Google's Daydream is what I would call the most travel-friendly VR solution yet. Its simple but elegant pointer-style Bluetooth controller means you aren't reaching all over the place to work the VR interface, its comfortable fabric design is tolerable for long periods of wear, and sliding the phone into the viewer is a simple no buttons, no switches affair.
So, I decided to put these qualities to test on a five-hour flight from Los Angeles to New York last week. I had a variety of games (I didn't play any), interactive experiences (many require an active internet connection), and a few movies I'd downloaded from Play Movies to watch. Read More
In what appears to be an accidental rollout of a preview build, according to 9to5Google, Google is updating Pixel and Pixel XL devices in Canada to a new version of Android 7.1, build number NPF26J. Read More
The "P" after the N generally would denote a preview, as Google uses the second letter in its build system to indicate the branch the update is sourced from (e.g., "R" for "release"). (Update: Upon further investigation, it's unclear if this is true, or if it's merely a coincidence. The build may be an official rollout, though it would be odd considering Google hasn't updated its factory image or OTA file pages yet.)
We got some hints earlier that the second Android 7.1.1 developer preview was on the verge of rolling out today, and sure enough, here it is. System images are live for manual installation (build NPF26F and NPF26H). There won't be any OTAs at this time, though. Just like last time, the list of supported devices is small—smaller than we were expecting, in fact. Read More
A post by the manager of the Android Beta Program's Google+ page seems to indicate that Developer Preview 2 of Android 7.1 is slated to go live shortly. Orrin Hancock, owner of the page, says that DP2 actually began rolling out today, but we've not received any tips suggesting that's the case. No one who has replied to the thread seems to have gotten it, either, so perhaps the rollout has been slightly delayed or extremely, incredibly, strangely limited (I would hedge on the former).
Anyway, Android 7.1.1 DP2 will apparently be available for the Nexus 6P, 5X, Nexus 9, Android One, and Pixel C. Read More
The Google Home connected speaker has not been out very long, but it looks like it will be on a Black Friday sale regardless. Starting Wednesday, November 23, the Home will be $99 for a limited time. This makes it even more tempting and almost too good to pass up. Read More
The Google Cast API was updated today with some good changes. Most notably is that it now officially supports 4K casting. Also included in the changelog is that the API supports maintaining a state of cast session, where the new class holds the current status of the stream, a fix to the image aspect ratio, ad breaks, and remote control notifications. Read More
The Pixel phones have been out for several weeks now, and a lot has been said about the camera. I will try to comment on some of the things that I’ve felt have been a bit overlooked, in a deeper dive into the Google Camera 4.2 on the Pixel XL. Most of the issues, if not all, should also apply to the smaller Pixel phone.
A note on pixel size, sensor size, and aperture
Starting with last year’s Nexus phones, Google has been advertising “bigger pixels” in their camera sensors, frequently pointing out their 1.55µm size in marketing materials. Relatively speaking, they’re larger than the ones on most other phones and should lead to lower noise, at least according to common belief. Read More
While a bit odd to publish well ahead of reviews for the as-yet unreleased product, Google posted the results of independent testing by Allion today showcasing the performance of its Wifi system against similar mesh network products Eero and Luma. The results, given that Google decided to publish them, probably won't shock you: Google Wifi walks away with it.
Using two devices for each system in a 3000 square foot, two-story house, Allion measured speeds of each system at four locations. At the wired access point, Google Wifi was marginally quicker than Eero, but it's at the periphery of coverage and the secondary access point, which was not hardwired to the network, where it seems Google's product is most able to outshine competitors. Read More
Prices for gift cards rarely go down, but when they do, people tend to go berserk for even the smallest discounts. Case in point: for a $50 Play Store gift card, a slash of $5 to $41.99 at Costco may not sound like much, but it's clearly resonating well with some Slickdeals members. Read More