These posts are never fun to write, and we've been writing a lot of them lately. Odds are you've heard about the attack in Nice, France that took place several hours ago. I won't recount the specifics, but at times like this all the backbiting among the big US wireless companies stops. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile have all announced free calls and texts to France so those with loved ones in the region can check in. Google is also waving fees for calls to Nice on its various platforms. Read More
Last month, the Chromebook Flip became the first Chrome OS device to gain access to Android apps and the Google Play Store. Today, it appears that rollout has continued as Google said it would, with the Chromebook Pixel (2015) and Acer R11. The build is still based on developer channel release version 53, though the Pixel 2015's version number specifically is 53.0.2785.15.
If you own one of these devices and are wondering if you should move to the developer channel (assuming you haven't already), let me give you my quick take on the state of affairs with Android apps on Chrome OS at the moment. Read More
Google gave us a little sneak preview of Google Keyboard v5.1 in the Android N dev preview back in May. You could sideload that APK on other versions of Android to get the new themes, but now the final build appears to be hitting the Play Store. As with all Google releases, this one is staged. We've got the new version available for sideloading, though. Read More
The latest factory images and OTA ZIPs bringing July's security patches to Nexus devices are ready for download. Thing is, those files are beefy, and they can take a while to download. Want to take a quicker route? Try downloading an incremental OTA ZIP instead. Read More
Google announced today on the official Android blog that Project Fi's international data roaming speeds will be up to 10-20x faster than before. "Before" was previously advertised as around 256kbps, so this brings speeds up to or around 2560-5120kbps (2.5-5Mbps, basically), which is pretty much in line with what you can expect on 3G in most countries. This should take Fi's international data from "usable in a pinch" to "usable."
The same pricing applies as always: you pay for the data you use abroad at the same rate you'd pay for that data in the US. The new data speeds come courtesy of the addition of Three to the Fi network. Read More
Far be it from me to tell you what smartphone to own, but if you were looking at getting a Nexus device, I'm going to go on a limb and advise you to skip the Nexus 6 and 5X and even the 32GB Nexus 6P, and go straight to one of these 64GB or 128GB Nexus 6P deals on Amazon.
As part of its Prime Day Deal, Amazon is discounting these models of the Nexus 6P by 26%. If memory serves me right, the biggest discount we've seen on the Nexus 6P is $80 off plus a $50 gift card from B&H. Read More
Qualcomm officially announced the Snapdragon 821 processor this morning, and with it there has been growing speculation about just which phones will be among the first to feature the new alleged king of the chipset hill. Based on information from multiple and reliable sources, we believe it is extremely likely both of Google's upcoming Nexus phones, Sailfish and Marlin, will be using the Snapdragon 821.
The chipset, internally known by its model designation MSM8996 Pro, is claimed to be up to 10% faster than the outgoing 820. Such a modest speed increase points to a less significant chip release for Qualcomm, one likely focusing on honing and optimizing overall performance and efficiency than in seeking to introduce new technologies. Read More
The Factory images and OTA ZIPs for July 2016 are now available for the full line of supported Nexus hardware (still waiting for the Pixel C). They're a little behind schedule this month, possibly because it was Independence Day in the United States on Monday, or possibly to leave time for some late-breaking security patches that may have been added in the eleventh hour. The Android Security Bulletin covers the list of vulnerabilities addressed with this set of updates, and for the first time it includes two separate lists: one dated July 1st and the other dated July 5th. Read More
So you don't live in Australia and couldn't get a free Cardboard viewer from that Optus giveaway a couple of days ago. Maybe you live in the US — actually our Analytics tell us that a nice majority of you do — and you'd like a chance to get your free VR viewer nonetheless. Maybe you're a fan of Conan O'Brien and maybe you've missed that Cardboard giveaway that he did last year. Now's your chance to pounce on your coveted freebie and grab it.
Team Coco is giving away Google Cardboard VR viewers again this July, although the design is different and less playful than last year's orange haired cute avatar. Read More
Back in November of 2015, Google expanded its Local Guides program with a points and level system that introduced new rewards for each tier. At 200 points, you would reach the coveted Level 4 and receive 1TB of free Google Drive storage for 2 years. Now Google is backing away from that promise and lowering the amount of free storage to 100GB only.
It might be that Google Maps' recent updates that incentivize you with notifications to post photos, reviews, and answer questions about places you're visiting have had a positive effect and Google is seeing more and more people reach Level 4. Read More