In a case of déjà vu, a minority of Pixel 5 owners are starting to report issues with all of their phone's various on-device sensors, including the compass, gyroscope, and proximity sensor. Based on the details provided, this sounds like the same issue that some prior Pixel phones were plagued by, which may have been caused by a corrupted "persist" partition. However, Google tells us that a fix for several sensor issues across all Pixel devices was included in the December 2020 patch, and some of those affected claim the update fixes their problem. Read More
Tasker is the Swiss Army knife of Android power users. The app can automate basically anything, and in the right hands, it's a stupendously powerful tool. And today's v5.9.3 update has made it just a little bit more powerful. But don't let that tiny number change fool you, there's more than just bug fixes here. This latest version now supports any sensor on your device, works with contacts in third-party apps, gives you full Do Not Disturb control, and lets you send an unlimited number of variables between tasks, among literal piles of other changes.
At this point, Tasker is almost its own operating system. Read More
Last year, after the Android 10 update first started rolling out for Pixel owners, there were a handful of reports that device sensors — things like the ambient light sensor for screen brightness, orientation sensor for auto-rotation, and Active Edge sensor — stopped working. A workaround was found for those with unlocked bootloaders, and many of those affected were part of the root and ROM crowd, but almost six months later, many phones are still affected, and those with Verizon-branded, locked devices are still simply out of luck. Read More
Home security cameras are common these days, but they're often spendy. Wyze made waves a while back by offering a basic but effective security camera for just $20. The Wyze cam is now getting some company in the form of a home sensor system that also costs $20. Read More
Inter-operability in the smart home isn't a given. Even when using standards like ZigBee and Z-Wave, you'll still find products from different companies that don't work well together. This is why today's news that Fibaro's devices are now compatible with SmartThings is quite nice to hear. Read More
Last month, a series of AOSP commits revealed that the next release of Android would block apps in the background from using the camera or microphone. It's a bit surprising that this feature didn't already exist, but recent privacy concerns (like the theory about Facebook listening to users) may have pushed Google to implement it.
As expected, the feature is officially part of Android P; idle applications can no longer access the microphone, camera, or device sensors. Read More
Back during 2016's I/O festivities, Google quietly launched what I consider one of its biggest sleeper hits: Science Journal. I could wax poetic about the app (and I will later), but the name is quite descriptive. Yesterday it saw a significant update, with support for more sensors, UI changes, and a new snapshot feature for capturing data points. An iOS version of the app was even released, so people of all platforms can more easily engage in the pursuit of quantitative inquiry.
Armchair science has never been so easy, or fun. Read More
Wink is a well-known name when it comes to the smart home space, and in a blog post today the company announced support for a bunch of new products. It supports five new lighting solutions, seven new security products/sensors, and three motorized window solutions (fancy words for automated window blinds). Connecting all your smart home devices into one seamless solution has never been easier. Read More
Microsoft recently released a new app for Android called Path Guide, which allows you to easily create and follow custom routes for indoor areas that exist as linear instructions separate from a map. Think of a children's treasure hunt where each goal shows the next step, toss the whole thing on your phone, and that's the concept. Even more interesting, it makes the process of creating those directions literally as easy as taking a walk. When you want to make a path just fire up the app and go for a stroll. By pulling data from your phone's sensors as you move to your destination it handles everything for you. Read More
Android has always made use of location services in various ways, including recent innovations like location-based smart lock. What if your phone could truly understand what's going on in the world around it with a simple API? That's Google's new Awareness API, which was just announced at I/O. Read More