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Posts tagged ‘Nexus’

26
Jul

Google updates Nexus phones with spam call protection


The FCC gets more complaints over spam calls than anything else, and recently told telecom companies to block them for free. Until that happens, Google has made it easier for Nexus or AndroidOne device owners to see if a call is spam and block it, thanks to an update to its phone app. If you have caller ID enabled on those devices, spam or robo-calls will pop up with a red screen and warning that says “suspected spam caller.” After taking or rejecting the call, you can either block the number or report that it’s legit if Google flagged it in error.

Even if Google doesn’t mark a call as spam, you can report it as such from the “recent calls” screen and block it. Nexus devices already have caller ID that shows companies using Google My Business listings, and references directories to show caller info from work or school accounts. For those features to work, Google notes that “your phone may need to send information about your calls to Google,” presumably it can add the info to a database.

Google is actually late to this game, as Samsung’s Galaxy S7 has offered caller ID and spam protection since February thanks to an alliance with Whitepages. However, spammers are nothing if not determined, and can still get through using tricks like call spoofing. Until telcos start blocking them at the source as the FCC has requested, you’re still going to get spammed, even with Google and Samsung’s help. The update should roll out to your Nexus or AndroidOne device soon, or you can sideload the APK here, provided you have Android 6.0 or greater.

Source: Nexus (Google+)

27
Jun

Google reportedly ships its first non-Nexus phone this year


You might not have to wait long to see whether or not rumors of Google having more say over phone designs are true. Sources speaking to the Telegraph claim that Google will release a smartphone with tighter controls over “design, manufacturing and software” before the end of the year. The details of the phone aren’t available, but this wouldn’t be a Nexus from the sound of it — those are shaped more by third parties that maintain at least some of their influence. The Pixel C tablet might (might) offer an inkling of what to expect.

Google didn’t comment on the rumor for the newspaper. With that said, its leadership hasn’t been shy about wanting to take the reins. CEO Sundar Pichai recently said that Google would be more “opinionated” about designs. The issue may simply be a matter of how far Mountain View wants to go. Is it willing to risk alienating Android’s hardware partners with a phone designed largely in-house, or would this be more about making a bigger mark on the Nexus program? One thing’s certain: if the rumor is at all accurate, Google’s hardware strategy will never be the same.

Source: The Telegraph

26
Jun

Google live support app would share your Nexus phone’s screen


Buying a Nexus device straight from Google can be a little intimidating to newcomers. It’s not as if you can visit a Google store or your carrier for help, after all. If an Android Police leak is accurate, however, you might not have to. The Android creator is reportedly working on a Google Support app that would offer live help somewhat akin to Amazon’s Mayday. If needed, you’d have the option sharing your screen with a service agent — they could walk you through changing a setting without having to guess what you’re looking at. It’s not certain what else is in store, but it’s safe to say that chat would be part of the experience.

Just when it’d arrive is also murky, and that’s presuming it happens at all. Remember that Android Silver program that was supposed to offer live support and never materialized? Yeah. With that in mind, leaked app visuals suggest that this isn’t just a theoretical exercise. It wouldn’t be shocking if Support showed up alongside this year’s Nexus phones, giving you a safety net at the same time as you pick up that slick new handset. It wouldn’t just cheaper and more direct to get Nexus hardware, in other words — you’d get a special experience that gives rookies a reason to pick a Nexus besides the low price or pure Android.

Source: Android Police

13
Jun

Huawei P9 Review – an iPhone by any other OS would still taste of Apple


Since I own and use a Huawei Nexus 6P as my daily driver, I find myself in the unique position of being able to compare these two phones – one crafted with direct input from Google, and one the result of Huawei when left to its own means – side by side. Many of my observations in this piece will be comparisons between the two, despite the piece as a whole being a review of the Huawei P9, specifically.

Build

The aluminum frame feels great in the hand. It’s got a slim profile and weighs next to nothing – a stark contrast to the Nexus 6P, which is bigger and noticeably heftier in-hand. Oddly, the P9 is only 0.3mm thinner than the 6P, but feels much smaller – perhaps because the 6P is 38 grams heavier. The P9 is so light, in fact, that when it slipped out of my pocket when I sat down and embedded itself in the couch cushion, I never noticed until I went to check it.

