Over the past several months, I've become increasingly familiar with how to block phone numbers in Google's Phone app: reject a suspicious call, go into my call history, long-press the dubious number, then tap "Block/report spam." This process is simple enough, but it's still just a reactionary, case-by-case measure. Android P may improve this call-blocking experience by giving users a smarter, preemptive way to block types of phone numbers — that is, so long as your carrier doesn't get in the way Read More
One of Android's biggest criticisms over the years has been how fragmented its version distribution is at any given time. At Google I/O in May last year, Google unveiled a plan to modularize the OS and make it easier to update. Project Treble, in short, separates out the base-level Android framework from the vendor implementation so OEMs are able to release OS updates without having to wait for chipmakers to update drivers.
Faster updates should increase the distribution numbers for the latest version of Android, but Treble could also be useful for custom ROM developers, allowing generic AOSP builds ("Treble ROMs") to be installed on more phones. Read More
Many of us love the simplicity of the Google Camera app that comes pre-installed on Pixel phones, but it's the HDR+ capabilities that really set it apart. Thankfully the Android community is full of willing modders, and an unofficial port has been available for some time now. It hasn't played nice with phones that have dual rear lenses, as no Google device has such a setup. A new update looks to have added support for some LG devices with two cameras. Read More
Android has a few different methods for printing, one of the easiest and most recognizable is probably Google's Cloud Print. But setting up and using a random printer from your Android-powered phone or tablet isn't quite as easy as it is from a more traditional laptop or desktop computer. According to the folks at XDA, though, that might change with the recent addition of Wi-Fi Direct printing to AOSP. Read More
Sometimes you don't want to read up on how someone "feels" about a product. Everything's subjective, of course, and it's good to combine multiple viewpoints, but once in a while, it's nice to just sit down and examine the raw data, that way you can come to your own conclusions. And Dylan Raga over at XDA-Developers just assembled an intense and in-depth analysis of the Pixel 2 XL's display that's worth a read. At least, if you'd like to scratch that purely quantitative itch. Read More
Someday in the not-too-distant future, your Android phone might try to hide the quality of your current cellular connection from you. The eagle-eyed folks over at XDA Developers noticed a recent commit to the Android Open Source Project that indicates an option has been added for carriers to disable user-facing signal strength from appearing in the SIM Status screen in Settings. However, the motivation for this change is a mystery. Read More
While large displays can be beautiful, using them in everyday scenarios can be anything but. This is particularly the case if you're holding yourself steady on a bus or train with one hand while browsing your smartphone with the other on a daily basis. To address this potential hazard, Samsung, LG, Huawei, Motorola, and other manufacturers offer a one-handed mode on some of their phones, and now a new XDA app called (wait for it) "One-Handed Mode" is bringing the helpful feature to any smartphone running Android 4.3 or higher. Read More
The Google Pixel's camera is one of the best smartphone cameras on the market, partially thanks to Google's proprietary HDR+ image processing. Put simply, HDR+ takes multiple underexposed photos and combines them, reducing image noise in the process (you can read more about it here). But even when the Google Camera was sideloaded onto other devices, HDR+ remained disabled.
A Ukrainian developer on 4PDA named 'B-S-G,' presumably a Battlestar Galactica fan, has created a modified version of the Google Camera 4.4 APK bundled with Android O DP3 (not the version just released on the Play Store). Read More
The last generation of Nexuses (Nexus? Nexsi?) were unfortunately plagued with hardware problems. The Nexus 6P suffered from early shutdowns due to a faulty battery sensors, and the 5X had the famous bootloop bug (which my own 5X eventually fell victim to). The 6P suffered from bootloops as well, to an extent, but now there's a possible fix for the problem on both phones. Read More