Welcome to your new Hangout.

Google continues to shake up its messaging tools with the upcoming removal of a popular feature from Hangouts. According to an e-mail sent to GSuite administrators and subsequently posted to Reddit, Google will remove the SMS feature from Hangouts on May 22. Anyone using Hangouts as both a Google messaging app and their primary text messaging app won't be able to send SMS texts after that date.

Hangouts users will be notified of this change via an in-app message starting March 27. You'll be prompted to select a new default messaging app from your list of downloaded apps. If you don't have anything other than Hangouts, you'll be directed to the Google Play Store to download another messaging app. All of your existing SMS messages will not be affected, and they will be available in your new default messaging app.

Google Voice users will also be affected, but not as much as Hangouts-only users. The rule only applies to messages sent and received with your carrier phone number—all SMS messages sent with your Google Voice number will remain unaffected. "For SMS users using Google Voice on Hangouts on Android Google Voice users who also send carrier SMS messages will need to choose another default messaging app. Their Google Voice messages will be unaffected and will still be available in Google Hangouts," the e-mail states. "For Google Voice users on Hangouts on Android Google Voice users who do not use carrier SMS, text messaging will not be affected and no notification will be shown."


We’ve documented the decline of Motorola under Lenovo extensively. We still liked the phones, which had probably been developed mostly under Google’s ownership anyway, but in 2015 we started to see slower updates and shorter support lifecycles. Last year was when the wheels really started to come off. Not only did the company mostly ruin its flagship phone by swapping the inexpensive and competent Moto X for the expensive and weird Moto Z, but Lenovo issued several contradictory statements about software updates that made it unclear whether the Z or the fourth-generation Moto G would be receiving regular updates at all.

It’s not all bad. The Moto G4, especially the G4 Plus configuration, was still a solid midrange phone that offered good-enough performance, a nice big 1080p screen, and a fingerprint reader for $250. Unlike the Moto Z, it at least understood and respected the intent behind the original 2013 Moto G: an affordable phone with clean, unskinned Android and no-to-low-frills hardware that got the job done. Its lack of updates over the last nine months has been disappointing, but that’s the norm in the Android world rather than the exception.

The Moto G5 Plus mostly continues in that vein, though its new aluminum backplate and slightly higher price ($229 for a model with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, $299 for one with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage) signal a desire to move upmarket a little. Like the G4 before it, the G5 Plus shows that Motorola under Lenovo isn?t a lost cause even if this isn?t the company it was two or three years ago.

CDMA (850, 850+,1900 MHz)
GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100 MHz)
4G LTE (B1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 25, 26, 38, 41, 66)


Thursday, 23 March 2017 09:06

Google Maps gets real-time location sharing

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Location sharing is back in Google Maps. Google announced the addition of "real-time location sharing" to the Android and iOS apps, coming soon to an app store near you.

The process seems pretty simple: Open the navigation drawer and press the new "Share Location" button. You'll be able to send a sharing permission to a Google contact or send a link over a messaging app, and you'll be able to pick how long you want to share your location for—permanently or for a set time. Anyone you share to will get a notification from Google Maps, and they'll be able to see your location on the smartphone and Web versions of Google Maps. There's also a "share trip" button you can activate while navigating somewhere, so rather than sending someone an ETA, they can just see you drive around on the map.

The process seems pretty simple: Open the navigation drawer and press the new "Share Location" button. You'll be able to send a sharing permission to a Google contact or send a link over a messaging app, and you'll be able to pick how long you want to share your location for?permanently or for a set time. Anyone you share to will get a notification from Google Maps, and they'll be able to see your location on the smartphone and Web versions of Google Maps. There's also a "share trip" button you can activate while navigating somewhere, so rather than sending someone an ETA, they can just see you drive around on the map.

This feature existed years ago in Google Maps?it was called "Google Latitude" and was great for friends and family. Latitude was killed by the Google+ Monster, taking your contacts' locations away from the primary map interface?Google Maps?and shoving them into an unwanted social network app. Now contact locations are back in the most logical place.