The downside to that all-aluminum body is that when the phone gets hot, it gets hot. A video call with my sister for a mere 15 minutes made the thing nigh-unholdable (that is not a word), lest I burn the fingerprints from the tips of my fingers. 

Time to acknowledge the elephant in the room – the P9 looks just like an iPhone. From the shape, to the dimensions, to the random Torx screws on the bottom of the phone, it reeks of Apple design. I understand that people think Apple is the pinnacle of build quality, but ripping Apple’s aesthetic while using Google’s operating system seems so very wrong on so many levels.

Aside from looking like an iPhone, the rest of the phone is structured like a Nexus 6P – volume buttons and power button on the right side of the frame, fingerprint sensor on the back, Type-C USB on the bottom (although the headphone jack is on the bottom as well, not the top).

Huawei P9 Hardware

Screen

Quantitatively, the Nexus 6P is a superior screen – 0.5″ bigger on the diagonal (5.7″ AMOLED), a higher pixel density, and an oil resistant coating on top of corning Gorilla Glass 4 all work in the 6P’s favor. In practice, though I’ve found the P9’s display (5.2″ IPS LCD) to be equal or better in nearly every way. 

The pixel density difference is not immediately obvious to the eye, and the supposed oleophobic coating on the 6P didn’t prevent it from picking up fingerprints at the same prodigious rate as the P9. The latter’s display is every bit as gorgeous as the former’s, despite the 6P’s AMOLED screen. In certain side-by-side instances, the colors on the P9 are even more vibrant. Either way, the P9’s screen is pretty damn good. I took a side-by-side shot of the two screens to show the difference – presented without comment.

IMG_20160608_082730

Cameras

I’m gonna do this quick; like a bandaid, just tear it off – the P9’s camera blows the 6P out of the water. Badly. In all of my (amateur, highly unscientific and purely subjective) head-to-head comparisons, I preferred the P9 – both in terms of how easy it was to get the desired shot, and how the shot looked on its screen and on my computer. I’ve uploaded a gallery of images taken with the two phones for your perusal.

Huawei P9

 

The P9’s camera software more robust than Google’s, and it seems more responsive. The options list for the P9’s camera is extensive, to say the least: Photo, Monochrome, “Beauty” mode, Video, HDR, Panorama, Nighjt Shot, Light Painting, Time-Lapse, Slow-Mo, Watermark, Audio Note, and Document Readjustment. Wow.

This software also features a pretty nifty feature that turns off the camera if you leave it open for too long without doing anything with it – this would undoubtedly save some accidental battery loss.

The focus of the P9 is far superior to the 6P’s, making taking close-up shots way easier to capture; take a look at the Lego closeup and the closeup of the gaming miniature to see what I’m talking about. Additionally, the shutter speed on the P9 seemed a lot snappier than the 6P, which was sluggish by comparison.

In terms of front facing cameras, the P9’s really picks up insane amounts of detail – to the point where I saw my own selfie and thought “ugh, dat skin tho.” In short, the P9’s selfie cam is straight up better. I video chatted a few times with the P9 as well to get a feel for if the quality was any better on the receiving end, but my partner in crime for those calls didn’t seem to notice a difference.

Battery Life

In terms of battery, the P9 performs about how you’d expect with a 3000mAH battery; I got less than a day of my usage, which is to say about 3 hours of screen on time streaming music, refreshing Twitter like mad and texting like crazy. For comparison, my Nexus 6P manages about 4 hours of screen-on time before I need to charge it. The P9 doesn’t quite have the same lasting power, but it’s also no chump. With some battery saving considerations, there’s no reason the battery couldn’t last most people until bed time.

The P9 does not support the 6P’s 3A charging speeds, but the smaller battery and Type-C USB port mean it still charges pretty quickly compared to other devices.

Data, Coverage, Etc.

It’s important to note that the P9 does not support CDMA bands, only GSM – which means Sprint and Verizon customers are out of luck in the US (note that it does support HSPA and LTE, however). My reception with my T-Mobile nano SIM was pretty flawless, with no connection drops and very good quality calls.

WiFi performed as expected – in my case, lots of drops and lag, because the internet in my neck of the woods is awful, and I need to yell at the AT&T guy again. At Starbucks, however, the WiFi was just fine.

