How to remove the Google Search bar from your Android homescreen

Google has the incentive to keep users locked into their ecosystem. That’s why the Google Search bar is sitting there, taking up space on the home screen of every brand new Android device. If you don’t use the Search bar and its just taking up room, here’s how you can get rid of it.

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Why remove the Google Search bar
Google wants its Assistant service to be successful. So, they’ve put the little microphone icon on their Search bar with the hope that you’ll use it thanks to its convenient placement. But if you’re not into it, removing the search bar is often quite easy on most phones, if not exactly obvious.
The most common reason is on-screen real estate: that bar takes up space that could be put to better use by displaying app icons or more of your snazzy wallpaper.
How to remove the Google Search bar 
Removing the Google Search bar isn’t difficult, but the process differs from device to device. Most of the time you just need to long press the bar itself and an option to remove or hide it will pop up.

Often, it just takes a long press to say goodbye to the Google Seach bar / © AndroidPIT

On Samsung and LG handsets, for example, you just remove it like you would any other home screen widget. On Sony Xperia handsets, however, this process won’t work.
Below are a couple of examples of how to do it. All devices should follow fairly similar steps, so try the first example, and if it doesn’t work, move on to the next:
Samsung handsets

Tap and hold on the Google Search bar.
Drag it to the trash/remove icon at the top of the screen.

Just drag the Google Search bar to the trash if you’re using a Samsung device. / © AndroidPIT

To retrieve the Search bar:

Tap and hold an empty space on the home screen.
Tap Widgets in the menu that appears.
Navigate to Google App folder and tap it.
Drag and drop the search bar from inside the folder to suitable space on one of your home screens.

To bring it back, find the Search bar in your Google widgets. / © AndroidPIT

Sony handsets

Tap and hold the Google Search bar. A new menu will appear.
At the top of the screen will be the Google Search bar, and on the right side it will say Hide. Tap Hide.   

Pinch your home screen then tap Hide at the top right of the screen. / © AndroidPIT

Tap your home button or return key. 
The Google Search bar should now be hidden. 

See? No Google Search bar. / © AndroidPIT

If you want to get the Google Search bar back once you’ve removed it, simply reverse the above steps and hey presto!
User suggestions
There’s more than one way to solve a problem like Google Search, and our readers have chimed in with a few helpful techniques in the comments section. We’ve now included them in the main section of the article for your convenience.
Danielle Furry recommends disabling the Google app in settings, which works for a range of Android versions. Here’s how it works:

Open Settings, then open Apps  
In the All apps list, find Google app, tap it and select disable
Reboot your phone and the search bar should be gone!

Courtesy of Kenneth Cyr, here’s a simple method that could work for many:

Press on an empty space in your homescreen
Several options should pop, including Settings. Select it.
Deselect “show Google tool bar on home screen” or similar

How to remove the Google Search bar with a custom launcher
Another simple way to get rid of the Google Search bar is to simply find yourself a custom launcher such as Nova Launcher or Apex Launcher. These can completely customize your Android device to look and work the way you want it to, and you can even get some launchers for free.

A custom launcher such as Apex (pictured) can make the Search Bar disappear. / © AndroidPIT

Third party custom launchers are brilliant things, and Nova and Apex aren’t the only ones out there. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the best Android launchers available, and we’re pretty sure at least one of them will excite and delight you.
It should be noted that installing a custom launcher is the only way to get rid of the Google Search bar on Google’s own Pixel and Pixel 2 phones.

Apex Launcher

Nova Launcher

How to remove the Google Search bar by rooting your Android device
This won’t come as a surprise to those of you who have heard of this process. If you root your phone, you can remove the Google Search bar. If you don’t already know about rooting, it’s when you grant yourself complete control over your phone – at the “root” level. A rooted Android is almost infinitely customizable, and once you’ve rooted your device, almost any custom ROM will let you uninstall the Google Search app. We’ve written a complete guide to rooting, which will tell you not just how to do it, but how to do it as safely as possible.

Using a custom ROM is a more drastic way to remove Google Search. / © AndroidPIT

Worried that rooting will void the warranty on your device? Don’t be: we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to root your Android device without voiding the warranty.
Have you removed Google Search from your home screen? Did the process cause problems on your Nexus, or perhaps was it smooth on your Samsung? Share your experience in the comments!

