The most substantial Pixel 4a leak we've seen so far came in the form of a video review from Cuban site TechnoLike Plus, and the same source has released a new video on YouTube with performance benchmarks. Thankfully, the 4a compares favorably with the 3a and other recent Pixels, so we can expect a solid experience when the new phone eventually launches. Read More
Many people rely on Google Maps not only for its navigation instructions but also for its ability to reroute them to avoid heavily congested areas. However, since Google's mapping service relies on an algorithm making sense of crowd-sourced data, a single actor with many phones can potentially wreak havoc to the geolocation technology. That's the task German artist Simon Weckert took upon himself. He collected 99 second-hand smartphones, started Google Maps navigation on them, and lugged them around his city to generate virtual traffic jams. Read More
Among Wear OS' bigger issues is the general performance of the platform. Most smartwatches being sold today are still using the old Wear 2100 chipset, and it isn't exactly fast. While we all wait on the future, a partial solution for the present-day may have been found. In a curious twist, disabling the automatic brightness feature on compatible Wear OS devices seems to result in a noticeably less lag and stuttering. Read More
Web pages are becoming more and more complex, but browser vendors have been hard at work trying to offset that with performance and caching improvements. For example, Service Workers allow sites to cache certain data locally to speed up load times (or work offline entirely). 'Lazy loading' is another performance enhancement that has been in development, and now it has arrived in the Canary channel of Chrome. Read More
Today Samsung has announced its new "ISOCELL Plus" technology, which aims to improve color accuracy and sharpness for the company's CMOS camera sensors. The "Plus" in this case replaces the metal grid over the photodiodes with a Fujifilm-designed material that absorbs and reflects less light, sharpening what each individual pixel can capture. That could give the upcoming Note9 or next year's Galaxy S10 even more accurate and clear photos, especially in low-light. Read More
In a blog post today, Google has revealed that it has made some changes in how the company's search and discovery algorithms work. Now things like performance problems, crashes, and overall jank are considered when ranking apps. This is great for consumers, as it encourages developers to pay closer attention to the quality of experience their products present. Read More
Yesterday at I/O Google had an interesting talk called Background Check and Other Insights into the Android Operating System Framework. It's a long name, but really it's about improving battery life in Android. It went on at great length as to how, exactly, the team plans on doing that, and it's quite worth a watch. We have the video here, but if you don't have the half-hour to check it out, then you are welcome to read below. Read More
Experienced internet explorers will know about The Onion Router Project, and some of you may have even used it at one point (guilty). Regardless of your thoughts on it, Tor has always tried to stand for internet freedom. The organization frowns upon censorship and throttling, which is why it has released ooniprobe to help raise awareness for the issue. Read More
As most of our readers know, an update to the Play Store rolled out a couple of days ago with a feature many of us have been requesting for nearly three years: the ability to join and leave beta test groups from within the Play Store. For reasons we can only speculate about, the join/leave capability was disabled about 24 hours later. While the headlining feature was covered in our original post, there are still a couple of interesting tidbits waiting for the teardown treatment.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (application packages) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
Photo credit: Jamie Pearson (CC BY 2.0)
As we all know, Google I/O is right around the corner. So far this year, we haven't seen too many early clues as to what Google will cover in its keynote (though Ars Technica's I/O tracker is a great place to get some ideas) outside of its new Photos app, but we do expect that Google will be telling us about Android M (internally called macadamia nut cookie or MNC).
The specifics of what Android M will bring to the table are still a mystery, but we've heard a few things that could make this an exciting update. Read More