A little-acknowledged but persistent problem has plagued every Google handset since the original Nexus One: Their most defining characteristics - Google's services and Android itself - are not unique to them.
With each new Google phone, consumers do often get their first chance to buy (well, assuming they're in stock - a big assumption) a device that ships with the latest version of Android. Or, they can wait four or five months and buy one that ships with that same version of Android from another, better-known vendor, typically with all of the major improvements and new features intact. Such a limited window of exclusivity on a highly iterative and admittedly quite geeky facet of a product all but ensures most people cannot be bothered to understand any of this. Read More
Going by last year's timing, we can probably expect this year's Pixel phones sometime next month. Likely in preparation for the launch, Google has uploaded a new 'Data Transfer Tool' app to the Play Store, which appears to be a system app for the next Pixel phones. Read More
Phone batteries keep getting smaller and smaller, but if you need a little more juice in day-to-day usage, an extended battery case is one option. ZeroLemon is known for making great battery cases, and the company's Pixel and Pixel XL cases are at an all-time low on Amazon. The Pixel case is now $27.99, and the Pixel XL case is $41.99 (once you factor in the 30% coupon for each). That's a $13 and $16 reduction in price respectively from the usual cost. Read More
ROLI's modular BLOCKS studio has gained popularity recently, as a way to easily create music. Taps and gestures on the BLOCKS turn into musical rhythms when paired to the iOS 'NOISE' app. Now ROLI is making the NOISE app available for Android as well, but it has some limitations. Read More
There are a few reasons why your phone or tablet stops getting Android updates. One reason could be that the maker of your device's processor (e.g. Qualcomm or MediaTek) never updated the drivers for newer versions of Android. This is why no phones or tablets with the Snapdragon 800/801 chip ever officially received Android 7.0 Nougat, including the Nexus 5.
Google announced Project Treble a week ago, which aims to solve this particular problem by separating the Android OS from the 'Vendor interface' (the part with all the low-level drivers and binary blobs). The vendor interface under Project Treble is also designed to be forwards-compatible, meaning that it shouldn't have to be updated for every Android update, in theory. Read More
The Google Pixel is a notoriously hard phone to get a hold of. Persistent stock issues have plagued Google's first "in-house" handset from day one, and things really are little to no better six months after the launch event. Honestly, it's a bit embarrassing just how consistently incompetent Google seems to be at keeping a reasonable inventory of phones available for purchase. But setting that aside, as one of the Pixel's most ardent evangelists, I think there's something it's probably time for me to come clean on: Even if you could buy a Pixel today, I really think you shouldn't. Read More
I admit it. I am a Google fanboy. It’s not that I love Google at the exclusion of any other company. I appreciate the merits of Apple’s business model as well as the thoughtful design of Microsoft's Surface devices. However, there’s something about that #4885ed Google Blue that spices up my life more so than #3b5998 Facebook Blue could ever do. Is it bias? Considering I am legally color blind, the answer is an affirmative yes. However, this bias has not blinded me to the fundamental difference between a company like Google and one like Apple. At Apple, the customer - the revenue generator - is you and me, the consumer. Read More
One of the few differences between the Pixel Launcher and the Google Now Launcher is how you search. The GNL has a search bar spanning the full width of the first home screen, while the Pixel Launcher has a simple Google button that starts a search. Now that appears to be changing, at least for some users. Read More
Google's Pixel and Pixel XL phones are sold in three colors - Very Silver, Quite Black, and Really Blue. While the last color is certainly the most eye-catching, it's only been available in the United States. Google originally stated that the model would only be a temporary US exclusive, and now we are seeing it arrive in other countries - first in Canada with Rogers, and now the UK with EE. Read More
I'm coming up on month three of near-uninterrupted use of the Pixel (specifically the Pixel XL), and as I've spent more and more time with Google's chosen phone, I think I've got a solid list of areas where I think Google could improve the device when a successor is released. While I still think the Pixel is quite easily the best Android phone currently on sale, it's not without compromises, some of which were not readily apparent to me until well after I started using it. Here are five areas I think are ripe for improvement on the Pixel, and that I hope are addressed when we see a new Pixel (again, hopefully) later this year. Read More