What's your absolutely least favorite way to spend time? Commuting in rush-hour traffic? Waiting in line to renew your license? Time was we'd be putting "sitting around listening to hold music" right up there near the top, but right around this time last year Google introduced its Hold for Me service, an Assistant-powered feature that could take over when a phone call left you on hold. With Hold for Me, you could go about your day while Assistant waited for a live person to finally show up. Now we're getting word that access to Hold for Me is expanding to users in some new regions.
The Official Pokémon YouTube channel has announced a new Pokémon game for Android, iOS, and the Nintendo Switch. It's called Pokémon Unite, and it's a MOBA. As you would expect, you'll be tasked with collecting Pokémon as part of the MOBA's team-based online-multiplayer battle arena gameplay. Unsurprisingly, Pokémon Unite is being developed in partnership with Tencent, so I fully expect the game to land as a blatant cash grab, just like Pokémon Café Mix. Clearly, The Pokemon Company is intent on running this franchise through the mud, just so long as it can make a quick buck with lazy clones on mobile.
After confirming then un-confirming the existence of its newest and most affordable wireless earbuds to date, Google is going public with all the details about its Pixel Buds A-Series, including when you can get your hands on them and for how much.
We're big fans of Google, obviously. But we also live in the real world, where Google does a lot of stuff that's unambiguously bad. If you want to use open source Android without getting its parent company involved, then you have a few options. Previously only available in Europe, the eSolutions shop is now selling versions of the Galaxy S9 scrubbed clean of all proprietary Google software to the US and Canada.
Microsoft released its first Android phone back in 2020, the Surface Duo. It's the only modern Android device with two side-by-side displays (not counting the add-on cases for various LG phone), and even though it's still a questionable buy at its new $999 retail price, Microsoft plans to sell it in more regions this year, starting with Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany on February 18.
Up to now, Google has only Android users in the U.K., Ireland, France, and Brazil to download apps from the Play Store to partake in real money gambling. But starting from this spring, the company will enact a policy update to expand their availability to 15 countries including the United States.
If you own a second-generation Ring Video Doorbell and haven't installed it yet, check to see if you've got the right screws for it: the Consumer Product Safety Commission in conjunction with Health Canada are recalling a total of more than 350,000 units. But unlike a lot of recalls, customers won't need to return their bells to the store.
Google Pay continues to expand its support to additional international banks. To help you keep track of which financial institutions have added their credit and debit cards to the service, we've compiled a list of recent additions. Since we last looked in July, Google's added 24 new banks in 23 countries.
Google's Pixel 5 is official, and the pre-order floodgates have been opened. But this year, there's a bit of a twist when it comes to actual availability: The US and Canada won't be getting the phones first or on the same day as most other markets. In fact, we're getting it last, on October 29th compared to October 15th everywhere else.