We're expecting Google to drop the first developer preview for Android P in the coming weeks, assuming it holds to the same approximate schedule from the past two years. According to a report from Bloomberg, Android P may include support for a particular hardware feature: the notch. Devices like the Essential Phone with a "notch" missing from the display have some UI peculiarities, and Google may be looking to get ahead of things. Read More
According to CNET, Verizon Wireless will begin SIM-locking its smartphones out of the box at some point this Spring. Essentially no details are provided about how this will be implemented, but it really doesn't matter, because Verizon rather explicitly agreed not to do this ten years ago.
Per the restrictions imposed by the 700MHz Upper Block C spectrum auction it won in 2008, Verizon is expressly barred from locking down handsets on its network that utilize this spectrum. The plain text from the restrictions makes this absolutely clear.
(e)Handset locking prohibited. No licensee may disable features on handsets it provides to customers, to the extent such features are compliant with the licensee's standards pursuant to paragraph (b)of this section, nor configure handsets it provides to prohibit use of such handsets on other providers' networks. (Emphasis added)
So, Verizon's announcement today is complete and utter bullshit. Read More
We don't use the word "finally" in titles gratuitously on Android Police, but this instance warrants it. For years and years, we've heard the same complaint when covering Google Calendar: you can't change an event's calendar on the Android app. You need to use the web app or if you're bound to your phone, you have to delete the event from one calendar and manually create another in the second one. The update to version 5.8.18 of Calendar solves this issue by adding two new options: copy and duplicate. Sadly, moving an event from one calendar to another still seems to elude the team... Read More
One of Android's biggest criticisms over the years has been how fragmented its version distribution is at any given time. At Google I/O in May last year, Google unveiled a plan to modularize the OS and make it easier to update. Project Treble, in short, separates out the base-level Android framework from the vendor implementation so OEMs are able to release OS updates without having to wait for chipmakers to update drivers.
Faster updates should increase the distribution numbers for the latest version of Android, but Treble could also be useful for custom ROM developers, allowing generic AOSP builds ("Treble ROMs") to be installed on more phones. Read More
Last week, we attended an event at Qualcomm's corporate headquarters in San Diego to test out the company's latest high-end smartphone chip, the Snapdragon 845. We ran some benchmarks and ate some food. There was probably more eating than benchmarking, if I'm honest.
Full disclosure: Qualcomm paid to fly me out to San Diego, put me up in a nice little hotel for three nights next to their campus, and fed me lots of food and bought me lots of drinks. Of particular note: some pretty delicious hot wings at midnight.
First and foremost, let me be clear that we place essentially zero weight on benchmark results as a reflection of real-world performance or user experience. Read More
Every week, I examine somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred app updates while looking for changes. The most interesting things turn into APK Teardowns or Download posts. Many of the remaining updates are unremarkable, amounting to a few bug fixes, routine updates to libraries, or even just pixel-level adjustments to layouts and images. However, there are usually a few updates that land somewhere in between. I don't want to spam readers with dozens of short posts, but I hate to ignore things that people might want to know about, so I'm going to wrap up the leftovers for a little weekend reading and call it Update Notes. Read More
Bluetooth headphones are everywhere these days. Most of them – many of which sit in the affordable range – provide passable, mediocre sound and varying degrees of battery life. Both are oftentimes better than the earphone counterparts, but it is difficult to get excited about these products in general anymore. The last time I enjoyed a pair of wireless headphones was when I reviewed the Phiaton BT 390, which continues to be one of my top recommendations for anyone needing something under $100, thanks to its impressive battery life and solid sound quality. Read More