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Women’s March embraces collaborative social app Crunchet

Today’s nationwide Women’s March attendees will advocate for voter registration through every conceivable social network, so one of its planning organizations has allied with a new app that lets you combine posts from across apps.
Crunchet will help the Women’s March Alliance and Chicago march create collages of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, Spotify, and uploaded content that can be shared anywhere as a single story. Users can also collaborate, being invited to or asking to become a contributor to someone else’s Crunchet post.

“The reason we created this was that we felt like it was lacking on social media” Crunchet co-founder Denise Holzer tells me. The company hoped to bridge the gap between passive social network voyeurism and posting only about yourself. “Crunchet lets you join a story” Holzer says.
“The women’s marches were successful because of social media tools” says Katherine Siemionko, one of the leaders of 2017’s march in New York City and a Women’s March Alliance co-founder. “Considering youth is our target market, tools like Crunchet may allow us to reach them faster that older tools like facebook that the youth are moving off of.”

Women’s March Alliance’s Katherine Siemionko

Now since soft-launching a year ago around the first Women’s March, Crunchet has raised over $1.5 million in seed funding and built a team of 14, plus has ambassadors at 50 colleges. While the app is still a bit buggy, there’s potential in both the ideas of social co-posting and aggregating content from across networks.
Crunchet’s iOS app (Android coming in Spring) lets you log in to all your other apps, then select from your content there, paste in links, or upload imagery. It all gets layed out in swipeable carousels so people don’t have to jump between every app to see all your posts on a certain topic. You can even add a soundtrack to your post through Spotify. Then you take your Crunchet links and share them wherever you want.
Crunchet has its own feed, which eskews the Facebook-style algorithmic sorting that can bury posts. You see all the posts of people you follow so you don’t miss updates about important moments like today.
One roadblock might be that those algorithms elsewhere might preference native content over links to seeing that stuff and more on Crunchet. Holzer hopes collaborative posts where multiple Crunchet users team up that you can’t get elsewhere will compel click-throughs, and encourage people to cooperate on making meaningful content.

Still, the algorithm issue could further complicate Crunchet’s growth ambitions. You could see social media fatigue and the crowded app space as an advantage, giving people a reason to use Crunchet so they don’t have to compose redundant posts on each app. But it might make people think they already have too many ways to share. “The biggest challenge is getting people to try it” Holzer admits, a hurdle few social apps ever overcome, even without the threat of Facebook copying what’s special about them. The company is planning a series A funding round to pull in some more resources for its quest to scale.
Beyond today’s Women’s Marches, which you can join in cities around the US and even abroad, Crunchet plans to work with arts, music, fashion, esports, and other festivals as well as protests and rallies. Whether it’s convincing people to enlist in “power to the polls” movements or just helping them discover something beautiful, Crunchet could make sharing everywhere as easy as sharing anywhere.

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This Android app will turn your wallpaper into a live map of your location

There’s a new Android app called Skyline that will turn your current location into your wallpaper, as first spotted by Lifehacker. Skyline uses 3D terrain data from Mapbox to show either your current location or specific coordinates to create wallpapers in full detail.
The app can shift the image when you unlock your phone or swipe through your launcher pages, and it features a parallax effect that’s visible when you tilt your phone.

You can toggle the depth effects in settings and choose the right framing for your map / wallpaper. Skyline will cost you $1.99 in the Google Play Store, which isn’t bad for a pretty inventive wallpaper app.
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15% Off Irix Blackstone 11mm and 15mm Lenses

Mac users, Macphun’s all-in-one photo editor Luminar 2018 is out now and available for just $69£64 for new users, with big discounts for upgrading users. We rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended“. Visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.
Use coupon code “PHOTOBLOG” to save another $10£9 on Luminar.

Download Luminar & Try Free »

Windows users, Macphun’s all-in-one photo editor Luminar 2018 is out now and available for just $69£64 for new users, with big discounts for upgrading users. We rated Luminar as “Highly Recommended“. Visit the Luminar web site to try it for free.
Use coupon code “PHOTOBLOG” to save another $10£9 on Luminar.

