As many Android enthusiasts may know, Google is constantly experimenting with new features and UI changes for its apps. Just a few days ago, in a recently published Google video featuring the Pixel, we noticed a never-before-seen Play Store UI on the device. This user interface possessed a new color scheme, a larger "Install" button, and more. Now, we're starting to see elements from that video pop up on enthusiasts' devices.
It feels like Google changes the Play Store UI every few weeks. A larger button here, adjusting the font size there, and so on. But the new 'Trending' section on the Play Store is absolutely new, and is both incredibly useful and well-designed. The new addition can be found in the entertainment section, just below the new movie releases. Read More
There's always a Google A/B test going on in the background to figure out what could get users to better discover options or take them to what they're looking for faster. One of these tests was a series of search shortcuts that had a very distinct circle design in the Google Now (now known as Feed) page right below the search bar. That interface didn't spread to a wider user base, but it appears that Google is still toying with the idea, albeit in a different look.
Below are a couple of screenshots from two different users who are seeing these shortcuts or hints below the search bar. Read More
Amazon's Alexa voice control system has taken off very well thanks to the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Tap, as well as an open platform that lets developers implement any and all skills they want and let users access them. The problem, as we've pointed out before, is discoverability. With thousands of skills available, users had to dip into the Alexa mobile app (or the Alexa website), and either search for a keyword or browse by category. The app (and the site) were slow, you couldn't filter by 3 or 4 star rated skills only, searching for keywords in the skill's review was impossible, and most importantly, you had to be signed in to Alexa to know what skills were available. Read More
If you haven't at least glanced at YouTube gadget aficionado JerryRigEverything (whose real name is Zack), you should close this tab and go do that. He puts new phones through excruciating damage tests for "entertainment purposes only" - it's the kind of thing that we're not really supposed to do in our standard reviews (unless the phone dares us to kill it). In a breakdown of the Xperia XZ, Sony's current premium flagship which retails for $700, Zack found a surprising amount of materials that were less than premium. Read More
Google Home preorders have started arriving and interested consumers can head down to certain brick & mortar stores to pick one up starting today. I've been messing with Home for a little while and I feel like there's already quite a bit to say about it. Read More
Samsung is pulling out the big guns to encourage Note7 holdouts to turn in their phones. In the coming days, it will send out an OTA to all Note7s in the US that limits the battery to a 60% charge. So, it's not just T-Mobile. The new software will also nag you incessantly about returning the phone. Read More
All of Google's products have adopted the "OK Google" hotword in recent years, but Google Home presents an interesting challenge. What if you have another device around with OK Google enabled? It can be a mess, so now there's also "Hey Google." Read More
Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi unveiled three new devices today: the Redmi 4A, Redmi 4 Standard Edition, and Redmi 4 Pro Edition. These enter the very popular Redmi family of mid-range affordable phones. All three bring metal constructions, 5" screens, and Marshmallow for astoundingly amazing price points. Read More
T-Mobile is planning to release an over-the-air update to T-Mobile-branded Galaxy Note7 devices tomorrow that will limit their maximum battery capacity to 60%. The OTA will be released beginning at 12:01AM (time zone unclear) tomorrow, November 5th. It is unclear if T-Mobile or Samsung are utilizing any features to "force" the OTA to install without explicit user authorization, but the rollout at midnight when most owners would be asleep and their phones charging would be about the best time to try something like that. An internal memo, below, details just how the update will work. Read More