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Created by Google, Android is a smartphone OS and platform that is open-source and open for any manufacturer to use to make a smartphone. Most Android phones use a version that is mostly provided by Google and requires Google services. Android phones can run Android apps, available from the Google Play Store, or, optionally, from other sources.

by:  Google


Samsung XCover Pro Targets Businesses

Monday, 4:25 PM   by Rich Brome

Samsung this week revealed the Galaxy XCover Pro, a new Android 10 phone "optimized for a variety of industries including retail, healthcare, logistics and manufacturing". It's just slightly larger than the Galaxy S10+, but with a rugged body military-rated for drops up to 1.5 meters, and rated IP68 for dust and water. Its flat screen measures 6.2-inches, sports full-HD+ resolution, and works with gloves and wet fingers. It has a 4,050 mAh removable battery that support 15W fast charging and charging docks with pogo pins. It also has a 25 megapixel main camera, 13 megapixel front camera, NFC, fingerprint reader on the side, and two programmable shortcut buttons. One of the buttons has be used for the PTT (walkie-talkie) feature of Microsoft Teams. It's powered by a Samsung Exynos chip paired with 4 GB of RAM. It has 64 GB of storage built-in and supports memory cards up to 512 GB. It will work on Verizon's network in the US and be available in the first half of 2020 for $500.


Google Pay Now Supports Student ID Cards

Jan 10, 2020, 2:02 PM   by Rich Brome

Transact — a leading supplier of student ID card systems — this week announced support for Google Pay, the primary digital wallet feature of Google's Android OS. The new capability allows students of participating colleges and universities to carry their student ID in their phone instead of a physical card. Students can simply tap their NFC-enabled phone on readers to access campus buildings, as well as payments for  dining, laundry, vending, and retail. Apple Wallet has supported the Transact platform since late 2018, and additional student-ID systems since late 2019. Fifteen institutions have committed to the initial roll-out of Transact for Google Pay, including Arkansas State University, Chowan University, College of Coastal Georgia, Duke University, Georgetown University, Hamilton College, Johns Hopkins University, Marshall University, Mercer University, Roanoke College, St. Edward’s University, South Dakota State University, Temple University, The University of Alabama, and University of New Brunswick.


CAT's Latest Rugged Phone is Slightly Cheaper (Hands On)

Jan 10, 2020, 1:00 PM   by Rich Brome

CAT's latest rugged phone for the US market is the S32. It's a bit more affordable than past models at $349. It's rated IP68 for water and dust. It can withstand being submerged under 1.5 meters of water for up to 35 minutes. It also has a military rating for drop and shock. It has a 5.5-inch HD display covered in DragonTrail Pro glass that works with gloves and wet fingers. It has a 4,200 mAh battery. It's powered by a MediaTek Helio A20 processor with 3 GB RAM, 32 GB storage, and Android 10. Features include NFC, 13 megapixel main camera, memory card slot, 3.5mm audio jack, and a user-assignable shortcut key on the side. The US variant will have full support for Verizon and T-Mobile 4G LTE bands, and decent support for AT&T, including band 14 for FirstNet.

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Google Assistant Gains New Speaking, Privacy Actions

Jan 7, 2020, 2:57 PM   by Rich Brome

At CES this year, Google is showing off several new functions coming to Google Assistant on Android phones. Soon, you'll be able to say "Hey Google, read it" or "Hey Google, read this page" when you're viewing an article. When you do, it will use "new voice datasets to create more expressive and more natural sounding voices" for reading long-form content. The content can also be translated into 42 languages. Google is also adding two new voice actions for people to easily control their privacy. The first is "Hey Google, that wasn’t for you," which lets you tell the Assistant to forget what it heard if an unintended activation occurs. The other is "Hey Google, are you saving my audio data?" to learn about your privacy controls and go directly into the settings screen to change your preferences. Google added several other privacy-related commands recently, including "Hey Google, delete everything I said to you this week."


Razer's Kishi Adds Full Game Controls to More Phones (Hands On)

Jan 7, 2020, 9:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Razer has introduced a new accessory that adds full-size physical game controls to a much wider range of phones than its previous Junglecat accessory. The Kishi comes in versions for both iOS and Android. The iOS version has a Lightning connector and is compatible with the iPhone 7 and newer. The Android version is designed to work with most phones that have a centered USB-C connector on the bottom. Kishi's controls are full-size and close to the ergonomics of a typical console game controller. The bottom of the right controller has a USB-C (or Lightning) connector for pass-through charging. The Kishi is powered directly by the phone, so it never needs charging. Kishi will be available in a few months for a price in roughly the same range as the Junglecat, which currently sells for $100. Read on for our hands-on impressions and notes.

