Apple Music Coming to Alexa Echo Devices December 17

Amazon today said Apple Music subscribers will soon be able to enjoy their playlists through Alexa-powered devices. Apple Music customers can request that Alexa play songs, artists, albums, and Apple playlists, as well as stream Apple Music radio stations. For example, people can say “Alexa, play Beats 1” to hear Apple’s global radio stream. In order to pair Apple Music with Amazon Alexa, customers will need to enable the Apple Music skill in the Alexa app. “Music is one of the most popular features on Alexa — since we launched Alexa four years ago, customers are listening to more music in their homes than ever before,” said Dave Limp, senior vice president, Amazon Devices in a blog post. “We are committed to offering great music providers to our customers and we’re thrilled to bring Apple Music — one of the most popular music services in the U.S. — to Echo customers this holiday.” Amazon says Alexa owners stream tens of millions of hours of radio each month, and have set tens of millions of music alarms in the last year. Apple Music comes to Amazon Alexa and Echo on December 17. Before this announcement, Apple Music was only available to Apple’s own HomePod speaker.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Instagram Debuts 'Close Friends' for Sharing Stories with Smaller Groups

Instagram today gave people more control over who sees their stories. A new tool called Close Friends lets people create small groups and share stories that are only visible to members of that group. The Close Friends function appears in the side menu of users’ profiles. Only those who create the lists will be able to see who is on the list, and no one can ask to be added. The option to share Stories with everyone or just the smaller group will appear when posting stories. People who are added to groups by others will see a green badge when viewing the story and a green ring around the profile photo in the Stories tray. Instagram says Close Friends is rolling out to Android and iOS globally today.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Day 3. The interface.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Day 3. The interface.
Morning all. So, I had a lovely intro to this third day with the Mi 8 Pro. You can see our story so far here. This morning though, I woke up to find that the Mi 8 Pro had received an update, and the GUI looked remarkably different. Not in a bad way, it’s good. Very good.

Clean, concise, uncluttered and lovely to look at. All good in my book, but sadly it meant that I had to bin a lot of what I’d written and all of the screenshots. Doah!

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Day 3. The interface.

The speedy solution was to do a recording of the screen. It does tend to give you a better look at the interface any way, and you can see just how quickly everything operates on the hugely quick 2.8GHz octa-core CPU and 8GB of RAM.

The phone is relatively uncluttered and doesn’t come with too many unnecessary additional apps, which was a relief. It’s also very intelligent and clever at managing apps – so you’ll have to be sure to remove the battery optimization from apps that you need to run in the background if you find they’re closing or not working as expected.

Here’s a look at the GUI in video…

All of this, of course, is to try and lengthen the amount of usage you get, and there’s a set of performance, diagnostic and cleaning tools to help keep everything running smoothly. It’s all very straightforward and you can also block spam messages, lock down apps and monitor data usage. There’s an “app vault” for your most used apps – get to them quickly without searching all over the place. A “dual apps” option let’s you sign into dual accounts for apps like WhatsApp and Facebook.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Day 3. The interface.

There’s also a feature called “SecondSpace” which effectively lets you have a second separate profile with individual wallpapers, apps, files and photos. Ideal if you’ve got a Work and Personal SIM in here or if two people are using the phone… or if you’re having an affair.. maybe.

The on-screen fingerprint reader, I will admit, isn’t as accurate as a normal off-screen one. It works OK if you’re in a warm office with a clean finger, but out in the cold or with a slightly greasy screen, you’re in a bit of a pickle and you’ll be using the PIN instead.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Day 3. The interface.

The new update, which arrived literally this morning, has now grouped notifications together – previously it was showing each and every email as a separate notification but now everything is clearer. The MIUI10 interface is very quick, with apps loading instantly. They’ve added some lovely natual notification sounds (from nature) and some equally lovely backgrounds.

A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Day 3. The interface.

I have to say, the whole design of the interface just fits. It works well as a single offering – no disjointed feel – it’s a phone and interface which connects and delivers. From the notification shade, to the settings, to the design elements that flow all the way through this phone – it’s done with a style and an attention to detail that I really appreciated. Top job.

The post A week with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro – Day 3. The interface. is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.

