Major updates of Android don't matter as much as they used to. Many components of the operating system are updated through the Play Store, so even if you're on Android 8 or 9, you can still access most of the same apps and features as someone on the latest release of Android 10. However, the security updates that Google releases on a monthly basis are still critical to keeping your phone or tablet safe. Dozens of securityflaws are discovered in components of Android each month, which is why Google releases monthly security patches.
Around this time last year, Google began imposing a more strenuous review process on new apps and updates submitted to the Play Store. For many developers, this was only a minor inconvenience that slowed down publishing by a few hours or days. However, in the months since the COVID-19 pandemic began, a growing number of people have detailed delays of several weeks for new apps and even simple bug fixes.
Chrome OS Stable channel got a major milestone update yesterday, from 85.0.4183.133 to 86.0.4240.77. As with every new milestone update, this brings massive new changes to the table, offering several new features, bug fixes, and security enhancements to improve your Chrome OS user experience. Due to the sheer size of this update, there may be a few things we missed, but here is everything new we found in Chrome OS 86.
I admit, I held hope that Google might surprise us with the Pixel 2 and 2 XL. They were only guaranteed updates until this month, but Google was able to bring the original 2016 Pixels Android 10 last year even though they weren't promised to get it. Secretly, I wanted that to be a trial run for the Pixel 2, dreaming that Google might surprise us with an extra year of updates. After all, 2017 wasn't that long ago, and the hardware has the headroom for at least another year or two of updates. But, though the phones commanded a premium $650-750 price tag at launch, they're being left behind.
Google has confirmed to us that the Pixel 2 and 2 XL will get their last update this December. While the October update released today was the last guaranteed by the company's original calendar commitment, we are told that Google is promising one last update that includes a final set of critical fixes, following a trend it set last year with the original 2016 Pixels.
This story was originally published and last updated .
The Pixel 4a is an incredible phone, and not just for the money. With an incredible camera, a new design that feels much more modern, and amazing battery life, Google really did knock it out of the park with its new budget Pixel. Seriously: this is a damn good phone. But we wouldn't be proper phone nerds if we didn't nitpick, and there are a few areas where we think Google could take the Pixel 4a from a 9.5 to a perfect 10 in our book. Here are five additional features we'd have loved to see in the Pixel 4a.
Critics of Android are always quick to point out its very real fragmentation issue, and how long it takes for major version updates to land across the ecosystem. But it's less of a problem with every major update, and that's culminated with last year's Android 10 release. Between Treble, GSIs, and Project Mainline, Google has been making a good dent in update uptake in the last two years, and Android 10 has seen the fastest adoption of any Android update ever.
OnePlus is now publishing updates to its Game Space app on the Play Store — something it has already done for its other proprietary OxygenOS apps and a move that a number of OEMs have taken as well. With the migration, updates can come quicker than firmware updates and the beta app gains two new features.
According to a change recently made to Google's Vendor Test Suite (VTS) spotted by our friends at XDA Developers, Google will require that all devices launching with Android 11 support seamless updates. More specifically, the VTS will check that devices running Android 11 and later support virtual A/B partition structures (which allow seamless updates), and fail if that support isn't present. Since devices must pass the VTS to ship with Google's apps, that effectively means that Android manufacturers will have to support seamless updates on devices that launch with Android 11.
Keeping current with system updates is the single most important thing you can do to keep your phone safe, and long ago, installing those updates was an incredibly slow process. But back in 2016, Google tried to make things better with new "seamless updates" that made it an easy background process — you could even use your phone as they installed. Since then, most phone manufacturers have come around to the idea, with one very big exception: For whatever reason, Samsung refuses to give its phones the feature. Even its latest, $1,400 Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra uses decidedly non-ultra, antiquated, super-slow updates that knock your phone out of commission for a solid 3-15 minutes as they install.