This week’s top stories: ‘AAWireless’ dongle, Google Fit camera heart rate, Pixel 6 hole punch, more
In this week’s top stories: AAWireless dongle for wireless Android Auto begins shipping, Google Fit launches its camera-based heart and respiratory readings, Pixel 6 poised to move its hole punch camera, and more.
The biggest news this week is that the long-awaited AAWireless dongle, capable of adding Android Auto’s wireless connectivity to a car that only offers USB connection, is now shipping to Indiegogo backers. Since we last got our hands on an early prototype of the dongle, AAWireless has gotten a sleeker design and looks much more like a finished product.
The final AAWireless hardware also comes with a companion app for your Android smartphone that opens up some additional features. That includes, firstly, a set of instructions for users who need assistance in getting things running, such as ensuring Android Auto’s wireless mode is enabled on their phone.
Google Fit received an update this week, bringing a new set of measurement capabilities to the app which are Pixel-exclusive for a time. With nothing more than your camera, Google Fit can measure your heart rate and your respiratory rate within a reasonable amount of accuracy. Our Damien Wilde went hands-on with the feature to show how it works.
The camera measurements are rolling out to Pixel phones with version 2.51.19 of Google Fit. Once live, there will be new “Check your heart rate” and “Track your respiratory rate” cards in the Home feed. After dismissing those introductory prompts, tap the ‘plus’ sign at the top-right corner of the Respiratory and Heart rate cards to start a session.
Following an update to the Google Camera app, our team was able to discover some early tidbits about the likely Pixel 6 including the fact that front-facing camera would be downsizing and moving from the top-left to the top-center, a design choice that seems to be divisive amongst the community of Made by Google fans. More importantly, this phone will be able to record selfie videos in up to 4K, a significant bump from the Pixel 5’s 1080p selfie videos.
[Moving the selfie camera to center] would put the time and notification indicators back to the far left of the screen, mirroring the battery indicator’s position. To envision what this could look like, we’ve created a simple mockup screenshot of where the hole punch should go on this presumed Pixel 6 and how that affects the status bar.
Google’s current slate of Pixel phones, dating back to the Pixel 3, received a new distinction this week as the first Android 11 devices to have their security certified to the standards of Common Criteria’s Mobile Device Fundamentals (MDF). While the certification itself is meant more as a selling point for businesses, everyone can take comfort knowing their Pixel device holds up to this higher standard of security better than the average Android phone.
The certification, performed by an authorized lab, looks at “real-world threats facing both consumers and businesses.” This includes network eavesdropping and attack, physical access, malicious or flawed applications, and persistent presence.
Samsung rumored to launch ‘Galaxy Watch 4’ and ‘Watch Active 4’ in the next few months
Renowned leaker Ice Universe shared this week that Samsung has near-term plans for two smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch Active 4. Oddly, the “Galaxy Watch Active 4” is a successor to the “Galaxy Watch Active 2,” skipping the 3rd release altogether.
The real kicker here, though, is that Samsung is reportedly planning a release for this Galaxy Watch 4 series sometime during Q2 2021. That timeline starts in April, but extends to the end of June.
The rest of this week’s top stories follow:
- OnePlus 9, 9 Pro leak in official-looking renders w/ curved and flat displays, matte black, more
- OnePlus 9 Pro shown off in official teaser [Video]
- Samsung clarifies that its extended ‘regular’ Android updates only arrive twice a year
- Android 12 DP1 changes PIN fingerprint warning to red after a restart
- LG Stylo 7, Samsung A82, more show up on Google support doc, hinting at incoming releases
Apps & Updates |
- Google widely rolling out Chat ‘early preview’ to replace classic Hangouts
- Google Fi customers won’t have their usage data sold by T-Mobile next month
- You cannot currently review the new Google Pay from the Android Play Store
- IMDb TV is now officially on Android TV; Nvidia Shield, TiVo Stream, Chromecast w/ Google TV
- Gmail for Android makes it easy to copy or paste email addresses w/ new pop-up menu in testing
- Google Voice will soon no longer be able to forward text messages to other phone numbers
- Google Fit: Hands-on with the new heart and respiratory rate tools [Video]
Chrome / OS |
- Chrome for Android now lets you preview a page before fully opening
- Google details recent memory savings in Chrome for Mac, Windows, and Android
- Xbox gets Chromium-based Edge browser in alpha, enabling Stadia play
- Hands on: AMD Ryzen chips for Chromebooks are slightly disappointing as an Intel alternative
Google Assistant |
- Google Assistant gains open support for smart home doorbells
- Google Home Essentials: Nexx adds Assistant to your garage door, no subscription needed
Google TV |
- Google starts letting apps create custom Wear OS Tiles ahead of upcoming ‘platform update’
- Fossil paused Wear OS H MR2 update for Gen 5 watches to ‘iron out some issues’
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