When you turn on WiFi and pull up a list of nearby WiFi networks, your phone will tell you if they are Slow, OK, Fast, or Very Fast. What do those tags mean? Let’s let Google explain:

  • Slow: If you can use Wi-Fi calling, you can make phone calls and send texts.
  • OK: You can read webpages, use social media, and stream music.
  • Fast: You can stream most videos.
  • Very Fast: You can stream very high-quality videos.

I know that still doesn’t tell...

According to a source of CNBC, YouTube TV is off to an impressive start. Launched last year in February, the service is reported to have over 300,000 subscribers, though, Google has not made these figures public and would not provide a comment on the report.

Providing a bit of context for that number, CNBC also reports that Hulu’s live TV option, launched last year in beta, has around 450,000 subscribers.

Considering Google and YouTube don’t appear to be making the largest effort in marketing the service, and it hasn’t even been available to all Americans this entire year (we’re always writing up the latest markets to gain support for the service), 300,000 subscribers is nothing to scoff at. As people likely become more comfortable with cutting the cord and ditching their regular cable/satellite provider, these numbers should continue to trend up.

While I have no idea how much it costs Google to operate YouTube TV, with the licensing, tech, and all of that, the $35/month subscription price multiplied by 300,000 subscribers comes out to $10.5 million a month for Google. That doesn’t seem like a lot of money (when compared to the money Comcast likely brings in a month from cable subscriptions), but at least YouTube isn’t bankrolling a ton of original content like Netflix and Amazon. As a happy customer myself, my...

If you were absent this week, you missed a lot of news. For starters, we posted up what looks to be Motorola’s 2018 lineup of G, Z, and X devices, OnePlus confirmed they had the information of about 40,000 credit cards stolen, and Project Fi launched an $80 unlimited plan that we should all consider.

Other news happenings included the US government telling AT&T to stay away from Huawei, a report claiming LG won’t show off the G7 at MWC, and plenty more.

Here’s the stuff you don’t want to miss!

I know that I wasn’t incredibly kind in my Moto X4 review, but that was partly because I felt that at $400, the phone sat in this weird mid-pricing tier and wasn’t quite polished enough in the performance department to make it a worthwhile purchase. At $279.99, though, it 100% is a steal.

Now, this $279.99 price is only for the Amazon Prime Exclusive model, which does have some ads here and there. But even for the Prime version, $279.99 is a $50 discount over its original price. $279.99!

At that price, you get a 5.2″ FHD display, Snapdragon 630 processor, 3000mAh battery, dual camera, NFC, and IP68 water and dust resistance (full specs) on a mostly clean version of Android. The phone is also quite pretty in either black or silver glass encasings. Oh, it works on all of the major US carriers too, including Verizon.

Both colors are available and Prime shipping is (obviously) included.

Amazon Deal Link

DEAL: Moto X4 Prime Exclusive Model for $279.99 is a Steal ($50 Off) is a post from: Droid Life

MWC is fast approaching, scheduled for the later part of February. Up to this point, we were still very uncertain as to what LG may announce, but thanks to a new report from the Korea Herald, we may have an idea about LG’s 2018 game plan.

According to the report, LG is holding off on the unveiling of the G7, instead opting to introduce an updated V30, the same phone they announced last year in September. This time around, though, the V30 will sport new “enhanced AI features,” which is all the rage right now if you haven’t been keeping up with the latest buzzwords and trends.

Said by LG’s CEO Jo Seong-jin during CES, “We need a strategy to maintain the existing platforms longer. The G6 and V30 smartphones are really well-made.”

While right he is, the G6 and V30 are well-made, we have a hard time believing a V30 with AI features will help stop Samsung and Apple from crushing them. As it stands, we aren’t sure how many people purchased a V30 last year, but if our polls are any glimpse into the mind of your typical Android fan, the answer is not many.

What about the G7?

As for the LG G7, last we heard was that LG’s mobile boss decided to scrap whatever the company already had,...

2017 sure seemed to be the year that unlimited data made its triumphant return to the US wireless ecosystem. While T-Mobile and Sprint may have jumped out to a head start the year prior, we saw Verizon and AT&T step back in with their own unlimited plans. At this point, I think every single major US carrier (including Google now) is offering up some form of unlimited, even if there are unfortunate throttling limits and speed caps throughout them.

For today’s poll, we want to know if you’ve jumped on one of these plans or have managed to hang on to an older unlimited plan. In the end, we just want to know if you are subscribed to any form of an unlimited plan from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or other US carrier. And if so, after you vote in the poll, feel free to tell us which one in the comments.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

Friday Poll: Are You on an Unlimited Data Plan? is a post from: Droid Life

According to Android Police, an incoming update for the official Alexa app on Android will soon bring a feature that you may have thought should’ve been there for quite some time. That’s right, actual Alexa voice interactions! I know, truly innovative.

Until this update, which isn’t even live for everyone yet, the Alexa app purely managed Alexa on your various Echo devices. However, with this addition, you’ll be able to access skills for Alexa, control music playback, plus more.

Sadly, it appears there will be no hotword detection while outside of the app, though, if you’re in the app the hotword (“Alexa”) will apparently be supported. Sweet.

Keep your eye on Google Play for the update and let us know if you get it.

Google Play Link

// Android Police

Alexa App Update to Bring Actual Alexa Voice Commands is a post from: Droid Life