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15th November 2017

OnePlus responds to the latest backdoor debacle, doesn’t see it as “a major security issue”

Just yesterday, it was discovered that OnePlus has included a rather powerful app that could easily serve as a backdoor for many of its latest devices like the OnePlus 5, 3T, and 3. Dubbed Engineer Mode, the app is normally intended for testing and maintenance of Qualcomm-powered Android devices but also allows anyone with average knowledge to pre-root the device and greatly mess up with the security of the device. Of course, such an app has no place inside an official user build for an Android device.

There were even concerns that apps could be engineered abuse these … – Source

Watch the top 5 carrier ads: T-Mobile spent $30 million for the Netflix spot, still couldn’t beat Verizon

Hot on the heels of T-Mobile giving away Netflix streaming to its subscribers came the rumor that Sprint may offer Hulu in its turn, and Verizon might be exploring free content, too. Well, T-Mobile made this a big selling point last quarter, so how much exactly has it spent on popularizing its generosity with the “Netflix on us” spot? No less than $30 million, it seems, judging from the recap of the wireless ad TV spending for last month.
That’s still just a chunk of the total estimated $271 million that 18 brands gave for advertising in October, up … – Source

Huawei’s ultra expensive Mate 10 Porsche Design now on sale in China, more markets to follow

Looking to spend a hefty sum of money for a new smartphone? If that’s the case, we have good news for you. Huawei’s ultra expensive Mate 10 Porsche Design is close to its international release.
Today, the special edition handset officially went on sale in China, carrying a startling ¥8,999 (about $1,358) price tag. For comparison, the 256GB version of Apple’s new iPhone X costs $1,149, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30 respectively stand at about $950 and $840.
As you might know, Huawei devices … – Source

The iPhone X doesn’t actually need the TrueDepth camera kit in its notch for Animoji

Apple is betting so hard on the added value of its inimitable TrueDepth camera kit that allows Face ID biometric unlocking and entertaining crowd-pleasers like Animojis, that it made several compromises with the look and app compatibility of the iPhone X (looking at you, notch-y top).
Well, folks were perfectly fine with unlocking their phone via the Touch ID finger scanner, and now it turns out that the Animoji feature may not even need the TrueDepth set, so… Wait, what? Apparently, even when you cover everything in the notch area but the regular … – Source

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 update tracker [Update: AT&T rolls out fixes]

Update, November 15: AT&T has started rolling out an update to the Galaxy Note 8 with some critical fixes. The update, which comes with build number N950USQU2BQJA, is based on Android 7.1.1 (sadly not the latest Oreo software) and contains patches for the recently discovered KRACK and BlueBorne exploits.

This began rolling out yesterday and also delivers “network performance enhancements, stability improvements, other various updates and fixes.” The update comes in at between 377 MB and 386 MB in size and you can look out for it arriving OTA to your device in the coming days.

Welcome to the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Android update tracker page. This page covers all major U.S. carriers with a quick reference table for each and a log with links to further details. It will be regularly updated with the latest Galaxy Note 8 update information, but note that we won’t be covering general security patches in our list.

We recommend you bookmark this page so you can stay up to date with the very latest updates.

Android 7.0 Nougat update tracker
Android 8.0 Oreo update tracker
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Android update

The Galaxy Note 8 was released in September, 2017 running Android 7.1.1 Nougat and is expected to be one of the first Samsung phones to receive Android Oreo. When this will happen we don’t know, and we can’t draw on the Galaxy Note 7‘s update timeline for an indication either (it was abandoned before it received its first major update).

An Oreo beta for the Samsung Galaxy S8 landed recently, but it’s unlikely that we’ll see something similar for the Note 8. Given Samsung’s recent rollout history, you’ll be lucky to see the final version of Oreo land before the end of 2017.

So far, the Galaxy Note 8 has only received one significant Android update and this rolled out just ahead of its official release to improve the camera software and wireless charging.

