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Even Google doesn’t want to make games for Stadia anymore

Even Google doesn't want to make games for Stadia anymore

Google has had massive ambitions for its Stadia gaming platform, and the service finished 2020 on a high note, especially after it delivered the most usable version of Cyberpunk 2077. Google has repeatedly stated it’s dedicated to Stadia’s long-term success, but today the company announced that its internal game studio is shutting its doors.

Google formed its own game studio last year, Stadia Games and Entertainment, intended to produce exclusive titles that take full advantage of the platform’s portability and unique features. The studio was run by Jade Raymond, a games industry veteran who previously worked at Ubisoft and Electronic Arts. However, Google revealed today that it is cancelling all of SG&E’s projects that are not already near completion.

“Given our focus on building on the proven technology of Stadia,” Google said in a blog post, “as well as deepening our business partnerships, we’ve decided that we will not be investing further in bringing exclusive content from our internal development team SG&E, beyond any near-term planned games.” The company also said Jade Raymond is leaving, and most of SG&E’s existing staff will be moved to other projects.

The move is part of a larger shift in Google’s strategy with Stadia. Instead of treating it like a single games platform, with exclusive games to draw in players, Google wants to license Stadia’s technology to other studios interested in creating their own streaming products. The company wrote, “we see an important opportunity to work with partners seeking a gaming solution all built on Stadia’s advanced technical infrastructure and platform tools. We believe this is the best path to building Stadia into a long-term, sustainable business that helps grow the industry.”

Several game publishers already have their own subscription-based services, where you can play each company’s entire catalog for a base monthly fee, and some of them have already started moving into streaming. Ubisoft has its Ubisoft+ subscription service, and while the service itself doesn’t stream games, it does unlock all Ubisoft titles on Stadia and Amazon Luna.

Stadia
Stadia

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Ford commits to build Android into its vehicles starting in 2023

Ford commits to build Android into its vehicles starting in 2023

Ford and Google have agreed to place Android into the automaker’s vehicles starting in 2023. The partnership will also establish Google Cloud as Ford’s preferred cloud service provider and establish a co-operative skunkworks team to improve consumer technology in vehicles.

The Android deal applies to Ford- and Lincoln-brand automobiles “at all price points” for 6 years. All the default apps including Google Maps, Google Play for media, and Google Assistant are highlighted here and over-the-air updates are promised. The move would displace Ford’s own Sync software and preclude the need for Android Auto.

We test drove the Polestar 2 which was the first to feature Android as its core infotainment OS. You can see our thoughts on that here.

At the same time, the new collaborative group, dubbed Team Upshift, will be working on enriching the retail and ownership experience — including changes as to how offers are formed and — based on data gathered by Google Cloud’s artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics utilities. Ford also envisions it will be able to modernize its supply chain management and training for its shop floor employees with the new tech infrastructure in place.

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February Pixel updates are here, with a fix for the 4a 5G’s touchscreen issue and ‘certain sensor detection’

February 2021 updates for Google’s Pixels from the 3 series to the 5 are landing today. On top of your regularly scheduled security patches, Pixel owners can also look forward to two other changes: A fix for the Pixel 4a 5G’s touchscreen issue (which apparently extends to the Pixel 5 as well), and an undefined “fix for issue preventing certain sensor detection on startup,” which could be tied to the long-standing Pixel device sensor issue.

Full functional patch notes are brief:

thread 96155274 2693226994546488186

Google previously confirmed to us that the Pixel 4a 5G’s touchscreen issue — which resulted in diminished sensitivity in areas like the bottom of the display — would be fixed with this update, and that seems to have panned out. The issue also apparently affected the Pixel 5 in some capacity, though we didn’t hear any reports from device owners. However, it’s the sensor issue fix that has caught our eye.

For quite a while, Google’s Pixels have had intermittent problems with on-device sensors, though the issue was more widespread in the past, following the Android 10 update in 2020. Some speculated at the time that it was tied to a corrupt partition that contained calibration data related to the sensors, and evidence then seemed to confirm it. We aren’t entirely sure if more recent reports of problems tied to sensors with the Pixel 5 are directly related to that prior issue or not. Either way, the list of fixed devices in this month’s changelog could indicate that the long-standing problem has finally been addressed. We’ll reach out to Google and affected customers to confirm and let you know what we find out.

On top of these tweaks, you can expect the usual monthly security patches in this release. This month’s bulletins are a little on the lighter end, but there are still plenty of “high” and “critical” vulnerabilities fixed, so do the safe thing and install it once it’s available.

