Alarms and timers are probably two of the things I use the Google Assistant for most often. Voice commands make setting them dead simple (especially important for the kitchen, when my hands are often covered in food), and I can use them on my phone, my Pixelbook, or one of my Google Homes.
The problem is that, for all the endpoint ubiquity of setting and managing these timers via the Assistant, I can't actually control or set timers for one device from another. That's kind of silly, and it's a feature I've been wanting for years now. If the appeal isn't obvious to you, let me just put it this way: Have you ever wanted to set an alarm or timer on your phone, only to have your Google Home respond to the query instead? Read More
By some measures, Android Auto is a huge success. Google's infotainment system is available in cars from dozens of automakers, and consumers will be using these vehicles for years. That's a lot of people incentivized to use services like Assistant and Maps, but Auto is inherently limited as a projected interface from your phone. The car integration tab in Auto remains barren in virtually all vehicles. Google's solution is to build a version of Android that runs on cars, which it calls Android Automotive. We now have a better idea what that could look like.
I/O 2018 marks the second time Google has partnered with automakers to set up elaborate demos of what Android is like when it's actually running on a car. Read More
Project Treble, something that you might read in some of our reviews and comment sections, is an important shift in Android as we know it. One of the pieces of Oreo, Treble was Google's attempt to improve the terrible update situation we see on many third-party phones, especially from Samsung, Asus, and Huawei. So far, only a few manufacturers have implemented it to any noticeable degree, with others outright ignoring it until the last possible minute. Read More
The year was 2010, and Apple made good on the rumor mill's predictions when it unveiled the iPad. This device was, essentially, a bigger iPhone without the phone part. It turns out that consumers were into that sort of thing, and the first modern tablet sold in huge numbers. Not to be outdone, Android OEMs began launching Android-powered slates. For a time, it seemed like Android tablets would be a thing, but sales slumped, and most current Android tablets are ultra-low-cost junk. With the benefit of hindsight, it's easy to see how we got here. Read More
The mobile world thrives on change, and we're always waiting expectantly for the next big OS update, next hot phone, or next service that changes our lives for the better. But that ceaseless hunt for improvement can also backfire on users when something they've loved and relied on is suddenly upended in the name of progress.
A good number of us are feeling that kind of frustration right now, as we get to know Google's latest Gmail redesign. We shared with you the news of its launch last week, and while there's a whole lot it does well, including the introduction of some powerful new features, we've also been putting together a not-so-insubstantial list of gripes. Read More
Technically speaking, Android is open-source. This means anyone can look at the operating system's code, or change it - this is how OEMs like HTC and Samsung add their own tweaks. That openness has often been a rallying cry for hardcore Android enthusiasts. Why use a closed platform like iOS, when you can have a free and open-source platform?
But even from the beginning, there were components of Android that were closed-source. The Gmail app, Maps, Google Talk, and the Play Store were some of the earliest examples. To combat the always-present fragmentation of Android, Google offers many APIs through the Play Services Framework. Read More
Email remains the linchpin of online communication, and while we heavily rely on everything from instant messaging to video chat in order to stay in touch with the people we need to in our lives, we always find ourselves turning back to tried-and-true email. Of course, even for something so utilitarian as email, there are still a million companies putting their own spin on it, and for so many Android users around the globe, Gmail is their email service of choice. Read More