Download Luminar & Try Free »

Irix are offering a 15% discount on their 11mm and 15mm Blackstone DLSR lenses between 22 January and 10 February 2018. It means that you can get the luxurious version of each lens for a similar price to the more basic Firefly version.
Irix Press Release
Irix: the closest yet to a Premium lens
If you were thinking of buying an Irix 11mm & 15mm lens Blackstone version between 22 January and 10 February 2018, then there’s a great opportunity to do so! 
We have a fantastic special offer at the end of this month which allows you to get hold of a Blackstone with a 15% reduction in price!
It means that you can get our luxurious version for a similar price to a Firefly lens.
Blackstone, in turn, gives you a number of useful options:
• Aluminium internal construction and magnesium housing with anti-scratch finish, thanks to which you can be sure that your equipment won’t let you down even in the most extreme conditions
• High class engraved markings covered with UV light reactive paint, which allows you to use the lens precisely even during your night expeditions and adventures
• Essential dust and moisture protection which guarantees that any small specks of dust or particles will NOT appear on the image
Blackstone lens is equipped with the convenient hard-case version which cares about lens safety.
Your Blackstone is waiting for you!
* Special offer is available at Irix Store & selected shops. Full list of our dealers you can check at:

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Sony Xperia XA2: Sony’s latest mid-range smartphone announced at CES 2018

You can tick this one off your calendars, CES 2018 is finally here. And with it, the folks at Sony have been busy making all sorts of announcements, most notably a new trio of mid-range smartphones: the Xperia XA2, Xperia XA2 Ultra and Xperia L2.

READ NEXT: CES 2018 highlights

But forget about the other two handsets for a second. We’re here to talk about the Xperia XA2, an affordable, 5.2in smartphone with photography at its core. If you would like to read about the Xperia XA2 Ultra, you can find Jon’s first thoughts here. Still here? Let’s get to it.
Sony Xperia XA2: Everything you need to know
Sony Xperia XA2 UK release date: When’s it coming out?
Sony’s Xperia XA2 launches in the UK in February 2018, alongside its Ultra alternative. There’s no specific date quite yet, but stay tuned for more information.
Sony Xperia XA2 UK price: How much will it cost?
Despite its imminent launch date, we don’t know how much Sony’s Xperia XA2 smartphone will cost. If you twisted my arm and I had to take a guess, given its specs, I’d expect the XA2 to launch for roughly £350-£450.
Sony Xperia XA2 design: What does it look like?
Okay, the Xperia XA2 looks like every other Xperia smartphone to have graced store shelves in the last few years. Despite the firm claiming a new, “borderless” design, the XA2 is still very much Xperia: with broad bezels above and below the screen. Sony may have reduced the width, but it doesn’t seem so obvious at first glance.
Likewise, there’s no 18:9 aspect ratio display to treat ourselves to either instead, you’ll have to make do with a bog-standard 16:9 Full HD IPS screen. And, like its Ultra alternative, the XA2’s fingerprint reader has moved to the back, which is a massive shame in my opinion.
Still, Sony’s Xperia XA2 can be picked up in four different colours: silver, black, blue and pink.
Sony Xperia XA2 specs: What’s inside?
As for the innards, the Xperia XA2 is equipped with Qualcomm’s latest mid-range processor, the Snapdragon 635. This chip was last seen powering the rather sluggish HTC U11 Life, which certainly doesn’t bode well. Likewise, expect 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage via microSD.
The rear camera is a 23-megapixel snapper, with ISO 12800 sensitivity meaning that it should cope well with low-light images. The front-facing 8-megapixel camera boasts a 120° super-wide camera, allowing you to fit more people and scenery in shot.
Sony Xperia XA2: Early verdict
Okay, the Xperia XA2 is nothing special. It certainly doesn’t offer the same newsworthy punch as the Galaxy S8 or iPhone 11 launches did, but that’s not to say the XA2 doesn’t have a chance at achieving similar acclaim.
That is, so long as Sony can keep the price down. As an affordable flagship alternative, The Xperia XA2 could be one of 2018’s bests. Read my full Sony Xperia XA2 review in the near future to find out

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2018 Australian Open: Bracket, schedule, and results for women’s draw

