Android Police

Editorials

95

6 months with Face Unlock on the Pixel 4: Anecdotes, surprises, and disappointments

6 months with Face Unlock on the Pixel 4: Anecdotes, surprises, and disappointments

Although some form of face unlocking has been available on Android for years now, the secure method that relies on IR only started popping up on devices in the last year or two. Adoption of the feature has skyrocketed in recent times, and Google finally added face authentication to the biometrics API in Android 10. Since most flagships are now launching with no fingerprint scanner and just face unlock as a security method — to the joy and dismay of many — I decided to step back and take a look at my personal experience with the feature.

If you've used face unlock before, be it on an iPhone or other Android device, my observations should be very obvious to you.

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115

Google completely ruined shared folders in Drive (Update: Workaround, Google shares longterm plan)

Google completely ruined shared folders in Drive (Update: Workaround, Google shares longterm plan)

Several weeks ago, Google rolled out a change to Drive that lets you create shortcuts to files and folders. The feature had been in testing since August 2019, and its goal is to help you better organize shared files and folders without duplicating them, thus saving you storage and reducing the redundancy and confusion when you move things around. However, this seemingly benign improvement has completely ruined shared folders for anyone who syncs Drive locally to their PC or Mac.

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132

Sorry Huawei, the P40 Pro without Google apps is just too broken to live with

Sorry Huawei, the P40 Pro without Google apps is just too broken to live with

When Huawei launched the P30 Pro this time last year, we knew it could be the last for some time to ship with a full-fat version of Android. Huawei had been added to the US Entity List as a result of the intensifying trade war with China, and the company's ability to do any kind of business with Google and other US firms had been severely limited. Even so, David called the P30 Pro the “world’s best camera phone” in his review and Huawei's photography credentials have only been strengthened since then — the more recent Mate 30 Pro competed directly with the Pixel 4 and iPhone 11 for the honor of best smartphone camera.

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34

After using a Netgear Orbi mesh router for a year, I can wholeheartedly recommend it

After using a Netgear Orbi mesh router for a year, I can wholeheartedly recommend it

Frequent readers of Android Police may have noticed me mention a few times how slow and limited my home internet connection is. In ideal circumstances, it maxes out at 16Mbps; on regular days, it's half of that, and that's considered good for Lebanon. There are places where you can barely get 2Mbps. One single gadget has made that speed tolerable in 2020: the Netgear Orbi mesh router.

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65

Public webcams show just how empty coronavirus has made our world

Public webcams show just how empty coronavirus has made our world

With quarantines being imposed in many countries across the world, I've been wondering what our planet must look like right now. Empty streets, empty squares, empty towns, everything just... empty. If you surveyed from above, would it seem like humans have deserted Earth or are there still signs of our lives, if you looked closely? Then it occurred to me that I can easily snoop in on the world from the safety of my couch and discover its new, unprecedented facet with all the signs of civilization but no people. I started looking at live public CCTV camera apps and feeds and, after spending hours lost in the desolate streets, I ended up liking three apps, each for a different reason.

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60

Nest outages prove that the smart home needs a local fallback

Nest outages prove that the smart home needs a local fallback

Google's Nest service has been down once, twice, thrice, four times, no, scratch that, at least five times in five months, four of which were in the last few weeks. A similar thing happened toward the end of 2018. After each failure, a fix, an apology, more disgruntled users, and hours lost without any security recording for owners of the brand's cameras. Seeing the same headline with the same story every day proves that we can't solely rely on remote servers for the smart home, and local fallbacks need to be the first feature baked in, not an afterthought or a bonus.

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14

Coronavirus has upended the Play Store top app charts — here are the winners and losers

Coronavirus has upended the Play Store top app charts — here are the winners and losers

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world in many ways, including how we work, study, or even communicate. This is even visible when you look at the apps people download on their phones, as some have become indispensable these days. We've analyzed top app charts from last month and compared them to today's to see how they've evolved, and some of the results are interesting.

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65

Behind every delivery app is a person—tip them well, especially now

Behind every delivery app is a person—tip them well, especially now

Right now, almost all of us are relying more on delivery and on-demand services than we ever have in our lives. Be it Instacart, Uber Eats, Grubhub, DoorDash, Amazon Prime Now, or Postmates, the gig delivery economy is operating at heretofore unseen levels. In many ways, this is great: it means Americans are staying home, reducing their exposure to others, and doing their best to flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic that is now spreading across the globe. But in using these services, it's critical to remember that the people bringing you these goods often aren't well paid, and rarely enjoy any kind of benefits.

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30

Right now, a phone is just a phone (and that's okay)

Right now, a phone is just a phone (and that's okay)

Today, a Big Brand launched a Major Smartphone with Exciting Innovations. Even as a jaded veteran in this industry, I do always take the time to see who's doing what, what's new, and how the landscape is changing. In the past few weeks, though, the amount of attention I pay to smartphones (and tech at large) has plummeted, even the phones I'm using every day.

As I've been spending time with the Galaxy S20 and S20 Ultra, I've struggled to come up with anything to say about them that feels like it matters, even in some small way, given what's going on in the world right now.

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385

Why I left Pixels behind and found a new home with Samsung

Why I left Pixels behind and found a new home with Samsung

For several years I was a hardcore Google fan, turning my nose up at anything other than Nexus or Pixel devices. Last year, I traded in my Pixel 3XL for a Galaxy S10+, and I could not be happier. I switched because, after years of constant issues, I wanted to try something new. Now that I've made the jump and had time to reflect on it, I'd like to discuss what is keeping me with Samsung for the foreseeable future, as well as what I miss from the pure experience Pixels have to offer.

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