In this week’s top stories: the official Stadia app hits the Play Store, the original Google Pixel phones receive one final update, Google Camera 7.2 arrives for older Pixel phones, and more.
With less than two weeks to go until the official launch of Stadia, Google uploaded the game streaming service’s official Android app to the Play Store on Thursday. Unfortunately the app doesn’t let you play without an invite code from a Stadia Founders Edition, Premiere Edition, or Buddy Pass.
The Play Store listing for Google Stadia reveals a bit more about the app’s UI though. The main “Home” tab will display your games, each overlaid with a large play button. The previously unseen “Explore” tab looks like it will show relevant community posts. At the top of that page, we also see icons for YouTube, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and Discord.
Soon after release, our APK Insight team dug in and found an impressive variety of tidbits about Stadia as a service. We now know that Stadia may have player limits and how much data running at 4K may use, along with every feature that won’t arrive with Stadia at launch.
On Monday, the November 2019 security patch released to most Pixel phones, but the original Google Pixel and Pixel XL were excluded. This was actually not a surprise though, as Google promises three years of security updates for its devices and the original Pixels just reached that three year mark. All things considered, Pixel owners got more than they were originally promised, as Google only committed to two major Android version updates, but delivered three (Oreo, Pie, and 10).
Google confirmed to The Verge that the Pixel and Pixel XL will not get the November security patch. However, there will be “one final software update” in December that encompasses features and fixes from both months. Afterwards, the original Made by Google phones will no longer be updated.
For the rest of Google’s lineup of past Pixel phones, the company delivered an update to the Google Camera app, bringing those older devices in line with the Pixel 4. The majority of the changes are to the UI rather than the functionality of the camera. This week’s update doesn’t bring anything new to the phones, however, if you’ve already sideloaded Google Camera 7.2 from a Pixel 4.
The biggest addition of course is Astrophotography mode for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a. Like the Pixel 4, you’ll be able to take amazing shots of the pitch black sky. It’s a part of Night Sight and your Pixel will automatically recognize when you’re taking very dark shots.
Since Google I/O, we’ve known that the phone screen based Android Auto experience was on the way out, to be replaced by a new Google Assistant Driving Mode with Android 10. However, this didn’t quite pan out, with Assistant Driving Mode still not available and Android Auto’s phone UI disappearing for some. This week, Google released the “Android Auto for phone screens” app as a stopgap measure to restore the availability of Android Auto.
According to the Play Store, the app was released on November 4th, but the last update (version 1.1) was interestingly on October 29th. Google does not have a new release date for Assistant Driving Mode.
Finally, this week it was found that the Google Pixel 4’s astrophotography mode, which takes very long-exposure photos, is also capable of capturing the “light trail” effect of a passing vehicle.
The rest of this week’s top stories follow:
- [Update: OnePlus 6 rollout restarted] Stable Android 10 update now rolling out for OnePlus 6/6T
- [Update: Note 9, Galaxy S9] November 2019 security patch already rolling for the Samsung Galaxy S10
- Pixel 4 vs. OnePlus 7T: Which should you pick and why? [Video]
- Xiaomi Mi Watch goes official and runs a MIUI-skinned version of Wear OS
- LG hilariously launches G Pad 5 10.1 w/ Android Pie and 3-year-old Snapdragon 821
Android TV |
- Xiaomi Mi Box S beta update delivers Android TV w/ Pie, Amazon Prime Video
- Nvidia gives its Android TV-based Shield TV (2019) a ‘Color Space’ hotfix
- Philips debuts compact Android TV for the kitchen w/ Google Assistant built in
Apps & Updates |
- Android Auto 4.8 prepares persistent weather icon, more [APK Insight]
- Google Maps for Android adds carousel of search shortcuts
- YouTube alerting visitors about updated terms of service
Best Of |
- [Update: November 2019] The best Android phones you can buy today
- [Update: November 2019] The best Android TV boxes you can buy today
- [Update: November 2019] Best Chromebooks you can buy today
- Report: Alphabet’s cybersecurity startup Chronicle struggling inside Google Cloud
- Google Assistant can now support bathtubs and faucets
Google Pixel |
- RCS Messaging and DSDS support comes to Pixel 4 on Google Fi
- Google Pixel 4 goes up against a full-frame Canon DSLR in low-light test [Video]
- [Update: Starts Nov 24] Google Store taking $200 off Pixel 4 for Black Friday
- First Pixel 4 update adds camera and Smooth Display improvements
- Google brings ‘vibrate then ring’ option to Pixel smartphones
- November security patch rolling out to Google Pixel, factory images & OTAs live
- Pixel 4 users can get 16x zoom with this Google Camera mod [Gallery]
- Pixel 4 90Hz display: Here’s how much of a difference November’s update makes
- Hands on: iOttie’s fast wireless car charger is a great option for Pixel owners
- Comment: Pixel Stand feels like it was made for the Pixel 4
- Opinion: Google should lower Pixel prices instead of kicking early buyers a month later
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