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Coolpad Bringing Unlocked 5G Phone to US for Under $400

Jan 7, 2020, 9:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Coolpad's first 5G phone will be offered as an unlocked phone in the US with wide support for most US 5G networks. It will sell for under $400, making it the most affordable 5G phone to date in the US. It will be fully compatible with the current and planned sub-6 GHz 5G networks of AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, supporting 5G NR in frequency bands 2, 5, 12, 25, 41, 66, and 71. That is, by far, the largest number of US 5G bands supported in a single phone announced to date. (It won't support the faster mmWave 5G networks offered by Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, although those networks offer limited coverage in only the densest area of major cities.) This new phone will feature a 6.53-inch Full-HD+ display with HDR10 and a small notch, Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 chip, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB storage, 4,000 mAh battery, and 18W fast charging. For cameras, it will have a 48 megapixel main, 8 megapixel wide, and a 16 megapixel front camera. It will also come with Android 10, 3.5mm headphone jack, THX-certified stereo speakers, and a memory card slot. A unique color gradient on the back fades from denim to sand. It will be available in the second quarter of 2020. The exact model name and additional details will be announced later.


Hands-On with TCL's Newest Foldable Concept

Jan 6, 2020, 3:30 PM   by Rich Brome

TCL has put out a few folding-screen concepts in the past year, and now they have a new one to show off at CES. It's a little more polished and functional than previous concepts, but it's also definitely not market-ready. The device resembles a small Android tablet when open, but is smaller than a phone when closed. In an interview with Phone Scoop, TCL spokesperson Jason Gerdon said that TCL currently plans to bring a foldable phone to market in 2020, but isn't trying to "rush it"; the company won't hesitate to delay their first foldable if the software and/or market isn't ready. We had some time with the concept model. Read on for our impressions and thoughts.

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Alcatel's 2020 Lineup Has Much Larger Batteries

Jan 6, 2020, 3:00 PM   by Rich Brome

Alcatel today announced four new affordable phones in its 1- and 3-series. While they are mostly similar to least year's models, all have significantly larger batteries. Most have 4,000 mAh batteries. Only the very lowest-end Android Go model has a 3,000 mAh battery, (up from 2,200 mAh in last year's version).

  • 3L: Three rear cameras, including a 48-megapixel main camera, 12-megapixel wide camera, and a 2-megapixel macro camera; 8 megapixel front camera; 6.22-inch HD display with small notch; 4,000 mAh battery; MediaTek MT6762 processor; 4 GB RAM; 64 GB storage, memory card slot; fingerprint reader; Android 10; dedicated Google Assistant button. An "Aurora" laser-etched finish on the back displays a wavy shimmering effect. Priced starting at $155.
  • 3: Three rear cameras, including a 13-megapixel main camera, 5-megapixel depth camera, and a 2-megapixel macro camera; 5 megapixel front camera; 3 GB RAM; 32 GB storage. All other specs and features are the same as the 3L, including the screen, processor, and Aurora finish on the back. In some regions it will be sold as the Alcatel "1S" instead of "3". Priced starting at $110.
  • 1V: The same specs and features as the 3, but without the macro camera or Aurora finish, and 2 GB of RAM instead of 3. A textured back resists finger smudging. Priced starting at $88.
  • 1B: This new entry-level model runs Android 10 Go Edition. Key features include a 5.5-inch HD display with 2:1 ratio, dedicated Google Assistant button, 8 megapixel main camera, 5 megapixel front camera, memory card slot, and 3,000 mAh battery. Priced at just $66.
No US variants were announced, but in recent years, Cricket, Metro, and Verizon have launched their own variants based on Alcatel's global models. Read on for a quick hands-on of the 1V.

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Samsung Updates 2019 Flagships to Android 10

Dec 19, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

An update that includes Android version 10 is now rolling out to Samsung Galaxy S10 phones in the US. The Note10 series will receive the update "starting at the end of the month."