There are US carrier-specific releases for the Pixel 5, Pixel 4a 5G, and Pixel 3 series this month, with some minor differences in build numbers, so pay attention if you plan on sideloading early. If not, the update should be landing via the traditional means any minute here for all phones currently getting updates (i.e., The Pixel 5, Pixel 4a 5G, Pixel 4a, Pixel 4 series, Pixel 3a series, and Pixel 3 series).

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Add some RGB accents to your setup with the Govee Immersion TV backlights for just $54 ($18 off) (Sponsored)

Why just watch TV when you could become fully immersed in the viewing experience? Whether you’re binging a beloved TV series, catching the latest direct-to-streaming blockbuster, or kicking back with your favorite video game, you can take whatever’s playing on your screen and project its colors beyond the display. Make your TV sessions feel bigger and bolder than ever before with the Govee Immersion Wi-Fi TV backlight set, now only $53.99 ($18 off) with coupon code.

Govee Immersion Wi Fi TV Backlights 2 Govee Immersion Wi Fi TV Backlights 1

The Govee Immersion TV backlight is essentially a Wi-Fi-connected lightstrip that attaches to the backside of your 55-65″ flatscreen TV. With some help from the included 1080p camera that can be installed along the top or bottom edges of your TV, Govee’s ColorSense technology actively captures whatever’s playing on your screen and relays that information to the attached lightstrip, casting a mesmerizing explosion of color onto your walls.

With 12 integrated scene modes, you’ll have full control over the lightstrip’s ambient output, while Govee’s segmented color feature allows you to tune the vibrancy of the backlight based on your viewing preferences. There’s even an enhanced music mode that will let you sync up the music from your favorite live concerts or karaoke sessions with the rhythm of the lightstrip.

Govee Immersion Wi Fi TV Backlights 3

Once installed, the Govee Immersion TV backlight is easy to use. Simply download the official Govee Home app to your phone for access to brightness, timing schedules, and more, all from the palm of your hand. You can also pair the TV backlights to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, giving you the power to adjust settings with simple voice commands.

Buy today and save 25%

Govee Immersion Wi Fi TV Backlights 2 1

For a limited time, our readers can pick up a brand new Govee Immersion Wi-Fi TV backlight set for just $53.99 ($18 off) when the coupon code UT3RSJKX is applied at checkout. This offer is only valid from now through the end of Sunday, February 7, so you just have a week to order your Govee Immersion backlight bundle before they’re gone.

Note: This post is an ad. The content inside does not represent the views or opinions of the Android Police team. Posts like these help fund all the great stuff you see on AP, and you can help support us further by checking out the products or services featured on this page.

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Motorola thinks it’s 2019, rolls out Android 10 update for Moto One Macro

Motorola thinks it's 2019, rolls out Android 10 update for Moto One Macro

You’d think that Motorola, with its comparatively light Android skin, would be quicker at delivering software updates, right? Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. If its flagship phone, the Edge+, ranks poorly on our update tracker, it’s best not to expect too much from its budget devices. However, the company has managed to fall short of even the lowest expectation by only just releasing Android 10 for the Moto One Macro in 2021.

The phone was announced back in October 2019 and came with Android 9 Pie out of the box. Given that Motorola generally provides only one Android update for its budget devices, we knew it would only ever get updated to Android 10. But even by the company’s standards, this update has landed rather late — just a few weeks before we expect the Android 12 developer preview to drop.

We were tipped by our reader Alex who recently received the new firmware on his phone in Brazil. A Twitter user also reported getting the update in India, indicating that it may hit other regions soon. It weighs in at about 1.4GB and comes with the November 2020 security patch.

Motorola One Macro Android 10

In better news, the Moto G Stylus 2020 (aka Moto G Pro) has started to receive its Android 11 upgrade in the UK. The 1.1GB update includes Android 11 goodies such as Chat Bubbles and new media controls, as well as the January 2021 security patch. There’s no word on when it will hit devices in the US and other markets, though — we can only hope it arrives soon.

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Samsung Z Flip 5G gets permanent price drop, foldable now costs as much as a Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung Z Flip 5G gets permanent price drop, foldable now costs as much as a Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5G has just picked up a permanent price drop. When it launched last year as a slightly refreshed version of the original Z Flip, it came with a price bump to $1,450. But in the wake of the S21 series launch, Samsung cut its entry-level foldable’s price down to “just” $1,200 in a permanent adjustment.

