xda-developers https://www.xda-developers.com Android and Windows Phone Development Community Sun, 27 Sep 2020 07:18:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 Tasker lets you intercept Samsung S Pen gestures to do whatever you want https://www.xda-developers.com/customize-samsung-s-pen-gesture-tasker/ https://www.xda-developers.com/customize-samsung-s-pen-gesture-tasker/#respond Sun, 27 Sep 2020 14:05:26 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=341029 Samsung’s S Pen is a powerful tool for getting work done, whether you’re jotting down notes, marking up documents, or using gestures within apps. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could customize what the gestures do? With Tasker, you can. João Dias, the developer of Tasker, discovered how to intercept the gesture events triggered by

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Samsung’s S Pen is a powerful tool for getting work done, whether you’re jotting down notes, marking up documents, or using gestures within apps. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could customize what the gestures do? With Tasker, you can.

João Dias, the developer of Tasker, discovered how to intercept the gesture events triggered by the S Pen. Using Tasker, users can choose from more than 350 actions to customize the S Pen experience like never before. For example, you can turn on your smart lights, toggle Do Not Disturb mode, put your device to sleep, and much more.

Here’s a video from the developer that demonstrates some of what you can do once you hook up S Pen gestures to Tasker:

Tasker is able to intercept S Pen events once it’s granted the READ_LOGS permission, a permission that allows an app to read Android’s system logs. In order to grant Tasker this permission, you need to do so manually via ADB. Once you download Tasker, you can create a profile using an S Pen gesture entry in the system log as the context. Then you can then tie a series of actions (or a single action) to that context. Since Tasker can be programmed to do basically anything, the customization possibilities are limitless.

Note that only Samsung devices with Bluetooth-enabled S Pens support gestures, which include the Galaxy Note 9 and up and the Galaxy Tab S6 and later. Also, your device needs to be running the stock firmware, as custom ROMs likely won’t send the exact same messages in the logcat for each gesture. Lastly, Tasker is limited to the gestures you can configure in the “Air Gestures” settings on the device.

Tasker is available from the Google Play Store for $3.49, though you can download a 7-day trial version from the developer’s website.

Tasker Tips & Tricks Forum

Tasker ($3.49, Google Play) →

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OPPO Enco M31 Review: A treat for the ears https://www.xda-developers.com/oppo-enco-m31-review/ https://www.xda-developers.com/oppo-enco-m31-review/#respond Sun, 27 Sep 2020 05:30:27 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=338713 Between all the rage that TWS has been generating lately, it’s easy to forget Bluetooth neckbands are still a thing. Although the popularity of neckbands has somewhat declined since the rise of TWS, the market clearly exists for those who aren’t entirely convinced with the truly wireless form factor just yet. Neckbands are a no

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Between all the rage that TWS has been generating lately, it’s easy to forget Bluetooth neckbands are still a thing. Although the popularity of neckbands has somewhat declined since the rise of TWS, the market clearly exists for those who aren’t entirely convinced with the truly wireless form factor just yet. Neckbands are a no brainer if you’re looking for a pair of Bluetooth earphones that are affordable, don’t need to be charged every few hours, or require special care and attention. For instance, OnePlus’s latest Bullets Wireless Z (review) neckband offers up to 20 hours of battery life, IP55 dust and water resistance, and sturdy build quality at just ₹1,999 (~$27). Another equally impressive contender is the OPPO Enco M31, which deserves just as much attention as the Bullets Wireless Z. Launched back in May without much fanfare, the OPPO Enco M31 earphones have received critical acclaim for its sound quality and are regarded as some of the best Bluetooth earphones under ₹2000.

I’ve been using the Enco M31 for over a month, and I have to agree they are unbelievably good. It’s tough to believe these earphones only cost ₹1,999 (~$27) and offer such a refined sound that usually requires a much higher expenditure.

OPPO Enco M31: Specifications

Specification Enco M31
Build and Weight
  • Plastic earcups and rubber collar
  • IPX5 water & dust resistance
  • 22g
Driver & Frequency response
  • Single 9.2mm dynamic driver
  • Driver sensitivity: 101.9dB @1kHz
  • Frequency response:
    • 20Hz-20KHz (44.1kHz)
    • 20Hz-40KHz (LDAC 96KHz, 990Kbps)
Connectivity
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Codecs: LDAC, SBC
  • Range: 10 m
Battery & Charging
  • 88 mAh
  • 12 hours of standard audio playback (SBC)
  • 8 hours of high-quality audio playback (LDAC)
  • USB Type C port
  • 10-minute quick charge for 3 hours of playback
In The Box
  • Pair of Enco M31
  • 2x silicon ear tips
  • USB Charging cable
  • User guide
  • Safety and Warranty card

About this review: The OPPO Enco M31 is my personal purchase. OPPO had no input in the content of this review. This review is written after over two months of use. Unless otherwise specified, the observations stated in the review are with regards to Android smartphones.


Design, Comfort & Controls

The OPPO Enco M31 are an average looking pair of earphones. There’s nothing cutting edge or flashy about them – unless you go for the funky Green variant. They feature a familiar neckband design with two plastic modules strapped to a rubber collar and wires shooting through them and connecting to the earcups. The pill-shaped ear cups are made out of plastic and feature a circular spun-metal finish, which adds a nice contrasting look. The earcups themselves are really tiny, barely half an inch in size, and have a flat outer surface, which helps them sit flush without sticking out of your ears.

OPPO Enco M31 review OPPO Enco M31 review

 

In terms of comfort, the Enco M31 are pleasantly comfortable. They don’t enter too deep into the ear canal, making it possible to wear them for extended periods without feeling any pain or discomfort. I’ve had them in my ears for more than 3 hours at once, and I didn’t feel the need to take them out, neither out of irritation nor fatigue. The Enco M31 are also remarkably lightweight earphones – the entire device weighs just 22g. You can wear them on your neck all day without even noticing they’re there.

OPPO Enco M31 review OPPO Enco M31 review

 

Unlike the Bullets WIreless Z, which has in-line controls attached to the wire, the Enco M31 has them on the inner side of the left module. It’s a fairly simple button layout consisting of a multi-function key located along the edge of the plastic module and two volume keys sitting just above it. Due to their odd placement, the buttons are a bit of a stretch to reach, but you do get used to it over time. Although the volume keys are nice and clicky, I’m not a fan of the multi-function key, which feels mushy and always requires exerting a bit of force to register the click. You can play/pause the audio or answer/hang-up calls with a single click on the multi-function key. Double-clicking the key lets you change the sound profile while pressing the button three times summons the Google Assistant. You can also change tracks by holding the volume up or volume down key for a second.

OPPO Enco M31 review OPPO Enco M31 review

The Enco uses a similar magnetic mechanism that we have seen on other Bluetooth neckbands. Separating the cups activates the earphones while clipping them together puts them to sleep. A soft voice plays when the earphones connect to the host device. The voice also notifies when you switch between the Balanced and Bass mode, and also warns when the battery is running low.

The overall build quality is average at best. The thin wires don’t scream long-term durability, and buttons could have been better positioned. The OPPO Enco M31 also don’t enjoy the same level of protection as the Bullets Wireless Z — they are rated for IPX5, which safeguards them against drizzles and water splashes, but you don’t get any dust protection. They are not built for rough handling and must be handled with care if you plan to use them for the long term.


OPPO Enco M31: Audio Quality

The OPPO Enco M31 features a single 9.2mm dynamic driver and PET titanium-plated composite diaphragms fitted into each ear cup with a frequency range of up to 40KHz. It also has independent bass chambers for boosted low-frequencies when the dedicated Bass mode is activated.

One of the major attractions of the Enco M31 is LDAC support, a Hi-Res codec developed by Sony. This is a big deal for multiple reasons. For one, LDAC offers the highest transmission throughput of any Bluetooth codec out there, up to 990Kbps, making these earphones a perfect choice for listening to lossless music. Secondly, the Enco M31 are quite literally the only Bluetooth earphones to offer LDAC support at this price point. Along with Hi-Res certification, this makes the Enco M31 the cheapest wireless earphone suitable for critical listening.

The OPPO Enco M31 have a neutral sound signature, meaning they reproduce the sound as faithfully as possible without emphasizing specific frequencies, say, lows or highs. Neutral sounding earphones, especially the Bluetooth ones, are rare to get hold of at this price point and are usually reserved for earphones located much higher on the price ladder. As such, it’s both refreshing and exciting to see Oppo taking a different route than the competition and not falling for the same cliché “more bass, more treble” approach.

Oppo has a smart trick up its sleeve to placate both audiophiles and bass heads. Out-of-the-box, the Enco M31 uses a Balanced sound mode which, as you might have guessed, provides neutral sound. Should you need that extra kick of bass, OPPO offers a dedicated Bass mode to elevate the lower frequencies. You can switch between Bass and Balanced sound profiles simply by double-pressing the multi-function button.

Although not as prominent as some of the bass-heavy earphones out there, the bass on the Enco M31 is tight and impactful — as it was evident while listening to Posthumous Forgiveness by Tame Impala. Not to mention, you can always switch to the Bass mode if you crave more punch on certain tracks. Personally, I find the bass response on the default Balanced mode to be perfect to my taste, so I rarely use the bass mode. But of course, many people prefer more pronounced lows over clean mids and treble, so it’s good to have the option at the disposal.

The midrange representation is really impressive, adding a sense of realism to voices and lead instruments without being too forward. This was apparent while listening to vocal-centric tracks such as Night and Day by Diana Krall and Bleecker Street by Simon & Garfunkel, which sounded smooth and intimate as they should.

Treble response is also quite balanced — clean, bright, and expressive without being overly sharp or fatiguing. There’s a hint of spark and shimmer that brings life to guitar riffs, horns, cymbals, and other string instruments.

Full Test Playlist

  1. Posthumous Forgiveness — Tame Impala
  2. My Cherie Amour — Stevie Wonder, Henry Cosby, Sylvia Moy
  3. Indian Summer — Anoushka Shankar
  4. Birdman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) — Antonio Sánchez
  5. Book of Days – 2009 Remaster — Enya
  6. Tere Bina — A.R Rahman, Chinmayi, Murtuza Khan, Qadir Khan
  7. Abhi Abhi — KK
  8. Night And Day — Diana Krall
  9. Bombay Dreams — KSHMR, Lost Stories, Kavita Seth
  10. Bleecker Street — Simon & Garfunkel

The OPPO Enco M31 are hands down, the best sounding Bluetooth earphones in the entry-level segment.

The Enco M31’s moment of truth came while listening to solo Jazz drummer Antonio Sanchez’s percussion laden score for the movie Birdman. The whole score consists of basically just Antonio on a drum set, but there’s a great deal of detail and depth, which often gets lost on average sounding headphones. Contrary to my doubts, the Enco M31 reproduced every drum beat, enigmatic shuffle groves, shimmers of the hi-hat, and crashing of cymbals with such breathtaking clarity and precision, it was hard to believe I was listening to a pair of cheap, entry-level Bluetooth earphones.

The best thing about the Enco M31 is how versatile they are. Thanks to their neutral sound signature, they go well with just about anything — be it Pop, Rock, Metal, Jazz, or classical. I have had these earphones for two months now, and I still can’t get over how incredibly detailed and musical they sound. They are hands down, the best sounding Bluetooth earphones in the entry-level segment.


Range, Latency, & Microphone Quality

The OPPO Enco M31 uses Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity with downward compatibility with previous Bluetooth versions. There’s no multi-device pairing support, but you can move back and forth between your already paired devices by simultaneously holding the volume keys for a few seconds. This mechanism is not as quick and effortless as the OnePlus Bullets Z’s implementation, which works by double-pressing the function key, but it does get the job done without needing to fiddle with Bluetooth settings. The Enco M31 provides a decent signal range indoors; however, I did notice audio drops and stutters if I moved to other parts of my house with my phone left in my bedroom. In comparison, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z offers a more robust reception, and I can freely roam in the house without worrying about the physical barriers interrupting my calls or music.

The latency performance on the Enco M31 is impressive for gaming and consuming videos. Although SBC and AAC codecs are considered good enough for video streaming, they can’t keep up with the exorbitant demands of gaming. To address this issue, many OEMs offer an optimized low-latency mode that cuts down the latency period for a lag-free gaming experience. However, in most cases, this low-latency mode is only supported on OEMs’ own phones — for example, the Bullets Wireless Z’s low-latency mode only works on select OnePlus phones.

