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Friday, September 18, 2020
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Opinion: It’s time to reconsider face unlock on the Pixel line

It’s time to talk. I think it may be time for us users and smartphone manufacturers to consider moving forward without face unlock as a primary biometrics option. I know that it’s cool to unlock your phone with just a look, but in practice, it’s not ideal.I was already hesitant with alternative methods to the tactile options of optical sensors, but after spending nearly a year with the Pixel 4 XL, I am over facial recognition. Add that to the current pandemic and masked faces and I’m convinced it’s time to maybe take a step back.Could it just be me?Let’s start with the just general use of the Pixel 4 XL with face unlock as the primary biometrics. Over the last nine months of ownership, I swear the overall performance has worsened. I have more and more daily instances of it just not working on the first or even second attempt.This is not an abused device. It’s not suffered a significant drop and has lived in a case while in my pocket. I honestly think it’s just from debris and oil build up on the screen.Yes, this happens on capacitive fingerprint readers at times too. Yes, I can clean it. However, after using years of fingerprint unlock, I’ve never gotten consistent failed attempts like this.Masked Life Complicated ThingsThen the world had a global health crisis that currently requires many of us to wear a mask over half our faces. I don’t want to be insensitive to the significant health threat of COVID-19 by any means, I’m just trying to add a real-world effect it’s had on our daily technology.This makes using things like mobile pay at checkout lines damn near impossible. You have to remove your mask amidst the crowd to try to attempt. The timing couldn’t be worse. In a moment when contactless payments should be shining as an alternative to touching a kiosk, you find yourself passing it over.Payments Were Already AwkwardCurrent masked society aside, mobile payments with face unlock was already a mess. One, Google seems to have you confirm the payment scan with biometrics. This leads to you having to essentially unlock the phone twice. Once to open the menu, and another to confirm the NFC transaction.The first one you’ll have to do regardless, but the confirmation of the wireless transfer is the major fail. The motion forces you to keep your phone at eye level which is pretty awkward in most retail settings. The card terminal is rarely this high at any storefront.This leaves you with a likely scenario of having to awkwardly hunch over a checkout counter. After two or three tries at this, you’ll most likely just never use it as I have. Know what would make this much easier? A fingerprint scanner.Solutions are AvailableThe radar powered unlock mechanisms in my Pixel 4 XL simply solve a problem no one had. I appreciate a good proof of concept. In an age of bigger and better-designed displays for our consumption, it actually seems counterproductive with creating a giant notch.There are a few different hardware layouts that allow for phone makers to still offer biometrics outside of face unlock. You have the “traditional” rear fingerprint sensor. It’s tried and true with great consistency. This option can also add functionality like bring down the notification shade with swiping on the reader.The less traditional capacitive scanner is the side-mounted edition. A few manufacturers like Moto and Sony have embraced this model on several phones. The placement is a little more uncomfortable to position correctly at times but is also a solid alternative to other measures.Lastly, you have the more recent optical readers built under the display on smartphones. Phones like OnePlus and Moto have moved to this on many of the flagships being sold by those companies. This brings the reader to the most forward view of the user. Literally. It’s directly on the screen.The drawbacks have been consistency and screen protectors. By default, this optical tech is less mature and still has room to grow to get the performance seen by the older capacitive hardware sensors. Another issue is that you can’t just use any screen protector and still have the reader work correctly.Maybe We Already Had it RightDespite some of these pitfalls, the alternative options of biometrics seem like a better overall solution over the beta feel of face unlock. These sensors are more mature, reliable, and readily available in the market. You also don’t have to find real estate on the front of the device to the detriment of less display.And I haven’t even mentioned that many apps have never updated to even use face unlock. Two out of my four banking institutions still rely on either fingerprint or PIN and you’ll never get prompted to use face unlock.While there is a multitude of reasons leading to my disdain of face unlock, and many are outside of Google’s control, I do think it’s not dismissable information. The industry should be open to trying new things, but also recognize when something doesn’t work and give users a more solid solution.That time is now. Maybe you keep some of the 2D face unlock standards as a buy-in option from users, but the default should return to a more complete offering in fingerprint sensors.The glass half full news is that we are hearing rumblings that Google may do this with the release of the Google Pixel 5. I know you can’t see them, but my fingers are crossed.

Google Pixel 4a vs. Pixel 4: Save money or go all-out?

Should you buy the flagship Google Pixel 4 or save a couple hundred dollars with the Pixel 4a? We found out.

