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The new Android is available on Nexus devices, Apple is planning a curved iPhone for 2017, PlayStation Plus gets more expensive, unlock your Chromebook with a PIN code, and how paper can slice through wood.
Google Releases Nougat Into the Wild
Android Nougat is finally being released into the wild, with Google Nexus devices first in line for the over-the-air update. Nougat was launched into beta in March when it was still known as Android N, and then in June Google named it Nougat after an online orgy of suggested names. Now, it has arrived in its final form.
Owners of Nexus devices, including the Nexus 6, the Nexus 5X, the Nexus 6P, the Nexus 9, and the Pixel C, should be upgraded to Android Nougat over the next few weeks. The same goes for anyone enrolled in the Android Beta Program. However, everybody else will have to wait until the phone manufacturers decide they’re worthy.
This is a worthy upgrade to Android, and we revealed everything you need to know about Android Nougat back in March. However, with just 15.2 percent of handsets currently running Android Marshmallow, the chances are this will matter little to most people reading this. Which is a huge shame, and probably the biggest problem with Android Google has left to fix in the future.
Apple Plans a Curved iPhone for 2017
Apple is rumored to be releasing a curved iPhone in 2017, as it prepares three new models designed to give consumers more choice. The iPhone equipped with a curved screen will be sold as a premium model, with the standard model (sans curves) coming in two different sizes.
This all comes courtesy of a report by the Nikkei Asian Review, which cites “a source familiar with Apple’s plans”. This source supposedly said, “There will be a 4.7-inch model, another that will be 5.5-inches and a premium handset that will be either 5.5-inches or larger equipped with a screen bent on the two sides.”
Apple sees iPhone sales fall again? Well, maybe innovate again and see sales rise. Oh yeah, DON'T REMOVE THE STANDARD HEADPHONE JACK MORONS!
— Joe (@bxbrew) July 27, 2016
This description is rather vague, and leaves a lot of wiggle room as to the final design. However, if it’s true in any capacity, it suggests Apple is copying Samsung in its bid to win back customers. In fact, Samsung will be one of Apple’s suppliers, as the Korean company is the only one currently producing flexible OLED screens.
This is Apple playing catch-up to a certain extent, as Samsung already offers consumers curved screens on the Galaxy 7 Edge and Note 7. But then Apple needs to do something to compete, as Android now enjoys an 86.2% share of the market, and Samsung is by far the biggest smartphone vendor.
Sony Ups the Price of PlayStation Plus
Sony is raising the price of PlayStation Plus, the subscription service which allows PlayStation owners to play online and earns them free games as a reward. In the United States, annual rates are increasing from $50 to $60, with the 3-month subscriptions rising from $18 to $22. The monthly subscriptions are remaining at $10. The price increases come into effect on September 22nd.
PlayStation Plus content manager Greg Lewickyj explained the price changes on the PlayStation Blog, saying:
“PlayStation Plus strives to enrich your PlayStation experience through a world-class service built for our fans. This marks the first time that PS Plus membership prices will increase in the U.S. and Canada since the launch of the service in 2010. The new pricing reflects the current market conditions while enabling us to continue providing exceptional value to our members.”
Suffice to say this hasn’t gone down well with PlayStation gamers. There have been complaints for months regarding the quality of the free games Sony is giving away, and the increases have been announced in the same month the PS Plus freebies were especially bad. OK, so this just brings the price of PlayStation Plus in line with Xbox Live Gold, but that will be of scant comfort to those affected.
Google Adds PIN Codes to Chromebook
Google is adding PIN code unlocking to Chrome OS, which means you’ll soon be able to lock and unlock your Chromebook more quickly and easily. As Google evangelist Francois Beaufort said when announcing the upcoming feature, this will be especially useful for those using touch devices.
Just replaced the screen of my daughter's Chromebook. Cost $15 and took me 10 minutes. Almost like they made the product fixable…
— Jeff (@orange_runner) August 13, 2016
The quick-lock and PIN-unlock combination is currently being tested in the Dev channel, but it will eventually seep through to all Chrome OS users. Those impatient types who cannot be bothered waiting can gain access to it early by enabling the flag chrome://flags/#quick-unlock-pin, restarting Chrome, and then going to the Chrome Material Design settings page to set up a Lock Screen PIN.
You can then lock your screen by pressing the magnifier key + L together, and unlock it by entering the PIN code you have specified.
Watch Paper Slice Through Wood
And finally, if, like us, you didn’t think paper could possibly ever cut wood, this video will likely blow your mind. OK, perhaps that’s a little too hyperbolic, but it will at least demonstrate the power of motion, as that’s all that’s required to make paper slice through wood.
Under normal circumstances, paper would completely fail to even make a dent in wood. But when it’s attached to a circular saw the motion makes it much stiffer and adds a healthy dose of friction. The result is a sheet of paper capable of slicing through wood. While leaving some rather impressive scorch marks. [H/T Reddit]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Are you looking forward to updating to Android Nougat? Have Apple’s glory days of innovation come to an end? How do you feel about Sony upping the price of PlayStation Plus? Will you be using a PIN code to unlock your Chromebook? Are you surprised to learn paper can cut through wood?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.
Image Credit: Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier via Flickr