White navigation bars are nothing new, with LG phones having had them as options for many years and Samsung recently making them the default to reduce burn-in on its Galaxy phones. Now they're becoming abundant in Google phones with the introduction of Android 8.1 Oreo, both for aesthetic effect and in an attempt to minimize burn-in. Their latest appearances on 8.1 are in Gmail and Maps, where they've found new homes. Read More
Google dropped the first developer preview for Android 8.1 last month, and now it's time for an update. The second dev preview build is now available for download via system images on the developer site. This is your chance to be on the bleeding edge of Android, but as usual, running beta software comes with some risks. Read More
The Nexus Player, Google's first (and only) digital media player (see note) has received support for Google Assistant as part of the November security update. This is the third Android TV device to receive the Assistant, after the nVidia Shield and select Sony Bravia televisions. Read More
The month is getting underway, and that means it's time for Google to issue its monthly raft of Pixel and Nexus updates. The updates will filter down to phones in the next day or so, but the system images and OTA files for most devices are available now if you want to sideload. There's not a ton new here, but as this is a November patch level, you should have protection from the KRACK vulnerability. Read More
Google launched the new Pixel phones with Android 8.0, which is what last year's Pixel's have been running since the update. A new version of Oreo is on the way, though, and you can try it right now. Google has launched a developer preview for Android 8.1. As usual, it's supported on recent Google devices and can be installed in two ways. Read More
The month of October has just begun, which means Pumpkin Spice lattes, leaves falling off trees, and marathons of The Nightmare Before Christmas on TV. It also means Google has released another Android security bulletin, just like the company does at the start of every month. As usual, OTA zips and factory images with the fixes are already available for Pixel and Nexus devices. Read More
The following post was written by Ryne Hager and Corbin Davenport.
The vast majority of Android device buyers don't know or care what a custom ROM is. And that's completely fine - a phone or tablet's stock ROM will be enough for 99.9% of potential users. But for the 0.1% that like to tinker, the development community surrounding a given device can drastically impact the value. Your purchase can become a much better deal if there is a wealth of custom ROM options available, extending its lifespan for possibly years (and nearly a decade for the HD2).
There are quite a few popular custom ROMs in the wild, but LineageOS is probably one of the best overall. Read More
Google has followed the same device support pattern for years - two years of major Android OS updates, and three years of security updates. You might get Android updates after that, and you might get further security updates, but it's not guaranteed. Seemingly out of nowhere, Google has extended the security update period for the Nexus 5X and 6P to November 2018. Read More
The Nexus Player is getting pretty long in the tooth, as it was released in 2014. It's still supported with software updates though, and was one of the devices to receive Android O Developer Previews earlier this year. However, a nasty bug was discovered close to official release, which caused the Nexus Player to upload a massive amount of data for no apparent reason. Read More