The Android 11 Beta is now official, and the era of Developer Previews are over. While Android 11 isn't "done," the switch to betas is a sort of milestone for stability as we approach a final release. There are still risks, but Google's transition to a beta branding means you probably shouldn't run into any serious deal-breaking bugs — though there's still some risk. Part of this change also means you don't need to manually install Android 11 via ADB, like you had to with prior Developer Preview releases. In fact, getting it on your Pixel phone is a snap, and here's how to do it.
Google's third big Pixel feature drop arrived yesterday, and while it was a little lighter on standout features than the two previous, some interesting upgrades for the Recorder app were included. The ability to control it with the Google Assistant makes an already great app even more useful, as does saving transcripts directly to Google Docs so you can use them more easily later.
Google's monthly Pixel software update is now rolling out, including June 2020's security patches and changes announced as part of this quarter's Pixel Feature Drop. The OTA should be rolling out in the traditional sense shortly, but in the meantime, you can sideload the update yourself, or peruse the huge list of Pixel functional patches — they're almost all just fixes, but there's a ton of them.
Google's third Pixel Feature Drop update has been announced with a handful of new features and tweaks for the company's line of phones. While we might yet find more minor changes hiding inside when it rolls out, we're told there are four broad categories of new features Pixel owners can look forward to: New Adaptive Battery tweaks to stretch out battery life, Recorder app integration with the Google Assistant and Google Docs, tools to better manage your sleep, and new personal safety features including crisis alerts and a "safety check" feature that notifies emergency contacts if you don't respond to a scheduled check-in.
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A recent listing on Chinese online flea market has some Pixel 4 owners jealous for all the wrong reasons — those reasons are mostly attributed to this phone actually being a testing unit. There are warning stickers all over the place warning whoever comes across it that the phone has not been approved by the FCC for use and that it has dangerous autofocus lasers. But it's the color that's got everyone talking... and it's gray.
Google first demonstrated Project Soli at Google IO 2015. Four years later, the Pixel 4 debuted the radar-based sensor as a feature called Motion Sense with the ability to detect basic gestures in front of the phone. If you happen to have a Pixel 4 and want to try out the gestures for yourself in an interactive space, or you want to go further and build your own simple apps and games, Google just released a sandbox app that brings Soli to life.
If you asked anyone who owned the stage at the launch event for the Pixel 4 last fall, you'd get one answer: That guy who demoed the cameras. That guy is Marc Levoy, and he's been at the head of the Google Pixel camera team for several years. Now, he's gone, according to a new report from The Information, as is long-time smartphone lead at Google Mario Queiroz.
Levoy allegedly departed the company back in March. Neither Levoy nor Google commented upon the move, but that won't stop endless speculation about just what led to it. My guess? It's really not fun to be the all-star running back on a team that consistently fails to make the playoffs.
If you plan on just dipping into the latest developer preview for Android 11 with your Pixel 4 or 4 XL before proceeding back to normal life, be warned: a number of users are reporting that they cannot enroll in Face Unlock after reverting to a stable Android 10 build.
May security patches for Google's Pixels are now available, though Samsung beat Google to the punch this month. For some reason, Google has elected not to publish functional patch notes for its Pixels as part of this month's updates, but images are available and the update should be rolling out via traditional channels soon.