Items tagged with Android

Affordable 5G phones are all the rage right now, with devices like the Moto One 5G here in the US, and in markets like Europe and India with the OnePlus Nord. But while prices are dropping rapidly, corners are getting cut -- like we saw with the lack-luster €349/£329 OnePlus Nord N10 5G. Enter the €279/£279 ($370) Realme 7 5G, a MediaTek Dimensity 800U-powered 5G handset that punches way above its weight class, and gives its OnePlus Nord N10 5G cousin a run for the money. Here’s our quick take on this sleeper alternative Android value phone. Realme 7 5G Hardware And Design It’s impossible to review the Realme 7 5G without comparing it to the OnePlus Nord... Read more...
Just over two weeks ago, Qualcomm introduced us to the latest member of its extensive mobile platform SoC family: the Snapdragon 888. This high-end Snapdragon Mobile Platform is the successor to the Snapdragon 865/865+, and will be featured in next year's top tier flagship Android smartphones from the likes of Samsung, OnePlus, LG, and countless others. At the time of its announcement, Qualcomm gave us some high level specs on the Snapdragon 888, including the fact that it has a single prime core based on the new Arm Cortex-X1 microarchitecture clocked at 2.84GHz, three performance cores clocked at 2.42GHz, and four efficiency cores clocked at 1.8GHz. Qualcomm claims its new Kryo 680 CPU... Read more...
In the past, major Android OS updates were notoriously difficult to produce for devices, and thus didn't often find their way to customers. That has become significantly easier following the introduction of Project Treble back in 2017. As it stands now, Pixel devices, some Samsung devices, and others are guaranteed three years of major Android updates. In the future, devices could be guaranteed four years of major Android updates, thanks to Google’s partnership with Qualcomm. According to the Project Treble team, since making it easier to implement Android updates, “Android OS has been adopted earlier by OEMs and deployed in larger numbers to our users.” What’s... Read more...
It seems Qualcomm is having a devil of a time fixing a security flaw related to its Adreno GPU driver code. It was brought to Qualcomm's attention by Google's Project Zero team, which sniffs out vulnerabilities and compels companies to fast-track security fixes by going public with the details after 90 days have passed (barring a grace period, which the team sometimes grants). The general idea behind the 90-day deadline is that it provides incentive for companies not to drag their feet in fixing security flaws. This sometimes comes at the consternation of companies, especially if they request a bit of additional time and are denied for whatever reason. In that sense, there is a controversial... Read more...
The increasing cost of flagship smartphones over the last couple of years has put them out of reach for many consumers. We all knew it was coming in late 2018 when Apple priced the iPhone X at a cool $999. It wasn't long afterward that Android handset makers capitalized on the new normal of flagship phone pricing as well, but not everybody wants to toe the line with four-figure purchases for a smartphone that will be quickly outclassed and potentially obsolete after a couple of years, especially should they stop receiving updates. In 2019, Samsung's upper-mainstream device was the $750 Galaxy S10e. This year, the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition lands in a similar position in Samsung's line-up, and it... Read more...
Passwords and payment information can be difficult to remember off the top of your head, especially when you are trying to snipe an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU online in any of the “drops” from the likes of Newegg and BestBuy. As Google explains, you previously may not have had access to the crucial password or credit card info you needed at the moment unless you had Google Chrome sync turned on for the device. This began to change last year when it became easier to access payment methods with a Google Account. Now, in the coming weeks and months, Google will be rolling out “seamless payments and password management” to all signed-in users whether they are syncing or not.... Read more...
Google Pixel owners, rejoice! Some of the new features that launched exclusively with the Pixel 5 are now rolling out to older devices such as the Pixel 3. These updates will hopefully keep the aging devices fresh as a part of Google’s effort to “make the phone better and better (and better)” with “even more Pixel owners will get to experience our most recent updates.” The first new feature of the bunch rolling out to the Pixel 3 and newer devices is the “Hold For Me” feature. It can save you time if you are put on hold by a business, as it alerts you when someone takes you off hold. Think of this as a robotic “counter-hold” when you need... Read more...
