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Essential Phone’s Audio Adapter HD modular accessory adds a 3.5mm audio port

Having an audio port is a luxury now

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That’s right, folks: We’re living in a time where we need to pay extra to have a headphone jack on our port-less phones.

This is what’s happening with Essential and its ill-fated smartphone. The struggling company is releasing the Audio Adapter HD this summer in the US, and it’ll add an audiophile-grade amp and full MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) rendering support for high-res music streaming on top of the 3.5mm port.

The modular accessory seamlessly latches on to the Essential Phone through its magnetic dock at the back. It’s made of titanium, the same the material used for the phone’s study frame.

Essential is making a big deal out of the fact that, while using the Audio Adapter HD, you can charge your phone and listen to music through the 3.5mm audio port — a feature that was already made possible over a decade ago (on feature phones, no less).

It’s important to note, however, that the Essential Phone already comes with a USB-C to 3.5mm port adapter in the box. It doesn’t allow you to charge the phone while listening to music, but it’s the cost-free way of using your wired headphones or speakers.

This is only the second modular accessory to release for the Essential Phone since its launch. The first is the 360 Camera, which enables you to shoot 360-degree photos at a cost of US$ 199.

No price has been given yet for this particular accessory, but anything above zero dollars already feels like unnecessary spending.

Enterprise

You might need to pay Google for Android soon

Because of EU’s US$ 5 billion fine

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Will we soon have to pay to use Android? According to Google, that dystopic possibility might eventually become our reality.

Recently, the Silicon Valley giant butted heads with the European Commission over an anti-competition rap. According to the commission, Google is purposely preventing competitors from getting a leg up, creating a dangerous oligopoly on the mobile OS market.

Google currently requires phone makers to bundle eleven apps with their phones, if they want to use Android. The most concerning ones are Google’s Search and Chrome. The company draws much of its profits from their mobile ad revenue.

After weeks of deliberation, the EU has hammered down a guilty verdict on the accused. As a result, Google will pay a whopping US$ 5 billion in fines. On its own, the fine is just spare change for the multi-billion-dollar company.

However, the sanction also requires Google to unbundle the concerned apps from Android. Also, the EU requires Google to hand over an open-source version of their software to phone makers. As a result, Google’s entire revenue stream threatens to collapse. This also enables competitors to create their own versions of Android.

In response to this, Google CEO Sundar Pichai posted a statement on the company’s blog. Despite using a warm, imploratory tone, Pichai’s statement underscores a threat directed towards Google’s consumers and partners.

According to the post, Android’s ubiquity speaks for itself. Android powers 1,300 brands, 24,000 devices, and more than 1 million apps. Seemingly, the EU sanctions will undercut the millions of consumers that enjoy Android on a free basis.

Pichai concludes by introducing the possibility that Android might become a pay-to-play system.

“If phone makers… couldn’t include our apps… it would upset the balance of the Android ecosystem. So far, the Android business model has meant that we haven’t had to charge phone makers for our technology, or depend on a tightly controlled distribution model,” says Pichai.

If Google is issuing a threat, phone makers will initially feel the brunt of renewed pricing schemes. However, consumers will ultimately shoulder the responsibility of paying for their own mobile operating systems.

SEE ALSO: Android Oreo now on more devices but Nougat remains the most popular

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Nokia 6.1 Plus unveiled as the international version of the Nokia X6

The first notched phone of Nokia goes global

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Nokia has started to roll out their new smartphones to the global market. After its initial launch, the Nokia X6 is now available outside of China. Under the name Nokia 6.1 Plus, the brand’s first notched phone is now on its way to Hong Kong.

The Nokia 6.1 Plus boasts the exact same specifications as the Nokia X6’s. The phone is still powered by a Snapdragon 636 processor with 4GB of memory and 64GB of expandable storage. Unlike the Nokia X6 though, the Nokia 6.1 Plus is only available in one memory/storage configuration.

Nokia 6.1 Plus in white and blue

The display of the phone measures 5.8 inches and has a Full HD+ resolution with a 19:9 aspect ratio. As you can see, the phone has a notch which could be a deal breaker for some, but it’s actually pretty popular among phone manufacturers.

A respectable 3060mAh battery is sealed inside the glass and metal body of the device. The battery also supports Quick Charge 3.0 through the reversible USB-C port.

What makes the 6.1 Plus different from the X6 is its Android One software. This means the phone will receive timely updates with no bloatware, just like the rest of the Android-powered Nokia phones currently in the market. Out of the box, the phone will have Android 8.1 Oreo.

In Hong Kong, the phone will be available starting July 24 for HK$ 2,288 or roughly US$ 290.

SEE ALSO: Nokia X5 (Nokia 5.1 Plus) is a more affordable X6, retains notch

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Samsung is finally updating the Galaxy J series to Android Oreo

At least some of them

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Samsung is not known to push out the latest Android version available, but they do make an effort to update their latest devices as much as possible. These past few months, the company has been busy updating their flagship and midrange phones. But what about the cheaper ones?

Today, Samsung passed a total of 11 models from the Galaxy J series through the Wi-Fi Alliance group. All of these phones are currently in the market and are now Wi-Fi certified with the latest Android 8.0 or 8.1 Oreo software.

Unfortunately, not all the Galaxy J phones are on the list but it’s a start. Here are the specific models that’ll soon get the Android Oreo update:

  • Galaxy J3 2017 (SM-J330FN, SM-J330F, SM-J330F/DS)
  • Galaxy J3 Pro (SM-J330G, SM-J330G/DS)
  • Galaxy J7 Neo (SM-J701MT/SS, SM-J701M/DS, SM-J701MT, SM-J701M)
  • Galaxy J7 Nxt / Galaxy J7 Core (SM-J701F, SM-J701F/DS)

Since the update is already been certified by Wi-Fi Alliance, it’ll be out in the coming weeks or maybe months, depending on Samsung’s timetable.

SEE ALSO: Samsung, LG promise to launch better midrange phones this year

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