Android O is actually here! After diving into Google's blog post, we fired up our developer tools and loaded Android O on a sacrificial device. There are a few new interesting features, lots of UI tweaks, and plenty of odd bugs and unfinished areas. Let's dive in.

Notifications: Snooze, channels, and a terrible new ambient mode

My favorite new feature in Android O is the ability to do system-wide notification snoozing. If you don't want to deal with a notification right now, just pull it to the side a bit, which will unveil a new "clock" icon. Tap it, and the notification will be automatically snoozed for 15 minutes. You can tap on the drop-down menu to increase the time to 30 minutes or an hour. This is really handy, but I'd like to be able to customize the times here. I'm sure some people would like a few hours, or maybe a "tomorrow" option. A "type in your time" option would be fine, too.

My favorite new feature in Android O is the ability to do system-wide notification snoozing. If you don't want to deal with a notification right now, just pull it to the side a bit, which will unveil a new "clock" icon. Tap it, and the notification will be automatically snoozed for 15 minutes. You can tap on the drop-down menu to increase the time to 30 minutes or an hour. This is really handy, but I'd like to be able to customize the times here. I'm sure some people would like a few hours, or maybe a "tomorrow" option. A "type in your time" option would be fine, too.

The top of the notification panel has been reworked yet again. The status bar isn't shown when the notification panel is open, but in Android O, there are now a few status bar elements at the top of the notification panel. You'll see your Wi-Fi, cellular, and battery status, along with the settings gear and the expand button.


Enlarge (credit: Mark Walton)

Specs at a glance: Corsair One
LowestMiddleBest (as reviewed)
OSWindows 10 Home 64-bit
CPUIntel Core i7-7700 (liquid cooled)Intel Core i7-7700K (liquid cooled)Intel Core i7-7700K (liquid cooled)
RAM16GB DDR4 2,400MHz (8GBx2)16GB DDR4 2,400MHz (8GBx2)16GB DDR4 2,400MHz (8GBx2)
GPUNvidia GTX 1070 (air cooled)Nvidia GTX 1080 8GB (liquid cooled)Nvidia GTX 1080 8GB (liquid cooled)
HDD240GB SATA SSD, 1TB HDD480GB SATA SSD, 2TB HDD960GB SATA SSD
PSU400W SFX400W SFX400W SFX
NETWORKINGGigabit Ethernet, AC Wi-Fi
PORTS3 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x USB-3.1 Type-C, 2 x USB 2.0, 2 x DisplayPort, 2x HDMI, headphone jack, microphone jack
SIZEHeight: 380mm (18.6 inches), depth: 200mm (14.19 inches), width: 176mm (8.35 inches)
WEIGHT7.4kg
WARRANTYTwo years with 24/7 support and five day repair turnaround
PRICE£1800/$1800£2200/$2200£2300/$2300

It's hard to believe that the Corsair One comes from the same company that designed the Bulldog, a small form factor PC so monstrously ugly that the mere thought of placing it in a living room was enough to set off a spousal gag reflex. Where the Bulldog was a confused mishmash of jaunty, l33t gamer angles, the One is sleek, sophisticated, and—dare I say it—even a little grown up.

That Corsair continues to sell a slightly updated version of the Bulldog is something of mystery considering just how good the Corsair One is. Of all the small form factor (SFF) PCs I've tried—and there have been quite a few over the past year—it is by far the best. I'd even go as as to say it's one of the best pre-built PCs you can buy, full stop.

At £2,300 for a fully loaded version, the Corsair One isn't cheap by any means—and as always, going the DIY route can lead to substantial savings—but few homebrew PCs have such a tiny footprint. Fewer still do so while being entirely liquid cooled, graphics card and all. It's a combo that results in a PC that doesn't just fit into the living room environment aesthetically, but acoustically too.


