KrISS feed 8.7 - A simple and smart (or stupid) feed reader. By Tontof
  • Thursday 20 September 2018 - 00:30

    Should you ever need it, placing a call to 911 on your Android phone will now let responders on the other line know much more about your location. Announced today, Google is launching ELS (Emergency Location Service) in the US with RapidSOS, T-Mobile, and West in an effort to bring more accurate location to emergency call centers.

    ELS itself is not new to Android. Launched in 2016, ELS has provided faster and more accurate location to emergency communications centers when an Android user places an emergency call in various countries around the world. Now in the US, with the RapidSOS integration and T-Mobile compatibility to start, the process of locating someone who placed a 911 call from an Android will be even better.

    As Google explains, there will be no need for a separate app to be installed, OS update, or special hardware requirement. The improved location is computed on the device and delivered directly to emergency service providers.

    Here’s a breakdown of the benefits following the RapidSOS combo.

    In partnership with emergency technology company RapidSOS, we provide ELS location directly to emergency communications centers through their secure, IP-based data platform. RapidSOS integrates with existing software at emergency centers in the U.S. to provide a faster, more accurate location with ELS. In testing the technology in the U.S., emergency centers have told us ELS has already helped save lives in their jurisdiction, decreasing the average uncertainty radius from 159 meters to 37 meters (from 522 feet to 121 feet).

    Now, just because this has been announced for T-Mobile’s network to start, that doesn’t mean we won’t see it on others. Additionally, the standard ELS is already present on all Android devices (Android 4.4 and up), so rest assured that whenever you call 911, your GPS information is likely being shared.

    // Google

  • Thursday 20 September 2018 - 16:27
    Google Home Mini

    The Google Home Hub, a device that we believe was first revealed earlier in the week as Google’s first smart display, likely just stopped off at the FCC. A device under Google’s FCC ID and labeled as a “interactive video streaming device” had its RF, Bluetooth, and WiFi tested.

    The device carries a model number of H1A and FCC ID A4RH1A. There is no specific mention of this being a Google Home device, but so you know, the original Google Home has a model number of A4RH0ME, the Home Mini is A4RH0A, and the Home Max is A4R-H0B. The next wave of Google Home devices jumping from H0 to H1 is a likely next step.

    As far as new info, we’ve got the below image for where the Google Home Hub label will sit. This is a bottom view of the device, which shows a curve that matches up to the retail listing images from a couple of days ago. It’s clear that they’ve cut off a portion to help conceal its identity. The portion they cut off is where the display would sit if you were looking at the Hub from underneath.

    Google Home Hub FCC

    As I mentioned, the FCC tested Bluetooth, as well as 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi.

    We should see this device alongside the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL on October 9.

    // FCC

  • Thursday 20 September 2018 - 18:04
    Galaxy A7 from Samsung

    Samsung introduced its first smartphone with a triple rear camera setup this week, Galaxy A7 for Europe and Asia markets.

    Back when seeing three rear-facing cameras on a smartphone was new, I believe we all assumed more was better. Having a variety of differing lenses on your device can make it more suitable to an assortment of shooting conditions. However, now that we know Google can somehow get just as good of shots, better in most cases with a single lens as opposed to two or even three, there’s something about triple camera setups that get under my skin.

    Beyond three rear-facing cameras, Galaxy A7 features a 6” FHD+ (1080×2220) Super AMOLED display, undisclosed octa-core processor (most likely Exynos), 4GB + 64GB storage or 6GB + 128GB storage depending on the option you choose, 3,300mAh, NFC, and Android 8.0 “Oreo” with Samsung Experience on top.

    As for the cameras, Samsung lists a 24-megapixel shooter at F1.7, 8-megapixel Ultra-Wide at F2.4 (120°), and a 5-megapixel Depth lens at F2.2. We have yet to see any camera samples from Samsung’s first attempt at three rear cameras, but I’m looking forward to see how it compares.

    Already mentioned, this phone will be available this Fall in Europe and Asia for an yet-to-be-announced price. Also, Samsung specifically mentions its upcoming press event in the announcement for this phone, which is still scheduled for October 11. Related?

    Does this point to triple cameras on other upcoming Samsung devices? Quite possibly, should it sell well.

    // Samsung

  • Thursday 20 September 2018 - 18:24
    Google Pixelbook

    Brydge, a keyboard maker that is apparently a big deal in the iPad and Surface circles of the world, might have mistakenly given us our first look at an upcoming Google Chrome OS tablet. We aren’t sure if it’s a Pixelbook tablet, a mock-up, or something else, but it certainly is new.

    The tablets were spotted by About Chromebooks, who notes that the keyboards shown are Wallaby and Goanna. Wallaby is a keyboard that you would mount or dock a Chrome OS tablet to, while Goanna appears to be a stand-alone Bluetooth keyboard. Both have Google Assistant keys, just like the current Pixelbook has, as well as the Chrome OS keyboard layout.