The Enco M31 with the LDAC codec provides reasonably good latency.

Thankfully that’s not the case with the Enco M31 as the LDAC codec provides reasonably good latency on any device running Android 8.0 and above. I tested the Enco M31 with Call of Duty Mobile on three different smartphones — POCO M2 Pro, iQOO 3 5G, and Galaxy M31 — and was quite content with the latency performance. Although there is a minor lag, it’s not really perceptible unless you go out of your way and look for it. And it’s also not bad enough to put you at a disadvantage in competitive multiplayer games. If you’re looking for a pair of Bluetooth earphones specifically for gaming, you can’t go wrong with the Enco M31.

The Enco M31 comes with what OPPO calls an AI-Powered Noise Reduction feature for voice calls. As per the company’s marketing material, this feature filters out background noise so your voice can be heard more clearly on the other end. The feature works out of the box and doesn’t need to be activated. In my testing, however, it was quite ineffective as callers could still pick up surrounding noises when I was outdoors. But apart from that, taking calls on Enco M31 was a good experience. Voices sounded clear and loud, and the callers did not complain about anything unusual.


Battery Life

Coming to the battery life, the OPPO Enco M31 packs in an 88mAh battery and charges via a USB Type C port. The company claims up to 12 hours of battery life on a single charge, which doesn’t sound bad. However, this figure only holds when using the SBC codec. When listening over LDAC, the figure drops to measly 8 hours, as per the official claim. In real life, I was getting close to 7 and a half hours of battery life with LDAC. With my average 3-4 hours of usage each day, I had to recharge the Enco M31 every third day. Having grown accustomed to OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z’s marathon battery life, this was a big step down for me. With a similar usage pattern, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z easily gets me through a week on a single charge.

The charging time also verges on the conservative side, with the device taking close to an hour to reach from an empty state to full. OPPO says you can get 3 hours of music playback on a 10-minute recharge. In my loop test, however, the device survived for 2 hours and 11 minutes. In comparison, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z can be fully charged within 25 minutes and gives 10 hours of playback time on a 10-minute quick top-up.


Conclusion – The OPPO Enco M31 is the Champion of Budget Wireless Earphones

The Oppo Enco M31 are among the best sounding Bluetooth earphones available on the market. Although there are plenty of contenders that fit that description, the main takeaway here is that the OPPO Enco M31 offers such fantastic sound at a fraction of the cost of its much pricey counterparts. It’s this deadly combination of exceptional sound quality and criminally low price that earns the OPPO Enco M31 the praise and glory it so rightfully deserves. The Enco M31 really took me by surprise with their brilliant audio tuning. The sound they produce is unheard for a device of this price.

OPPO Enco M31 review

The Enco M31 are compact and easy to carry around and make for a great workout companion with their snug in-ear fit and sweat resistance properties. They also manage to boast support for a high-end Bluetooth codec such as LDAC while its competitors could only manage to offer SBC and AAC. LDAC not only enables a high-quality music listening experience, but its relatively low latency also makes it an excellent choice for those who want to enjoy a near-lag free gaming experience on a Bluetooth headset.

The OPPO Enco M31's deadly combination of exceptional sound quality and criminally low price earns it the praise and glory it so rightfully deserves.

The Enco M31’s balanced sound signature provides an equal opportunity for every type of music to shine through and ensures you hear music as originally intended by the artist. The Enco M31 is by no means a perfect product, far from it. There’s clear room for improvement, particularly in the areas of build quality and battery life. But honestly, I’m quite content with what’s on offer here. A successor with the same audio tuning, ANC, and a bigger battery would surely be a recipe for success. But as it is, the OPPO Enco M31 are the true champions of the budget wireless audio segment. At a price of just ₹1,999 (~$27), the OPPO Enco M31 provides far more value than any other entry-level earphones. If you care about good sound quality above anything else, you got to get hold of the OPPO Enco M31.

    OPPO Enco M31
    The OPPO Enco M31 are shockingly good for a price of only ₹1,999. You can't go wrong with these budget wireless earphones.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra “Clear Cover” TPU Case Review https://www.xda-developers.com/samsung-galaxy-note-20-ultra-tpu-case-review/ Sat, 26 Sep 2020 14:00:33 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=335019 We have the shiny new Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra in our hands, a phone that costs a cool $1,300. That much money gets you a very good smartphone, but many users would still like to put a case on it for the added peace of mind on such an expensive purchase. There’s no dearth

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We have the shiny new Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra in our hands, a phone that costs a cool $1,300. That much money gets you a very good smartphone, but many users would still like to put a case on it for the added peace of mind on such an expensive purchase. There’s no dearth of options when it comes to cases for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, and in this article, we’ll be taking a quick look at Samsung’s Clear Cover “case” to see how good of a case it actually is. Should you get it? Probably not. Should you still read this review? Please do.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Forums

Look & Feel

The official Clear Cover case for the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is soft and clear. That’s it. This isn’t exactly a fancy case, nor is it meant to be. Samsung’s soft TPU case is meant to offer basic protection while letting you still enjoy how your phone looks. That doesn’t mean it looks bad, though. Since it’s transparent, it doesn’t really look like anything from most angles.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra - TPU Clear Case

At the right angles, the case is almost invisible.

If you’re someone who doesn’t like cases because they hide your phone, this (or any transparent) case might be for you.

It still looks good at other angles, though.

Now for how it feels. Again, this is a pretty basic case, and the material is a soft plastic. So you’re not going to get the “premium” glass feel you would without it. But it being soft plastic also means it’s grippy. You won’t have to worry about your phone sliding out of your hand or off a smooth surface when it’s in this case.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra - TPU Clear Case

It’s also comfortable to hold. Since it doesn’t add much to the phone’s dimensions, it feels almost like you’re just holding the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra without a case.

Fit

This is an official case by Samsung for Samsung devices, so it obviously fits perfectly. The dimensions are perfect, and all ports and sensor remain accessible and functional.

It’s easy to put on and take off, too. I’ve had annoying experiences with TPU cases in the past where once installed, they fit fine, but actually getting them onto the phone is a nightmare. And I can say the same for taking them off. Samsung’s managed to provide both a good fit and a good installation/removal experience. Putting this Clear Cover case on is plenty easy, and once it’s on, it fits snugly without any annoying air gaps.

Durability

One of the more important reasons for using a case is protection. Everyone drops their phone at some point, and a case is meant to at least somewhat reduce the chance of something breaking. Will Samsung’s TPU case do that? Well, I don’t particularly want to go outside and drop my $1300 phone onto cement to find out, so I’m going to have to be a little more theoretical here.

This isn’t a cover/folio/wallet case, so it doesn’t really provide much in the way of screen protection. The sides of the case do come up over the screen a little bit on the edges, but since the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s screen is curved, most of the screen is still completely exposed.

That doesn’t mean there’s no protection here, though. If you drop your phone and it hits a corner, you’ll probably be fine. The soft plastic should provide enough cushioning to give the phone a fighting chance to simply bounce instead of crack. There’s also a ridge around the camera module cutout, which should shield the camera glass from direct hits on a flat surface.

Overall, this isn’t the most protective case out there, but it’s probably better than nothing.

Features

I’ll be short: this is a piece of plastic. There are no special features, at least not intentional ones.

There is one thing I’ve noticed from using this case, though: it almost completely eliminates accidental touches on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. With no case, at least for me, it’s almost impossible to do anything without my hand hitting the edge of the screen and tapping something I didn’t want to tap.

With this TPU case installed, that almost never happens. As an added bonus, it’s even easier to reach the other edge of the screen (say, for dragging out a navigation drawer) using the case.

Conclusion

If you have the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and you’re in the market for a super simple case with super simple protection, this is the one for you.

Of course, if you’re not in the US, this case probably came in the box with your phone. And if you’re looking for something more protective, then you’re gonna want to find something else.

These are the best cases for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

But if you like the way your phone looks, and you’re not too concerned about breaking it, and you’re in the US, then you can get the Clear Cover for a cool $20.

    Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G Clear Cover
    The Clear Cover case for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is easy-to-hold and provides protection without covering up the phone's great design or adding a lot of bulk.

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How to use Samloader to download updates for your Samsung Galaxy device https://www.xda-developers.com/samloader-download-updates-samsung-galaxy/ https://www.xda-developers.com/samloader-download-updates-samsung-galaxy/#respond Sat, 26 Sep 2020 11:00:20 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=338755 Despite the fact that Samsung releases a lot of devices every year, the company doesn’t offer an official user-friendly firmware download portal for its Galaxy-branded smartphones and tablets. You can either try your luck with the built-in update checker in Settings, or you can use the Samsung Smart Switch app — neither of these options

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Despite the fact that Samsung releases a lot of devices every year, the company doesn’t offer an official user-friendly firmware download portal for its Galaxy-branded smartphones and tablets. You can either try your luck with the built-in update checker in Settings, or you can use the Samsung Smart Switch app — neither of these options will satisfy power users itching to get the latest update right now. Samsung enthusiasts thus often turn to third-party services to download updates, which are conveniently packed and ready to be flashed via Odin. Tools like SamFirm and Frija are also widely used by the community, as one can easily query Samsung FUS (Firmware Update Server) and download the latest build for their model using these utilities.

However, none of the aforementioned firmware downloaders are open source. The tools utilize a specific library from the Smart Switch distribution in order to authenticate to the update server. The library itself is obfuscated using Themida, which is one of the reasons why the utilities are difficult to port to operating systems other than Microsoft Windows. Nevertheless, XDA Junior Member nn000 has managed to cross these barriers.

After carefully reverse-engineering the download protocol, the developer decided to code the downloader in Python, which means the final tool can be executed on virtually any operating system. The result is Samloader, a cross-platform CLI application that can fetch Samsung firmware packages without using any proprietary DLL. This extremely tiny script (less than 100KB) can also decrypt the OTA artifacts and create a standard flashable package.

samloader_samsung_firmware_downloader_macos


How to use Samloader to download firmware for your Samsung Galaxy device

  1. Make sure you have Python 3 and pip installed.
  2. Download the codebase of Samloader using this link or clone the repository using git:
    git clone https://github.com/nlscc/samloader
  3. Install using pip:
    cd samloader
    pip3 install .
  4. Check the latest firmware version for your model:
    samloader checkupdate [model] [region]
    • For example, if you need to find out the latest firmware for the T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, then type the following:
      samloader checkupdate SM-G988U TMB
  5. Download the specified firmware version for a given phone and region to a specified file or directory:
    samloader download [version] [model] [region] [out]
  6. Decrypt the encrypted firmware artifacts:
    • For enc2 encrypted firmware:
      samloader decrypt2 [version] [model] [region] [infile] [outfile]
    • For enc4 encrypted firmware:
      samloader decrypt4 [version] [model] [region] [infile] [outfile]

It is worth mentioning that Samloader doesn’t support every Samsung update channel out there. Some carriers (like AT&T and Verizon) don’t provide updates through Samsung’s OTA server. Moreover, you can’t download beta channel firmware using this script.

Samloader: GitHub Repo ||| XDA Discussion Thread

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Samsung’s Galaxy A72 may have 5 rear cameras and launch next year https://www.xda-developers.com/samsung-galaxy-a72-cameras-launch-date/ https://www.xda-developers.com/samsung-galaxy-a72-cameras-launch-date/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 20:47:38 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=341013 In the past, we’ve seen Samsung introduce devices with dual cameras, triple cameras, and even quad cameras. So, it was inevitable that the company would go the penta-camera route, which is apparently what it plans to do not with its flagship Galaxy S or Galaxy Note line but with next year’s Galaxy A72. According to

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In the past, we’ve seen Samsung introduce devices with dual cameras, triple cameras, and even quad cameras. So, it was inevitable that the company would go the penta-camera route, which is apparently what it plans to do not with its flagship Galaxy S or Galaxy Note line but with next year’s Galaxy A72.

According to Korean publication The Elec, the upcoming mid-range smartphone will feature five rear cameras, headlined by a 64MP primary lens. In addition, the device will also reportedly feature a 12MP ultra wide-angle lens, an 8MP telephoto lens with 3x zoom, a 5MP “bokeh” lens, and a 5MP macro lens. The device will also reportedly feature a 32MP front-facing shooter. If true, that should give users plenty of options when snapping pictures.