Source: News

4 Smartphone accessories to make your drive safer

4 Smartphone accessories to make your drive safer
The majority of people admit to using their smartphone at least occasionally while driving. We’ll say it’s “only for a quick check” of messages or to enter a postcode in whilst navigating. We can probably admit to playing music or checking calendar appointments. We know we shouldn’t be doing it, but during a slow drive or in traffic, it’s become a part of our time in the car.

However, it’s dangerous to use your smartphone while driving, and distracted driving has become the number one issue of car accidents, even above drunk driving. In the US, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is now responsible for more than a quarter of all car accidents. Mobile phone use is the most prominent cause of distracted driving with nearly half a million people using their cell phones while driving every single day.

Recently Kara Macek, the spokeswoman for the Governors Highway Safety Association told the New York Post that…

Drivers are getting the message, but not taking it to heart. They know they shouldn’t be doing it and are well aware of the laws.

The solution to reducing accidents is to take some proactive action. Sometimes yes, you may need to use your phone while driving, like when you need directions. Just be smart about it and use the right accessories to help you drive safer.

4 Smartphone accessories to make your drive safer

  1. Car Mounts

In the UK, you cross the legal boundary when you use your phone in your hand, so a  mount allows you to interact without breaking the law. For the most part this keeps your hands free and you can keep your eyes at the level of your windscreen.

When choosing a mount, get one that’s easy to use. You want one that your phone will fit snugly into and is easy to release and grab onto your phone. The last thing you want is for your phone to fall onto your lap when you go over a bump.

A magnetic charger can be an option as it’s so easy to place and release your phone onto. For these, they’re usually securely connected to your dashboard or air vent, and it connects to a magnetic strip on the back of your phone case.

  1. Hands-Free Calling

Mobile phones now offer a hands-free calling option. Likewise, newer cars will have Bluetooth built into the vehicle so you pair up your phone and everything becomes hands-free. For older cars, we’ve arranged a lot of plug-in Bluetooth / FM gadgets that will turn your car into a Bluetooth system. Then you just say “Hey Siri,” or “Okay, Google” (depending on your device) to activate the call. Of course, there’s always the old-school Bluetooth devices that go in your ear.

Hands-free phone use may reduce the risk of accidents, but it doesn’t eliminate them. The National Safety Council told the Washington Post recently that..

The issue is more mental than physical. Drivers talking on a cellphone…can overlook up to 50 percent of what’s around them while looking out the windshield. And activity in the area of the brain that processes moving images is reduced by up to a third when talking or listening to the phone while driving.

4 Smartphone accessories to make your drive safer

  1. Charging Mounts

Wireless charging is something that I love, but sadly it’s not as widespread on phones as I’d like. If you have the capability, getting a car mount which also has wireless charging is a great way to keep your phone topped up during those prolonged journeys.

If you don’t have wireless charging, a simple charging mount will of course still let you plug in a power charger at the bottom. It’ll mean that your phone is charged without taking your attention off the road.

4 Smartphone accessories to make your drive safer

  1. Dash Cam

Although you might not be distracted, other drivers could be using their phones at the wheel and might either cause an accident or be dangerous on the road. Without any evidence, it’s easy for them to blame you or something else if there’s an accident, so there’s been a rise in dash camera usage across the world. The footage can then be sent directly to a smartphone app for playback. Sometimes this can be done wirelessly via WiFi or you can copy from a microSD card.

According to the CDC, drivers ages 16-19 are most likely to get in an accident, and the risk factors go up if they’re using their phone or distracted by friends in the passenger seat. You can monitor their driving and discover the cause of a potential accident.

Although technology and gadgets can help us to reduce our mobile usage on the road, we also have to use our own will power and concentrate on driving rather than messing around with a smartphone.

The post 4 Smartphone accessories to make your drive safer is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.

Source: News

Trying to save for my next smartphone

Just recently we had the madness that was Black Friday. In truth, it’s no longer just one day. Instead we’re seeing offers last for a bit longer, and even the “Cyber Week” has grown to last until mid-December now. This year there were some great deals on smartphones and accessories, but don’t worry if you missed the deals, as in all honesty there’s still some cheeky ways to get your next smartphone for less than advertised.

Those of you who want a new phone, but don’t have the budget, don’t worry, I’ve got some tips that might help.