Enlarge/ The Workflow app. (credit: Workflow)

Late yesterday, Apple closed a deal to acquire Workflow, an app for iOS power users that lets you string a series of repetitive actions together to make them easier and quicker to accomplish. In many ways, the app accomplishes for iOS what the Automator app does for macOS. Late last year Apple laid off Sal Soghoian, the product manager in charge of automation-related products like Automator and AppleScript, and eliminated his position; the purchase of Workflow suggests that it could be the future of Apple's automation-related efforts.

Workflow's developers—Ari Weinstein, Conrad Kramer, Ayaka Nonaka, and Nick Frey—are all being hired by Apple, and they'll continue to develop Workflow which will continue to exist in the App Store. It used to cost $2.99, but it's now available to all users free of charge. The amount Apple paid for Workflow hasn't been disclosed, but TechCrunch reports that it was a "solid payday" for both the developers of the app and its investors.

Apple's statement about the acquisition highlighted that it had won an Apple Design Award in 2015 for its use of iOS' accessibility features, which suggests that the Workflow team could also help Apple develop and implement new accessibility features in future versions of iOS.


(credit: Qualcomm)

When it announced the Snapdragon 835, Qualcomm promised that the latest in its family of ARM systems-on-chips would boost performance by 27 percent with a 40 percent reduction in power consumption. The first early benchmarks of the processor that Qualcomm doesn't want us to call a processor have been run and the results are... well, they're a little uneven.

Anandtech went to Qualcomm's San Diego headquarters and was shown the 835 running in a hardware platform reference—a basic smartphone built around the chip that serves as a platform for hardware testing and software development. During this visit, they were able to run a handful of basic benchmarks to gauge the performance of the new chip.

Naively, one would assume that Snapdragon 835 would be faster than the 820/821 that went before it. 835 is, after all, a higher number than 820, and higher numbers usually mean better when it comes to processors. But the situation with the 835 is more complicated than that. In the early days of the modern smartphone era, Qualcomm's 32-bit ARM Snapdragon chips were generally best-in-class. While many ARM chips use core designs that are developed by ARM itself in the UK, Qualcomm did something different; it had a pair of custom designs, Scorpion in 2008 and Krait in 2012, developed in house. These designs were broadly superior to ARM's Cortex-A8, A9, and A15 designs that other companies were using.


Gabriel O'Flaherty-Chan

If it's sufficiently fast and has a screen, someone will eventually get an old-school game emulator running on it. Over the weekend, iOS developer Gabriel O'Flaherty-Chan made that happen for the Apple Watch with a Game Boy emulator he calls "Giovanni."

Named for the leader of Team Rocket from the original Pokémon games, Giovanni runs Game Boy and Game Boy Color games on the Apple Watch Series 2 (the Series 1 hardware is presumably capable of the same performance, though the original Apple Watch is likely too slow). O'Flaherty-Chan used the existing Gambatte emulator as Giovanni's core and then added Apple Watch-friendly controls. There's room for the select, start, and B buttons at the bottom of the screen; you tap the right side of the screen for the A button, while the left side of the screen is mapped to the control pad. Turning the Digital Crown up and down can also simulate the up and down buttons on the control pad.

Listing image by Gabriel O'Flaherty-Chan


Monday, 20 March 2017 07:49

Google Maps adds a sweet new parking spot saver

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Google Maps quietly added a sweet new feature that will help you remember where you parked. Just park your car, open up Google Maps, and tap on the blue location dot. You'll be presented with a new menu offering to "save your parking," which lets you store all the information you need to find your car again.

The new interface will save your current location and slap a big "P" icon on the map. This wouldn't be enough for a multistory parking garage, though, so you can bring up a new interface that lets you save a ton of information. You can adjust the dot location, add photos to your parking spot, and type notes. If there's a parking meter, you can even set a "time left" field that will count down the time remaining.

