Verizon’s Pixel 3 won’t work on other carriers unless activated on Verizon first

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL phones being sold by Verizon will not support SIM cards from other carriers unless they are first activated on Verizon’s network. A Verizon spokesperson confirmed this to The Verge, pointing to a new policy that the carrier implemented earlier this year to dissuade thieves from targeting its own retail stores and those of authorized resellers. Once a Pixel 3 (or any of Verizon’s other current phones) is activated, the carrier will automatically unlock the device “overnight” that same day, according to the company.…

Google is unbundling Android apps: all the news about the EU’s antitrust ruling

In July 2018, the European Commission ruled that Google had exhibited “anticompetitive behavior” in its dealings with Android partners. The Commission said that Google should not have required Android phone and tablet makers to install Chrome and search in order to install the rest of Google’s apps. And the Commission also said that Google should not have barred its partners from building devices based on forked versions of Android. Google is appealing the ruling. But for the time being, the company has to make changes to how it licenses its…

Now you can share your ETA in real time on Google Maps for iOS

Google Maps’ ETA sharing feature, which lets the app share your navigation route with friends in real time, is coming to iOS today. The feature has been available on the Android app since last year, and was introduced with the clip above. The video shows some specific use cases for ETA sharing, like when you’re planning a surprise party and need to coordinate partygoers’ arrival times. It’s also just a neat, useful tool for when you want to know your friends’ whereabouts, a feature that’s long been available on other…

Gmail add-ons like Dropbox can now be easily accessed while writing emails

Google now allows third-party developers to build support for their apps directly into Gmail’s compose window. The integrations, first announced back at Google Next in July and available starting today, mean that an app like Dropbox can now add a button to the bottom of the compose window that you can click to quickly add a shortcut to one of your available files, for example. Other apps announcing add-on support include Box, Atlassian, and Egnyte, with more on the way, according to Google. Google has increasingly allowed third-party developers to…

Google’s updated Material Design is the future of how Android apps will look

Google is making changes to the visual style and design of its software and refreshing the design guidelines for Android apps. We saw the beginning of this shift with the initial developer release of Android P earlier this year. Today at its I/O conference, Google offered more examples of the colorful icons, rounded corners, and gratuitous use of white space that mark an evolution over the initial Material Design style that’s served as the visual foundation for Google’s apps and many third-party Android apps over the last four years. You…

Google could finally face serious competition for Android

The fact alone that Google will start charging in Europe for what one could fairly call “parts of” Android is in itself huge news. The change, announced yesterday as a result of a European Commission lawsuit, is a major shift in Google’s business model and has the potential to loosen the company’s grip on the search and browser market. It is a big deal. But of all the changes that this new licensing model could bring, simply charging licensees might not be the biggest. The biggest detail could end up…

Spotify’s new Wear OS app brings Connect features, better controls

Spotify announced today that it’s rolling out a new Wear OS app in the coming week. The standalone Wear OS app is a vast improvement over the previous Spotify app for Android Wear, which left so much to be desired that users were relying on third-party apps to play their music through the streaming service. The new Spotify for Wear OS brings better controls for music playback and browsing playlists. Most importantly, it adds Spotify Connect features that let you play music from your connected speakers. The UI remains pretty…

Want to understand the future of Android in Europe? Look at China

By the end of the month, Google will charge a licensing fee in Europe for the Play Store and apps like YouTube and Gmail in order to comply with the European Commission’s antitrust ruling. Device makers will soon have to decide whether using Google services are worth the fees, while Android as an operating system will remain free to use. With these new conditions, the future of Android in Europe could dramatically transform, becoming a pared down version that retains the OS but offers fragmented alternatives to what were once…

James Damore is moving his lawsuit against Google out of court

Former Google employee James Damore, who was fired last year for circulating a memo arguing women were biologically less suited for tech jobs, is taking his legal complaint against Google into arbitration. Damore sued Google early this year alongside fellow former employee David Gudeman, who is also moving into arbitration. The pair alleged that Google had “systematically punished and terminated” them for their political beliefs, and they sought class action status to represent conservative white male employees who had allegedly been discriminated against. The overall lawsuit will go forward, but…

How China rips off and reinvents the iPhone and Android

2018 will go down as the year when it became impossible to ignore the increasing advancements of Chinese smartphone hardware, from superlative camera arrays and super-speed charging to in-display fingerprint scanners and creative ways to stretch the display across as much of the front of the phone as possible. In a year that has seen Apple, Samsung, and now Google deliver iterative design updates to their flagship phones, devices like the Oppo Find X, Huawei P20 Pro, and Vivo Nex will be particularly memorable for their sheer gadgety appeal. That…

