Verizon “My Numbers” Lets Customers Have up to Five Numbers on One Device

Juggling multiple phones can be a hassle, especially if you have to worry about managing different phone numbers on top of that. Fortunately, Verizon has a way to ease that pain: My Numbers.

If you’re a Verizon subscriber, you can now have up to five numbers assigned to a single smartphone, complete with calling and texting from each number. That’s three more than you could get with Google Voice, and it’s so much better than carrying multiple phones.

Small business owners may be into this so they don’t have to give out their personal phone number for work purposes, and avoid having to carry a completely separate phone. With this, they can have just one phone to carry around and be able to make calls and send messages from multiple numbers.

Another use case is if your business operates in different area codes. Calling from a local phone number may be less expensive for your clients, and may look better to those that want to support local businesses.

Each phone number you add casts an additional $15 per line per month. To get started, download the My Numbers app from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store.

via Verizon

Google Says Faster Updates Are Coming: All Android Pie Phones Include Project Treble

Android’s update situation is notoriously bad, with even flagship phones like the Galaxy series taking months for the latest feature updates to come out. Google hasn’t stood still on this though, and its hard work with Project Treble is starting to pay off.

What is Project Treble?

Up until last year, building an Android update took much more effort. Here’s what had to happen with each update, no matter how small:

  • Google builds the new update and adds it to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository.
  • Silicon vendors like Qualcomm and MediaTek would add in and test code so that their processors would support the new software version.
  • Hardware vendors like Samsung and LG add in and test code to support other hardware in the phone and their own software features.

Project Treble simplifies that a bit. Starting with phones that shipped with Android 8.0 Oreo, the silicon vendor code can be separate from the hardware vendor code. Instead of Qualcomm, MediaTek and other SOC-makers needing to write new drivers for each and every update, the driver interface can be used on newer versions of Android and still work. Samsung, LG, and other device manufacturers don’t have to wait for this code to start their work on the update, meaning it gets rolled out to consumers that much faster.

It was optional for phones that were updated to Oreo to be compliant with Treble, but with Pie that goes away: every phone that receives an update to Android Pie must be compatible with Treble.

It’s Starting to Working

After a year of use, Project Treble is already starting to pay off: Google expects more devices to be updated to Android 9.0 Pie by the end of this year than were updated to Android 8.0 Oreo by the end of 2017. At the 2018 Android Dev Summit, Google showed off multiple phones from different hardware vendors that were able to run on the exact same Generic System Image (GSI).

Showing the GSI running on all these different phones is a great testament to how well Treble works, and application developers can use the GSI to test app compatibility with Android Pie on a device that hasn’t been officially updated by its manufacturer.

That’s all well and good if you’re an app developer, but if you’re the average consumer it may be hard to care. But what it boils down to is this: it’s likely that your phone will receive a software update faster because some of the work to get that update out can be skipped. This also makes providing the update cheaper for the phone manufacturer, giving them more incentive to support older devices.

But it’s Still Not Perfect

While these improvements are great, if fast updates are the most important factor for you, there are still only a handful of manufacturers to choose from. Google’s Pixel phones would be the fastest, but Android One phones like Nokia’s line aren’t far behind. We’ll see if the Treble improvements help any, but Samsung has a tendency to hold onto software updates until the next Galaxy S phone is released, which means users have to wait until Spring to see platform updates.

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Google Says Faster Updates Are Coming: All Android Pie Phones Include Project Treble

Android’s update situation is notoriously bad, with even flagship phones like the Galaxy series taking months for the latest feature updates to come out. Google hasn’t stood still on this though, and its hard work with Project Treble is starting to pay off.

What is Project Treble?

Up until last year, building an Android update took much more effort. Here’s what had to happen with each update, no matter how small:

  • Google builds the new update and adds it to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository.
  • Silicon vendors like Qualcomm and MediaTek would add in and test code so that their processors would support the new software version.
  • Hardware vendors like Samsung and LG add in and test code to support other hardware in the phone and their own software features.

Project Treble simplifies that a bit. Starting with phones that shipped with Android 8.0 Oreo, the silicon vendor code can be separate from the hardware vendor code. Instead of Qualcomm, MediaTek and other SOC-makers needing to write new drivers for each and every update, the driver interface can be used on newer versions of Android and still work. Samsung, LG, and other device manufacturers don’t have to wait for this code to start their work on the update, meaning it gets rolled out to consumers that much faster.

It was optional for phones that were updated to Oreo to be compliant with Treble, but with Pie that goes away: every phone that receives an update to Android Pie must be compatible with Treble.

