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Google’s Android-Chrome OS hybrid could be shown off at October 4 event

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Google is set to unload a bunch of mobile-related news on October 4th, likely including a presentation focused on Chromecast Ultra, Google Home, and “don’t call them Nexus” Pixel phones.

And while news about fresh hardware should get the attention of Android fans, it appears the biggest and most transformative announcement could come from Google’s software team.

Several hours ago, Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior VP of Android, Google Play, and Chrome tweeted this rather cryptic message:

hiroshi-lockheimer-tweet

If it seems innocuous and vague, that’s because it’s meant to be. We wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise if we were in Mr. Lockheimer’s shoes either. But given the right context, his tweet could be a telling hint at Andromeda (not an official name), a forthcoming operating system that merges Android and Chrome OS.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal first reported last year about Google’s plans to “fold” Chrome OS into Android. Word on the street is that Google is currently testing the yet-to-be-announced hybrid OS on the Nexus 9, a likely candidate given its screen size.

None of this should come as a surprise; Google has previously confirmed that Android apps are coming to Chrome OS soon. But if that’s the case, then what’s the point of Andromeda? That’s a good question — and one that will be answered over time.

Our guess is that Andromeda will support a wider variety of hardware and mobile apps and bring continuity features across Google devices. Having said that, do we think Chrome OS is on its last legs? Definitely. But don’t count it out just yet; the first Andromeda-based tablet or laptop could arrive as late as 2017, according to the same WSJ sources.

Meanwhile, for people who cannot wait to run Android apps on their tablets and PCs, there’s always Remix OS, a free and easy-to-install operating system that puts Android Marshmallow on your computer. It even has an emulator version, meaning less hassle for those who aren’t tech-savvy enough.

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How to hide from Instragram’s new Activity Status feature

It’s on by default!

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Instagram silently rolled out a new feature of its app. If you don’t like your friends to know that you’re online (and also protect your privacy), you might want to take action. Why? Because it’s automatically turned on.

If you have the latest app, you probably noticed something new inside the Direct Messages section. This new feature dubbed “Activity Status” lets your Instagram buddies know if you’re online. If you happen to be scrolling through your timeline moments ago, the status will show that you’ve been available earlier.

This is switched on by default but the data is only shared with users that you follow and those you message privately. There’s no need to panic if you think a stalker will know that you’re online — unless you follow them, too.

How to turn it off?

You can easily switch it off inside the app. Just go to your profile page and tap the top-right icon for Options.

Next, scroll down until you see “Show Activity Status” and switch the toggle button beside.

That’s it! Now that it’s off on your end, your status will not show up to your buddies. Although, you won’t be able to see the status of other accounts as well.

Since the new feature was smoothly included in the recent updates from the Play Store or App Store, it’s not clear when Instagram introduced the function. Some might not have it yet, which could mean it’s still an experimental approach with a limited number of users.

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Pokémon Go will drop old iPhones that don’t support iOS 11

You must upgrade to play!

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Bad news for Pokémon Go trainers out there with an old iPhone. If the “battery-gate” fiasco is not enough to make you upgrade, this announcement might force you if you want to keep on playing.

Niantic announced its plans to drop support for iOS devices that can’t be updated to iOS 11. Primarily, these are iPhones and even iPads released in or before 2013. They are the following:

  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5
  • iPad (4th generation)
  • iPad (3rd generation)
  • iPad mini (1st generation)
  • iPad 2

The anticipated update will take effect starting February 28, 2018. After that date, Trainers using Apple devices that can’t be updated to iOS 11 will no longer be able to log in, catch Pokémon, and use their PokéCoins or other items. They must switch to a supported device to continue playing.

Niantic stated that the change is a result of improvements to Pokémon Go which push the game ahead of the capabilities of old iPhones and iPads.

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6 free VPN apps for Android and iOS

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If you’re connecting to a public Wi-Fi, it’s best to use a virtual private network or VPN to mask your IP address and avoid security risks. A VPN creates a secure, encrypted “tunnel” over the internet between your device and any website or app you are trying to access.

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