Samsung’s new Bixby Marketplace finally makes the voice assistant usable

Samsung has just launched the new Bixby Marketplace in the US and South Korea, giving its users a new reason to give Bixby a try. The Bixby Marketplace is filled with capsules which give the voice assistant hooks into other apps, allowing it to do things it couldn’t do before. Think of it like adding new skills to Alexa.
A few examples of the new functionality include the ability to use Bixby to search the Play Store, ask YouTube to play a specific video or set your preferred ride-hauling app as the default so that you can simply say “get me a ride to work” without having to specify Uber or Lyft.
For now, the Bixby Marketplace capsules available are limited to what Samsung has developed, but the company plans to open the Bixby Marketplace to third-party developers in the future. Samsung hasn’t revealed the full extent of capabilities that Bixby Marketplace capsules will be able to have, but it has promised that it will share more details at the Samsung Developer Conference in late October.
Up until now, Bixby hasn’t gained a lot of traction. While these new capsules will allow Bixby to expand is functionality, having to browse a marketplace to ad install specific capsules to do so may be more work than some users are willing to put in when Google Assistant simply works right out of the box.
Source: Samsung

Google introduces location data auto delete feature

Google storing your location data is a blessing and a curse. Of course, it is optional and you can turn it off any time, but then many of our favorite features wouldn’t work. Things like restaurant recommendations, search results, Google Timeline and more are all thanks to your location data being stored.
However, having all that data stored by Google is scary. Everywhere you’ve been, everything you’ve searched for in the last decade is all on a server. While Google is a relatively secure company, anything can happen and that info could be stolen. Is it that important? Not really, but it’s definitely eerie. If you don’t believe us, check out Google Timeline and scroll back a few years.
Thankfully, Google is now giving us an “in-between” for those who are privacy-focused but still want to take advantage of the aforementioned features. The company is adding a new auto-delete option that will delete your activity data either every 3 months or every 18 months. This allows you to enjoy the short term benefits of location data without having it permanently stored by Google.
Choose a time limit for how long you want your activity data to be saved—3 or 18 months—and any data older than that will be automatically deleted from your account on an ongoing basis. These controls are coming first to Location History and Web & App Activity and will roll out in the coming weeks.
We think this is a fantastic move, especially in our current times where security is being taken more and more seriously. The feature will be rolling out in the coming weeks so keep an eye out in the Location History menu in Google settings for the prompt!

Source: Google Blog

5 New Android Apps to check out this week (APR 30, 2019)

The Google Play store is full of awesome apps that can help you with tasks or simply help you take a break and relax with an engaging game. But how do you know what ones you should try? We can help you with that! Every week, we will share awesome new apps that we think you will enjoy. The highlights from this week include a fitness app, an app for your kids, and a social podcast app.
Take a look at the list below to find the perfect new app for you this week.
Peloton Digital

Description: Total body workouts and more: introducing Peloton Digital. Redefine your fitness routine at home or on the go with a membership to Peloton Digital. Take one of 15+ daily live studio classes taught by elite NYC instructors, or choose from thousands of on-demand classes, with new classes added every single day. Join inspiring and motivating workouts from anywhere, including cycling, running, bootcamp, outdoor, floor, yoga and more via your Android phone or tablet.

Price: Free
In-app Purchases: Yes
Rating: 4.4/5
Installs: 100,000+

Install Peloton Digital
Swoot – Podcasts with friends

Description: Swoot is the podcast app where you get to see what your friends are listening to. Whether you’re new to podcasts or a long time listener, Swoot is the best way to discover podcasts you love and share them with friends.

Price: Free
In-app Purchases: No
Rating: 4.6/5
Installs: 1,000+

Install Swoot
 Download Navi

Description: Download Navi is a free and open-source download manager. Features: Free and Open Source software (FOSS), Material Design, Multiple themes (Light, Dark, Black), Android TV support, Chrome OS support, Pause and resume downloads, Simultaneous downloads (default 3)

Price: Free
In-app Purchases: No
Rating: 4.2/5
Installs: 5,000+

Install Download Navi
Splash and Bubbles for Parents

Description: SPLASH AND BUBBLES FOR PARENTS is an app that provides families with conversation starters, videos, and activities to explore ocean science together. Developed in collaboration with early childhood and marine biology experts, the app can be used as a second-screen experience while watching the PBS KIDS series SPLASH AND BUBBLES. When synced with a SPLASH AND BUBBLES episode, the app provides information about relevant animals, environments, and science themes.