We have daily coverage of the 2018 Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year.
The defending champion for the 2018 Australian Open women’s singles bracket will not be participating this year, so the field is ripe for a new winner. The runner-up a year ago, Venus Williams, will be playing, as well as names like Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Karolina Pliskova, and Maria Sharapova.
We’ll have coverage of the year’s first Grand Slam every day with updated schedules and match results. For viewing information, you can see a detailed schedule and a how-to-watch section below. The tournament will primarily be broadcast and streamed by ESPN and ESPN2 in the United States.
Serena Williams will not be in action, saying she isn’t quite ready for tournament play following the birth of her daughter. She would have been seeded since she is still ranked No. 22 in the world, but she will fall out of the rankings following the year’s first Grand Slam.
Last year’s tournament ended with an all-Williams Sisters final, and on the men’s side, it was a final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, just like old times. This year’s tournament features some of the biggest names to not win a Grand Slam yet, and the biggest is Halep.
Halep is the top seed for the women. Elina Svitolina is one of the top names in action for the women, and many are picking her as the outright winner going into it. Pliskova, Halep, Garbine Muguruza, Angelique Kerber, and Caroline Wozniacki are all not too far behind her, though.
Venus will obviously be one of the bigger names to watch. The 37 year old is looking to win her first ever Australian Open title after reaching the final in 2003 and 2017.
Below is a full bracket, schedule, and results, which will be updated daily throughout the tournament.

Bracket taken from the official Australian Open website.
Viewing information
The Australian Open can be tricky to follow for those in the United States. Play at the Australian Open begins on Monday proper in Melbourne but on Sunday evening in the United States. Play will typically wrap up in the early morning of the following day in the U.S. but later in the evening on that day in Melbourne.
ESPN will handle television coverage of the tournament between its flagship network and ESPN2, and live streams of all men’s and women’s singles matches will be available live via WatchESPN. Play on most days will begin around 7 p.m. on the Tennis Channel before shifting to ESPN 2. Below is the full viewing schedule for the tournament, and below that is a full list of matches and results, updated daily throughout the tournament.
How to watch the Australian Open

