Offline Spotify is lastly beginning to arrive on Put on OS

It looks like the recently announced offline Spotify update is starting to roll out to certain Wear OS watches.

Spotify announced earlier in August that it would finally be bringing the ability to download songs and podcasts directly to your watch and the feature was highlighted as a key feature when we saw the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 launch.

Now it seems some users are beginning to see the update appear on their watches.

While Samsung mentioned the feature when touting the Watch 4, which is the first wearable to be powered by the new Wear OS 3, it’s not exclusive there and will be available on older watches too as long as long as they’re on the Wear OS 2 version.

This news comes from users on Reddit, who noticed the Spotify app on their Wear OS watches had some extra skills.

However, users also noted the update was causing heavy battery drain and overheating of the watch, while there was criticism of the sound quality too.

As is usually the case with Spotify features, this seems to be a slow rollout and not all users will get it at the same time. You can always make sure the app is updated to the latest version to get the feature as soon as possible.

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We’ve checked on our review sample of the Galaxy Watch 4 and the Spotify version there is still the older version, so don’t expect to get the new app right away even if you’re picking up Samsung’s latest wearable.

You will need a Spotify Premium account to be able to download your tunes though, with users who have a free account restricted to only saving podcasts for offline listening.

This feature has been a long time coming, with offline Spotify support being restricted to Samsung Tizen and certain other wearables for a long period. Earlier this year Spotify enabled offline download on Apple Watch devices and that was very welcome.

Via Android Central

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 are pre-order hits

Ahead of its most recent Galaxy Unpacked event, Samsung made no secret of the fact it intended to make foldables go mainstream this year. And now it seems that early Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 pre-order data confirms the company is well on the way to doing just that. 

Admittedly, we only have data for one market – Samsung’s base of South Korea – but the numbers are certainly impressive. The Korea Herald reports that pre-orders of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 have reached a combined total of 450,000 and could go as high as 600,000 to 800,000 if momentum continues.   

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To put those numbers into perspective, the site claims that the Galaxy Z Fold 2 managed just 80,000 sales in the pre-order period. 

But what’s more interesting is how it compares to Samsung’s non-folding flagships. The site claims that these numbers are double those seen for the Galaxy S21 and 1.5 times that for the Galaxy Note 20. Enthusiasm was especially strong amongst younger age groups, with those aged 20 to 30 accounting for 49% of Galaxy Z Fold 3 pre-orders and 57% of Galaxy Z Flip 3 purchases.

That’s extremely encouraging for a company that has seen phone sales lagging year on year as consumers seemingly feel a sense of upgrade fatigue. And while this only represents the pre-order enthusiasm of one country – and one that is probably more enthusiastically pro Samsung than others – it would be surprising if this was wholly out of kilter with other regions.

“We are thankful for the great customer response to our new Galaxy Z Fold3 and Galaxy Z Flip3. Interest in foldable smartphones is at an all-time high, with pre-order volume for Z Fold3 and Z Flip3 already outpacing total sales for Galaxy Z devices to date in 2021,” Samsung said in an official statement. “We’re committed to providing the most innovative experiences to our consumers.”

Both foldable phones are due for release on August 27.

EFF has began a petition to cease Apple from scanning iPhones

Earlier in August, Apple unveiled a controversial plan to scan user photos for child abuse images. Now, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is fighting back with a petition addressed to Apple.

The update will involve scanning user images for Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) on-device by matching the photos up with known CSAM image hashes. 

If a match is found, Apple will create a cryptographic safety voucher and upload that to the user’s iCloud account alongside the image. This will result in the user’s account being frozen and the images reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), who can then alert US law enforcement agencies. 

Apple is also rolling out safety tools in iMessage which will detect if an inappropriate image has been sent to a child. iMessage will then blur the image and warn the child before asking if they still want to view it. 

If a parent opts into certain parental settings, they’ll also be alerted if the child chooses to view the image. The same process applies if a child attempts to send an explicit image. 

The update has been met with criticism by privacy advocates and rivals alike, with WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart calling it an “Apple-built and operated surveillance system that could very easily be used to scan private content for anything they or a government decides it wants to control.” 

