The WiFi Assistant feature from Google’s Project Fi wireless network turned out to be one of Nicole’s favorite parts of the service, and now more people will have access to it. Google announced today that it’s bringing the ability to “automatically and securely connect” to over a million hotspots to Nexus owners in the US, Canada, Mexico and Nordic countries. WiFi Assistant identifies open, unprotected hotspots with good connections, and if you don’t want your network on the list then you may want to take a look at these instructions (or, just make sure it has any password protection at all).
Since it’s operating on open wireless networks by nature, WiFi Assistant uses a Google VPN to try and secure the connection. Ideally, it just makes sure you have an internet connection that you can trust, wherever you are, without the need to do anything manually. The FAQ should do a lot to explain exactly how the feature works and give you some time to get used to it as the feature rolls out “over the next few weeks.”
Source: Nexus (Google+), WiFi Assistant FAQ
If there was any doubt that HTC is working on at least one Nexus phone this year, the FCC (and a handful of leaks) just erased it. The regulator has received an HTC filing for smartphones that will be explicitly branded as a Nexus — a letter says you’ll find the user manual on Google’s Nexus page. The entries don’t really show the devices or say exactly what they can do, but the hardware should have full network support for all major North American carriers and beyond. Not that there’s much mystery as to what one of those devices looks like, as you’ll soon see.
Leaks from both Android Police and @Usbfl on Twitter show photos of what’s believed to be the 5-inch Marlin, the smaller of two Nexus devices that HTC is reportedly making this year (the other is the 5.5-inch Sailfish). They line up with a previous render AP made based on a source’s description, and support earlier rumors that both HTC Nexus devices would have a metal-and-glass design, not just the larger one like last year.
Assuming the images are accurate, they also suggest that earlier spec leaks are on the mark. Whether you choose Marlin or Sailfish may depend entirely on your preferred screen size. Both would have a higher-end Snapdragon processor (most likely the 820 or 821), 4GB of RAM, a 12-megapixel rear camera, an 8-megapixel front shooter and at least 32GB of built-in storage. Logically, 2015-era perks like a rear fingerprint reader and USB-C would carry over. There’s still no definitive release window for either Nexus, but they won’t necessarily launch at the same time as the Android Nougat upgrade arrives. Most likely, you’ll have to wait until sometime after LG unveils the first Nougat phone on September 6th.
The 2016 HTC Nexus looks like a cross between the Nexus 4 & iPhone with glass and fingerprint scanner on the back. pic.twitter.com/7pm9fhszki
— nexus (@usbfl) August 14, 2016
Via: The Next Web
Source: FCCID.io, Android Police, Usbfl (Twitter)
While we’ve had early looks at Android Nougat for months, it appears Google may be saving other software tweaks for its next Nexus devices. Android Police has screenshots that it says show “in progress” evidence of the new software, with a replacement for the Google Search bar widget at the top, a new way to open up the app drawer and space for potentially revamped navigation buttons.
As some commenters mention, the slide-up app drawer shown in the pictures brings to mind the Android experience of we started with on the T-Mobile G1. Up top, the slide-out G button for searching and calendar widget look well-positioned for a focus on the new Google Assistant AI. As the calendar keeps turning, we’re getting closer and closer to seeing the new Nexus lineup, but even these leaks could change by then — stay tuned.
Source: Android Police
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+)
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
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Storage: Up to 128gb (nonexpandable)
Battery: 3450mAh, Type C Charging
Price: 419.99-569.99 at Amazon
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
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
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