Price: Free
In-app Purchases: No
Rating: New
Installs: New

Install Splash and Bubbles for Parents 

Description: Experience stories told through someone else’s phone. Unrd gives you access to a fictional character’s phone and lets you live their life through their messages. Receive real time messages, videos, photos, voice notes and even visit a character’s social profiles. Unrd has something for everyone: the edge of your seat thrillers, hide behind your sofa horror, gripping crime, and exciting romance.

Price: Free
In-app Purchases: Yes
Rating: 4.4/5
Installs: 100,000+

Install Unrd

How to turn the Samsung Galaxy S10’s hole-punch into a battery indicator

Some might argue that the notch is a more disruptive experience than the hole-punch cutout used in the Samsung Galaxy S10. Some might disagree and say that the cutout is actually more discreet. Which is better is a debate we’ll have to have another day, but in the meantime, since we can’t really change anything, why not just embrace it in its entirety?
That’s what developer IJP has tried to do with the launch of a new app called the Energy Ring. What this app does is that it creates a ring-shaped battery indicator that positions itself very nicely around the circular cutout of the Galaxy S10. This means that at a glance, users will be able to see how much battery their phone has left, with the ring changing colors depending on the battery percentage that remains.

We have to say that this is a very clever idea, although in a way it does actually draw more attention to the hole rather than hide it, but then again since it’s already there, why not make use of it, right? The app currently only supports the Galaxy S10e and the Galaxy S10, but support for the Galaxy S10+ and its dual front-facing cameras will be coming in a later update.
The app itself is free but there are some in-app purchases that you can pay money to unlock for deeper customization options. Alternatively, if you don’t think that the app is all that useful, you can check out some of the clever uses of wallpaper that hide/blends the hole in a variety of fun and imaginative ways.
Source: Android Police

Gmail’s Smart Compose rolling out to non-Pixel devices

Smart Compose is a feature in Gmail that uses machine learning to figure out what you want to say before you write it. Basically it’s just a word prediction feature, and on a computer it allows you to hit “Tab” to fill in sentences as you’re writing them. It’s a great feature and relatively accurate, though it can be quite a bit off sometimes. Thankfully it’s purely optional and even when enabled is entirely unobtrusive.
The feature also resided on mobile, but it was exclusive to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. You would use a swipe gesture to fill in sentences much like the web version of Gmail. However, Google is now rolling this feature out to other devices outside of Google’s own.
I’ve already received the feature on my Huawei Mate 20 Pro and though it’s a bit slow, it works just as well as it does on a computer. The swipe gesture is easy and if you don’t want to use it, it doesn’t get in the way. This is likely a server side roll out so you may need to give it a few days before your devices get this feature. You’ll need to be running Gmail version 9.2.3 and wait for the prompt telling you to give it a try. And if you want to disable it, head to Settings > your account > Smart Compose.
Source: XDA-Developers

Chrome for Android updated to fix major security bug

It looks like Google Chrome for Android is facing a major security bug, and Google has already rolled the fix out. This browser exploit relates to the FileReader API and can allow a site to execute native code on your device.
Though Google has not released the details of this security flaw, the company says that the exploit already exists in the wild so people are potentially at risk. Therefore you should head to the Play Store and update Chrome as soon as you can.
This problem also exists in other versions of Chrome, like those on PC. You should check for updates across all of your devices, though your desktop browser should update automatically.
Google will release the full details of this exploit once most people have updated the browser but for now we’ll just have to settle for a quick fix. However, the issue may still exist in other Chromium-based browsers so beware. We’re just happy to see Google being so active in fixing security flaws.
Source: Google Chrome Blog
Via: Android Police