Last year, Samsung introduced the Galaxy A71, which featured a quad-camera arrangement. The successor will allegedly feature a nearly identical setup, just with an added 8MP telephoto lens. Samsung was seemingly pleased with the Galaxy A71’s camera performance, enough that it’s ready to take the next step in its evolution by adding an additional lens to the sequel.

Samsung has used its mid-range lineup to pilot new camera features in the past. As Android Authority points out, the Galaxy A80 featured a flip-up camera, while the Galaxy A7 and Galaxy A9 were the first from the company to introduce triple and quad-camera setups, respectively. If all goes according to plan with the rumored Galaxy A72, don’t be surprised to see Samsung introduce a penta-camera setup with a major flagship — something we’ve actually seen already from other OEMs, including Huawei, HMD Global, and Xiaomi.

If you’re intrigued by the prospect of a Samsung device with five rear cameras, you’ll reportedly have to wait for the Galaxy A72 to be released sometime early next year.

Featured image: the Samsung Galaxy A71

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ROG Phone II update brings a new Armoury Crate design and TwinView Dock 3 support https://www.xda-developers.com/rog-phone-ii-update-new-armoury-crate-design-twinview-dock-3-support/ https://www.xda-developers.com/rog-phone-ii-update-new-armoury-crate-design-twinview-dock-3-support/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 19:04:58 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=340983 ASUS ROG Phone II owners were treated to a new update earlier this week, and it features some nice additions, including the same Armoury Crate design that’s found in the ASUS ROG Phone 3. The Armoury Crate app is described as “the hub of all information and controls your gaming needs from your phone.” It’s

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ASUS ROG Phone II owners were treated to a new update earlier this week, and it features some nice additions, including the same Armoury Crate design that’s found in the ASUS ROG Phone 3.

The Armoury Crate app is described as “the hub of all information and controls your gaming needs from your phone.” It’s the app where users can browse and launch their games and tweak settings to get the most out of their device.

ASUS ROG Phone II Forums

As we described in our review of the ROG Phone 3, the updated UI of the Armoury Crate app allows users to see installed games in either a grid view or a card carousel. Each view offers the same actions, including the ability to launch games, change the scenario profile (customize X-Mode and other settings), view your record of screenshots and screen recording clips, or launch the website for the game. You can also change the cover art for each card.

Thanks to Reddit user Apostlethe13th, you can see the updated Armoury Crate app running on the ROG Phone II.

New armory crate looks dope AF. It’s faster too from ROGphone2

 

Here are the full release notes in this week’s update to version 17.0240.2009.47:

  1. Android security patch update to 2020-09
  2. Added support for ROG Connect in Armoury Crate
  3. Support TwinView Dock 3 FW update
  4. Fix issue where Pokemon Go could cause high CPU usage
  5. Fix Application names being cut off in Recents view for Hebrew localization
  6. Fix AirTriggers mistouch issue and optimize AirTriggers stability

The update also features the September 2020 Android security patch level and TwinView Dock 3 support, the latter of which provides users with a dual-screen gaming experience. Think of the TwinView Dock 3 as ASUS’ version of the Nintendo DS. The new TwinView Dock 3 is backward compatible with the ROG Phone II although it was designed for the newer ROG Phone 3 and its 144Hz display. When paired with the ROG Phone II, the TwinView Dock 3 supports running at up to 120Hz.

According to ASUS, the update is rolling out now for the ZS660KL model and should arrive to users in waves. However, you can also grab the firmware downloads at the following XDA forum thread:

ASUS ROG Phone II Forums – Version 17.0240.2009.47 Download

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Google to update Play Store guidelines to make it harder to bypass the 30% fee https://www.xda-developers.com/google-double-down-30-in-app-fee/ https://www.xda-developers.com/google-double-down-30-in-app-fee/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 18:57:46 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=340899 Google will reportedly get stricter with developers over in-app purchases, according to Bloomberg. The move is set to be announced next week and will surely upset some developers who have previously circumvented Google’s rules. Bloomberg’s report claims Google will issue updated guidelines that will clarify a requirement for apps to use Google Play In-app Billing

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Google will reportedly get stricter with developers over in-app purchases, according to Bloomberg. The move is set to be announced next week and will surely upset some developers who have previously circumvented Google’s rules.

Bloomberg’s report claims Google will issue updated guidelines that will clarify a requirement for apps to use Google Play In-app Billing service for in-app purchases. That means if you purchase a Spotify subscription through the Android app, Google wants its 30% cut of the revenue.

Google’s policies aren’t necessarily changing. Rather, the company is reportedly cracking down and will no longer allow developers to prompt users to pay with their credit card, rather than offering a subscription through Google’s billing service for in-app purchases.

Here’s what Google’s existing Play Store guidelines say, in part:

  • Developers offering products within a game download on Google Play or providing access to game content must use Google Play In-app Billing as the method of payment.
  • Developers offering products within another category of app downloaded on Google Play must use Google Play In-app Billing as the method of payment, except for the following cases:
    • Payment is solely for physical products.
    • Payment is for digital content that may be consumed outside of the app itself (e.g. songs that can be played on other music players).

Even with these policies in place, Google has more or less allowed some high-profile companies to circumvent the guideline by turning a blind eye when they offer an alternative method of payment. With Google ready to double down on the requirement, developers will allegedly get a short grace period to comply before facing enforcement. Apple has recently come under fire for a similar practice — though the Cupertino-based company has strictly enforced its own requirements from the very beginning.

Google’s updated policies will surely escalate what is growing into an ugly battle between developers and Apple and Google. Both companies are already embroiled in an ugly legal battle with Epic Games, which recently tried to circumvent App Store and Play Store policies by encouraging Fortnite players to purchase in-game content from Epic directly. Apple and Google responded by taking Fortnite down from their respective app stores.

Meanwhile, it was announced this week that some of the industry’s most popular developers, including Epic Games, Spotify, and Tile, were banding together to create the Coalition for App Fairness. The group’s aim is to “create a level playing field for app businesses.”

Google’s Android platform allows users to access multiple app stores, while apps can also be side-loaded. But if developers want to be in the Play Store, they have to abide by Google’s rules. We’ll see what the response is like when Google clarifies its stance on in-app purchases next week.

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Best pre-order deals for the new Samsung Galaxy S20 FE https://www.xda-developers.com/best-galaxy-s20-fe-deals/ https://www.xda-developers.com/best-galaxy-s20-fe-deals/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 18:42:39 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=340465 We have all of the best Samsung Galaxy S20 FE deals right here! Find out where to pre-order this new device and save some money.

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Samsung has announced its newest flagship device, the Galaxy S20 FE. Coming in at a cool $700, the Galaxy S20 FE straddles the line between affordability and premium specs and offers access to 5G without needing to pay at least $1k for Samsung’s other flagship lines.

The Galaxy S20 FE shares a lot of the same features as its more expensive siblings including a gorgeous 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate, Android 10 with One UI 2.5 (and One UI 3.0 down the line), a Snapdragon 865 processor, and up to 256GB of storage.

The Galaxy S20 FE will be released on October 2nd, with pre-orders already open! Below, we’ve rounded up the best deals including ways to save big by trading in or buying multiple devices. It’s also one of the most fun devices Samsung has launched recently, with lots of colors for you to pick from!

Here are the best pre-order deals for the Galaxy S20 FE!

Where to Pre-order the Galaxy S20 FE

Right now in the US, you can pick up a Galaxy S20 FE from the typical retailers. If you’re looking for an unlocked Galaxy S20 FE deal, you can pick one up from Amazon, Samsung, or Best Buy. If being locked into a carrier isn’t a concern, you can also head to Verizon or AT&T for big savings.

Best Galaxy S20 FE Deals Unlocked

If you want to grab an unlocked phone before the October 2nd release, you have three solid options: Amazon, Best Buy, or Samsung themselves. All of them have their unique specials going on too, so pick the deal that suits you best!

Amazon

As always, Amazon will have the most convenient way of getting the Galaxy S20 FE, with Prime Shipping available. They’re also offering a flat $100 off the MSRP, so you can get an FE in any of the six available colors for $600. Amazon will also allow you to trade in your device for some credit, although most of the available phones for trade-in don’t have the best values. Finally, if you have an Amazon Prime Rewards card, you can opt to pay $33.33 over 18 months.

    Galaxy S20 FE at Amazon
    Pick up your S20 FE for $100 off at Amazon, and enjoy the benefits of Prime Release Day shipping. If you have an Amazon Prime Rewards card, you can also sign up for an interest-free payment plan. If you don't want any fuss with your new purchase, Amazon is the way to go.

Samsung

Picking up a new device straight from the source is never a bad idea, and Samsung has some of the best Galaxy S20 FE deals around. First, you can bring the total price all the way down to $250 with the right trade-in. Also, with a pre-order, you can get $70 in credit for the Samsung Store to use on whatever you want. Lastly, you’ll get six months of Spotify Premium and four months of YouTube Premium. Always a nice bonus.

    Galaxy S20 FE at Samsung
    If you want the best possible deal for an unlocked phone, Samsung will be your best option. Save big on a trade-in, with the right phone bringing the FE's total to $250, and also get $70 in Samsung store credit.

Best Buy

Best Buy may not have the orange and white colors that Samsung and Amazon do, but you can save more on the Galaxy S20 FE by activating the phone with them. If you’re going starting a new line with Sprint, you’ll pay $500 on the device, which is $200 total off. If you’re upgrading on Sprint, Verizon, or AT&T, you’ll grab this Galaxy S20 FE deal for $550, so it’s still $50 less than the other unlocked offerings if trading an old device in isn’t an option.

    Galaxy S20 FE at Best Buy
    Save more without messing with trade-ins at Best Buy. By activating today, you can save an additional $50 or $100 flat over the unlocked competition! You still won't get the phone until October 2nd, but then you won't need to worry about trying to activate it.

Best Galaxy S20 FE Deals in the US

If you don’t mind being locked into a carrier, you can get some great Galaxy S20 FE deals by heading to Verizon or AT&T!

Verizon

As always, Verizon has a whole slew of deals you can try and take advantage of if you’re looking to pick up the Galaxy S20 FE:

  • Buy one Galaxy S20 FE and open up a new line, and save $800 on a second (as a 24-month bell credit)
  • Buy the S20 FE, download the Shop Samsung app on your new phone, and follow the directions for $70 credit for the shop
  • If switching to Verizon, choose the Unlimited plan to get a $250 Verizon e-Gift Card
  • Finally, with any purchase, you’ll get Marvel’s Avengers, an Echo Dot, and an Amazon Smart Plug, all for free

Head on other to Verizon’s store page to find out which ones you qualify for!

    Galaxy S20 FE at Verizon
    Verizon has all sorts of Galaxy S20 FE deals to take advantage of, depending on what you're looking for. From free goodies to savings for purchasing two S20 FEs, there is something for everyone. Head on over and see how you can save big!

AT&T

At AT&T, if you have the right phone and are switching from another carrier, you can get the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE completely free. Can’t argue with that! Also, if you buy the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live at the same time, you’ll save $50 on the purchase. Finally, this retailer has the same $70 Samsung Shop credit that Verizon and Samsung has. For some reason, though, AT&T is a bit more limited in their color options than the others, so you’ve been warned!

    Galaxy S20 FE at AT&T
    Have a recent phone to trade-in and ready to make the carrier switch to AT&T? Then you can have the Galaxy S20 FE on the house! Also, you can save $50 on a pair of Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. The colors are more limited at AT&T, but if that doesn't concern you, this might just be the carrier for you!

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Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is great but the Apple Watch Series 6 is still the best smartwatch https://www.xda-developers.com/galaxy-watch-3-vs-apple-watch-6/ https://www.xda-developers.com/galaxy-watch-3-vs-apple-watch-6/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 15:31:23 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=339211 The Apple Watch is widely regarded as the best smartwatch out there, but Samsung's Galaxy Watch 3 comes close. Here's why!

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The Apple Watch is better than any smartwatches available for Android. It pains me to say this – my primary SIM card is in an Android phone far more often than it’s in an iPhone – but it’s true.

The good news for us is, Android smartwatches have improved significantly over the past year. The Oppo Watch has a gorgeous curved screen; the Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro has insane 14-day battery life and premium build quality, and the Fitbit Versa 2 spent months on my wrist in 2020. But of all these non-Apple offerings I’ve tested, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 3 is perhaps the best overall in terms of performance, software, and hardware — although I must mention that I have not tested the TicWatch Pro 3 yet, which we gave high praise.