Google Calls Out Good Guys, Bad Guys in Your SMS

Dec 13, 2019, 12:21 PM   by Rich Brome

Google has added two major new features to its Messages app for Android phones: Verified SMS and spam protection. Verified SMS is a way for Google to confirm that SMS messages claiming to come from a participating business are, in fact, legitimate messages from that company. A special banner will appear at the top of such message threads to let the user know that the message is authentic. The feature should help combat phishing attacks involving fake security messages, for example. The US is among the launch countries. Businesses participating at launch include SoFi, Payback, Banco Bradesco, Kayak, and 1-800-Flowers. Spam protection works the opposite way, showing a warning banner on messages that Google suspects are spam, or that include links to web sites that Google knows to be unsafe. This features has been available in other countries, but is now rolling out "broadly" in the US. The spam banner includes options for confirming that a message is spam, or marking "not spam". Both new Messages features work without sending all of your messages to Google, keeping your messages private.


Google Rolls Out Promised Privacy Features in Maps

Dec 9, 2019, 2:40 PM   by Rich Brome

Incognito Mode is now available in Google Maps for iOS. In the Android version of Maps, a new bulk-delete features lets you delete all of your location history with Google, or any date range.


Hands On with the Motorola One Hyper

Dec 4, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Motorola has a new One series phone it will be selling unlocked in the US. The Motorola One Hyper has an all-screen design with a pop-up selfie camera. Its main camera is 64 megapixel, while the selfie camera is 32 megapixel. It also has an 8-megapixel wide-angle (118º) camera on the back. The display is a 6.5-inch LCD with full HD resolution. The One Hyper is powered by a Snapdragon 675 chip and 4 GB of RAM. It has 128 GB of storage and supports memory cards up to 1 TB. The large 4,000 mAh battery charges quickly with the included 18W fast charger, and the phone supports 45W chargers. The fingerprint reader on the back is surrounded by a customizable circular notification light. It ships with Android 10. It has basic support for AT&T and T-Mobile networks in bands 2, 4, 5, 12, and 66. The One Hyper is available starting today from motorola.com for $400 in Deep Sea Blue. A Dark Amber color will available at a later date. Read on for more details, hands-on photos, and first impressions.

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Google Maps Can Now Speak Aloud Places in Foreign Languages

Nov 15, 2019, 4:54 PM   by Rich Brome

Google has updated its Maps app with the ability to speak aloud the name and/or address of your destination in the local language when traveling abroad. The feature is designed to be used when hailing a taxi or asking a local for directions. The feature appears automatically when in a country where the local language doesn't match your device's language setting. A speaker icon appears next to the place name in each listing. Tapping it brings up a new box with the option to speak the place name in the local language, speak the address in the local language, or jump to Google Translate to continue a conversation with a local. The new feature will be rolling out this month on Android and iOS with support for 50 languages and more on the way.


Google Launches RCS for Everyone in US

Nov 14, 2019, 12:38 PM   by Rich Brome

Google today announced the US rollout of Google-operated RCS for its Messages app for Android, making RCS "broadly" available to Android users in the US by the end of the year. RCS is the new industry standard for messaging designed to replace SMS and MMS. It brings advanced features similar to iMessage, including the ability to send and receive high-resolution photos and videos, and see if people have received your messages. Although the Messages app has supported RCS for some time, it has relied on carrier support on a phone-by-phone basis, which has been slow to roll out. Google's new service announced today side-steps carrier infrastructure and gives Android users RCS without waiting for carrier support. Google launched a similar service in the UK, France, and Mexico earlier this year. Just three weeks ago, the top four US carriers announced a joint venture to accelerate the launch of carrier-run RCS in the US in 2020. It's unclear if these two efforts might conflict in the coming months, but Google says it is "committed to working with our partners, including carriers and device makers, to provide a consistent and interoperable experience for everyone on Android."


Google Expands Effort to Block Bad Apps

Nov 7, 2019, 2:48 PM   by Rich Brome

Google this week announced a new program to collaborate with other companies to screen apps for harmful code before they reach the Google Play Store, the app store for Android devices. The App Defense Alliance includes Google, ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium. "As part of this Alliance, we are integrating our Google Play Protect detection systems with each partner’s scanning engines. This will generate new app risk intelligence as apps are being queued to publish."


Google Play Launches Points Rewards Program in US

Nov 6, 2019, 11:32 AM   by Rich Brome

Google has added a rewards program called Google Play Points to the Android app store. The program is free to join and members earn points for everything they buy through Google Play, and even for downloading "featured" free apps and games. Points can be redeemed for Google Play purchases, in-app purchases and discounts, as well as donations to charity. The program has four tiers, with higher levels offering weekly prizes. The program is launching this week in the US, but has been available in Korea and Japan for a year.


