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[Update: Claim now] Google adds four Stadia Pro games for July 2020




Earlier this month, Google already announced that Crayta will be free on Pro. The world-building title is part of July 2020’s four Stadia Pro games.

Update 7/1: The July 2020 games — Crayta, Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, SteamWorld Dig, and West of Loathing — are now available for Stadia Pro subscribers. Like in past months, the Pro titles went live at midnight PT.

Last month saw six new Stadia Pro games, though Elder Scrolls Online arrived later in June. For July, we’re down to four titles as part of the monthly $9.99 subscription, starting with Crayta.

This game lets you create, collaborate, share, and play other multiplayer games. It notably launches with the State Share Beta where you can create a link to let other players launch and play your world. For free users, it will be available to purchase outright.

If you like the idea of making your own games, Crayta makes it easy. Use intuitive tools to bring your dreams to life, then share with other members of the Stadia community and let them play. With State Share Beta, you can simply create a link within Crayta and share it with other players, sending them instantly into your game to collaborate and play. Crayta helps game makers of all skill levels develop games and also allows players to collaborate in building games together.

Next is 2D platformer Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom:

Explore a truly gorgeous animated 2D world. Absorb the powers of creatures and become a monster to solve puzzles, find secrets, and overcome challenges in this startlingly fresh take on classic platformers.

Joining Quest, Dig 2, and Heist is the original SteamWorld Dig ($9.99):

SteamWorld Dig is a platform mining adventure with strong Metroidvanian influences. Take the role of Rusty, a lone mining steambot, as he arrives at an old mining town in great need. Dig your way through the old earth, gaining riches while uncovering the ancient threat that lurks below…

Rounding out the list in July is “laugh-out-loud funny RPG” West of Loathing:

Set against the backdrop of a bizarre Wild West populated with undead monsters and giant cattle, West of Loathing’s combination of wry humor and role-playing mechanics makes it an addictive addition to the Stadia Pro library.

Unlike last month, three games —  Serious Sam CollectionSpitlings, and Stacks On Stacks (On Stacks) — left on June 30. The count currently stands at 19 titles with the July additions:

Destiny 2: The Collection, PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, GRID, SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech, SteamWorld Dig 2, SteamWorld Heist, Zombie Army 4: Dead War, The Turing Test, GYLT, Little Nightmares, Get Packed, Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid, Panzer Dragoon: Remake, The Elder Scrolls Online, Crayta, Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, SteamWorld Dig, and West of Loathing

The Elder Scrolls Online is leaving on 6:59 a.m. PT on July 16.

The latest Pro titles go live at midnight PT. You can visit the Stadia Store on Android, iOS, or web to claim the Stadia Pro July 2020 games. They will join the Pro games carousel, or you can manually look for the listing.

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Google Nest teases that ‘something special’ is coming on Monday




On Thursday, Google officially showed its rumored Nest speaker after the device was inadvertently revealed by a regulatory agency. Google Nest today is back with another tease for “something special,” thought it’s not clear if the two things are related.

At 9 a.m. PT, Google Nest on Twitter and Facebook posted the following tweet with an accompanying video:

Take a deep breath and prepare. Something special is coming this Monday.

The four-second long clip features comedian Fred Armisen in a long, white wig that could be straight out of sketch comedy series Portlandia. I can’t quite make out what he’s mouthing, but we then jump to a side shot of the funny man that reveals he is sitting cross-legged on a stole in a meditation-esque pose that fits the “deep breath” aspect of this teaser.

People are immediately jumping to the conclusion that the “something special” in question is the Nest speaker given how recently that occurred. A one-off hardware announcement is possible, but it would chip away at what could be announced — presumably — in the fall. That said, in the US and Japan, the speakers have received the necessary regulatory approvals to go on sale, while Google could always announce and ship later.

If Monday doesn’t see a hardware announcement, then software is the other possibility. Given the nature of the tease, Google Assistant and Nest devices could be getting some kind of relaxation/meditation feature, while one long shot is an Armisen celebrity Assistant voice. John Legend departed last year leaving Issa Rae.

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This week’s top stories: Pixel 4a 5G + Pixel 5 confirmed, Android 11 Beta 2, more




In this week’s top stories: the Google app confirms the “Pixel 4a (5G)” and “Pixel 5,” Android 11 Beta 2 arrives for Pixel phones, more Nest controls previewed for the Google Home app, and more.

There was a lot of movement this week on the Made by Google news front. On Friday, our APK Insight team discovered the names and codenames of all three Google Pixel phones for 2020, the Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G, and Pixel 5, with no signs of a “Pixel 5 XL” being in development. More intriguingly, the evidence suggests that the Pixel 5 and the Pixel 4a 5G will run on the same Snapdragon 765 chip.