    Brydge Wallaby Pixelbook


    Where this gets interesting is in the tablet shown attached to Wallaby. This could very well be “Nocturne,” one of the rumored Chrome OS devices (possibly tablet) that we believe to be on the way from Google. Nocturne is thought to feature a fingerprint reader, which this device is showing on its top left side. It also has at least one USB-C port on one side with an elongated speaker grill above it, and multiple microphones. Nocturne is rumored to have a second USB-C port, likely on the opposite side of the one shown here.

    Google Nocturne Pixelbook

    This could also just be a mock-up based off CAD renders, like we see from other accessory makers who make items for phones. I only bring that up because the Chrome OS version here is old and the general styling of this device doesn’t necessarily remind me of a Pixel device. Then again, maybe Google is branching out from the white exterior of the original Pixelbook with its next-gen line-up.

    Either way, I’m pretty excited for new Google-made Chrome OS devices. Chrome OS is quite mature these days and the Pixelbook is easily one of the best computers I’ve used.

    // About Chromebooks

  • Thursday 20 September 2018 - 20:36
    Apple Watch Series 4

    Apple announced its Apple Watch Series 4 a week ago and the early reviews that dropped this week are about as glowing as is possible. I’m not shocked by that either, because it was pretty obvious as Apple revealed their new watch that it was the most impressive hardware from their fall event. The reason it’s sad is the fact that it shows how badly Google and its partners screwed up wearables on Android and just how far behind Apple they are.

    Android Wear was originally announced in March of 2014. At that time, Motorola showed off the original Moto 360 and LG showed off the original G Watch. We then got a taste of both at Google I/O that year and have since seen years of Android Wear watches from a variety of manufacturers. None of them would probably be categorized as a major success. In fact, we’ve seen some of the players give up completely on wearables in recent years, as Google’s wearable OS now seems to be mostly driven by fashion brands.

    Now called Wear OS, I’m still not sure I could point to a watch that has done anything to advance the platform. You would think that Google might want to take a stab at it, you know, since this is their wearable OS. You may recall a Nexus line from Google that was once used to showcase each year’s new Android release on phones or tablets and possibly introduce a new hardware or software idea. Google has never taken a single shot at showcasing what it believes to be the best use or representation of Wear OS. That’s odd.

    It’s frustrating to watch as Apple continues to improve upon its wearable side and define its focus while Google and partners can’t figure any of it out. Apple keeps introducing new custom chips that are more efficient, they’ve put bigger screens in smaller bodies, created a vibrant ecosystem of watch bands, have regularly added to the health and fitness side, and are at the point where their watch is saving lives on the regular and will only save more going forward. The new Apple Watch Series 4 can generate a f*cking ECG. Wear OS watches are still dancing around with cheap heart rate monitors that I’m not sure anyone trusts.

    There is some hope on the horizon for Wear OS because Qualcomm has finally made a new chipset. It’ll offer multiple battery life profiles that could last for weeks, possibly open up the platform for better health monitoring like Apple is doing, and give us a better looking experience. But why is it that we are relying on Qualcomm to come around for Wear OS to advance?

    I know that Google has only started making chips with its Pixel Visual Core, but it feels like Wear OS died over the past two years because they were waiting on someone else to make it better, someone who may not have been all that interested in doing so. And they are doing that with hardware too. Google isn’t making a watch this year (again) because they want to focus on their partners and the watches they have in the pipeline. That’s been the story from day 1, though, and it hasn’t worked.

    We thought that we might finally get a Google-made watch this year, possibly named Pixel Watch, but Google has already squashed that rumor. What’s troubling about that bit of news are the quotes that accompanied it. Google’s Wear OS boss, Miles Barr, was asked about the possibility of a Google watch and his answers make it sound like Google still has no idea what a proper smartwatch is or what it should do. He gave a vague response to his vision for a Google watch, where it would have a heavy AI influence and Assistant, except that’s already kind of a part of Wear OS. But he also suggested that a one-size fits all watch might not exist because some people want fashion accessories while others may want a sports experience. In other words, Google doesn’t know and aren’t really interested in trying.

    I bring this all up because Apple has what Google thinks doesn’t exist. The Apple Watch is meant to be a one-size-fits-all device. It’s both a fashion accessory and a sports watch, for those who need it. While I may not love the look of the Apple Watch, it’s pretty obvious that a whole bunch (like, millions) of people do or are at least comfortable enough with it.

    It’s really starting to feel like Apple has lapped Google in this department six or seven times now. We’re not just talking about a slight edge here where Google and its partners are really close to coming up with the watch we all want. Apple is on its 4th series of watches and 5th version of its watch OS. They’ve fully defined the smartwatch category. Each new Apple Watch gets better at fitness. They get better at health. They get better at providing information. They get better at connectivity. They get better at being social. They get better at being watches.