Features

The fingerprint reader is arguably faster than the Nexus 6P’s, but I feel like the 6P’s registers my finger correctly more often – note that this may be because of the way I set up my fingerprint on the two devices, which has a margin of human error.

The speaker placement on the P9 isn’t ideal, especially in comparison to the front-facing dual speakers of the Nexus 6P. Holding the phone one-handed in my typical left-handed grip – index finger bracing the left side, middle finger supporting the back, pinky under the bottom of the frame – actually blocks the speaker, muffling the volume. When unimpeded by fat fingers, the volume can compete with the best of them, but the overall sound quality seems a bit hollow to me.

Firmware

Long story, short: if you like iOS’s launcher, or MIUI, this phone is for you. It eschews Google’s signature app drawer in favor of spreading each and every single icon of each and every single app you install on your homescreen. This, to me, results in way too many icons – especially if you start adding widgets.There are a number of cute options within the launcher: transition animations, auto-align icons, shake to align, and homescreen looping are among them.

In terms of performance, I ran into a number of jitters and hesitations when running around in the menus, but to its credit the P9 ran Android 6.0 admirably, and didn’t lag a whole lot; buttery smooth, for the most part. One area the P9 does struggle with, though, is the keyboard – I ran into a bunch of occasions where it would hesitate to input my keystrokes, resulting in many, many backtracks.

Final Thoughts

I had a really great time with this phone. It often felt as good, if not occasionally superior, to my Nexus 6P, especially in terms of how it felt in the hand. The launcher – and, indeed, Huawei’s modified OS in general – was not my bag, for I’m an AndroidGuy (I’m ashamed of that plug), not an Apple Guy.

Basic Spec Comparison

Phone: Huawei P9

Android Version: 6.0

Screen: 5.2″ IPS LCD

Resolution: 1080×1920 (401ppi)

CPU: HiSilicon 2.5ghz Octa-core

RAM: 3GB

Storage: 32GB internal (expandable)

Camera: 12mp duo camera

Battery: 3000mAh, Type C Charging

Price: 599.99 at Amazon

Phone: Huawei Nexus 6P

Android Version: 6.0

Screen: 5.7″ AMOLED

Resolution: 1440×2560 (518ppi)

CPU: 2Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810

RAM: 3GB

Storage: Up to 128gb (nonexpandable)

Camera: 12.3mp

Battery: 3450mAh, Type C Charging

Price: 419.99-569.99 at Amazon

6
Jun

Huawei manager says it’s making another Nexus device


It’s now been seven months since Huawei began selling its first (very well made) Nexus smartphone and consumers are already looking at what Google has planned for its 2016 refresh. The search giant typically keeps its manufacturing partners close to its chest, so it’s fallen on the Chinese company to start teasing a future device on its behalf. In an interview with Gear Burn, Charlene Munilall, General Manager of its South African consumer business group, has suggested that Huawei is building another Nexus device, telling the gadget site “we’re doing the Nexus again this year, by the way.”

Huawei was one of two Nexus smartphone partners last year, with LG supplying the Nexus 5X. Google has said it will do the same thing this time around to cater for fans who like the option of a core Nexus handset or something more high end. Huawei could be placed to fill one of those spots, but early rumors have suggested that HTC is on board to make both Nexus smartphones, which are reported to be codenamed Marlin and Sailfish.

If that is the case, there is also the possibility that we’ll see a Huawei-made tablet. Google may want to follow up the release of the Pixel C — the first tablet that it designed completely in-house — with another Surface-like slate, and Huawei could be the one to provide it. That is if Huawei’s regional executive isn’t speaking out of turn, of course. We’re still a few months away from a potential Google event but we’ve reached out to the companies involved to clarify the manager’s statement.

Via: Pocket Lint

Source: Gear Burn

2
Jun

Google will add special touches to Nexus phone software


For years, Google’s Nexus devices have been synonymous with stock Android. While they may be showcases for new features, they still represent the baseline for what the platform can do. That might not last for much longer, though. CEO Sundar Pichai told guests at the Code Conference that Google will “thoughtfully add more features” to Android on Nexus phones going forward. The company will also be more “opinionated” about the design, the exec said. Third-party companies will still make the hardware, but it’s evident that rumors of Google taking greater control of the Nexus program were well-founded.

