In this week’s top stories: the Pixel 6 is set to run on a Google-made chip, the existence of the “Pixel Buds A” is leaked, and Samsung’s April 2021 security update rolls out.
The biggest news in the Android world this week comes from our exclusive report that Google’s fall 2021 phones, including the presumed “Pixel 6,” will run on the Google-made Whitechapel “GS101” chip. This breaks from the norms of the Pixel line, which has thus far run exclusively on Qualcomm Snapdragon processors.
From the references, it seems that Whitechapel is being developed with Samsung Semiconductor’s system large-scale integration (SLSI) division, meaning the Google chips will have some commonalities with Samsung Exynos, including software components.
Elsewhere in Made by Google leaks, we reported this week that Google’s next earbuds are set to be the “Pixel Buds A.” These new earbuds will come in two colors, white and green, and are visually identical to last year’s Pixel Buds, except for a few color scheme changes.
Pricing for the Pixel Buds A is currently unknown, but the “A” designation suggests that we could be looking at a more affordable set of Made by Google earbuds, just as the Pixel 4a is an affordable alternative to the Pixel 4. With the 2nd-generation Pixel Buds currently retailing for $179, there’s plenty of room for a more affordable set in the Made by Google lineup. That said, it’s not clear what cuts Google could make to offer these buds at a more affordable price point.
On the Samsung side of things, the company began rolling out their April 2021 security patch as early as March 29, to their flagship and mid-range phones alike. Given that Google doesn’t roll out the monthly Pixel update until the first Monday of each month, this puts Samsung’s April 2021 security update a full week ahead of the competition.
Samsung’s true flagship series is usually among the first to see monthly updates, and this month the rollout started on March 29 with the current flagship family, the Galaxy S21 series. The download on S21 devices weighs in at over 1GB and started in India, but has since expanded on a mostly global scale. The update has expanded to the S20 FE and S10 series, and on April 1 it showed up on the Galaxy S9+ in Germany.
Fans of the Chromecast with Google TV were treated to a hands-on look at a fun new accessory this week, the “SideClick.” As the name describes, the SideClick attaches the standard buttons of a universal remote to the side of your Chromecast with Google TV remote.
What’s the utility of this accessory? SideClick is essentially a miniaturized universal remote that is supposed to handle vital functions of your TV or soundbar without keeping multiple reports out. It can duplicate the IR output of your original remote, adding it to your “new” remote.
The developers of Lawnchair — the third-party Android launcher app that replicates some of the best aspects of the Pixel Launcher — have shared the Alpha version of their next release, Lawnchair 11. The headlining feature is that the launcher now supports Android 11, but there’s been significant effort put in to do a full rewrite of the app’s functionality.
At the moment, the team behind Lawnchair 11 has only confirmed Android 11 support, but older version support is set to arrive. You may experience crashes or issues if trying to sideload on a device that isn’t running the latest mobile OS. We must also mention that you shouldn’t expect the same feature set as the current public build of Lawnchair Launcher. This is still a very early build, with certain core features still absent.
The rest of this week’s top stories follow:
- New Android spyware designed to look like a system update, but was never in the Play Store
- Review: I tried the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G, but I won’t be buying it
- OnePlus 9 Pro review: Consistently inconsistent [Video]
- [Update: OnePlus 7/7 Pro] Stable OxygenOS 11 with Android 11 begins rollout for OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro
- Google Play limiting Android 11+ apps from seeing what’s installed on devices this May
Android / Google TV |
- Refreshed Xiaomi Mi Box passes through FCC w/ Android TV, but no real changes
- Sony Bravia TVs with Google TV are now available from $949 in first expansion past Chromecast
- Review: Verizon Stream TV offers fairly priced Android TV with a not-awful skin
Apps & Updates |
- [Update: Rolling out] Google Photos for Android getting advanced video editor with cropping, filters
- Classic Hangouts shutdown starts as Google Voice and Fi integrations stop working
- Android Auto expands to more countries — here’s the full list [Update: 6 countries rolling out]
- [Update: Claim now] Google adds four Stadia Pro games for April 2021, including Resident Evil 7
Chrome / OS |
Made by Google |
- Google Home 2.35 reveals new doorbell-shaped device, possible Nest Hello successor
- Google Home, Nest speakers in Preview Program get new Casting sound
- Review: Nest Hub (2nd gen) sleep tracking ushers in a radically more pervasive Google Assistant
- Google ‘Wireless Streaming Device’ with battery arrives at FCC, possibly new Nest Cam
Wear OS |
- Galaxy Wearable app teases Wear OS powered Galaxy Watch, new ‘Galaxy Buds 2’
- OnePlus Watch skipped Wear OS over battery life, always-on display being evaluated
- Wear OS adds handy shortcut to manage your notifications
- Google Pay will keep working just fine on Wear OS when the legacy app shuts down
- Wear OS is now available on Casio’s ultra-rugged G-Shock smartwatch for $700
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