Galaxy Note 8 update US

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 updates – USAndroid 7.1.1Android 8.0

Verizon Galaxy Note 8 (SM-N950UZ*AVZW) update:
September 15, 2017, Verizon is rolling out a day-one patch to the Note 8 to improve GPS signal strength and Swype word prediction accuracy.
AT&T Galaxy Note 8 (SM-N950UZ*AATT) update:
November 14, 2017, AT&T is rolling out an update that includes network performance enhancements, stability improvements, and patches for the KRACK and BlueBorne vulnerabilities.
T-Mobile Galaxy Note 8 update (SM-N950UZ*ATMB:
September 15, 2017, T-Mobile rolls out a day-one patch with stability improvements and bug fixes.
Sprint Galaxy Note 8 update (SM-N950UZ*ASPR):
September 15, 2017, Sprint improves GPS accuracy for Google maps and rolls out some stability improvements.
International Samsung Galaxy Note 8 update:
September 13, 2017: Samsung is rolling out firmware version N950FXXU1AQI1 with improvements to the camera software and wireless charging.

If you’ve received an update we’ve missed, hit the comments below or Tip Us!

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UK cyber-defence chief accuses Russia of hack attacks

Russia is accused of having attacked Britain’s media, telecommunications and energy sectors. – Source

With $70M from Alphabet, United Masters replaces record labels

Record labels are obsolete. They haven’t kept up as music evolved from selling CDs to streaming songs to promoting concert tickets and merchandise. Labels were meant to help artists generate albums, fame, and money. But now anyone can record themselves and no one “buys” music. So today that requires being a technology company, combining analytics with hyper-targeted advertising. Read More

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You can now buy the Razer Phone in the US

You can now purchase the Razer Phone in the US.
After being announced some two weeks ago, the first phone with a 120Hz display is now available for $699.99 with a year’s worth of warranty. Aside from the ultra-smooth display, the phone also comes with rather intriguing other specs, like 8GB of RAM, a hefty 4,000mAh battery at the rear, stereo speakers, and a bundled Hi-Fi DAC that hooks up into the USB Type-C port (yeah, no headphone jack here).
You can also get a $39.99 Razer-themed rugged case for the phone which should protect … – Source

Drone simulator is as close to the real thing as you can get without spending hundreds of dollars

A state-of-the-art drone flying simulator called DRL Simulator is out on Steam today and it’s as close to the real thing as you’re going to get without spending hundreds of dollars on a high-end drone.

DRL Simulator was created by the Drone Racing League (DRL), the premiere competitive league for professional drone racing. The simulator goes through all the basics of drone piloting, allowing people to get a feel for what it’s like to fly a real drone, and works all the way up to the most difficult professional levels of drone racing.

SEE ALSO: This cute, flying robot could be your new bestie

The simulator is so true-to-life that DRL is actually using it to host tryouts to its 2018 competitive drone racing season, with the top simulator pilots getting a chance to earn thousands of dollars. …

More about Tech, Gaming, Drones, Esports, and Drone Racing League

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Ring Doorbell Pro is easily worth $200, so you should definitely buy it at $100

The Ring Doorbell is one of the best smart home products at full price — at half off, it’s an amazing deal.

Five years ago, I optimistically spent $170 on a connected doorbell from a hardware startup with dubious credibility and no success stories. That product, DoorBot, eventually shipped, but I never could get it to work. I wrote it off as the cost of doing early adopter business and forgot about it. (It’s still in a drawer somewhere.)

Two years later, I heard that the company behind DoorBot, Edison Junior, was rebranding to Ring and it was going to release an updated version of that poorly-received initial project, the Ring Doorbell. I was skeptical.

Then the reviews started rolling in, and they were so positive I threw caution into the wind a second time and bought one. When I moved into my new house in early 2016, I ripped off the old analog bell, installed a Ring, and sort of forgot about it. It worked as a doorbell that would ping my phone whenever someone was there. Cool. Thing is, I was home — I could hear the bell myself and wasn’t about to sit on my butt checking the camera in my doorbell when I could walk to the front door and look through the peephole.