Now, the Electronic Frontier Foundations (EFF) – a non-profit organisation dedicated to defending civil liberties in the digital world – has started a petition urging Apple not to scan phones. 

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“Apple has abandoned its once-famous commitment to security and privacy,” writes EFF in the description of the petition. “The next version of iOS will contain software that scans users’ photos and messages. Under pressure from U.S. law enforcement, Apple has put a backdoor into their encryption system.”

EFF also warns that Apple could be pressured into expanding the system to search for additional types of content. 

“The system will endanger children, not protect them—especially LGBTQ kids and children in abusive homes. Countries around the world would love to scan for and report matches with their own database of censored material, which could lead to disastrous results, especially for regimes that already track activists and censor online content.”

Trusted Reviews has reached out to both EFF and Apple for comment.

Google Meet will now let you know when you’re the one inflicting the echo

Tired of trying to figure out where that mysterious echo is coming from in your video calls? Google Meet will now tell you if you’re the cause of the feedback. 

Echo takes place when the sound from your device feeds back audio into the call through your microphone. 

“Most of the time, Meet will intelligently control the audio to remove the echo”, explained Google in its Workspace Updates blog. 

“However, sometimes it still happens, and causes others to hear an echo from your device when they speak. Until now, it has been difficult for you to know when your device is causing an echo. Now, we will notify you when we detect a notable echo from your system which may be heard by other call participants with a red dot on the more options button, along with a text notification”. 

You can see a preview of what the notification will look like in the image above, but essentially it’s a little black speech bubble that says “You’re causing echo” above the three dot options button at the bottom of the screen. 

Of course, knowing you’re the cause of the echo won’t automatically fix the issue. Muting your microphone is one common solution, but it isn’t much good if you’re in the middle of a presentation or trying to partake in a conversation. 

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Thankfully, Google has some options. 

If you click on the notification, you’ll be taken to Google’s Help Center, which will explain the issue and what you can do to get around it. 

Google’s recommendations include using headphones in your call, lowering your speaker’s volume and making sure to mute your microphone whenever you aren’t speaking. 

The echo notification feature started rolling out to all Google Workspace, G Suite Basic and G Suite Business users on August 23, so you might see the feature pop up in your next call.

Xiaomi is ditching the Mi branding throughout all of its merchandise

Xiaomi has confirmed that it is dropping the ‘Mi’ branding ten years after the company launched its first Mi smartphone. 

Xiaomi unveiled the Xiaomi Mix 4 on August 10, making the Mi Mix 3 successor the first in its line to ditch the Mi name and marking a major shift in direction for the successful tech brand. 

However, Xiaomi didn’t officially announce any changes to its naming conventions – until now, that is.

Xiaomi released its first Mi smartphone, the Xiaomi Mi 1, in 2011. Tens of phones have launched under the Mi name in the years since, making it one of the company’s largest sub-brands, alongside the likes of Redmi and Poco. 

The Xiaomi Mi 11 currently has a place on our guides to the best smartphones and the best Android phones thanks to its excellent performance, great display and fast charging. 

The line-up doesn’t just include smartphones either, with TVs, laptops, smartwatches, fridges, air fryers, scooters and more all having launched under the Mi name in the last decade. 

Now, the Chinese tech giant has confirmed in a statement to XDA Developers that the Mix 4’s name change wasn’t simply a one off. 

Going forward, Xiaomi will no longer release products under the Mi branding. Instead, the company will categorise all of its tech into either the flagship Xiaomi name or the more affordable Redmi branding. 

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“Starting in 2021 Q3, Xiaomi’s product series “Mi” will be renamed to “Xiaomi”. This change will unify our global brand presence and close the perception gap between the brand and its products. This change may take some time to take effect in all regions”, said Xiaomi speaking to XDA Developers on August 24.

“With the introduction of the new brand identity, two distinct product series will sit beneath the parent brand. Xiaomi products represent the pinnacle of technology and offer a premium experience. Redmi products bring big innovation at a more accessible price point and are aimed at younger audience”. 

The Xiaomi and Redmi names will also be used across the Xiaomi ecosystem and its IoT products over time, as well.

