The Android 11 Beta version 1 is already available to the public. At the time of writing, it is only available on Pixel devices, but manufacturers such as Oppo and Xiaomi are going to join the fray anytime soon.
That being said, with any major update to the operating system, there are some new things that are going to be introduced.
How to Install the Update
Before anything else, I want to point out that the first beta version of Android 11 is riddled with bugs. I wouldn’t say that it is a daily driver at all so if you can wait a little longer for the second beta, then that is better.
However, for those that want to tinker with their devices, you might want to try out the new Android OS right now. So, how do you install the update?
Well, there are actually two ways for you to install the new OS, but I will only highlight the easiest one.
Anyway, the first thing that you need to do would be to have a Pixel device. That means that any phone from Google Pixel 2 and above should work.
Next, you want to go to the Android Beta Program on your pixel device and sign-in with your Google account. Once that is done, you want to scroll down and tap ‘Your Eligible Devices’.
Find your specific phone’s model number and tap the option to opt-in. From there, you will be presented with some prompts and the OTA update should be available shortly after.
If you want to get out of the beta program, all you have to do is redo the steps and when asked to opt-in, simply just opt-out and that’s it.
Android 11 Features
In every new version of the Android operating system, there are always some new features and improvements being introduced on an annual basis.
That being said, while there aren’t that many changes in the UI, there are still some notable ones. Below are just some of the best features of Android 11.
It is really frustrating to sift through all of your notifications for specific ones, but Google has had enough of that. In Android 11, your notifications are now grouped into three categories: Conversations, Alerting Notifications, and Silent Notifications.
In the Conversations section, you will find all of your chat messages from your various apps. At the moment, only Facebook Messenger is not bugged simply because Facebook has already implemented the needed API for this feature to work.
Theoretically, your emails, chat messages, and texts should be grouped in the Conversations section.
All of the system notifications are automatically grouped in the Silent Notifications section. These are notifications that you’ve put to the said category, as well as system messages that you normally wouldn’t need to see (such as USB debugging, for example).
All of your other notifications that you haven’t put in the Silent category will be lumped together in the Alerting Notifications section. These include your news apps, RSS feeds, articles, emails (if you didn’t give it a priority), among many others.
I really love this new feature simply because it makes it easier for you to respond to conversations.
If you’ve ever used Facebook Messenger, this new feature will be right at home. Chat bubbles are essentially similar to the previously-mentioned app’s feature with the major difference that it now supports all of your chat applications.
As mentioned earlier, only Facebook’s Messenger app utilizes this functionality, though expect other app developers to follow suit.
So, if you’ve received text messages or any notifications from your chat apps, then each notification will correspond to its own chat bubble so you can easily tap and reply to them.
Expect that this feature will become so much better in later beta versions of the OS.
3.Persistent Media Playback Controls
Android 10 introduced a feature where media playback can be controlled by a card found on the notifications section of the device. Although it was good, there are some actions that would make it disappear, hence it is not as useful as one would hope it to be.
In Android 11, you can expect better media playback controls simply because the same feature is now put on top of the quick settings menu. Although it is still buggy and you have to go to the developer options to enable the said feature, I like the idea of a persistent media playback control panel.
Another standout feature that was introduced in the new Android operating system is Control. By simply pressing the power button, you will be presented with a new screen that offers some smart home features on the fly.
You can tap Google Pay if you have (and you can also add your preferred payment method as well).
If you have smart home appliances or even Google Home speakers, you can also control that on the same screen as well.
It seems that the company is making huge strides in making IoT more mainstream and accessible to the general public.
5.Improved App Permissions
Also introduced in Android 10, the App Permissions have been refined in Android 11. By default, applications are granted one-time permission and that is when you fire up the app to use its features.
Other than that, you can also choose to permit the application indefinitely or completely deny it from using your phone, etc.
There is also a new feature that allows you to revoke permissions on apps that you haven’t used in quite a while. You will be notified which applications have their permissions revoked so that you won’t get surprised if you use them sometime in the future.
A lot of people have to download 3rd party screen recording apps from the Google Playstore in order to record what’s on their screen. There was supposed to be a similar feature that should’ve been implemented in Android 10, but it seems that it was buggy back then so it was ditched entirely in the final release.
However, I am pleased to inform you that the built-in screen recorder is back and the feature is not buggy at all. Hopefully, this will be released in the final version of the OS.
7.Better Gesture Navigation
As smartphones become bigger and bigger, people love to use gesture navigation for better ergonomics and usability.
Gesture navigation is already built into the Android OS starting last year, though Google has improved it even more.
With Android 11, you can easily adjust certain parameters like the sensitivity, as well as how big or small you want the gestures area to be.
Although the dark theme is nothing new, you can now easily toggle between dark and light themes by enabling/disabling its quick settings icon.
In addition, more and more applications are embracing the darker aesthetic, so no more buggy UIs.
One unique feature is that you can set your phone’s theme to dark immediately based on the time that you’ve set in the settings menu.
Lastly, you can also change the icon’s shapes for your quick settings as well. You can use the default, squircle, and a whole lot more.
The Android 11 Beta version 1 is already here. It is still quite buggy and app developers would have to incorporate the new API for them to take advantage of the new features.
As of the time of writing this article, only Google Pixel devices are supported, though some phone companies have already expressed their desire to join the program as well.
All of the new features are just quality of life changes. Perhaps, we can expect more in the next set of beta versions before the final release.
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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