Latest update allows Samsung users to disable the Bixby button, customization – still a mirage

With Bixby being one of the highlight features of Samsung’s latest devices, many users have had a love-hate relationship with it. While it’s a rather good and capable virtual assistant, Samsung’s unwillingness to make the dedicated Bixby button user-customizable and the constant play of cat and mouse with app developers has proved that Sammy doesn’t want that hardware key to be used for anything else than launching Bixby. 

Yes, Galaxy S8, S8+, Note 8 users will either use it to open Bixby… or not use it at all!
That’s …


Galaxy Note 8 on Verizon gets its first OTA update

In case you haven’t heard, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is officially hitting the shelves today. Verizon is commemorating the occasion by releasing its first OTA update for the 6.3-inch phablet. 
The software upgrade is not identical to the one released for the international variant of the Note 8 – that one has a kernel version of 4.4.13, while Verizon’s update stands at 4.4.21. After updating, the software version of Note 8 units distributed by Verizon should stand at N950USQU1AQI5. 
Here …

SwiftKey for iOS update adds a new feature and support for more languages


Acquired by Microsoft early last year, SwiftKey continues to update its Android and iOS apps with new features and improvements. The latest update released by the fine folks at SwiftKey is aimed at iOS users.

SwiftKey for iOS has been recently updated with one new important feature and support for several more languages. There are more than 100 languages now supported by SwiftKey on both Android and iOS platforms, but here are the latest added: Bislama, Lower Sorbian, Estonian, Ga, Kabardian, Limburgish, Yakut (Sakha), Silesian, Venetian, and Makhuwa.

The only new feature included …

Finally! Google will kill video and ads sound autoplay in next Chrome update

There’s nothing more annoying on the web than autoplaying vids with sound to your unsuspecting ears and colleagues while you simply browse for a pair of sneakers instead of actually working. Hey, the latest studies show you are more productive because of those breaks! Some sites are worse than others in that respect (looking at you, CNN, blasting videos at full volume with each refresh!), but Google has a solution to this first-world problem.

Starting with the next big Chrome update, likely version 64 that is arriving in January, Google’s experimental …

Motorola lists all smartphones getting the Android 8.0 Oreo update


Motorola has just announced that many of its smartphones launched in the last year or so will receive the recently released Android 8.0 Oreo update. The list doesn’t contain any budget-friendly smartphones like the Moto E4 or E4 Plus, but many mid-range handsets made it on the list.

Long story short, here are all the Motorola-branded smartphones that will receive Android 8.0 Oreo updates in the coming months: Moto Z, Moto Z Droid, Moto Z Force Droid, Moto Z Play, Moto Z Play Droid, Moto Z2 Play, Moto Z2 Force Edition, Moto X4, Moto G5, Moto G5 Plus, Moto G5S, and Moto G5S Plus.

Now …

Essential Phone receives a new update that actually makes it usable

The Essential Phone was one of the most unexpected surprises this year. Unfortunately, we don’t believe the device was ready for prime time. We’ve had the chance to spend some time with Andy Rubin’s phone and what we found was that while the Essential Phone features an exquisite build quality that can make other flagship blush, the device completely fails when it comes to performance.

The good news is one of the many issues that our Maxwell R. complained about in the Essential Phone review, the “stunted and wonky performance during basic user interactions,” is finally being addressed.

Essential …

Verizon's Samsung Galaxy S5 receives update giving it the August 2017 security patch

Even though the Verizon branded Samsung Galaxy S5 launched in April 2014, the graybeard apparently isn’t too old to receive an update. The new software build to version MMB29M.G900VVRU2DQH2 brings the Android August 2017 security patch to the former flagship. In addition, the update fixes an issue that prevented the phone from connecting and pairing with some Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices.

When you receive the notification telling you that the update has arrived on your phone, before you start the process of downloading and installing it, make sure that your Galaxy S5 is connected to …

Moto Z Play Droid receives security update

Got the Moto Z Play Droid? Then you might have recently received a notification telling you that an update is ready to be installed on your handset. No, this is not the eagerly awaited update bringing Android 8.0 (Oreo) to the device. In fact, the update is bringing the August Android security patch to the phone. Even though the Moto Z Play Droid was launched more than two months after the 2016 Motorola flagship model (Moto Z Force Droid), the Moto Z Play Droid was updated to Android 7.1.1 first, and is one month ahead of the Moto Z Force Droid, which currently features the July Android security …

HDR playback going live for Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ users in latest YouTube app update


The latest update for the YouTube
app (12.34.55) is enabling HDR playback on Galaxy S8 and S8+ devices worldwide.

 

The Galaxy S8 and S8+, as well as a
handful of other HDR-certified handsets, recently tapped into Netflix’s
expanding roster of HDR video content, but the latest YouTube app update seems
to have a more limited scope.

 

After installing the latest update
on our Galaxy S8/S8+ and LG G6 units, we discovered that the functionality is
available only on Samsung’s phone. Playback at 1440p60 HDR is not perfectly
smooth on either the S8 or S8+ at this point, but this will …