A few days later, I was out of the house at a meeting and right before I walked through the door to the building, my phone pinged in my pocket. It was the Ring app telling me someone was at my door. I opened the app and in a couple seconds, I was staring at the FedEx guy, asking whether he could leave the package with a neighbor. It was a short conversation — maybe 10 seconds — but it was life-changing. The Ring hardware, the app, the LTE connection — it all just worked. It just worked. I was hooked.

To say the Ring Doorbell has changed my life would be an understatement. To say it is the most reliable piece of smart home tech I own would not be an exaggeration. I love this product. I regularly answer the door from other countries (I did so today, from New York City) and it feels like magic.

I recently got a Ring Doorbell Pro as an upgrade to my older model. Slimmer and more stylish, it also films at 1080p, and thanks to improvements in power transfer, is much faster to connect. I’ll be sharing my thoughts about it in the coming weeks, but suffice it to say, I would spend $200 on this thing.

Thankfully, you can get one for half that amount. Until Friday, November 18, as part of Thrifter’s ongoing Black Friday doorbuster deals, you can get a Ring Doorbell Pro for $99.95. Because quantities are limited, you need to apply for the chance to buy it at that price, but it’ll just takes a few minutes, and it’ll be worth — promise.

Thrifter Black Friday Doorbuster: Ring – Source

Razer Phone now on sale in the US

The Razer Phone went on sale a couple of days early – it was supposed to launch on November 17, but it’s available right now in the US. Well, the regular edition is anyway, the special edition is sold out already (it was a limited run of just 1,337 units).

Anyway, the phone costs $700 as promised but you can add a few accessories. A thin case for $20 or a rugged one for $40 or Razer’s Hammerhead BT headphones for $100. If you’re going to use wired headphones, try not to lose the USB-C to 3.5mm adapter – a new one is $20.

Currently, only is selling the phone. In the US,…

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LG V30 review: Good hardware design marred by bad camera, software

Ron Amadeo

Another six months, another LG flagship phone. Typically the V series has been LG’s wacky, experimental line with an extra “ticker” screen on the front. This year, though, the V30 is all business. The ticker is gone in exchange for a slim-bezel device and a clean look.

With the V30, LG is still basically following the same path that Samsung travels by shipping a heavily skinned phone with a glass back and slow updates. When you do all the same things as Samsung without the marketing budget, it’s hard to stand out.

Read 43 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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YouTube partners with Ticketmaster to show artist gig listings with music videos

Music has always been integral to the success of YouTube, and the platform is well aware of the importance of its relationship with the entertainment industry. As good as watching a music video or live performance can be, it’s no substitute for actually seeing your favorite artists live. YouTube wants to connect the two experiences and has partnered with gig ticket seller Ticketmaster to do just that.

Ticketing within the YouTube app seems like a no-brainer, and from today it will be possible to see the US tour schedules for hundreds of artists when viewing one of their official videos.

Read More

YouTube partners with Ticketmaster to show artist gig listings with music videos was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Star Wars Battlefront II game faces further backlash

Players criticise the credits required to unlock heroes, as well as the inclusion of loot boxes. – Source

This Thor hammer toolbox helps with household chores – CNET

Thor’s mighty Mjolnir doubles as handy place to store a 44-piece toolset that includes everything from adjustable wrench to an actual hammer, from ThinkGeek. – Source

Sports Illustrated TV streaming service kicking off on Amazon – CNET

The new subscription service will feature documentaries, TV shows and movies themed around sports (and swimsuits). – Source

iPhone maker Foxconn posts 39% drop in profits, iPhone X production problems to blame?

Taiwanese company Foxconn, the main assembler of Apple products, reported a 39% slump in quarterly net profits. According to The Wall Street Journal, such a drop in margins was expected, but the results are notably worse than what analysts predicted. Foxconn hasn’t experienced such a quarter-over-quarter decline since the global recession of 2008.
The most probable cause for this downturn is a series of production bottlenecks surrounding the iPhone X. As you might know, the $1,000 flagship is the first Apple smartphone to feature an edge-to-edge … – Source

Accessibility Services: What they are and why Google is cracking down on their misuse

A lot of your favorite apps might use Accessibility Services for certain features, but this is why Google’s new limitations on them are important.

