Google's Pixel smartphones have just begun shipping in most countries (some lucky Aussies got them last week), but Verizon, a carrier notorious for slow updates, will be pushing an update with build number NDE63P out to their Pixels tomorrow. Impressive.
The update is so small that the changelogs for both the Pixel and Pixel XL only have five words: "This update improves Wi-Fi connectivity." It's almost definitely just a fix for a small bug that Google caught before the public release of the phones. It's likely that phones from the Google Store will also receive this update, if they don't ship with it already. Read More
The SafetyNet API is the bane of root and custom ROM users everywhere. For those unfamiliar, it is part of the Google Play Services API that is designed to detect modified devices. If your system is tampered with in any way, be it rooted or a custom ROM, the SafetyNet check will fail. Android Pay, among other applications, uses this API and will fail to run if SafetyNet fails.
Reports are coming in from Reddit and our own tip box that SafetyNet appears to fail on some bootloader-unlocked devices, even if the device has not been modified in any other way. Devices confirmed to have issues include the Nexus 6P, OnePlus 3, and Nexus 6. Read More
The Android Pay landing site (android.com/pay) has just been revamped with some more eye-catching elements. I haven't heard anybody complain that Android Pay's landing site is too drab, but this new site definitely looks quite a bit nicer. (You can check out the old one here.)
When you get to the site, you're hit with a splash of color, some "tap. pay. xxxxx." text, and a Nexus 6P or 5X demonstrating these actions (oddly, they didn't go with the Pixel or Pixel XL for this). Some of the 5Xes have curiously small bottom bezels. Read More
Chrome Remote Desktop is a rather obscure Google product, but that doesn't mean it's not useful. Once the desktop application is installed, you can control it from any Android device, iOS device, or computer (with Chrome). In my testing, it actually works extremely well, often with a lower latency than popular remote access applications like TeamViewer.
The latest update, Chrome Remote Desktop 53, finally brings remote sound support. Read More
The first-generation Galaxy Tab S hails from a time when Samsung was still using swipe-based fingerprint scanners - yeah, it's that old. Just look at that stock wallpaper; Galaxy S5 flashbacks, anyone? Around three weeks ago, Verizon updated its 10.5" Tab S to Marshmallow, and now AT&T is doing the same. The Death Star is also throwing in support for NumberSync. Read More
We're still tearing down all the applications from the Pixel system dump, and the included Google Phone 5.1 app is certainly worth talking about. Without further ado, let's dive in!
New call UI
The first major change is the brand new Call UI, which is now a translucent blue shade over your wallpaper. The new interface looks a bit like the iOS dialer, with large buttons and a circular Caller ID icon at the top. Read More
Google has been working to bring more and more functionality directly into search results, without the user having to visit a seperate site. You can now find your IP address, run a speed test, convert units, and more all from Search. Following that trend, now Google has added an RGB to Hex converter.
If you're unfamiliar, RGB and Hex are both color spaces used to identify colors. For example, #000000 in Hex and (0,0,0) in RGB both refer to Black. Searching 'RGB to Hex' brings up a simple color picker that shows results in RGB and Hex. You can search any Hex or RGB value, and it will show the color in both formats. Read More
Google Screen Search, formally known as Google Now on Tap, is a feature I don't use often - but it's incredibly helpful when I need it. If you're unfamiliar, it provides information to you based on the text on your screen, and works on any Android 6.0+ device with the Google app. For example, a few days ago I received a text message confirming an appointment, and Screen Search created a calendar event from the message contents. Read More
Opera Max started out as a VPN capable of reducing data usage, as well as blocking apps from accessing the internet. Now Opera is rolling out a new feature to Max, called 'privacy mode,' that aims to make your device even more secure online.
Privacy mode is based on the S Secure feature Opera created for Samsung for the Galaxy J5 Prime and J7 Prime, which filtered ad trackers and other privacy risks. Opera Max takes it a step further by showing information per app, so you can see what applications on your device are potentially dangerous. Opera uses the EasyPrivacy filter list, a massive database of tracking services, to make this possible. Read More
Like the Nexus 6, the Nexus 9 LTE didn't receive Nougat when most other Google devices did; however, since the Nexus 9 LTE sold significantly fewer units than the Nexus 6, there wasn't much outcry. Not too long after that, Google told us that updates for both devices would be arriving "in the coming weeks." Two days ago, the Nexus 6 finally got the update to Android 7.0 Nougat, and now, the LTE-equipped Nexus 9 is also receiving it. Read More