Do you have an Android phone? As you all know, Google, the company that is responsible for creating the Android operating system, releases a new version of the mobile OS each and every year.
While they’ve already ditched the alphabetical food naming scheme, they’ve stuck with the numbering scheme since Android 10 was launched last year.
This year, the company calls it simply as Android 11 and it is currently in beta and early access. This article is for the Android 11 Beta Review.
How to Get It?
The new Android 11 is still in its early beta stages. In fact, it was just released not too long ago. That being said, only Google Pixel phones have access to it for the time being, so any other Android device would have to wait in line.
The first thing that I will talk about is something that you will notice right away: UI changes. The most notable one would be for the notifications section.
Isn’t it frustrating where you had to sift through your notifications just to find the right ones that are important to you? Well, Google has lumped notifications into three categories: Conversations, alerting notifications, and silent notifications.
Under ‘Conversations’, you will find all of the notifications that are produced by your chat applications. This includes Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, and a whole lot more.
That provides you with a great way to easily respond to any person that tries to keep in contact with you and that is a really nice change.
In ‘Alerting Notifications’, these are notifications from your other apps that you haven’t included in your silent notifications list. In other words, these are messages that are normally produced by all of your other apps.
Lastly, silent notifications are notifications that are produced by the applications that you have lumped into the said category. They do not produce any sound and will silently just pile up if you don’t deem them as important.
Anyway, all of the notifications under your Conversations tab will create a sort of chat bubble that is like what Facebook Messenger is doing. You can easily tap on the bubble to respond to your chats or emails immediately.
Furthermore, you can also set more priorities for some people as well. Should you prioritize certain things, they will notify you even if you’ve set the phone to ‘Do Not Disturb’.
People that listen to audio and other media will also love the fact that the media playback controls are now more persistent.
When you swipe down the notification shade, you will find the playback controls quickly and easily. They persist so long as there are some media running in the background which is really nice. Gone are the days where you have to fire up the app again just to skip tracks, etc.
Native Smart Home Integration
There is really a huge push when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT) and Google just makes it so much easier for you.
If you have any smart appliances or Google Home products, you can easily toggle those things on and off. If there are additional settings, you can toggle that on the same panel as well.
Built-in Screen Recording
Fans of this particular feature were saddened by the fact that the Android 10 didn’t come with native screen recording when it was released to the public (though beta versions had this, it was not present in the final one).
Fortunately, Google seems to have fixed anything that broke screen recording before and has re-integrated it back to Android 11.
It does what it says it does, so hopefully, it will be available once Android 11 finally releases on all mobile phones later this year.
New ‘Recents’ Action
When you go to the ‘Recents’ menu, you will find three new actions: Screenshot, Select, Share.
Pressing the ‘Screenshot’ button will automatically grab a photo of the app that you are currently on. You can either edit the resulting image or share it on your social media accounts.
When you press the ‘Select’ option, you will be able to see what things you can highlight on the image so that you can easily copy your chosen text to the clipboard.
Then, the ‘Share’ button just makes it easier for you to share a particular image to your friends and family.
Stricter App Permissions
By default, there are only three options you can choose from if you fire up an app that asks for certain permissions.
First is the ‘allow only this time’ which means that you only grant whatever permission the app needs only at the time you fire it up.
Next, is the ‘while using the app’ which essentially grants permission to the app indefinitely. The last option would be to deny the application of any access to your system.
If you’ve given an app certain permissions indefinitely, you can toggle the option to reset it, but you will have to go deep down the settings menu in order to do that.
I really love the new ‘permission reset’ setting simply because it automatically resets all app permissions if you want to.
Okay, while all of the aforementioned new features of Android 11 are pretty exciting, keep in mind that it is still the first beta version of the upcoming OS. That means that bugs are to be expected until the final release.
From what I’ve experienced, not all applications can support the new notifications settings. They may be updated to suit the new Android ecosystem, but it may take some time.
Furthermore, there are some settings that do not work. That is to be expected given that it is still a developer preview anyway.
How to Install?
To be honest, Android 11 is still not a really good operating system to be using at this time. You may want to wait for a new beta version to be released in order for the developers to have fixed the bugs that are present in the first version.
Anyway, if you still want to try it out for yourself, you should have a Google Pixel device. If you do have one, you can go ahead and enroll your device on ‘Android Beta for Pixel Program’. Then, you will be able to download the operating system to your phone.
While it is far from perfect, the new features are pretty good. The new notifications panel just makes it so much easier for you to discern the most important ones from the others.
Aside from that, the new UI improvements are always welcome. Its integration with your smart appliances would really improve IoT in a major way.
I certainly hope that there will be more features added to Android 11 before release, but from what I can see so far, what Google is offering is pretty good.
Best Tech Deals in October 2020
Technology is always going to be there to help improve our lives. We at Startechnews will provide you with some of the best tech deals every month and today, I am going to be talking about some of the products that have received good price cuts.
Although Black Friday happens in the same month, most of these deals will not be a part of that special day.