Google Pixel USB-C earbuds review: more than okay Google

Unmentioned during Google’s big hardware event this month was the introduction of a new member of the Pixel Buds family of earphones, the Pixel USB-C earbuds. Bundled in the box with the new Pixel 3 devices or available as a $30 purchase, they’re unglamorous and uncomplicated. Just plug them into the nearest USB-C port and play. Basic. But the fact I’m taking the time to review them separately from our Pixel 3 review should tell you something. These basic buds happen to be very good. Superior to the average pair…

Chrome 70 released with Windows web app support and option to disable controversial login

Chrome 70, the latest version of Google’s browser, is rolling out now on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. The update sees Google reverse some of the controversial changes it made with the last version, by allowing users to stop the browser from automatically signing into their Google account after logging into one of the search giant’s apps. Chrome 70 also brings support for Progressive Web Apps, or PWAs, on Windows. It’s rare to see a controversial version of a web browser, but Chrome 69 was exactly that. Shortly after release,…

Yep, YouTube is down

YouTube is experiencing a major outage. Users across the world started to notice that the video service’s sites and mobile apps were down around 9:20pm ET, and everything remains inaccessible more than half an hour later. YouTube TV is also affected by the service disruption. As with all Google-operated services, serious downtime for YouTube is pretty rare. YouTube TV did suffer service interruption at an inopportune time during this summer’s World Cup, however, and channel pages went down for a while in April. Perhaps most infamously, Pakistan’s government accidentally caused…

Google will start charging European Android device makers a fee for its apps

Google is changing the way it licenses its suite of Android apps in Europe, leading the company to charge a licensing fee for the Play Store and other Google apps for the first time. The changes come in response to a July ruling by the European Commission, which fined the company $5 billion for antitrust violations and ordered it to stop “illegally tying” Chrome and search apps to Android. So that’s what Google is doing. If phone and tablet manufacturers want, they’ll now be able to license the Play Store,…

Google Chromecast (2018) review

Google didn’t say a word about its newly refreshed Chromecast onstage in New York last week. And it’s not hard to understand why: the latest Chromecast is very, very similar to the prior model. It’s still $35. The best it can do for video quality is still 1080p. And it’s still a streaming gadget that is completely dependent on other devices — such as your smartphone — for telling it what content to play. There are very slight improvements, but whereas the Pixel 3 is a showcase of how far…

The Nokia X7 is headed to China with a notched 6.2-inch display and affordable price

The Nokia X7 smartphone just announced in China is part of an expanding line of Nokia-branded phones that have revived the brand name under the wing of HMD Global. The new X7 has near-flagship specs with competitive pricing — as is often the case in the Chinese smartphone market — and is expected to launch outside of China as the Nokia 7.1 Plus. The Nokia 7.1 was launched earlier this month and is coming to the US for $349. Specs include a 6.2-inch 1080p LCD screen (with a notch) and…

Watch Eminem’s Empire State Building performance, shot mostly on Google’s Pixel 3

Self-proclaimed rap god Eminem and visionary director Terrence Malick officially have more in common than people may have thought: both partnered with Google for over-the-top Pixel 3 commercials. But whereas Malick’s commercial captured the Pixel 3 camera’s best qualities, Eminem’s gaudy performance failed the entire concept. Eminem’s anticipated Empire State Building performance, which caught New Yorkers off guard last week when it was being filmed, was shot mostly on a Pixel 3, according to ABC. The video debuted on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and it stars Eminem performing his new song…

iFixit’s teardown of the Pixel 3 confirms the display is supplied by Samsung

As per tradition with every new flagship smartphone, iFixit carried out its teardown of the Google Pixel 3 XL. The teardown revealed several new additions to the Pixel 3 that are in line with the phone’s spec sheet. The iFixit team came across the new Google Titan M Security chip, the same Pixel Visual Core as the Pixel 2 XL’s, and the most interesting find: a Samsung AMOLED display. Google’s transition from LG to Samsung’s more vibrant and saturated displays is a welcome change. Last year, the Pixel 2 XL’s…

Huawei announces Mate 20 with 6.5-inch display and tiny notch

At a grand event in London today, Huawei is unveiling the latest members of its Mate smartphone series, the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro. The Mate 20 is the larger device, featuring a 6.5-inch, 2,244 x 1,080 LCD display with a peculiar 18.7:9 aspect ratio. It also has one of the smallest screen notches we’ve yet seen, accommodating only the selfie camera, with the earpiece positioned at the very edge of the phone. With 820 nits of brightness, Huawei claims this is an extremely power-efficient display, so you’ll get…

Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro is a spec and camera monster

Arriving fashionably late to the 2018 contest for super flagship phones, Huawei’s newly unveiled Mate 20 Pro combines basically every desirable feature of modern smartphones into a sort of spec-checklist device. Like the LG V40, the Mate 20 Pro has three cameras on the back, each offering a different focal length. Like the Vivo Nex, the Mate 20 Pro has an in-display fingerprint sensor. Like the iPhone X and Oppo Find X, the Mate 20 Pro has a so-called 3D face unlock for more secure authentication. And like Samsung’s Galaxy…