But how will Google differentiate these two seemingly very similar devices? The most obvious ways they could do this are through cost and build quality differences. By using “cheaper” materials like plastic on the Pixel 4a (5G) and more “premium” materials like glass and aluminum on the Pixel 5, the two could look and feel obviously different.

If this all seems a bit confusing, our Stephen Hall has written a handy guide explaining everything we know about the three Pixel phones coming in 2020. You can also tune in to this week’s Alphabet Scoop podcast to dive even deeper into why the Pixel 4a 5G may exist at all.

Elsewhere in Google Pixel news, this week heralded the release of Android 11 Beta 2 for Pixel phones, bringing Android 11 to complete API stability for developers. As is tradition, our Abner Li has collected all of the various new changes added to this build of Android 11 Beta 2.

With Beta 2, developers are encouraged to start “final compatibility testing” for apps, SDKs, and libraries. Google this year introduced the concept of “Platform Stability” where “all app-facing surfaces and behaviors are now final.”

While Nest has been slowly but surely migrating to Google Accounts and the Google Home app, the latter is still missing features from the dedicated Nest app. While discussing Android 11, Google happened to show off what appears to be new Nest Thermostat controls for the Home app.

We can make out a heating icon and something to do with temperature, while the last two items are today’s “History” and “Fan” shortcuts. Notably, the Nest icon has been removed from the top-right corner. This could hint at a future where Nest devices no longer require a separate client, which comes as Google winds down the Works with Nest program for a Google Assistant equivalent.

Xiaomi’s Android TV dongle pops up on official store, matches Chromecast price

Android TV fans have been keeping an eye on the upcoming series of “Mi TV Stick” dongles from Xiaomi, if for no reason other than their likely low pricing. “How low,” you ask? According to a new pricing leak from Xiaomi’s own online store for Portugal, €39.99.

Directly converted to US dollars, that would be about $45, but it’s not quite that simple. A quick peek into the Google Store in Portugal shows that the company’s latest-generation Chromecast — also limited to 1080p — sells for €39. I’d wager that Xiaomi is targeting the Chromecast’s price point for the Mi TV Stick’s FHD model, meaning it could arrive in the US for $35. That’s just speculation at this point, though.

In a final bit of Made by Google news, the company’s next Nest branded smart speaker arrived at regulators around the world, revealing its bold, mostly fabric design. Possibly to counteract the less-than-flattering images reaching the public, Google reached out to 9to5Google and other publications with a short promo video of this new Nest speaker.

Whenever this product does arrive, it will replace the original Google Home. With that in mind, it makes some changes that better align it with the rest of the portfolio. That includes an all-fabric design, a rubber bottom, and also a physical mute switch instead of a button. There’s also a new plug design. Where the original Home had a slick hidden port, this new Nest-branded speaker has a traditional plug that juts out the back. Shame.

The rest of this week’s top stories follow:

Android |

Apps & Updates |

Google |

Google Assistant |

Made by Google |

Smartwatches |

Videos |

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Lenovo working on dual-purpose Android tablet and external monitor, ‘Yoga X’




One feature that Android fans have to be envious of the iPad for is Sidecar, the ability to use your iPad as an external display. It seems the folks at Lenovo are eyeing an interesting way to solve that by making an Android tablet that doubles as an external monitor, the “Yoga X.”

This evening, two different leakers shared information about an upcoming device from Lenovo, reportedly called the “Yoga X.” Evan Blass shared an image on his Patreon depicting a simple illustration of this Yoga X, with a design that suffices it to say odd for a typical Android tablet. At first glance, it looks more like Chromebook folded into presentation mode than an Android tablet.

Fellow leaker Till Kottmann, via XDA-Developers, has provided a bit more context on what this device has in store. According to internal Lenovo documentation uncovered by Kottmann, which references a “second screen UX wireframe,” the Lenovo Yoga X will be able to connect via mini HDMI to another device. In doing so, the Android part of the tablet will lock to secure your data and the Yoga X will act as a display for what you’ve connected — be it a laptop, game console, or phone.

Elsewhere in the internal document, reportedly parts of the tablet’s Android side will still function as normal, including the brightness and volume controls as well as the audio output, should you want to use the Yoga X’s speakers.

Unfortunately, no other details have been discovered, such as specs, display size, or pricing. Given the lack of details and how bold and experimental an idea it would be to turn an Android tablet into an external display, it’s entirely possible this “Lenovo Yoga X” could never reach the market.

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