Anyway, here are some of the best tech deals in October:
Best Tech Deals in October
1.Apple iPhone XR
Price: $550 (was $599) @BestBuy
If you are fond of using any devices under the iOS ecosystem, then I highly recommend that you get your hands on this Apple iPhone XR deal.
Yes, I know that this device is dated at this point but its specs, as well as its overall performance, are still really good in this day and age.
What I love about iPhones, in general, is that their Bionic chips outmatch the performance of any flagship Android device released in the same year, so you can rest assured that the XR can still be good for at least 2-3 years from now.
That being said, if you are okay with this, you can get head on over to Best Buy to get yours.
Lastly, if you have an old iPhone, you can also surrender that and get even more discounts as well!
2.Amazon Echo Dot
Price: $39.99 (was $49.99) @Amazon
The Amazon Echo Studio is always going to be the best in terms of Amazon’s line of Bluetooth speakers, but there are people who are okay with the convenience and the form factor of the company’s Echo Dot line.
The Amazon Echo Dot is currently sold for just $39.99 and although it is just a $10 discount, it is still pretty good nonetheless.
One of the reasons why I highly recommend that you get one for yourself is that you can actually use Alexa to help you do a lot of different things.
If you are following some sports teams, for example, you can ask Alexa to search for scores and any news about the teams that you are truly passionate about.
The device’s always-on microphone is there to take your voice commands and Alexa will do the rest for you.
Although it is relatively okay as an audio solution, there is more value when it comes to using its ‘smart’ features.
Price: $275 (was $299) @Amazon
The Nintendo Switch is considered to be one of the company’s best gaming consoles yet. The beauty about this particular game console is that you can either play it as-is (handheld) or you can wire it to your TV via HDMI to enjoy your games at a higher fidelity screen.
This deal is for the new version of the Nintendo Switch that aims to fix the joycon drift issue that has plagued the first version of the console and it has a bigger battery life so that you can play untethered for a longer period of time.
You can buy the discounted Nintendo Switch at Amazon.
4.Beats by Dr. Dre Solo Pro
Price: $199.95 (was $299.99) @BestBuy
The Beats by Dre Solo Pro is a really good pair of wireless headphones that have active noise canceling. Although you might not like its on-ear design, this pair of cans is still quite comfortable to use for hours.
You get a lot of different color options to choose from and its ergonomic design allows you to use these headphones without any issues.
The Beats by Dr. Dre Solo Pro currently retails at a discounted price of $199.95 down from $299.99. If you are a fan of the brand or just for good Bluetooth headphones, in general, this is a really good choice.
5.Apple Airpods Pro
Price: $219 (was $249) @Amazon
The Apple Airpods Pro needs no introduction. It is one of the best Bluetooth headphones that you can buy not only for your iPhone but also for your other mobile devices as well.
Part of the reason why so many people love this particular product is due to its active noise-canceling feature. Normally, you can only expect great performance if you are using over-ear headphones, but not the Airpods Pro.
Its active noise-cancellation is really good because it shows you a warning that you shouldn’t enable the feature when you are walking on a busy street. It is really that effective.
It has consistently been compared to other Bluetooth audio solutions on the market, but nothing compares to it unless, of course, if you are talking about high-end over-ear solutions.
If you are interested in getting your hands in an Apple Airpods Pro, you can head over to Amazon to purchase this thing for only $219.
Price: $229 (was $329)
If you want to get your hands on an Android TV that is really good and it doesn’t break the bank, then I suggest that you look at the TCL 43S425.
This is a 43-inch 4K TV that has the famous Roku operating system built-in. That means that you can enjoy a ton of different features, movies, and TV shows without ever having to download any application to do those things.
Although TCL is a relatively new brand in the US, you can rest assured that the build quality and the materials that are used in the making of these television sets are of high-quality.
7.Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Price: $229 (was $279) @Amazon
We considered the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 as one of the best smartwatches for Android and even though it is a year and a half old at this point, it is still pretty good regardless.
You are looking at a smartwatch with great build quality and you can use this no matter what activities you are going to do.
Its battery life is okay, though not that great. The good thing is that you can top this device up quickly and easily using its included charger.
If you want a smartwatch that allows you to track your physical activity really well, get this product as soon as possible.
8.Bose QC 35 II Wireless
Price: $239 (was $349)
Consistently regarded as one of the best Bluetooth headphones for quite some time now, the Bose QC 35 II Wireless is great both in terms of comfort and sound quality.
Although its overall performance does not rival that of the company’s higher-end models, this is not to downplay whatever this thing is offering because it still provides you with some really amazing features- one of which is its award-winning active noise-canceling capability.
You should get the Bose 35 II Wireless right now because you can have the chance to get a limited edition Rose-Gold color if you order this month.
Best Laptop Deals in October 2020
I think that at this point, Laptops have become an essential part of our lives. This is true especially during a time where most businesses let their employees work from home.
Because it is a necessity, I understand that not a lot of people have the money to buy the most expensive laptops out there. The good news is that there are plenty of affordable options to choose from and today, I am going to be providing you with the best laptops deals in October.
