In this week’s top stories: Google finally launched the Android Messages update that delivers Material Theme and Dark Mode, we compare OnePlus cameras, Google One launched to everyone, we detailed the best phones and smartwatches you can buy, and much more.
The best gifts for Android users
On Friday, Google launched Android Messages 3.5 over Google Play which delivers a Material Theme redesign, as well as an official dark mode. Strangely, though, the update was rolled back just a day later.
In recent weeks, Google Contacts, Duo, and Phone have all been updated with the Google Material Theme. We’ve been tracking a similar redesign for Android Messages since June and it’s now beginning to roll out today, alongside a dark mode.
This redesign also involves a significant tweak of the mobile apps, starting with a new icon that’s reminiscent of the old Hangouts Dialer and replaces the previous light blue and white logo. The new dark green background is the same shade as Hangouts Chat and Meet, with that accent color present throughout the rest of the application.
Google One also finally made its public debut, and is rolling out now to all users.
Google One, first announced at Google I/O 2018, is Google’s new all-in-one subscription package for Drive storage, online support for services, and other handy perks. After a few months in an invite-only beta, it’s now open to all.
A new report late this week also reiterated that refreshed Chromecast hardware is likely coming soon. Apparently, this new hardware will arrive with improved wireless capabilities.
[This week’s] filing details a hardware change to the 5GHz antenna aimed at improving WiFi performance by increasing the maximum antenna gain, or “how much power is transmitted in the direction” of a Wi-Fi router, in the case of a streaming device.
We also detailed the best smartphones and smartwatches you can buy in our ongoing monthly list, this month highlighted by new options such as the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy Watch.
- Best Android smartphones – August 2018
- Best affordable Android smartphones – August 2018
- Best smartwatches for Android – August 2018
Our own Damien Wilde also spent some time this week with OnePlus smartphones, revisiting the OnePlus 5T in a new video and also comparing the cameras of the past couple of generations of OnePlus hardware, with interesting results.
The rest of this week’s top stories follow:
- Google working on native hearing aid support for an upcoming Android release
- Motorola P30 goes official for China w/ thin bezels, huge notch, and iPhone X design
- The next version of Android will allow manual Google Drive backups
- Has your battery life been worse on Android 9 Pie? [Poll]
- Google clarifies how it still tracks you when Location History is turned off
- Googlers petition for transparency, ethical review of censored Chinese search engine
- Report: Google to open ‘flagship’ retail store in Chicago
- Google’s Public DNS turns ‘188.8.131.52 years old,’ teases ‘exciting’ future announcements
- Google Pixel 3 XL notch spotted from a mile away in latest spy shot
- Nearing a year since launch, Google Pixel 2 XL owners report varying degrees of sluggishness
- Android 9 Pie causing fast charging issues for many Google Pixel/XL (2016) owners
- Google halts Chrome OS 68 update after Wi-Fi issues on some Chromebooks
- Google may deliver Windows 10 dual-boot support on multiple Chromebooks w/ ‘Campfire’
- Pixelbook may be the only current Chromebook to get Windows 10 support
- ASUS Chromebook 12 C223 goes official w/ Intel Celeron, 4GB RAM
- Google Voice w/ tweaked navigation & Contacts tab rolling out to Android via server-side update
- Google Voice redesigned w/ new icon, Contacts tab, & Calendar-set DND, rolling out now to iOS
- Google Duo 38 adds Material Theme, removes screen sharing & vibration toggle [APK Insight]