We've all done it—a big OTA is rolling out and you want it right this minute. So, you open the OTA update checker in settings and mash the button a few times in an effort to will the update into existence on your phone. It never works, and as of Android 7.1, you can't even go through this pointless ritual anymore. There's a timeout between checks and no button. Read More
Even though most devices some with at least 32GB of space these days, there are still plenty of times you run low and need to clear out some junk. In the Android 7.1 dev preview, there's a new storage cleaner that makes it easy to find the old stuff without all that tedious digging around in file managers. It can even automate the process. Read More
There were some interesting features announced as part of the launch of Google's Pixel phones. While some are exclusives to the new handsets, others are a part of the new Android 7.1 Nougat. One of the headlining features for the new OS version is the App Shortcuts API, a way for apps to offer fast access to select screens and functions. If you've been looking forward to trying it out, the Google Now Launcher in combination with today's developer preview fully supports app shortcuts and there's already plenty of examples to try out. Read More
Google Keep has become a nice little note taking app. While it lacks some of the features of more mature tools like Evernote, Keep is infinitely easier to use. Now, it's getting a feature it should have had a long time ago—pinned notes. Read More
As I have moved on from sharing my every move via Facebook, one of the most useful things I do on the platform nowadays is take advantage of the expertise of my friends. Finding a place to get lunch, identifying a dentist covered by my employer's insurance, and all manner of similar problems can be solved in part by soliciting suggestions from my social network. Facebook is now rolling out a feature called Recommendations that helps you make sense of your friends' input. Read More
Amazon's Alexa voice control assistant is undeniably slick, but the initially limited availability and high price of the flagship Echo device kept it out of the hands of a lot of people. New Alexa-powered gadgets like the Echo Dot and Amazon Tap have lowered the barrier to entry, but the real opportunity is in devices that license Alexa for use on other hardware. Such is the case with FABRIQ, an inexpensive wireless speaker that works with Alexa out of the box. Read More
Updates are still a huge pain point for many Android OEMs, but Google's usually been okay with them. Historically, devices with the Nexus nameplate have received around two years' worth of updates; for instance, the LG-made Nexus 5, which was released in late 2013, is stuck (officially) on Marshmallow, which was released in late 2015. That trend seems to be continuing with the Pixel phones. Read More
Android Pay has slowly been growing to more and more regions, and now has finally reached the city of Hong Kong. This makes Hong Kong and Singapore the only regions in Asia supported by Android Pay.
Pay will be accepted at over 5,000 locations including 7-Eleven, Circle K, Fortress, McDonald's, and more. This works exactly like Android Pay in other regions; just install the app and you're good to go.
MasterCard and Visa cards are supported, as well as cards from BEA, DBS, Dah Sing Bank, Hang Seng Bank, HSBC, and Standard Chartered Bank. Online and in-app transactions with Android Pay also work. Google is also encouraging additional merchants to support Android Pay, so Hongkongers might have more locations accepting Android Pay in the near future. Read More
Android Pay now supports a ton of banks and credit unions, but most of them are small, local ones. That's not changing with these latest additions; I don't recognize a single name here. Hopefully, those of you who use smaller banks will have better luck. Read More
The Android 7.1 Nougat Developer Preview 1 just came out for the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and Pixel C, and we're already seeing quite a few improvements over 7.0 Nougat. Some of the most noticeable changes are in the notification panel; not only are there now six mini Quick Settings toggles, but Settings is easier to get to. Read More