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
Last week, we attended an event at Qualcomm's corporate headquarters in San Diego to test out the company's latest high-end smartphone chip, the Snapdragon 845. We ran some benchmarks and ate some food. There was probably more eating than benchmarking, if I'm honest.
Full disclosure: Qualcomm paid to fly me out to San Diego, put me up in a nice little hotel for three nights next to their campus, and fed me lots of food and bought me lots of drinks. Of particular note: some pretty delicious hot wings at midnight.
First and foremost, let me be clear that we place essentially zero weight on benchmark results as a reflection of real-world performance or user experience. Read More
Every week, I examine somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred app updates while looking for changes. The most interesting things turn into APK Teardowns or Download posts. Many of the remaining updates are unremarkable, amounting to a few bug fixes, routine updates to libraries, or even just pixel-level adjustments to layouts and images. However, there are usually a few updates that land somewhere in between. I don't want to spam readers with dozens of short posts, but I hate to ignore things that people might want to know about, so I'm going to wrap up the leftovers for a little weekend reading and call it Update Notes. Read More
Bluetooth headphones are everywhere these days. Most of them – many of which sit in the affordable range – provide passable, mediocre sound and varying degrees of battery life. Both are oftentimes better than the earphone counterparts, but it is difficult to get excited about these products in general anymore. The last time I enjoyed a pair of wireless headphones was when I reviewed the Phiaton BT 390, which continues to be one of my top recommendations for anyone needing something under $100, thanks to its impressive battery life and solid sound quality. Read More
Xiaomi devices consistently offer great hardware at low prices, but the company's MIUI skin isn't everyone's favorite. So when the Android One-powered Mi A1 debuted, it was met with heaps of praise. A couple of days ago, Xiaomi ran a poll on Twitter asking its followers whether they preferred MIUI or Android One. But due to a result deemed unsatisfactory by Xiaomi, the poll has mysteriously disappeared. Read More
Amazon announced earlier this week that lockscreen ads won't be present on newly-purchased Prime Exclusive devices and an update is rolling out to the Amazon Offers app to disable them on existing handsets. If you don't want to wait, you can sideload that update right now.
TeamWin Recovery Project, better known as TWRP, is an invaluable tool for anyone looking to mod their device - from installing ROMs to simply making backups. The last time we covered TWRP, the project added support for the Razer Phone, Redmi 5, a handful of Galaxy Tab S2 models, and more. Over the past month, even more devices have been added to the official build roster, including Motorola's latest flagship. Read More
You just got a Google Home, and after unwrapping it and setting it up, you've asked about the weather, requested a few songs to play, and set a timer for 5 minutes to see how it rings. Now what?
I've been covering Google's smart speaker for more than a year now and I've owned a couple of Google Homes for about a year, yet I still feel like I'm not using them to their full potential. Every week brings new features and integrations that make it tough to remember all that can be done, so for those of you who don't know what to ask beyond playing music, those who are getting confused by hearing a different voice sometimes from the speaker, those who are always wondering why some actions work for them but not other members of their household, this is the most accurate tutorial I can write right now. Read More