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Android

  • Google at CES 2018: Assistant everywhere, smart displays now a thing

    CES 2018 is in full swing this week, as a variety of companies use the opportunity to reveal new products and services. Google is no exception, using the Las Vegas mega-event to make several key consumer-related announcements. Starting with Google Assistant, the tech firm revealed that the voice tool was available on over 400 million devices. It adds that it sold just over one Google Home a second since the Home Mini (review) started shipping in October -- more than seven million units by our calculations. Assistant in more places Google isn't stopping there though, announcing more partnerships with third party manufacturers to bring...

  • Android 8.1 official: so what’s new in this version?

    Android 8.0 hasn't even made its way to a quarter of smartphones, but Google doesn't care. No, it's pressing ahead with Android 8.1, bringing a couple of solid improvements to the table. The company's Dave Burke announced the developer preview this week, also revealing features we can expect in this iteration. The first major improvement? That'll be for Android Go devices. "Android 8.1 includes a set of memory optimisations for Android Go configurations (1GB or less of memory). We've added new hardware feature constants so you can now target the distribution of your apps and APK splits to normal or low-RAM devices running Android 8.1...

  • That was quick: Sony Xperia XZ Premium gets Oreo update

    Sony's Xperia XZ Premium (review) wasn't perfect by any measure, but it's certainly one of the more exciting smartphones launched this year. Now, the Japanese company has announced that it's launching the Oreo update (Android 8.0) for the handset. So what should you expect? For starters, the device will be getting the 3D scanning tool, first seen on the XZ1 and XZ1 Compact. "It lets you scan your face, head, food or any object, rendering it as a 3D avatar or free-form image in less than 60 seconds, and makes it easy to share on social media with friends or 3D...

  • Google Pixel 2 launches this week: what to expect?

    Last year saw the Pixel making its debut, instantly standing out thanks to world-class mobile cameras, powerful internals and a stock Android experience. Now, we're two days away from the Pixel 2 being revealed... There have been loads of rumours regarding the new smartphones, but what are some of the more prominent details we're supposed to expect? Horsepower Early reports initially claimed that Qualcomm would supply a Snapdragon 836 processor for the new phones. But XDA later revealed that the Snapdragon 836 didn't actually exist. So we're expecting the Snapdragon 835 and 4GB of RAM (although 6GB wouldn't be out of the question,...

  • Google Assistant on headphones: Google details how it will work

    We've heard murmurings of Google Assistant coming to standalone headphones, allowing users to quickly make queries and hear results. Now, Google has seemingly confirmed these stories with some informative YouTube videos. As spotted by Android Police, Google has uploaded a few video clips to show how Google Assistant works on headphones. "First, press the Google Assistant button to hear your latest notifications," reads an excerpt from the video. "Second, press and hold the button to talk to your Assistant," the clip continues. "Third, ask your Assistant to help get answers on Google Search or for help with everyday tasks." Subsequent clips also...

  • 4 other companies that should release a pure Android phone

    Between the HMD/Nokia range, Lenovo's latest phones and the brand-new (but not really) Xiaomi Mi A1, our choices for pure Android smartphones have expanded nicely this year. Offering regular updates and a lightweight skin, it's not hard to see why these developments are such a big deal. Nevertheless, we'd love more options beyond Nokia, the Mi A1 and the Pixel range. So with that in mind, we look at a few companies we'd like to see offer stock Android. Samsung We've previously seen Samsung offer a Google Play Edition of the Galaxy S4, delivering speedy updates and none of the horrendous (at...

  • 5 simple tips to save your battery life on Android

    Android smartphones have come a long way in the battery department. Hell, I remember the HTC Bolt and its woeful battery life, being one of the first LTE phones on the market. Nowadays, we've seen battery capacity taking a welcome step up in flagship handsets, with 3000mAh batteries being the norm for many a high-end phone. But between WhatsApp and high resolution screens, it's still possible to kill your battery before the day is over (or while travelling). We've got a few pointers to eke out a few more hours of juice. Reduce the brightness Screens are the biggest battery hog around, so...

  • 6 Android features we’d like to see in iOS

    Android or iOS? I have my preference, but it's a debate that's gone on for far too long. Both platforms offer similar levels of functionality at their core, from WhatsApp and social media to web browsing and camera capabilities. But we'd be lying if we said there weren't a few things that Android did better and vice versa. Now, as Apple readies its latest iPhone, we pick a few Android features we'd like to see on iOS. Multi-user support This isn't so much a desired feature for iPhones as it is a wanted feature for iPad. Multiple user accounts would make it...

  • Hands on with the first ARCore apps on the Play Store

    Google announced ARCore late last month, being its development platform for augmented reality (AR) on Android. The move comes a while after Apple revealed ARKit, its own bid to bring better augmented reality to smartphone users. Much like ARKit, Google's platform is designed with traditional smartphones in mind, rather than Project Tango phones that bristle with extra sensors and cameras. So how does it run on something like the Galaxy S8, which only has one main camera? Not too badly actually. But before you get your AR on, you'll need to install the ARCore preview app, available from GitHub (direct download link). Do note...

  • ARCore: Google reveals AR platform to bring tech to masses

    Apple's ARKit development tools have brought augmented reality back into the limelight in recent months, owing to the depth (heh) of features enabled by the technology. For one, Apple and third-party devs have showed off motion/environmental tracking, showing great potential for expanding augmented reality beyond sophisticated multi-camera smartphones. Now, Google has seemingly taken Apple's cue and revealed ARCore, effectively being its take on AR development for normal smartphones. "Today, we're releasing a preview of a new software development kit (SDK) called ARCore. It brings augmented reality capabilities to existing and future Android phones," the company wrote in a blog post, adding that developers can...