Pixel device owners, start your Wi-Fi radios. The monthly security update for Pixel phones has been posted by Google. The updates are available as both direct download of the firmware and OTA files, but it should be showing up on at least a few phones starting today.
The Pixel 4a launched in 2020 to great acclaim (... from me), but it had one rather annoying limitation: color options. Google's barn-burner of a budget phone excelled in almost every way, though at launch you'd have to settle for a fingerprint-prone and rather drab black as your only choice of shade. The limited edition Barely Blue launched later on, but I'd heard from around the Pixel rumor campfire that other hues had been planned and shelved due to pandemic supply chain problems, but I never laid eyes on any such examples myself. It seems Google (or, more likely, the studio Google hired to shoot this spot) kind of forgot about that if this since-pulled Instagram story is any indication.
Google Lens is an incredibly powerful tool that probably gets used way too little — you need to know how to access it in the first place, and even though Google isn't shy about adding it almost anywhere you could think of, it might still not be as discoverable as the company would like it to be. That's probably why it's experimenting with adding it to the homescreen search bar on Pixel phones.
This story was originally published and last updated .
Got a Pixel? Then you've got one of the best damn cameras in all the Android land. But hold the phone: Your kickass camera can do even more than you realize.
Sure, it takes incredible pictures — but that's just scratching the surface of the Pixel camera advantage. Google's homemade phones have thoughtfully created photo-related software with all sorts of scrumptious smarts baked in. And that means they're overflowing with useful tricks and tucked-away options that are all too easy to overlook.
In honor of my new Pixel Academy e-course — a totally free seven-day email adventure that helps you uncover tons of next-level Pixel treasures — I wanted to share some of my favorite hidden Pixel camera possibilities with you, my favorite Android Police pals.
Google wants you to know it's hip. It knows exactly what kids like these days: ASMR, bananas, and scrolling through videos on TikTok. Since they're already used two of those to advertise its current lineup of Pixel phones, it only makes sense to follow it up with the final entry in what has become a bizarre trilogy of commercials aimed at going viral. Google has partnered with creator Dayne N Simple to create a video poem in honor of its smartphones.
Over the last couple of years, Google has delivered a bunch of features for keeping your health, safety, and wellness in check as part of Digital Wellbeing. The tool originally designed to limit the time you spend on your phone is now picking up another capability that will warn you if you use your phone while walking.
Some Pixel owners have noticed over the last couple of monthly updates that their phones have lost Widevine L1 status, falling to L3 and rendering them incapable of playing back some DRM-protected content at high quality. More simply, that means they can't play HD content in apps and services like Netflix. By far the majority of devices are not affected and the cause isn't immediately clear. Google tells us it's aware of these reports and working on a fix, and devices from other manufactures may also be affected.
Google's Pixel updates for April are here. This isn't one of the big feature drop updates (that was last month), but device owners can look forward to the latest security patches and a handful of fixes and improvements. This time around, Google specifically calls out improved photo quality in some third-party apps and even GPU performance improvements for on the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5, plus a handful of fixes addressing issues on several Pixel models, including a problem that dates back to a missing December Feature Drop feature.
Out with the old, in with the new: LineageOS cut support for Android 9 Pie earlier this year, and to make up for the loss, the open-source project has just released version 18.1 based on Android 11. It comes with official support for about 60 phones and tablets.
The Pixel 4a has been out for seven months now, and leaks for a successor are beginning. It's usually at around this time that a phone starts to be a bad deal. Halfway through the typical year-long retail-available life, the launch price value proposition for most phones starts to wane. But the Pixel 4a bucks that trend, and I don't think it's too late to buy one. In fact, based on the leaks for the Pixel 5a, many of our readers may even want to pick one up now rather than wait.