While vulnerabilities crop up regularly, people need to be on the lookout, and developers need to patch their programs for everyone’s benefit. When a developer neglects this responsibility, people and information are left at risk. Back in August, a vulnerability that allowed a local attack and code execution on an Android device was reported, but now it has been found that some apps still have not updated to fix the problem. Aviran Hazum and Jonathan Shimonovich, of Check Point Research, reported on the Android vulnerability, given CVE-2020-8913, that was patched by Google in April of this year. It is rated as an 8.8 out of 10 on the common vulnerability scoring system (CVSS), and it impacts... Read more...
LG is a bit like that quiet loner in high school -- often misunderstood, but sometimes brilliant. Take the company’s 2020 smartphone lineup for example. At the top, it consists of the $700+ LG V60 ThinQ 5G, a competent affordable flagship, and the $600+ LG Velvet, a stylish premium mid-ranger. These are good phones by any measure, but they’re often outclassed by the competition, and don't have many stand-out features -- optional dual-screen case aside. Which brings us to the $1000 LG Wing, the first handset born from the company’s Explorer Project. The LG Wing's main display can swivel 90 degrees to reveal another (half) display, transforming from a normal phone... Read more...
In 2019, Google began the rollout of RCS, or rich communication services, across the United States on Android. RCS brings some cool new features to Android messaging, dragging it into the modern era. Google has finally completed the project and will start addressing some of the biggest concerns, such as security, with end-to-end encryption. RCS provide feature similar to what we've seen in year from Apple's iMessage, such as typing indicators, read receipts, and more. However, not all carriers will support these features for Android devices. If your carrier does not support the features, you will still be able to take advantage of RCS while on WiFi. After the rollout started, there were concerns... Read more...
When the Pixel 5 launched, the Google Camera app was updated with a slick redesign. Now, that redesign is starting to filter down to older devices with Google Camera version 8.1. This means that all Pixel devices dating back to the Pixel 2 will gain access to the app that Pixel 5 owners have been enjoying over the last month. The Google Camera app redesign that came with the flagship Android from Google reorganized the app's features and added some other new features for making photo and video taking easier. Previously, the 8.0 update was exclusive to the Pixel 5, and it could not be sideloaded to other Pixel devices without a device reset. Update 8.1, on the other hand, according to 9to5Google,... Read more...
Late last month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google over accusations of stifling competition with their search and advertising businesses. Now it appears that the advertising arm of Google allegedly was not only stifling competition but affecting customers as well. In a new class-action lawsuit against Google, plaintiff Joseph Taylor et. al claims Google is stealing property, specifically cellular data. According to the suit’s introduction, “Defendant Google LLC (“Google”) has a dirty little secret,” where Android is collecting data about its users and reporting back home regularly. While there are privacy implications... Read more...
Tablet PCs running Google's Android mobile OS have largely been relegated to the budget sector. For the most part, options are limited to Amazon's Fire HD series these days, with slower budget SoCs and a handful of small tablets with even slower processors. Those systems without exception are stuck on older versions of Android, and Amazon's tablets don't even offer Google Play support. The exception to these low-end doldrums is Samsung, which designs and manufactures a wide variety of tablets powered by more modern versions of Android on platform hardware that is more current and capable. Samsung's Galaxy Tab A series sits in the middle ground between budget and premium, while the company's Galaxy... Read more...
It’s been a busy, transformative year for OnePlus. After releasing the $699 OnePlus 8 and $899 OnePlus 8 Pro flagship back in April, it launched the €399 OnePlus Nord mid-range device in July, and the $749 OnePlus 8T in October. We were very impressed with the Nord, but it wasn’t destined for our shores. OnePlus promised to remedy this by introducing a variant of the Nord for the US market, which brings us to today’s phone. Behold the €349 ($415) OnePlus Nord N10 5G. It’s a completely different 5G handset from the original Nord that swaps the Snapdragon 765G for a Snapdragon 690, and the 6.44-inch AMOLED screen for a 6.49-inch IPS display. OnePlus sent us a European... Read more...
Microsoft's Xbox platform could take the crown of most ways to play games this year. In September, Microsoft updated the Xbox Mobile app for Android to deliver the whole Xbox experience in your hand. Previously, this would have been done with a controller, but Xbox is now including touch controls for a list of games beginning today. Catherine Gluckstein, GM & Head of Product with Project xCloud, explains, “Quite simply, Xbox’s vision for cloud gaming is to provide you with choice in how and when you play games.” Touch controls give gamers a new and easier way to play games on the go. When playing games from the cloud, you may not always have access to a controller,... Read more...