Day 1, Sunday, Jan. 14
No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki def. Mihaela Buzamescu, 6-2, 6-3No. 4 Elina Svitolina def. Ivana Jorovic, 6-3, 6-2Belinda Bencic def. No. 5 Venus Williams, 6-3, 7-5No. 7 Jelena Ostapenko def. Francesca Schiavone, 6-1, 6-4No. 10 CoCo Vandeweghe def. Timea Babos, 7-6(4), 6-2No. 12 Julia Goerges def. Sofia Kenin, 6-4, 6-4Shuai Zhang def. No. 13 Sloane Stephens, 2-6, 7-6(2), 6-2No. 15 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova def. Kateryna Kozlova, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3No. 19 Magdalena Rybarikova def. Taylor Townsend, 6-0, 7-5No. 22 Daria Kasatkina vs. Anna Karolina SchmiedlovaNo. 23 Daria Gavrilova def. Irina Falconi, 6-0, 6-3Kaia Kanepi def. No. 24 Dominika Cibulkova, 6-2, 6-2Marta Kostyuk def. No. 25 Shuai Peng, 6-2, 6-2No. 30 Kiki Bertens def. Catherine Bellis, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2Irina Camelia Begu def. No. 31 Ekaterina Makarova, 3-6, 6-4, 8-6No. 32 Anett Kontaveit def. Aleksandra Krunic, 6-4, 7-5
Day 2, Monday, Jan. 15
No. 1 Simona Halep def. Destanee Aiava, 7-6(5), 6-1No. 3 Garbine Muguruza def. Jessika Ponchet, 6-4, 6-3No. 6 Karolina Pliskova def. Veronica Cepede Royg, 6-3, 6-4No. 8 Caroline Garcia def. Carina Witthoeft, 7-5, 6-3No. 9 Johanna Konta def. Madison Brengle, 6-3, 6-1Ana Bogdan def. No. 11 Kristina Mladenovic, 6-3, 6-2No. 14 Anastasija Sevastova def. Varvara Lepchenko, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2No. 16 Elena Vesnina def. Ons Jabeur, 6-3, 6-4No. 17 Madison Keys def. Qiang Wang, 6-1, 7-5No. 18 Ashleigh Barty def. Aryna Sabalenka, 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-4No. 20 Barbora Strycova def. Kristie Ahn, 6-1, 7-5No. 21 Angelique Kerber def. Anna Lena Friedsam, 6-0, 6-4No. 26 Agnieszka Radwanska def. Kristyna Pliskova, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2Andrea Petkovic def. No. 27 Petra Kvitova, 6-3, 4-6, 10-8No. 28 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni def. Shelby Rogers, 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-2No. 29 Lucie Safarova def. Ajla Tomljanovic, 7-5, 6-3Maria Sharapova def. Tatjana Maria, 6-1, 6-4
Day 3, Tuesday, Jan. 16
No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki def. Jana Fett, 3-6, 6-2, 7-5No. 4 Elina Svitolina def. Katerina Siniakova, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1No. 7 Jelena Ostapenko def. Ying Ying Duan, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4Alize Cornet def. No. 12 Julia Goerges, 6-4, 6-3Kateryna Bondarenko def. No. 15 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-2, 6-3No. 19 Magdalena Rybarikova def. Kirsten Flipkens, 6-4, 0-6, 6-2Magda Linette def. No. 22 Daria Kasatkina, 7-6(4), 6-2Elise Mertens def. No. 23 Daria Gavrilova, 7-5, 6-3No. 30 Kiki Bertens def. Nicole Gibbs, 7-6(3), 6-0No. 32 Anett Kontaveit def. Mona Barthel, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
Day 4, Wednesday, Jan. 17
No. 1 Simona Halep vs. Eugenie BouchardSu Wei Hsieh def. No. 3 Garbine Muguruza, 7-6(1), 6-4No. 6 Karolina Pliskova def. Beatriz Haddad Maia, 6-1, 6-1No. 8 Caroline Garcia def. Marketa Vondrousova, 6-7(3), 6-2, 8-6Bernarda Pera def. No. 9 Johanna Konta, 6-4, 7-5Naomi Osaka def. No. 16 Elena Vesnina, 7-6(4), 6-2No. 17 Madison Keys def. Ekaterina Alxandrova, 6-0, 6-1No. 18 Ashleigh Barty vs. Camila GiorgiNo. 20 Barbora Strycova def. Lara Arruabarrena, 6-3, 6-4No. 21 Angelique Kerber def. Donna Vekic, 6-4, 6-1No. 26 Agnieszka Radwanska def. Lesia Tsurenko, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3Aliaksandra Sasnovich vs. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 6-3, 6-1No. 29 Lucie Safarova def. Sorana Cirstea, 6-2, 6-4Maria Sharapova def. Anastasija Sevastova, 6-1, 7-6(4)
Day 5, Thursday, Jan. 18
No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki def. No. 30 Kiki Bertens, 6-4, 6-3No. 4 Elina Svitolina def. Mara Kostyuk, 6-2, 6-2No. 32 Anett Kontaveit def. No. 7 Jelena Ostapenko, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3No. 19 Magdalena Rybarikova def. Kateryna Bondarenko, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1Petra Martic def. Lusika Kumkhum, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5Denisa Allertova def. Magda Linette, 6-1, 6-4Elise Mertens def. Alize Cornet, 7-5, 6-4Carla Suarez Navarro def. Kaia Kanepi, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3
Day 6, Friday, Jan. 19
No. 1 Simona Halep def. Lauren Davis, 4-6, 6-4, 15-13No. 6 Karolina Pliskova def. No. 29 Lucie Safarova, 7-6(6), 7-5No. 8 Caroline Garcia def. Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2No. 17 Madison Keys def. Ana Bogdan, 6-3, 6-4Naomi Osaka def. No. 18 Ashleigh Barty, 6-4, 6-2No. 20 Barbora Strycova def. Bernarda Pera, 6-2, 6-2No. 21 Angelique Kerber def. Maria Sharaopva, 6-1, 6-3Su-Wei Hsieh def. No. 26 Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-2, 7-5
Day 7, Saturday, Jan. 20
No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki vs. No. 19 Magdalena RybarikovaNo. 4 Elina Svitolina vs. Denisa AllertovaNo. 32 Anett Kontaveit vs. Carla Suarez NavarroPetra Martic vs. Elise Mertens
Day 8, Sunday, Jan. 21
Round of 16
Day 9, Monday, Jan. 22
Day 10, Tuesday, Jan. 23
Day 11, Wednesday, Jan 24
Quarterfinals/Women’s semifinals
Day 12, Thursday, Jan. 25
Men’s semifinal
Day 13, Friday, Jan. 26
Men’s semifinal
Day 14, Saturday, Jan. 27
Women’s final
Day 15, Sunday, Jan. 28
Men’s final
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Arsenal v Crystal Palace, Burnley v Manchester United and more – live! | Football

