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Android Intelligence
 
 
IN THIS ISSUE:
 
  The Latest Android Intelligence: Android upgrade anarchy and a simple way to supercharge Gmail snoozing
  3 Things to Know This Week: A new Google Calendar scam, a better way to control your Google data, and the next Google service getting the axe
  Tips o’ the Week: An app update workaround and my gigantic guide to becoming a true Trello master
  Deal Intelligence: Free money from Amazon and decent discounts on my favorite car accessory and workout headphones
  Plus Samsung's stance on divine intervention — wait, what?!
 
 
 A Word of Welcome

Sometimes, I wonder if certain companies even have anyone on their staff using Android.

 

While tapping around in the official Philips Hue app the other day, for instance, I ran into this lovely little gem:

 

 

No exaggeration: That embarrassing, impossible-to-escape mess pops up every time you open the "Labs" section of the application. I mean, come on, Philips. Seriously?!

 

Tech companies — and, if we're being honest, lots of tech journalists, too — seem to have a built-in bias toward iOS products. For whatever reason, Silicon Valley sorts love their iPhones. Hey, more power to 'em. Whatever works, right?

 

But at the same time, the vast majority of smartphone owners around the world (some 87%, according to recent estimates!) rely on Android for their mobile-tech adventures. There's an absurd amount of disconnect from reality at play here, and regardless of what platform they themselves may prefer, those within the tech-sphere bubble would be well advised to wake up to the fact that a huge number of their users see their products through a very different light.

 

Sheesh.

 

A quick programming note: There'll be no newsletter next week, as the July 4th holiday will basically create a four-day weekend here in the U.S. We'll pick back up with our regularly scheduled programming the following week. Have a happy 4th — whether it's a national holiday or just a random day of July to you!

 
JR
jr@androidintel.net
 
 
INSIGHT
 The Latest Android Intelligence
 
Android Upgrade Anarchy: A Word of Warning

 The Short Version: As a certain Android device-maker's actions remind us, it's more important than ever to think carefully about what you're actually getting when you buy an Android phone.

 

 Know More: Two years of upgrades is apparently no longer a given with Android devices, and that means the responsibility falls on us as consumers to figure out what we're actually getting with any given phone — not just in terms of first-day features but in terms of the device's entire likely life span — and then to make our purchasing decisions accordingly.

 

 Read more: The full column is here.

 
 
A Simple Way to Supercharge Gmail Snoozing

 The Short Version: Make Gmail's snoozing feature far more powerful with this easy-to-implement efficiency-boosting enhancement.

 

 Know More: Much as I love the fact that Google added a native snoozing function into Gmail, I frequently find myself wishing that message-dozing option had a little more oomph to it — so I decided to take matters into my own hands and implement my own advanced email snoozing setup. And yes, you can, too!

 

 Read more: The full column is here.

Step up your Android Intelligence quotient

 

Yo! If you like this little ol' newsletter, lemme tell ya: You're gonna love the info-packed Platinum Edition, which adds quick hits, deep reads, and other worthwhile knowledge into the mix. Plus, your Platinum membership gives you access to my in-depth weekly podcast and personal tech advice from me whenever you need it. Not too shabby, right?

 

And here's the kicker: All benefits aside, becoming a Platinum member directly supports this independent editorial effort and allows me to keep this train a-runnin' as a one-person operation, with no outside influence or financing.

 

So what are you waiting for? Come start your free trial and see whatcha think.

PERSPECTIVE
 3 Things to Know This Week
 
1. A new Google Calendar scam is spreading

 The Short Version: Scammers are starting to send out phony Calendar invites laced with shady links and info-stealing forms — and if you aren't careful, they could end up appearing in your agenda.

 

 Know more: The trick here is that Google has a feature that automatically adds events from Gmail into Google Calendar. So that means if a hooligan manages to get a fake invite into your inbox, the event could then show up in your calendar and look perfectly legitimate — which might increase the odds of your clicking a link that aims to trick you into providing personal information. Aside from employing the typical common sense and caution in clicking any links you don't recognize or providing personal info on any form that isn't familiar to you, it might be worth going into Calendar's settings, selecting the "Events from Gmail" option," and turning the toggle off for that feature. Even if you're confident in your own BS-detecting ability, you might want to suggest the change to any less tech-savvy people in your life.

 

 Read more: You can find the original info about this issue here and a summary with a touch more context over at Wired.

 
 
2. Google's rolling out the option to auto-delete your data after a certain amount of time

 The Short Version: After announcing the option back in May, Google's starting to roll out the ability to have your location history and web activity data remain stored only on a rolling three- or 18-month cycle instead of being catalogued indefinitely.

