This story was originally published and last updated .
With over a decade under its belt, Android has built a long history as Google's mobile operating system. And in that history are dozens of little features, changes, and updates that have added, removed, or modified aspects of that OS in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. But for every new option Google brings to Android, we're probably forgetting one that been in there for years that we've simply not bothered to use in a while. And in some cases, these are pretty genuinely useful things!
Remember you can use two fingers to swipe down for quick settings? Screen pinning? Lock screen messages?
According to a recent set of benchmarks conducted by the folks at Android Authority, Google’s latest Pixels suffer a bit of a problem with file transfer speed over USB Type-C. Although Google bills the port as supporting USB 3.0 transfer speeds, something about the phone’s configuration results in nearly half the speed compared to other recent phones, like the OnePlus 7T Pro and Galaxy S10e.
When you think about a smart home, one of the first things that comes to mind would be smart plugs. But maybe you'd like to manage some USB-powered tools ortrinkets with the touch of an app or the sound of your voice. If so, you might want to look to the Chinese accessories market as Sonoff has made what it calls a smart remote control to link your widget up with Google Assistant or Alexa.
Linux application support on Chrome OS was introduced last year, but because it runs in a protected container on top of the actual operating system, there were plenty of caveats. Sound support and graphics acceleration are still in the works, and we're finally seeing progress on another crucial component — USB support.
Yesterday, the USB Promoter Group revealed the next evolution of its ubiquitous peripheral spec: USB4. The new specification, which is still a draft in the final stages of review, is based on Intel's Thunderbolt 3 protocol, delivering up to 40Gbps throughput over existing, Thunderbolt spec-certified Type-C cables. That's twice as fast as current USB 3.2 maximums. It's also backward compatible with existing USB 3.2, 2.0, and Thunderbolt 3 specs and devices.
USB 3.1 still isn't incredibly common on consumer electronics, but the USB Implementers Forum is looking to the future. The group has formally announced the new USB 3.2 standard, which not only promises to be twice as fast as USB 3.1 (in some cases), but will also be far more confusing.
Today the USB-IF, the non-profit behind the USB standard's marketing and specifications, revealed the formal launch of its "USB Type-C™ Authentication Program," originally announced back in 2016. The optional program "defines cryptographic-based authentication for USB Type-C chargers and devices." If that sounds like a thinly veiled euphemism for hardware DRM to you, that's because it is.
We live in interesting times. As the USB Type-C standard slowly spreads, we're left with three different USB ports in operation. There's USB-C, USB-A, and microUSB, but no longer will you need different flash drives for all those devices. A company called Silicon Power has announced a flash drive that has all three connectors, and it doesn't look as awkward as you'd expect.
Buying a USB Type-C cable is a lot more complicated than buying microUSB cables used to be. There are various subtle differences in the spec, and a bad cable can even damage your devices. This has led Google engineer Benson Leung to review Type-C accessories in order to draw attention to the ones you shouldn't buy. The latest cable to get Benson's thumbs up is the USB 3.1 Type-C cable from Veckle (formerly iOrange-E).