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

Today

Wyze Lock adds long-awaited support for Google Assistant w/ latest software update

Smart locks are a great way to make your home’s security a bit more convenient, but many require paying an arm and a leg for the privilege. In the company’s usual fashion, the Wyze Lock bucks that trend and offers much more affordable hardware, and now, it finally supports Google Assistant.

Google claims technical issues running Assistant and Alexa simultaneously, Sonos claims otherwise

As a court case between Google and Sonos rages on, an interesting tidbit has recently come out. Google says that there are technical issues preventing Google Assistant and Alexa from running side-by-side on the same device, but Sonos claims they’ve figured it out.

It’s been over two years since Huawei was cut off from the Google Play Store and other crucial Android apps. Now, after splitting from Huawei, the Honor brand is launching its first device with Google apps in the flagship Honor 50 series.

expand full story

In an effort to move away from third-party cookies, Google is working on rolling out the Federated Learning of Cohorts, better known as FLoC, to Chrome users. The initiative has been highly controversial, with several online companies publicly opposing it. Amazon, though, has quietly started blocking FLoC on its site and properties.

expand full story

After years of OnePlus and Oppo clearly sharing the same resources but, the former, confidently coming across as their own entity. Last year, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau took on a bigger role that involved overseeing portions of both OnePlus and Oppo, and now he’s merging more teams internally on the promise of better efficiency and faster software updates.

expand full story

Yesterday

One of the best features of Gboard is its extremely clever and fun Emoji Kitchen. On the back of another update rolling out now, Google is also rolling out an updated library for the Emoji Kitchen. Here’s the good news. Finally, Google is giving its beloved blobs some attention, inserting them into the Emoji Kitchen and resulting in some truly adorable combinations.

expand full story

Alongside a bunch of other Android announcements today, Google is highlighting some recently-released Android Auto features. While several have been available for a while, one does stand out. Android Auto now has improved content navigation that lets you scroll by letter.

expand full story

[Update: Widely rolled out] Google Play Store gets ‘My Apps’ redesign w/ ‘Overview’ section

After rolling out a redesign to the Play Store that ditched the hamburger menu, Google is testing out yet another major revamp. The Play Store is currently testing a redesigned “My Apps” section that adds an overview page with more information.

After winning big with its N10 and N100 last year, OnePlus is heading back to the entry-level smartphone market in the US with the OnePlus Nord N200 5G; here’s what it brings to the table.

expand full story

June 14

CES 2021 has seen the debut of a few Chromebooks, including a spectacular option from Acer. Today, Asus is bringing two new Chromebooks to the table including the Chromebook Flip CM5, which is powered by AMD chips.

Update 6/14: Asus has launched the CM5 officially launched for $499 and is now shipping in the US.

expand full story

With Google committing to third-party game releases over in-house developments, E3 is an important showcase to hear some good news regarding what’s coming to Stadia. So far, here’s every new game announced at E3 2021 that’s set to see a Stadia debut.

expand full story

Being caught in traffic could result in Waze offering free burgers and ketchup

Waze often plays with fun concepts to improve the app for its users, and sometimes, those ideas can translate to advertising as well. Now, Waze is serving an ad to some users that get caught in traffic that offers up free Heinz ketchup and an Impossible Whopper from Burger King.

Life is Strange Remastered collection will come to Stadia on September 30, free w/ Pro

Ahead of the release of its latest installment, Square Enix is releasing remastered versions of Life is Strange and Life is Strange: Before the Storm, and now both are coming to Stadia Pro later this year.

The Division: Heartland seemingly confirmed for Stadia as signups open for the free-to-play game

As Ubisoft continues to add more titles to Stadia, it seems yet another has just been confirmed. A beta signup page for the free-to-play game The Division: Heartland seemingly confirms the game will launch on Google Stadia.

Android Auto issues can stem from a faulty update or an issue on specific devices, and for the past couple of months, Samsung users have been reporting an issue where Android Auto would crash when the device was unlocked. Now, a fix has been confirmed to be coming soon.

expand full story

Get Packed ‘Fully Loaded’ update coming July 29 for free as Stadia exclusivity ends

One of the first exclusives on Google Stadia that really got attention was Get Packed, a co-op party game that had players moving objects out of a building with wacky physics and some fun ideas. Now, the game is expanding beyond Google Stadia and launching its first big expansion in “Get Packed: Fully Loaded.”

Android’s open nature leads to some disparity with how apps and features can work across devices from different smartphone makers. Over the last couple of years, background app performance has been a point of attention for Google, and now, the company is asking the Android developer community to call out the worst offenders for killing background apps.

expand full story

Orcs Must Die 3 ends Stadia exclusivity, launching on PC, consoles in July w/o crossplay

Google’s Stadia platform hasn’t had a huge number of exclusives to date, but nearly all of them have been timed exclusives. This past weekend, one of Stadia’s better exclusives, Orcs Must Die 3, ended its run and is expanding to PC players through Steam as well as console players.

Amazon Luna temporarily opening no-invite access to all Prime members later this month

As the cloud gaming market continues to expand, various services are becoming more widely available. Today, Amazon is announcing a Prime Day deal for Amazon Luna that opens instant access to the service, no invite required.

June 13

Google’s collection of 3D animals in Search also added support for these dogs and cats

Google’s 3D animals have been incredibly popular over the past couple of years, primarily thanks to a spike in enthusiasm during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The list of 3D animals and objects in Search has expanded greatly in the time since, and now it includes a lot of dogs, cats, and other house pets, too.

Powered by WordPress VIP