Trying to save for my next smartphone

Find Online Coupons

I mentioned these quite recently, but I’m now so used to hunting around for voucher codes with every online transaction that I begrudge actually paying full price. You may not always find one, but once in a while, you can bag yourself free delivery or a percentage off your purchase.

Also, don’t forget to have a hunt around for Gift Cards that you may have forgotten about. I recently emptied out our “coat cupboard” and found a gift card that I’d received as a present some years ago – it still had £30 of credit on it and I managed to use that at Argos for some Bluetooth headphones to go with my new phone. Also, you can actually buy gift cards for less than they’re advertised for with sites like Gift Card Granny. You get the gift card cheaper, but you still get the full amount printed or stored on the card, meaning that you can get up to 28% off smartphone or accessories. Plus they also make great last-minute presents at this time of year.

Purchase Used Rather Than New

Admit it, with people putting cases on their phones, the odd slight scuff on the back of a handset is never going to be seen.

Figuring out where to buy the phone is tough—there are pros and cons to each option, as you might imagine.

..says Mihir Patkar of LifeHacker. “Personally, I only buy in-person, since I want to inspect the phone—but you’ll get a much better selection buying online.”

This is true, and here in the UK there’s stores like CEX or Game selling used phones where you can actually see and feel them before you buy them. This way, you know what you’re buying. Meanwhile, online sites will allow you to return reconditioned phones if you’re not happy. For speed and reassurance, an in-person purchases tend to be best.

Trying to save for my next smartphone

Consider a Slightly Older Model

The latest and greatest smartphones are enticing, but is it absolutely necessary to have the newest and most expensive model? A phone from last year, like the Samsung Galaxy S8, is still a fantastic handset and can do pretty much everything a newer version can do, but it’s cheaper.

For example, when Apple began pre-sales of the iPhone X in September, the price for the iPhone 8 dropped more than £100. Prices for older models like the iPhone 7 and 6s dropped even more. Most people who purchase an older model don’t notice the difference in the software, but they do in their budget.


Trade in Your Current Phone

Smartphones have a longer life than we realise. Retailers will accept most phones as a trade-in, even if they’re broken. If you’ve kept yours in a case and taken care of it, you’ll get even more cash.

A trade-in is a quick way of doing it and will reduce the immediate cost of your phone, but you’ll get more money out of it by selling it on places like eBay. Remember that the retailer who accepts your phone as a trade-in has to make a profit as well, so they can’t give you as much as you’ll get from selling it yourself.


Improve Your Credit Score
I know, it sounds a bit bizarre, but with more ways to purchase a phone (through financing alongside the more traditional contract), experts are actually recommending it as a way to reduce your overall spend.

Rod Griffin, an executive in the consumer education and awareness department at Experian, told CNBC Make It….

Credit reports are used for a lot more reasons than people realize. If your credit report isn’t it good shape, you may have to pay more.

You can go and check your credit score really easily now and you don’t have to pay for the privilege either.

Trying to save for my next smartphone

Wait for the Sales !

I know, probably a bit obvious and a bit painful if you’ve just missed the Black Friday offers, but the Boxing Day and New Year sales are just around the corner and it means you’ll get a second or third chance to grab a deal on a smartphone. During the sales , retailers all over the country slash prices on phones, particularly slightly older models. Supplies are typically limited, so you must be willing to hover around websites or sign up to updates.

The post Trying to save for my next smartphone is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.

Source: News

Android Auto Simplifies Music Discovery and Adopts Advanced Messaging

Google today announced a significant update to Android Auto, its in-car app for managing entertainment, navigation, and communications. Google tackled music discovery in this update. Android Auto now features an improved layout with larger album art to make identifying tunes easier. Google Assistant can lend a helping hand, too; the voice search experience has been fine-tuned. Drivers can say “OK Google, play 90s music” and the app will reveal more categorized search results on the screen. These tools are compatible with popular media apps such as Google Play Books, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, Pocket Casts, and Spotify. On the communications front, Google has added previews for incoming messages. This optional feature must be manually turned on. It lets people see the first few words of messages so they can determine whether or not an immediate response is needed once stopped. Android Auto also now supports MMS and RCS, meaning more content will be available within messages, such as group chats. Google says these features will hit the Android Auto app, free to download from the Google Play Store, over the next few days.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

