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


Google celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day with special Doodle from guest artist

Google Doodles are often used on the search giant’s homepage to recognize an important date, event, or holiday. Today, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the company has put up a special Doodle from a guest artist.

For millions of sites around the web, Google AdSense is a primary source of income. Today, Google has quietly given the AdSense dashboard a redesign with its new Material Theme.

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One of the most exciting smartphone releases of each year is that of Samsung’s Galaxy S flagship. For its 10th anniversary, we’re expecting a lot from the Galaxy S10 and now, some new renders and details have leaked out.

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Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

January 19

“Time well spent” has turned into a hot topic over the past couple of years, and it was one of the most anticipated features for Android Pie. Unfortunately, Google restricted it’s Digital Wellbeing tools its own Pixel devices and Android One. Now, the developer of Action Launcher has provided a solution that works on any Android phone with ActionDash.

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After being in testing for over two years, Google has finally widely launched speed limits within Google Maps this week. Following a smaller rollout earlier this week, the feature is now rolling out on a much wider scale in regions around the globe.

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Wear OS is a platform that’s gone from a pioneer in the industry to a stagnant, boring offering. Now, it’s finally back on the uptick with a fresh new design and a brand new chipset. The Fossil Sport is one of the first new watches with the Snapdragon Wear 3100 under the hood and it’s also the best Wear OS smartwatch for most people.

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January 18

ES File Explorer has fixed a security vulnerability that let attackers steal files off of your phone

If you’ve been using Android for a while, you’ve probably used your fair share of file explorers. One of the best for a long time was ES File Explorer, but over the past few years, it’s turned into a buggy, ad-filled mess that’s basically unusable without the Pro upgrade. Now, it’s been revealed that the app has housed a security vulnerability for quite some time.

SwiftKey for Android reveals performance improvements, 50% lag reduction as update lets you remove Bing button

SwiftKey has been one of the most popular third-party keyboard options over the past several years on Android, and this week the company is revealing some big stats for the product. Over the past year, SwiftKey has been working on a lot of updates, including a reduction in lag by over 50%.

The ability to show speed limits is a highly requested feature for Google Maps, but it’s never seen a wide rollout. After going live for the Bay Area as far back as 2016, it seems we’re finally seeing an expansion to a few more areas around the United States.

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January 17

Twitter bug on Android has exposed protected tweets over the last 4 years for some users

Whoops. Twitter just admitted to fixing a 4-year old bug on its Android app this week which exposed the protected tweets of some users without their knowledge.

LG is no stranger to trying new things, but for the past few years, the company hasn’t managed to get any traction. With foldable phones on the horizon, it seems MWC may see the debut of an LG phone with an attachable second screen, and it might even be the LG G8.

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Google’s Wear OS has a big feature update on its way, but Update H has only arrived on a few models so far. Now, Wear OS 2.3 is rolling out to select smartwatches, but it seems the update doesn’t add much.

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January 16

Slowly but surely, Google Maps has been testing some useful reporting features similar to what’s seen in Waze. Now, it appears Google Maps is testing out new speed trap alerts with some users.

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Listening to music in the car is something most of us do, and Spotify is trying to make that a bit easier for its users. In a new addition to the Spotify app on Android, Car View has arrived.

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For the past couple of years, Motorola has become less and less of a big name in mobile phones, but that wasn’t always the case. Before smartphones were widely available, Motorola was one of the biggest names thanks to its popular RAZR lineup. According to a new report, that brand is coming back with a new foldable RAZR smartphone.

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Google Assistant expands to Polish language over the next few weeks, Arabic apparently in testing

Google has slowly been expanding language support for the Assistant over the past several months. Today, the company has announced that Google Assistant is adding support for the Polish language over the coming weeks.

People can be pretty crazy on the internet, and there’s no place to see that more clearly than viral challenges. Following last year’s Tide Pod fiasco and now the current “Bird Box Challenge,” YouTube has announced that it is banning challenges and pranks which are inherently dangerous or life-threatening.

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January 15

[Update: January 2019] The best Android TV set-top boxes you can buy today

Android TV is built into dozens of different TV models, but if you’ve already got a panel you’re happy with, there’s no reason to upgrade just for software. With a simple HDMI port, you can refresh your TV with Android TV powering the experience. Here are the best Android TV set-top boxes you can do that with.

A lot of recent Wear OS releases have simply been revamped versions of already available hardware. Today, the Michael Kors Sofie is getting a 2.0 version, this time adding some much-requested extra features. Spoiler alert: it still doesn’t have a new chipset.

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Last year, Qualcomm announced the chipset that we’re going to see in most of the flagship Android phones in 2019 – the Snapdragon 855. This morning, several outlets have published benchmarking scores for that new chip, and it’s a promising tease for what to expect in our next phones.

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