In this week’s top stories: leaked prototypes give us our best look at the Galaxy S10 & S10 Plus yet, we show off one of the best Pixel 3 cases, celebrate the arrival of Android Pie beta on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8, and more.
This week’s leading story is the biggest leak of the Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus yet, with detailed photos of prototype versions of both phones. Both leaked Galaxy S10 prototypes confirm the rumored punch-hole style notch. As these are not final devices, some things may still be subject to change.
One major inclusion that I think will keep audio fans happy is the inclusion of the headphone port down at the bottom of the device. It’s such a sore point for many, that Samsung is slowly becoming the only champion for the outgoing input port even though we still don’t have a decent replacement. Bluetooth headphone and USB-C are not yet good enough across the board in my opinion.
Another highlight this week is Ben Schoon’s review of what is arguably one of the best Pixel 3 / Pixel 3 XL case on the market, the ‘Made for Google’ Nomad Rugged case. Made with high quality leather, the Nomad Rugged case is designed to look better with age.
At $45, why is this case worth picking up? There are a lot of leather cases out there, including some on Google’s own store and in the “Made for Google” program just like this one, but Nomad’s is designed to look better over time. All leather wears with use, but the genuine Horween leather used on the Nomad Rugged Case for the Pixel 3 develops a “rugged” patina all while not adding much bulk.
Samsung is continuing the expansion of its Android Pie beta program, bringing the optional update to unlocked Galaxy S8, S8+ and Note 8 devices in the US. As always, the update is available through the Samsung+ app.
After signing up to the beta program for your specific device, you will be sent an OTA notification to download the beta to your Snapdragon-powered device.
That means that you’ll see firmware versions G950U1UEU5ZSAB and G955U1UEU5ZSAB for the unlocked Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. Whereas the unlocked Galaxy Note 8 gets firmware version N950U1UEU5ZSAB.
In Android Q news, we uncovered a major downside to Android’s next version. Namely, Android Q will give network carriers new ways to SIM lock your device, including new restrictions for dual-SIM phones.
More specifically, it will be possible to designate a list of “allowed” and “excluded” carriers, essentially a whitelist and a blacklist of what will and won’t work on a particular phone. This can be done with a fine-grained detail to even allow blocking virtual carrier networks that run on the same towers as your main carrier.
Visible, the MVNO launched last year by Verizon offering $40/month unlimited data plans, is moving away from its original iPhone exclusivity to allow Android devices. Visible’s new Android support is starting with the Galaxy S9.
Users can bring their own unlocked Galaxy S9 to the service and pay $40 a month for unlimited data at 5mbps, as well as unlimited talk and text. Alternatively, Visible is also now selling hardware directly. That includes several different iPhone models, but also now the Galaxy S9 and S9+ for $32 or $38 respectively with financing through Affirm.
Rounding out the week, we learned of the Google Pixel 3 XL picking up very early support for Google’s upcoming Fuchsia OS. The surprising part of the story is that the support is coming from an indie developer, rather than from Google themselves.
Interestingly, this new support was not added by Google, but instead by an indie developer named Zhuowei Zhang. Zhang is known by the Android Minecraft community as the developer of BlockLauncher, a tool to let you use shaders and mods in Minecraft Pocket Edition. Zhang now spends his time doing interesting code projects for his personal blog. It’s possible we may see a breakdown of how he was able to develop Fuchsia support for the Pixel 3 XL on his blog in the near future.
The rest of this week’s top stories follow:
- Sony’s Android TVs are now picking up Android Oreo update w/ new interface and bug fixes
- Vivo Apex 2019 concept phone has no buttons or ports w/ full display fingerprint sensor, 12GB RAM, 5G support
- Moto G7 lineup leaked out on Motorola’s own website, here’s the full spec list [Gallery]
- Insane Xiaomi foldable phone surfaces and looks better than any we’ve seen thus far
- Alleged ‘Google coral’ benchmark emerges w/ Snapdragon 855, 6GB RAM, and Android Q
Apps & Update |
- Google Voice VoIP calling is rolling out now, available to everyone by next week
- Google to transition consumer Hangouts ‘classic’ users to Chat & Meet after G Suite upgrade later this year
- YouTube Music 2.67 features UI tweaks, Queue changes, more [APK Insight]
- Android Q System UI reveals version 10, face recognition dialog, Screen Recording, WPA3, more [APK Insight]
- Google app with Material Theme bottom bar, reorganized settings more widely rolling out
- YouTube TV expands nationwide, now covers 98% of Americans just in time for the Super Bowl
- [Update: Live] DeepMind demonstrating latest AI progress on playing StarCraft II [Livestream]
- Google poaches 14-year Mac veteran from Apple to bring Fuchsia to market
- Google hit with largest GDPR fine to date over lack of data and ad transparency
- Alphabet Scoop 039: Beginning of the end for Hangouts, Wear OS, Fuchsia developments
Google Chrome |
- Google is proposing a change to Chrome that would break ad blockers like uBlock Origin
- Google’s Project Stream test trial of ‘Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’ has ended
Google Pixel |
- The Google Pixel 3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 9 top DxOMark’s new selfie camera leaderboard
- Redditor claims his Pixel 3 XL caught fire, but that doesn’t mean yours will
- You can hear a caller’s conversation while using Call Screen on Google Pixel by adjusting volume
- The Samsung Galaxy S8 getting a second Android Pie beta update
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8 receiving second Android Pie beta update
- Samsung Gear S3, Gear Sport update includes Health, UI, app, and other improvements
- Latest Galaxy S10 reports reveal potential pricing and release date, new smartwatch and tablet may also be incoming
- Galaxy S10 leak shows off punch-hole display, Samsung’s new cryptocurrency wallet
- Samsung Galaxy S10 models leak out in new renders as in-display fingerprint is confirmed
- Samsung launches new ultra-slim 20-megapixel ISOCELL sensors for full-screen smartphones
Wear OS |
- Ticwatch E2 and S2 deliver Wear OS starting at $159, now available for purchase
- Wear OS-powered Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon gets Snapdragon Wear 3100, 1GB RAM, more