Arsenal v Crystal Palace
Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Elneny, Xhaka, Ozil, Wilshere, Iwobi, Lacazette Subs: Mertesacker, Ospina, Chambers, Maitland-Niles, Kolasinac, Nelson, Nketiah
Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Fosu-Mensah, Kelly, Tomkins, Van Aanholt, Milivojevic, McArthur, Sako, Cabaye, Zaha, Benteke Subs: Speroni, Ward, Townsend, Lee, Souare, Kaikai, Riedewald
Burnley v Manchester United
Burnley: Pope, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Cork, Defour, Gudmundsson, Hendrick, Arfield, Barnes Subs: Lowton, Nkoudou, Westwood, Wells, Lindegaard, Long, Vokes
Man Utd: de Gea, Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Young, Pogba, Matic, Mata, Lingard, Martial, Lukaku Subs: Rojo, Rashford, Romero, Ander Herrera, Shaw, Fellaini, McTominay

Ashley Young is preferred to Luke Shaw at left-back for the match at Burnley. Photograph: Michael Mayhew/Sportsphoto/Allstar

Everton v West Bromwich Albion
Everton: Pickford, Kenny, Holgate, Williams, Martina, McCarthy, Schneiderlin, Walcott, Sigurdsson, Vlasic, Tosun Subs: Keane, Jagielka, Bolasie, Rooney, Gueye, Niasse, Robles West Brom: Foster, Dawson, Hegazi, Evans, Gibbs, Phillips, Krychowiak, Barry, Brunt, Rodriguez, RondonSubs: Nyom, Robson-Kanu, Livermore, Myhill, McClean, McAuley, Field
Leicester City v Watford
Leicester: Schmeichel, Amartey, Dragovic, Maguire, Chilwell, Mahrez, Ndidi, James, Albrighton, Okazaki, VardySubs: Gray, Iheanacho, Hamer, Adrien Silva, Fuchs, Diabate, Benalouane
Watford: Karnezis, Janmaat, Wague, Kabasele, Zeegelaar, Watson, Doucoure, Carrillo, Pereyra, Richarlison, DeeneySubs: Prodl, Mariappa, Sinclair, Gray, Holebas, Capoue, Okaka

Cenk Tosun will again lead the line for Everton, at home to West Brom, while Theo Walcott also starts. Photograph: Alex James/JMP/Rex/Shutterstock

Stoke City v Huddersfield Town
Stoke: Butland, Bauer, Zouma, Shawcross, Pieters, Allen, Fletcher, Adam, Shaqiri, Choupo-Moting, DioufSubs: Ireland, Martins Indi, Cameron, Crouch, Sobhi, Grant, Edwards. Huddersfield: Lossl, Malone, Jorgensen, Schindler, Hadergjonaj, Hogg, Mooy, van La Parra, Pritchard, Ince, MounieSubs: Smith, Kongolo, Sabiri, Coleman, Williams, Depoitre, Quaner.
West Ham United v AFC Bournemouth
West Ham: Adrian, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Zabaleta, Kouyate, Obiang, Noble, Masuaku, Lanzini, ArnautovicSubs: Hernandez, Byram, Hart, Martinez, Burke, Cullen, Rice
Bournemouth: Begovic, Francis, S Cook, Ake, Adam Smith, L Cook, Gosling, Daniels, Ibe, Wilson, FraserSubs: Boruc, Surman, King, Stanislas, Mousset, Simpson, Taylor

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Let’s talk about Rafael Palmeiro

Because there is little else to talk about. Do you think an offseason can kill you? I have a lot of questions. Send answers and help to Say Hey, Baseball.
At the prime age of 53, Rafael Palmeiro is ready for a comeback. Maybe you recall the tweet he posted a few weeks back on Jan 5. “Good to be back in the cage again. The comeback is real,” he wrote. It was not a joke, and I definitely did not cringe. It was very earnest and from someone who has obviously never learned the golden rule of never tweet. It was all fun and games until there was no longer plausible denial that he didn’t just learn what trolling was from a teenage nephew.
His swing looks like you’d expect: One that is powered alone by the muscle memory that comes with 19 years in the big leagues but is weighed down by at least 50 lbs of time. Palmeiro accumulated exactly 70.00 fWAR in his career, enough to put him closer to the top of leaderboards than most other players. He played with the Cubs, then the Rangers, then the Orioles, then the Rangers, then the Orioles — obviously no stranger to going back to where he’s been. His worth was in his swing, as is the case with many who are accused of PEDs.
He says he regrets his infamous indignant testimony he gave to Congress, fervently claiming his innocence at the advice of counsel. He tested positive for PEDs weeks later. I’m not here to pass judgment on what impact that should have on his, uh, comeback. I’m just… kind of wondering what he’s doing.
The thing is though, that Palmeiro wouldn’t even be the oldest to touch the Major League level if by the grace of Clayton Kershaw he were to defy all odds. He’d fall on the list of oldest position players at only fifth. That list is topped by 58-year-old Charley O’Leary, whose FanGraphs page at first glance makes his story look similar to Palmeiro’s. O’Leary played for the Detroit Tigers from 1904 to 1914 but has one lone plate appearance to his career in 1934 with the St. Louis Browns. But O’Leary didn’t come back to relive his glory days to try to shake out a midlife crisis. He was the Browns coach and only stepped in in a pinch.
Essentially, the question is why. And also, please stop. I don’t know. Maybe the Mets will sign him.