It’s Starting to Working

After a year of use, Project Treble is already starting to pay off: Google expects more devices to be updated to Android 9.0 Pie by the end of this year than were updated to Android 8.0 Oreo by the end of 2017. At the 2018 Android Dev Summit, Google showed off multiple phones from different hardware vendors that were able to run on the exact same Generic System Image (GSI).

Showing the GSI running on all these different phones is a great testament to how well Treble works, and application developers can use the GSI to test app compatibility with Android Pie on a device that hasn’t been officially updated by its manufacturer.

That’s all well and good if you’re an app developer, but if you’re the average consumer it may be hard to care. But what it boils down to is this: it’s likely that your phone will receive a software update faster because some of the work to get that update out can be skipped. This also makes providing the update cheaper for the phone manufacturer, giving them more incentive to support older devices.

But it’s Still Not Perfect

While these improvements are great, if fast updates are the most important factor for you, there are still only a handful of manufacturers to choose from. Google’s Pixel phones would be the fastest, but Android One phones like Nokia’s line aren’t far behind. We’ll see if the Treble improvements help any, but Samsung has a tendency to hold onto software updates until the next Galaxy S phone is released, which means users have to wait until Spring to see platform updates.

Read the remaining 4 paragraphs

Just in Time for the Holidays, Google Presents New Smarthome Features

Google’s Home ecosystem has been a boon for getting your home controlled under one interface, but it’s about to get a lot better: Home devices are getting a bunch of new features right as the holiday season starts.

The biggest draw among these will probably be new recommended recipes. If you use a Smart Display, you can already get step-by-step visual instructions to prepare an awesome meal, but with this update, Google Assistant will start learning which recipes you regularly prepare and recommend new recipes that are similar. Getting to those recipes will be even easier: just swipe right on your Smart Display’s home screen.

The recipes will be tailored by the day as well. For example, you’ll see Thanksgiving staples like turkey, ham, and more leading up to the holiday. Starting Black Friday though, it should switch to recommending what to do with all the leftovers that are in your house.

The next great addition—especially if you have more than one Google Home in your household—is enhancing the broadcast feature. Right now, someone in your house can use this to send a voice message to the other Google Assistant speakers or displays on your WiFi network (or if you’re outside your home, you can also use a phone with Google Assistant to broadcast a message to everyone in the house), but this is a one-way conversation.  Starting soon, this will expand to let someone near those other devices respond to your messages. This will make it that much easier to ask your partner to double check the refrigerator before you buy a bunch of eggs for a recipe.

Smart Display owners will also be able to see and control what media is playing on TVs through the house, so long as those TVs are Assistant-compatible. That includes models from Roku, Panasonic, and LG, so if you have a newer set you should be covered.

Last but not least, Google is making it easier for your family to stick to routines. You’ll be able to create a new Google Assistant routine from inside the Google Clock app, just like you can from the Assistant app. The routine can be set to tell you about your commute, start your connected coffee maker, and put all your devices on do-not-disturb mode when it comes time to lie down. Your kids will also be able to hear characters from LEGO City, LEGO Life, LEGO Friends, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tell jokes, play music, and even wake them up in the morning.

Google didn’t give a timeline on when each of these new features would arrive, but with Thanksgiving next week, we’d hope some of them would be out soon. When these features do roll out, they’ll make managing the holidays and everyday life that much easier!

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Deal: NVIDIA SHIELD TV is Down to $140 and Comes with a Free Echo Dot

The NVIDIA SHIELD TV handles 4K HDR playback like a champ, has enough power to act as a smart home hub, and can even be used as a Plex server. If you’ve held off on getting the SHIELD, it’s now cheaper than ever.

Amazon and Best Buy both have the SHIELD TV down to $140 from the standard $180 price. Both retailers are also including a free 3rd Generation Echo Dot at that price, which ties in nicely with the SHIELD recently getting Alexa support.

Keep in mind, NVIDIA’s first party controller isn’t included in this bundle, so if you want to game you’ll need to either buy the $200 version of the SHIELD TV, or buy the controller separately.

The SHIELD TV runs Android TV, and it includes support for almost every streaming service you can think of. The same goes for digital purchases as well: you can buy movies through Google Play, or get them from Amazon Video, Vudu and others. The SHIELD’s remote includes a microphone, so you can search for apps, movies and more without dealing with the virtual keyboard.

We’re not sure how long this deal will last, so make sure to jump on it quickly—it’s a killer price for one of the best steaming boxes on the market.