While the Galaxy Watch 3 is very good, it still falls short of the Apple Watch Series 6 – and I’m not talking about subjective things like design, fit, and comfort, but rather crucial performance areas that aren’t as subjective.

Before I dive into why the Apple Watch 6 is better, I want to state that I understand it’s not a fair comparison in a vacuum since the Apple Watch locks you into Apple’s eco-system. In contrast, the Galaxy Watch 3 can technically work with any phone (although it works best with a Samsung). If you’re a frequent XDA visitor, you’ve likely already decided to be on Team Android. However, I think it’s worth highlighting areas Android smartwatches fall short and could do better.

Galaxy Watch 3 (left) and Apple Watch Series 6 (right).

Responding to notifications

We all have our reasons for wearing a smartwatch. Some people like the look; some want to track physical activities; others use it to tell time (crazy idea, I know). But for me, the biggest reason to wear a smartwatch is to save me from needing to pull out my phone every single time I have an incoming notification.

This means I don’t just want to be able to read my incoming text messages; I like the ability to respond to them as well. Unfortunately, this immediately disqualifies a chunk of Android smartwatches. Huawei’s proprietary OS running on its recent wearables does not let me respond to notifications at all. Fitbit’s OS only lets me respond with canned messages. The Oppo Watch running WearOS allows me to respond, but the methods to do so are not practical. Samsung’s TizenOS, almost by lack of competition, does the best job in the Android space — but the Apple Watch handles it better.

My preferred method to respond to text messages is by simply speaking to my watch, and the Apple Watch’s voice dictation tech is uncanny; it can pick up my words in real-time with 99% accuracy. I talk, and the Watch picks it up, even if it’s dozens of words spanning multiple sentences.

Voice dictation on the Galaxy Watch 3 is noticeably slower; it falls far behind my voice almost from the start, and while it does eventually catch up, it will usually have misheard a few words. If I have to guess, I’d say accuracy is around 75%.

Don’t believe me? I did a side-by-side test on video. Just as a test, I spoke the entire first verse of the iconic Fresh Prince of Bel-Air intro theme, and you can see that the Apple Watch Series 6 kept up with me almost word for word and came out with just a couple of mistakes. At the same time, the Galaxy Watch 3 fell behind early, and the finished text misheard/misinterpreted at least six words.

The Galaxy Watch 3’s mistakes are also non-sensical: what is “Delphia”? At least when the Apple Watch misheard, it still pushed out a word that makes sense grammatically.

Now here’s the thing: this is already a huge improvement for Samsung! I remember using an older Galaxy Gear watch around 2018 and was frustrated by its inability to keep up with even a five or six-word sentence.

Voice dictation is, of course, just one way to respond. Another method is to input words via an on-screen keyboard. WearOS shows a full QWERTY keyboard, which makes sense in theory but as soon as you begin pecking away at the tiny keys, you realize a smartwatch screen is far too cramped for a full keyboard.

Samsung and Apple understand this and have alternatives. Both offer a “scribble” mode that lets us use our finger to write out individual alphabets on the screen. But just like voice dictation, the Apple Watch 6 handles scribbling faster and more intelligently than the Galaxy Watch 3. WatchOS seems to have better autocorrect and response times compared to TizenOS. This shouldn’t be surprising considering the drastic difference in processing power, which I’ll cover in the next section.

SoC

The Apple Watch Series 6 runs on a brand new S6 chip based on the A13 Bionic chip used in the iPhone 11. Think about how crazy that is: that’s like an Android smartwatch today running on a Snapdragon 855.

The Galaxy Watch 3’s silicon, meanwhile, is the two-year-old Exynos 9110. There’s no real way to benchmark these two chips, but as I mentioned, the Apple Watch seems a far more capable at processing human speech, and apps launch noticeably faster on the Apple Watch 6 than on the Galaxy Watch 3 too.

Apps

The rest of the software outside of voice dictation also is a significant win for Apple’s WatchOS. The Watch app on iOS offers a more seamless experience than the Galaxy Wearable app. Both apps will redirect you to their native app store to download apps. Still, while iOS’s Watch app and App Store share the same design language and switch over immediately, Samsung’s Galaxy Wearable app looks nothing like its Galaxy App store, and switching over usually requires a few seconds of load times. It’s particularly jarring on my Fold 2 because the Galaxy Wearable app has a dark interface while the Galaxy App store has a white interface, so it’s a sharp jump to go from a pitch-black UI to a bright white one.

Software update for the Apple Watch is one single update always. On the Galaxy Wearable app, different apps and services within the watch each require a separate download. So instead of tapping install once, you may tap eight or nine times in a day.

The selection of third-party apps in the Galaxy app store is also anemic. Not that name recognition is everything, but in Apple’s Watch app store, there’s a familiar brand every other swipe — Nike, Starbucks, NBA, New York Times, SoundHound, ESPN, CNN, and so on — while on the Galaxy Watch, the only familiar third party app most will have heard of Flipboard.

This is a problem that also applies to WearOS watches or Huawei’s smartwatches, and it will likely never be fixed, as app developers have far more incentives to build for the Apple Watch platform since iOS users spend far more on apps than Android users and the number of Apple Watches (and hence the potential market size) in the wild outweigh every other brand by a large margin.

The Apple Watch also handles Spotify better, with a better-designed interface that shows more information, including all my playlists and album art. On the Galaxy Watch 3, it’s a bare-bones UI.

Watch faces and complications

The selection of watch faces and complications, like third-party app selection, is also a lop-sided affair. The Apple Watch not only has dozens more watch faces to choose from, but they’re also, in my opinion, better looking, have a far more comprehensive range of styles, and some support multiple complications that are customizable. Samsung’s watch face gallery, on the other hand, all look similar, and only the main five or six let you customize complications, and then only for Samsung’s first-party apps like Samsung Calendar, Samsung Email, etc. Watch faces on Apple’s wearable can support third-party apps — for example, I have complications for Spotify and Google Maps on one of them.

Voice assistant

Apple’s Siri is by no means the best digital voice assistant – Google’s Assistant is almost objectively better at understanding context and finding the relevant information – but Siri is still far better than Samsung’s Bixby.

Siri can also automatically detect when I am speaking to it: anytime I bring the Apple Watch to my wrist and start speaking, Siri begins picking up my words. Even in a noisy environment like the middle of a busy street, it works well. To activate Bixby on the Galaxy Watch 3, you first have to say the trigger phrase “Hey Bixby,” and it doesn’t always work.

Fitness and health tracking

This part, thankfully for Samsung (and us Android users), is much closer. The most significant addition to the Apple Watch Series 6 this year is a blood-oxygen sensor to track oxygen saturation levels — this is something Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 3 and even the older Galaxy Watch Active 2 already offer. Likewise, for the Apple Watch’s ability to conduct an electrocardiogram (ECG) — Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 3 can do that too, having recently received FDA clearance to go live in the US. Both the blood-oxygen tracking and ECG are easy to activate on the Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch 3, but Apple’s wearable one-ups Samsung by being able to passively track blood-oxygen-level without prompt. This means the Apple Watch is more likely to notice irregular heart rhythm or blood-oxygen levels.

However, whether these wrist-worn wearables can provide accurate data for blood-oxygen saturation levels or heart rhythm remains to be seen, and the evidence seems iffy. Not only do I find the results inconsistent, but other reviewers, including our former colleague Max Weinbach, noticed the same.

For more simple health tracking, such as basic heart rate and step count, both do a great job and seem accurate enough. Both are smart enough to automatically begin tracking hikes (or fast walking for extended periods) and cycling as exercises.

More complicated exercises, like gym sessions, will require manually starting the tracking. It’s here where Samsung and Apple takes a different approach. Apple classifies weight lifting as one exercise; Samsung breaks the act of lifting weights into nearly a dozen specific activities, like “bench press,” “squats,” “deadlifts,” and even “curls.” Serious weightlifters or bodybuilders who spend entire gym sessions honing in on one exercise may appreciate Samsung’s approach. Still, for most regular users, a one-hour weight lifting session will see us doing five to six different activities, so Samsung expects us to switch manually every time.

Samsung is better at sleep tracking, however. I wore both watches to sleep for a couple of nights as a test, and the Galaxy Watch 3 consistently gave me a more accurate time that represents the actual time I was asleep.

Where the Galaxy Watch 3 wins

While the Apple Watch Series 6 is almost certainly better than the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 (and most other Android watches) in all the crucial areas like software, watch faces, third-party apps, and notification management, there are some areas the Galaxy Watch 3 wins.

The Galaxy Watch 3 has better battery life, for example. Samsung advertises two-day battery life, and I’ve been achieving that and more. After a full 24 hour period away from a charger, my Galaxy Watch 3 still has 65% battery right now. The Apple Watch, meanwhile, needs charging at least once a day.

I also love the rotatable bezel of the Galaxy Watch 3 — the tactile feedback makes navigating UI via rotating the bezel feels very satisfying. You also get stainless steel on all Galaxy Watch 3 models, whereas Apple Watch 6 starts with aluminum, and stainless steel costs extra.

There’s also the issue of eco-system and phone brand lock-in. If you’re getting an Apple Watch, you can only use it with an iPhone. The Galaxy Watch 3, meanwhile, will work with any phone, be it a Samsung or Apple, Huawei, or OnePlus. However, it’s still best to use with a Samsung phone, because if you use another Android, you’ll have to download the Galaxy Wearable app, as well as all the additional Samsung apps like Samsung Health, Samsung Email, and more, to be able to use the watch to its fullest capabilities.

I know this article may annoy some readers who think I’m using this article to prop up Apple. But as I’ve already explained at the beginning: I prefer Android to iOS, and my primary phone is Android more often than not. I’ve wished there was an Android option that worked as seamlessly and well as the Apple Watch. Two years ago, the gap was so huge it seemed like a pipe dream. But now? The Galaxy Watch 3 has closed the gap enough that I’m satisfied, but it can still get better.

    Apple Watch Series 6 – From $400
    If you're not already invested in the Android ecosystem, the Apple Watch Series 6 is the best smartwatch you should buy. It outweighs the Galaxy Watch 3 in many ways, but crucially, it doesn't work with Android devices and you'll need an iPhone to be able to use it.
    Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 - From $369
    The Galaxy Watch 3 offers a lot of good features, and while it doesn't compete with the Apple Watch Series 6 in certain areas, it's the best option if you have an Android phone.

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Spotify, Epic Games, and others join “Coalition for App Fairness” non-profit to oppose Apple and Google https://www.xda-developers.com/coalition-for-app-fairness-non-profit-oppose-apple-google-app-store-practices/ https://www.xda-developers.com/coalition-for-app-fairness-non-profit-oppose-apple-google-app-store-practices/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 14:00:40 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=340767 The mobile software ecosystem is dominated by two big names: Apple and Google, both of whom control their respective app stores. This control has come under scrutiny, largely thanks to the recent attempt by Epic Games to bypass the app store fees with a direct payment option on its popular game, Fortnite. This was promptly

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The mobile software ecosystem is dominated by two big names: Apple and Google, both of whom control their respective app stores. This control has come under scrutiny, largely thanks to the recent attempt by Epic Games to bypass the app store fees with a direct payment option on its popular game, Fortnite. This was promptly followed up with the game getting removed from both the stores and then with Epic suing both Apple and Google. Now, several big-name developers like Spotify and Epic Games have come together to create a non-profit, called Coalition for App Fairness, to oppose the monopolies enjoyed by Apple and Google.

Coalition for App Fairness (CAF) has been established as an independent non-profit organization with Basecamp, Blix, Blockchain.com, Deezer, Epic Games, the European Publishers Council, Match Group (Tinder and Hinge), News Media Europe, Prepear, Protonmail, SkyDemon, Spotify, and Tile as its founding members. The group hopes to advocate for “enforcement and reforms, including legal and regulatory changes, to preserve consumer choice and a level playing field for app and game developers that rely on app stores and the most popular gatekeeper platforms“.

Apple strictly controls the hardware and software ecosystem on its own devices, with an approach that is frequently referred to as a “walled garden”. Google, on the other hand, is the dominant force behind Android. While Android is open source, it is missing a lot of crucial pieces that end-users have come to expect out of an “Android smartphone”. These include the Google Play Store and the Google Play Services framework, with the former being the primary means of app distribution and the latter being one of the most important background services on a phone that is needed for other apps to reliably work.