Microsoft's New Unified Office App Available in Public Preview

Nov 4, 2019, 11:50 AM   by Rich Brome

Microsoft has released a public preview of its new, completely revamped Office app for Android and iOS. A single Office app replaces the previously separate Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps. It also includes the previously-announced features that let users take a photo of a document to create an editable Word document, and use the camera to import table data directly into Excel. It includes dedicated sections for non-Office documents: PDF, Media, and Notes. An Actions panel makes it easy to transfer files between phone and computer, or with nearby phones. It also includes shortcuts to create PDFs and add signatures to them. Anyone can try out the public preview, but it requires extra steps of enrolling in the testing program, a process that requires joining a group for Android, or using TestFlight for iOS.


Google Buys Fitbit

Nov 1, 2019, 10:09 AM   by Rich Brome

Fitbit has agreed to be purchased by Google for $2.1 billion. Fitbit makes activity-tracking wearables, having sold more than 100 million devices, with 28 million current active users. Google has its own Wear OS smartwatch platform, which integrates with its Google Fit activity- and health-tracking service. Google said it sees "an opportunity to invest even more in Wear OS as well as introduce Made by Google wearable devices into the market." On privacy, Fitbit says "Fitbit will continue to put users in control of their data and will remain transparent about the data it collects and why. The company never sells personal information, and Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads." Fitbit also pledged to continue supporting both iOS and Android.


Razer Intros Gaming Accessories for 3rd-Party Phones

Oct 30, 2019, 11:38 AM   by Rich Brome

Razer this week launched two new phone accessories focused on the gamer market: Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds and the Junglecat, a dual-sided gaming controller. Both are designed to work with the company's own Razer Phone 2, as well as other phones. The Junglecat includes cases to fit the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, Samsung Galaxy S10+, as well as the Razer Phone 2. The Junglecat can be used attached to one of those three phones, or attached to a dedicated controller grip and used with any Android phone or Windows PC. It uses Bluetooth LE and charges via USB-C. The Hammerhead earbuds use a customized Bluetooth 5.0 connection for ultra-low latency of just 60ms. The earbuds offer 3 hours of battery life by themselves, and 15 hours with the included charging case, which charges via USB-C. The buds also sport touch controls, voice assistant compatibility, and IPx4 water-resistance rating. They're compatible with both Android and iOS devices, with an app available for both platforms. Both the Junglecat and Hammerhead True Wireless earbuds are available now for $100 each.


Netflix Testing Variable Speed Playback on Android

Oct 25, 2019, 10:24 AM   by Rich Brome

Netflix has been quietly testing a variable-speed playback option in its Android app for some users. The new "Speed" toggle offers options for 0.5x, 0.75x, 1.25x, and 1.5x. The feature is similar to one offered by most podcast and audiobook apps. Unlike a fast-forward or slow-motion feature, variable-speed playback includes audio, which requires extra processing to correct the pitch.


Big Four Carriers Join Forces to Accelerate RCS in US

Oct 24, 2019, 4:56 PM   by Rich Brome

Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint have formed a new joint venture to accelerate the adoption of Rich Communications Services (RCS) and ensure it works seamlessly across US and global networks. The venture is called the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI) and "is working to develop and deploy the standards-based, interoperable messaging service starting with Android and expected in 2020." RCS is an existing open industry standard for advanced messaging, designed to replace SMS and MMS. It supports high-quality media, read receipts, typing indicator, and more. Google has been pushing RCS heavily in the past two years, but US adoption has been slow due to delayed carrier deployments.


Modern Phones Call for New Case Designs

Oct 23, 2019, 3:00 PM   by Rich Brome

It may not seem like phones have changed much since the first iPhone came out. But there are a few key trends in recent years that change the relationship between our phones and our hands. Phone cases exist precisely at that crucial interface point, and I argue that they haven't kept up with two key trends: wider phones and gesture-based interfaces. These developments clash badly with current case designs. But there's a better way....

