About the Author

Ben Schoon

@NexusBen

Ben Schoon is a Senior Editor at 9to5Google, working for the publication as one of its primary news writers for the past 5 years. In 2013, Ben helped start an independent tech publication where he learned the skills used at 9to5Google including writing, product photography, and videography. He is located in the city of Winston-Salem in North Carolina where he lived with his wife Melissa, married in 2019.

He primarily covers Android products, including Google Pixel devices, Samsung Galaxy smartphones, as well as devices from OnePlus, Oppo, LG, Motorola, and more. Beyond just covering news about these products, Ben also spends time using these products himself, speaking from experience with the articles he writes. Some of Ben’s most recent hands-on reviews include; Galaxy S21 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, Fitbit Versa 3, Nest Thermostat, Galaxy Z Fold 2, and Fitbit Sense.

Ben is also a leading source for information about Google’s Android TV, diving deeply into important parts of the platform including its powerful Operator Tier, explaining future changes to the platform, and reviewing its products such as Chromecast with Google TV, Nvidia Shield TV, and more.

In 2019, Ben leaked one of the first in-person photos of the Pixel 4 before later revealing the Recorder and Pixel Themes apps months ahead of launch. In 2020, Ben also reported on multiple upcoming Pixel devices including Pixel 5a and the first report of Google working on a foldable Pixel smartphone. That same month, he was also the first to correctly report the $49 price point of what became the Chromecast with Google TV.

Ben Schoon is active on Twitter, @nexusben, but can also be found on Instagram and LinkedIn. For questions or tips, you can email him directly, and his portfolio is also available online.

Email: schoon@9to5mac.com | Encrypted Email: benschoon@protonmail.com

Ben Schoon's Favorite Gear

Yesterday

Microsoft Edge adds built-in ‘buy now, pay later’ service, turned on by default

Adding to scrutiny over passive-aggressive means of pushing users away from alternative browsers, Microsoft is also under fire for a new “buy now, pay later” service that has been baked into the new, Chromium-based Microsoft Edge.

Rocket League Sideswipe kicks off crossover event with PC/console version, Season 1 begins today

Following its launch earlier this week, Psyonix is today announcing that Rocket League Sideswipe is launching Season 1 play starting today, and it comes with a crossover event that players of the full version will enjoy.

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 FE has proven to be a tricky device because its release date keeps changing. All signs currently point to an official reveal next month, and it seems that the Galaxy S21 FE’s price will be on the higher end of expectations.

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Google announced last month that YouTube would be retiring the dislike count on videos, a change that has already taken effect and has been highly controversial among users. For those who want to keep YouTube dislike counts alive a little bit longer, a neat browser extension makes that possible, at least for now.

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Google Chrome is the most popular browser in the world, and that pushes Microsoft and others to go to great lengths to make a dent in the market. Microsoft Edge was rebuilt using the same base as Chrome last year, and it’s really good, but Microsoft is yet again aggressively trying to stop users from downloading Google Chrome on Windows.

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As has been the case for a few years running, Google is currently rolling out its holiday-themed ringtones to Nest Doorbells, this year with a special addition.

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Google’s Android 12 update is huge and exciting, but it also came with an unorthodox timeline and quite a few more bugs than usual. Now, it’s becoming pretty clear that Android 12 is also causing some connectivity/signal issues with Google Pixel phones, including the newly released Pixel 6 series.

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December 1

Google’s Android TV platform is picking up steam with bigger commitments from the company itself as well as exciting new hardware releases. Now, Google is making it easier for those with an Android phone to install apps on their Android TV remotely.

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Water resistance is a key feature of most flagship phones, but it’s something that more affordable devices often forgo to cut costs. According to a new report, Samsung is planning to prioritize water resistance on its Galaxy A series in 2022.

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As a part of its latest Android announcements, Google is announcing new features for Android Auto. Rolling out soon, Android Auto will add support for touchscreen-based quick replies for message notifications.

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Samsung Galaxy A13 available starting this week for $249 w/ 5G, 90Hz display

Mid-range phones are a key part of Samsung’s lineup, and as we enter the month of December, the company is launching a new option. The Samsung Galaxy A13 is launching in the US starting this week with solid specs and a $249 price.

Following two generations of Android TV streaming boxes, Verizon is today launching a pair of soundbars based on the same OS. The Verizon Stream TV Soundbar and Soundbar Pro are now available for order – here’s what they bring to the table.

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November 30

A bit behind its launch on smartphones, Android 12 has just officially launched on Android TV. Unfortunately, it’s unclear when it will actually arrive on consumer devices.

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Paranoid Android ‘Sapphire’ is based on Android 12, launches today w/ OnePlus support

The custom ROM scene isn’t as strong as it once was, but one name that has stuck around is Paranoid Android. Now, the team of developers behind the project has announced Paranoid Android’s take on Android 12 will be called “Sapphire” and launches today.

The hit PC/console game Rocket League has made its way to mobile phones this week in the form of the simplified “Sideswipe,” but it seems not everyone can enjoy it equally. Just hours after the game’s launch, it’s become clear that Rocket League Sideswipe is encountering issues on Google’s Pixel 6 series and Android 12 in general.

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Samsung will update these devices to Android 12

Android 12 is still a very new version of the platform, but Samsung is launching the update for its Galaxy devices less than a month after Google’s own Pixel phones. More devices will be updated over the coming months, and Samsung has confirmed a preliminary list of devices that will be updated.

Pixel owners were this year presented with Android 12 and Google’s Material You, a radical update that is one of Google’s biggest and best in years. However, there are some tweaks we’d love to see made to Android 12 in future updates. Here’s our list, what’s yours?

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Amazon Appstore is broken on Android 12

While the Google Play Store is the best place for Android apps, the Amazon Appstore is one of the few reasonably viable alternatives. However, Android 12 has almost entirely broken the Amazon Appstore, and the fix isn’t exactly around the corner.

Android 11 introduced a clever new concept that placed cards from your digital wallet and controls from your smart home in the power menu. It was a great idea, but one that Google entirely killed off in Android 12. Now, a new app brings back a near-perfect recreation of that power menu to Android 12, but it does require root access.

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November 29

After launching a beta test in recent weeks, Epic Games and Psyonix are now launching the mobile version of Rocket League, “Sideswipe,” on Android and iOS devices across the globe.

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