You can see the Nexus-related remarks below, starting at the 20:24 mark.

The chat also saw Pichai tackle concerns about privacy, especially for Google Home. No, you won’t have to share your voice command history with Google — there will be an “off the record” mode that doesn’t send your data. The CEO also mentioned hopes for tighter control over privacy as a whole. He imagined telling Google to forget the last 4 hours of search activity, as an example.

On top of this, Pichai was adamant that Google “want[s] to be in China” and is taking a “thoughtful” approach to making it happen. Just what that means isn’t immediately apparent, although there has been talk of Google Play and a handful of Android services coming to China. The big challenge is balancing the company’s desire for profit with its historical aversion to censorship. As much as the company hates that its services aren’t available on Android phones sold in China, it also doesn’t like having to remove apps or search terms in the name of silencing political dissent.

Via: Business Insider

Source: The Verge, Recode, YouTube

29
May

Google Photos celebrates first birthday and 24 billion selfies


Happy birthday, Google Photos. In the year since its launch, the service has created 1.6 billion animations, collages and movies from your snapshots, according to a post on the Google blog. More than that, there’ve been some 2 trillion labels, with 24 billion of them categorizing selfies. All told, the search giant says that thanks to the cloud backup option, the app’s 200 million users have collectively cleared 13.7 petabytes of storage from their phones. If you’ll remember, opting for high quality photo uploads offers unlimited storage, but choosing original quality counts against your overall Google storage. That may change in the future if you own a Nexus device, though.

A teardown of the latest update for the app by Android Police reveals that Nexus folks could soon have another benefit other than speedy firmware updates: unlimited original-quality photo and video storage. More than that, it looks like the app could see internal adjustment tools for exposure and contrast.

Way down the road, we might see Google Assistant going a further than it currently does and delete duplicate photos or blurry shots, according to a Buzzfeed News interview with Photos lead Anil Sabharwal. Why? Because a lot of the people using the app live in developing countries and their phones don’t have a lot of storage. This would allow them to free up even more space. With the developing market in mind, Sabharwal goes on to say that improvements are coming to proximity sharing via Bluetooth (which doesn’t eat into mobile data) as well, which should boost the current 25 million photo transfers that take place per week.

Even if you’ve been using the app since day one, there’s a chance that you might not know a few of its ins and outs (like searching for photos via emoji). The source link below has more tips and tricks to take for a spin after you’ve spent the long weekend capturing summer memories.

Via: Google Photos (G+)

Source: Google blog, Buzzfeed News, Android Police

27
May

How to get your Android phone ready to sell


You’ve just bought the latest Android superphone so there are two things you need to take care of: firstly, you need to liberate your content and data from your old Android handset and secondly, you need to sell it, to liberate some cash. 

Android offers plenty of options when it comes to transferring data between devices and in many cases you won’t need to do very much at all. The experience, of course, depends a little on how old your phone is, but this method should work for most people. 

Backup, backup, backup

Before you wipe your old phone, it needs to be backed-up. There are a lot of manufacturer options, but the easiest is to use Android’s own backup system. Head into the settings of your own phone and there should be a backup and reset option in the menu.

Make sure this is turned on, and your phone will be backed up to your Google account, meaning that many of your settings and apps can be restored on your new phone when you sign in for the first time.

Backup your photos and video

In many cases, it’s your photos and videos that you care about the most. Again, there are a wealth of options to ensure these don’t get lost. Using Google Photos gives you the option to backup to Google Drive, so when you sign-in on your new phone, all your photos are there. You have the option of full size, or reduced size backups. 

Better still, you can choose the folder you want backing up – if you don’t want all those WhatsApp or Instagram photos, you don’t have to sync that folder. 

You can also use services like Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive to back-up your photos, again letting you access them through the respective apps on your new phone. 

Use device transfer tools

Android has a built-in content transfer tool, making it easy to move from an old phone to a new one. In this case, you’ll need to select the option on your new phone when you’re setting it up. This will let you pair with your old phone and transfer over a lot of the important stuff, like your account details.

Some manufacturers, such as Samsung, have their own content transfer tools – and often this can include things like SMS messages if you really want to keep a full history. Alternatively, you can try an app like SMS Backup if you want to move messages from your old phone to a new one. 