That means, as of now, the 5G version with a Snapdragon 865 actually costs $100 less than the LTE version of the Z Flip with the Snapdragon 855, which is a little odd.

image 2021 02 01 09 47 19

The Samsung storefront listing for the Z Flip 5G shows the $1,200 price isn’t promotional — there’s no strikethrough, coupon, or indication of a sale — and a representative from the company has confirmed the change is permanent to 9to5Google.

The original Z Flip 5G is the phone that convinced me foldables weren’t just a gimmick or ostentation; they can actually deliver genuine utility and value. The Z Flip 5G improves on that formula slightly with a more powerful chipset, sub-6 5G support, and a matte glass back — a legitimate improvement over the glossy LTE version. $1,200 is still pretty steep, especially considering the sort of discounts the LTE version has seen recently, but it’s still a more accessible foldable experience than the $2,000 Z Fold2, and one way to try out the concept a little early. Just be careful in the cold.

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Free Stadia Pro games February 2021

All the free games included with Stadia Pro

Stadia’s $10-a-month premium subscription, Stadia Pro, includes access to an ever-expanding catalog of games at no additional cost. The selection of redeemable games varies — Google adds a few each month, and sometimes removes some. Here, for your convenience, we’ve compiled a handy list of all the games you can claim right now.

Click any linked game title to open it in Stadia on desktop or mobile.

New games for February 2021

  • Games added to Pro February 1:
  • Games removed from Pro February 1:

Any Pro games you claim stay in your library as long as you’re a Pro subscriber. If you unsubscribe, you lose access — but you’ll get it back if you resubscribe later. If you’ve enabled family sharing, members of your family group can access your Pro titles, even if they’re not subscribed themselves.

This month, Pro subs can grab Journey to the Savage Planet: Employee of the Month Edition, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, and Enter the Gungeon for free. The Gardens BetweenHello Neighbor: Hide & SeekHitman 2Sniper Elite 4Into the Breach, and Panzer Dragoon Remake were all removed on February 1 — hope you got ’em while you had the chance.

Including Destiny 2 and Super Bomberman R Online (neither of which requires a subscription), Pro subscribers will be able to claim a total of 30 games in February.

The following list includes all current and former Stadia Pro games. (Sort by availability to move expired games to the bottom.)

To get a sense of what’s available on Stadia beyond freebies, check out our list of every single game on the platform. For any other questions, you can refer to our in-depth Stadia explainer.

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Wink has been down for a week and counting

The Wink smart home platform may be finally circling the drain. For the last week, customers have been reporting connectivity problems, and the Wink status dashboard has made a note of those issues since January 25th. The last update from the company was on Thursday, at which point it claimed “We have identified the issue and are implementing a fix.” And yet four days later, Wink is still down.

image 2021 02 01 08 23 06

For the unfamiliar, Wink is a hub-based smart home platform that integrated with Z-Wave and Zigbee products (among others), with voice assistant integrations, automation, and your usual smart home features. We liked the company’s products back in 2016, but things have changed a bit since then, both in terms of the smart home market and when it comes to Wink itself.

Wink’s days have seemingly been numbered ever since it was rumored back in 2019 that parent company i.am+ (owned by musician will.i.am) was running out of money. Wink then announced a mandatory $5 subscription service in May of 2020, without which its products would lose basically all functionality. Following the inevitable backlash, the company decided to extend free service until July, and opened things up slightly so that local control for some products would continue to work if customers didn’t subscribe.

That influx of cash doesn’t seem to have made much of a dent in the company’s prospects. Last September, Wink suffered a decent outage and even lost control of its domain for a short period. But this recent outage has been affecting customers for at least the last seven days. According to one of our tipsters, parent company iam+’s website was also down for several days last week, and Wink’s blog was also briefly down. As of now, all pages at Wink’s site redirect to the unupdated status page.

Affected customers have taken to Twitter to express their frustration at the duration of the outage. Wink itself has been silent about it since the company claimed on both its status dashboard that it was “working on implementing a fix,” with the last public communication happening last Thursday — four days ago.

While the company may eventually fulfill its promise to roll out a fix, the writing is on the wall. The Wink subreddit at this point is just a list of recommended alternatives and short reviews of competing products and services, which might be worth a look for other owners. If you do end up deciding to replace your Wink hardware, it might be worth waiting a couple weeks to snag some discounts courtesy of President’s Day sales.

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Google Home may soon let you restrict access to smart home controls

Google Home may soon let you restrict access to smart home controls

Google Home has only ever allowed for a rudimentary all-or-nothing approach when it comes to managing household members. You can either grant someone full access to your smart home devices or none at all. Based on recent UI tweaks, Google is looking to change that and might introduce tiers of different access levels soon.

