Articles about Android

Fast Pair makes it easier to pair Bluetooth headphones to Android devices via a Google Account

Android phone with headphones

Google is taking steps to make it easier to not only pair Bluetooth headphones and speakers to your Android phones, but also to make it easier to user the same Bluetooth hardware with multiple devices.

The Fast Pair feature was announced last year, and now Google has teamed up with numerous audio companies to not only improve support, but also to use Google accounts as a means of simplifying the process of using the same headphones and speakers with multiple phones -- and, as of next year, Chromebooks.

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Microsoft rolls out Camera Upload and improved MyAnalytics in the OneDrive mobile apps

OneDrive Camera Upload

Microsoft is rolling out new features to the mobile version of OneDrive. The company has also announced that it is introducing a new Block Download feature in "late November" that can be used to stop people from making copies of a file or its contents.

Android and iOS users can look forward to improvement to the MyAnalytics component, but the big OneDrive news is that the Camera Upload feature has now left beta and is available to everyone -- if they are using Android, that is.

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Google invites you to place your vote for the best app and best game of 2018

Google Play User's Choice Awards 2018

We're approaching the end of 2018, so it's only natural that companies take a look back over the year and reflect on what was great about it. Not one to miss out on such things, Google is launching its first-ever User's Choice Awards and is asking for your votes.

Google users are invited to cast their vote for what they believe is the best app of 2018, and what is the best game of 2018. Want your voice to be heard? Now is the time to cast your vote.

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Your Time On Facebook rolls out, revealing how much time you waste in the social network's mobile apps

Your time on Facebook

It is a little while -- over three months, in fact -- since Facebook said that it was planning to launch a tool that would give users some insight into the amount of time they spent using the social network. This tool is now rolling out.

Unimaginatively called Your Time On Facebook, the tool offers a dashboard that gives a very basic overview of how long you spend using Facebook each day. But going beyond this, it can also be used to set daily reminders to help you to cut down your usage. Trying to kick your Facebook habit? Maybe this could help.

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Google is killing off SMS notifications for Calendar

Google Calendar on mobile

In early January 2019, you will no longer be able to receive SMS notifications about Google Calendar events. The change will affect Android and iOS users.

While Google does not give an explicit reason for killing off SMS notifications -- other than seemingly not wanting to offer too many means of receiving notifications -- the company says that users should not notice any difference because of in-app notifications.

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Google brings AI-powered GIF, emoji and sticker suggestions to Gboard

Gboard AI

Google recently rolled out a floating keyboard option to Gboard, and now the company has introduced another new feature -- AI-driven suggestions for GIFs, emoji and stickers.

The move sees Google acknowledging that we increasingly communicate with images rather than words. Or, as the company puts it, it's a feature designed "for those of us who just can't even without the perfect GIF".

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Privacy: Cloudflare brings its DNS switching tool 1.1.1.1 to iOS and Android

Cloudflare 1.1.1.1

Cloudflare has just made it a whole lot easier to hide your mobile browsing from your ISP -- and access content that might otherwise be unavailable. The company has launched a 1.1.1.1 app for smartphone users, making it incredibly easy to switch between DNS services with a couple of taps; what amounts to a free VPN tool.

Earlier in the year, Cloudflare launched its 1.1.1.1 DNS service to bring privacy and speed, but it was a little off-putting to users unfamiliar with tinkering with such settings. With the launch of 1.1.1.1 for iOS and Android, the process is much, much simpler -- and the app and the service itself are free.

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Google: adding Dark Mode to apps saves battery

Black!

There has been a spate of adding dark modes to apps, websites and operating systems in recent times. Many people simply prefer the look, while others say a darker theme is easier on the eye. But there is also the school of thought that says dark mode saves battery life.

And this is very much the message that Google is sending to Android developers. At the Android Dev Summit this week Google highlighted the massive difference Dark Mode makes, seemingly in a bid to encourage more developers to embrace the idea and add the option to their apps.