    Google still hasn’t given us a series 1 watch and after four years of making a wearable OS, doesn’t even know what that might look like. Additionally, some of its previously key partners weren’t even mentioned when Qualcomm revealed the future of Google’s platform, as if they still aren’t ready to try again. The only partners we know on board are more fashion brands, some of which none of us will be able to afford.

    Let’s also not forget that the newest version of Wear OS that was just unveiled almost a month ago as the latest revamp to try and turn this thing around, has still not rolled out to a single watch. That’s funny too, because if Google had its own watch, like its Pixel and Nexus devices, I may not be able to say that.

    I don’t get it. What are we doing, Google?

  • Thursday 20 September 2018 - 21:21
    Amazon Holiday 2018 Lineup

    Amazon just announced a slew of new products, enough to fill your entire house and take the entirety of multiple paychecks. We’ve got an Alexa-powered wall clock, microwave, receivers, as well as updated an Echo Dot. And that’s just the start.

    Below you can view all of the new products and a rundown of what they do, but a lot was done for Alexa products behind the scenes, too. Amazon announced offline home control as well as a Whisper Mode for Alexa devices. For Whisper Mode, an Alexa product can tell if you whisper to it and it will reply in a whisper voice.

    For offline home control, this will let you control pieces of your smart home via Alexa, even if there is no established internet connection. This is a major plus if you have multiple things running through Alexa and happen to lose your internet connection.

    There’s quite a bit more. To give you an idea, Amazon lists email management, step-by-step cooking, location-based Routines, smart home and home monitoring features like Alexa Guard, Hunches, Local Voice Control, and FreeTime on Alexa features like kid-focused Routines, podcasts, new skills, and more. Notably, Alexa Guard turns your Echo products into little monitors that listen for breaking glass and smoke detectors.

    Alexa can help keep your home safe when you’re away with Alexa Guard–just say, “Alexa, I’m leaving” to activate Guard. When you enable Guard, Alexa can send you Smart Alerts about the sound of glass-breaking, smoke detectors, or carbon monoxide alarms detected in your home. This feature will be available on select Echo devices later this year.

    Seriously, there’s a lot going on. Here’s everything Amazon announced today.

    New Echo Dot

    Amazon announced an updated Echo Dot, which is smaller and has a different design than the original. According to Amazon, it’s 70% louder and much clearer when blasting tunes, thanks to a much larger driver.

    Available starting today for $49.99.

    New Echo Plus

    The new Echo Plus is basically the same thing as last year’s Echo Plus, but in a package that conforms to what we have with the current line of Echo tubes. You know, the cloth look.

    Available in October for $149.99, pre-orders live today.

    New Echo Show

    Amazon is refreshing Echo Show, too. The new design features a 10″ display (up from 7″) and new speaker system for enhanced audio with real-time Dolby processing. Still no word from Amazon if it can access YouTube videos natively. On the upside, Amazon says it’s bringing a web browser to the device.

    Pre-orders go live today for $229.

    Echo Auto

    An Amazon-made Echo device for your car. Connects to the Alexa app on your smartphone, then lets you play music or access all of the same Alexa skills you know and love.

    Available via invitation for $24.99.

    Echo Input

    Think of an Echo Dot and then flatten it and remove the speakers. That’s Echo Input. With it, you can connect to any speaker in your home and turn it into a smart speaker. It can connect via 3.5mm or Bluetooth, and with 4 separate microphones, it should be able to hear you quite well from across the room.

    Available later this year for $34.99.

    Echo Sub

    To give your existing Echo speaker a deeper range, Amazon announced Echo Sub. Yup, it’s a subwoofer that can pair to your Amazon Echo, up to 2 to be exact.

    Pre-order available today for $129.99.

    Echo Link Amp and Echo Link

    For you home theater people, Amazon announced Echo Link Amp and Echo Link. Link Amp features multiple inputs and outputs, two channels, and 60 watts of power. Unfortunately, neither Link has microphones, meaning all control will be done via an existing Echo device in your house.

    Echo Link Amp and Echo Link will be available later this year at $299 and $199.

    Smart Plug

    It’s a smart plug. Put it in an outlet and an Echo in your house will automatically detect it and get you through the setup process. Once complete, you can use Echo to control the power flowing to anything plugged into it.

    Smart Plug will be available in October for $24.99, pre-orders today.

    Ring Stick Up Cam

    Amazon has two Stick Up Cams for the Ring brand, a wired and wireless model. The wired camera features two-way walk, 1080p HD video capability, a siren, night vision, motion detection, and an IPX5 weather rating.

    Will be priced starting at $179.99 and launch later in October.

