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.
I've been using the Pixel 5 I bought for myself for about half a year now. I'm kind of in love with it. Which is weird, because I'm in a definite minority among the Android Police staff. I'm going to take a few minutes to completely disagree with my editor-in-chief's assessment of the latest Google hardware… it's not like it would be the first time.
The Google Pixel 5 (and 4a 5G) with its mid-tier Snapdragon 765G was not made to please mobile gamers — something we even mentioned in our review. While that notion is not changing completely, the April Pixel update seems to have brought a sizable improvement in GPU performance, as noted by several users.
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.
Hey Google, you doin' okay? A couple of weeks ago you posted a very weird video, describing the basic Pixel phone migration process with a weird collection of meditation images and ASMR-style narration. Now you're back with this combination phone migration-intro to karate video. It feels like someone on the Pixel team really, really wants to go viral.
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.
As far back as July 2019, we saw evidence that Google was preparing an easy-to-access translate feature in the recents/overview screen. This was finally announced by Google as part of December's Pixel Feature Drop, along with a similar feature for screenshots, but it's not appeared since. It now looks like it's finally showing up, although only in the latest Android 12 developer preview.
Google likes to throw in some interesting physical gestures for its phones—see the "squeeze" function the older Pixels inherited from HTC, or the short-lived Soli gestures in the Pixel 4. There's another one the company has been brewing for a while, at least on the Pixel 5: double-tapping the back of the phone for some frequently-used actions.
The latest entries to the Pixel line are not really about blazing-fast performance, and by passing on the top-tier chipset in favor of a Snapdragon 765G for the flagship Pixel 5, Google made that pretty evident. This doesn't mean the company is completely disregarding smartphone gaming, though. The Android 12 developer preview 2 has visual proof of a "game dashboard" we had previously heard about.
This story was originally published and last updated .
Google really doubled down on affordability with its 2020 lineup. There was no super premium option last year; there was the Pixel 4a, cheaper than its predecessor at $349, the Pixel $499 4a 5G, and the $699 Pixel 5. The three phones share a lot of DNA, but the 4a and 5 in particular are very similar, physically, with nearly identical footprints. If you're in the market for a small phone from Google, how do you choose? Let's discuss.