1. Android Auto Adds Games, Wallpaper, Split-Screen View

Google is rolling out a major update to Android Auto. The new version includes car-optimized games such as trivia and "Jeopardy!". The feature can be activated by saying "Hey Google, play a game". Users can now "select from a variety of car-inspired backgrounds to personalize your car display". Finally, on "cars with wider screens", a new split-screen view "features a real-time view of Google Maps and media controls". The update will be available in the coming days for phones with Android 6 and above.


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2. Google Now Lets You Schedule a Text in Messages

Google has started rolling out an update to it Messages app that lets users schedule a text message to send at a later time. The feature is designed for people with "loved ones in another time zone or on a different schedule". To use the feature, simply press and hold the send button to reveal a new pop-up menu for scheduling. The menu provides several suggested times as shortcuts, plus an option to pick any specific date and time. The feature will be available in the next Messages update for phones running Android 7 and newer.


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3. Samsung's New 50-Megapixel Camera Sensor Supports Staggered HDR

Samsung today announced a new camera sensor featuring a number of new technologies that will offer improved HDR, low-light performance, and auto-focusing. The ISOCELL GN2 is a 50 megapixel sensor with 1.4-micrometer (μm)-sized pixels. The GN2 supports staggered HDR, which lets a device capture short and long exposures simultaneously, for HDR images with fewer motion artifacts. Staggered HDR can also enable computational HDR for video. Support for staggered HDR sensors is a key feature of Qualcomm's latest flagship chip for phones, the Snapdragon 888. Samsung also claims that staggered HDR is 24% more power-efficient compared to the traditional HDR technique. The GN2 also sports Dual Pixel Pro, an improved auto-focus (AF) system that uses all sensor pixels for focusing. While previous dual-pixel AF systems can only detect pattern changes horizontally, Dual Pixel Pro splits pixel elements diagonally, so it can also use vertical information to lock focus quickly. The GN2 also has Smart ISO Pro, which does for ISO what staggered HDR does for exposure length. The technology "takes readouts from both high and low ISO to instantly create high dynamic range images with less motion-artifacts." It can also take and process multiple high-ISO frames quickly, for an effective maximum ISO of "close to one-million". For video, the GN2 supports full-HD videos at 480 frames-per-second (fps) or 4K at 120fps. The ISOCELL GN2 is already in mass production, meaning it should make its way into phones soon.


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