Deal: Snag a Google Home for just $114 from the Google Store ($15 off)

With Mother’s Day just around the corner (it’s Sunday, May 14, by the way), it’s time to start thinking about getting your mom a special gift for the big day. If you’re still struggling to find the right gift, perhaps this new promotion at the Google Store will help.

From now until Saturday, May 13, you can pick up a Google Home for just $114, which is $15 off the normal retail price. Google says this deal is available while supplies last (or until May 13), so you might want to take advantage of the promo sooner rather than later.

For those unfamiliar, the Google Home connected speaker works with both Android and iOS devices, and is powered by the Google Assistant. You can ask it for weather updates or trending news, tell it to play a certain playlist, and a lot more. I use my Google Home every day in a variety of different scenarios, and I think it’s super handy to have in an office or living room. If you’d like to learn more about the Google Home, check out our full review here.

Interested? Head to the Google Store link attached below.

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Samsung Marshmallow offers parental controls and teaches proper phone usage

Marshmallow is not a rare topic here at Android Authority, but it is usually the Android version we refer to when we speak of this sweet treat. Now we have a new Samsung service named after the same dessert – Samsung Marshmallow.

This is a parental control app, but Sammy wants us to look at it as something more than just that. The application is not made to simply enforce rules, it is also designed to teach children proper smartphone usage habits.

It’s easy to set bedtimes, limit internet time, block apps and more. The app also takes things a step further by enticing your kids to be better smart device users. There is a reward system in place, too – kids can earn points with good online behavior, while being naughty will cause a loss in points. After getting enough points, the child can ask parents for a card to use in the gift shot.

The bad news? This is a Samsung exclusive, which means only the company’s own devices will support the app. Here is a list of supported handsets: Galaxy S8 / S8 Plus / S7 / S7 Edge / S6 / S6 Edge / S6 Edge Plus / S5 / Note 5 / Note 4 / A5 / A7 / A8 / A9 / J3 / J5 / J7.

Those interested and carrying a supported device can go ahead and download the app straight from the Google Play Store. Hit the comments to let us know how you like it!

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Samsung Galaxy S8 International Giveaway!

Welcome to the Sunday Giveaway, the place where we giveaway a new Android phone each and every Sunday!

Congratulations to last week’s Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus Giveaway winner: Jorge V. (Portugal)

This week we’re giving away a brand new Samsung Galaxy S8!

Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 features a beautiful 18.5:9 Infinity display, a powerful Snapdragon 835 processor, 4 GB of RAM, a 3,000 mAh battery, as well as a super impressive 12 MP rear-facing camera with an f/1.7 aperture. One of the standout features on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus this year is Bixby, Samsung’s new AI assistant that even has its own hardware button. As an added bonus, the S8 ships with a solid pair of AKG earbuds.

Enter giveaway

Samsung Galaxy S8 International Giveaway!

More giveaways:

Winners Gallery

Terms & Conditions

  • The giveaway is an international giveaway (Except when we can not ship to your Country.)
  • If we can not ship to your country, you will be compensated with an online gift card of equal MSRP value to the prize.
  • We are not responsible for lost shipments.
  • We are not responsible if your giveaway prize malfunctions.
  • You must be age of majority in your Country of residence.
  • We are not responsible for any duties or import fees that you may incur.
  • Only 1 entry per person, do not enter multiple email addresses. We will verify all winners and if we detect multiple email addresses by the same person you will not be eligible to win.
  • We reserve all rights to make any changes to this giveaway.
  • This giveaway is operated by AndroidAuthority.
  • The prize will ship when it is available to purchase.

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Must read: top 10 Android stories

This week we reviewed Samsung DeX, the Sony Xperia XZs, and the new Garmin fenix 5. We also compared the top three voice assistants out right now, and talked about the Galaxy S8’s one big flaw. There’s a lot to catch up on, so here’s the news of the week!

Who wants to win a Samsung Galaxy S8?

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is one of the best Android smartphones out right now. Here’s how you can win one!

