Motorola event happening April 19, Moto G6 might be announced

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Motorola event large

Motorola recently said that its first new phones of 2018 will be shown in April, and now it looks like we may know exactly when those devices will debut.

Motorola is sending Save the Dates to an event on April 19. AndroidPIT got hold of the invitation, which reveals that the event will be held in São Paulo, Brazil. The invitation also includes the phrase “helloyou”.

What the invitation doesn’t say is what Motorola is planning to show at this event. One possibility is the Moto G6, which is expected to have Plus and Play variants. It’s now been a little more than a year since the Moto G5 debuted, so the time is right for another entry is Motorola’s line of affordable Android smartphones.

Have you ever used a Moto G device?

Motorola Moto G6 event invitation

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Alexa Announcements lets you broadcast a message to all of your Echo devices

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Amazon Echo review

Amazon’s Echo devices are getting a nifty new feature today.

Amazon has revealed Alexa Announcements, a new feature that lets you send a voice message to every Echo in your house at the same time. To make an announcement, just say “Alexa, announce that…” or “Alexa, tell everyone…” or “Alexa, broadcast…”.

The feature is supported on the Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Spot, and Echo Look. It’s rolling out to devices in the U.S. and Canada beginning today.

This is different than the two-way intercom feature that Amazon previously rolled out to the Echo and is intended for quick messages that you want everyone to hear. For example, you could announce that dinner is ready or that you’ll be leaving for the mall in five minutes, all without having to go from room to room and saying the same thing to all of your family members.

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Amazon Key now available nationwide

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Amazon Key Home Kit smart lock

After launching last year in a limited group of markets, Amazon Key is now expanding.

Amazon Key features are now available nationwide. Anyone can now buy Amazon’s Key Home Kit, which includes a smart lock and an Amazon Cloud Cam security camera. For a limited time, Amazon is offering special pricing on its Key Home Kit.

Also of note is that Amazon has added five more smart locks from companies like Kwikset and Yale, bringing the total number of smart locks available with Amazon Key to eight.

With Amazon Key, you can give permanent access to your home to friends or family members, or you can grant temporary access to people like dog walkers or cleaning services. You can choose how long these guests have access, and you’ll be notified any time your guest locks or unlocks your door. You can watch motion clips as they enter and exit, too.

Amazon Key features

Amazon also has an Amazon Key app that’ll let you do things like lock and unlock your door from anywhere, check the lock status of your door, and get a live stream and two-way audio. Amazon Key works with Alexa, too, so you can have the voice assistant show your front door on your television or lock the door.

While Amazon is expanding its Amazon Key Home Kit nationwide, its in-home delivery service is still limited to 37 cities and the surrounding areas. With in-home delivery, Amazon Prime members can allow an Amazon delivery person to drop their packages off inside their door rather than leaving them on the doorstep.

It’s good to see the Amazon Key Home Kit expanding nationwide. It offers an affordable way to add some smarts to your home, giving you a smart lock and a security camera, complete with an app to control it all and integration with Amazon’s Alexa assistant. While Amazon’s in-home delivery isn’t expanding with it, which is understandable since that would require a lot more work, the Amazon Key Home Kit is worth a look if you’re interested in trying a smart lock.

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Google Pixel 3 referenced in AOSP

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Google Pixel XL hands-on

The Google Pixel 3 is expected to launch later this year, but we’re getting our first mention of the device today.

The Pixel 3 has appeared in the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). There aren’t any images or specs or anything like that, but there is a mention of the device that appears to be the first reference to the Pixel 3.

In a commit spotted by XDA Developers that’s titled “Cherrypick ‘Add device config to decide which Auto Selection Network UI to use’,” the upcoming Pixel 3 is called out by name. Here’s the paragraph of text included in the commit:

Google Pixel 3 AOSP

While it’s not much, it is exciting to see Google mention the Pixel 3 by name. There aren’t many details on the device available right now, but Google has announced the previous two generations of Pixel phones in early October, so we may see the Pixel 3 make its debut in October of this year.

What do you want to see from a Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL?

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Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge will no longer receive software updates

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Samsung Galaxy S6 hands-on

Three years after its launch, it looks like the Samsung Galaxy S6 is done getting software updates.

Samsung has quietly removed the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge from its Android Security Updates page, suggesting that those devices will not receive any more updates going forward. The S6 edge+ and S6 Active are still in the Monthly Security Updates section, so it appears that they’ll still get updates for now.

The Galaxy S6 and S6 edge came out 3 years ago, so it’s not too surprising that Samsung has decided to end update support for them. That’s actually a pretty long run of update support compared to most other Android devices. Now it looks like the GS6 and GS6 edge will remain on the software that they’ve got, though, so owners may want to start thinking about picking up a new device.

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Pokémon Go Earth Day Clean Up event happening April 22, will offer in-game rewards

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Pokemon Go logo large

Earth Day is happening this month, and Pokémon Go is hosting a special event to celebrate.

The first Pokémon Go Earth Day Clean Up will happen on April 22. On that date, all players will get access to a special avatar item. As more people play the game on that date, unique in-game rewards will open up:

  • 1,500 Trainers – Unlock 2x catch Stardust for Ground, Water, and Grass-type Pokémon will be unlocked for 48hrs
  • 3,000 Trainers – Unlock 3x catch Stardust for Ground, Water, and Grass-type Pokémon for 48 hrs will be unlocked for Trainers around the world.