As CAF puts it forward, app stores (Google Play Store, Apple App Store) are a convenient location to discover apps. But as the Fortnite drama brought to light, the gatekeeper platforms that operate these app stores enjoy a very large amount of control. For years, app developers have been raising their concerns about the onerous and often arbitrary terms and conditions that govern these stores, including but not limited to the excessive 30% app store fees on every single transaction through the stores and their frameworks. CAF is advocating for fairness, not just in the app store fees, but also against anti-competitive policies and the lack of consumer freedom.

The Coalition of App Fairness proposes the following as rights for every app developer, regardless of the size or nature of the developer’s business:

  1. No developer should be required to use an app store exclusively, or to use ancillary services of the app store owner, including payment systems, or to accept other supplementary obligations in order to have access to the app store.
  2. No developer should be blocked from the platform or discriminated against based on a developer’s business model, how it delivers content and services, or whether it competes in any way with the app store owner.
  3. Every developer should have timely access to the same interoperability interfaces and technical information as the app store owner makes available to its own developers.
  4. Every developer should always have access to app stores as long as its app meets fair, objective and nondiscriminatory standards for security, privacy, quality, content, and digital safety.
  5. A developer’s data should not be used to compete with the developer.
  6. Every developer should always have the right to communicate directly with its users through its app for legitimate business purposes.
  7. No app store owner or its platform should engage in self-preferencing its own apps or services, or interfere with users’ choice of preferences or defaults.
  8. No developer should be required to pay unfair, unreasonable or discriminatory fees or revenue shares, nor be required to sell within its app anything it doesn’t wish to sell, as a condition to gain access to the app store.
  9. No app store owner should prohibit third parties from offering competing app stores on the app store owner’s platform, or discourage developers or consumers from using them.
  10. All app stores will be transparent about their rules and policies and opportunities for promotion and marketing, apply these consistently and objectively, provide notice of changes, and make available a quick, simple and fair process to resolve disputes.

The Coalition for App Fairness has issued an open call to all developers, to join them if they wish to change the monopolist control of app ecosystems.


Story Via: NYTimes

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Save up to 95% on These VPN and Cloud Storage Subscriptions https://www.xda-developers.com/save-up-to-95-on-these-vpn-and-cloud-storage-subscriptions/ Fri, 25 Sep 2020 13:46:55 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=338371 Ask any cybersecurity expert for their top advice, and they will suggest using a VPN and backing up your files. If you would like to take heed of this advice without breaking the bank, check out these deals at the XDA Developers Depot.  KeepSolid VPN Unlimited: Infinity Plan (10 Devices) With over 400 servers around

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Ask any cybersecurity expert for their top advice, and they will suggest using a VPN and backing up your files. If you would like to take heed of this advice without breaking the bank, check out these deals at the XDA Developers Depot. 

KeepSolid VPN Unlimited: Infinity Plan (10 Devices)

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NewPipe tests new Unified Player UI with seamless fullscreen switching https://www.xda-developers.com/newpipe-tests-unified-player-ui-seamless-fullscreen-switching/ https://www.xda-developers.com/newpipe-tests-unified-player-ui-seamless-fullscreen-switching/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 12:58:51 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=340731 NewPipe, the open-source YouTube client for Android, is a great alternative to the YouTube app for those of you who don’t have Google Play Services on your phone or don’t want to see ads on the platform without paying for YouTube Premium. The client doesn’t use YouTube’s APIs and simply parses the Youtube website to

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NewPipe, the open-source YouTube client for Android, is a great alternative to the YouTube app for those of you who don’t have Google Play Services on your phone or don’t want to see ads on the platform without paying for YouTube Premium. The client doesn’t use YouTube’s APIs and simply parses the Youtube website to extract data and play any videos you want, without any restrictions or ads. However, the app’s interface looks a bit dated compared to the official YouTube app and its overall user experience isn’t as fluid. To address this, the developers behind NewPipe are now testing a new Unified Player UI with support for seamless fullscreen switching, and more.

A test build with the new UI is now live on NewPipe’s GitHub (via /r/FOSSDroid), and here’s a quick rundown of everything new in the build:

  • Main, background, popup players now connected via one service, one view, one fragment, one activity, and one gesture listener
  • Main player located in a view with comments, descriptions, etc. So you don’t need to open another window for viewing a video. Everything in one place
  • The playback position is synchronized between players. Easy to switch from one to another
  • The expandable player at the bottom of the screen has a new cool animation and additional features like long-click to open channel of a video, play/pause/close buttons, and swipe down to dismiss
  • In-player integrated buttons for opening in the browser, playing with Kodi, sharing a video have been added
  • Better background playback that can be activated in settings. Allows to automatically switch to the audio-only mode when going to background and then switching to video-mode when returning to the app
  • Player service will be stopped automatically when the user removes the app from the recent apps menu
  • There are two different behaviors related to orientation changes:
    • with locked global orientation the player will change orientation to landscape and will change it back after pressing back
    • with enabled global autorotation, the player will detect orientation changes and will change UI to fullscreen or default size
  • Previous features like brightness control, open popup player when going to background, action chooser when clicking on a link, etc are working as expected
  • Tablet screens are now supported

Our Editor-in-Chief, Mishaal Rahman, tried out the latest test build on his device and has shared the following screenshots:

In case you like what you see and want to try it out on your device, you can download the latest APK by clicking on “2020-09-22” here.

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The new Zen Mode from OxygenOS 11 is now available for OnePlus phones on Android 10+ https://www.xda-developers.com/oneplus-new-zen-mode-oxygenos-11-now-available-oneplus-phones-android-10/ https://www.xda-developers.com/oneplus-new-zen-mode-oxygenos-11-now-available-oneplus-phones-android-10/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 12:05:36 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=340679 OnePlus debuted Zen Mode in OxygenOS alongside the launch of the OnePlus 7 series. Back then, the feature just aimed to help users put their phones down to help them focus on more important tasks. Over the years, the app has gained new features such as more duration options, daily reminders, zen challenges, and more. OnePlus

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OnePlus debuted Zen Mode in OxygenOS alongside the launch of the OnePlus 7 series. Back then, the feature just aimed to help users put their phones down to help them focus on more important tasks. Over the years, the app has gained new features such as more duration options, daily reminders, zen challenges, and more. OnePlus debuted a new, redesigned Zen Mode UX with its OxygenOS 11 update. Now, the new Zen Mode app is being made available to other OnePlus phones on Android 10 through the Google Play Store.

With OxygenOS 11, Zen Mode not only received a redesign, but it also gained a few features. There’s now a multi-person Zen Mode which creates a room where others can join in and ensure that no one is using their phones.

OxygenOS 11 Zen Mode OxygenOS 11 Zen Mode

The new Zen Mode update works only on OnePlus phones running Android 10 and above. Here is the changelog for the update:

Changelog

Changelog:

Welcome to the newly designed Zen Mode!

  1. Adding a variety of themes to bring you a more immersive meditation experience
  2. You can create a room and invite your friends to join you to start a focus challenge together
  3. Record daily Zen moments and review the journey of concentration

You can get the new update through the Google Play Store. Alternatively, you can sideload the APK from APKMirror.

Zen Mode is one of the implementations from OEMs for a digital detox. Other initiatives, like Digital Wellbeing from Google, also work towards the same principles. While our smartphones are exciting pieces of technology, we do tend to overuse it and end up getting addicted to it. Digital detox as a principle helps us detach from our smartphones and enjoy the world around us a little more. These apps make us cognizant of our digital habits and help us keep our phones down.

OnePlus Zen Mode (Free, Google Play) →

Thanks to XDA Senior Member Some_Random_Username for the tip and screenshots!

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Samsung Galaxy Buds Live Review: Tasty design with room for improvement https://www.xda-developers.com/samsung-galaxy-buds-live-review/ https://www.xda-developers.com/samsung-galaxy-buds-live-review/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 11:00:31 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=338383 There are only so many ways you can do something uniquely; after a point, you’re bound to make a repetition that could cause your product to start resembling some of the key characteristics for that established product segment. Smartphones are rectangular glass slabs, laptops are slabs with keyboards, and truly wireless earbuds are either circular

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There are only so many ways you can do something uniquely; after a point, you’re bound to make a repetition that could cause your product to start resembling some of the key characteristics for that established product segment. Smartphones are rectangular glass slabs, laptops are slabs with keyboards, and truly wireless earbuds are either circular or have a stem on them. So when a product comes along that strays away from the established order, we’re bound to take note. That’s precisely what is happening with the Galaxy Beans Galaxy Buds Live.

When the Buds Live first leaked in their stemless, kidney-bean design, I was more than intrigued. I had so many questions: How do they fit in the ear? How big are they? How do they fit in the case, and how do they stay in there? How easily do they fall out? Will they be uncomfortable? How would they noise isolate? And would they feature noise cancellation? While Samsung’s official launch and accompanying marketing and advertisements have answered a fair few of these questions, I hope to bring some of my own perspectives after having used the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, alongside the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ and the Sony WF-1000XM3.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live - Earbud

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live: Specifications

Specification Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
Dimensions & Weight
  • Buds: 27.2 x 17.3 x 15.5 mm, 5.6g (each)
  • Case: 50.0 x 50.2 x 27.8 mm, 42.2g
Battery and Charging
  • Earbud: 60mAh (each)
  • Case: 472 mAh
    • Wireless charging support
Speaker and Mic
  • 12mm driver tuned by AKG
  • Bass duct
  • Three microphones
Connectivity
  • Bluetooth 5.0 BLE
  • Codec: AAC, SBC, Scalable Codec
Sensors and other features
  • Proximity sensor
  • Accelerometer
  • Touch-sensitive sensor
  • Hall sensor
  • IPX2 water resistance
Colors Mystic Bronze, Mystic White, Mystic Black

Note: Samsung India loaned us the Galaxy Buds Live for this review. This review is after twelve days of use. Samsung has no inputs in the contents of this article.


Samsung Galaxy Buds Live — Design and Build

While the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ are pretty much the same as the original Galaxy Buds, the Galaxy Buds Live are unlike anything you have seen in the market. The shape has a stark resemblance to kidney beans, and Samsung wanted to call them Beans at some point too. It is a unique design for sure, with the exterior surface of the Bean-like earbud coming in with a glossy finish, and the interior surface having a more muted matte-finish. The Mystic Black color variant that I have does get some fingerprints onto the shiny surface, but they aren’t prominently visible. The matte finish alleviates some of that cheaper-feel that was much more apparent on the Buds+, and that’s good because these earphones aren’t cheap.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live - Head Shot_1

This was the best-fit position for me, with the speakers relatively deep into the ear canal and the Buds Live pressing against the ear.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live have a unique design unlike anything on the market right now.

There is a specific way that you need to wear the Galaxy Buds Live. Most earphones are quite intuitive in this regard, but the Buds Live have such a unique form factor that you do need some assistance to figure it out. For larger ears, the Buds Live needs to settle at the very bottom of your ear, almost running parallel to the ground (but not entirely). This way, the two speaker grilles are the deepest and closest to your ear’s auditory canal. There is a protruding wing tip towards the top of the matte side, which along with the bean-shape, press the Buds Live flush against your pinna (if you want to be more specific, at the bottom of the concha in your auricle). Samsung includes another larger pair of wingtips, but I found that the default was the better fit for me and the larger ones were quicker to cause discomfort. For smaller ears, the Buds Live settle into a more upright position.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live - Head Shot

This is the wrong fit for my ear size, as the Buds Live are not snug into the ear. This leaves a very large gap between the Buds and the auditory canal. However, this is how they would fit on smaller ears.

The Galaxy Buds Live, when worn correctly, never actually fall out.