You can now ‘try’ the Samsung Galaxy S10 virtually before buying it

The Samsung Galaxy S10 will be released soon and the entire lineup has pretty much found their way into stores around the world, giving would-be customers a way to try the phone before deciding whether or not to buy it. In case you can’t get to a store to check it out for yourself, Samsung has come up with an alternative method.
The company has recently launched a new app called Experience. This app will allow users to “try” out various features of the Galaxy S10 virtually on their own devices. Now, this app won’t magically turn your phone into a Galaxy S10, and admittedly this won’t be quite the same as holding the phone in your hands and tapping on its beautiful and vivid display and taking some test shots on its camera. It should, however, give you a very rudimentary idea of what to expect.
In a way, you could consider this app as being a super extended trailer/walk-through of all the main features that you can expect from the phone, such as its display, its in-display fingerprint sensor, the capabilities of its camera, and also its reverse wireless charging feature.
The app itself is rather sizeable at 2GB so you might want to clear out some space on your phone if you’re running low. Also take note that while Samsung claims that the app is optimized for the Galaxy S9/S9+ and Note 9, it should still work on most Android devices. If you’re interested in checking out the app, it is available for download via the Google Play Store.
Source: PhoneArena

What’s New to Netflix December 2018

Like every other month, Netflix is adding quite a bit more content this December. There are dozens of original Netflix TV shows and movies being added to the catalog, including Andy Serkis’ Mowgli Legend of the Jungle, an Ellen Degeneres stand-up special (her first in 15 years), Springsteen on Broadway and a Bill Murray documentary. In addition to new Netflix originals, you’ll be entertained with high-profile movies and shows from other studios, including Avengers: Infinity War (December 25th) and other notable titles like The Big Lebowski, District 9, Shaun of the Dead, 8 Mile, and The Last Dragon (Sho’nuff!).
Below are a few of our favorite shows and movies coming to Netflix in December, followed by the complete list of everything that will be making its Netflix debut during the month.

December 1st

8 Mile
Astro Boy Battle– NETFLIX FILM
Bride of Chucky
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Crossroads: One Two Jaga– NETFLIX FILM
Friday After Next
Man vs Wild with Sunny Leone: Season 1
Meet Joe Black
Memories of the Alhambra (Streaming Every Saturday)– NETFLIX ORIGINAL
My Bloody Valentine
Next Friday
Reindeer Games
Seven Pounds
Shaun of the Dead
Terminator Salvation
The Big Lebowski
The Great British Baking Show: Masterclass: Season 5 Masterclasses
The Last Dragon
The Man Who Knew Too Little

December 2nd

The Lobster

December 3rd

Blue Planet II: Season 1
The Sound of Your Heart: Reboot Season 2– NETFLIX ORIGINAL

December 4th

District 9

December 6th

Happy!: Season 1

December 7th

5 Star Christmas– NETFLIX FILM
Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle– NETFLIX FILM
Nailed It! Holiday!– NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas– NETFLIX ORIGINAL
ReMastered: Who Killed Jam Master Jay?– NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Super Monsters and the Wish Star– NETFLIX ORIGINAL
The Hook Up Plan (Plan Coeur)– NETFLIX ORIGINAL

December 9th

Sin senos sí hay paraíso: Season 3

December 10th

Michael Jackson’s This Is It

December 11th


December 12th

Back Street Girls: Gokudols (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)

December 13th
Wanted: Season 3 (NETFLIX ORIGINAL)
December 14th

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: A Midwinter’s Tale– NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Cuckoo: Season 4– NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Dance & Sing with True: Songs– NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Fuller House: Season 4– NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Inside the Real Narcos– NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons: Season 3– NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Prince of Peoria: A Christmas Moose Miracle– NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Travelers: Season 3– NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Voltron: Legendary Defender: Season 8– NETFLIX ORIGINAL

December 16th

Baby Mama
Kill the Messenger
One Day
Springsteen on Broadway– NETFLIX ORIGINAL
The Theory of Everything

December 18th

Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable– NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Terrace House: Opening New Doors: Part 5– NETFLIX ORIGINAL