10 Android stories we handpicked for you

Samsung DeX review – can your smartphone replace a PC? The Galaxy S8 is here and so is the new Samsung DeX docking station. It lets you use Android with a keyboard and mouse, but can it really replace a PC?

Sony Xperia XZs review The Xperia XZs features a few key improvements over its predecessor. Is that enough to make it a compelling choice? Find out in this Sony Xperia XZs review!

Garmin fenix 5 review The fenix 5 is here, but is it actually worth the high price tag? Find out, in our full Garmin fenix 5 review.

Bixby vs Google Assistant vs Siri 2017 is shaping up to be the year of the virtual assistant, so here’s how the big three – Bixby, Siri, and Google Assistant – compare.

The Samsung Galaxy S8’s one flaw… The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are two of the best phones of the year, but they’re missing an increasingly key feature.

8 ways the Galaxy S8 is objectively better than the iPhone 7 We think we can objectively prove the Galaxy S8 is better than the iPhone 7. So grab some popcorn and settle in, because this is about to get ugly.

Have smartphones become too expensive? Buying a flagship smartphone is certainly expensive, but are we paying more for top-end smartphones than we were half a decade ago?

Fitbit Alta HR review The Fitbit Alta HR adds a heart rate monitor and new sleep tracking features to an already convenient and capable device. Learn more in the full review!

The best OEM specific features Flagship smartphones are all pretty impressive these days, but here are the OEM specific features that may make or break your purchasing decisions.

10 best new Android apps and games from April 2017 Plenty of great apps and games were released in the month of April. Here are the best ones!

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Apollo 1 Concept Smartphone is Made of Wood, Has a Slight Jukebox Vibe to It

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Finally, a break from all those iPhone concepts! Today we’ve come across the Apollo 1 smartphone, a device made of wood and sporting an unusual design format. The creation of Varnicic Branislav, this unusual handset is shown below.

It’s a classic case of a natural design, with wood combined with metal and modern specs. With a rounded bottom area, the format of this phone brings me back to 2010 and the LG Optimus 7. It also feels a bit like a jukebox, or a more rounded Zune of sorts. The rounded bottom is no accident, as it helps with ergonomics and also has a semicircular UI tied to it, making navigation more natural.

Luxury metal finishes are included, with versions of gold and blue available here. The back side feels like a Vertu and the stainless steel or aluminum look quite great there. It’s a pretty polished piece of work, but I still say it feels like an MP3 or MP4 player. My only objections would be protruding camera and maybe the big waistline of the handset.

If you’re looking for wooden phones, OnePlus has some with that type of finish.

[via Yanko Design]

QR & Barcode Scanner PRO for Android goes free as myAppFree app of the day

The Android app which has gone free next as myAppFree app of the day is QR & Barcode Scanner PRO.

This is an essential app for every Android device and is extremely easy to use; simply point to QR or barcode you want to scan and app will automatically detect and scan it. No need to press any buttons, take photos or adjust zoom.

QR & Barcode Scanner PRO Description:

QR & Barcode Scanner can scan and read all QR / barcode types including text, url, ISBN, product, contact, calendar, email, location, Wi-Fi and many other formats. After scan and automatic decoding user is provided with only the relevant options for individual QR or Barcode type and can take appropriate action.

Scan product barcodes with QR & Barcode Scanner in shops and compare prices with online prices to save money. QR & Barcode Scanner app is the only QR code reader / barcode scanner you will ever need.

Download it today, it is FREE!!!!

QR & Barcode Scanner PRO
QR & Barcode Scanner PRO

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15 best strategy games for Android

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Strategy is among the oldest game types in human history. Whether it’s chess, board games, or even some card games, we’ve been playing strategy games since long before there was ever a computer. Strategy games have come a long way, but the basic premise of using your brain to beat your opponents remains true even to this day. It’s a fantastic way to test yourself to see how creative you can be. Here are the best strategy games on Android!

Chess is one of the oldest strategy games. Chess Free is probably the best chess game on mobile. The graphics aren’t a lot to look at. However, you’ll have 12 difficulty levels across two game modes, ELO Ratings, save and load games, local multiplayer, a chess tutor, and a bunch of other cool stuff. It’s about as complete of a chess game as you can find. It utilizes the Treebeard Chess Engine. It’s the same one from MSN Chess. It’s completely free with no in-app purchases or advertisements.

