Google Pixel SMS Issue To Be Resolved in November

Google Pixel XL

Google as a general rule has done a good job of getting fixes out to their devices in a timely manner.  This time however, they failed.

A small subset of Google Pixel owners have been experiencing not receiving SMS messages after upgrading to Android Oreo on their Pixel or Pixel XL.  The problem seems somewhat isolated to Verizon customers but users on other carriers have been impacted too.  The bug first popped up a couple of weeks ago and there is a long thread about the issue in the Google Product Forums.  It appears that it took a while for Google to pinpoint exactly what the issue was but now are stating they have gotten to the bottom of it.

We want to let you all know that we have been able to identify and implement a fix for this issue. Thank you to those that sent over bug reports and for including detailed information here on this thread.

There was an issue introduced in the release of Android Oreo that affects text message (SMS) delivery for a subset of Pixel (not Pixel 2) users.This issue was only seen on a small number of carriers. Unfortunately this has resulted in devices getting into a state where they do not receive messages.

The problem is that users who are impacted by this issue will have to wait until the November Android Security Update to get the fix.  That’s right, you get to live with it for at least another 2 weeks.

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Google Photos Update Ends Confusion on Pixel 2 Original Quality Uploads

Google Photos for Android

When the Google Pixel 2 lineup was released a couple of weeks ago, the new phones, like the first generation, were announced to have free uploading of original quality photos to Google Photos.  For those not familiar with Google Photos, original quality photos normally count against your Google Drive quota (which is leveraged by Photos) but compressed, high quality photos, don’t count against it.  Normally for photos under 16MP high quality is a great option because it is pretty lossless.

After the release of the Pixel 2 phones, it was noticed that the original quality uploading for free ended in 2020.  It cause a lot of confusion:  What happens to my photos I’ve uploaded already?  Do they get deleted?  Do they get compressed?  Thanks to an APK tear down by the Android Police team, we have a clearer answer.

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Check for Update Really Works in Oreo on Nexus & Pixel Devices

System Updates in Android Oreo

So here’s a concept:  A button that actually does something.  For years, the “Check for update” button in Android pretty much did nothing.  Sure you could hit it but the odds of you getting an update were pretty slim.  Why?  Because manufactures like Google, Samsung and others as well as carriers phase updates out to their customers.  The result?  The “Check for update” button was, by-and-large, useless.

That’s changing under Android Oreo, specifically for the Google Nexus and Pixel devices.  Now when you tap that button in Settings>System>System Updates, it actually, really goes out to Google’s servers and download the latest OTA update.  No waiting on phasing.

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Google Pixel Trade-In Program Goes Live

Google Pixel Trade-In Program

After being leaked a couple of days ago along with a slew of other leaks, the Google trade-in program for the Google Pixel is now live at the Google Store.  The program allows you to trade in previous Google Nexus phones, LG, Samsung, and iPhones to get a credit towards the purchase of a new Google Pixel or Pixel XL.

With the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL only a few weeks away, it is a little surprising to see Google open this program up now.  The assumption was that it would start when the next generation phones were announced.

As for the value that you get, it largely depends on how new your phone is and its condition.  For example, if I wanted to trade in my Nexus 6P with 64GB of storage, I would get back $155 since it is in working condition and doesn’t have a broken screen.  If I trade in my wife’s iPhone SE 128GB, that would get me $87.

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YouTube HDR Slowly Rolling Out to Compatible Devices

YouTube for Android

Several current Android phones are starting to see the long awaited YouTube HDR content come to them.  YouTube rolled out HDR content at the end of 2016 but to this point, virtually no devices were able to render it.  That has changed throughout the course of 2017 and now several reports indicate that multiple devices are seeing an HDR option on video playback.

For those who don’t know, HDR stands for High Dynamic Range.  Images and video shot in HDR have more contrast, a wider color palette and greater brightness levels.

As for devices that are now reportedly able to show HDR content, it is growing rapidly.

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Google Further Clarifies End of Support for Nexus & Pixel Devices

Google Pixel XL

Google has once again updated their support matrix for the Nexus and Pixel lineup of devices.  Previously the company had outlined dates of when major updates and minor security updates would cease for the devices.  There is nothing new here in that regard.  What is new is the dates for the end of online and phone support for the devices.  The good news, or at least the non-confusing news, is that online & phone support ends when security updates end on the devices.

Take the Nexus 6 for example.  There are no guaranteed Android updates to the device since October 2016.  No, Android O is not coming to the Nexus 6.  Sorry, I loved it too.  In October 2017, guaranteed security updates end and that is also when online and phone support ends for the device.  Other devices follow this same timing.

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Google Pixel Lineup Security Support Ends in October 2019

Google Pixel XL

Following the process set for the last Nexus lineup, Google has updated their Android software update page with information on the Google Pixel lineup.  Major version support for the devices will end next year, October 2018 while Android security updates will end a year later in October 2019.  While Google phrases this as “not guaranteed”, it is pretty much a lock that the devices won’t see updates after these dates.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to Pixel owners.  Google has said they will support phones for 3 years after release or 18 months from when the device was last sold in the Google Store, whichever is longer.  This is the cadence they setup on such updates with the release of the Nexus 6P and 5X although it had been somewhat implied prior to those devices. As an owner of a Pixel XL, I’d love to see support longer but the reality is, for Google, developing an Android build for a 3+ year old device is expensive with little incentive for them to do it.  Remember that they, just like any other manufacture, want you to upgrade at some point.

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