In this week’s top stories: Google might be removing voice unlock from Android, Night Sight makes an early debut with impressive results, more OnePlus 6T leaks hit the web, and much more.
The best gifts for Android users
One of our biggest stories of this week came from that of the news that Google might be removing voice unlock from Android. The feature, beloved by many, no longer ships with Google’s Pixel 3 phones, and according to our teardown it might be going away for good on all devices.
For several years now, the Google app allowed users to unlock a device with your voice when interacting with Google Assistant. After removing on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, “Unlock with Voice Match” appears to be nearing deprecation and replacement on all other Android devices given that it’s not too secure.
Another huge Google story that landed this week was the reveal that Google Play Movies would be following Apple’s example from last year and offering free upgrades to 4K on all eligible purchases, as well as dropping prices overall.
Starting today, Google Play will automatically upgrade both SD and HD movies to 4K for free. Google is also making Ultra HD content more affordable, while also updating its smart TV applications.
We also spent some hands-on time with Google’s new Night Sight camera feature this week. Set to officially arrive on Pixel 3 and other Pixels next month, this feature works some serious magic with nighttime photography. Check out the video below for some examples of what it’s capable of.
- Google’s ‘Night Sight’ feature on Pixel 3 is simply impressive, here are some samples [Gallery + Video]
Ahead of its October 29th event next week, some last-minute leaks of the OnePlus 6T hit the web this week. This included one huge leak which confirmed many specifications as well as showing off a few new renders.
- OnePlus 6T leak reveals new images, confirms specifications w/ 86% screen-to-body, Android Pie
- OnePlus 6T reportedly passes Verizon certification, to work with the network at launch
In Pixel 3 news, more drama came out this week surrounding memory management issues and the camera as well. Many users report problems with the device which causes background apps to be killed easily. Other reported photos not saving from the camera app. For the latter, at least, Google has promised a fix.
Google representative confirmed that a fix would arrive “in the coming weeks” on all three generations of Pixel devices. The statement notes that this bug is “rare,” but it’s certainly become a lot more common on the Pixel 3, presumably due to part to memory management issues.
We also published our full review of the Google Home Hub earlier this week with our own Stephen Hall praising the usefulness of the device, as well as its excellent form factor.
I think at $149, though, Google Home Hub is simply a great addition to any room — especially if you’re already in the Assistant ecosystem. If you don’t have a Google Home yet and want to get started with the most functional and helpful one yet, there is a lot value for your dollar here with this one — but then again, you can’t really go wrong with the Home or the Home Mini, either.
Thanks to some leaked screenshots, we also got a closer look at Samsung’s take on Google’s Android 9 Pie. A beta build for the Galaxy S9+ reveals a lot of interesting changes and an overall good look from Samsung.
Our own Damien Wilde also took a closer look at the Nokia 7.1 this week, praising the $349 smartphone as a killer option for those on a budget.
Overall I feel that HMD and Nokia have knocked it out of the park with the Nokia 7.1, especially when you consider the price. For those of us that feel we must have the newest, best performing or even with the best camera, then I’d say on the face of things, then this won’t be anywhere near the top of your shopping list.
The rest of this week’s top stories follow:
- Google Pixel 3 handicaps fast wireless charging on 3rd-party chargers, full speed only on Pixel Stand w/ proprietary standard
- Google Pixel 2 will add ‘Now Playing’ history, Pixel 3 camera app begins rolling out
- Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 goes official w/ no notch, sliding camera module, 10GB RAM, Snapdragon 845
- Anker announces Nebula Capsule II projector w/ Android TV, 720p resolution, ‘Model Zero+’ Assistant speaker
- OnePlus pop-up shops will allow fans to get the OnePlus 6T a week early
- Mobvoi Ticwatch C2 launches w/ classy design, 42mm size, Wear OS, NFC, $199 price
- Report: Google shielded Andy Rubin, other ex-Google executives accused of sexual misconduct
- Google looking for Wear OS testers on new products and services w/ survey
- Chromecast 2nd-gen and Chromecast Ultra may be updated w/ multi-room audio support
- Google seemingly preparing Assistant for Europe Android app unbundling w/ Voice Action Services
- Sundar Pichai talks Google Pixel challenges, but ‘everything is progressing well’
- YouTube TV offering one-week credit alongside apology for outage
- Google Photos limits new Live Albums to 10,000 photos, stops adding at that point
- Alphabet reports Q3 2018 revenue of $33.74 billion
- Asus launches three new Chromebooks w/ slim bezels, USB-C, and affordable price tags
- Chrome OS 70 rolling out w/ completely redesigned tablet UI, floating Gboard, more
- Google Assistant coming to ‘all’ Chrome OS devices with new web backend
- Google Chrome 71 is now available in the beta channel
Apps & Updates |
- Google Phone 25 preps dark theme that syncs w/ Contacts, sharing blocked numbers [APK Insight]
- Google app 8.39 preps Material Theme ‘More’ tab, Assistant ‘Add a Car,’ and Discover [APK Insight]
- Gboard 7.7 preps ‘Clipboard,’ on-device voice typing, Sand theme, more [APK Insight]
- Google Photos 4.4 preps more Suggested Actions for sharing [APK Insight]
- WhatsApp introduces long-awaited stickers, rolling out in the next few weeks