I have scoured the internet for the best deals in order for you to get one that is in line with your budget. Without further ado, let’s get on, shall we?
Best October Laptop Deals
1.Microsoft Surface Pro 7 w/ Type Cover Keyboard
Price: $699 (was $959) @Best Buy
The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 may not be a ‘true’ laptop, per se, but this tablet is actually a 2-in-1 device wherein you could add its keyboard attachment and make use of its gorgeous display.
The beauty of a 2-in-1 device is that you can use the display for more portability but you can also choose to utilize the keyboard if you want to type documents or even play some games.
Its convenient kickstand allows you to look at your documents or watch your favorite movies and TV shows without any issues.
Although this deal is just a modest setup with an Intel Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and just a 128GB SSD, the entire system is quite a steal, in my opinion, because it is now sold for only $699.
If you want a good laptop for productivity, I suggest that you take a look at the Surface Pro 7.
2.Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 4K
Price: $549 (was $999) @Samsung
If you fancy a Chromebook, I highly recommend that you check the Galaxy Chromebook 4K right now because it is on a huge discount.
The beauty of Chromebooks is that the platform has become more diverse than ever before- allowing you to do a lot of things from making your documents to playing some Android games.
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook was one of our picks for the best Chromebooks because of its vivid display and really good specs.
Speaking of specs, this particular laptop is equipped with a 10th generation Intel Core i5-10210 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD. Of course, you could choose to expand its storage by spending more money if you want to.
3.Asus Vivobook 15.6
Price: $479.99 (was $599.99) @Best Buy
A professional-looking machine with the specs to match its exuberance, the Asus Vivobook 15 is a laptop that I am sure a lot of people will love.
Here, you are looking for a machine that is built with a Ryzen 5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD which, for a laptop that is sold under $500, is a pretty good deal.
I understand that not a lot of people are familiar with AMD Ryzen processors, especially if they have come from using Intel machines, but I am here to tell you that the Ryzen 5 chip that this thing comes with should be more than enough for most use-cases.
I would also like to add that the display of this thing is quite vivid and punchy and it is definitely one that I would recommend for most people.
4.HP Pavilion x360 14t
Price: $590 (was $690) @HP
If you are fond of using laptops with a capacitive touch screen display, then the HP Pavilion x360 14t might tickle your fancy.
What I love about this thing is that not only does it have a pretty good display, but you can also utilize it as an amazing touch screen with an included multipoint pen as well.
If you are interested to know more about its specs, you will be getting a portable workhorse that has the 10th generation Intel Core i5 chip, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD.
Although its discount is not as high as the others on this list, this is still a pretty good purchase if you wish to buy this one.
5.Asus Zenbook S
Price: $1,099 (was $1,499) @Best Buy
If having a 4K screen is really something that you want in a laptop, I recommend that you look at the Asus Zenbook S 4K.
It’s got a really nice 4K display and I am quite surprised by how Asus has crammed a lot of amazing things inside a laptop with a relatively slim form factor.
Aside from its suave looks, you are looking into a portable machine that comes with an Intel Core i7-8565U, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD. If you ask me, this is a pretty good deal.
6.Dell XPS 13
Price: $749.99 (was $858) @Dell
The Dell XPS 13 is one of my most favorite ultrabooks in 2020. It is lightweight but it definitely packs enough punch to handle almost any workload you can imagine.
Here, you are getting a laptop that has the 10th generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD. Even though you are only getting a small amount of storage right off the bat, the good thing is that you can actually choose to expand it either by paying a little bit more or spending some money to get your own NVMe SSD.
Seriously, I am glad that Dell has given you the chance to get this thing because it is really that good.
7.Lenovo ThinkPad E15
Price: $729 (was $850) @Newegg
Lenovo’s Thinkpad line of laptops has always been known to be great productivity machines and the Lenovo ThinkPad E15 is no different.
It packs some punch because it is built with an Intel Core i5 10th generation processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB of storage. This processing package should give you enough oomph to handle any workload you throw at it.
If there is one complaint that I have about this laptop, it would be its plastic chassis. It doesn’t feel as premium as the others on this list.
Still, I can recommend this in a heartbeat, especially if you are looking for a productivity machine that can do a lot of things.
8.Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED
Price: $1,589 (was $1,899)
The Gigabyte Aero 15 is one of those laptops that truly amazing displays. So much so that if you are a creative content creator, I suggest that you put this into consideration because it is really good for such workloads.
Here, you are getting a laptop with an Intel Core u7-9750H CPU, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, and a dedicated Nvidia GTX 1660ti GPU which is good enough for both gaming and creative needs.
Because of the fact that it is built with an OLED display, you can expect impressive visuals at a relatively affordable price.
Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service
It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.
Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.
Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.
Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.
Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.
It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).
That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).
With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.
Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.
Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.
1080p and 4K Gaming
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.
Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.
Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.
You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.
NVIDIA Hardware Use
According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.
That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).
Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.
Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites
Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.
The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.
This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.
New Controller with Alexa Support
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.
What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.
According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.
Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.
Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99
If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.
Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.
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