With the way that the Buds Live are shaped and how they sit and press, it does present a sensation of underconfidence if you are wearing them wrong — it feels like they will fall out if you move around too much. If you do it correctly (and depending on the shape and size of your ears), the Buds Live will sit in almost flush, and the underconfidence will vanish. In my usage, once I figured out how they need to be put in, the Buds Live never actually fell out. They are snug to the point that I have gone on small runs without them falling out. But your mileage may vary simply because of how different our bodies can be at an individual level.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live - Earbud

As far as comfort is concerned, I do feel comfortable wearing the earphones for about 4 hours at best. Beyond this time point, the snug fit on the pinna starts causing soreness and discomfort. The Buds Live only has rubber elements on the wingtips, and the rest of the body is hard plastic, so all the tolerance needs to come from your body. If you have smaller ears, I can see this being a problem, even though Samsung claims that it has extensively tested the Buds Live and its design on a wide variety of ear shapes and sizes. To Samsung’s credit, the Buds Live are lightweight, with a weight lower than even the Buds+, so you don’t feel any heaviness in your ears.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live - Comparison with Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Samsung Galaxy Buds Live - Comparison with Samsung Galaxy Buds+

The Buds Live comes in a rounded-square case, which is easily pocketable. The resting cradle for the Buds Live within the case is not very deep, but the earbuds do not fall off because the magnets do a good enough job at it. The magnets for keeping the lid shut are stronger than those holding the buds in place — just a curious observation. Continuing my nitpick, the magnetic snapping action when putting the earbuds back into the case is stronger than it was on the Buds+ but still underwhelming compared to the Sony WF-1000XM3, but I concede that this is just a personal nitpick. I prefer the pill-shaped case for the Buds+ over the jewelry-box-like case of the Buds Live, but there is nothing that is fundamentally wrong with the Buds Live’s case shape, so both the options are correct. What I would wish for Samsung to change is the glossy finish, as it does not do justice to a premium product and makes it feel cheaper than what it can punch.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live - Comparison with Samsung Galaxy Buds+

The “lip” on the Buds Live case extends all across, while the Buds+ case only had it on the front.

The Galaxy Buds Live case has an LED indicator on the inside to indicate the charging status of the earbuds, and another LED indicator on the outside to indicate the charging status of the case. There is an indentation/gap that runs around the case separating the two halves, so you can easily open the case without needing to hold it in any specific way. The USB Type-C port exists below the hinge on the outside. You can use the port for charging the case, or you can choose to charge using a Qi-certified wireless charger. Samsung includes a short USB Type-A to Type-C cable in the box, so you have the means to charge them up right out of the box.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live - USB Type-C Port on Case

The Buds Live continues with the IPX2 rating from the predecessor, meaning it can resist light splashes of water. So that is light sweat, but that’s about it. You don’t want to take them out when it’s raining. I hope Samsung considers making the next generation better in terms of water resistance, considering how much it rains in my region.

Samsung has succesfully given the earbuds its own identity.

To wrap up the section, the Galaxy Buds Live have a unique design, one that does set it apart and ensures that no one mistakes them for an AirPod or any other TWS on the market. The design works out for short and medium wear durations for me. But because the TWS are so different, the comfort and the fit does boil down to the individual and the shape and size of their ear. It’s difficult to label it “good” or “bad”; it’s just “different” with no real mainstream comparison. Samsung wanted to give the earbuds its own identity, and they have been pretty successful to that end.


Samsung Galaxy Buds Live — Features

Easy Pair

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live shares a lot of its software features with the Galaxy Buds+. The first pairing process is super simple: You have to open the lid, and the Galaxy Buds Live are already in pairing mode, meaning that you do not need to undertake any complicated pairing gestures or actions to use them with your first device. From that point, you can enter in manual pairing mode by placing the buds back into the case and reopening the lid (you don’t need to take out the Buds). You can also touch and hold both earbuds for three seconds to enter pairing mode if you don’t want to place them back into the case.

If you have a Samsung smartphone with the Samsung SmartThings app installed, the pairing process is even more straightforward. The Galaxy Buds Live also does not support Google’s Fast Pair. Note that you can use either of the earbuds individually for playback, too.

Multi-device Switching

Much like the Galaxy Buds+ (post their updates), the Galaxy Buds Live are capable of multi-device switching. It’s not as seamless as Bluetooth multipoint that can shift audio focus intelligently. Still, it’s a lot less friction against entirely unpairing/disconnecting from one device to connect to another. Presuming that you have connected with the devices once before, you can tap on the Buds Live entry on the desired device, and the Buds Live will receive their audio input from them. Just to be clear, there’s definite room for improvement, but if you are hopping around a few devices through the day, at least you won’t have to pair your Buds multiple times throughout the day. I definitely wish to see Bluetooth multipoint in the next generation, though.

Controls

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live have a touch sensor located on the top part, but I found that touching squarely around the middle guaranteed a response. There’s no clear demarcation for the touch area, but since the buds aren’t too large by themselves, you will confidently get touch inputs correct unless you make an active effort to touch the top edges only. Like the Galaxy Buds+, a single tap on either bud plays and pauses tracks. A double-tap will play the next track, and a triple tap will play the previous track. If a call is incoming, you can double-tap to accept. And once accepted, you can double-tap to end the call. Touch and hold lets you decline calls.

The Samsung Wearable app lets you reconfigure the single touch and hold command on the left and right earbud individually to any of the following four options: Voice command, Active Noise Cancellation, Spotify, or Volume Control (Right earbud for Volume Up, Left earbud for Volume Down). Note that the Galaxy Buds Live, like the Buds+, do not have auto-pause on removal/auto-play on insertion, even though they can detect when they are removed. On the flip side, you can’t really not touch the touchpad while removing or inserting the earbud.

You can lock the touch controls too. But unlike the Buds+, there is no “Double Tap Earbud Edge” feature here. I don’t really miss its absence either way, but just something to note if you are invested in it.

Connectivity

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live support Bluetooth 5.0 for connecting to devices. For codecs, the Buds Live, the Buds+, and the Buds support SBC, AAC, and the scalable Samsung codec (proprietary). You can only take advantage of the Samsung scalable codec on Samsung’s devices, and as mentioned before, an ecosystem lock-in becomes crucial to experience the best sound out of these earbuds.

For wireless range, I can get an uninterrupted connection for around 10 meters. Performance on this end is at par with other truly wireless solutions. Latency is also an issue with the Buds Live, and I get about a 150ms delay in sounds. You can live with it if you are just casually watching videos, but perhaps not so much for live gaming as you are likely to be at a small disadvantage. I’ve found that turning off Active Noise Cancellation helps improve the latency marginally, bringing it down to about a ballpark of 120ms. There is no Gaming Mode to be found on non-Samsung devices, so keep that in mind too.

On Samsung devices (like the Samsung Galaxy M31s that I tested these on), you do get a Gaming Mode that claims to minimize audio delay, and that lets me get it down to under 100ms with ANC and even lower without ANC.

Galaxy Wearable App

The Galaxy Wearable app is a recommended download for unlocking certain customizations on Samsung’s wearables, but you don’t necessarily need it for basic functions and controls. A lot of these features overlap with what is experienced with the Buds+ too.

Galaxy Wearable (Samsung Gear) (Free, Google Play) →

The app is primarily used when you need to read a precise measurement of the battery level on the individual buds and the case. You also need it to download and install firmware updates for the TWS. With past earbuds, some of these updates brought along useful functions, so I do recommend keeping the app installed and checking it regularly. You can also reset the earbuds from within the app.

There is also an equalizer within the app with a few presets. However, you cannot fine-tune the settings or create a custom profile, which continues to be a major oversight on Samsung’s hearables. There are third-party apps that can do this, though. Further, you can also have the Galaxy Buds Live read your notifications aloud to you. This can be done either in a summary format (just the name of the app) or in detail (with the notification content). You can set the feature up on a per-app basis, too. The Galaxy Wearable app also has a Find My Earbuds feature which plays a loud beep on the earphones. Frankly, if you have actually lost your earbud, the feature is practically useless as you can barely hear the sound unless the earbud is within 10cm of your ears. You can also switch on Ambient Sound mode to relieve some pressure in your ears, but the effect is weak, as I mention in the next section.

Active Noise Cancellation

One of the highlight features on the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live is that they finally bring Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) to Samsung’s most popular hearable lineup. While the Buds+ featured a toggle within the Galaxy Wearable app for toggling Ambient Sound, the Buds Live replaces this toggle with one for ANC.

Does the ANC on the Buds Live work? Long story short, yes, ANC does work. But there are caveats that need mentioning, especially around noise isolation.

Active Noise Cancellation on the Buds Live does work, technically speaking. When you pop in the earbuds and toggle the ANC, you get the signature pop in your ears, bringing about a feeling of change in pressure. However, because of the Buds Live’s unique design that doesn’t completely seal the ear, there is very little noise isolation that they can experientially offer. As a result, the ANC’s net effect feels weak — the pop is weaker, and the degree to which noise is canceled is significantly weak.

In comparison, the Sony WF-1000XM3 continues to be my personal benchmark for the right combination of passive noise isolation and hard-working active noise cancellation. I have an overhead fan at my desk, and with the Sony’s, I can barely hear it at about 10% of the noise it makes, while still keeping the audio volume on the lower end. With the Galaxy Buds+ at a moderate volume setting, I can drown out some of the noise because of the noise isolation alone and hear about 60-70% of the noise it makes. With the Galaxy Buds Live at a moderate volume setting, I can still hear the fan at a good 50-60%. The Active Noise Cancellation does a good job, but it’s just not enough to really make a difference compared to shipping just an effective noise isolation system. The gains as against the Galaxy Buds+ are marginal at best. Switching off ANC on the Buds Live brings the fan back into focus with as much as 90% of its noise being audible. ANC is doing some heavy lifting, but it also needs its buddy, noise isolation, to truly deliver a stellar experience. As it currently stands, the Buds Live are not very good at muting your surroundings.

Samsung is on the right path, though, and I look forward to an audio accessory that incorporates both noise isolation and active noise cancellation. Perhaps they can incorporate noise isolation within this unique design for the next generation? A man can hope.


Samsung Galaxy Buds Live — Sound Quality and Voice Quality

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live feature a 12mm driver tuned by AKG. I still consider myself an amateur in audio assessment. To my “average consumer” audio perception, the Galaxy Buds Live does a good job but do get held back because of the lack of perceptible noise isolation.

The overall sound quality on the Buds Live is an upgrade over the Buds+.

Using this thread from the Head-Fi forums as a reference, the sub-bass on the Buds Live come off better than they did on the Buds+. The same audio from the Halo theme that I previously commented on being not as majestic on the Buds+ now sounds punchier on the Buds Live. The bass kicks on the Dogfighter theme have a decent kick to them, but nothing that gets a bass lover excited. The sub-bass is also more substantial, like on the Cowboy Bebop theme, but not enough to overpower the vocals. These are improvements over the Buds+, but not class-defining for the TWS category as the Buds+ had a lot of ground to cover. Other areas are closer to the Buds +’s excellent performance, namely vocals, mids, and highs. The Buds Live handles them very well, so overall, sound quality by itself is an upgrade over the Buds+. However, the lack of noise isolation can be felt throughout, so you should enjoy your music in a relatively quiet environment.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live continue on the legacy from the Buds+ when it comes to mic performance. My experience with voice calls has been great on the Buds Live, as it did on the Buds+ too. Samsung has figured out voice call quality much better than Sony and a lot of others have, and the Buds Live gets a thumbs up as well. They’re pretty good for talking on the phone without needing to touch your phone.


Samsung Galaxy Buds Live — Battery Life

The Galaxy Buds Live claim to offer a battery life of up to 6 hours on a single charge with ANC turned on, and the claim seem to be holding up. I can wear the Galaxy Buds for a maximum of 4 hours and some minutes before the discomfort forces me to pop them back in, and I usually end up with over 25% battery in the Buds Live left at that stage — the math checks out. The case adds in another two and a half cycles (claimed 20 hours in total). The net battery backup is marginally better on the Buds Live than it was on the Buds+. To compare, the Buds+ lasted longer without needing to be put back into the case, but the case itself had lower battery capacity compared to that on the Buds Live.

Once you run out of juice on the case, you can charge it up through the USB Type-C port or through a Qi-compatible wireless charger. Wireless charging is a nice touch for a TWS accessory, and it works out well if you are invested in the wireless charging ecosystem.


Samsung Galaxy Buds Live — Concluding Note

When I concluded my Galaxy Buds+ review, I noted how I missed the Sony WF-1000XM3’s sweet active noise cancellation. That set high hopes for the Galaxy Buds Live and its active noise cancellation as the highlighting feature. When looked at through this myopic lens, the Buds Live are underwhelming, and you’d be disappointed if you bought them only to experience ANC in its glory. The sound quality is good, but the lack of noise isolation is a regular speed breaker in your journey of tranquility.

What the Galaxy Buds Live does well is stand out from the crowd of AirPod-clones and Buds-wannabes. The main focus of the Buds Live is its design — it’s funny to look at, but it works well enough to the point of genuine surprise. They always feel like they will fall off your ears, but they don’t — and that’s a testimony to Samsung’s engineering behind this new design. The kidney bean-like shape (rajma, as it is called in Hindi) is a good conversation starter, and every friend that has seen these in my ears has requested a closer look and to wear them too, much to my annoyance in this COVID world.

