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Wednesday, September 16, 2020
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Tag: Android 4.3

Google becomes the first tech giant to be 100 percent carbon neutral

Apple hopes to become carbon neutral by 2030.What you need to knowGoogle has announced that it has eliminated its entire

Google’s next Nest thermostat might have Soli gesture controls

What you need to knowA new thermostat from Nest has passed through the FCC.The inclusion of a 60GHz transmitter is

From the Editor’s Desk: The Google Pixel 5s, explained

Google's next premium phone won't be the Pixel 5s — but that wasn't always the case.The 2020 Pixel story took

Google Search will no longer auto-complete certain election queries

Google wants to avoid being a conduit for conspiracy.What you need to knowGoogle is making some changes to autocomplete with

Google Fiber faces outages in Austin, Houston, and other Texan cities

Google says its technicians are working to resolve the issues.What you need to knowThe Google-owned ISP is having major outages

Why Samsung only cares about ‘Android’ and ‘Google’ when it’s convenient

And with the Fold 2, right now it's convenient.A question we hear every year is: why doesn't Samsung ever participate

Some Google Pixel 3 phones are suffering from a battery swelling issue

Swollen batteries pose a fire risk.What you need to knowSome Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are reporting swelling battery

iOS 14: How to Set Google Chrome as the Default Browser on iPhone and iPad

Apple made a change in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 that enables third-party browsers and email clients to be used

England and Wales’ Contact-Tracing App With Apple and Google API to Launch September 24

An NHS COVID-19 contact-tracing app using the Apple and Google API is finally set to launch in England and Wales

Huawei’s Petal Search blossoms into a Google Search competitor

Huawei has announced its Petal Search service will evolve from a way to find apps on your new phone into a full search engine to replace Google Search.

Google gives Wear OS smartwatches a major speed boost with its fall update

Google has also made improvements to the pairing process with the new update.What you need to knowGoogle has started rolling

Android 11 Go Edition released by Google

Hot on the heels of its Android 11 release this week, the Go Edition of Google’s platform is being released. Google indicates it will be available starting in October.Android 11 Go Edition, like its predecessors, is built for phones with limited hardware. Often released in emerging markets, the handsets are occasionally offered at prepaid and no-contract carriers.Many of the features baked into Android 11 are present in this slimmed-down version of the platform. This includes, but isn’t limited to enhanced security and privacy, more intuitive messaging and notifications, and gesture navigation.Whereas earlier versions of Android Go Edition were targeted at devices with 1GB RAM, this release is geared for those with 2GB RAM. As to why, some of that is to accommodate hardware features like fingerprint readers and additional cameras.According to Google, apps will launch 20% faster through Android 11 Go Edition. Google has managed to streamline the operating system, giving users an additional 270MB of memory to work with and allow for better multi-tasking.

Huawei EMUI 11 hands-on: A smooth take on Google-free Android

Huawei has announced EMUI 11, the latest version of its user interface for Android, and revealed how its research labs develop the way it looks and works.

Six months later, the Huawei App Gallery still can’t take on Google Play

I revisited Huawei's growing store and see how things have changed.

Boost Your Website on Google With This SEO Blueprint, Now Under $30

While social media marketing gets a lot of attention, most online traffic still comes from search. The SEO Blueprint for Ranking

Which game streaming service should you buy? GeForce Now or Google Stadia?

Your games, anywhereGeForce NowFree, $5/mo, at NVIDIAProsCheaper than Stadia right nowAccess to most of the games you already ownWorks on

Scotland Launches Contact Tracing App With Apple and Google API

Scotland is the latest country to implement Apple's and Google's Exposure Notification API in their COVID-19 contact tracing app, now

Google is adding 27 new 3D animals to its AR search results

The new 3D animals are expected to be added to Google Search "soon."What you need to knowGoogle will soon expand

Google Maps for Apple Watch Now Live With Latest Update

Google in August announced the launch of a new Google Maps app that's designed for the Apple Watch, and at