Google Maps quietly added a sweet new feature that will help you remember where you parked. Just park your car, open up Google Maps, and tap on the blue location dot. You'll be presented with a new menu offering to "save your parking," which lets you store all the information you need to find your car again.

The new interface will save your current location and slap a big "P" icon on the map. This wouldn't be enough for a multistory parking garage, though, so you can bring up a new interface that lets you save a ton of information. You can adjust the dot location, add photos to your parking spot, and type notes. If there's a parking meter, you can even set a "time left" field that will count down the time remaining.


Qualcomm

It has been ages since any old-style feature phone could credibly be described as "cutting-edge," but that doesn't mean people don't still buy them. Especially in poorer countries where the smartphone market is less saturated and mobile networks are less robust, they can make up as much as one-third to one-half of sales. Flip phones are not a growth market, but there's still money to be made.

That's the thinking behind Qualcomm's new 205 Mobile Platform—remember, Qualcomm is now pushing "platforms" instead of "processors," and low-end 200-series chips aren't Snapdragons anymore. It's a chip made to power feature phones, but it's also designed to bring some "smart" features to these low-end, low-cost devices.

That list starts with Category 4 LTE, which means a 150Mbps theoretical download speed and 50Mbps upload speed; Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Voice over Wi-Fi are both supported, too, and dual-SIM support is included. 2.4GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 support handle basic local wireless connectivity. The SoC uses a dual-core 1.1GHz CPU of unspecified architecture plus a Qualcomm Adreno GPU, but, being a feature phone processor, it caps display support at 480p and camera support at a paltry 3 megapixels. Qualcomm will support Linux-based operating systems on the platform, which presumably include but will not be limited to Android. And the company promises battery-life figures that smartphone users can only dream about?45 days of standby time, 20 hours of talk time, and 86 hours of music playback.


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  1. IT News

    Qualcomm would like you to stop calling Snapdragon processors “processors”

    (credit: Qualcomm)Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors are its most notable products, but the company wants you to know that it does other stuff, too. The solution? “Snapdragon” branding will no longer be used to refer to processors. It will instead refer to the entire hardware and software platform that ships in a phone with a Snapdr

    Apple waits for LG’s fix before selling any more 5K Thunderbolt displays

    Enlarge/ LG's 5K UltraFine display is the closest thing you can get to a modern Thunderbolt Display, or at least it was. (credit: LG)A report from Business Insider this morning claims that Apple will no longer be selling LG's flawed 5K UltraFine Thunderbolt display in its retail stores. The retail listing in Apple's online store, Business Insider c
  2. SmartPhones

    Minor iPhone bump turns the 7 and 7 Plus red, gives iPhone SE more storage

    Apple In addition to a new midrange iPad, Apple also announced a handful of minor updates for the iPhone via press release this morning.Apple is also releasing a new Product Red version of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus—like the name implies, it has a bright red matte finish with blend

    99.6% of new smartphones run iOS or Android; RIP Windows and Blackberry

    Enlarge (credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)Remember those crazy days in 2011 and 12 when we thought that the mobile market might become a three-horse race between Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile, with Blackberry bringing up the rear? Well, I have bad if unsurprising news: by the end of last year, 99.6 percent of all new smartphones r
  3. Tablets

    Walking the 2.5 million square feet of MWC 2017

     BARCELONA—Most pictures you find of Mobile World Congress (MWC) are likely to be the same thing: a picture of a smartphone or tablet tethered to a table. MWC is more than just a collection of smartphones on tables, though. It's always fun to point the camera at all the other things that happen at the big show to bring a bit of the

    Nintendo says dead Switch pixels are “normal,” which isn’t wrong

    Enlarge/ Stuck pixels on LCD displays are undesirable, but they are definitionally "normal." (credit: Mark Walton)Some early Nintendo Switch buyers are complaining of dead or stuck pixels on the tablet's display, according to a report in The Guardian about a fairly active Reddit thread. A pixel is considered "dead" if all or part of it never
  4. Laptops