The Google Pixel 4a will finally be revealed on August 3

The phone will likely offer an edge-to-edge display with a hole-punch cutout

How to migrate your data to a Pixel phone

With smartphones becoming increasingly more affordable, buying one can be a semi-regular occurrence. However, moving data between your old phone and the new one can be cumbersome.Many people will opt to transfer the data to a computer and then to the new phone. Historically, that was what one had to do. Or, users would back up what they could to a microSD card. Today, smartphone manufacturers have dedicated apps that make this process easy, efficient, and seamless.This guide will teach you how to move all your personal data (SMS, calls, apps, photos, etc.) from your old phone to a Pixel-branded phone. With this, you won’t have to worry about copying data on a computer or removable storage.Why Pixel Phones?You can never go wrong with a Pixel phone. These are the first phones to receive Google’s software updates as well as the developer builds. If you’ve recently pocketed yourself a nifty Google Pixel 3a or a Pixel 4/XL, or plan to grab one, this guide will tell you how to move your data from your old phone to your brand new Pixel.This guide will teach you how to move all your personal data which includes SMS, calls, apps, photos, etc. from your old phone to your brand new Pixel phone. With this, you won’t have to worry about copying or pasting data on a computer between phones.Pre-RequisitesMake sure both devices have 80% charge and you have the Quick Switch Adapter that came in the box with your Pixel phone. It looks like the OTG device pictured here.This guide only more specifically covers the Pixel 3a and the Pixel 4 devices; we can’t guarantee it will work with Pixel 2 or the first generation Pixel.This guide assumes you’ve already finished setting up your phone and you’re at the home screen.As this is a physical connection held by two wires, we highly recommend you do all of the steps with both phones on a flat surface. This ensures you don’t have to hold the phones in your hands for the whole process and steady data transfer is taking place.Let’s Get StartedNavigate to your Settings page and Look for the Finish Setup prompt at the top.Image courtesy of GoogleTap the Start button and Next.Image courtesy of GoogleImage courtesy of GoogleTurn on your old phone, make sure its unlocked, and that you’re able to access the home screen. Connect the cable to its charging port. Tap Next after connecting it.Image courtesy of GoogleNow connect the Quick Switch Adapter into your Pixel. You’ll see a rectangular end at the bottom, this is where you connect the other of your old phone cable.When you’ve connected both your phones by the Quick Switch Adapter, tap on Next.Image courtesy of GoogleImage courtesy of GoogleCheck your old phone, choose Copy, and follow the on-screen instructions. Make sure the phone is still unlocked and has full access to the home screen.Image courtesy of GoogleCome back to your Pixel phone and choose what stuff you want to carry over from the previous phone. Once you’ve selected what you want to copy, Press Copy at the bottom right.Image courtesy of GoogleOnce everything’s copied, you’ll see a notification on your Pixel.Image courtesy of GoogleIf you see something incorrect or inaccurate, please feel free to let the author know.

Google Pixel 4a will have a 5.8-inch display and Snapdragon 730, report says

The new phone will cost $400 and come in three color options

Latest Pixel Feature Drop adds location-based actions, music gesture, more

Google’s second Pixel Feature Drop, rolling out to various Pixel phones as early as today, brings about a number of new features and functions. Not to be confused with the monthly patch and security update, this is a quarterly push that adds interesting ways of interacting and using Pixel phones.Not all models will see the same features as it largely depends on the hardware and components. Nevertheless, here’s a quick breakdown of what you can expect to see come to Pixel 2, 3, 3a, and Pixel 4 series of phones.Pause and resume music using a tap gestureLive Caption for older modelsLong-press the lock/power button to surface Google Pay credit and debit cards, boarding passes, event tickets, etc.New AR effects for Duo video calls on Pixel 4Portrait Blur, color pop, 3D photos for front-facing cameraMore customizable emojiSchedule system-wide dark theme for sunset to sunriseEnable automatic rules (turn on Wi-Fi, Do Not Disturb, etc.) based on locationVisit Google’s blog to learn more about the latest Pixel Feature Drop.