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Google Pixel 4 Uses RADAR to Read Hand Gestures

Oct 15, 2019, 10:18 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Oct 15, 2019, 12:01 PM

Google has unveiled the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, its new own-brand flagship Android phones. The phones have Motion Sense, which uses a tiny RADAR sensor to read mid-air hand gestures, and power advanced face recognition for phone security. Google claims its face unlock is the fastest on the market, and requires no screen touch at all. This technology was first developed as Google's Project Soli. The OLED display supports an auto-adjusting refresh rate, up to 90 Hz. The Pixel 4 also reacts to squeeze gestures. The Pixel 4 comes with Google Recorder, which includes real-time, on-device voice recognition and dictation that produces searchable transcripts. The camera includes both standard (12 megapixel, f/1.7, 77º) and telephoto (16 megapixel, 52º) lenses, as well as multi-frame hi-res digital zoom. The improved HDR+ now supports live preview and dual exposure controls for greater creative control. An AI-powered white balance feature recognizes scene elements to provide better color. The improved portrait function uses both cameras. The new night mode supports astrophotography with long exposures up to 4 minutes. The larger XL model has a 6.3-inch QHD+ display and 3,700 battery, while the smaller model has a 5.7-inch FHD+ display and 2,800 mAh battery. Both models have a Snapdragon 855 processor, 6 GB of RAM, 64 or 128 GB of storage, and 18W fast charging. The Pixel 4 will be available from all major US carriers on October 24th, with pre-orders available today. It will start at $799 ($899 for the XL) and come in Just Black, Clearly White, and Oh So Orange.


Streaming Game Services Launching

Oct 15, 2019, 9:24 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Oct 15, 2019, 9:38 AM

Google today announced that its Stadia game-streaming service will launch on November 19th. Separately, Microsoft has formally launched a public preview of its xCloud game streaming service, starting with Android.


Motorola One Action Turns the Camera "Sideways"

Oct 14, 2019, 3:46 PM   by Rich Brome

Motorola is bringing its One Action phone to the US this month in an unlocked version for $350. This otherwise typical mid-range Android phone has a wide-angle (117º) camera on the back that's oriented to shoot landscape video when the phone is held vertically. The phone also has a standard 12 megapixel camera, a depth camera for portrait effects, and a 12 megapixel selfie camera. The 6.3-inch LCD screen has full HD resolution and a small hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera. The One Action has a Samsung Exynos processor, 4 GB of RAM, memory card slot, NFC, fingerprint reader, and 3.5mm audio jack. Pre-orders start today and the phone will be available from Motorola, Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H Photo by October 31st.


Hulu Enables Offline Watching

Oct 8, 2019, 9:41 AM   by Rich Brome

Hulu is rolling out the ability for users on its ad-free plan to download shows to watch offline. The feature is available now for iOS, and soon for Android.


PlayStation Remote Play Available for Android

Oct 7, 2019, 10:04 AM   by Rich Brome

Sony is updating its PS4 software this week for both console and mobile platforms. The new PS4 Remote Play app for Android will work on all phones with Android 5.0 and up; it was previously available only on Sony Android phones. Remote Play is already available for iOS. Sony is also updating its Second Screen app that turns your phone into a companion device while console gaming. Second Screen will now include a voice transcription accessibility feature for group chats, which converts party voice chat to text, and enables you to enter text that is read aloud to other party members. The new software is rolling out this week.


Microsoft Previews Dual-Screen Surface Duo Running Android

Oct 2, 2019, 10:47 AM   by Rich Brome

The Microsoft Surface Duo is a unique dual-screen device running Android that functions as a foldable tablet and mini version of the company's just-announced Surface Neo. Its dual 5.6-inch displays are joined by a 360-degree hinge that lets it fold with the displays facing either in or out. When folded, it's far wider than most phones, making it a slightly distinct category of device. It can run two apps side-by-side, use the second display as a keyboard, or function like one unified tablet. It won't be available until fall 2020.


YouTube Music Becomes Android's Default Music App

Sep 30, 2019, 11:15 AM   by Rich Brome

Going forward, all new phones shipping with Android 9 or 10 will come with the YouTube Music app. On Android 10 devices, it will be the only music app from Google to be pre-installed, replacing Google Play Music.


Cricket Expands Android Go Lineup with Alcatel Insight

Sep 27, 2019, 11:33 AM   by Rich Brome

Cricket now offers two different $80 phones running Android 9 Go Edition. The company launched the Alcatel Insight today, and the Cricket Icon on Monday. Both phones have a MediaTek MT6739 processor, FWVGA+ LCD display, 5 megapixel main camera, and 2 megapixel front camera. Go Edition is a special version of Android designed for entry-level phones with less than 2 GB of RAM and limited storage. Both the Icon and Insight have 16 GB of storage, but do have a memory card slot. The Alcatel Insight also has Google Lens, full-HD video recording, and a 2,200 mAh battery with Battery Saver Mode.


