Google only recently redesigned the Play Store, getting rid of the hamburger menu and moving most of its menu entry to the account switcher in the top right corner. But it looks like the company isn't done revamping the distribution service. Over the weekend, screenshots of a revamped "My Apps" section have surfaced, and we don't like it one bit. The new layout makes it incredibly cumbersome to access the full list of installed and recently updated applications.
Toward the end of April, the changelog for a Good Lock update hinted that we'd be getting a new module called Routine +. The name suggested that it would be linked to Bixby Routines, and that assumption was correct. Routine + is now available and brings tonnes of experimental new features to Bixby.
Microsoft is really fleshing out its mobile browser options. Last month the company published a Canary build of Edge to the Play Store, and it's following up with a Dev build today. That's three out of four of the release channels available as an Android version ... oddly, the Beta channel has yet to make its way onto the platform as a dedicated app listing, still relying on the Play Store beta system.
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JBL launched a bunch of products at CES this year, but few looked to be as promising as the Charge 5. Part rugged Bluetooth speaker, part power bank, the newest entry in the Charge series has much to offer, but it’s a lot more spendy than your average Bluetooth speaker. While long-time JBL fans may be disappointed the new PartyBoost pairing feature has such narrow compatibility, everyone else will be too impressed by the class-leading audio and killer battery life to care.
Ultra-wideband support is a hot ticket in the phone world right now. The latest models from both Apple and Samsung support it, allowing them to work with branded tracking devices (the new AirTag and Galaxy SmartTag+, respectively) that can show you where a lost item is with augmented reality, among other things. According to a trusted source, that capability may make its way into future Google hardware.
Amazon's Alexa has been put into basically every product imaginable from smoke detectors to toilets. The goal, apparently, is to get Alexa into as many places as possible, so putting Alexa in glasses seemed like the next logical step. Amazon Echo Frames bring Alexa even closer and make it easier to access by putting it right on your face. While the Amazon Echo Frames are cool, they lack the audio quality I'd expect from $250 earbuds, and easy access to Alexa doesn't make up for that.
There was a time not that long ago that OnePlus phones were a guaranteed excellent value. That's no longer the case as the company has increasingly focused on flagship devices and carrier partnerships, pushing the cost of some devices over $1,000. Still, that doesn't mean OnePlus is incapable of delivering a good value anymore. The new OnePlus 9 is only $729, which is more than two Benjamins less than the OnePlus 9 Pro. It's even cheaper than the OnePlus 8T it replaces, which is a welcome reversal of trends.
The Apple Watch is ubiquitous among iPhone owners: it's the go-to for iOS devices. Android, on the other hand, doesn't have any such singular, easy-to-recommend smartwatch — we've got all kinds of options from tons of different manufacturers. Here's a quick guide to some of your best options across categories.
I used Google devices exclusively for years. At the time, I loved my Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, the first two generations of the Pixel (XL versions), the Nexus 9 and Pixel C tablets, and even the Pixelbook. But after a few weeks with the Pixel 3 XL, I had to face a truth that I'd been trying to deny: Google hardware makes too many compromises. I went through at least three of each Pixel, all replaced on warranty for one reason or another. And the 3 XL wasn't faring any better in the software department, with the music app constantly being pushed out of memory and the camera failing to save many of the pictures and videos that I took.
Samsung has put a lot of effort into improving its software reputation, and a big aspect of that change has been a renewed focus on issuing regular security updates. Over the last couple of years, Samsung has frequently managed to beat Google to the punch, and that continues even now as the Galaxy Note10, Z Fold2, and S21 have all received the April security patch, more recently followed by the Galaxy A72, Tab A 10.5 (2018), and Tab S7+.