T-Mobile? More Like T-Money. The Un-Carrier Launches Mobile Banking Service

T-Mobile has rolled out a digital banking service called T-Mobile Money. T-Mobile says T-Mobile Money is available to T-Mobile customers as well as non-customers. The service focuses on providing easy access to funds and banking services through a mobile device. T-Mobile Money can be managed from the Android and iOS platforms via dedicated mobile apps. T-Mobile says the service doesn’t charge maintenance, ATM, overdraft, or minimum balance fees, and delivers guaranteed interest. All customers can earn at least 1.00% interest on an annual basis, and T-Mobile subscribers are eligible to earn up to 4.00%. T-Mobile Money is FDIC insured and provides protection against unauthorized purchases. It is compatible with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay for mobile transactions. Customers can receive a MasterCard-backed T-Mobile Money debit card if they wish. Other features include online bill pay, mobile check deposit, and easy setup for direct deposit. People can register via the T-Mobile Money app, which is available in the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store. Customers can also sign up online.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Google Assistant Will Be More Polite As It Adds Holiday Features

Google today introduced an update to Google Assistant that brings new behaviors and features to the voice-activated helper. First, the Assistant is rolling out a feature meant for families called Pretty Please. The idea, introduced at I/O in May, is to help parents and families respond to positive conversations with polite reinforcement. When children or other users say “please” or “thank you” when interacting with Google Assistant, it will respond in kind. Moreover, it is voice-matched so it will speak directly to the person by name. In addition to Pretty Please, Assistant is tacking on a handful of holiday-themed tools. For example, people can easily create notes and lists, such as “Hey Google, create a gift list.” Assistant on smart displays will now play nicely with Nest video doorbells. It includes a two-way talk function so people can have a conversation with the caller. Google Play Music subscribers can take advantage of a new feature that brings song lyrics to smart display screens for sing-along fun. This is available for select songs. Assistant-supplied sound effects and music are available to more book titles for interactive read-along experiences. Children can say “Hey Google, call Santa” and have a chat with the annual gift giver. Google’s Home Hub and Home speaker support replies to broadcasts. People can use Assistant from their phone to broadcast a message to the Assistant-powered devices at home, and receive a response from whoever is there. Last, Google has improved how Google Photos are shared on smart displays, making it easier to share photos with people on their contact list. These new features are rolling out today.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Vodafone launch a new reward scheme – VeryMe Rewards

Vodafone launch a new reward scheme   VeryMe Rewards
Getting little treats like free cinema tickets, cheap meals or a coffee can be a great way to keep you a happy mobile customer. Anyone remember “Orange Wednesdays” back in the day? That proved popular and other networks, like O2 with their Priority scheme and Three with Wuntu, have also added loyalty rewards.

Now Vodafone have joined the gang, with a system called “VeryMe”. It looks to have replaced Vodafone Treats and it’ll be appearing in the My Vodafone app. Use it to bag yourself a weekly cinema deal – up two Odeon tickets for £7 on any day of the week. Along with the cheap cinema tickets, there’s also the chance to grab free Costa coffee, plus treats from Millie’s Cookies, Hotel Chocolat and Tesco. You can also get 15% off Interflora and a three-month trial of The Mindfulness App.

Vodafone launch a new reward scheme   VeryMe Rewards
Vodafone launch a new reward scheme   VeryMe Rewards
Vodafone launch a new reward scheme   VeryMe Rewards
Vodafone launch a new reward scheme   VeryMe Rewards

Wait? The Mindfulness App? It’s all about meditation apparently but wait – even if you’re not convinced by that, they’ll be giving all pay monthly customers an extra 2GB data just for signing up. Just download the My Vodafone App and click to join VeryMe Rewards. Plus, as it’s Christmas soon, they’ll be offering some special festive giveaways throughout December.

This has just gone live, so refresh your app now to see it.

The post Vodafone launch a new reward scheme – VeryMe Rewards is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.

Source: News

Trying to save for a new phone

So, as you’ll know, I smashed my last phone in quite a spectacular way. It fell out of an open-sided bus and I’m still trying to find someone clever to actually repair the thing, or at least get the precious photos of it that I took (and sadly didn’t backup).

