Even though you probably don't notice that any of your Google Home devices are constantly receiving firmware updates, they get new software all the time. Most likely, you'll only realize it when something goes really wrong, which is exactly what more and more people are reporting on Google's help forum and Reddit. They say their Google Homes and Google Home Minis have been bricked following an OTA, and they receive little to no help from Google when they're outside of warranty. Read More
You may remember that back in February at MWC 2019 in Barcelona, Energizer unveiled a boatload of phones. The most bizarre of the lot had a humungous 18,000mAh battery, dual pop-up front cameras, and it could seemingly also be used to break through glass in an emergency. In news that will shock nobody, it has spectacularly failed to reach its lofty Indiegogo crowdfunding target. Read More
We don't often see much into the world of ultra-rugged smartphones and tablets as "normal" consumers, though we catch glimpses from time to time from the likes of CAT and such. These devices take many steps beyond the Galaxy S Active series in terms of durability. Since AT&T seems to be fond of these phones, it and Sonim have announced the XP8 for use on FirstNet. This phone looks like one solid piece of technology and, despite its middling specifications, it will cost a whopping $699. Read More
Many of you probably know about the Anker PowerHouse, a massive 434Wh battery that can be had for $499.99. But if that was too much money for more power than you needed, Anker has just unveiled the PowerHouse 200, a smaller and less expensive version. It's still a giant brick of a battery, but if you just don't need 434Wh, this is the car battery-shaped battery for you. Read More
Tech products almost always have problems when they are first released, but the Pixel 2 XL seems to be having a fair amount of them. Display woes aside, buyers are reporting issues with Android Auto, Portrait Mode, and audio quality with recorded video. Now, multiple reports have surfaced about a manufacturing defect that keeps the phone from booting up at all. Read More
Being able to remotely wipe your phone's data is a handy feature and, in conjunction with Android's Device Protection, can make your phone all but useless to a would-be thief. I say "all but" useless because there's always the possibility of a workaround or a deep compromise of your account information that could let a thief into your device in an extreme scenario. Granted, almost nothing can claim to completely eliminate the risk of data theft once your accounts are compromised, but there are steps that can be taken to at least mitigate the damage, even if just long enough to get back control of your stuff. Read More
Google's approach to releasing preview firmware for upcoming versions of Android is evolving into a pretty cool system that allows developers to simply sign up a device and wait for the OTAs to come rolling in. However, no product launch is perfect, and this one is causing some real problems for some users. Complaints started rolling into the Nexus Help Form and AOSP Issue Tracker about devices that were left unable to boot after attempting to install the OTA. This problem is greatly compounded by the fact that many users are not able to unlock their bootloaders, which means they can't fix the issue with a factory image. Read More
The most recent over-the-air update for the Nexus 9, the one that totally wasn't what you were actually waiting for, has apparently bricked the device for some owners. A couple folks affected by this 5.0.2 issue have taken to Google's product forums to ask what gives.
The person who opened this thread was told to perform a factory reset in recovery mode (as well as the bootloader, which has a separate factory reset option). It didn't fix things. Nor did it work for our very own Cameron Summerson, who went through this headache this morning. He was able to fix his Nexus 9 only after flashing the factory image manually. Read More
When we buy gadgets, it's usually with the expectation that their useful lifetime will carry us at least until we're ready to replace them, and hopefully well beyond. Most people assume their smartphones should last at least two years, in part because contract customers in the US are accustomed to unreasonably high upgrade prices for mid-term upgrades, and also because most manufacturers have adopted yearly release cycles that fit well with this pace. The expectations for tablets aren't as well defined, but most customers seem to want about 3 years or so. Even when we're done with a device, we want to be the ones to end the relationship, rather than wake up and find our hardware dead beyond hope. Read More
If you own a Sony SmartWatch, you may want to ignore the impending update to the SmartWatch app on the Play Store right now. Some users are reporting that, after updating the required app, their watches are experiencing random reboots, notifications no longer working, and random disconnects. We've reached out to Sony for comment, but so far we've heard nothing back.
It appears that version 1.2.33 of the software began causing problems. The current app has now been bumped to version 1.2.34, however it's unclear if this update fixes the problem and allows users to upgrade safely. What is clear is that if you already updated to 1.2.33, and your device was then bricked, you won't be able to update to 1.2.34, as the device disconnects right away. Read More