Author Archives: JC Torres


Fortnite Beta on Android exclusive to Samsung Galaxy owners

Fortnite Beta on Android exclusive to Samsung Galaxy owners

Now that the Galaxy Note 9 cat is out of the bag, it’s time to let that other kitty out as well. Samsung’s Unpacked event is indeed kicking off Fortnite’s arrival on Android but it isn’t exactly as we expected it to be. Yes, it’s going to be exclusive to Samsung’s faithful Galaxy fans but not only for the Galaxy Note 9. It turns out, the period of exclusivity is actually only for Fortnite’s beta testing, giving Galaxy owners a foretaste of what’s to come.

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Android Pie gestures are changing more than just navigation

Android Pie gestures are changing more than just navigation

Google has just christened Android 9 as Android Pie and its rather plain-sounding name mirrors this release’ identity. The good things are all packed inside with AI filling while the crust almost feels like just for show. It’s biggest visual change and probably its most controversial is the new navigation system that favors a pill and a non-permanent back button over the navigation panel that has become Android’s identity for over a decade now. And yet that seemingly superficial change could actually be the beginning of an even bigger identity shift that’s happening in Android.

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Galaxy Tab S4 reviews put the nail on Android tablet’s coffin

Galaxy Tab S4 reviews put the nail on Android tablet’s coffin

Samsung isn’t having a good year, especially after its Galaxy S9 and S9+ are turning out to be duds in the market. It is, to some extent, rushing to plug up the holes of its ship with the Galaxy Note 9 later this day, a Galaxy Watch perhaps later this month, and, of course, the already announced Galaxy Tab S4. That last bit is supposed to be the Android tablet to take on Apple, Microsoft, and Google. But if so, then Samsung is in bigger trouble than it might have presumed based on the early reviews of the slate that’s supposedly meant to replace your laptop.

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Fortnite Mobile on Android: here is how it will play out

Fortnite Mobile on Android: here is how it will play out

Just as battle royale games have left a deep mark in the PC gaming market, it is now also poised to change the face of mobile gaming, especially after the mobile launch of the two biggest titles in that genre. Well, one and a half. Fortnite is still due to launch on Android alongside the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. But considering Android’s software ecosystem, it isn’t surprising that some very arduous developers have managed to get it running on the closest thing to a Galaxy Note 9: Samsung’s own Galaxy S9+.

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Google Assistant getting Smart Display smart home UI

Google Assistant getting Smart Display smart home UI

Smart speakers are all the rage when it comes to smart home products and its pioneers are trying their best to build up on that new cash cow. Back at CES early this year, Google revealed its roster of Smart Displays to take on Amazon’s Echo Show. All of those, of course, revolve around Google Assistant. But to make sure that those without such big screens don’t feel too left behind, Google seems to be pushing a small update to Google Assistant on smartphones to bring it on par with Smart Displays, at least as far the same user interfaces go.

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Verizon Unlimited now offers free Apple Music for 6 months

Verizon Unlimited now offers free Apple Music for 6 months

The competition in the music streaming industry has practically been whittled down to two major players: Spotify and Apple Music. And any advantage one can get over the other is, of course, a huge point in its favor. For this round, Apple Music may have gotten the upper hand with an exclusive partnership with Verizon that practically bundles the carrier’s Unlimited (for various meanings of the word) data plans with free Apple Music. At least for six months.

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Samsung Oreo update for mid-range phones delayed

Samsung Oreo update for mid-range phones delayed

With the official launch of Android 9 Pie, the Android community has naturally started a guessing game of which phones will get the update and when. But for a rather sizable section of Samsung’s customers, getting the Pie is furthest from their mind. Those holding on to a mid-range or entry-level Galaxy phone still haven’t even received their promised Oreo cookie and, if this latest leak is any indication, they might not even get it until the first quarter of 2019.

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Snapdragon 670 is Qualcomm’s mid-range middle child

Snapdragon 670 is Qualcomm’s mid-range middle child

Mid-range, or as Qualcomm would call them “high-end”, smartphones are killing it. While majority of media coverage is lavished on premium smartphones with premium prices and eccentric designs, devices on the middle tiers continue to offer better bang for buck value when it comes to balancing performance, battery life, and price. That’s why it’s no surprise that Qualcomm continues to saturate the market with chips on this range, like the newly announced Snapdragon 670, that is going to give OEMs a headache in trying picking out a chip for their next-gen phones.

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Firefox Advance experiment uses third-party AI to recommend sites

Firefox Advance experiment uses third-party AI to recommend sites

Mozilla has always presented Firefox as the champion of open source and privacy on the Web, at least in contrast to the likes of Google Chrome. That doesn’t mean it hadn’t had a few missteps along the way, like its controversial “Sponsored Tiles”. It’s walking on thin ice again with its new “Firefox Advance” Test Pilot experiment that uses a smidgen of machine learning to recommend sites related to what you’ve been browsing. Fortunately, it is, at least for now, still an experiment you don’t even have to use.

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EU wants to crack down of phone chargers, Lightning in danger

EU wants to crack down of phone chargers, Lightning in danger

The European Union seems ready to flex its muscles to steer the mobile market ship, perhaps emboldened by its successful case against Google and Android. This time, it’s turning its sights on something it already thought was a closed case years ago: mobile phone chargers. Despite the growing use of the USB-C standard on smartphones, the EU thinks that the adoption is not only slow but also not enough. And considering that Apple remains the only one with a proprietary connector, its Lightning technology stands to lose the most.

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Bose QC35 II now lets you speak with Amazon Alexa

Bose QC35 II now lets you speak with Amazon Alexa

There is no shortage of Bluetooth headsets these days advertising active noise cancellation features. Bose’s QuietComfort line, however, remains one of the preferred brands in that market. Last year, Bose launched the QuietComfort 35 II, a.k.a. the QC35 II, with the signature feature of letting you use Google Assistant at the push of a button. Since then, Bose has also become one of Amazon’s close friends so it’s not surprising, and in fact a bit belated, that it is now announcing the addition of Amazon Alexa to its feature list.

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RED Hydrogen One launch date revealed, early adopters censored

RED Hydrogen One launch date revealed, early adopters censored

Do you believe in the promise of a true glasses-free 3D smartphone as envisioned by pro camera maker RED? If so, the good news is that the camera will finally arrive before the year ends, presuming there are no problems along the way. Even better, true believers can sign up to get a Houdini developer model months ahead of everyone else. That privilege, however, comes at a cost. You cannot publicize anything non-constructive about the device or risk having your phone remotely bricked.

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