OnePlus 7T Offers Best of 7 Pro and More, for a Lower Price

Sep 26, 2019, 11:20 AM   by Rich Brome

OnePlus today revealed the OnePlus 7T, a new model that's a blend of the 6T and 7 Pro, offering most of the best features of both, for less money than the 7 Pro. It has a small-notch screen design like the 6T, but in an extra-tall 20:9 ratio with full-HD resolution and HDR10+. The 20:9 ratio allows the 7T to be slightly narrower than the 7 Pro. It also has the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ processor, a slightly faster, gaming-optimized version of the top-end 855. Like the 7 Pro, it has three rear cameras (standard, wide, and telephoto) including a 48-megapixel main sensor, but the telephoto camera has been upgraded from 8 megapixels to 12. A new Macro Mode lets users to get up close to a focus distance of 2.5cm. Also like the 7 Pro, it has 90 Hz display refresh rate, "Warp Charge" fast charging, 128 GB of UFS 3.0 storage, Cat 18 LTE, and an in-display fingerprint reader. The 7T has 8 GB of RAM and a 3,800 mAh battery. It will ship with the just-released Android 10. Available color options are Glacier Blue and Frosted Silver. It will sell for $599 unlocked starting October 18th, and T-Mobile will be the exclusive US carrier for it.


Google Play Pass Bundles 350+ Games & Apps for $5/Month

Sep 23, 2019, 5:49 PM   by Rich Brome

Google today launched Play Pass, a new $5/month subscription service for Android users that provides full access to over 350 games and apps, ad-free and without in-app purchases. Google is offering a ten-day free trial as well as special intro pricing of just $2/month for the first 12 months. The collection of games and apps is curated by Google. Games and apps part of Play Pass at launch include Terraria, Monument Valley, Risk, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, AccuWeather, and many more. Google will add new titles every month. Developers are invited to express interest, but Google decides which developers to invite into the program. The service is similar to Apple Arcade, a $5/month subscription games service Apple just launched for devices using its platforms. Google is leveraging existing titles while Apple Arcade games are all exclusive to that service.


Cricket Launches First Own-Brand Phone Made by Emblem

Sep 23, 2019, 4:48 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 25, 2019, 2:53 PM

Cricket has launched the Icon — a Cricket-branded, entry-level phone — for $80. The phone is manufactured by Tinno for Emblem Solutions, which launched a little under a year ago with a financial investment and strategic agreement from AT&T to provide exclusive phones and tablets to AT&T. Cricket is a brand of AT&T. Cricket is offering a unique 2-year warranty on the phone. The Icon runs Android 9 Go Edition. It has a 5.5-inch display, 2,500 mAh battery, 5 megapixel rear camera, 2 megapixel front camera, MediaTek 6739 processor, 16 GB of storage, and a memory card slot.


Gabb Launches Data-Free Smartphones for Kids

Sep 19, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

A new kid-oriented phone service launches today nationwide. Gabb Wireless offers basic voice and messaging service for parents who want their kids to be connected, but "protect children from too much technology too soon". Although both phones offered by the company are Android smartphones, they have no data service, no app store, and no games. Gabb service runs $20/month for unlimited SMS and voice. MMS service runs an extra $3/month. Service is pay-as-you-go and contract-free. Gabb offers an entry-level ZTE phone called the Z1 for $100. The step-up offering is the Samsung S1 for $200, which is similar to the Samsung A10e. Compared to the Z1, the S1 offers a larger screen thanks to its modern, tall screen with a small notch. It also offers better cameras and Bluetooth.


Final Version of Android 10 Available to Pixel Phones

Sep 3, 2019, 12:40 PM   by Rich Brome

Google released the final version of Android 10 today, after several months of public beta versions. It's available now for all of Google's own Pixel phones, and will be available for other phones in the coming weeks and months. The new OS offers a system-wide dark mode, new gesture navigation, and new privacy controls, among many features and improvements. For the new gesture navigation, a swipe in from the left or right edge of the screen performs the "back" action, while a swipe up from the bottom edge takes users to the home screen. Some apps will need to be updated to avoid triggering the back action accidentally. Users will also be notified when an app requests location data while running in the background, and users can decline those requests. Google recently changed the version naming scheme for Android, switching to simple numbers instead of letters and dessert names.