There are a lot of moving parts to all of our favorite applications. You might not think about this when scrolling through your timeline on Twitter or watching videos on YouTube, but the amount of stuff going on behind the scenes to make all of these apps work the way they’re supposed to is actually pretty incredible.

Certain apps like LastPass, Tasker, and Clipboard Actions tap into Android’s Accessibility Services to allow for deeper features that otherwise couldn’t exist, but Google recently announced that applications using them without directly benefiting those with disabilities could be removed from the Play Store.

Accessibility Services are an interesting tool, and to get a better idea of what exactly is taking place here, we need to take a closer look.

What are Accessibility Services?

Accessibility Services are found within Android and allow phones and tablets to be easier to use by those with disabilities. When you go to the Accessibility settings page on your Android device, you’ll see an array of controls that Google has enabled by default. Some of the items here include the likes of tapping items on your screen to have your device read them out to you, spoken feedback that reads aloud all of your actions, increasing the size of items on the display, etc.

As expected, the general theme here is to make Android easier and simpler to use for people that need some extra assistance.

In addition to the services that are built into Android by default, developers can tap into Accessibility Services with their own apps to create new features that take advantage of them. On the Android Developers site, Accessibility Services are described as follows:

Accessibility services should only be used to assist users with disabilities in using Android devices and apps. They run in the background and receive callbacks by the system when AccessibilityEvents are fired. Such events denote some state transition in the user interface, for example, the focus has changed, a button has been clicked, etc. Such a service can optionally request the capability for querying the content of the active window. Development of an accessibility service requires extending this class and implementing its abstract methods.

Why some apps use them

Although the main goal of Accessibility Services is to allow developers to create tools targeted at individuals with disabilities, we’ve seen a number of apps over the years that have tapped into this resource to create expanded features that can technically benefit everyone.

Android’s pre-installed Accessibility Services are all targeted at people with disabilities, and for a reason.

Accessibility Services can be used legitimately, but that, unfortunately, doesn’t always happen.

For example, LastPass’s App Fill reveals an overlay on top of whatever screen or other app you’re on so you can easily add username and password information – Source

There’s a dizzying number of Alexa devices not made by Amazon – CNET

Each gadget from this motley crew includes built-in access to the Amazon Alexa voice assistant, and none of them are made by Amazon. – Source

Samsung NX58M6850S review – CNET

The $1,699 Samsung NX58M6850S freestanding gas oven is an impressive cooker that’s full of useful features. – Source

Best Black Friday 2017 deals for smartphones – CNET

We round up discounts on phones for every budget. – Source

Best tech gifts for under $500 video – CNET

Looking for that perfect gift and ready to splurge? Check out our holiday tech ideas for under $500. – Source

These voice-activated Alexa devices aren’t made by Amazon – CNET

It’s open season for third-party gadgets featuring Amazon’s voice-activated virtual assistant — here are some of the most notable ones we’ve covered. – Source

iPhone X or dSLR: Which do you like more? video – CNET

Check out the portraits from the iPhone X and a digital SLR to see which one you like better. – Source

Hulu cancels ‘Difficult People’ after three seasons

Just like regular TV shows, streaming originals get cancelled too. And, Hulu’s Difficult People is the latest series on the chopping block. The comedy created by and starring Julie Klausner, and exec produced by Amy Poehler, will not be returning for… – Source

Here’s what Sony needs to do to get back in the smartphone game

After a series of restructuring efforts, Sony recently announced a return to good looking financial health, stating that the company is on track to set a new annual profit record. Full year profits are expected to come in around the $4.2 billion mark, due to the success of it’s Playstation, TV, and Sony Music divisions. Sony’s mobile division hovers on the verge of unprofitability, and sales have fallen from 33 million units in 2012 to just 14.6 million last year.

