Items tagged with Android

In 2018, Google launched the Android App Bundle, a new publishing format that “offers a more efficient way to build and release” an app. Since then, Android developers worldwide, like those at Adobe, Duolingo, Netflix, and Twitter, have taken advantage of this with approximately 1 million different apps. Now, Google wants to bring the benefits of the AAB to more users while modernizing Android app distribution by requiring new apps to use the AAB in August 2021. Announced on the Android Developers Google blog yesterday, APKs or Android Application Packages will be phased out as the standard publishing format over time in favor of the new AABs. With this change, AABs will allow apps... Read more...
At the Windows 11 reveal event, we got to see several new features, which are quite exciting. One of these new features is the ability to install and run Android apps on Windows 11, as if they were regular programs, via the Amazon Appstore. But what about cases where an app you need is not available for the Appstore? The Android apps feature coming to the Windows 11 is happening is thanks to a partnership between Amazon and Intel with its Intel Bridge Technology. This technology is the important part of the equation here, as it is a “runtime post-compiler that enables applications to run natively on x86-based devices, including running those applications on Windows.” In short, this... Read more...
Is Google Assistant not responding to your voice? Are your Google apps constantly crashing? The most recent Google app update may be to blame. Android users have been plagued by a wide variety of issues since Google rolled out the 12.23.16.23 update yesterday. The issues are impacting users regardless of their device and are evident in many of the features connected with the Google apps. Google Assistant is ignoring voice commands, Android Auto is not working for many users, and features like Google Search and Google Lens are crashing. Ironically, one of the features of the latest update was the ability to “use voice commands while navigating- even when your device has no connection.”... Read more...
Last summer we reviewed the eponymous OnePlus Nord, and came away impressed. It never made it to North America, but its successor -- the $300 OnePlus Nord N10 5G -- did, and while the price was on point, we found that it simply cut too many corners to really hit the sweet spot. Most importantly, it seemed to lack that signature combination of OnePlus design and performance magic and the company's special attention to detail. We were somewhat disappointed, but it still flew off the shelves. Enter the $240 OnePlus Nord N200 5G, an attractive looking Snapdragon 480-equipped 5G phone which brings OnePlus even closer to budget territory. We just spent a few days testing it, and while the lower price... Read more...
One of the reasons why Apple's recently introduced AirTag trackers have the potentially to be wildly successful is because they leverage a crowdsourced network of devices to work their mojo. Affordability is another reason, though the network is key. What about Google, though? Apparently the company is cooking up a crowdsourced network of its own for its Android ecosystem. Nothing of the sort has actually been announced by Google, at least not to our knowledge. However, the company recently made available beta build of its Google Play Services (version 21.24.13), and a teardown of the associated APK (Android Application Package) contains some very interesting strings that reference the new feature.... Read more...
Worried about those secret recipes, sultry photos, or other confidential messages you have been sending on your Android phone? Well, good news. Google feels it has sufficiently tested its end-to-end encryption feature that arrived in beta last year, and is now rolling it out to the masses. However, there are some things you should know. For one, end-to-end encryption can only be enabled when chatting with one other person. It does not work for group chats, so keep that in mind. Also be aware that end-to-end encryption is not available for SMS (short message service) and MMS (multimedia messaging service) texts, and instead you have to be taking advantage of RCS (rich communications service).... Read more...
Google launched the first Android 12 beta last month at Google I/O, and now the company is following up with Beta 2. All the new features that we first discussed in our original article are at play here in Android 12 Beta 2, but Google continues to refine the OS experience and UI to the benefit of users. One of the most significant changes comes with connectivity via removing the Wi-Fi button in Quick Settings, the Status Bar, and within Settings. Instead, the Wi-Fi button has been replaced with a new button called Internet. Tapping it brings you to a screen that allows you to change your Wi-Fi network or toggle on/off your cellular connection. If you have a dual-SIM-capable device, this is also... Read more...