Google Pixel 3a XL: A review at six months

Google has never had a problem making premium phones. Since the release of the Nexus lineup, we’ve seen the company partner with handset makers to deliver high-quality phones and tablets, some of which were hundreds of dollars less than the competition.These options were all the more enticing since they came with pure Android, fast updates, and years of support from both Google and a community of developers through custom ROMs and tweaks.The search giant decided to take a new route a few years ago, killing off the Nexus lineup in favor of Pixel devices. Gone were the days of cheaper devices as we were introduced to Google’s vision of a flagship. Consumers used to cheap annual hardware updates had to look in another direction.But, Google is changing course again. The Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are a return to affordable hardware with a clean build of Android. If that wasn’t attractive enough, the same lauded camera from last year’s Pixel 3 and 3 XL are on board. A truly compelling package, and all for under $500.We’ve spent the last few months living with the Pixel 3a XL and this is what we found.Hardware and designIf you’ve never held a Pixel device in your hand, you might not know how dominating it can be. These are not the pencil-thin devices where bezels go to die or incredibly tall screen aspect ratios. They’re big, wide, and the screen seems to stretch for miles. That’s no different with the Pixel 3a XL.The difference this year is that the device is made out of plastic instead of glass– but that’s not a bad thing. We’ve long since abandoned plastic devices and (myself included) have assumed that glass backs were as good as you could get. They feel great and look fantastic, but come with the downside of scratches and cracks.With the Pixel 3a XL, I’ve changed how I use my phone. I’ve never been overly careful with my devices in the past anyway, but now I don’t worry about my phone breaking at all.Sure, I do try to protect the screen but I feel a lot better about tossing this into my bag than I would with another, far more breakable device. It’s freeing in a way that I had forgotten about.And to be honest, this all still feels pretty nice. This isn’t the gross plastic covering of the Samsung Galaxy S5, but it’s hard and feels great in the hand, like a high-quality product that you’d have no problem paying the money for.Thanks to the plastic back, fingerprints are no longer a problem and the potentially deep scratches of the Pixel 3 are gone, too. Google really killed it here.The biggest problem most people will have with the Pixel 3a XL comes on the front of the device. In a world of waterdrop notches and pop-up cameras, the Pixel 3a XL goes in another direction.Huge bezels adorn both the top and bottom of the device. This wasn’t so much a problem with the Pixel 3 and 3 XL because there were front-firing speakers in that space, but that’s not the case here. The 3a XL does have great stereo speakers, but they’re not front-firing; rather opting for an earpiece and downward firing speaker grill like we see in most phones with stereo speakers.If bezels are an issue for you, this is not the phone for you. But during my time with the Pixel 3a XL, I never had an issue. These past few months, I never noticed the “gigantic” notch and I don’t notice the huge bezels here either. I only see the (relatively nice) display and hear the fantastic audio coming out of the speakers. It’s not going to be for everyone, but if you don’t care about screen-to-body ratios, this is a good fit.Hiding between those two bezels is a really nice OLED display. Price would indicate that we’d see an LCD here as with similarly priced phones like the ASUS ZenFone 6, but Google was able to stick with OELD and it pushes the experience from nice to great. The colors pop, blacks are wonderfully deep and the always-on-display remains a trusted way to glance at your notifications and move on. I don’t think I’d be so high on this device if the OLED panel wasn’t here.Sneaking around the sides of the device, we find SIM card tray on near the top of the left side with all of the buttons on the right side. A volume rocker sits under the power button with nothing else to report besides the Active Edge feature that allows you to open Google Assistant by squeezing your phone. This is a familiar feature that has been around for years now and one that I enjoy.I do find myself triggering Assistant by accident from time to time, but Google allows you to retrain the sensitivity in software to suit your needs.There are other devices that cost less and feature “more premium” materials. There are devices that are more durable. But, there are few that I think will continue to look as good years down the road. Google struck a really nice balance here and while it’s not going to blow away enthusiasts, it’s going to be great for most people. That’s exactly what Google was going for.And it has a headphone jack. What more could you ask for?SoftwareThe Pixel 3a XL came out of the box running stock Android 9.0 Pie with Google’s Pixel Experience enhancements on top and has since been upgraded to Android 10. Updates come faster than any other Android OEM not named Essential, but do lag just a little bit behind the more expensive Pixel 3/XL and 4/XL. These delays are counted in days or weeks, not months.If you enjoy the software experience on any other Pixel, you’ll find no real differences here. It’s fast, fluid, and lacks the bulky features that other OEMs cram into their devices. As an aside, it’s okay to like those features. We get so caught up in “pure” Android that we sometimes gloss over the fact that other phones ship with software features the Pixels don’t have.Anyway, back on topic. In my time using the OnePlus 7 Pro as my daily driver, I forgot about some of the useful features that I really enjoyed on the Pixel 3/XL and 4/XL. One of the most prominent is call screening. I have T-Mobile so spam calls are unrelenting. While Big Magenta has done a good job cutting down on them in recent months, they’re still here and call screening is a wonder.Call screening works with just a press of a button. Instead of just your normal answer and decline buttons, you also get the option to screen the call.A recording will come up stating that you’re using an answering service and will receive a transcript of the call. It then asks the caller to identify who they are and why they’re calling, displaying those answers for you. You are given multiple quick reply buttons at the bottom to ask more questions or end the call. It’s a fantastic feature and one I’ve used over and over again.I’ve heard people call the Pixel line the “Google iPhone” before and that’s fine. I guess we can just say that the flagships here are iPhone-like and move on but the one problem I have with this analogy is that Apple forces you into its software vision whereas Google presents its to you.It’s light, it’s bright, and it does the things you need without you thinking. But if you don’t want any of that, you can change it. Do you want to install a thousand apps that all work together and share files and data between them? Go for it. Dark mode is in almost every Google app now and came system-wide with the Android 10 update.Google has a vision for Android, that much is obvious. But that doesn’t have to be your vision for you to love this