Got your hands tied up at work to keep a track of all that’s going on in the Android universe right now? Don’t sweat it, we’ve got you covered with our bi-weekly edition of Updato Android news to keep you informed about the Android circuit.
The month of September was all about the iPhone and how Apple fans were swept off their feet with the latest features that Android users have enjoyed for years. Well, the world of Android tech has its own set of surprises to woo its fans with, especially with the grand Made by Google event.
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The official Android flagship devices of 2017, the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel XL have got to be the winners of the event, but there was so much more you might’ve missed. Moreover, HMD Global is impressing the thriving Nokia fan base even more with some enticing promises related to software support.
That’s not it, we have more details on these news stories and some other ones that you probably missed out on this week. So sit back, get yourself a hot brew and take in all the breaking news stories coming out from the Android camp right now.
Made by Google event – every new tech that Google unveiled
While most proud owners of the Google Pixel celebrated their one-year anniversary with the amazing flagship Android devices, Google planned a surprise of its own. The Made by Google event was highlighted with the release of the successor, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.
However, that’s not the only piece of tech that Google showed off this week, so let’s take a quick look at everything that came out of the latest Google event.
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL officially announced
The latest Android flagship from team Google is the result of months of rumor build-ups and alleged leaks, and most of them were spot on. Following the steps of its predecessor, the smartphone is being rolled out in two versions, the standard Pixel 2 and the phablet-sized Pixel 2 XL.
While both the models come with the same hardware firepower of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB RAM, there are certain differences to take into account:
- The Pixel 2 packs a 5-inch 1080p OLED display just like last year, while the Pixel XL 2 has a larger 6-inch QHD OLED display that offers an 18:9 display ratio that is all the hype right now.
- Google Assistant is still a core part of the experience and gets even better on the new devices, including smart features for the camera with Google Lens.
- Fast charging makes a return on the Pixel 2, with Google claiming that you can get 7 hours of charge in just a matter of 15 minutes.
- The Pixel 2 scored a 98 on the DxOMark test, the highest rating ever given to a smartphone camera, ever. Despite being a single-lensed camera in a dual-lens world, the Pixel 2 t uses a 12MP sensor with machine learning features to improve the photo, reduce blur, and better low light conditions.
- Some software improvements have been merged into the Pixel 2 family, including Active Edge (similar to the HTC U11 Edge Sense feature). With Android 8.0 Oreo on-board right out of the box, the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will receive 3 years of Android OS updates.
There are tons more to discuss the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, so keep an eye out for our complete hands-on impression next week.
Take a look at the Google Pixelbook
For the past few years, Google’s brainchild computer OS, the ChromeOS has created a brand image of a budget-friendly alternative to the main thing. While it may not have been as wildly successful as Google’s other ventures, Chromebook from all the top of the line manufacturers have established a low-cost computing alternative for web-oriented users.
However, Google is breaking the shackles of mid-range components with its first premium-grade Pixelbook to rival the best in the business. Here are some key specs and details about the Google Pixelbook that you need to know going in:
- At just 10mm thick and a kilogram of weight, the Pixelbook has a 4-in-1 design that includes a laptop, table stand, a tablet, and a text mode. With the similar incredible two-tone glass inlay like the Pixel phones the 12.3″ touchscreen, Quad HD LCD, 235ppi display is embedded in the latest Chromebook.
- Available in Intel i5 and i7 variants, 16GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of SSD storage, the Pixelbook battery life claims are up to 10 hours of use, USB Type C charging, and 2 hours of juice in just 15 minutes of charging.
- There is now the Pixelbook Pen which is a direct rival to the Microsoft Surface Pen and the Apple Pencil. So you can now sketch away on a display with 10ms of latency, 60-degrees of angular awareness, and 2,000 levels of pressure sensitivity, thanks to the support from Wacom.
Pixelbook will be available in three different configurations, starting at $999 (and upwards) with the Pixel Pen itself going for $99 separately, in stores on October 31.
A bunch more “Made by Google” gadgets
Apart from the state of the art smartphones and an all-in-one computer to compete with the best of the best, Google also had some extras to offer this year around. Addressing the elephant in the room aka the missing headphone jack on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Google is compensating with the Pixel Buds, that take on Apple’s AirPods wireless earphones.
- Pixel Buds feature touch controls on the right earbud with Google Assistant support exclusively for Pixel 2 owners. With additional features for things like Google Translate with support for 40 languages, you can enjoy a multilingual experience directly to your ear.
- The Pixel Buds will be available in three colors – Just Black, Clearly White and Jade Blue, just like the Pixel 2. They boast 5 hours of play time per charge and the case holds multiple charges at once.