Google is making Play Retailer rankings extra helpful

Google has announced two changes that should make Play Store reviews more useful to users and less unfair to developers.

“We’ve heard from both Play Store users and developers that ratings and reviews could be more helpful,” a blog post aimed at developers begins, before explaining the specific actions the company plans. 

The first issue hopes to address problems that globally available apps face in specific regions with problems. Take, for example, a dating app that doesn’t have a huge number of users in the UK but has an enormous Irish community. One-star UK reviews highlighting the lack of matches wouldn’t be wrong, but they could unfairly put off an Irish user who would get an entirely more positive experience.

From November, Google will address this by showing users ratings specific to their registered country. “So a user in Japan will see app ratings generated from those submitted by other Japanese users,” Google explains.  

The second problem Google hopes to fix is similar, but related to device type. In early 2022, apps available on multiple formats will show Play Store ratings specific to the device they’re being viewed on, be it tablet, Chromebook, wearable or phone. That should prevent a smartphone app’s rating being pulled downwards by a serious tablet bug.“We recommend you take a look at your form-factor ratings today – especially for tablets where growth is very strong – to see if you should invest in optimising your users’ experiences,” the blog says.

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This is a point that’s important for Google to stress, as the company has recently made a push to get developers supporting more than just phones with their apps. With the new Play Media Experience Program, developers with at least 100,000 monthly installs and a strong Play Store rating can see the cut of revenue owed to Google slashed if they support different platforms like Android TV, Wear OS or Google Cast.

You need to most likely watch the Spider-Man: No Means Dwelling trailer proper now

Sony Pictures has officially dropped the first trailer for the next Spider-Man film, No Way Home, following an unfortunate leak at the weekend.

The next Tom Holland-led flick will take its place as part of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and hits cinemas on December 17.

It’s a direct sequel to 2019’s Far From Home, the last film in Phase 3 of the MCU. That film saw Peter attempt to face-up to the death of his mentor Tony Stark/Iron Man while continuing to work for S.H.I.E.L.D. At the end of the film, Spidey’s secret identity is revealed.

The first trailer for No Way Home will see Parker face-up to the fallout of his cover being blown, including being accused of causing the death of Quinten Beck / Mysterio.

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Alongside Holland, The incredible Zendaya is back as MJ, as is the terrific Marisa Tomei who plays Aunt May. Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange will play a major role, as Peter has enlisted him in an ill-fated attempt to undo some of the damage.

Apparently, the spell goes wrong (they were warned) and leads to the duo “tap into the stability of space time.” As Strange says “The Multiverse is a concept about which we know frighteningly little.” So, this film will unleash the multiverse we learned about in the Loki Disney Plus series. And, as the title would suggest, there’s No Way Home (although there probably is).

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Oh, and as if that wasn’t enough, Doc Ock is back. And there’s also a hint the Green Goblin is back in the frame too. Tough times for your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, who enters the film as public enemy No.1.

Can Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe really match the juggernaut of Phase 3? Is there really No Way Home for Spidey? Or will he find his way back to New York a hero once more. Let us know @trustedreviews on Twitter.

Google Pixel 6 Professional’s in-screen fingerprint scanner seemingly noticed

It appears that we’ve been granted another look at the upcoming Google Pixel 6 Pro thanks to a hastily deleted tweet from Hiroshi Lockheimer, the company’s SVP for Android, Chrome OS and Google Play.

As spotted by XDA Developers’ Mishaal Rahman, Lockheimer posted a screenshot of his lockscreen to demonstrate Android 12’s Material You redesign, where design elements match the background photo.  

Hiroshi Lockheimer apparently posted (and then deleted) a screenshot from what’s likely the Pixel 6 Pro (the image resolution was 1440×3200.) The phone is connected to Verizon 5G, likely the carrier’s sub-6GHz network. Also shown is the position of the UDFPS.H/T @jspring86az— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) August 24, 2021

The tweet was swiftly deleted, but not before Rahman could check the resolution of the picture – 1440 x 3200, which just so happens to match the 1440p resolution expected from the Pixel 6 Pro. Notably, there’s a big in-screen fingerprint scanner underneath the time, too.