Players can also donate to the Mission Blue Foundation, a group that works to protect the oceans.

Pokémon Go players will be able to participate in clean-up events that will be held around the world. There will be 37 events in 12 countries, including the U.S., Japan, Taiwan, the U.K., France, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, and Italy.

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Google may launch mid-range Pixel smartphone this summer

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Google Pixel 2 XL hands-on

Google’s Pixel phones have all been high-end models, but the company may soon switch things up with a mid-range model.

Google plans to roll out its products in India, and that may include a new mid-range Pixel smartphone. That’s according to four sources speaking to the Economic Times, who add that this mid-range device would be made especially for price-sensitive markets like India.

In addition to this mid-range phone, Google plans to launch its Google Home and Google Home Mini smart speakers, its home automation products, and its Pixelbook laptop in India, says today’s report.

Google is reportedly aiming to launch devices like the Google Home and Google Home Mini at the end of April with prices of Rs 9,999 and Rs 4,999, respectively. The mid-range Pixel device is expected to arrive sometime around July or August.

Google’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are great smartphones, but because they’re premium models with high-end specs, they’re rather pricey. A mid-range Pixel could help get Google’s smartphones into the hands on consumers that can’t want to or don’t want to spend the money for a flagship-tier model and get them into the Google ecosystem.

Would you be interested a more affordable, mid-range Google Pixel smartphone?

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Google Voice gets Wi-Fi calling beta test

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Google Voice app icon

Good news, Google Voice users: A useful new feature is coming to your service.

Google is now offering a beta test of Wi-Fi calling for Google Voice. With Wi-Fi calling, you can make calls from any device with a Wi-Fi connection, you can reduce roaming charges, and you can stay in contact even if you’ve got a poort cellular connection.

You can try out the beta version of Wi-Fi calling for Google Voice right now. Just fill out this form, update your Google Voice app, and then you’ll get an email with further instructions.

Wi-Fi calling for Google Voice is currently available on Android and the web, with iOS support coming soon. If you’re calling from your computer, you’ll need to use Chrome for now. Google says that support for Firefox, Safari, and Edge is coming soon.

Here’s a list of the known issues with Google Voice Wi-Fi calling right now:

  • Obihai devices won’t work if you enable calling over Wi-Fi (e.g. Incoming calls won’t ring your Obihai phone if you turn on calling over Wi-Fi and mobile data)
  • You won’t be able to use incoming call options (call recording & call transfer) when you enable calling over Wi-Fi and mobile data
  • On your computer, Wi-Fi calling only work with Chrome. Support for Firefox, Safari and Edge coming soon!
  • Android Bluetooth support:
  1. You won’t be able to use the buttons on your bluetooth device to answer calls or hang up
  2. Unable to use earpiece mode when a bluetooth device is paired
  3. Depending on your Android version, your calls might drop if you try to switch between Bluetooth and speakerphone.

Wi-Fi calling is a very nice addition to Google Voice. As I mentioned before, you can use Wi-Fi calling from more devices, and it means that you don’t need to rely on a cell carrier’s network to stay connected. You just need to find any Wi-Fi hotspot and you’ll be good to go. If you’re a Google Voice user, the addition of Wi-Fi calling seems pretty great.

Do you use Google Voice? If so, are you going to try Wi-Fi calling?

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BlackBerry claims Snapchat has infringed on its messaging patents

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BlackBerry logo Classic rear

One month after filing a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, BlackBerry has filed a lawsuit against another major mobile entity.

BlackBerry is accusing Snap Inc., maker of Snapchat, of infringing on its patents. BlackBerry says that Snap has infringed on six of its patents that were isseud in 2012 and 2014. Two of those patents are among the seven that BlackBerry says Facebook has infringed on.

Snap declined to comment on this lawsuit.

BlackBerry Messenger is one of the older mobile messaging services around, and so likely has quite a collection of patents related to messaging clients. However, we’ll just have to wait and see if the company’s claims that Snap is infringing on its patents hold up in court.

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OnePlus 6 will let you hide its display notch

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OnePlus 6 display notch official

One week after confirming that the OnePlus 6 will have a display notch, OnePlus has confirmed another detail of the OP6’s screen.

OnePlus will allow OnePlus 6 owners to “hide” the device’s notch. This will be accomplished by giving OP6 users the option to black out the background of the notifications and status bar. OnePlus will add this feature to the OnePlus 6 in a software update after the phone’s launch.

According to OnePlus CEO Pete Lau, a status bar blackout feature was considered for the OnePlus 6 early on, but the company opted not to add it so that it could instead focus on the device’s full-screen experience. “I still believe the best way to experience the OnePlus 6 is using the full potential of the display,” Lau says. But many users expressed interest in a blackout feature, OnePlus has decided to give OP6 owners that option.

While some people don’t mind the notch, others really don’t care for it. That’s why it’s good to see OnePlus offer the option to black it out on the OnePlus 6, and it’s possible that this move will help convince some people that were on fence about the OP6 because of its notch to pull the trigger on the device.

What do you think of display notches?

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