You have gone too far this time, baseball. You can take our trades. You can take our free agent signings. But you will never take The One True Hit King. Long may he reign.
Sound the Tebow sirens, y’all. He’s got a spring training invite, and he’s not afraid to use it.
This explainer on collusion was featured in Say Hey, Baseball on Friday, but in case you missed it, click here.
Not a great year for the Braves minor league system. This time, a player was given a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a “drug of abuse.’
Which free agents fit best in the Giants rotation? It’s time for a good old-fashioned ranking.
The rumor mill is saying Manny Machado to Cleveland . This might be enough to get me to move from lying face down on the ground like I’ve been since two weeks after the Ohtani signing. Probably not though.
This is technically a trade, I guess.

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FIRST EVER Nintendo LABO Kit Now Available For Preorder

Richard Goodwin

18/01/2018 – 8:56am

Nintendo has released its FIRST Nintendo LABO kit for the Nintendo Switch – and you can grab it via Amazon

I know, I know – you’re probably asking yourself, “what the hell is the Nintendo LABO?” Allow me to explain: the Nintendo LABO is kind of like Google Cardboard on steroids, only with LABO you build it up while playing along on the Switch.
A video is definitely in order, as you’ll visually see what Nintendo LABO is all about – and why it will likely be HUGE:

You can make synths, robots, and a myriad of additional things. Even a fishing rod. And all of them can be used in conjunction with your Nintendo Switch.
I have never seen anything quite like this. I was actually kind of blown away by the above video, as I wasn’t expecting much, something a little gimmicky, but the concept has completely won me over.
The possibilities with Nintendo LABO are enormous. I mean, even the most basic of games could be augmented with a physical creation to breathe new life into it. And the best thing about this is that it is completely original – there’s nothing else like it around.
“For example,” said Nintendo, “you can build a functioning 13-key piano that brings your musical creations to life once the Nintendo Switch console and Right Joy-Con controller are inserted. As you play, the IR Motion Camera in the Right Joy-Con detects which keys are pressed and translates them into unique notes that are heard through the console.”
“Nintendo Labo continues our longstanding mission of making people smile by surprising them with new experiences,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s President and COO. “It is an exciting evolution of the Nintendo Switch platform – one designed to inspire curiosity, creativity and imagination in people of all ages.”
These are the confirmed LABO kits that are coming in 2018:

Toy-Con RC Car: Insert the Left and Right Joy-Con into your newly built RC Car and control its movement using touch screen controls on the Nintendo Switch console. The HD Rumble feature in the Joy-Con controllers will cause vibrations that move the car in the direction you choose. Materials to construct two RC Cars are included.
Toy-Con Fishing Rod: Construct the Fishing Rod with an active, rotating reel that is attached by string to a cradle holding the Nintendo Switch console. Catch one of many exotic fish shown swimming on the Nintendo Switch screen by casting your Fishing Rod and unwinding the reel to lower the hook. Once you feel a vibration from the Joy-Con inserted in the reel, you must tug the Fishing Rod upward and crank the reel quickly to try and complete the catch!
Toy-Con House: By inserting various assembled blocks into openings in the sides and bottom of the House, you can interact with, play games with and feed a cute creature on the front-facing Nintendo Switch screen. Each differently shaped block is detected by the IR Motion Camera on the Right Joy-Con inserted on top of the House.
Toy-Con Motorbike: Insert each Joy-Con into an assembled set of handlebars to drive a motorbike on the Nintendo Switch screen. Pressing the ignition button starts the engine, while twisting the right handle activates the throttle. Leaning your body or turning the handlebars left and right controls the motorbike.
Toy-Con Piano: After assembling a beautifully crafted 13-key piano and inserting the Nintendo Switch console and Joy-Con, you can experiment with your own musical creations by pressing different keys. You can even insert different assembled knobs to create new sound effects and tones!
Robot Kit ($79.99MSRP*)
Toy-Con Robot: Create a wearable Robot suit, and insert the Left and Right Joy-Con into the designated slots on the backpack and visor to assume control of the robot, which is shown on the TV when the Nintendo Switch console is docked. Enjoy a variety of fun game-play experiences, including Robot mode, in which you can destroy in-game buildings and UFOs.