phone. You do have to love iOS to love Apple’s phones, too, and that’s a big area where Google will score points with consumers. It’s an area where it should be educating consumers and if it does, I think it crushes Apple’s most popular phone, the iPhone XR.CameraCamera is core to the experience of a Pixel phone. If you want simply the best camera out there, you pick up a Pixel. That much has been known for years. But we’ve never dealt with a “budget Pixel” before. Most budget phones cut corners to save money and one of the easiest ways to cut costs is opting for a serviceable, but not good, camera.Google went another route, relying on its camera to sell units because it knows photography and full well how to get everything possible out of that sensor. The search giant is a master of computational photography and it shows with the Pixel 3a XL.The camera setup is mostly the same as the more-expensive Pixel 3 XL. We have a single rear 12.2 MP shooter with an f/1.8 aperture at 28mm, optical and electronic image stabilization, dual pixel PDAF, and a dual-LED flash.Where things start to differ is around front. Instead of a dual-lens setup, there’s a single 8 MP f/2.0 lens at 24mm that supports HDR shooting. Gone is the wide-angle lens that allowed for group-shot selfies. We’re also missing the Pixel Visual Core, a dedicated chip inside the device that allowed for quicker picture processing.Despite those missing features, the experience here is still great. Pictures look fantastic and full of life. The portrait mode delivers great bokeh and Nightsight still blows me away with how much light it can pull out of a scene.The biggest change from the Pixel 3 XL to the 3a XL is just how fast those pictures get processed. Sometimes I do find myself waiting around a little bit for the slower Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor to finish working on my pictures, but I honestly don’t really care.Battery and PerformanceI wish I could tell you that this sub-$500 phone punched above its weight and went toe-to-toe with phones that dwarf its price tag. Unfortunately, I can’t.What I can say, though, is that the Pixel 3a XL is fine. It completes tasks in a timely fashion and I’ve yet to see instances of dropped frames or hard stuttering.It does take longer to complete tasks than phones with flagship-level processors, but that’s to be expected. This doesn’t have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 like the Samsung Galaxy S10, LG G8, or OnePlus 7 Pro, but it also doesn’t have that kind of price tag either.The device comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 SoC, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of internal storage. Those are roughly what we’d expect to see at this price in 2019 and are just a step below the big boys who routinely pack in 6GB+ of RAM and 128GB of storage.We did see issues with the Pixel 3 and 3 XL’s “only” 4 GB of RAM when the devices first came out, but Google seems to have figured those out. No longer do music streaming apps die in the background once they’re closed, and that’s a relief. But, I did notice that it couldn’t hold too many apps in memory, which lead to longer loading times down the road.Battery life, on the other hand, is a huge win. It’s hard not to compare this device to the Pixel 3 XL released late last year in this respect because I was pretty disappointed that phone’s battery life.While I did usually get through the day, it was just barely. Power users always had issues doing so. Luckily there was fast charging and wireless charging on board to keep users juiced up during the day.While fast charging does return for the 3a XL, wireless charging does not — and that’s a bummer. It’s one of my favorite features on phones today.I don’t ever do scientific testing on battery life because this is an area that varies widely from person to person. I don’t think numbers really tell the story. So, let me tell you a little bit about how I use my phone and the results I get.First off, what I don’t do. I don’t play a ton of games and usually only do so to test out phone performance here and there. I don’t snap a ton of pictures or record 4K video unless I’m doing so for a review. I also don’t do extremely long video streaming sessions because I have a TV for that.My daily usage consists of several hours of music streaming in the background, at least two hours on Reddit killing time and reading articles, five to ten phone calls that last anywhere from a minute to a half an hour, and syncing 10+ email accounts. I usually kill phones by the end of the day with somewhere around 5 hours of Screen on Time at the most.During my review period I never once had an issue with the Pixel 3a XL dying, or even coming remotely close. In fact, I went past six hours of screen on time several times with 20-30% of my battery left at the end of the day.I’ve held up the OnePlus 6T as my battery champ in the last year and that long battery life is one of the reasons that I’ve used it as my daily driver for so long. The Pixel 3a XL is right there with it and I’d have no problem taking it with me when I know I’m going to use it heavily for an entire day.ConclusionBudget phones have long made sense for most people. If you can pick up 90% of the phone for 50% of the price, that’s a good compromise, right? It seems that while the logic is there, consumers disagreed. Flagships are still the most exciting thing in Android with most headlines dedicated to new chapters from Samsung, LG, and OnePlus.Despite that, Google has taken a page from Motorola’s book and released a truly compelling mid-range device that delivers in nearly ever aspect. Sure, we’re missing features like an IP rating, wireless charging, and oodles of RAM, but we have everything we need and a camera that’s almost unmatched.There’s a been a trend of crowning the Pixel 3a and 3a XL as the king of budget phones, and while I think that’s taking it a bit too far, there is a ton to love here.For your money you get a processor that gets the job done, enough RAM to keep going all day long, battery life that can push into the two-day category for light users, and one of the best cameras on the market. All in all, a very compelling experience at just $399 for the Pixel 3a and $479 for the 3a XL.But, this is not the phone for you if you want to hold onto a device for many years into the future. While companies like Samsung and OnePlus are sticking a ridiculous 12GB of RAM into devices, Google stuck with 4GB.It wouldn’t have made sense for the company to release a budget phone with more RAM than its flagship, but that doesn’t mean I don’t worry about how the phone will hold up for the next few years. We’re getting larger apps and hungrier system processes with each passing day and the Pixel 3a XL could soon be in a tight spot.If you do want a cheaper phone for right now, one that will get software updates well into the future and a camera that’s capable of more than just social media pictures, then this where you want to start your search.At $400, this is one of the best values on the market right now and in the US, it’s the only readily available option which delivers these specs at this price.We fully recommend the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, though if you’re outside of the US, you do have more options. Do your research, but start here.Buy the Pixel 3a XL from Amazon, Best Buy, or Google.