What the Galaxy Buds Live does well is stand out from the crowd of AirPod-clones and Buds-wannabes.

Are the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live a good upgrade over the Galaxy Buds+? I say no. Not because the Buds Live are bad per se, but because the Buds+ are still pretty darn good. The Galaxy Buds+ have now fallen in price in India, retailing at ₹10,490 (~$142) while the USA still gets them for $150. The Galaxy Buds Live, on the other hand, are more expensive at ₹14,990 (~$204) in India and $170 in the USA. Based on my experiences with both, the Buds+ are easier to recommend to just about every average consumer. They are a better value purchase and much more evergreen in that sense. The Buds Live are for the consumer who values bleeding-edge design and isn’t afraid of taking risks, and that isn’t every consumer.

    Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
    The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live are Samsung's next generation TWS, featuring a radical open design and ANC, alongside very good battery life and a wireless charging case.

      Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:

Buy the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live: Samsung.in || Samsung.com
Buy the Samsung Galaxy Buds+: Samsung.in || Samsung.com

Where does Samsung go from here? There’s one direction that makes sense to me, and that is figuring out that sweet spot of Active Noise Cancellation alongside Passive Noise Isolation. Whether that comes with adding an in-ear rubber tip, or by migrating to a new design, or by packing in ANC in the Buds+ design — that is something to watch out for in 2021.

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Amazon takes on Google, Microsoft, and NVIDIA with new Luna cloud gaming service https://www.xda-developers.com/amazon-luna-cloud-gaming-service-announced/ https://www.xda-developers.com/amazon-luna-cloud-gaming-service-announced/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 10:31:12 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=340697 In a bid to capture a slice of the steadily growing cloud gaming pie, Amazon today announced a new cloud gaming service called Luna. The service takes on similar offerings from Google, Microsoft, and NVIDIA, and gives users the option to play the latest games without any additional hardware requirements. Luna is currently available in

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In a bid to capture a slice of the steadily growing cloud gaming pie, Amazon today announced a new cloud gaming service called Luna. The service takes on similar offerings from Google, Microsoft, and NVIDIA, and gives users the option to play the latest games without any additional hardware requirements. Luna is currently available in early access exclusively in the U.S. on compatible Fire TV, PC, Mac, and iOS devices. Amazon plans to add support for Android devices in the near future.

As with other cloud gaming services, Amazon is offering a Luna+ subscription at an early access pricing of $5.99 per month. As part of the subscription, you will get access to unlimited hours of play, a growing library of AAA games, up to 1080p/60fps gameplay (4K/60fps coming soon), and the ability to stream on two devices simultaneously. During early access, Luna+ includes games like Resident Evil 7, Control, and Panzer Dragoon; adventure games like A Plague Tale: Innocence and The Surge 2; platformers like Yooka-Laylee and The Impossible Lair and Iconoclasts; and fan favorites like GRID, ABZU, and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

Amazon Luna

 

Along with the Luna+ subscription, Amazon has partnered with Ubisoft to offer a new gaming channel. Players who subscribe to this channel will get access to their favorite Ubisoft titles in 4K resolution, mobile gameplay support, and access to new Ubisoft titles as soon as they launch. This will include upcoming titles like Assassins Creed Valhalla, Far Cry 6, and Immortals Fenyx Rising, which will go live on the service the same day they are launched. Furthermore, Luna will offer players native Twitch integration, giving them access to game streams from the platform right on their device.

 

Amazon Luna subscribers will be able to play their favorite games with the controller of their choice, as the service supports both keyboard/mouse input and Bluetooth controller input. Amazon is also releasing its own Luna Controller with Cloud Direct technology, which features Alexa integration and a multiple-antenna design for low latency gaming. Amazon claims that its first-party controller can reduce latency by 17-30 milliseconds compared to other supported input devices. The Luna controller is available at an introductory price of $49.99 during the early access period.

If you’re in the U.S. and you’re interested in trying out Amazon Luna, you can request an early access invitation by following the link below.

Request an invitation to Amazon Luna

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Amazon announces new Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show powered by AZ1 Neural Edge processor https://www.xda-developers.com/amazon-announces-echo-echo-dot-echo-show-powered-az1-neural-edge-processor/ https://www.xda-developers.com/amazon-announces-echo-echo-dot-echo-show-powered-az1-neural-edge-processor/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 09:10:37 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=340615 Alongside the launch of the new Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite, Amazon today unveiled a new lineup of Alexa-powered Echo smart speakers. The latest additions to the company’s Echo product line include the new 4th-Gen Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Dot with clock, Echo Dot Kids Edition, and the Echo Show 10. All

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Alongside the launch of the new Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite, Amazon today unveiled a new lineup of Alexa-powered Echo smart speakers. The latest additions to the company’s Echo product line include the new 4th-Gen Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Dot with clock, Echo Dot Kids Edition, and the Echo Show 10. All the speakers in the lineup are equipped with the company’s new AZ1 Neural Edge processor, which is designed to speed up Alexa’s ability to complete commands and answer your questions. Here’s everything you need to know about the processor and the new Echo devices:

Amazon AZ1 Neural Edge processor

Designed in collaboration with MediaTek, Amazon’s AZ1 Neural Edge processor is built into the company’s latest Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Dot with Clock, Echo Dot Kids Edition, and Echo Show 10. Amazon claims that the new silicon module is capable of speeding up Alexa’s responses by hundreds of milliseconds per response, which is expected to further streamline user interaction with the virtual assistant.

But even though all of the new Echo devices feature the AZ1 processor, only the Echo and Echo Show 10 have the on-device memory needed to support the company’s new neural speech models. Thanks to the new speech models, the Echo and Echo Show 10 feature the capability to process audio on-device, which drastically reduces the time Alexa takes to give users a response.

While the remaining smart speakers don’t include the new speech models, the AZ1 chip is expected to reduce response latency on those devices as well, albeit not as much. The company claims that these latency benefits will first be available for English in the US. But the company plans to add support for more languages and regions in the near future.

Amazon Echo

The 4th-Gen Echo smart speaker features an all-new spherical design and fabric finish, with a bright LED ring at the bottom that reflects off the underlying surface for improved visibility. The smart speaker packs in a 3.0-inch woofer, dual-firing tweeters, and Dolby processing, which is expected to deliver better audio performance than the previous generation.

Amazon Echo 4th gen

Much like the Echo Studio, the new Echo smart speaker is capable of detecting the acoustics of the space its placed in to fine-tune the audio playback. It comes with a built-in smart home hub with support for Zigbee, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), and Amazon Sidewalk. Thanks to the Amazon Sidewalk support, users will be able to easily set up new devices with the smart speaker, extend the range of devices like Ring Smart Lighting, and offer support for devices like Tile to locate misplaced items.

The new Echo smart speaker has been priced at $99.99 (₹9,999) and it will be available in three color variants — Charcoal, Glacier White, and Twilight Blue. The device is already up for pre-order on Amazon and it will start shipping sometime later this year.

Echo Dot and Echo Dot with clock

The 4th-Gen Echo Dot has also received a design refresh and it now has the same spherical design and fabric finish as the more premium Echo smart speaker. However, due to its smaller footprint, the speaker packs in a single 1.6-inch speaker.

Amazon Echo Dot 4th gen

The 4th-Gen Echo Dot with clock is exactly what it sounds like. It’s an Echo Dot with a simple LED display which shows basic information like time, temperature, timers, and alarms.

The new Echo Dot is priced at $49.99 (₹4,499) and it will be available in three color variants — Charcoal, Glacier White, and Twilight Blue. The Echo Dot with clock, on the other hand, is priced at $59.99 (₹5,499) and it will be available in two color variants — Glacier White and Twilight Blue. Both the new Echo Dots are already up for pre-order on Amazon, with shipping scheduled for sometime later this year.

Echo Dot Kids Edition

The 4th-Gen Echo Dot Kids Edition features the same new spherical design, but it comes with colorful Panda and Tiger prints that will appeal to kids. While it features the same internal hardware, Amazon has customized the Alexa experience on the smart speaker to be better suited to kids.

Alexa’s custom-built kids experience will allow children to ask Alexa questions, set animal sound alarms, get help with homework, and call pre-approved contacts. It features an extensive list of parental controls and the ability to create voice profiles for kids. This feature has been extended to all Echo devices, which means that Alexa will automatically switch to a kid-friendly experience when it detects a kid’s voice.

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition

On top of that, there’s a new Alexa feature called Reading Sidekick which is designed to help children improve reading fluency. To trigger the feature, you can simply say, “Alexa, let’s read,” and the virtual assistant will take turns reading with your child, provide encouragement when they’re reading, and offer support when they struggle. Previews for Alexa voice profiles for kids and Reading Sidekick will be available on all Echo devices in the coming months.

The Echo Dot Kids Edition is priced at $59.99 and it will be available in two animal prints — Panda and Tiger. The device is up for pre-order on Amazon, and it will start shipping to users later this year. All Echo Dot Kids Edition speakers will come with a 1-year Amazon Kids+ subscription, which will give you access to thousands of hours of kid-friendly Audible books, interactive games, and educational skills.

Amazon Echo Show 10

The new Echo Show 10 features a 10-inch adaptive HD display mounted on a rotating base, which can automatically change the direction of the display based on your position when you interact with Alexa. The base features a silent brushless motor that will ensure the device doesn’t make any noise as it rotates the display.

The smart display comes with a new 13MP wide-angle camera that can automatically pan and zoom to keep you at the center of the frame. It features dual front-firing speakers and a powerful woofer that also move along with the display. Much like the Echo smart speaker, the Echo Show 10 is capable of detecting the acoustics of your space to adapt its audio performance.

To ensure user privacy, the Echo Show 10 uses a fusion of audio-based localization and computer vision to power its intelligent motion. All processes happen locally and securely on the device, with no data being sent back to Amazon’s servers. There’s also a built-in camera shutter that automatically turns of motion when closed.

The Echo Show 10 is priced at $249.99 and it will be available in two color variants — Charcoal and Glacier White. The device will start shipping in time for the holidays later this year.

Amazon further notes that all the new Echo devices have the Climate Pledge Friendly badge and are built with 100% post-consumer recycled fabric, 100% recycled die-cast aluminum, and post-consumer recycled plastic. The wood fiber-based material used in Echo device packaging is also sourced from responsibly managed forests or recycled sources. Amazon also plans to introduce a new feature in the Alexa app that will show you the energy consumed by compatible smart home devices sometime later this year.

Pre-order the Echo: Amazon.com || Amazon.in

Pre-order the Echo Dot: Amazon.com || Amazon.in

Pre-order the Echo Dot with Clock: Amazon.com || Amazon.in

Pre-order the Echo Dot Kids Edition: Amazon.com

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Google Messages 6.7 prepares to let you automatically delete OTPs after 24 hours https://www.xda-developers.com/google-messages-6-7-prepares-automatically-delete-otp-after-24-hours/ https://www.xda-developers.com/google-messages-6-7-prepares-automatically-delete-otp-after-24-hours/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 08:54:57 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=340659 A lot of tasks and services these days are tied either to an email account or our phone number to authenticate our identity before proceeding. As a result, we often get a load of OTPs (One Time Passwords) through the weeks — for every time you log into the service on a new device, for

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A lot of tasks and services these days are tied either to an email account or our phone number to authenticate our identity before proceeding. As a result, we often get a load of OTPs (One Time Passwords) through the weeks — for every time you log into the service on a new device, for when you access the service, and in several countries, whenever you make payments through internet banking, and credit and debit cards. These OTPs can start clogging your inbox and make it difficult to find messages that do warrant your attention at a later date. Google seems to have taken cognizance of this issue, as the latest Google Messages update prepares to let you automatically delete OTPs after 24 hours of receipt.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

Google Messages v6.7.067 contains the following new strings:

<string name="otp_auto_deletion_promo_banner_body_text">Auto-delete OTPs after 24hrs</string>
<string name="otp_auto_deletion_promo_banner_negative_button_text">No thanks</string>
<string name="otp_auto_deletion_promo_banner_positive_button_text">Continues</string>
<string name="otp_content_description">This message is categorized as a one-time password</string>

According to these strings, Google Messages is working on a feature that will automatically delete OTP messages after 24 hours from their receipt. OTPs by very nature are temporary in nature, with most of them being valid for a short time duration of 10 minutes or so, depending on the needs of the service. Once this validity period expires, there’s little use to be derived from keeping these messages around. Users may also not always remember deleting these messages once they are done, so automatically deleting them after a day seems to be a useful addition.