The Nintendo LABO Robot Kit is now available for pre-order over at Amazon for $79.99.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9 rumours: A new magnesium alloy for the Note 9?

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 doesn’t exist just yet. It probably will at some point – we’re predicting August 2018. What will it look like? A rectangle. Will it be more powerful than the Galaxy Note 8? Yes. 
We’ve got a while to go yet, what with CES just wrapped up, and MWC 2018 just around the corner. But if we know anything, it’s that consumerism’s rattle isn’t going to stop, so here’s a rundown of things that the expensive rectangle may or may not have going for it.
The latest rumour circulating the Galaxy phones is that Samsung is ready to wheel out a brand new magnesium alloy for its handsets – including the Note 9. The alloy of magnesium and aluminium is designed to be more durable and lightweight, and imbue those qualities onto the products it’s part of. How much lighter? Well, as Android World points out, Samsung has used its Metal 12 alloy in its recent Notebook 9, and the difference in weight between the 13.3 and 15.6in models is just 300g. That’s pretty marginal in the greater scheme of things, when the 13.3in version weighs just 995g. 
Another big rumour circulating is that the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will sport a timely feature that its high-end flagship rival, the iPhone X, lacks – an in-screen fingerprint scanner. CBG picked up a tweet by Twitter user , with a history of smartphone leaks, which appeared to confirm that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 would indeed come complete with the futuristic scanner. Annoyingly, it’s likely we’ll have to wait until the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ have been unveiled for further ert_main_wide_image/public/2017/10/samsung-galaxy-note-9_release_date_rumours_2.jpg?itok=xtVdDzWH” alt=””/>

Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Design 
This early on in the game, there’s not much concrete to say on the design of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, other than that it may be both lighter and more durable, thanks to Samsung’s embracing of a new magnesium-aluminium alloy first debuted in its Notebook 9 laptops. A trademark with the EU intellectual property office reveals that Samsung has applied to use it in its pones and tablets – which would suggest the upcoming Galaxy phones will benefit.
Codenames, in the meantime, can be very telling, with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8‘s codename “Baikal” attesting to its gargantuan size (Baikal, situated in Siberia, is one of the largest lakes in the world). This time round, the Note 9 is being developed under the codename “crown”, suggests a report from The Investor. Just what we can glean from the codename “crown” is uncertain; the word certainly suggests that something regal is coming, with Samsung angling to become the so-called “king” of smartphones. 
Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Features
A big screen. The Note 8 and Galaxy S8 both came with “infinity display” screens, and seeing as Apple is barking up a similar tree with the iPhone X, expect the Note 9 to push its bezels as far back as possible. It’s also worth noting that Samsung actually manufactures the iPhone X display.
Facial scanning. The iPhone X does it, and Samsung already has a form of the technology in its handsets. It’s likely that the company will make more of a song-and-dance about face scanning with the Note 9 and Galaxy S9.
In-screen fingerprint scanning. This is rumoured to be something Samsung is working on, although it may not be a feature that’s finessed in time for the Note 9.
Better battery. Samsung played things safe on the battery front with the Note 8, which is understandable given the explosive mess of the Note 7. Perhaps the Note 9 will see some forward steps in terms of fast charging and battery capacity.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Specs
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 could wield a formidable 512GB chip, given Samsung’s recent announcement that it’s mass producing the Universal Flash Storage Chips. This would, of course, put it leagues ahead of the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S8, which offer a comparatively measly 256GB each. 
Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Could it have a bendable screen?
Samsung is supposedly developing a foldable phone, currently dubbed the Galaxy X. There are rumours that this device could end up being the Note 9, which would certainly be a headline-grabbing way for Samsung to differentiate itself from Apple, as well as buck iterative upgrades with a big hardware shift. Whether or not the Korean tech giant wants to risk the experimental tech on one of its major flagships remains to be seen, but it’s an interesting prospect…

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