While YouTube's basic formula hasn't changed since its inception, the platform has always been open for novelties when it comes to peripheral features and formats — case in point, experiments like YouTube Stories and new sharing options for video viewers. The latest format Google is bringing to the video platform is inspired by TikTok and is called YouTube Shorts. After an extensive testing period, Google announced that it's going live for all US creators this week but users around the world are starting to see the new YouTube layout.
Aukey is among our favorite brands when it comes to affordable and powerful chargers, but some evidence is mounting that legitimate reviews might not be enough for the company. A 7GB data leak on an unsecured Chinese server (spotted by SafetyDetectives) exposed a number of Amazon sellers offering customers free products in exchange for favorable reviews, and it looks like Aukey is one of the companies caught in the middle of this scheme. Amazon has taken action and removed almost all products sold by the company.
Google Pay was refreshed late last year with an all-new interface and a reworked direction. In addition to mobile payments, the app has expanded to support food orders, online shopping with exclusive discounts, and budget tracking. It's a big switch for users, and while many have likely adjusted to the new experience by now, others have stayed on the older, simplified UI. Unfortunately, time has run out for anyone procrastinating on downloading the new app, as Google has put one final nail in the coffin of the legacy version of Pay.
OxygenOS received quite the visual overhaul last year with version 11, borrowing some design elements from One UI to improve one-handed use. The OnePlus 7 series was late to the Android 11 party, only getting the update in March — six months after Google released it for Pixel devices. Despite the wait, there are plenty of new features and improvements in OxygenOS 11, and now the T-Mobile version of the 7 Pro and 7T are getting a piece of the action.
Back in February, a new version of Chrome changed the way that users activate a custom search engine in the Omnibox: instead of indicating the engine and beginning your search string with a tap of the space bar, you had to press tab instead. Long story short, everybody hated it, so Google reverted the change and tried something else. Well, the tab-to-search functionality is back ... but don't worry, it's buried deep in Chrome's Flags menu.
HMD Global's Nokia phones come with some of the cleanest Android builds around, but that still doesn't make the company the fastest to update its devices. Despite a roadmap shared with users last year, some of the phones slated for Android 11 still haven't received new software versions. To better reflect when updates might actually be ready, Nokia has expanded its roadmap up to Q3 and added a couple of new devices onto its list.
Android smartphone makers are only now starting to catch up to Apple’s excellent software support. Samsung was among the first major players to commit to three years of OS updates last year (many now get four years of security updates as well), and several more brands have since made similar promises. The latest to join the list is OnePlus sister company Vivo, but its update policy isn’t as expansive as Samsung’s.
The Samsung SmartThings app is getting increasingly more powerful. It has allowed you to control your smart home from your phone for forever, but it has only recently gained the capability to find your misplaced Samsung products, too. Now the manufacturer is making it even easier to spot your lost Samsung phone. SmartThings has just launched in the Microsoft Store, allowing you to find and control your smart home devices right from your Windows machine.
Asus is still very much an also-ran in the smartphone world, but that gives it the space to try some unconventional designs that many find appealing. Take, for example, the Zenfone 6 and later, which elegantly solves the aesthetic issue of the notch by making its rear camera module flip around to the front when needed. Personally, I think it makes the Zenfone series some of the best-looking Android hardware there is. Asus isn't quite done with this design yet, according to a newly-leaked render of the unannounced ZenFone 8 Flip.
Google and other Android manufacturers try to keep on top of the hardware and software security, at varying degrees of intensity. But a vulnerability in widely-used Qualcomm SoCs disclosed by Check Point Research today was particularly alarming. It could theoretically allow a malicious app to patch the software for Qualcomm's MSM modem chips, giving it access to call and text history or even the ability to record conversations. Thankfully, most Samsung phones have already received a patch fixing the problem, and the rest is in for an update next month.