 

 Know more: This is a pretty significant step up from Google's previous approach, which required you either to allow the company to store your data eternally or to turn off data collection entirely. The former made some folks feel a little uncomfortable on the privacy front, while the latter meant you'd miss out on all the feature-related benefits of having that type of info present (like being able to look back at a web page you visited a few days ago, for instance, or being able to see updates in Assistant and Chrome about a subject you'd researched recently). The new, more nuanced toggle isn't available for everyone quite yet, but if it's activated for you, you can find it by opening the Google app on your phone, tapping "More" in the bottom-of-screen bar, and then tapping "Search activity" and looking for the new "Choose to delete automatically" option. Once you save that setting, you'll see a prompt to move directly onto your location history.

 

 Read more: Google's original overview of the expanded data control opportunity is here.

 
 
3. Another Google service is going away

 The Short Version: The G+-born Hangouts on Air group broadcasting service will shut down "later this year," according to messages Google has started to display within the service and in its official help pages.

 

 Know more: This "Google service getting killed" thing is starting to feel like a regular, recurring section of the newsletter, isn't it? I don't know about you, though, but my initial reaction to this one was: "Wait a minute. That's still around?!" I mean, hell, Hangouts on Air was connected to both the now-defunct Google+ — where the feature began and existed until it was quietly crammed into YouTube in 2016 — and Hangouts, which has basically been on life support since at least 2017. I'm not sure that a product could possibly be more poorly positioned for longevity than that. Still, it's a shame to see Hangouts on Air get the axe. It made for a super-simple and effective way to do multiperson video broadcasts, either for a live audience or for recording, and as of now, there's nothing else quite like it.

 

 Read more: You can see the shutdown notice on Google's official Hangouts on Air help page.

Productivity
 Tips o' the Week
 
Stop waiting for app updates to reach you

Ever wish you could get a fancy new app update that hasn't yet "rolled out" to your device — like one of the countless times Google announces some nifty new feature for Gmail or Google Drive or whatever and then takes an eternity to make it available to everyone?

 

Well, guess what? On Android, you actually can get an update before it reaches your phone. You can get any app that's been released anywhere, in fact, even if you can't directly find it in the Play Store. And it's pretty damn easy to do.

 

Follow the steps in my latest guide at The Verge, and you'll be rockin' and rollin' in no time.

 
 
Take your Trello organization to the next level

As you may by now know, I am all about Trello these days. I use the service for organizing almost everything related to my work, from column ideas to feature story research and even future plans for a certain humble newsletter.

 

And like most of my favorite apps, there's far more to Trello than what you see on the surface. I put together a gigantic collection of advanced tips and tricks for making the most of Trello, and there's some seriously useful stuff inside. If you're a fellow Trello lover or even just think you might find some value in the service, hang onto this link. I promise it'll be worth your while.

 

(Fair warning: The story does require registration in order to be read (insert your own grumbling sound effect here) — but it's pretty quick and painless to do and, ahem, doesn't require any kind of confirmation.)

SMART TECH
 Deal Intelligence
 
35% off an Anker Roav car audio adapter

If you're like me and have an older car without a built-in Bluetooth function or AUX input, Anker's Roav SmartCharge is an awesome way to play your phone's audio through your car stereo without any hassle whatsoever. You just plug the thing in, pair it once, and that's it: Any sound coming from your phone will play through your car speakers.

 

I've been using this device for several months now, and it's fantastic. And it's currently marked down to 11 bucks at Amazon, which makes it an absolute steal. Just be sure to click the "Save $2.00 when you apply this coupon" link on the product page and then also enter coupon code ROAVFB44 on the payment page to get the full discount.

 

 Check it out: Amazon

 
 
41% off Plantronics' over-the-ear workout headphones

I'm a little unusual in that I can't stand earbuds. They annoy the hell out of me and are never especially comfortable, and that's more true than ever when I'm exercising.

 

Plantronics' BackBeat FIT 500 headphones are the best sweatproof, workout-friendly over-the-ear headphones I've ever used. I wear 'em to the gym multiple times a week, and my wife now has a pair that she wears on morning runs. If you work out and want something that isn't an earbud, there are the way to go. And they're currently on sale for $46, down from the usual $79 price.

 

 Check it out: Amazon

 And Just For Funsies...
 

All right — time to get philosophical for a second: When your phone stops working, is it because of a technological defect or a divine intervention?

 

Silly as the question may sound, it's something you may one day have to answer. As WSJ writer David Pierce recently spotted, Samsung actually has a clause in its phone warranty that says the policy is not applicable if a defect is caused by any "acts of God."

 

I swear I'm not making this up:

 

 

In related news, the Supreme Being must really hate foldable phones.

 
Lator, Gator

Remember, no newsletter next week during the 4th of July holiday. We'll pick back up the following week, with a regular issue on the 12th.

 

Have yourself a delightful several days, and I'll see ya back here before you know it.

Thoughts
JR

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