When Apple announced its iPhone 12 family early last week, the iPhone 12 Pro Max was no doubt the most feature-filled and impressive model on display. The smartphone features a massive 6.7-inch OLED display, triple rear cameras (including sensor shift optical image stabilization for the wide-angle lens), and a LIDAR sensor among other enhancements. However, equally as important was the new iPhone 12 mini, which reverses a trend that has become commonplace in today's smartphones. Smartphones today seem to have at least a 6-inch display, with most measuring in at 6.4 to 6.7 inches in size. Smartphone OEMs claim that most people want larger screens for gaming, watching movies, and looking... Read more...
Yesterday, we brought you news of the new 3DMark WildLife graphics benchmark, which is the latest cross-platform test from the folks at UL Benchmarks. UL explains that WildLife is primarily tasked with measuring GPU performance across platforms, and two distinct tests are available.  The standard WildLife test is designed to give feedback on how a game performs over a short period of time. With mobile games, people typically play in brief spurts when they find some free time; be it on the bus, on the subway, or a quick battle royale session on your lunch break, but not always. The 3DMark WildLife Stress Test, on the other hand, shows how a device performs over a longer stretch... Read more...
Google’s phone strategy has always been a bit of a mystery. While it successfully entered the mid-range market with last year’s Pixel 3a and -- more recently -- the $349 Pixel 4a and $499 Pixel 4a 5G, it’s been struggling to find its place at the high-end. Pixel flagships have always been interesting options in the market, especially for those who want a stock Android experience. However, they're sometimes overpriced, with high-end configurations in some ways (processors) but also lacking in some areas (RAM and storage options). So, Google appears to be taking a gamble and trying something different this year. It’s targeting the popular $600 to $750 price range and joining... Read more...
Don’t let the Pixel 4a 5G’s name fool you into thinking this device is the same as the Pixel 4a that was released back in August, with the sole addition of 5G support. Although the branding may be somewhat quizzical, the Pixel 4a 5G is a completely new device, with a larger form factor (it’s actually bigger than the Pixel 5), newer processing platform, additional rear camera, and a few other bells and whistles. The new Pixel 4a 5G does look nearly identical to the “older” Pixel 4a, but that is by design. Google has embraced an overall aesthetic with its Pixel devices that’s distinctly similar across all its devices from the last couple of generations. Depending... Read more...
Back in April, OnePlus wowed us with the $899 OnePus 8 Pro -- its first bonafide flagship. We were less enamored with the $699 OnePlus 8, which -- while still being a great phone -- cut a few too many corners (no telephoto, no wireless charging), and cost too much for an affordable flagship. Then in July, the €399 OnePlus Nord rekindled our excitement by redefining the premium mid-range handset. It just wasn’t destined for the US -- yet. Which brings us to today’s $749 OnePlus 8T, the direct successor to the OnePlus 8. It comes with more base RAM/storage (12/256GB), a flatter 120Hz screen, a better 5MP macro, a larger 4500mAh battery, and faster 65W charging. But is all this... Read more...
When Google releases a new iteration of its popular Android operating system, we expect to see the typical generation-over-generation features and security enhancements that make the experience more powerful and capable. Also, if we’re lucky, we might even expect see some performance gains from time to time as Google's mobile OS is optimized to fully harness the increasingly more powerful mobile platforms that are being shoehorned into evermore sophisticated smartphone designs. But what we weren’t expecting with the release of Android 11, however, is what appears to be a notable regression in performance compared to Android 10. This realization isn’t something that we sought... Read more...
There is very little worse than knowing you've just lost everything to ransomware. When it happens on our phones, where so much of our identity and our lives live, the situation can feel hopeless. It's a never-ending battle for platform owners like Google, Microsoft, and Apple. Every time a company creates new security measures, attackers try to find a way to circumvent them. That's what Microsoft warns Android users about in a new security blog post from the Microsoft 365 Defender Research Team.  Unlike ransomware that hits Windows machines, Android devices rarely actually get their data encrypted. Instead, a malicious app will present itself when the phone gets locked, blocking access... Read more...
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