As 9to5Google points out, there are other phones which have this combination of specs and are permitted to run the Android 12 beta – the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, OnePlus 9 Pro and Oppo Find X3 Pro all fit the bill – but the abrupt deletion indicates something was shown that shouldn’t have been.The question is what. Some sites have suggested it’s because the in-screen fingerprint reader has been accidentally confirmed, but Google has already done that itself directly to The Verge. And even if it hadn’t, the lack of external fingerprint reader in the released renders strongly pointed to an in-screen solution – unless the company was planning on ditching it altogether, like it did (and was widely panned for) with the Pixel 4.

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Google’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro shouldn’t be too far away. The company has promised an autumn release, and if past Pixel events are anything to go by, then a full reveal in October seems likely – possibly alongside the company’s first foldable. 

Don’t expect mid-range pricing, though: Google has already confirmed that the Pixel 6 Pro “will be expensive”, and even the basic Pixel 6 “belongs in the upper segment.”  

The Home windows 11 launch date might be revealed quickly

We know that Windows 11 is coming this year, with Microsoft announcing it’ll be available “at the beginning of this holiday season.” But that covers a pretty wide range of dates: some of us don’t begin to feel festive until December, after all.Windows Central’s Zac Bowden, a respected source of Microsoft leaks and gossip, believes that the company will be announcing the final date soon. “Heard MS might announce the GA [General Availability] date for Windows 11 in the next week or two,” he tweeted.

“Sign-off on a ‘final build’ expected in mid-Sept. If I were a betting man, I’d wager October 19 is the GA date… guess we’ll see soon enough.”

An October release date has previously been rumoured thanks to a couple of pretty big clues. A Walmart listing of an HP laptop included the slightly garbled phrase “free upgrade to Windows October 21 when available” before being altered, and Intel driver notes also referred to Windows 11 as the “October 2021 Update”. 

Of course, even if all this proves to be correct and a roll out begins in October, that doesn’t necessarily mean your PC will be upgraded to Windows 11 in that time period. Just like with the release of Windows 10, Microsoft will be taking a staggered approach to upgrades, so it may be some time before the update reaches your PC. 

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That may sound like a bad thing, but it does at least mean that any show stopping bugs will likely have been crushed by the time your computer is showing the Windows 11 boot screen.

If, on the other hand, you don’t mind a few bugs, then you can skip the queue and join the unprecedented numbers enjoying the early-access beta version that’s available right now. If you want to do that, read our explainer of how to download Windows 11.

“Everyone however Apple” affected by chip scarcity – report

The ongoing global chip shortage is having a strange impact on smartphone vendors’ market share in the US, according to a new report from Wave7.The firm, which surveys US retailers to get a picture of smartphone demand in the United States, informed PC Mag that Samsung and OnePlus have been hit especially hard – and particularly with regard to their budget phones, where demand is present, but stock is not.

“Sources have told Wave7 Research that Apple was able to lock down chipset supply well ahead of time,” Jeff Moore, principal at Wave7 told PC Mag. 

One store manager cited in the company’s latest report claimed that “everybody but Apple” is impacted, and that means that stores are unevenly impacted. AT&T, which has an iPhone-heavy inventory, is operating broadly at business as usual, but T-Mobile has reportedly suffered badly.

While Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra sales are still strong, the report states that this may be at the detriment of the company’s bread and butter: middle to low-end phones purchased by those wanting a Galaxy phone, but uninterested in paying top dollar for the experience. Verizon, apparently, is completely sold out of Samsung Galaxy A02s, Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy A01, Galaxy A21 and Galaxy A51 headsets.

And, in the US at least, Samsung’s loss is OnePlus’ gain, with the company hitting a record 8% of T-Mobile sales in the absence of Galaxy handsets. 

But again, this is uneven: while the company hit 20% of sales at Metro in July, thanks to strong sales of the OnePlus Nord N200, this figure halved in August thanks to “short supply of certain OnePlus devices.”

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While the report makes pleasant reading for Apple, it’s important to note that the company’s immunity may not last forever. During Apple’s Q3 2021 earnings call to investors, chief financial officer Luca Maestri warned that “supply constraints” were incoming, expected to “primarily impact iPhone and iPad.”