    Amazon Microwave

    Finally, a microwave that can communicate wirelessly to my Amazon Echo! This microwave is through AmazonBasics, meaning it’s not supposed to be an overly fancy piece of hardware. Basically, you can control it via voice or manually. Sadly, it has no mics, so it won’t be a standalone Alexa experience.

    Available in October with pre-orders today, the microwave will be priced at $59.99.

    Echo Wall Clock

    Echo Wall Clock tells time and can help visualize timers. Oh, and when it Daylight Saving’s Time comes around, it will automatically adjust itself.

    Available later this year for $29.99.

    Fire TV Recast

    Amazon now has its own DVR, available in two models: 500GB with 2 tuners or 1TB with 4 tuners. In order to record channels, you will need a separate HD tuner, Fire TV streaming media player or Echo Show, as well as something that can access the Fire TV app. With Alexa onboard, you can tell it to record shows, tune to different channels, or even open a channel guide.

    Available this November with pre-orders now up. Priced starting at $229 for 2 tuners and 500GB of storage. 4 tuners and 1TB of storage will cost you $279.

    // Amazon [2] [3]

  • Thursday 20 September 2018 - 22:54
    Galaxy Note 9

    Bixby still can’t be disabled.

    An update to Samsung’s Bixby rolled out this week to Galaxy Note 9 owners and it fixes one of the frustrations (our review) I had when using the phone. While you still can’t turn Bixby off, you can set the button to open only after consecutive presses now.

    If you head into Bixby settings on your Note 9, there is a Bixby Key setting that you should toggle to “Press twice to open Bixby.” With this, any accidental single press on the Bixby button won’t launch Samsung’s no-one-wanted-this assistant. Instead, you’ll have to add a second tap on it.

    Again, we wish Samsung would just let us turn Bixby off (like they did with the Galaxy S9), get rid of dedicated Bixby buttons, and move on from this experiment, but this is at least somewhat helpful. Because seriously, I can’t tell you how many times Bixby opened during my testing, and no, none of them were on purpose.

    Go grab that Bixby update!

    Bixby Button Galaxy Note 9

  • Thursday 20 September 2018 - 23:28
    lg v30 5 reasons

    Verizon is pushing September’s security patch to LG V30 and G6 owners.

    The V30 update is labeled as software version VS99620f, while G6 folk will see VS98820d. Verizon’s changelogs don’t mention anything else and we also aren’t sure how large the updates are.

    Now also seems like a good time to remind LG fans that the company’s V40 ThinQ will be announced October 3. That’s very soon!

    // Verizon [2]

  • Thursday 20 September 2018 - 23:42
    Google Keep Notes

    I still can’t tell if this was triggered by an update or some server-side magic from Google, but Google Keep on phones is now called Keep Notes. As in, if you head into your app drawer looking for Google Keep, you’ll now find it as “Keep Notes.”

    I don’t necessarily know if this is Google working towards a switch to just “Google Notes,” but that wouldn’t shock me. Simplifying names so that they are better understood by a big audience probably isn’t a bad thing. I wonder how many Android users want to take notes on their phone and have no idea what in the hell Google Keep is. It sounds like a password locker.

    Anyways, Keep Notes is here, probably just before it becomes Google Notes.

    Google Play Link

  • Friday 21 September 2018 - 16:39
    OnePlus 6

    After a couple of open beta updates, OnePlus is ready to send the Android Pie update to your OnePlus 6. This is the stable Android 9.0 OnePlus 6 update for everyone!

    The update, like the open beta builds, includes not only Android 9.0 “Pie,” but the updated UI bits from it, adaptive battery support, Google’s new home button gesture navigation (in addition to OnePlus’ version), improved do not disturb settings, new gaming mode 3.0, and accent color customizations.

    This Pie update for the OnePlus 6 will rollout in stages, so try and contain yourself if you don’t get it right now or tomorrow. As OnePlus notes, a limited number of users will receive the update today to make sure all is well and not ruining $500+ phones. Once it’s ruled to be cool, they’ll ramp up the rollout until everyone receives it over the next few days.

    If you are on the open beta track and were testing any of the Pie betas, you won’t get this stable update over-the-air. Instead, you’ll have to manually flash it once it is ready, and that will require a wipe (factory reset).

    OnePlus 6 Android Pie Changelog

    • Updated system to Android™ 9.0 Pie™
      • Brand new UI for Android Pie
      • New adaptive battery support
      • New Android Pie gesture navigation
      • Updated Android security patch to 2018.9
      • Other new features and system improvements
    • Do Not Disturb mode
      • New Do Not Disturb (DND) mode with adjustable settings
    • New Gaming mode 3.0
      • Added text notification mode
      • Added notification for 3rd party calls
    • Accent color
      • Supported accent color customization

    To check for the update, head into Settings>System updates.

    // OnePlus

    Cheers Sergiy!