Now though, finding a new phone has had to take a bit of a back seat as it’s Christmas. I’m actually getting to the point where I’m having to prioritize boring things like food, heating, council tax and mortgage payments. I’m now in a situation where spending £40 or £50 per month for a new shiny thing is going to have to take a back seat.

So I need to control the expenditure. I need to find ways of actually saving cash and try to stop throwing money away on unnecessary guff. It’s only when you stop to look at your spending and think about how you could spend more sustainably that you realize where you’ve been going wrong all this time. Here’s what I’ve tried over the last few weeks in a bid to get enough cash to either get a contract or to buy a phone out-right!

Trying to save for a new phone

Set Strict Budgets

I’ve tried this. Believe me, but somehow I keep blasting through the limits I’m setting. It’s either an unexpected school trip, new tyres for the car, a repair bill, a “treat” or something else which smashes through my limit. The wife tells me that my limits are “unrealistic” with my budgets, so we’ve ended up extending them again and again.


Finding Bargains

We did the weekly shop at Aldi this week. It’s a great place to find bargains, but I ended up getting some cycling stuff from that infamous middle aisle and – in addition to breaking my supposed strict budget – I actually increased the cost of the low-cost shop. In addition to that, we had to do a “top-up” shop at Morrisons in order to get a few items that weren’t available in Aldi. That means a separate journey, more fuel being used and an epic failure in my attempt to save cash.


Choosing “own brands”

We love Robinsons cordial in our house. The Apple and Blackcurrant is a firm favourite and has been for years. It’s affectionately known as “purple pop” and we drink gallons of the stuff. We also have it warm. Another product we tend to stick to is Cathedral City cheese. This always seems to be on a half-price deal, which is good, because it’s proper expensive at full price. Likewise, the Robinsons juice / cordial / pop is equally pricey unless you get it during one of the many half-price deals.

When either of these products are full price, we’ll try another store, or we’ll try an own-brand item. We recently gave the own-brand version of Cathedral City a chance – it was around £3 cheaper and saved us a bit of cash.

Trying to save for a new phone


Cutting memberships you’re not really using

I’m a member of a gym. It’s only the local council one. When I was looking around for places to go, the prices varied greatly – some would cost over £100 per month, so I plumbed for a £35 deal which doesn’t tie me in. If you’ve got a gym membership that you’re still paying for but you never go to the gym, it doesn’t really make sense to keep paying that money every month, does it? Well, that’s what I’ve told myself too. In recent months, because of the darker nights, I’ve had a tendency to sit on my bum in front of the TV rather than head to the gym. The warm fire is too appealing, and it got me thinking, because that £35 is just about the perfect amount for a moile contract, right?

Well, rightly or wrongly, I chose to pick my bottom off the sofa and go back to the gym. Make more use of that membership and try not get all fat and wobbly.


Check the fees associated with your banking

Our lovely bank has just increased the fees charged if you go overdrawn. It’s purely because of this that I’m switching banks. We pay a monthly fee for some “added extras” and now we’re having to pay a daily fee if we dare to go slightly overdrawn. It’s more money out of the pot and it’s an insane situation to be in.


Getting cheaper software

Doing this and my job every day means that I use a lot of Office apps – Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Presentation software – it all costs money to licence. So I’m now starting to use the free online Google alternatives as a way to save a bit of cash here and there.

It might sound a bit daft, but it all adds up


Not playing the lottery

OK, maybe playing the lottery every week isn’t going to make me a millionaire. It’ll perhaps cost me more in the long run, so I’ve actually stopped putting £4 each week onto this – that’ll save me £16(ish) per month, which again – it adds up.

Although not all of these suggestions will suit everyone, these are the areas I’ve concentrated on to try and save a bit of money. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to make these changes. Rather than trying to make them all at once, it’s perhaps best to look at gradually introducing changes and that way you’ll save more and more money over time.

After saving the money – get the best deal

This of course, is the final goal. Now that I’ve saved money, I need to ensure that I don’t go overboard and spend a fortune on the next contract. The best value is often found in SIM only deals, but that means saving enough cash to get me a new phone out-right. So instead I’m looking through the remains of the Black Friday deals and looking at contract deals.

The post Trying to save for a new phone is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.

Source: News