Android 9 Pie officially landed just over a month ago, but we've been collectively anticipating the changes it brought since the first developer preview was released over six months ago. In that time, we've painstakingly assembled an extensive list of the features and tweaks Google delivered. Most of our readers probably know the details of this latest version backward and forward at this point, and so we're curious: If you could, what would you change in Android P?
It's been almost a year since Google accidentally pushed out the first buggy release of Backup and Sync, which was officially announced a few months later and later replaced the old Google Drive client last July. Since then, Google's been pushing out new fixes and features for it at a steady clip, with around one a month. This weekend saw another update to v3.39, with the addition of NAS support, optional Apple Photos Library metadata inclusion/exclusion, and a pile of improvements and fixes.
Razer announced its first phone almost two months ago. Since then, the device has accrued some good feelings from reviewers. The 120Hz snappiness and flagship-level specs all spoke to a high-performance device, but the poor camera results were an unfortunate oversight. Razer's CEO, Min-Liang Tan, promised to improve things with future updates, and today the first of those updates has landed.
It's easy not to think about just how much thought and computing goes into everything that Google does, but one of YouTube's latest changes reminds us of precisely that.
Every video on the site has a thumbnail that's supposed to offer you a glimpse into what you're about to watch. A bad image will discourage you from clicking. Good ones lead to more views and greater revenue. So naturally both content creators and Google would prefer to have better thumbnails.
Using deep neural networks, the YouTube team has launched an improved "thumbnailer." Every frame in a video gets evaluated by a quality model and is assigned a quality score.
A dedicated app typically provides a better experience than a mobile site, but there are still plenty of instances where we end up inside the Android version of Chrome. Heck, that's one of the major benefits of owning a smartphone—the entire web is accessible to you throughout most of the day.
Retweeting something on Twitter amounts to taking that person's tweet and sending it out again on your own personal feed. To add something to the message, users have had to do things the old-fashioned way—beginning a tweet with RT and quoting the text manually.
Now Twitter has improved the experience, embedded retweets the way it does photos.
T-Mobile has posted the changelog for an over-the-air update now rolling out to Xperia Z1s owners. The primary new feature is the inclusion of in-flight texting support. This way users can communicate with folks on the ground for free via Gogo thanks to a partnership T-Mobile debuted a couple months back.
This isn't all the OTA has to offer. The update will provide the Xperia Z1s with Wi-Fi calling enhancements, which are always a nice thing to see considering the carrier's reliance on Wi-Fi networks to complement its cellular network.
Owners may also notice both camera and Bluetooth improvements, along with more stable software.
The G3 is LG's current flagship phone, but Sprint is pushing out an over-the-air update that shows some love to 2013's model, the G2, instead. This special delivery will bring in a number of general enhancements that some users may be happy to see. HD Voice is seeing improvements, and there are some LTE-related changes as well. These are joined by a security patch fixing something that's unspecified in the change log. All of this flies in under software version ZVE.
Even though this isn't a particularly massive update, there's still a chance it's going out in stages. That means there's not much you can do to get your hands on it aside from waiting for the notification to appear or pressing the update button and crossing your fingers.
There comes a point in time when an app steps out of the awkward, prepubescent 2.0 years and hits the big 3.0. For Twitch, that time is now. The game broadcast viewing app has transitioned to a whole new version number, and in the process it has matured into something more becoming. The flat, simplistic UI looks like something that should blend right in on modern KitKat devices.
For the sake of comparison, here's how Twitch used to look.
With a UI that ugly, it's no wonder users have spent so much time watching videos. Anything to get away from something so hideous.
SoundCloud has made the jump to version 2.8, bringing along a few new enhancements in the process. Many of them are visual, though the changes are small. Tabs are white now. The explore section introduced in version 2.7 has had the position of artist names and song titles moved around, as have the search results. Speaking of searching, the app has new support for hashtags and recommends a page filled with them when clicking on the search icon.
In addition to these niceties, SoundCloud now supports pulling down to refresh the page. Go ahead, give it a tug.
As always, the goods are available in the widget below.