Smartphone addiction, like nicotine addiction, is real and it has several negative consequences, such as adversely affecting your social life, your ability to work or study, and even messing with how your brain functions. In response, some companies have created apps to help you find a good balance, like Google's Digital Wellbeing. Starting from September 3rd, 2019, Digital Wellbeing will no longer be an optional phone feature but a requirement for all Android manufacturers to implement into their devices. Read More
The mobile gaming industry is big and projected to generate about $90 billion by 2021. With 2.4 billion people expected to play mobile games in 2019 alone, many companies have been releasing devices branded as "gaming" phones, such as Asus, Razer, Xiaomi, and more. Going along with this rising trend, Google has started a new program called Gaming Device Certification that will ensure future gaming phones perform smoothly, predictably, and support the latest gaming APIs. Read More
Earlier today, well-known developer John Wu — the name behind Android's current go-to root solution Magisk — penned an explanation over on Medium for precisely how the Mate 30's Google apps workaround worked. It was a pretty interesting read for folks interested in the minutiae of Android, as parts of it are a bit concerning from a security perspective. Based on the timing, it seems like it may have also worried some other folks as well, as the site hosting the installer APK for the Play Store workaround has been taken down. Read More
According to a report published today by Reuters, Huawei's upcoming Mate 30 series of phones may have to eschew Google's apps as a result of the trade ban imposed by the U.S. government. While the phone should still be able to run Android, given the free and open availability of the software, deeper integration with Google's apps and services like the Play Store and YouTube will be missing if an exemption can't be secured. Read More
Yesterday, it was announced by the US Commerce Department that ZTE had violated terms of its settlement with the government and was being subjected to a seven-year ban of the export of any American goods or technologies for use in its products. Today, according to Reuters, a source familiar with discussions between Google's parent company Alphabet and ZTE says the two are still very much undecided on whether the Chinese smartphone maker will be able to continue using the Android operating system.
Android is an open source piece of software, so it's hard to imagine that any entity - government or otherwise - could realistically prevent ZTE from using it. Read More
Hardware design is a tricky subject. Some companies take risks to define their own aesthetic, while others borrow, in varying degrees, the design languages of more popular brands. What I have in my hands is the latter; the Meizu Pro 6 Plus borrows heavily from Apple's style, especially when viewed from the front. Its software is also an attempt to mimic iOS, for better or for worse.
Overall, however, I find that this phone is the classic story with a twist. The Pro 6 Plus has some actually nice hardware, but the native Flyme OS is a mixed bag. I am not sure if this is a case of Stockholm syndrome or what, but I found that I could tolerate the software for the most part. Read More
The recent rollout of Google Play services v10.2 came with a cool new Instant Tethering feature that automatically enables a small set of devices to sip on a shared cellular signal when they're in need. Aside from a couple of minor tweaks, that appears to be the only major functional change we're supposed to access at this time. However, that doesn't mean there aren't a few other things waiting to be revealed. Fresh additions to the APK reveal new data types coming to the Google Fit API. There's also support baked in for the new FIDO Alliance U2F tokens for secure authentication. Read More
One of the more interesting features shown off at Google I/O last year was Instant Apps, a new way to run Android applications without any installation. For example, during the presentation it was shown how tapping a Buzzfeed video link would play the content in the Buzzfeed app, only downloading the parts required for video playback. Keep in mind that this is different from the streaming apps functionality Google introduced in 2015. Read More
In October of last year, Cody found strings in his teardown of the Play Store 7.1 that hinted at a mysterious "Device Certification" label. Back then, he theorized that it could be an indicator of whether your device was indeed GMS certified and thus supposed to have the Play Store or it could be a SafetyNet check to see if your firmware was modified in any form. The correct answer turned out to be the first one.
Several users have reported the appearance of a "Device certification" menu in the Play Store's settings over the past couple of months, but the option was buggy and not so widespread. Read More