In this week’s top stories: OnePlus returns to mid-range phones with the upcoming “OnePlus Z,” Google’s Pixel Buds arrive at the FCC in preparation for release, Samsung launches the well-rounded Galaxy Tab A 8.4 at an affordable price point, and more.

Five years ago, OnePlus released a mid-range phone, the OnePlus X, at the fantastic price of $249. This week, we’re learning that the device we had been hearing about under the name “OnePlus 8 Lite” will actually be branded as the “OnePlus Z,” a 2020 successor to the OnePlus X.

[…] we can expect this new device to include a more boxy design with a flat display, punch-hole design, and a triple-camera array on the back too. It’s expected to have a MediaTek chip under the hood too. The size, though, may not be nearly as small as the original X with rumors pinning it at 6.5-inches. That display may be a 90Hz panel, though, so that’s a plus!

Before a device with any wireless capabilities can reach the market in the US, it needs to gain approval from the FCC. To that end, Google’s Pixel Buds have arrived at the FCC, putting them yet another step closer to being launched this spring.

Google notes how the “devices are too small to accommodate the FCC ID” and therefore that information is just included on packaging and the user manual. Testing started in August and was completed November-December. Google submitted its confidentiality request on December 17, 2019.

Looking for a fun device to help you pass the time at home? Samsung has you covered this week with the launch of their latest Android tablet the Galaxy Tab A 8.4, which offers a well-rounded spec sheet at a very affordable price point.

For now, the 2020 Galaxy Tab A 8.4 is only available for Verizon Wireless. Of course, you’ll still be able to use it as a WiFi-only tablet if you’d prefer to. The Tab A is available in a “Mocha” color and has a full metal design.

Pricing lands at $279 with AT&T, Sprint, US Cellular, and T-Mobile models coming soon. The Verizon model is shipping this week from Samsung.com.

On PCs, it’s entirely normal to get updates for your graphics card that include general improvements along with game-specific tweaks and fixes. This is soon to become the norm on Android as well, as Qualcomm will be bringing GPU driver updates to devices like the Pixel 4, Samsung Galaxy S10, and Note 10.

These improvements to the Adreno GPU driver will be compiled and released to consumers as an update through the Play Store. Similar to on PCs, this will bring new features and performance enhancements. The end-user experience will be akin to updating an app, just like with Project Mainline and its modularization of security and other key Android components.

Finally this week, OnePlus owners can rejoice knowing that the company’s phones have finally been confirmed to be getting one of their most-requested features — Always-on Display. However, OnePlus has not said what devices we should expect Always-on Display to arrive on, making for an uncertain future for both older devices and the upcoming OnePlus Z.

It’s not clear just how many devices will receive the option though, as OnePlus has been using AMOLED displays since the OnePlus 3 — meaning that the now four-year-old device should even be capable. The firm confirmed that initial Always-on display tests took a toll on the OnePlus 7 Pro lifespan, with battery longevity reduced by as much as two hours on average.

The rest of this week’s top stories follow:

Android |

Apps & Updates |

Best Devices |

Coronavirus |

Google |

OnePlus |

Samsung |

Wearables |

Videos |

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