Google blesses Pixel phones with awesome new features

One of the best reasons to own a Google-branded phone is that it’s quick to receive timely software updates. That was the case with the Nexus line and it’s the same with the Pixel line.Whereas major Android OS updates were critical in the first few generations of phones, the focus has shifted more to focus on security patches and bug fixes. Starting today, Google is introducing a new monthly “Feature Drop’ for its Pixel phones.In a post on its official blog, The Keyword, Google describes the new features that are being issued to Pixel devices “on a regular basis”. The first so-called Feature drop includes automatic call screening, a new photo editing tool, improved Google Duo video calls, and more.Automatic call screeningThanks to an update to its Call Screen feature, Google Assistant can now automatically screen unknown callers and filter out known robocalls. Indeed, it will do the heavy lifting in the background and only notify users when it’s an actual call.Should your call be legitimate, you’ll get a notification with contextual information about the caller and why they’re trying to reach you.Google Duo ‘Auto-framing’Making video calls gets more seamless and intuitive with the new update as Google Duo can now automatically re-frame the camera. If you’re moving around, or if someone else walks into the room, Google Duo can adjust the focus using the wide-angle front-facing lens.Google Photos ‘Portrait Blur’Taking photos with portrait mode is a sure-fire way to make your subject stand out from the background. Not only does it really help people look great, with blurred backgrounds, but it works on inanimate objects, too.As part of the new Feature drop, Pixel users can now blur the background of an image even when the portrait mode was not used. What’s more, it even works for photos taken years ago.Improved efficiencyGoogle is pretty tight-lipped on the details here, but does say all Pixel devices will also receive an update how it manages memory. Once in place, phones will proactively compresses cached applications so users can run multiple apps at the same time.Other FeaturesThere are plenty of other features being rolled out to various Pixel phones as part of the new Feature drop. Here’s a look at what to expect, even for older generations.Google Duo machine learning to predict sounds and improve conversation on poor connectionsCallers on Duo video calls for the Pixel 2, 3 and 4 can now apply a portrait filterFaster accuracy in Google Maps with improved on-device computing for much better location qualityNew apps and features for Pixel 2, 3, and 3aThe Recorder app is now available on older generations of Pixel.Pixel 3 and 3a users will get Live Caption.Digital Wellbeing is getting updates too. Focus mode is rolling out to help you stay productive and minimize distractions by pausing apps you’ve selected in a single tap. You can now set an automatic schedule, take a short break or end Focus mode early without disrupting your schedule.Flip to Shhh will also join the Digital Wellbeing features on Pixel 2 and 2XL.If you use a Pixel 4 in the UK, Canada, Ireland, Singapore and Australia, you’ll soon get the new Google Assistant (English only), which is even faster and more helpful.

Save up to $400 on a Google Pixel 4 with these Cyber Monday deals

There’s no better time of year to pick up a new smartphone, especially one like the brand new Google Pixel 4. With Cyber Monday in full swing you’ll find that there are a number of retailers and carriers offering steep discounts.Here, we’ve collected a number of places where you can pick up a Google Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL with a discount. Note that not all colors and configurations may be available and that stock may be limited this time of year.Google (Unlocked)Google Pixel 4 (64GB) – $599 ($200 OFF)Google Pixel 4 (128GB) – $699 ($200 OFF)Google Pixel 4 XL (64GB) – $699 ($200 OFF)Google Pixel 4 XL (128GB) – $799 ($200 OFF)Amazon (Unlocked)Google Pixel 4 (64GB) – $599 ($200 OFF)Google Pixel 4 (128GB) – $699 ($200 OFF)Google Pixel 4 XL (64GB) – $699 ($200 OFF)Google Pixel 4 XL (128GB) – $799 ($200 OFF)Best BuyUnlocked – $250 OFFGoogle Pixel 4 (64GB) – $550Google Pixel 4 (128GB) – $650Google Pixel 4 XL (64GB) – $650Google Pixel 4 XL (128GB) – $750Verizon – $400 OFFGoogle Pixel 4 (64GB) – $16.66/mo.Google Pixel 4 (128GB) – $20.83/mo.Google Pixel 4 XL (64GB) – $20.83/mo.Google Pixel 4 XL (128GB) – $24.99/mo.AT&T – $400 OFFGoogle Pixel 4 (64GB) – $14.66/mo.Google Pixel 4 (128GB) – $18.66/mo.Google Pixel 4 XL (64GB) – $18.66/mo.Google Pixel 4 XL (128GB) – $22.66/mo.Sprint – $400 OFFGoogle Pixel 4 (64GB) – $16.62/mo.Google Pixel 4 (128GB) – $20.79/mo.Google Pixel 4 XL (64GB) – $20.79/mo.Google Pixel 4 XL (128GB) – $26.20/mo.CarriersVERIZON: Save up to $550 with a select trade-in when you switch with Unlimited or save up to $200 with a select trade-in for upgradesAT&T: Get a Google Pixel 4 64GB for freeT-MOBILE: Get up to $300 back on Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL with qualified trade-inSPRINT: Lease one Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL, get one free

Astrophotography: Google reveals how the Pixel 4 nails those night shots

Google’s astrophotography mode for the recently launched Pixel 4 smartphone helps you take potentially stunning shots of the night sky. Find out more about how it works ...

