Sprint steps up the bloatware game in a bad way with BlackBerry KeyOne

Getting a new smartphone from a carrier usually means putting up with the bloatware that carriers install. This can be in the form of the carrier’s own specific apps that it believes you just cannot live without or it can be third-party apps from vendors the carrier has struck business deals with. The bloatware landscape has improved a little bit over the years and users can now disable or remove some apps in many cases. However, reports of what Sprint may be doing with the BlackBerry KeyOne may point to a disturbing new escalation in the field of bloatware.

Google expands voice typing to new languages including U.S. emoji

Google announced today some additional languages that will be available for voice typing as part of the company’s speech recognition code that will cover more than a billion people around the globe. Even English speaking users in the U.S. will enjoy some of the fruits of Google’s labor as one of the “languages” will be the ability to use voice to search for an emoji. The thirty new languages that are being added by Google bring the total number of languages supported by Google’s speech recognition engine to 119.

Lenovo PHAB2 Pro to be stuck on Marshmallow

Yesterday Google released new Android distribution numbers and we noted the trends point to manufacturers relying on users to upgrade to new devices instead of installing operating system updates. This strategy means the manufacturers do not need to devote resources to preparing updates as a way of controlling costs. A good example of that is revealed by Lenovo and the PHAB2 Pro smartphone. Last year Lenovo launched the first smartphone utilizing Google’s augmented reality Tango technology in the PHAB2 Pro. At launch the device came with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Even though it is mere months old, Lenovo is indicating the PHAB2 Pro will not even get an update to Android 7.0 Nougat, much less Android O when it is released.

New Facebook Watch platform for videos coming up next

Facebook has announced their next platform to be released, a video streaming service called Watch. Many are pointing to the new Watch as being Facebook’s answer to YouTube TV, although Facebook says they are capitalizing on their own success with making video available on their platform. Watch will serve as a hub to help users find content instead of relying on the normal Facebook News Feed or through the Video tab that is available to U.S. users.

New T-Mobile REVVL officially launches

Earlier this year we reported on T-Mobile wanting to bring back a trend from a few years ago – carrier-specific and branded devices similar to the DROID line of devices on Verizon. At the high end of the spectrum, T-Mobile was planning to release an Alcatel/TCL manufactured smartphone called the REVVL. Today T-Mobile officially took the wraps off the carrier-branded REVVL, a phone that T-Mobile says answers “the needs of customers” by providing “a ton of features without breaking the bank”.

Official invites sent out for LG V30 announcement on August 31

We pretty much already knew LG was planning to unveil the new LG V30 at a press event on August 31st just before IFA 2017 opens based on a previous press event announcement. The timing made sense and the image in that invite had a not so subtle hint that the next V series phone would highlight LG’s announcements. LG is now sending out invites that specifically name the LG V30.

HTC U11 update to include 60 fps video recording

HTC has a software update in the works for the HTC U11 and one of the new features to be included is video recording at 60 frames per second. This announcement came via a teaser posted by the HTC USA Twitter account. According to their post, the update that will include this improvement to the video camera “will be rolling out over the next couple of months.”

New set of Samsung Galaxy Note 8 images leak

The latest leak involving the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 8 are made up of several pictures captured of the device as opposed to renders. In a series of images posted by myeverydaytech.com we get some good looks at the front and back of the new device along with the S Pen. For Samsung, the leak appears to be unwelcome as the original post has been taken down despite the images already spreading out on the Internet.

Go for the gold with new OnePlus 5 in Soft Gold

Today OnePlus launched a new, special limited edition version of the OnePlus 5 in a Soft Gold color. The color has been available from OnePlus on other devices and now joins their latest flagship device to bring the number of available colors to three – Soft Gold, Slate Gray and Midnight Black. Sales of the device commenced today at noon Eastern Daylight Time for customers in the U.S.

Google adds app quality component to Google Play

Google has announced some revisions to the way apps show up in the Google Play Store in an effort to push developers to give more attention to quality and to help users enjoy their apps more. In the announcement from Andrew Ahn, Product Manager with Google Play, he notes the team’s efforts should result in helping “people find and discover safe, high quality, useful, and relevant apps.” To make this happen, the Google Play algorithms for search and discovery have been enhanced to incorporate app quality in determining what to display to a user.

Samsung Gear 360 (2017) review

When Samsung announced its new flagship for the spring cycle, an item that may have been overlooked was an updated version of the Gear 360. Capable of capturing both photos and video, the Gear 360 is designed to help users capture 360-degree content in a much easier manner than trying to use your smartphone and following the camera prompts. Samsung does this by equipping the Gear 360 with a dual-camera setup where the cameras are pointing in opposite directions from each other.

Now we’re diving into the world of immersive content in our Samsung Gear 360 (2017) review.

T-Mobile is big winner in latest OpenSignal carrier analysis

OpenSignal released their latest analysis of the U.S. wireless carriers for the period ending on June 29, 2017, and T-Mobile will be popping the champagne bottles as the Un-carrier swept the awards. We should expect John Legere, T-Mobile’s head honcho, to play up the results, but the carrier does need to be careful as OpenSignal’s analysis shows T-Mobile and Verizon are engaged in a pitched battle that can go either way. For Verizon and AT&T customers, the OpenSignal analysis shows the impact the move back into unlimited plans has had on the carrier and it is not a pretty sight.

New Facebook hardware looks to support video chat

Facebook has always been about trying to help people connect. New reports about some hardware in the works from the company indicate a device specifically designed for video chat may be released as soon as early 2018. The video chat device would be the first hardware to come out of Facebook’s Building 8 lab, an experimental unit the company created to open up a new hardware phase as it continues to seek ways to grow the company. Early builds of the device are already being tested by some users.