Transfer your music

If you’ve been buying digital music and downloading to your phone, it’s often easy enough to download it again from the service you used before on your new device. However, if you transferred it to your device, you could sync it with Google Music, again meaning you can access it through your new handset. 

Alternatively, you can upload music files to cloud storage services like Google Drive or Dropbox, and download on your new device. If you’re moving big music collections, then having it on a microSD card is the easiest option, assuming both devices support external storage cards. 

Wipe your handset

Once you are happy you have all the content from your old phone (and be sure to setup your new phone fully to check) you need to make sure your old phone is wiped clean. 

Firstly, remove the microSD card as you will want to keep this and remove the old SIM too. Secondly, use the full reset option on your phone. Some devices offer an option to reset the settings without wiping the content. You don’t want to do that, you want to fully erase the content of your phone. In the Android settings you’ll find the option to reset and you’ll often have to confirm that you’re wiping the content too. 

Make sure it’s properly wiped

You might just stop there, but it’s often worth re-accessing your phone to ensure it is actually wiped. You could connect it to a PC or Mac via USB and examine the files and folders to check that things like photo folders are empty to make sure. 

Or, you can setup your phone as a new device again and use a wiping app, like AndroShredder. This will write over the blank space on your phone again to make it more difficult to recover data from it.

If you’re really keen, you can setup a new Google Account just for wiping data. Log in with this account on your old device so that your normal data doesn’t all sync again from your main account. 

Sell your phone to get the cash back

Just because you’ve finished with an Android phone, doesn’t mean it is without value. You can sell it quickly and easily to get some cash back into your pocket. 

Using a service like musicMagpie, all you have to do is head to musicMagpie.co.uk, enter the device you’re selling and the condition it is in and you’ll be able to see how much it’s worth.

Sending the device is simple as there are a range of free sending or collection options. You’ll then be paid on the day that musicMagpie receives your device, if you’ve opted for bank transfer. It’s as simple as that.

Want to sell your old phone? Check out Pocket-lint’s preferred recycling partner musicMagpie.co.uk / decluttr.com to find out how much money you can get for it.

26
May

Android N could arrive on your phone sooner than you think


Google’s parent company Alphabet is reportedly stepping up its game to make sure operating system updates arrive faster across devices, which should start with Android N.

Currently the Android operating system can rollout quickly to gadgets running pure Android, like Nexus devices. Other handsets with their own user interfaces, like Samsung with TouchWiz, take longer to get the OS as an update. Sources of Bloomberg claim Alphabet is considering using a system to speed this process up.

Alphabet allegedly plans to publish a ranking system that promotes those who get the update rolled out quickest, but shames those who take too long.

Apple is the big competition here. Thanks to its more closed system, that only works on its own hardware, the latest iOS is on 84 per cent of handsets. Android, by comparison, only has its newest Marshmallow software on 7.5 per cent of Android handsets.

Since Google relies on getting its new software to users, via the updates, it’s important for the fragmentation of hardware to stop affecting software updates. This is also an issue for security which may put off some users entirely, especially after the Stagefright hack.

Google has reportedly already drawn up a list ranking phone makers by how up to date their security patches and operating systems are. That list may soon become public as a way to help speed up future updates. Even getting this threat in the media could be a move by Alphabet to prod manufacturers and networks.

Now we simply have to wait until the Android N update begins rolling out in the autumn to see if any of this takes effect.

READ: Android N preview: Everything you need to know

20
May

Are you an Android N beta tester?


Sure, Google only proclaimed its newest build of Android N a “beta-quality” candidate yesterday, but that’s more than enough time to formulate a hot take. With the new method of announcing and testing releases extremely early, the folks at Mountain View have made enrolling as a beta tester incredibly easy — if you own a compatible device (Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, General Mobile 4G) then you can click a button on this website to dive in. Of course, if you haven’t already enrolled, the usual warnings still apply. This test software still has some issues to work out, and if you decide it’s not for you, then going back to Marshmallow will require a full device wipe so keep your important data backed up elsewhere.

Surely some of you have already taken the plunge, so click below and let us know how it’s going — or what’s holding you back.

Android N updater on a Nexus 6p

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Google I/O 2016 Keynote in Under 12 MinutesAre you using the Android N beta?

For all the latest news and updates from Google I/O 2016, follow along here.

Source: Android Beta Program

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