Roundup: Google Pixel deals and discounts available

With Black Friday just a few days away, retailers and carriers have started to roll out the red carpet for prospective buyers. There’s no better time of year to pick up a new smartphone, especially one like the brand new Pixel 4.Here, we’ve collected a number of places where you can pick up a Google Pixel phone with a discount. You’ll find wireless providers and retailers alike, so have a look around.Note that not all colors and configurations may be available and that stock may be limited this time of year.Google (Unlocked)Google Pixel 4 (64GB) – $599 ($200 OFF)Google Pixel 4 (128GB) – $699 ($200 OFF)Google Pixel 4 XL (64GB) – $699 ($200 OFF)Google Pixel 4 XL (128GB) – $799 ($200 OFF)Amazon (Unlocked)Pixel 4Google Pixel 4 (64GB) – $599 ($200 OFF)Google Pixel 4 (128GB) – $699 ($200 OFF)Google Pixel 4 XL (64GB) – $699 ($200 OFF)Google Pixel 4 XL (128GB) – $799 ($200 OFF)Pixel 3Google Pixel 3 (64GB) – $444.99 ($354 OFF)Google Pixel 3 XL (64GB) – $535 ($364 OFF)Pixel 3aGoogle Pixel 3a (64GB) – $374.63Google Pixel 3a XL (64GB) – $456.54Best BuyUnlockedGoogle Pixel 4 (64GB) – $550 ($250 OFF)Google Pixel 4 (128GB) – $650 ($250 OFF)Google Pixel 4 XL (64GB) – $650 ($250 OFF)Google Pixel 4 XL (128GB) – $750 ($250 OFF)VerizonGoogle Pixel 4 (64GB) – $20.83/mo. ($300 OFF)Google Pixel 4 (128GB) – $25.00/mo. ($300 OFF)Google Pixel 4 XL (64GB) – $25.00/mo. ($300 OFF)Google Pixel 4 XL (128GB) – $29.17/mo. ($300 OFF)AT&TGoogle Pixel 4 (64GB) – $17.99/mo. ($300 OFF)Google Pixel 4 (128GB) – $21.99/mo. ($300 OFF)Google Pixel 4 XL (64GB) – $21.99/mo. ($300 OFF)Google Pixel 4 XL (128GB) – $25.99/mo. ($300 OFF)SprintGoogle Pixel 4 (64GB) – $20.79/mo. ($300 OFF)Google Pixel 4 (128GB) – $26.20/mo. ($300 OFF)Google Pixel 4 XL (64GB) – $26.20/mo. ($300 OFF)Google Pixel 4 XL (128GB) – $30.37/mo. ($200 OFF)Pixel 3a (Unlocked)Google Pixel 3a (64GB) – $350Google Pixel 3a XL (64GB) – $430CarriersVERIZON: Buy one Google Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL, and get Pixel 4 64GB for free (or $800 off any other Pixel 4)VERIZON: Get $200 off the Pixel 3a or Pixel 3a XLAT&T: Get a Google Pixel 4 64GB for freeT-MOBILE: Get up to $300 back on Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL with qualified trade-inT-MOBILE: Pixel 3a for $250 ($150 OFF), Pixel 3a XL for $330 ($150 OFF)SPRINT: Lease one Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL, get one free

Google’s Android bug bounty program announces a $1 million prize

Google has announced a potential top payment of $1 million as part of its Android bug bounty program. Bug hunters will have to locate a particular kind of exploit to land the payout.

Android bug allowed hackers to access phone cameras in the background

A new bug has been discovered in Android that allowed hackers to gain access to the phone's camera in the background — even when the phone's lock screen was locked.

The Google Pixel’s last update will be released in December

Google announced the end-of-software updates for the original Pixel and Pixel XL. According to the company, the phones will get one final update in December.

Google Pixelbook Go review: The Chromebook you should buy

Last year's Pixelbook was beautiful, but too expensive. The new Pixelbook Go takes a different approach.

