In this week’s top stories: we learned from Ring that smart home security is not something to be taken lightly, said “so long” to two beloved LG phones, and hope for the future with Doodle for Google 2019.
Our biggest story of the week was a cautionary tale of exactly how wrong smart home security can be. Amazon-owned Nest competitor, Ring is in hot water over the reported ability for US employees to watch the feed from almost any Ring camera. Some employees used this ability to watch other employees’ feeds and tease them about “romantic dates.”
Meanwhile, a second group of Ring employees working on R&D in Ukraine had access to a folder housing “every video created by every Ring camera around the world.” What’s more, these employees had a “corresponding database that linked each specific video file to corresponding specific Ring customers.”
In Android news, LG is pulling life support on two well-received phones from 2016, the LG G5 and V20. Both phones launched on Android Nougat, and took entirely too long to receive Android Oreo. As a previous owner of an LG V20, this news is especially disheartening.
What’s more damning is that LG had originally promised two years of software and security updates for the LG V20, but doesn’t meet the commitment as it avoids an Android Pie update. Overall, this is just massively disappointing news.
Doodle for Google brought just the kind of lighthearted news we need this week. On Tuesday, 2018’s winning doodle, drawn by a second grader, was displayed on the Google homepage. This year, Google, joined by Jimmy Fallon and Kermit the Frog, are looking for K-12 students to submit a doodle based on the theme “When I grow up, I hope…”
Doodles are judged on artistic merit, creativity, and theme communication, with artwork grouped into five grade groups. Finalists are further judged on a state-by-state basis with 53 State and Territory Winners, five National Finalists, and one National Winner. The latter wins a $30,000 scholarship while their school gets a $50,000 technology package.
At CES 2019, we saw a very interesting looking case for the Pixel 3. Designed by Tech 21, it includes a full soft keyboard for typing. But unlike most wireless keyboards you may be familiar with, it is not battery powered, and therefore does not need to be charged. The exact technical details are still a mystery, but from our testing it seems to be very effective.
What’s especially interesting about the Evo Type for the Pixel 3 XL is that it’s not a Bluetooth accessory. Rather, it connects solely using NFC. We’re still trying to get more details on how this works, but Tech21 says that it draws very little power from the phone itself. When I did test it out, the connection seemed solid with almost no lag in the keystrokes.
It’s that time of the year again, for OnePlus owners — the annual OxygenOS Satisfaction Survey for 2018. OnePlus is looking for device owners to share direct feedback on the OxygenOS experience in 2018 and how it could be improved for 2019.
Right at the end, you’re given the option to give the OxygenOS team some direct feedback for 2019, which is a neat touch as if Manu is to be believed, then OnePlus will likely share any pertinent points with the development team. That means your opinion could really help shape the future development of OxygenOS — which is pretty neat.
Finally, at CES 2019, the Google Assistant got better integrated with Google Maps, with new commands, and a new UI to match. The new Assistant interface will also switch to dark mode as needed to match the Google Maps interface. Most interestingly, the Assistant can now intelligently insert punctuation into sentences you speak to be sent to others.
Navigation-related commands include searching for places along your route, adding new stops, and sharing your ETA with contacts. Other useful features include playing music and podcasts, as well as replies. Compared to the previous voice commands, users will stay inside Google Maps and not get kicked out to the phone dialer or other app to complete a requested action.
The rest of this week’s top stories follow:
CES 2019 |
- Why AMD is making Chromebook chips, and how it’s beating Intel at the entry-level
- [Update: Pricing] Brydge announces Chrome OS keyboard and touchpad with Bluetooth, USB-C
- 9to5Google’s Best of CES 2019 Awards
- JBL Link Drive is a $60 always-on Google Assistant mic that integrates with any car, iOS, and Android
- Mobvoi Ticwatch E2 and Ticwatch S2 go official w/ Snapdragon Wear 2100, bigger battery
- Asus announces Chromebook Flip C434 w/ premium metal body, edge-to-edge 14-inch screen
- Hands-on: Matrix PowerWatch 2 is a fitness-tracking smartwatch that uses body heat for power, integrates Google Fit
- Google sets up at CES 2019 w/ ‘Assistant Playground,’ monorail ads, giant LVCC banner [Gallery]
- Android Q may open RCS messaging to third-party app developers via new APIs
- [Update: Turns out it was accidental] Some Sony Android-powered TVs are now blocking Kodi
- Report: Google working on Android TV minimum hardware requirements, attracting 3rd-party apps
- Huawei P30 surfaces in leaked renders and 360-degree vid w/ 3 rear cameras, teardrop notch, no fingerprint reader [Video]
- Square launches In-App Payments SDK for Android, iOS, Flutter
- [Update: Issues now resolved] Recent update for T-Mobile OnePlus 6T breaking Google Pay and Play Protect
Apps & Updates |
- Wear OS ‘H update’ w/ Android 9 Pie begins rolling out to some Gen 4 Fossil, Skagen watches
- Google rolling out new Pixel ‘Check for update’ UI with Material Theme tweaks
- January security patch rolling out to Google Pixel, factory images and OTAs live
- YouTube Music 2.65 continues work on sideloaded tracks, could be pre-installed on Android [APK Insight]
- Google app 9.0 preps Podcasts transcription, rounded Assistant corners, and 9to5G shout-out! [APK Insight]
- Chrome OS may soon let companies choose their own distro for Linux apps
- Dark mode is coming soon to Chrome for Android
- Google says it is discontinuing the Chromecast Audio
- After Apple shock, Samsung issues Q4 guidance well below market expectations
- Samsung blog post may have accidentally confirmed the Samsung Galaxy S10 design