In this week’s top stories: Google Chrome redesigns its Incognito landing page, Pixel 5a hits reviewers hands, Android Auto wireless dongle seeks crowdfunding, and more.
The latest Chrome Canary update includes a boldly redesigned landing page for Incognito mode. Rather than explaining the things Chrome “won’t save” and how data “might still be visible,” Chrome for Android now spells out “What incognito does” and “What incognito doesn’t do.”
It’s fairly likely that this more explicit, easier-to-understand design is coming in response to a lawsuit from earlier this year. The class-action suit in the United States seeks damages of at least $5 billion because the mode still allows websites, including Google’s, to collect personal information on users.
Our team reviewed the Google Pixel 5a with 5G this week, following its surprise announcement, and found it to be a fantastic demonstration of Google’s software and camera prowess in more affordable hardware.
Taken as a whole, the Pixel 5a with 5G is unexpectedly one of the best phones — budget or otherwise — that Google has released to date. It packs specs more than good enough for most people, what feels like an everlasting battery, and the classic Google Pixel camera, all in a durable metal build. Even better, all of this is just $449.
A new Kickstarter campaign launched this week for “Carsifi,” a handy dongle that plugs into your Android Auto compatible car to offer a wireless connection to your phone. Despite being similar in purpose to the AAWireless dongle, Carsifi sets itself apart with compelling hardware features.
The Carsifi Android Auto dongle has a slightly smaller footprint that includes an LED status light and “Magic Button.” That button lets users switch between two different smartphones to use Android Auto with, which is the biggest difference between the two products. Carsifi also says it supports older versions of Android with 6, 7, and 8 supported in an “experimental mode.”
In recent years, Google had been moving its hardware production efforts to Vietnam. However, Nikkei reported this week that the Pixel 6 is instead being produced in Shenzhen, China, just like the Pixel 5 before it.
It was first reported early last year that Google would produce both the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 in Vietnam, but that was before COVID-19 became a global issue. Prior to that, efforts had been ongoing since at least late 2019 to move production out of China.
On Android 12, the latest Google Search beta update introduces your wallpaper’s colors into the Pixel Launcher’s Discover feed. Instead of the usual multi-colored Google logo on a white background, you’ll now see a single-colored Google wordmark on a shaded background.
This change is currently in the beta channel and demonstrates how wallpaper-based Dynamic Color is bleeding into more apps, though the Pixel Launcher Discover feed is mixed in with the system UI, thus joining Quick Settings as another high-profile place users will see Material You in action.
The rest of this week’s top stories follow:
- Google opens Android 12 Beta 4 feedback survey for Pixel owners
- Android 12 Beta 4: Hands-on with yet more new features [Video]
- Android’s latest accessibility feature lets you control your phone w/ facial expressions
Apps & Updates |
- Peloton app confirms rower, prepares scenic waterways
- Delightful Google ad imagines the Perseverance Mars rover using Google Photos [Video]
- Google Play Games update enables Android 12 Game Dashboard integration
- Google Health loses its first leader, projects set to continue
- Report: New Google Pay app seeing slower-than-expected growth, unclear if Flex impacted
Made by Google |
- Google Fuchsia update is rolling out widely to 1st-gen Nest Hubs
- Google will not include a charger with the Pixel 6, following Apple and Samsung
- Google Pixel 4a remains available following Pixel 5a with 5G unveil
- Galaxy Watch 4 works w/ Pixel 5’s reverse wireless charging and some Qi pads
- Fossil Gen 6 leaks with Snapdragon Wear 4100+, SpO2 sensor, tweaked charging rings
- Galaxy Buds 2 Review: Best of the Pro for less
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