When and where to buy the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL

The Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are finally official. No longer rumors and speculation, the two handsets are now up for sale.You won’t have to look hard to find the Pixel 4 phones as they’ll be offered through numerous wireless carriers. And then there’s always the unlocked model you can get directly from Google and others.Here, we help spell out what you can look forward to when it comes to when and where to buy the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL.If you’re looking for special savings and promotions on the two new phones, we’ve got your back. Here’s how to potentially score a free Pixel 4.CarriersWhen it comes to color choices, each of the wireless service providers listed here essentially have the same options: Black, White, and Orange.VerizonPixel 4 (64GB) – $33.33 for 24 monthsPixel 4 (128GB) – $37.49 for 24 monthsPixel 4 XL (64GB) – $37.49 for 24 monthsPixel 4 XL (128GB) – $41.66 for 24 monthsAT&TPixel 4 (64GB) – $28 for 30 monthsPixel 4 (128GB) – $32 for 30 monthsPixel 4 XL (64GB) – $32 for 30 monthsPixel 4 XL (128GB) – $36 for 30 monthsT-MobilePixel 4 (64GB) – $33.34 for 24 monthsPixel 4 (128GB) – NAPixel 4 XL (64GB) – $37.49 for 24 monthsPixel 4 XL (128GB) – NASprintPixel 4 (64GB) – $33.30 for 18 months (lease)Pixel 4 (128GB) –Pixel 4 XL (64GB) – $38.81 for 18 months (lease)Pixel 4 XL (128GB) –US CellularPixel 4 (64GB) – $26.63 for 24 monthsPixel 4 (128GB) – $29.96 for 24 monthsPixel 4 XL (64GB) – $29.96 for 24 monthsPixel 4 XL (128GB) – $33.30 for 24 monthsC SpirePixel 4 (64GB) – $33.29 for 24 monthsPixel 4 (128GB) – $37.45 for 24 monthsPixel 4 XL (64GB) – $37.45 for 24 monthsPixel 4 XL (128GB) – $41.62 for 24 monthsCellcomPixel 4 (64GB) – $26.64 for 30 monthsPixel 4 (128GB) – $29.97 for 30 monthsPixel 4 XL (64GB) – $29.97 for 30 monthsPixel 4 XL (128GB) – $33.30 for 30 monthsSpectrum MobilePixel 4 (64GB) – $33.34 for 24 monthsPixel 4 (128GB) –Pixel 4 XL (64GB) – $37.50 for 24 monthsPixel 4 XL (128GB) –VisiblePixel 4 (64GB) –Pixel 4 (128GB) –Pixel 4 XL (64GB) –Pixel 4 XL (128GB) –Xfinity MobilePixel 4 (64GB) – $33.29 for 24 monthsPixel 4 (128GB) – $37.45 for 24 monthsPixel 4 XL (64GB) – $37.45 for 24 monthsPixel 4 XL (128GB) – $41.62 for 24 monthsRetailersGoogleIt only makes sense that Google would offer its own device through the Google Store. There are three options to choose from for each model: unlocked, unlocked w/ Google Fi, and Verizon. Qualified customers may be able to spread payments out without paying interest.Best BuyThe big box retailer offers the phones in unlocked manner as well as through Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. Qualified buyers can split up payments over two years with slightly different rates for each carrier.B&H Photo VideoCustomers can purchase both phones unlocked with different colors and capacities. At last check there were a few configurations that weren’t available.

Google may have a 5G surprise ready for its October Pixel 4 event

Thought all the surprises had been spoiled for Google's upcoming Pixel 4 launch event? Maybe so, but there's still a chance Google has a 5G surprise up its sleeve.

New Android phones must support USB-C PD and Digital Wellbeing, Google says

Google now requires manufacturers using its Google Media Services to also include support for USB-C PD fast charging and the Digital Wellbeing software.

Android 10 now available for Pixel phones

After spending the last several months in various beta releases, Google has released the final version of Android 10 to its Pixel users. The latest release of Android is available beginning today, September 3, and looks to be coming to other devices in 2019.Key features in the Android 10 build include Focus Mode, Live Caption, and Project Mainline. It’s worth pointing out that Focus Mode is only offered as a beta at this time and that Live Caption will launch later this year and should be a Pixel-only feature for a limited time.Focus Mode helps users unplug for studying, down time, family time, or whenever they’d like to be free from common phone distractions. It eliminates notifications from apps and games for determined times, giving users time to focus on whatever it is that’s important.Android Q to officially be known as Android 10If you’d like to learn more about Focus Mode, or install it on your Android phone, we’ve got a primer with instructions.Live Caption is a way to have your phone display real-time captions for any audio or video presented on your handset. As cool as it sounds, and looks, we won’t see it until later this year where, presumably with the launch of the Pixel 4.Project Mainline, for its part, helps Google address critical security issues by directly patching through the Play Store, is perhaps the most important. With that said, it won’t be offered to devices which update from Android 9 Pie to Android 10; only those models which launch with Android 10 will include the service.How to get Focus Mode on your Android phone nowOther notable details in Android 10 include simpler notification and security controls, better management for families, and a Dark Theme.Android users may have recently noticed that select Google titles have been given options for dark colors. According to Google, all of its first-party apps will support the Dark Theme but not all of them are available as of today.One of the most obvious changes to Android comes in the gesture navigation. With Android 10, users can swipe to go backwards, pull up the home screen, and move between tasks.To learn more about what’s new and interesting in Android 10, head to the official Google blog.