Though it may be a little late, Google’s security update for the Pixel 3 through 5 is finally here. This update also brings several new features which may have been worth the wait. Between locked photo folders and astrophotography time-lapses, there is a lot here, so let us dive in... Space Photos and Videos Taking photos of the night sky can be difficult at best with most phones, but the Pixel’s astrophotography mode allows users to take beautiful night photos. Now, Google claims this is only getting better as Pixel 4 and newer device owners can “now create videos of the stars moving across the sky all during the same exposure.” When taking a photo in Night Sight, both... Read more...
Most of you are likely familiar with ASUS’ extensive line of PCs and related components, including ASUS’ ROG gaming products. You’ve probably also seen our ASUS ROG Phone 5 benchmarks, which showcase this incredibly fast gaming phone. But let's not forget that ASUS has also been making innovative non-gaming handsets for years. In fact, the Zenfone series was first to introduce both the periscope camera and the flip camera to market. This year ASUS decided to launch two Android flagships, the €799 Zenfone 8 Flip, which continues the flip camera lineage, and the US bound €599 Zenfone 8, a tiny (5.9-inch display) but mighty (Snapdragon 888 SoC) phone with a more traditional... Read more...
Apple's iOS 14.5 was supposed to let users take back control over their data, or so the narrative goes, by preventing apps from tracking their every move. Apple has been banging that privacy drum for a long time now, and customers have taken the company at its word. In fact, you've likely already read our report that a full 95% of users have opted out of allowing Facebook's app to track their data since iOS 14.5 privacy changes launched a few short weeks ago. However, what's to stop Facebook from continuing to track you once the data winds up on their servers? Not much, as it turns out, but there are options for turning the screws down a bit more.  Do You Really Need Geotagging On For Sharing... Read more...
Google is throwing its weight behind Matter, a new protocol that aims to simplify smart home setup and adoption through a single standard with broad industry support. That support is the key to making Matter, well, matter, and during its multi-day Google I/O developer event that is currently in progress, Google announced it is bringing Matter to its Nest and Android ecosystems. This is potentially a big deal, as device makers push more smart gadgets into the retail space. It is a sector that is growing. According to Google, in 2016 there could be found three smart devices in the average smart home. Now five years later, that number has tripled to nine. That number will likely grow over the coming... Read more...
If you're like me, you probably keep your smartphone next to you most of the time, though perhaps not all of the time. And of course it never fails that when a smartphone is out of reach, that is when a call comes in, presenting you with a choice—get up and go see what monster is calling instead of texting (ugh), or ignore it and check it later. Now there's a third choice, courtesy of an update to Google's official Phone app. Google's official Phone app comes standard on Pixel handsets, and last September, it was made available as a free download to Android devices in general, from the Play Store. It is a fairly basic dialer for Android handsets, though it does offer a few nice amenities,... Read more...
When Microsoft launched the Surface Duo last year, priced from $1,399, we knew it would be a tough sell. Not only was it priced well above what we expect for flagship Android devices, but it also came with an outdated processor (Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, when flagships at the time rocked the Snapdragon 865/865+), just 6GB of RAM, and lacked 5G connectivity. However, the Surface Duo's main calling card was its dual displays, which was enough to capture the attention of a few Android enthusiasts. Unfortunately for Microsoft, sales haven't been as strong as it hoped, and its retail partners are now deeply discounting the Surface Duo. BuyDig earlier this week sold the Surface Duo for a low $699.99,... Read more...
Privacy and security have become Google’s modus operandi after the company announced a Password Manager for Android, iOS, and Chrome the other day. Now, the Android arm of Google is taking steps to make Google Play a more “safe, trusted space for billions of people to enjoy the latest Android apps.” The company is therefore “pre-announcing” an upcoming safety section in Google Play to allow people to know how their data is being collected and used. Working closely with developers, Google will be giving people transparency and control over their own data soon. This will be done through simple means of communicating app safety which are easy to understand for an end-user... Read more...
We use passwords on a day-to-day basis, from checking the bank to logging onto Twitter, but they can be the weakest link in the chain of security around these use cases. If they are simple, they can be cracked; and if they are complex, they are more likely to be reused so if one is cracked or lost, all of them are. Using Two-Factor Authentication and a password manager can help with all of these problems, and Google is stepping up to the plate to help out. As Mark Risher, Director of Product Management, Identity and User Security at Google, explains, “One of the best ways to protect your account from a breached or bad password is by having a second form of verification in place.”... Read more...