Other OEMs have resorted to decluttering the primary inbox by displaying OTPs and other promotional messages in a separate secondary inbox. Google’s approach to decluttering appears to be better as OTPs practically have no future utility. The feature will likely roll out as an option, so if you do want to keep your OTP messages around, you should be covered too.

Messages (Free, Google Play) →

Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.

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Tasker 5.9.4 beta adds support for customizing Android 11’s power menu controls https://www.xda-developers.com/tasker-5-9-4-beta-adds-support-customizing-android-11-power-menu-controls/ https://www.xda-developers.com/tasker-5-9-4-beta-adds-support-customizing-android-11-power-menu-controls/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 07:33:51 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=340589 If you consider yourself an Android power user, you have very likely already heard about Tasker. And you have also heard about Android 11 and its Power Menu Device Controls. With Android 11, Google has changed the options that appear when you long-press the power button, now presenting a new UI and smart home device

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If you consider yourself an Android power user, you have very likely already heard about Tasker. And you have also heard about Android 11 and its Power Menu Device Controls. With Android 11, Google has changed the options that appear when you long-press the power button, now presenting a new UI and smart home device controls for quick access. This is a great spot for adding shortcuts, but Google limits these shortcuts to just home controls. This is where Tasker comes in, as the latest beta adds in support for customing Android 11’s power menu controls.

Tasker developer joaomgcd was already working on integrating shortcuts within the power menu. Tasker 5.9.4 beta is a continuation of those efforts, now reaching in the hands of users as the previous test was not released for users. The major highlight of the update is the fact that you can add in Tasker tiles to the power menu as clickable buttons, and these tiles could trigger virtually any Tasker tasks that you could think of. These tiles could be simple buttons for calling a task on click, or be a toggle with on/off states, or be a toggle with progress states. The dev presented a quick demo wherein a button was created to trigger a screenshot task:

If you need even more control at your fingertips, you can use the “Power Menu Action” action in Tasker to create buttons with a given id, type, title, subtitle, icon, and command. This further lets you create buttons that can change throughout the day. The new update also brings in the Tasker Command System with the new Command Event and Command Action, letting users re-use tasks and avoid duplicity in tasks. Third-party commands are also supported.

Tasker v5.9.4 beta Changelog

The full changelog for this beta release is as below:

  • Added Action “Power Menu Action” which allows you to create tiles for the Android 11+ Power Menu
  • Added the “Power Menu Shown” event which triggers when the Power Menu screen is shown on Android 11+
  • Added Power Menu tiles for every available task on Android 11+
  • Added Action “Command” which allows you to trigger the “Command” event with the AutoApps Command System
  • Added Event “Command” which can be triggered with the “Command” action
  • Added ability for third party apps to send commands that trigger the “Command” event but they have to explicitly ask the user for a permission to do so
  • Changed the dialog where you choose an icon so that it shows an icon for each option
  • Added Phone Call permission to kid apps when they use Contact Via App action
  • Added text option to Signal and Telegram messages in the “Contact Via App” action
  • Added option to add to new project when importing a profile or task from Taskernet
  • Fixed Termux command so it’s compatible with upcoming Termux release
  • Fixed dialogs not cancelling when screen is rotated while they are showing
  • Removed option to insert SMS into messaging database since it wasn’t possible to do that anymore
  • Fixed crash when reading a file too large to be read
  • Fixed copying/moving files with weird extensions to external SD cards
  • Fixed javascripts for devices that do not have recent webviews
  • Fixed a few crashes

You can sign up for the beta track on the Google Play Store, or sideload it yourself from the download link in the Reddit post.

Tasker ($3.49, Google Play) →

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Amazon revamps Fire TV UI and announces two new Fire TV sticks https://www.xda-developers.com/amazon-revamps-fire-tv-ui-announces-two-fire-tv-sticks/ https://www.xda-developers.com/amazon-revamps-fire-tv-ui-announces-two-fire-tv-sticks/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 06:24:30 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=340581 Just a few days after we first saw a leak of an upcoming affordable Fire TV Stick, Amazon has unveiled the next-gen Fire TV Stick, a new low-cost Fire TV Stick Lite, and a completely redesigned Fire TV user experience. Here’s everything you need to know about the new Fire TV Sticks and the redesigned

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Just a few days after we first saw a leak of an upcoming affordable Fire TV Stick, Amazon has unveiled the next-gen Fire TV Stick, a new low-cost Fire TV Stick Lite, and a completely redesigned Fire TV user experience. Here’s everything you need to know about the new Fire TV Sticks and the redesigned interface:

Next-gen Fire TV Stick

The latest update to the Fire TV Stick packs in an enhanced 1.7GHz quad-core processor, making it 50% more powerful than the previous generation. The device is capable of streaming 1080p video at 60fps with HDR compatibility, and it features a new dual-band, dual-antenna design with support for 5GHz Wi-Fi networks.

Fire TV Stick Amazon

Amazon claims that the updated Fire TV hardware will ensure that users have a more stable streaming experience with fewer dropped connections. Furthermore, the updated hardware reduces power consumption by 50% than the previous generation. Along with the hardware updates, the new Fire TV Stick now also features Dolby Atmos support for a more immersive audio experience with compatible content and speakers. The Fire TV Stick comes with an Alexa-enabled Voice Remote with dedicated power, volume, and mute buttons.

The new Fire TV Stick is priced at $39.99 (₹3,999) and it starts shipping in select countries next week. Customers in Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States can pre-order the new Fire TV Stick starting today.

Fire TV Stick Lite

As seen in the previous leak, the new Fire TV Stick Lite is an affordable version of the Fire TV Stick which is also capable of streaming in Full-HD resolution. Much like the new Fire TV Stick, the Fire TV Stick Lite is 50% more powerful than previous-gen Fire TV Sticks and Amazon claims that it’s the most powerful streaming device under $30.

Fire TV Stick Lite Amazon

Despite the ‘Lite’ moniker, the Fire TV Stick Lite includes HDR support. It comes with a Lite version of the Alexa-enabled Voice Remote. While the remote features the same design as other Fire TV remotes, it doesn’t include a couple of buttons that you’d find on other versions. However, it still features support for voice commands.

The Fire TV Stick Lite is priced at $29.99 (₹2,999) and it starts shipping in select countries next week. Customers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States can pre-order the Fire TV Stick Lite starting today.

Redesigned User Experience

Along with the new Fire TV Sticks, Amazon has also unveiled a completely redesigned Fire TV interface. With the new interface, Amazon expects to make it easier for users to find what they want to watch on their Fire TV and offer a more personalized experience to discover new content on the platform.

The updated Fire TV interface includes a revamped Home Screen, which has been designed to help users find all their favorite content in one place. At the center of the redesign is the new Main Menu, where users will be able to simply scroll over their apps to get a preview of the content and jump directly into their favorite shows on supported streaming services.

Revamped Amazon Fire TV UI

The new Main Menu makes it faster for users to get right to the content they want to watch. The menu also serves as a single destination for all of Fire TV’s popular features like Find, Live TV, Library, and pinned apps.

The Find experience has also been revamped to make it easier for users to browse through popular categories like movies, TV shows, free ad-supported content, and sports. It now includes a couple of filters to help users shortlist content based on the genre. Additionally, users will also be able to use the feature to discover other experiences on their Fire TV, like cooking classes with Food Network Kitchen, daily fitness with Peloton, and more.

Amazon Fire TV User Profiles

In case you share your Fire TV with others, you’d be glad to know that the new UI includes support for personalized streaming profiles. With this new feature, you’ll be able to set up different profiles for each user. The streaming profiles will ensure that your personalized recommendations don’t interfere with those of other users. The feature supports up to 6 personalized profiles, each with their own recommendations, viewing history, watch lists, preferred settings, and more. On top of that, you’ll also be able to set up a Kids Profile with Amazon Kids to ensure that your children can only access family-friendly content.

Alexa on the Fire TV has also been updated with new experiences and improved voice controls. It now supports commands like “Alexa, go to Live TV” and “Alexa, go to News” to help you quickly jump from one category to another. There’s also an optional Alexa Voice Profile feature, which is designed to recognize your voice and automatically switch to your user profile when you say, “Alexa, switch to my profile.”

Additionally, Amazon has also introduced Video Calling with Fire TV, which will allow users to connect a Logitech USB webcam to their Fire TV Cube and call friends and family right from their TV using Alexa. Amazon plans to add support for Zoom, but the company hasn’t revealed a launch date yet.

The new Fire TV experience will be available globally on the next-gen Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite. Amazon plans to roll it out to additional devices early next year.

    Amazon Fire TV Stick @ $39.99
    The new Amazon Fire TV Stick brings better performance, lower power consumption, Dolby Atmos support, and an Alexa-enabled Voice Remote.
    Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite @ $29.99
    The Fire TV Stick Lite is a dirt cheap streaming TV dongle that offers the same performance as the regular TV stick but fewer frills.

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HMD Global’s Nokia 7.3 leaks in high quality 3D renders https://www.xda-developers.com/hmd-global-nokia-7-3-renders-leaks/ https://www.xda-developers.com/hmd-global-nokia-7-3-renders-leaks/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 03:55:45 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=340491 Nokia-branded smartphones, made by HMD Global, don’t always offer the best value proposition, but they make for some amazing smartphones nonetheless. Earlier this week, HMD Global released the Nokia 8.3 5G, the company’s first 5G smartphone which comes equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G system-on-chip, a near-stock build of Android 10, a 64MP quad rear

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Nokia-branded smartphones, made by HMD Global, don’t always offer the best value proposition, but they make for some amazing smartphones nonetheless. Earlier this week, HMD Global released the Nokia 8.3 5G, the company’s first 5G smartphone which comes equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G system-on-chip, a near-stock build of Android 10, a 64MP quad rear camera setup, a 120Hz LCD, and much more. It’s not a true flagship phone, but seeing as HMD Global specializes in the mid-range smartphone space, that’s to be expected. Now, following last year’s release of the Nokia 7.2, HMD Global is allegedly gearing up to release its successor in the Nokia 7.3. Renders of the device come courtesy of OnLeaks in collaboration with a site called IPEEWorld, giving us a glimpse of the upcoming device from all angles. If you’re fond of Nokia-branded Android smartphones, you’ll probably like this one.

Nokia 7.3 Nokia 7.3 Nokia 7.3 Nokia 7.3

The Nokia 7.3’s design language is fairly similar to the Nokia 7.2, but there are a few key differences. First, the 7.3 has a quad-camera module housed in a circular, centered camera bump with a fingerprint sensor and Nokia branding below it. The dual LED flash is located to the left of the camera bump. In contrast, the Nokia 7.2 only had a triple camera module. On the front, there’s a 6.5-inch likely Full HD+ resolution flat display with a hole-punch cutout for a single front-facing camera aligned to the left side of the display. The Nokia 7.2, on the other hand, had a waterdrop notch in its display. The rear camera’s main image sensor is 48MP while the front-facing one is 24MP on the Nokia 7.3. The Nokia 7.2, meanwhile, also had a 48MP main rear image sensor, but it had a lower resolution 20MP front-facing camera. We don’t know what image sensor is used for the main rear camera on the new 7.3, and we also don’t know the specs of the auxiliary cameras.

CAD renders suggest the 7.3 has a hefty footprint with dimensions measuring 165.8 x 76.3 x 8.2mm. It’s hard to tell from the renders, but apparently, the body is made of plastic rather than glass. What we can see, though, is that there’s a very considerable chin on the device, and it houses yet another Nokia logo. On the bottom, we can also see that the Nokia 7.3 has a USB Type-C charging port, while on the bottom, we can see it has a 3.5mm audio jack.

According to the report, the Nokia 7.3 will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 690 chipset which has an integrated 5G modem, making it the second Nokia-branded device to support 5G connectivity. This would make the Nokia 7.3 a notable upgrade over the Nokia 7.2, which featured a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chipset. The 7.3 is said to carry a 4,000 mAh battery with support for 18W wired charging, up from 3,500 mAh with 10W charging in the 7.2. These are areas that we’re really glad to see get upgrades. The 7.3 will very likely launch with Android 10 out of the box, though we’re hoping HMD Global can manage to launch it with the new Android 11 release on board. The report doesn’t provide any more details about the Nokia 7.3, but we’ll probably see this phone launch before the end of the year.

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