With smartphones clearly not a positive part of Sony’s balance sheet, other than perhaps from a brand perception standpoint, the company surely has to decide whether it’s worth continuing to invest money in one of its weakest business ventures. There are two choices: reinvent its strategy to make a meaningful impact in the smartphone market, or simply cut its losses.

Making money from mobile

Although Sony’s Xperia smartphones might not be generating major profits for the tech giant, it’s still an important segment for the company. Sony’s image sensor business supplies components to a huge number of handset OEMs and made $5.9 billion in revenue. Sony’s sensors are estimated to account for roughly half of the market, even though the company recently cut sales estimates by 2.9 percent for the year.

Smartphone camera components are big business for Sony. However, does Sony need to actually be in the business of designing and selling phones in order to profit from them? After all, some of its biggest customers include Apple and Samsung, who sell significantly more handsets.

Unlike Google, there’s little persuasive argument that Sony’s Xperia line acts as a reference point to propelling the industry forward, even if its camera setups and components are consistently ranked highly. In fact, many criticize Sony as being one of the least innovative smartphone companies. I feel that’s a little too harsh.

The same old design

The most common criticism levelled at Sony’s Xperia range is the similarity of its bi-annual releases. That too many phones release each year looking far too similar is a fair point. The company could certainly benefit from a revamped design to catch the attention of the style-conscious consumer. After all, if you’re charging premium prices, your phone has to look and feel as premium as this year’s cutting edge designs like the LG G6 and Galaxy S8.

With HDR playback, LDAC, and a top-notch camera, Sony’s phones are truly high-end, but the design is dated.

The biggest problem here is that reusing the same old look hides the company’s true innovations and strengths, weakening its already poor marketing image.

More obscure features like its 3D Creator software, WiFi PlayStation 4 streaming, and 4K HDR playback easily become lost on store consumers when your phone looks the same as the last generation or other models at a cheaper price point. Innovative features need to come in a package that looks equally cutting edge to hammer the point home.

Ultimately Sony needs to get on the same page as consumers, offering us what we want rather than attempting – Source

iPhone X resellers beware! Transaction may leave you with broken bones

The iPhone X is expensive and in demand, too, as Apple barely manages to make enough of those to satisfy the initial rush of early adopters. That is why when David Stowers decided to flip his unit for $1300, he chose the well-lit dining area of a Publix grocery store, with the resulting security cameras and plenty of people around.
Still, this didn’t stop his potential buyer, one Kievian McGhee (not his real name, it turned out) to try and run with the loot a few seconds after he got the box for inspection. Thankfully, an automated shop door didn’t open … – Source

Amazon brings Echo and Alexa to Canada

Amazon has finally brought its line of Alexa-powered Echo speakers to Canada. The release of Echo hardware has been long awaited by America’s northern neighbor, which could only watch and wait as Echo went through two generations in the U.S. Echo Dot, the second generation Echo and the Echo Plus with integrated smart home hub are all on sale in Canada as of today, compete with full… Read More

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Stephen Colbert dissects Roy Moore’s sexual assault allegations with brutal wit

The Roy Moore sexual assault scandal reached new heights of creepiness after The New Yorker reported that the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama was banned from a shopping mall in the 1980s, when he was an assistant district attorney.

Moore, who is now under fire from fellow Republicans and House Speaker Paul Ryan, was the main target of Stephen Colbert’s Late Show monologue. And boy, did he deliver.

“Five women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct against them when they were teens, and now we’ve learned that in the ’80s, when he was an assistant district attorney, Moore was banned from an Alabama shopping mall for bothering teenage girls,” said Colbert. …

More about Sexual Assault, Stephen Colbert, Shopping Mall, Roy Moore, and Sexual Misconduct – Source

UK watchdog calls for transparency on online political ad funding

The UK’s Electoral Commission wants political parties to be more transparent about the people or companies bankrolling their online advertising campaigns during general elections. The independent body says British voters deserve the same transparency… – Source

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