Google Pixel 4a review

Much of the money spent advertising smartphones typically centers around flagships, and that makes sense for the most part. It’s the bleeding-edge tech, heavy with hardware and coupled with the latest software. It’s big sexy designs with curves and gorgeous colors.On the opposite end of the spectrum are low end phones which typically come with more generic designs. They’re not as flashy, tend to cut corners, and tend to run just a little behind in terms of software. The thing is, though, this is where a huge swath of buyers reside.Somewhere in the middle is Google’s Pixel “a” series. What began in 2019 with the Pixel 3a, we see continued in 2020 with the Pixel 4a. That is to say a moderately powerful phone with up-to-the-minute software. And then there’s also the incredible camera experience, too.Pixel 4a ReviewAfter having spent the last few weeks living with the Pixel 4a as my daily driver, I am happy to put forth my review of the device.As someone who has used the Pixel 3a as my main phone for the last 15 months, making the transition was seamless. See, I’m more of a casual phone user who cares more about having a great camera than playing games. Not that I don’t have a few favorites, mind you.While I can certainly appreciate how awesome a phone like the OnePlus 8 Pro is, there is hardware that largely goes untested. I don’t need that much RAM or processing power, but I do like having it.Similarly, I can see how less powerful hardware matters in day-to-day usage. Apps and games are slower to open and they’ll start to close on you in the background. Get too many Chrome tabs open and your browser feels sluggish.The TL;DRThe Pixel 4a ($350) is all the phone I will need for the next year or more. I’d venture to say it’s more than enough phone for a huge segment of the market.SoftwareGoogle’s stock Android software experience has been my preferred user interface ever since the Nexus One launched back in 2010. It’s come an incredibly long way over the decade and has folded in tons of great features, but it continues to be the benchmark for clean, clutter-free software.Having spent a few years living with various Nexus and Pixel phones I know what I am getting as it pertains to updates. Whether that’s major annual software releases or monthly patches and fixes, it’s consistent and timely. You can’t ask for more than that.One feature that I do miss in the Pixel 4a that was present in its predecessor is the Active Edge. Being able to squeeze the sides of my phone for a quick Google search or to activate Google Assistant was one of those things I never expected to use. In fact, I thought it was a wasted feature when it was first announced. Alas, here I am a few years later, missing it. Nevertheless, there are other ways to activate or trigger Google Assistant.DesignThe design for the Pixel 4a is similar to last year’s model but the rear camera is different enough to quickly tell the two apart. It, like the standard Pixel 4, has a square in the top left corner, but doesn’t have the secondary telephoto lens. More on that later.One of the first things we tend to do with our phones is tuck them away in a protective case. It’s unfortunate that we might spend upwards of $1,000 on a phone with some gorgeous glass or metal materials only to cover it in plastic or fabric.I want to knock the Pixel 4a for being bland and utilitarian looking, but I can’t. I mean, in all fairness the black design is rather uninspiring but none of that matters with a case on the phone.Google has opted to keep the 3.5mm headphone jack for the Pixel 4a, and that’s something I’m pretty about. I may be behind the times or in need of an upgrade, but my car stereo doesn’t have a Bluetooth connection. It has an auxiliary input and I’ve used it over and over with the Pixel 3a. Really, this is one of the reasons I’ve held onto it as a daily driver.PerformanceGeneral performance has never been a pain point for me in the Pixel 3a and the Pixel 4a just kicks the proverbial can down the road. Thanks to a punchier processor and more memory, the Pixel 4a is more than adequate for my needs.Storage is doubled as compared to last year, going from 64GB to 128GB. That’s a good move in my opinion, even with cloud storage and backup so readily available.I love when phones have a snappy facial recognition system for unlocking and security, I do. But, thanks to the ongoing pandemic that is COVID-19, masks make that all but useless. And you know what? That’s one of the first things that began to bother me with the Pixel 4. Forgoing a fingerprint reader altogether was a risky move and couldn’t have come at a more troublesome time.I was really happy to see that the fingerprint reader is still present in the Pixel 4a. It might be a little more flush and harder to identify blindly at first, but muscle memory (and the right protective case) makes it easy to adapt to over time.Do I care that the Pixel 4a is not waterproof or water resistant? Eh, not really. That often comes with having the right protective case. And because of my line of work and lifestyle, I don’t really get into precarious places or environments.The battery is a tad bit bigger this year and that’s always welcome. Getting a full day of usage out of the phone has not been an issue yet and charging is quite fast. A few minutes here and there throughout the day is all that I need to ensure I’m heading to bed with juice left over.While on the subject, I would love to see wireless charging added to the next generation of Pixel “a” phones. I feel by then we ought to be at that point where it should be standardized.When most phone makers are going with ultra-wide and macro sensors for their additional cameras, Google opted for a telephoto one in the Pixel 4. And having used that phone semi-regularly over the last year, I can tell you that the telephoto is rarely used. I say all of that to say that I don’t miss it one bit in the Pixel 4a.The camera experience in the Pixel 4a is as good as anything I want or need. I will often use portrait mode when taking pictures of just about anything so that it adds the depth. But, even when I don’t, and just snap off a bunch of pictures using the automatic settings, I love the results.A big part of this is due to the software. Google not only has excellent hardware and extremely smart chips in its phones, but it keeps the camera app simple and straightforward. As much as I like the settings that come with many flagships with AI and Pro modes, I rarely used them. Along those lines, these features are often hidden away or not placed in intuitive places.The Pixel 4a puts forth a number of camera settings, including Night Sight, Top Shot, Portrait Mode HDR+, and more. There’s a lot to play with and some of these can produce seriously good results. The best part is that I often don’t have to think about what I am shooting or spend much time switching settings.ConclusionIf you were to tell me that Google iterated on its Pixel 3a for 2020 and kept the price the same, I would have said, “fair enough, I expected as much.” But that’s not what happened. Google not only pushed things forward a bit in a few areas, it dropped the price by $50 in the process.I quickly warmed to the Pixel 4a. If you’re holding onto a Pixel or Pixel 2 and are ready for something new, this is a great start. You’ll have no problem getting up to speed and appreciate spending about half the money this time around.As an unlocked phone that’s readily available, it’s an excellent option for pretty much any consumer. It’s affordable enough to add a few to your family plan yet powerful enough to keep you from repeating this one year from now.AvailabilityYou can purchase the Google Pixel 4a for $350 from Google’s store as well as through Verizon and retailers like Best Buy.