When you go to the Google Home settings -> Household, you’ll get to a list of all people in your home along with the usual option to invite another person. What’s new is what you see when you tap an individual in the list, including yourself. The new page shows you which access level someone has and which devices they can control: Access details and Devices. Right now, it’s still an all-or-nothing approach. Tapping the Access details entry only shows you a new page with an explanation that “everyone in this home can view all activity and access all devices and settings,” so everyone has the role of a Manager. The same goes for the Devices menu, though it additionally lists every single smart home device in your house.

Screenshot 20210201 171358 Screenshot 20210201 171403 Screenshot 20210201 171408

Implementing these tweaks just for the sake of change wouldn’t make a lot of sense, and the way the interface is structured, it’s just intuitive to assume that more granular options are coming. And sure enough, 9to5Google already spotted some strings back in September that point to just that. The code suggests that you’ll have the option to grant people access to smart home devices based on a schedule: “This person will have access to the selected devices during the following schedule. Carefully review and edit before inviting.” That would be similar to the user roles and access levels the Nest app offers, which will be great for restricting kids or roommates from controlling devices in your room, office, or bedroom.

<string name=”user_roles_access_summary_fragment_title”>Access summary</string>
<string name=”user_roles_access_summary_fragment_description”>This person will have access to the selected devices during the following schedule. Carefully review and edit before inviting</string>

Right now, we’re only able to see that everyone has full access to everything in the Home app, so we’ll need to be patient until Google releases the new detailed options to the public. Let’s just hope we won’t have to wait until Google I/O 2021 for that to happen.

You can download the most recent version of the Google Home app from the Play Store or over at APK Mirror.

Google Home
Google Home

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18 temporarily free and 63 on-sale apps and games for Monday

18 temporarily free and 63 on-sale apps and games for Monday

Welcome to Monday, everyone. It would appear sales picked up exponentially over the weekend, and so I have a solid list today as well as a handful of noteworthy standouts. First up is Bridge Constructor Portal, a quirky bridge-building puzzler themed around Valve’s Portal series. Next, I have This Is the Police 2, a dark and gritty cop simulator where tough choices matter. And last up is The Quest, an older RPG that still holds up while offering a boatload of exciting expansions. As always, I’ve highlighted all of the interesting titles in bold green text in order to make discovery easier. So without further ado, here are 18 temporarily free and 63 on-sale apps and games for the beginning of the week.

Free

Apps

  1. Engineer Companion $3.49 -> Free; Sale ends in 6 days
  2. QR and Barcode Scanner Pro $2.99 -> Free; Sale ends in 6 days
  3. QR Code & Barcode Scanner Pro $2.99 -> Free; Sale ends in 6 days
  4. Alpha Backup Pro $5.99 -> Free; Sale ends in 7 days
  5. Memorize: Learn Russian Words with Flashcards $4.99 -> Free; Sale ends in 7 days

Games

  1. Portal Dogs $3.99 -> Free; Sale ends in 8 hours
  2. Final Castle Defence : Idle RPG $0.99 -> Free; Sale ends in 5 days
  3. G’Luck! 🍩 2D platformer game $0.99 -> Free; Sale ends in 5 days
  4. Hills Legend: Action-horror (HD) $0.99 -> Free; Sale ends in 5 days
  5. iLinear ⭐ Mind Challenge ⭐ Draw Your Path $0.99 -> Free; Sale ends in 5 days
  6. Dead Bunker 4 Apocalypse: Zombie Action-Horror $0.99 -> Free; Sale ends in 6 days
  7. Hills Legend: Action-horror $0.99 -> Free; Sale ends in 6 days
  8. Stickman Ghost 2: Gun Sword – Shadow Action RPG $0.99 -> Free; Sale ends in 6 days
  9. Calc Fast $0.99 -> Free; Sale ends in 7 days
  10. Caveman Chuck Adventure $2.49 -> Free; Sale ends in 7 days
  11. Dark Tower $2.49 -> Free; Sale ends in 7 days
  12. i Live – Gold Edition $1.99 -> Free; Sale ends in 7 days