Google Expands Its Bounty Program to Include 3rd-Party App Bugs, Data Privacy Violations

Aug 30, 2019, 8:34 AM   by Rich Brome

Google has dramatically expanded its bug bounty program to include non-Google Android apps in Google Play with 100 million or more installs, as well as data privacy issues in any app. Google will work with developers' own bug/vulnerability bounty programs, but will pay out bounties in addition to those of developers. Google will also use reports of security vulnerabilities through the new program to improve its automated scanners that look for security issues in all apps uploaded to the Play Store. Google is also starting a new program called Developer Data Protection Reward Program (DDPRP) that will offer similar rewards for people who find proof that an app in the Play Store is violating Google's policies on data privacy. Google will pay up to $50,000 to people who identify situations where user data is being used or sold unexpectedly, or repurposed in an illegitimate way without user consent.


ZTE Axon 10 Pro Brings Its Flagship Specs to the US for $549

Aug 28, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

ZTE today launched a US version of its Axon 10 Pro flagship phone for $549. It comes with more RAM (8-12 GB) and storage (256 GB) than the global version. It also has better support for US 4G LTE networks than most unlocked phones, supporting Cat. 12 LTE across bands 2, 4, 5, 12, 13, 25, 26, 30, 41, 66, and 71, (plus overseas bands). The 10 Pro sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, 4,000 mAh battery, and a 6.5-inch, full-HD AMOELD display with curved sides. Its triple rear cameras include a 48-megapixel main camera (f/1.7), 20-megapixel wide-angle (125º), and 3x telephoto (8 megapixel). The selfie camera clocks in at 20 megapixel. It also has Quick Charge 4.0 fast charging, wireless charging, NFC, memory card slot, water resistance, and an optical in-display fingerprint reader. The design features a deep blue color, matte-finish aluminum frame and 3D curved glass front and back. It comes with Android 9 and a clean Google interface design. It does not have a 3.5mm audio jack, but an adapter is included in the box, along with a fast charger and TPU case. The standard model with 8 GB RAM is available today, unlocked, for $549 from ZTE, B&H Photo, and Newegg. The 12 GB RAM version runs $599.


Blu G9 Pro Includes Wireless Charging

Aug 27, 2019, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 27, 2019, 9:30 AM

BLU today announced the G9 Pro, the company's latest higher-end phone in its lineup of affordable unlocked Android phones. Unusual features for its price class include wireless charging and triple rear cameras. The front sports an all-screen design with a 6.3-inch, full-HD display with a small notch. The glass rear has a shimmering blue/purple design. The main camera is 16 megapixel, assisted by a 5-megapixel depth camera for portrait mode. The third camera is a 20-megapixel module dedicated to night mode. The selfie camera clocks in as 24 megapixels. The G9 Pro is powered by a MediaTek Helio P60 processor paired with 4 GB of RAM. It comes with 128 GB of internal storage and supports an additional 128 GB via its memory card slot. It also has a large 4,000 mAh battery and supports 18W fast charging via USB-C. The phone also has a fingerprint reader on the back, 3.5mm audio jack, and FM radio. Included in the box are a clear case, fast charger, and 3.5mm earbuds. The phone is normally $250, but "lucky customers who are first in line will be able to purchase the G9 Pro ... for $199.99 while supplies last." The phone is available now from Amazon.


Verizon Launches Nokia 3.2 as Nokia 3 V

Aug 23, 2019, 2:59 PM   by Rich Brome

Verizon today launched the Nokia 3 V, which exactly like the Nokia 3.2 but with support for Verizon's 4G LTE network bands. This $168 Android phone sports a large 6.26-inch HD display with a small notch, and a large 4,000 mAh battery. Other specs include a Snapdragon 429 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage, a memory card slot, and a 13-megapixel camera. It also has a 3.5mm headphone jack and comes with Android 9.


Google Drops Dessert Names with Android 10

Aug 22, 2019, 9:40 AM   by Rich Brome

The tenth version of the Android operating system for phones will be known simply as "Android 10", dropping Google's long-running practice of publicly referring to OS versions by "internal code names" named after desserts. Android 9 was named "Pie", 8 was named "Oreo", and 7 was "Nougat". Google says the change will make the naming more accessible to a global audience, including places where "pie" is not a dessert, or marshmallows are uncommon, for example. Google also revealed a new logo for the OS.


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