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro can wirelessly charge other devices

Once upon a time, wireless charging was a rarity in phones. As of today, though, not only do we have fast wireless charging in the iPhone and many Android flagships, there’s even reverse wireless charging, courtesy of the freshly announced Huawei Mate 20 Pro. I tried this out in London ahead of the new super flagship phone’s launch today, and it works beautifully. You just enable the option on the Mate 20 Pro, and any time the device is pressed against another that supports Qi wireless charging, it automatically starts…

Google’s AI-powered Piano Genie lets anyone improvise perfectly by bashing buttons

Machine learning is enabling some brilliant things in art and music. The latest example, from Google’s creative research team Magenta, is the Piano Genie — an AI program that lets you improvise fluently on the piano by simply bashing away at eight buttons. The team behind Piano Genie was inspired by Guitar Hero, a game that also simplifies how to play an instrument. They didn’t want users to just tap along to prewritten songs, but to make up pieces of melody on the fly instead. To enable this, they trained…

Why the Pixel matters

When the original Pixel was unveiled by Google in October 2016, many questioned why the Mountain View company was entering the business of designing, building, and selling phones. Two years on, that sentiment still lingers, as expressed by Andreessen Horowitz analyst Benedict Evans when he asks, “What purpose do Google’s Pixel phones serve?” Critics of Google’s strategy are correct to say it looks contradictory: the company has invested time and treasure into building devices, but it hasn’t accompanied them with the necessary distribution and marketing to truly challenge for a…

Google CEO says it’s ‘important for us to explore’ search in China

Google CEO Sundar Pichai publicly addressed his company’s plans to re-enter the Chinese market with a search and news-oriented product, telling a crowd at Wired’s 25th anniversary summit that such a service would be capable of serving 99 percent of queries. Pichai described the Chinese market as “important for us to explore” given its size and the very high likelihood that it will become the largest and most lucrative internet-using population on the planet. “We wanted to learn what it would look like if Google were in China,” Pichai said.…

This is how much Google’s Pixel 3 costs at Verizon, Best Buy, and Google Store

The Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL can be preordered right now, and will be available to the general public starting on Thursday, October 18th. As far as where you’ll be able to get Google’s 2018 flagship smartphone on launch day, availability is much more limited compared to the likes of Samsung or Apple’s products. That’s because Verizon, for the third year running, is Google’s exclusive carrier partner for the Pixel 3 series. And it’s celebrating the occasion in a strange way: by charging customers $30 more for the Pixel…

Over 75 percent of Pixel users are on Android Pie

The adoption of new versions of Android may be slow, but there’s one area where Google is (unsurprisingly) doing great: the Google Pixel. Google’s hardware chief Rick Osterloh revealed that it has seen over 75 percent of users already update to Android Pie. The news comes on the heels of Apple announcing that iOS 12 — its latest operating system — reached 50 percent of iOS users last week. If you compare more recent iOS devices from the last four years (which is a bit fairer since the Pixel is…

Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL review: the best camera gets a better phone

When Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh introduced the Pixel 3 last week, he didn’t utter the word “Android” a single time. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are Google phones. They swim in a sea of Google data and promise to use Google’s machine learning to make everything better: photos, annoying spam calls, even your “digital wellbeing.” Google’s hardware division isn’t three years old yet, but the Pixel 3 is the third revision of its own smartphone. Google making its own hardware is no longer a novelty, and at…

The Pixel Buds’ translation feature is coming to all headphones with Google Assistant

The Pixel Buds’ flagship feature, its ability to translate languages at the press of a button, appears to be coming to every pair of headphones that have Google Assistant built in, reports Droid-Life. The functionality was quietly announced via a change in the text of Google’s support page for the Pixel Buds, which now reads: “Google Translate is available on all Assistant-optimized headphones and Android phones.” The feature, which was previously exclusive to Google’s own Pixel Buds, allows you to translate between 40 different languages. You can then use an…

Google’s Pixel 3 was used to film part of Eminem’s performance on top of the Empire State Building

Google’s new Pixel 3 phones are almost here, and the company is pulling out all the stops to make sure that everyone knows about them: the phones have a five-day ad buy for the entire week of Jimmy Kimmel Live! The Pixel 3 will also be used to film a performance with Eminem from the top of the Empire State Building, via The Wall Street Journal. It’s a big play from Google to team up with Disney — which is both the largest entertainment company in the world, and it…

The new Palm is a tiny phone to keep you away from your phone

There’s a new phone with the word “Palm” on it that’s tiny, intriguing, and has very little to do with Palm beyond that word printed on the back. It comes from a startup in San Francisco, which purchased the rights for the name from TCL last year. It costs $349.99 and will be available in November, but you can’t go out and buy it on its own. It’s only available as an add-on to a current line. Also, Steph Curry is somehow involved. It is a weird little thing. The…