Latest Reviews

Upgrade your WFH setup with this three piece bundle

Things have changed in the US workforce. Even after this pandemic is over and the situation gets back to the old definition of “normal”, things will be different in the work space.A lot of companies and organizations have warmed to the idea of remote working and will likely keep it as a permanent part of doing business. Many people who work from home will probably continue to work from home.While you may have gotten used working remotely, chances are you could do better in the way of proper tools and devices. Getting in front of a camera is one thing, but having the right lighting, camera angles, and perspective is another.Whether you’re looking to connect with your team once a week or present a quarterly slide deck for upper management, you’ll want to invest in the right equipment. The Pictar Home Office Kit is that right equipment.The bundle, just $89.99 in the AG Deals Store, is comprised of three components: a Pictar Wide-Angle Smart Lens, Splat 3N1 Flexible Tripod, and Pictar Smart Light. Together, these three will help eliminate the hassles of clumsy and less than stellar calls.The smart lens doubles the viewing on your mobile device, so you’ll capture more than just a closely cropped image of your head. It connects to an app and allows for precise and easy adjustment; it also has 20 different shooting modes.The tripod has five flexible legs that allow for mounting just about anywhere and everywhere you take your phone. The smart light clips onto your phone or camera to enhance the quality of your video footage.AvailabilityYou can purchase your three-piece Pictar Home-Office Kit from the AG Deals Store for just $89.99 right now. That’s a 35% discount off the normal retail price.Best SellersEarn Credits!For every $25 you spend in the AG Deals Store you get $1 credit added to your account. And, if you refer the deal via social media or an email that results in a purchase, you’ll earn $10 credit in your account.First Time Buying?If this is your first time buying, you are also eligible for 10% discount! Just be sure to subscribe for email updates.Free StuffNot looking to spend any money today? No worries. You can still visit the AndroidGuys section for freebies and pick something anyhow.

