An update to Google's Phone app began rolling out to users earlier today. Besides enabling the seamless video calling feature with Duo, which also works on v14, this update comes with a few additions of its own. The previously discussed Assisted Dialing feature for international travelers has been enabled and is ready to make life a little easier, and users on Android 8.1 will now see the white navigation bar that's been creeping into a few of Google's apps. If you're using a dual-SIM phone, you might also be getting the option to pick your SIM immediately before a call, though this might not be live yet. Read More
During Google's reveal of the Pixel 2 on October 4th, we spotted a new video call button appearing on the Phone's in-call screen. Tapping on it was meant to switch both members to a video call using Google Duo. Google later added details to support articles that implied this functionality was already live, but the button remained hidden through a few updates to Duo and a couple to the Phone app. That changes today as the video call button is now going live in Google's Phone app when you're calling a number registered with Duo. Read More
A new version of the Google Phone app began rolling out this weekend with a few bug fixes and some new hints about what may be coming in the future. We've checked for the *infamous 'switch to video call' feature* that was spotted during the October 4th event, but it still doesn't appear to be operational yet. However, a teardown of this update reveals that the Phone app will automatically correct prefixes when you make a call to international numbers and it may begin offering voicemail transcriptions on behalf of carriers. Read More
Back in August, T-Mobile released its own branded budget phone, the 'REVVL.' For $125, it offered a few features rarely found at its price point, like a fingerprint sensor. The carrier said it sold three times more REVVL phones than it initially planned, so now T-Mobile has released a higher-end model, fittingly named the 'REVVL Plus.' Read More
Eastern Asia is home to some interesting smartphones, like various Android-powered flip phones from Samsung and LG. Earlier today, the 'NichePhone-S' from FutureModel was announced in Japan. It's a phone the size of a credit card priced around 10,000 yen (or $88 USD), with a heavily customized version of Android. Read More
Xiaomi phones always have the same problem. While the company's devices have generally great specifications and design for the price, the software experience is usually not very good. If you've read one of our Xiaomi device reviews, or used one of the company's phones yourself, you probably know what I'm talking about.
All of Xiaomi's phones and tablets ship with MIUI, a heavily modified version of Android that has countless problems. Some of these include Bluetooth connectivity bugs, terrible notification handling, and over-the-top power management that can outright break notifications for many apps. Jordan went in depth about MIUI's issues here, if you're interested in details. Read More
Earlier this month, two entrepreneurs from Ottawa, Canada launched a crowdfunding campaign for the "frank." phone. The main premise was that smartphones are too expensive, and there needs to be a phone priced competitively that does everything you need it to. The project had a very edgy tone, using phrases like, "It’s just another fucking phone but it’ll only cost you $180," and, "It’s about time to disrupt the shit out of the North American smartphone industry."
Unfortunately for the Frank team (and anyone who wanted the phone), Indiegogo has now suspended the project's crowdfunding campaign and automatically refunded all contributions. Read More
Over the last few months, Google has been taking small steps to integrate Allo and Duo into different pieces of the phone. Most recently, Allo shortcuts were added to the Contacts app, but today's teardown is more closely related to Duo recording its video chats to the system call log. It looks like Google's next step may involve having its Phone app be a little more forward about Duo. Read More