About the Author

Ben Schoon


Ben is a tech geek with a soft spot for Android, Pixel/Nexus in particular. Constantly switching between devices that literally surround him, he can be found reviewing the latest smartphones on the 9to5Google YouTube channel and writing up the latest news. Ben also started a small publication called YourTechExplained, which still runs today. You can get in touch with him over on Twitter or by Email.


Ben Schoon's Favorite Gear


BlackBerry Priv is officially dead as monthly security updates cease

BlackBerry got a fair bit of attention earlier this year with the reveal of the BlackBerry Keyone, but its first Android device — the Priv — didn’t garner nearly as much praise or attention. Now, two years after its release, the Priv is officially dead.

Google now lets you control if Assistant gives you directions for cars, public transit, or walking

Google Maps is easily one of the best ways to get directions, and a huge part of that is how flexible of a tool it is. Recently, Google has made it possible to adjust how Assistant gives you directions via Maps, no matter what your mode of transport is.

YouTube VR has officially arrived for Steam, but it apparently has some early problems

YouTube is one of the best places to find content, and that includes virtual reality media. 360-degree content is all over Google’s platform, and now, those with VR headsets connected to PCs will be able to access that properly.

Google constantly changes up minor UI aspects of its various products, and often those changes aren’t received well by users. Currently, it appears that Google is testing a new change to the Pixel Launcher which adds text to the search bar, and it’s…bad.

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December 14

Despite underwhelming sales, Andy Rubin’s startup Essential isn’t playing games when it comes to updates. In the company’s latest Reddit AMA, it discusses the latest features coming to the Essential Phone, and there are some fun goodies in store…

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Everyone can use an Echo Dot: Just $50!

Spotify’s Android app has a design which is clearly ripped from the iOS version, but that’s not really a bad thing. However, it would be nice if the company took the time to adjust its design a bit to better suit the platform it’s on. Now, it seems Spotify might be doing just that with a redesign that is being tested.

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December 13

Google Assistant is an extremely powerful tool, but for many users, it’s mainly used for music. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, and in fact, it has become a major selling point for “smart speakers” with the Assistant built-in. Google recently put its “Home Max” up for sale with exactly that in mind, but at $399, it’s understandably out of reach for many users. There is a solid alternative, though, in the JBL Link 300…

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Huawei has been trying to penetrate the US market for a while now and despite its attempts with last year’s Mate 9, the company hasn’t really had a hit Stateside yet. That hasn’t stopped it from trying, though, as Huawei is apparently in the process of bringing its Mate 10 Pro to the US on two carriers.

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Andy Rubin’s startup Essential produced a gorgeous first device in the PH-1, but it’s been plagued by camera complaints and high pricing since launch. At one point, it was believed by some that only 5,000 units had been sold, but the actual number is about ten times that…probably.

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December 12

Google Lens launched in beta on the company’s Pixel smartphones, so understandably, it’s a bit light when it comes to the feature load. However, Google is continually working to improve it. Recently, one of the leads on the Lens project has revealed some of what we should expect in the coming months…

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Displays with minimal bezels were the biggest trend we saw in smartphones this year from the expensive to the affordable. However, providing these displays presented a challenge for some companies, forcing them to move the fingerprint sensor to the back or ditch it entirely, all because the technology to toss the sensor under the display simply wasn’t ready. Now, it is, thanks to Synaptics

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Google Maps is making public transit easier by telling you when to get off your train/bus

Google Maps has a lot of useful features and it’s constantly improving. Now, Google is preparing to add another useful feature to Maps for those who are regular users of public transit.

Google’s phone app now lets you start a Duo video call from a regular voice call

Google’s Duo video service is definitely underrated, but the company is pushing it in several ways to get more users interested. Now, users with Google’s own dialer application can start Duo calls with just a tap.

December 11

The Google Pixel 2’s camera is second to none on the market today, and thanks to software updates it’s only getting better and better. Now, one of Google’s biggest camera features is officially launching with AR Stickers.

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OnePlus is giving away 10,000 tickets for ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ in India

Last week OnePlus unveiled its first special edition phone with the OnePlus 5T “Star Wars” edition. The phone is limited to just a few regions, but the company is sweetening the deal for customers in India by offering up thousands of free movie tickets.

You can now ‘sync’ smart home devices with Google Assistant just by asking

Google Assistant is really powerful, and one of its best use cases is controlling smart home products. However, setting up smart home devices on Assistant can be a bit irritating. Now, Google is making it easier by adding a command to Assistant which pairs devices directly by voice.

December 7

As Chrome apps reach their end of life, one of Google’s most useful tools is seemingly in jeopardy. Chrome Remote Desktop has been a handy tool over the past few years and now, it’s being brought to the web for easier access.

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Huawei Nova 2s brings Oreo, 18:9 display, gorgeous colors, and four cameras

Huawei’s hardware has shined for years, and the company seems to just keep getting better and better. Today, the company is revealing its latest device, the Huawei Nova 2s.

The LG V30 is one of our favorite phones in late 2017, and for good reason. LG’s latest is pretty spectacular, but the company is making it even better as part of a special edition in its home country of South Korea.

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December 6

A while back Google announced that it would kill off apps for its Chrome browser. In the time since, we’ve seen some apps convert to extensions, but no steps were taken to get rid of apps entirely. That is, until today, as Google has just plunged a dagger into what was Chrome apps.

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