Google is also entering a previous unchartered territory in the camera world with the Google Clips, a true wireless smart camera. Making the most out of its billion-dollar AI tech that already powers most of its products, Google Clips is designed to automatically capture the best fleeting moments around the house or out on the street.
While the Google Clips does come with a physical button for you to capture images manually, all your precious moments will be captured without you even noticing. By recognizing the faces of your friends and family, the intelligent features use the camera for capturing pictures that are more personalized than ever.
And finally, Google Home is now going after Amazon and Apple with everything it’s got with the Google Home Mini and Google Home Max. The Google Home Mini is a direct rival to the Amazon Echo Dot, with a smaller stature, custom-made fabric build quality with a downward facing speaker that exhibits all the features of its larger cousin.
Similarly, Google is also ready to please the audiophiles with a powerful sound system virtual assistant. In an attempt to persuade users from going for the Apple HomePod, Google Home Max is the next big thing to bring features like Smart Sound (auto-tuning feature) and Voice Match (voice-based user profiles for a personalized experience).
With Nest integration already up and running, Google Assistant improvements on the way with the Broadcast feature coming soon and a more kid-friendly interface with new commands, Google Home also heading over to China soon.
Even Bill Gates uses an Android phone – here’s why
You know what they say – if you can’t beat them, join them. This is exactly what the co-founder of Microsoft and one of the tech industry’s most profound personality, Bill Gates has done. On an interview with Fox News, the billionaire philanthropist announced that he’s using an Android phone as his daily driver.
While it shouldn’t be a massive shock to a couple of Windows Phone fans that are left out there, it does signal a change in Microsoft’s lookout towards the mobile market. Now that Windows Phone has a market share of a shaming 0.1%, the company is effectively angling itself as the next great mobile software developer.
Bill Gates was clear to point out that he is using an “Android phone with a lot of Microsoft software.” Since Microsoft is actively working to become a major player in the mobile app development industry, it could signal the end of the Windows Phone era, but the beginning of something formidable.
Microsoft Edge browser comes to Android and iOS
Adding to a long and impressive list of apps developed for the leading mobile operating systems, Microsoft is now bringing out its prized Edge browser to Android and iOS. While the app is still in beta, it is available for preview to members of the Windows Insiders program for now.
In an attempt to help you break away from the Chrome Browser and connect to your Windows PC seamlessly, the Edge mobile browser comes with seamless syncing. From managing bookmarks on different devices to push links from the smaller screen to the larger and vice versa, you get the best of voice search too.
Edge browser is being released side by side the Windows Launcher, which aims to turn your typical Android home screen into a Windows Phone style layout. If you think that Microsoft adds better value to the mobile world with its app development, here’s the entire list of Microsoft apps available on the Google Play Store that you should check out.
While Gates may have given up on the mobile product his very own company created, he isn’t warming up to Apple just yet. When asked about whether he would ever end up on the side of iPhone users, Bill Gates was quick to reply “No, no iPhone” to the interviewer.
HMD Global confirms the Nokia line-up with receive Android 9.0
In a time where every Android user is scrambling to see if their beloved Android device will be greeted with the presence of Android 8.0 Oreo, HMD Global is changing the pace. The revivers of the legendary Nokia brand have already impressed all of us with a series of well-crafted and budget-friendly Android devices, the company is going one step further.
The Finnish tech giant has not only confirmed that the entire current lineup of Nokia Android smartphones will receive Android 8.0 Oreo, but are promising to keep the updates coming. That’s right, while Google may not even have plans to name Android 9.0 after a tasty treat just yet, HMD Global has already committed to keeping their Android devices updates.
This is great news for not just the owners of premium and sub-premium Nokia 8 and Nokia 6 owners, but for the owners of affordable Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 devices as well. While you can rest assured knowing that HMD Global has got your back, don’t expect the current version of Android 8.0 Oreo to hit all Nokia devices just yet.
HMD Global’s Chief Product Officer Juho Sarvikas confirmed via Twitter that the Android 8.0 update for the flagship Nokia 8 was on its way. While the exact dates were not disclosed, but considering the hierarchy, the more affordable Nokia smartphones may still have months before the revered Android Oreo update is available.
Wrapping it up
What was the highlighting product that Google released this year that you simply cannot resist getting your hands on? Do you think it is finally the time for Microsoft to end its pursuit of being a presence in the mobile world and go back to doing what it does best? Have something to add to the story of how HMD Global is building a stronger trust with its Nokia brand to woo Android users?
The comments section is just too short to discuss all these hot topics in a single sweep. So just head over to the Updato Forum and start a brand new conversation, it’s just a click away!
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December 16 2017