Android Nougat 7.1.1 Released

As expected, the Android team at Google has released Android Nougat 7.1.1 for a wide range of Nexus and Pixel devices.  The update brings a lot of bug fixes and other features including app shortcuts to apps that support them.  The update was released this morning for the following devices:

  • Google Pixel
  • Google Pixel XL
  • Google Pixel C
  • Nexus 6P (except for those on Verizon)
  • Nexus 5X
  • Nexus Player
  • Nexus 9 (Wi-Fi and LTE models)

The factory images for the updates as well as the OTA images have been posted.  The OTA has also been released for these devices but it could be a few days before everyone sees it hit their phones and tablets.

Google Launches Personal Security App Trusted Contacts

Google has launched an all new personal security app, Google Trusted Contacts.  As the name suggests, Trusted Contacts allows you to designate friends or family contacts as trusted where you can send them your location information or they can request it in case of an emergency.  The app allows your friends or family to see your activity, including your location and online activity, and determine if you are okay.  If they have not heard from you for a while, they can request your location information.  If you reply or deny the request, your contacts are notified that you are okay.  If you don’t respond within 5 minutes however, your location is automatically sent to your designated contacts so they can reach out to you or contact emergency services.

Today’s Deal – Anker PowerCore Slim 5000 Battery Pack for $19

Today’s Deal is on another great accessory from Anker.  The PowerCore Slim 5000 is a 5000mAh battery pack that, as the name suggests, is a slim design that is actually smaller than most phones.  Right now this battery pack is down to $19 on Amazon, 62% off the regular price of $31.  The pack has one USB port to connect your Android phone or iPhone to for charging and is rated to give a full charge to a Samsung Galaxy and iPhone 7 Plus one full charge while smaller devices such as the Nexus 5X or iPhone 7 could get two charges out of it.  The pack comes with Anker’s PowerIQ

Anker PowerCore Slim 5000

Anker PowerCore Slim 5000

technology to give a smooth, consistent charge to your devices, making it both save and efficient in the charging process.

Anker designed this pack to be held in your hand along with your phone so if you are on the go, you can still hold your phone and work as the pack doesn’t make everything feel big and bulky.  The pack is also coated in silicone so it won’t scratch up your devices and gives it a smooth feel that is easier to grip than aluminum designed packs.  There are LED indicators to let you know when your phone is charging and when you are done, it easily slips into a pocket or handbag.

Like all Anker products, the PowerCore Slim 5000 comes with an 18-month warranty against any defects and issues and, since this deal is through Amazon, you have a 30 day hassle free refund policy (which is now extended through the holidays).

Head over to Amazon to get more details and to order yours.  It is Amazon Prime eligible for members.

Google On App Rebranded Google Wifi

As expected, Google has gone through a rebranding exercise on the Google On app.  With the introduction of Google Wi-Fi in October, and now with that product shipping, the question wasn’t if the Google On app would change but rather would that change be a completely new app or, worse, a separate app.  Thankfully no.  Google Wifi is the name of the Google On app now, allowing you to control your entire Wi-Fi network, including your Google OnHub and Google Wi-Fi products.  The update is rolling out into the Play Store now and if you have Google On installed, you should see the update hit your devices over the course of the next 2-3 days.

At first glance, the UI for Google Wifi doesn’t look all that different than the previous one from Google On.  However, there are a lot of changes including the three tab navigation at the top of the app which gives you information, your network information and shortcuts to quick tidbits of information respectively.

F1 2016 Arrives for Android

After arriving on iOS a few weeks back, F1 2016 has arrived for Android.  The racing simulator gives you all 21 races of the just concluded 2016 season and allows you to race as your favorite team and driver in one-off races, a season and in weekly challenges.  Codemasters, who has been developing the official F1 games for Xbox, Playstation and PC, fully optimized this build of the game for mobile with mobile friendly touch controls and graphics.  If you have played one of their games in the past on other platforms, you will not be disappointed with what you see in this game.

The game weighs in at a hefty 1.2GB download and you will need at least 2.7GB of storage on your device in order to install it.  Yes it is heavy but all that graphic goodness comes at a cost, mostly the amount of storage required.

Nokia is Dead! Long Live Nokia!

The rise, fall, death and now resurrection of Nokia is nearing completion.  Finland based HMD announced today that they have secured the licensing rights to the Nokia brand for the next 10 years and that a new, Android powered smartphone will be hitting the marking in the first half of 2017.  It marks a pretty staggering comeback, if only in name, to a brand that has been in the mobile phone space for decades.  After the company was bought by Microsoft and then subsequently scuttled in the debacle that has been Windows Phone, it appeared that the brand would be gone forever.