Latest Reviews

Take your Linux skills to the next level with this 12-course training bundle, just $69

Linux is by far the most popular open source operating system kernel on the planet. It’s found nearly everywhere, and is the heart of many desktops, smart devices, routers, TVs, Chromebooks, and Android phones.How much do you know about Linux? Not just from a deep technical standpoint, but from a casual user. Do you know there are open source alternatives to many of the popular paid programs you use on your Windows or Mac computers?RELATED: How to enable Linux apps on Chrome OSLinux-based operating systems are increasingly used in commercial computing environments, and that means demand for system administrators is at a constant high. Whether it’s Google, Amazon, Facebook, or someone else, companies are paying top dollar for experts in the field of Linux.If you’d like to get a better grasp on Linux for yourself, and maybe make a career out of it, you’ll definitely want to check out the Complete 2020 Learn Linux Bundle.Available for only $69 right now in the AndroidGuys Deals Store, it’s a 12-course online training bundle that’s valued in the thousands.The Complete 2020 Learn Linux Bundle is comprised of 110 hours of expert-led instruction. Broken into 12 specialized learning segments, each is designed to teach everyone, even a complete novice, with 279 helpful, step-by-step tutorials and hands-on examples.The Complete 2020 Learn Linux Bundle:Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8Linux Shell Scripting: BasicsLinux Security TechniquesLinux in the CloudLinux Command LineLinux for BeginnersCompTIA Linux+ (XK0-004)Getting Started with Linux (CompTIA Micro Course)Becoming a Linux System AdminBecoming a Linux Server AdminBecoming a Linux Power UserLinux Shell Scripting: AdvancedAvailabilityYou can purchase a lifetime license to the Complete 2020 Learn Linux Bundle for just $69, but only for a limited time. At less than 50 cents per hour, it’s the sort of investment that pays off at home and potentially work.Best SellersSave even more!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.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G, Galaxy Tab S7 5G, S7+ 5G now available at T-Mobile

T-Mobile on Thursday confirmed it will begin selling the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G, Galaxy Tab S7 5G, and S7+ 5G starting from September 18.Each of the devices can use T-Mobile’s 600Mhz, 2.5GHz, and mmWave 5G spectrum. In fact, the tablets mark the first to support 5G connectivity.T-Mobile will offer the Galaxy Z Fold2 5G online, over the phone, and in retail stores for $58.34/month for 24 months with a $599.99 down payment. The all-in full retail price of the unique folding smartphone is $1,999.99.As for the new tablets, customers can purchase both the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 5G and Galaxy Tab S7+ 5G for $30.00/month. The difference being that the former requires $129.99 down while the later requires $329.99 down. The full retail prices are $849.99 and $1049.99, respectively.Multiple Ways to SaveT-Mobile is offering a number of promotions around its new devices, giving subscribers ways to save on both the phone and tablets.Pick up one Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G and get a second for half off with 24 monthly bill credits when you activate a new line.Get $500 off the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G with 24 monthly bill credits and eligible device trade in.Learn more about the Galaxy Tab S7 5G and Galaxy Tab S7+ 5G at T-Mobile’s website.

Ampere Cell Wireless Charger and UV Sanitizer review

If you’re like us, you take your phone everywhere. Like, everywhere.We tend to get our handset out while eating, traveling, and even in the bathroom. Indeed, the more you think about it, the more gross it seems. And in a world impacted by a global pandemic, it’s even dangerous.If you are one of those people who takes their phone with them and never bothers to clean it — and let’s face it, that’s you — Ampere has a device that will change your life. While that sounds a tad drastic, it’s not really a reach.The Ampere Cell Phone Sanitizer, available for pre-order at just $79.95, is actually two devices in one. Part wireless charger, part phone sanitizer, it’s 100% vital in today’s world.What is the Ampere Cell?An expandable UV santizer and wireless charger hybrid device, it has four UVC LEDs inside and two 15W Qi charging coils on the outside.Open it up and place your phone inside and the Cell uses UV rays to kill bacteria off the surface of your phone. It kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses in only one minute. Or, place your phone on top of it and it will wireless charge any modern handset.UsageThere’s practically zero setup to consider with the Ampere Cell. All you have to do to get started is separate the base from the cover, place your item on the base, and press the red circle.When it turns green, it’s sanitizing, and after a minute when it turns red again, it’s done. It’s extremely quick and easy.We appreciate that the cover itself can be expanded and shaped to provide an angle. Whether portrait or landscape, it can be used as a prop to watch streaming video or keep an eye on notifications.Our only complaint is a minor one and that it does not actually come with the USB Type-C cable needed to power it. Understanding it was likely going to replace the charger we had on the desk, we were fine using our existing one. Ampere Cell 1 of 8 The Cell is slick, thin and small, so it is easy to carry around in a purse or bag. If you’re feeling stylish it comes in different colors, too. Because of its size and expandability we’ve used the Cell to sanitize jewelry, wearables, and other small items.The Ampere Cell is available to pre-order from Ampere’s website and is expected to ship in late October/November. Choose from red, black, and glow-in-the-dark.

LG Wing hands-on: A new kind of dual-screen (Video!)

The LG Wing is a new dual-screen device from LG. Can this take on dual-screen devices make it to the