December 21st

3Below: Tales of Arcadia– NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Greenleaf: Season 3
Sirius the Jaeger– NETFLIX ORIGINAL
Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski– NETFLIX FILM
Tales by Light: Season 3– NETFLIX ORIGINAL

December 24th

The Magicians: Season 3

December 25th

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown: Season 11
Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War

December 26th

Alexa & Katie: Season 2– NETFLIX ORIGINAL

December 28th

La noche de 12 años– NETFLIX FILM
When Angels Sleep– NETFLIX FILM

December 30th

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

December 31st

The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From a Mythical Man

Google’s Allo will officially shut down next Spring

With the recent news that Google will be eventually be migrating Hangouts classic users to Hangouts Chat, the company has decided to put a date on the shutdown of Allo. The service will be operational until March of 2019, giving users a bit more than three months to export their data and find a replacement messaging app.
Google launched Allo a few years back with a lot of fan fair. The company pitched the service as an alternative to WhatsApp, tying it to the user’s phone number without needing a Google account. Allo offered end-to-end encryption, special capabilities with the built-in Google Assistant and dozens of other features which made it quite compelling. Despite Google’s best efforts, Allo never really caught on, topping out t roughly 50 million active users. While that number is quite bit, it pales in comparison to the 1 billion or more users that rely on WhatsApps, Facebook Messenger and other messaging platforms.
There is no direct replacement for Allo, but Google is urging those who still use the service to check out Android Messages. Many of the developers from the Allo team have been moved over and are now working to integrate some of the best features from Allo into Android Messages. The app comes pre-installed on quite a few Android devices as the default SMS app and is fully compatible with RCS.
“We’re excited by the progress we’ve made with our communications experience over the past few years, and ready to take what we’ve learned from Allo and put it to work to make Messages even better. And by refocusing on Messages and Duo for consumers and Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet for team collaboration, we’re focused on delivering a simpler and more unified communications experience for all of you.”
Google’s messaging strategy has been a bit jumbled over the past few years. We’re not sure that shutting down Allo will make things any better, but it’s nice to see that Google is still working to find the right solution for a single messaging platform.
Source: Google

Hangouts product lead confirms ‘eventual shut down of Hangouts’

A few days back, news broke that Google plans to shut down Hangouts sometime in 2020. While Google typically doesn’t comment on rumors, Scott Johnston (Hangouts product lead) took to Twitter to clear the air. Johnston iterated that Hangouts doesn’t yet have an end date, but noted that Hangouts classic (that’s what Google is calling Hangouts internally) users will be migrated to Hangouts Chat and Meet before the product is shut down. From there, Johnston went on a short rant with four additional Tweets to defend Hangouts Chat and its appeal beyond the enterprise realm.
Phandroid’s Take
While we appreciate Scott Johnston jumping in to add some additional context to the conversation, it does look like Google is planning to pull the plug on Hangouts classic. This is not at all surprising given the lack of attention the service has gotten over the past year or so. Transitioning users to Hangouts Chat and Meet may be a good alternative, but the general public might be better served if Google gave them an easy way to transition to Android Messages and find a way to integrate that service directly into Gmail.
I have used Hangouts Chat quite a bit with a few different G Suite accounts. The service is quite capable and a step up when compared to Hangouts classic, but it lacks the appeal and that bit of flare that you get with consumer-focused messaging products like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and even Google’s own Allo. For the sake of simplicity, I think Google needs to draw a hard line between its consumer and enterprise messaging platforms to that they can deliver the features which will make each service truly shine.

2/ So while that will result in the eventual shut down of Hangouts classic (as we now call it), it doesn’t imply we are ending support for the use case supported by the product: messaging and meetings.
— Scott Johnston (@happyinwater) December 1, 2018

4/ But this isn’t just true with Google Apps, it is true across the market. Line supports both businesses and consumers. As does Facebook Messenger. Dropbox. Even Teams recently opened to consumers. I could go on.
— Scott Johnston (@happyinwater) December 1, 2018

6/ But these are subjective points, and they are my products, so I’m strongly biased. In the end, neither you, nor I will make this judgement. Our users will. Everything else is just talk. /FIN
— Scott Johnston (@happyinwater) December 1, 2018