RCS has taken years to gain widespread network support, and we're still suffering through carrier interoperability issues. The current landscape is nothing if not entirely overcomplicated to navigate, especially for consumers. But the subject may become a bit simpler once Android Q rolls around, as pile of new RCS-specific APIs has popped up in AOSP, presumably bound for the next Android release. These APIs may finally provide third-party apps with the ability to work with RCS on supported carriers. Read More
This isn't widely-known information, but the Pixel 2 and 3 can technically act as dual-SIM devices thanks to their eSIM support. eSIM is only used by a few carriers around the world, including Sprint in the US, but it can act as a second SIM alongside the hardware SIM when activated. However, Google appears set to improve dual-SIM in the upcoming Pixel 4. Read More
Android Q news is starting to arrive bit by bit, largely due to an early AOSP build that's been doing the rounds. Probably the most welcome enhancement — other than the much-anticipated system-wide dark mode — is an overhaul to the privacy and permissions settings.
Thanks to our friends at XDA Developers, we now know a little bit more about what to expect. Read More
Android Beam was a feature introduced in Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) that allowed people to share photos, sites, apps, and more by tapping their phones together. It was a neat feature when it launched, and it still works great for sending links and small files, but Android Beam's future is now uncertain. Read More
Most of our readers are probably aware that Android is an open source effort, with much of code that comprises a working image being publicly accessible—in fact, that openness is a big chunk of why people like me prefer it to other platforms. So I'm especially happy to see that the current/final Android 9 changes are hitting AOSP.
Even though face unlock has been a part of Android since Ice Cream Sandwich, several Android manufacturers have been working on improved versions over the past year, mostly in response to the iPhone X. The ill-fated Note7 had an iris scanning feature, the OnePlus 5T includes face unlock, and the Galaxy S9 has a hybrid of the two features. Starting with the next Android release, it might be easier for OEMs to add iris scanning to their devices. Read More
One of Android's biggest criticisms over the years has been how fragmented its version distribution is at any given time. At Google I/O in May last year, Google unveiled a plan to modularize the OS and make it easier to update. Project Treble, in short, separates out the base-level Android framework from the vendor implementation so OEMs are able to release OS updates without having to wait for chipmakers to update drivers.
Faster updates should increase the distribution numbers for the latest version of Android, but Treble could also be useful for custom ROM developers, allowing generic AOSP builds ("Treble ROMs") to be installed on more phones. Read More
Android has a few different methods for printing, one of the easiest and most recognizable is probably Google's Cloud Print. But setting up and using a random printer from your Android-powered phone or tablet isn't quite as easy as it is from a more traditional laptop or desktop computer. According to the folks at XDA, though, that might change with the recent addition of Wi-Fi Direct printing to AOSP. Read More
It's been a while since this news was relevant, but the Pixel XL's successor was initially codenamed 'muskie.' However, we learned that muskie was shelved in favor of 'taimen,' which is the Pixel 2 XL we have today. But XDA has done some digging and discovered some interesting specs that muskie would have had. Among these is a massive 3830mAh battery, which is pretty interesting. Read More
Sony has been a surprisingly developer-friendly Android phone maker, with its Open Devices program giving anyone the opportunity to build and flash custom versions of the OS firmware on its devices. A few days ago Sony published the relevant binaries for the latest AOSP version of Android 8.0 Oreo for a number of its phones, and now it's added two newer Xperia models.
The XZ1 and XZ1 Compact were launched at the end of August at IFA 2017 in Berlin. They're essentially the same as their predecessors, the XZ and X Compact, on the outside, with updated internals such as the Snapdragon 835. Read More