Chess Free

If we missed any of the best strategy games for Android, tell us about them in the comments!

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10 best games like Clash of Clans

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Clash of Clans is one of the most popular kingdom building games in gaming history. The premise is simple enough, you build a kingdom, defend it against online opponents, and attack other online opponents for loot. The game is deep enough to really get into, but accessible enough for casual gamers and it really hits that balance well. However, like most games, you’ll get sick of it eventually. If you’re looking for a replacement for Clash of Clans, but still want to play a game like it, then you’re in the right spot. Here are the best games like Clash of Clans.

If we missed any of the best games like Clash of Clans, tell us about them in the comments!

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Huawei calls P10 memory substitution scandal a “wake up call”

Huawei’s mobile chief, Richard Yu, has admitted the exposure of the company’s memory substitution practices on the P10 were a “wake up call” that provided a “profound lesson”. Yu made the remarks in a letter initially shared internally with employees and later posted to his Weibo account, where he admits he responded “inappropriately” and that Huawei’s original stance was “arrogant”.

The letter comes a day after mention of UFS 2.1 memory on the Mate 9 product page reappeared, after mysteriously disappearing the day after the P10 story blew up. Huawei told Reuters it removed the Mate 9 UFS mention “to avoid confusion” while the company double checked to confirm all Mate 9 units supported UFS 2.1. The term appears to have been reinstated on all sites globally.

It’s led us to wonder whether we’ve been running too fast these past few years, or lost sight of our original vision.

Yu also announced he has set up a ‘customer listening taskforce’ and plans to lead the consumer business group management team on visits to retail stores and service centers to spend time with customers. Yu also vowed the company will “strive to be more considerate of consumers’ feelings” in future. Yu even pondered whether Huawei had been “running too fast these past few years, or lost sight of our original vision”. Huawei said no decisions had been made in response to a Reuters query regarding customer compensation or a device recall.

While such an admission of guilt is to be respected, only time will tell how sincerely the sentiment will be applied. A lot of consumers will simply see Yu’s statement as damage control and no longer trust the company’s products. Huawei is clearly aware of how significantly this situation has affected its public perception, both in its native China as well as abroad. But as Samsung showed in the wake of the Galaxy Note 7 recall, these issues can be overcome; it’s just a matter of getting back to work and checking the hubris at the door.

Here’s the full letter if you’re interested.

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Amazon Alexa can now whisper or scold you

Amazon’s Alexa is already a daily interlocutor on your conversations but you may have occasionally found yourself wishing that talking to Alexa could be a little more… lifelike. Well, that time is now here. Amazon engineers have recently detailed additions they’ve made to the Speech Synthesis Markup Language that Alcxa uses, which will allow skills developers to humanize Alexa in a number of new ways.

Once these SSML tags are applied, Alexa will be able to whisper to you – which could be helpful when sharing sensitive information like passwords and login information – or even ‘bleep’ out expletives (or any terms considered potentially offensive), which could be pretty handy if using Alexa as a storyteller. Other changes will allow devs to modify Alexa’s rate of speech and volume to emphasize certain words or generally change the way the voice assistant speaks.

These new abilities could be used to great effect. For example, as Amazon notes, “Remember when you were little (and in trouble), a parent would begin talking low and slow and this got your attention? Well, that’s exactly what [the emphasis tag] does for Alexa and the tenor of the conversation. It varies dialog and thus maintains engagement”. Alexa will also be able to substitute words, to say something other than what’s written, which should make for some pretty comedic dev jokes.

The new features are now available for Alexa skill builders in the US, UK and Germany and they can be previewed in Amazon’s voice simulator on the developer portal. Amazon has also released ‘speechcons’ for Alexa in the UK and Germany (they were made available in the US in February), which allow snippets of speech to be delivered in a “more characterful way”. With more regional variations and greater control of how and What Alexa says, Amazon is only likely to further its substantial lead in the digital assistant space.

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