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Android file manager Files Go becomes Files by Google and undergoes a redesign

Files by Google

It's less than a year since Google launched Files Go, its first attempt at a file manager app for Android. The primary aim of the app is to help users to free up space on their phones, and today Google announces that it not only has a new name, but also a new look.

Files Go has been rebranded Files by Google, and the updated version of the app is starting to roll out now.

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Barnes and Noble announces a new Android-powered NOOK Tablet for the holidays

If you like to read books, an Amazon Kindle e-reader is a wise purchase. After all, they use e-ink technology which is easy on the eyes while offering very long battery life. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford a device dedicated to reading. For many, a traditional tablet -- such as an iPad -- serves as both an e-reader and a general use slate.

Barnes and Noble sells e-ink readers, but also, it offers NOOK Tablets powered by Android. These are superior to Amazon's Fire tablets, as NOOK has Google Play support. In other words, Barnes and Noble's tablets have access to all the popular apps you will want. Today, timed perfectly for the upcoming holiday shopping season, Barnes and Noble announces its latest tablet. This new NOOK Tablet has a big 10.1-inch screen. In addition to being a consumption device, the company apparently thinks it can be used for productivity -- it will sell an optional keyboard cover for it.

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Google is working on a patch for weird double-notch bug affecting Pixel 3 XL

Pixel 3 XL double notch bug

The notches that grace an increasing number of phones -- from the iPhone XS to the OnePlus 6T -- have proved quite divisive, but it seems unlikely they are going to disappear anytime soon. In fact, thanks to a weird bug,someĀ Pixel 3 XL owners have found that they have extra notches to contend with.

A number of users have encountered a bug that adds a second notch to the side of the screen in addition to the usual one at the top. The cause of the problem is not known, but Google is working on fixing it.

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Here's the OnePlus 6T -- and it's coming to T-Mobile in the US

OnePlus 6T

After months of build up from the Chinese company, a tremendous number of leaks, and endless hype, the OnePlus 6T has finally been officially announced. Something of an evolution of the OnePlus 6, the latest handset features a smaller notch, an in-screen fingerprint reader, and no headphone socket.

With a starting price of $549 there's a lot to get excited about with the latest addition to the OnePlus range -- and the specs are certainly impressive. But for folks in the US who have been eagerly anticipating OnePlus handsets finally launching in their country, the wait is finally over. The OnePlus 6T will be available in the US as a T-Mobile exclusive.

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Leaked documents show Google now requires OEMs to provide 2 years of Android security updates

Android figure on smartphone

One of the problems with buying an Android phone over an iPhone is the fact that you don't know how long you can expect to receive updates. There has long been criticism of the fact that many Android handsets are quickly abandoned while Apple pushes out iOS updates for a number of years.

We've heard suggestions that Google might start requiring handset manufacturers to provide updates for a minimum period, and now it seems that this has indeed been mandated. A leaked copy of a contract between Google and OEMs shows that there is now a requirement to release security updates -- or face the consequences.

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Your first 5G phone could come from OnePlus

At the moment, there are many people eagerly awaiting the arrival of the OnePlus 6T later this month. But looking further ahead, OnePlus has plans for a 5G handset.

The smartphone manufacturer has already hinted at the release of a 5G handset in 2019, but now this has been confirmed. Joining the president of Qualcomm on stage at the company's 4G/5G summit at Hong Kong, OnePlus' Carl Pei said that a 5G phone is definitely coming next year.

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Google adds floating keyboard mode to Gboard for Android

Gboard icon

Users of Google's own Android keyboard app Gboard have a new option available to them. In an update that is rolling out, a new floating keyboard feature lets you move the location of the keyboard as you see fit.

This is not something that is unique to Gboard by any means; floating keyboards have been available in other keyboard apps for a while, so this is really just Google playing catch-up. But for existing users -- as well as those who are looking for a reason to try out Gboard for the first time -- this update is great news.

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