Icon packs & customization

  1. Black Army Ruby – Icon Pack – Fresh dashboard $0.99 -> Free; Sale ends in 3 days

Sale

Apps

  1. Drum School $9.99 -> $4.99; Sale ends in 8 hours
  2. Diseases & Disorders $4.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 4 days
  3. Forager’s Buddy Pro Key $2.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 4 days
  4. Learn French from scratch full $5.99 -> $2.99; Sale ends in 4 days
  5. Learn German from scratch full $5.99 -> $2.99; Sale ends in 4 days
  6. Learn Spanish from scratch full $5.99 -> $2.99; Sale ends in 4 days
  7. Plant Identifier $4.99 -> $1.99; Sale ends in 4 days
  8. Multitrack Engineer $3.99 -> $1.99; Sale ends in 5 days
  9. Sketch Master Pro $2.99 -> $1.49; Sale ends in 5 days
  10. 🚨 Earthquake Network Pro – Realtime alerts $1.99 -> $1.19; Sale ends in 6 days
  11. Filter Calculator (RC, RL, LC, RLC) $1.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 6 days
  12. Translator for Videos – Subtitles Player Pro $9.99 -> $5.49; Sale ends in 6 days
  13. KReader PRO: kindle read all formats (no Ads) $3.49 -> $1.99; Sale ends in 7 days
  14. Mushrooming $2.49 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 7 days
  15. Speed Camera Radar (PRO) $2.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 7 days
  16. Franco Kernel Manager – for all devices & kernels $3.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in ?
  17. Vault Pro- Hide Photos and Videos $3.99 -> $2.99; Sale ends in ?

Games

  1. Aporkalypse – Pigs of Doom $1.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 2 days
  2. Shieldwall Chronicles: Swords of the North $5.99 -> $2.49; Sale ends in 2 days
  3. This Is the Police 2 $7.99 -> $3.49; Sale ends in 2 days
  4. Jack in Space – educational game $2.49 -> $1.49; Sale ends in 5 days
  5. Legacy of Elaed: RPG $1.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 5 days
  6. ReturnState $4.99 -> $1.99; Sale ends in 5 days
  7. Space Battle $2.49 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 5 days
  8. Bridge Constructor Medieval $1.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 6 days
  9. Bridge Constructor Portal $4.99 -> $1.99; Sale ends in 6 days
  10. Bridge Constructor Stunts $1.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 6 days
  11. Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead $2.99 -> $1.99; Sale ends in 6 days
  12. Dead Age $2.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 6 days
  13. Dungeon Warfare $2.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 6 days
  14. Dungeon Warfare 2 $4.99 -> $2.49; Sale ends in 6 days
  15. Hidden Through Time $2.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 6 days
  16. In Between $2.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 6 days
  17. Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic $6.99 -> $1.99; Sale ends in 6 days
  18. Retro Winter Sports 1986 $1.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 6 days
  19. Super Blackjack Battle 2 Turbo $2.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 6 days
  20. The Inner World $2.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 6 days
  21. The Inner World – The Last Wind Monk $4.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 6 days
  22. Toby: The Secret Mine $4.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 6 days
  23. Truberbrook $4.99 -> $2.99; Sale ends in 6 days
  24. ACE Academy $9.99 -> $1.99; Sale ends in 7 days
  25. Cooking trip: Back on the road $2.99 -> $1.49; Sale ends in 7 days
  26. Crystalline $9.99 -> $1.99; Sale ends in 7 days
  27. Ethereal Enigma $9.99 -> $1.99; Sale ends in 7 days
  28. Gnomes Garden 6: The Lost King $1.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 7 days
  29. Johnny Bonasera 1 $2.49 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 7 days
  30. Johnny Bonasera 2 $2.49 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 7 days
  31. Kaori After Story $4.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 7 days
  32. KNIGHTS $1.49 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 7 days
  33. Lost Artifacts 4: Time Machine $1.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 7 days
  34. PEG $1.49 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 7 days
  35. Pocket Rogues: Ultimate $2.99 -> $1.99; Sale ends in 7 days
  36. Shootout on Cash Island $1.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 7 days
  37. Aerofly FS 2020 $8.99 -> $4.99; Sale ends in ?
  38. The Quest $7.99 -> $3.99; Sale ends in ?
  39. The Quest – Islands of Ice and Fire $3.99 -> $1.99; Sale ends in ?

Icon packs & customization

  1. Cartogram – Live Map Wallpapers & Backgrounds $2.50 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 5 days
  2. One UI 3D – Icon Pack $2.49 -> $1.19; Sale ends in 5 days
  3. Crispy HD Vintage – Icon Pack $2.49 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 7 days
  4. MIU! Carbon – Icon Pack $1.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 7 days
  5. Miui Vintage – Icon Pack $1.99 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 7 days
  6. MiUX – Icon Pack $2.49 -> $0.99; Sale ends in 7 days
  7. Secret Mission – Watch Face $11.99 -> $1.99; Sale ends in ?

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