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Mashable

Microsoft’s Cortana is saying goodbye to Android and iOS in 2021

It’s looking like curtains for Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant. On mobile, at least.

In an announcement posted on July 31, the company said it would pull the Cortana mobile app from both iOS and Android devices in early 2021. While this is new for American users, Microsoft did a similar scrubbing of mobile Cortana in regions like Canada, Australia, and the U.K back in Jan. 2020.

As Mashable tech reporter Alex Perry explained back then, this means that, “your reminders and lists won’t work through [mobile Cortana] anymore. They’ll still be synced to the Microsoft To Do app, as a minor consolation prize. It’s also being integrated into Microsoft 365 apps.” Read More

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Engadget

Dark Sky on Android shuts down following Apple deal


Website access is still available after an indefinite extension, although embedded material no longer appears to be an option. Third-party apps using Dark Sky’s data have until the end of 2021 to transition to other services.

This isn’t the end for hyperlocal weather on Android. Accuweather and other titles can fill the gap. However, it is one less major choice — and you’ll eventually need to move to Apple devices if you’re determined to use Dark Sky for your rain and snow alerts.



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Mashable

Netflix rolls out new playback speed settings, starting with Android

You want to watch a 30-minute episode on Netflix but you only have 20 minutes to spare. What can do you?

The answer to that question used to be “nothing,” but a new feature on Netflix now lets Android users bend time to their will. The addition of playback speed settings allows viewers to watch their content at both slower (0.5x and 0.75x) and faster (1.25x and 1.5x) speeds.

The feature is hitting Android first – I don’t have it yet, but watch for an app update soon if you haven’t gotten it – and Netflix intends to test it for eventual release on iOS and the web as well. The feature’s release comes after a testing process that started back in Oct. 2019. Read More

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The Verge

Dark Sky alternatives for Android weather watchers


If you’re a weather geek, you probably already know that Dark Sky, one of the most popular weather apps around, has been acquired by Apple and is probably being integrated into iOS 14. As a result, anyone who uses an Android device and has the Dark Sky app is going to lose access on August 1st. (It was originally going to go away on July 1st, but the shutdown was delayed a month.) In addition, a variety of other apps (some not even weather-related) will lose access to the Dark Sky API.

If you’re an Android user with Dark Sky and you’re wondering where to go now for your weather report, there are a few alternatives to choose from. But first, here are a couple of things to consider. Read More

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Tech Radar

Netflix is rolling out playback speed controls for its Android app

Having tested the feature last year, Netflix is now making it official: the ability to watch shows and movies at a faster or slower speed is rolling out to its app on Android devices, and coming soon to iOS and the web.

Netflix confirmed the move to The Verge, and in an official post, Netflix’s Keela Robison said that the feature has been “much requested” by subscribers. Robison also notes that playback speed controls have been available on DVD players and DVRs for years.

“Most important of all, our tests show that consumers value the flexibility it provides whether it’s rewatching their favorite scene or slowing things down because they’re watching with subtitles or have hearing difficulties,” writes Robison. Read More

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Engadget

Netflix confirms it’s adding playback speed controls to its Android app


While director Judd Apatow and others were worried that variable playback can distort their art, Netflix VP Keela Robison says that it tried to be respectful of the creative community by capping fast-forward speeds to 1.5x. YouTube, in comparison, lets you double the speed of whatever you’re watching. Netflix’s variable playback settings also need to be enabled manually for every video, so you won’t be stuck watching everything in an altered speed by accident.

“We’ve decided to press ahead for several reasons,” Robison wrote in a blog post. “Similar functionality has been available on DVD players and DVRs for years and the feature has been much requested by members. Most important of all, our tests show that consumers value the flexibility it provides whether it’s rewatching their favorite scene or slowing things down because they’re watching with subtitles or have hearing difficulties.” Read More

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Engadget

Microsoft will shut down the Cortana iOS and Android apps in 2021


Microsoft’s plan for Invoke speakers is likely to cause the most resentment. The company will push a firmware update to the smart device to turn it into a Bluetooth speaker. “The firmware update will be delivered automatically to devices connected to WiFi within six months of its release,” the company said.

As an olive branch to Invoke owners, Microsoft plans to send them $50 gift cards. To be eligible, you’ll have to have used your Invoke speaker to ask something of Cortana between July 31st and before today’s announcement.    Read More

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Tech Radar

Nokia, Flipkart launch a 65-inch 4K Android TV


Nokia, which has partnered with Flipkart for the TV lineup, unveiled a new Smart TV in India. The newly launched 65-inch Smart Android TV variant sits right above the 43-inch model that launched back in June and is priced at ₹64,999.

The new 65-inch Android TV listed on Flipkart has an LED panel with 4K resolution of 3840×2160 pixels. Nokia says the display is an A + Grade panel and has a 60Hz refresh rate. Peak brightness is up to 480nits.

Viewing angles look pretty good at 178-degree FOV but the contrast ratio is 1100:1. Nokia says the display has Dolby Vision and Intelligent Dimming support for enhancing darker regions, improving contrast and colours. Read More

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VentureBeat

Sky: Children of the Light hits 15 million more downloads in a month with China, Android launches


Thatgamecompany said its Sky: Children of the Light mobile game has topped 35 million downloads, including 15 million in the past month thanks to its launch on Android as well as in China.

The soulful game from the makers of Flower and Journey launched in July 2019 on iOS. The team released the Android version in April, 2020, and it debuted on Android in China on July 9, 2020. While China provided a huge boost, the overall growth of the game is global.

The Santa Monica, California-based company headed by Jenova Chen also said that it is releasing the digital soundtrack for Sky today. Chen spoke at our GamesBeat Summit event in April about how the company created a positive community of fans for Sky, which was a fanciful journey into beautiful landscapes that players could undertake in a cooperative way with friends. Read More

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The Verge

Google One will backup iOS or Android devices for free


Google One, the cloud storage service that Google launched back in 2018, will now backup your iOS or Android phone for free with your Google account. The iOS app will be able to backup your photos, videos, contacts and calendar events, consolidating what’s offered by different services like Photos and Drive into one place, Android Authority notes. Meanwhile the Android app, which could already backup a range of files from your phone, will now offer backups without a Google One membership.

Along with backing up your files, Google One is also being updated to make it easier to manage which files are being stored. This storage management feature is available from either the app or the web, and will let you manage files saved from Drive, Gmail, and Photos in one place. Read More