HMD is making sure that doesn’t happen.  Comprised of several former Nokia employees, the company will be manufacturing phones under the name of Nokia that will include both feature phones (which are available now) as well as Android-based Smartphones.

Huawei Announces Devices That Will Get Android Nougat

Huawei has become the latest manufacture to indicate which of their phones will be receiving the Android Nougat update.  The news is certainly good for those who have purchased one of their flagship devices over the course of the last 18 months or so and it means that starting in the first quarter of next year, updates should be rolling out.  As for the list, it’s all the ones you would hope for and expect to get the update:

  • Huawei Mate 8
  • Huawei P9
  • Huawei P9 Plus
  • Huawei P9 lite
  • Huawei Nova
  • Huawei Nova Plus

The update will come via the EMUI 5.0 update which is Huawei’s Android UI and flavor of Android.  EMUI 5.0 shipped with the Mate 8 and P9 so those devices are already running Nougat.

Today’s Deal – ASUS ZenFone 3 Laser Down to $179

Today’s Deal is on the well appointed mid-range Android phone, the ASUS ZenFone 3 Laser.  This 5.5″ phone has 2GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard storage and supports dual-SIMs and is down to $179 at Amazon today.  The phone is unlocked and works with GSM carriers here in the United States like AT&T and T-Mobile.  The 5.5″ display provides full HD resolution and the 32GB of onboard storage can be expanded up to an additional 128GB thanks to the MicroSD slot.

As the name suggests, the ZenFone 3 Laser uses laser technology to focus the main 13MP camera which ASUS claims will focus in .03 seconds.  The camera also supports optical and electronic image stabilization.

Android Nougat for The Sony Xperia XZ Released

Just a day after releasing Android Nougat for the Xperia X Performance, Sony has dropped their update to the latest version of Android for the Xperia XZ today.  The update is build 39.2.A.0.327 and is rolling out to unlocked variants of the phone today.  If you have the dual-SIM variant of the phone, the XZ Dual, you too should be seeing the update shortly.  While the update has been released, it could take a few days before everyone sees the update hit their phone.  You can always manually check for the update by going to Settings>About Phone>Software Update.

The update weighs in at just over 1GB so you will need to make sure that you are on Wi-Fi when you download it.  Once it is downloaded, you can expect about a 30 minute upgrade period where you phone will be rebooted and Android Nougat will be installed.

Netflix Finally Brings Offline Watching

It has been a long time requested feature of Netflix and it is finally here in the Android app.  The latest update to the streaming content provider now gives you the option to download television shows and movies so you can view them offline.

Let’s all take a moment to raise a glass to Netflix.

In the latest update to the app, version 4.12.0 for those keeping score at home, you now have a section “Available for Download”.  Here you will see all of the shows and movies that you can download to your phone or tablet so you can view them later.  You have two options for quality of the downloads:  Standard (720p) or High (1080p) and, as you would expect, the High quality downloads take up more storage on your device.

Google Docs Adds GIF Insertion into Documents

Google Docs has an update rolling out today that brings the ability for you to insert a GIF animation into a document… and it not break!  The update comes into Google Docs but there are also updates to Google Sheets and Google Slides too.  All of these updates are in rapid release which means that users should see the updated versions of these apps hit their devices over the course of the next few days.

For all three apps, you now have the ability to not only view your Trash folder for the app but also restore files from your trash folder.  Now you don’t have to go to the desktop version of Docs, Sheets or Slides to do a file restore.

Today’s Deal – Nextbit Robin in Midnight or Mint for $169

I appreciate that I’ve told readers about this deal already.  But it is one of those deals that is just too good to pass up.  Over at Amazon you can still pick up the Nextbit Robin for $169.  Originally the deal was only on the Mint color but now it is also on the darker Midnight color option.  Regardless of which color you choose, you are getting a solid mid-range phone with great specs and performance.  I reviewed the Robin a few months ago and at the time I said it was a pretty good deal at $299.  At $169, it is one of the best deals on a phone with these specs out there.

For those that don’t recall, the Nextbit Robin has some great features and offers a unique device-meets-cloud storage solution.  It has 32GB of onboard storage merged with 100 GB online storage, so you always have the space you need. Robin seamlessly backs up your apps and photos, intelligently archives the stuff you’re not using, and easily restores items when you need them.  The idea is that you never run out of space.  Those less used apps are backed up into the cloud but then are instantly available when you want them.  You’ll know an app has been backed up into the cloud as it will be grey on your Robin.