LG Wing arrives with swiveling two-screen experience

LG on Monday announced its first handset under the “Explorer Project”, the LG Wing. And just as the rumors told us, it features a unique two-screen experience.Currently there are two main ways that phone makers are working with dual displays. There’s the “two phone screens that make a tablet screen” approach and then there’s the “flip phone” design that opens to reveal a full-screen experience. The LG Wing is neither of those.The LG Wing features a 6.8-inch full HD OLED main display that swivels up to reveal a secondary 3.9-inch screen underneath. Resembling a Tetris T-block, it leads to unique use cases.The LG Wing is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor with 8GB RAM and 128GB/256GB storage options. A microSD expansion card slot allows for external media.The rear houses a 64-megapixel main camera, accompanied by a 12-megapixel wide-angle and 13-megapixel wide-angle camera. One is mounting in standard portrait orientation while the other is rotated 90 degrees. A 32-megapixel camera pops out for selfies on the front side of the phone.The hinge mechanism in LG WING has proven to be reliable even after 200,000 swivels – this averages out to about 100 motions every day for five years.Given its unique design, the LG Wing allows for some interesting camera modes. Grip Mode ignores accidental touches while recording video when the phone is opened. Gimbal Motion Camera Mode adds a joystick, lock, and follow controls on the secondary display.The design also allows for watching full-screen video content on the big display while messaging, commenting, and other features are available on the secondary screen.Other prominent features in the LG Wing include a 4,000mAh battery with wireless and Quick Charge 4.0 and an IP54 rating against dust and water.The LG Wing will be offered in Aurora Gray and Illusion Sky when it goes on sale. Pricing and exact availability has yet to be revealed. With that said, Verizon will have first dibs on the unique phone with AT&T, T-Mobile, and others following later.

Snag this award-winning personal air conditioner while it’s on sale

Although it’s the middle of September we still find those occasional days where it gets stupid hot outside. Or worse, really humid. While it might be tempting to crank the AC up in the home or office, you’d be wise to consider the alternative – a costly electric bill.Another option to consider is a personal air conditioner. Indeed, just as there are portable heaters for keeping your room warm, these are here to cool you down.The evaCHILL EV-500, is an ultra-lightweight and energy-efficient personal air conditioner that keeps you cool and leaves money in your wallet. For a limited time, you can pick it up on sale for nearly 20% off.Simply fill the water tank, plug it in, and the cartridge will generous amounts of water. The water disperses itself through the cooling pads while air blows through them. The result is evaporated water with no heat exhausted. The EV-500 can drop the air temperature up to 59º in just 10 minutes.It makes more sense to cool a room than to worry about the whole house, right?EV-500 FeaturesUltra-portable & leakage-proof w/ an integrated handleReaches full cooling power within 5-10 minutesSoft blue LED lights improve the moodSets up w/ just one buttonHumidifies the air creating a comfortable environmentFilters out dust particles to increase the air quality for better breathing & doesn’t create suitable conditions for bacterial growthCan increase your sleep qualityBuy Yours Today!Usually retailing for $99, you can get the EvaChill EV-0500 on sale for $79.99 — a savings of 20%. Take your pick from three colors: white, gray, and pink.Best SellersEarn Credits!For every $25 you spend in the AG Deals Store you get $1 credit added to your account. And, if you refer the deal via social media or an email that results in a purchase, you’ll earn $10 credit in your account.First Time Buying?If this is your first time buying, you are also eligible for 10% discount! Just be sure to subscribe for email updates.Free StuffNot looking to spend any money today? No worries. You can still visit the AndroidGuys section for freebies and pick something anyhow.

Google partners with Lenovo for Meet hardware kits

Google on Tuesday announced new Google Meet videoconferencing hardware as part of a partnership with Lenovo. The new Series One hardware comes in the form of a bundle which are slated for pre-order soon.The entire kit is powered by a Compute System which has a version of Chrome OS designed for Meet. The platform uses AI to provide a smarter and more user-friendly way of conducting meetings. Features include joining meetings using voice, enhanced noise reduction, and participant framing.The Series One hardware is comprised of a 12-megapixel Smart Camera; an alternate 20.3-megapixel Smart Camera XL is offered for larger conference rooms.A Smart Audio Bar houses a 2.5-inch woofer, one-inch tweeter, and eight beam-forming microphones that Google says can process “up to 44 channels simultaneously.” It advises that it can filter out distracting sounds such as typing and snacking.This isn’t Google’s first approach to workplace tech, nor is it the first attempt at hardware for Google Meet. Asus introduced gear for Google Meet back in May.Depending on what version of the Series One hardware you purchase, you’ll may also be able to control meetings via a rechargeable remote control or a 10.1-inch display. Both of support Google Assistant for hands-free meeting controls.Companies interested in adding one of the Series One kits to their conference rooms will soon be pre-order one. Exact timing isn’t known yet, but pricing starts at $2,699 for the Small Room Kit.For the money, you’ll get a Smart Camera, Smart Audio Bar, Compute System, and remote control ($2,699). Alternatively, a $2,999 Medium Room Kit and $3,999 Large Room Kit will be sold. Color options include “charcoal” (black) and “chalk” (white).