Android app developers take note, Google is implementing new guidelines for how apps can be displayed and advertised in the Play Store. The new policies are aimed at preventing apps from misleading Android users with certain buzz words and graphics, like plastering a "Sale" banner across the app's icon in the Play Store, as well as other changes. It's a noble effort, given how big and expansive the Play Store has become. Back in 2008 when the Play Store launched, there only existed a few hundred apps and games. Google points out there are now millions of apps and games, which stretch to Android users in over 190 countries. This makes it more challenging for developers to maker their apps stand... Read more...
If you catch the flu, you may be stuck at home or even bedridden for a few days until you get better. If you catch the FluBot malware, you could be at risk of losing sensitive information, such as banking details and personal information. While this malware campaign has not made it across the pond from Europe yet, it could make its way over while wreaking havoc along the way. In late 2020, an Android-based malware was discovered trying to spread itself and capture credit card data. Regardless of the version, the basis for the malware was phishing people with fake links to track packages using reputable names like FedEx and DHL. Once a user clicked a link, it would direct them to download a legitimate-looking... Read more...
Digital assistants are designed to make our lives easier and fit naturally into our lives. Whether it's the Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Apple Siri, voice commands are just a keyword away. However, some voice prompts like "Hey Google, stop the alarm" may be getting easier if some secret sauce codenamed "Guacamole" becomes official.  Google accidentally uncovered its Guacamole options in a recent beta of the Google app running on certain Android 11 devices like Google's Pixel 5. The description of the options says "Quickly get things done with Guacamole." Google's developers aren't talking about pita chips and blended avocado, which is a delicious snack. Rather, the Guacamole options... Read more...
Last month, OnePlus launched its OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro flagships, which we recently reviewed. At the same time, it also announced the OnePlus 9R (a reworked Snapdragon 870-equipped OnePlus 8T for India and China) and the $159 OnePlus Watch. This didn’t come as much of a surprise considering rumors of a OnePlus smartwatch have been swirling for years. It even looks similar to the Watch RX that its partner company Oppo teased last year. Before we dive into reviewing the OnePlus Watch, we have to set clear expectations. This device doesn’t compete directly with the Apple Watch, Galaxy Watch, Fitbit, and Wear OS smartwatches. It’s in a category of wearables that look like watches... Read more...
It seems as though smartphone pricing is getting out of hand these days, with flagships easily cresting the $1,000 mark before discounts. Decent mid-range smartphones with 5G will run you around $500. But what about folks that want to spend less than $200 and still get a device that then can daily drive? Well, Woot is currently offering a flagship phone from a few years back at a crazy-low price. The Pixel 3 was Google's flagship phone first launched back in October 2018, and it is still a competent performer. The smartphone initially launched at $799, but Woot is currently selling the smartphone for a low $169.99 with free shipping. Unlike some of Woot's other discounted products, the Pixel... Read more...
How do you get an iPhone user to switch over to Android? Well if you are Samsung, you could try sending them a free Galaxy handset. Of course, that would get expensive in a hurry, and quite frankly, is not going to happen. So, Samsung has come up with a different, more economical stunt—it's offering up a free web-based demonstration that turns iPhone handsets into a simulated Galaxy device. I gave it a test run myself, as you can see in the photo above. At first glance, it appears to be a Galaxy phone, but look closer and you will see an it is an iPhone XS Max. How did Samsung pull it off? The company's team in New Zealand concocted the demonstration, which you can try out yourself by directing... Read more...
LG announced earlier this week that it would be fully leaving the smartphone market by the end of July 2021. At the time of this announcement, it committed to provide current LG smartphone owners with a few OS updates. LG today announced that all of its premium devices will receive up to three OS updates from the year of purchase. All premium LG devices released in 2019 or later will receive three more OS updates. This includes smartphones like the G series, V series, Velvet, and recently released Wing. Certain devices released in 2020 like the LG Stylo and K series will only get two OS updates. LG noted that these “future updates will depend on Google’s distribution schedule as well... Read more...
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