Google No Longer Certifying New Devices Running Android Nougat

Google Pixel XL

Some seven months after it was released, Android Oreo is now the required Android version for manufactures who want their new phones certified by Google.  The change means that if a manufacture wants to introduce a new phone to the market and wants that phone certified by Google to run Google Mobile Services and access the Play Store, it will have to be on Oreo 8.0 or later.  Phones running Android Nougat will no longer be certified.

While we can debate why it took the Mountain View company seven months to require this, it is good news on the whole.  Oreo is far more stable and secure than any previous version of Android and it arguably provides one of the best user experiences at the same time.

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After Five Years, I’m Leaving Google Android for Apple iOS

iPhone X

Over the course of the past few weeks, regular readers will have noticed an uptick in the amount of coverage I’ve been doing on Apple iOS, MacOS and other Apple related topics.  There is a reason for it and there is no gentle way to say it:  I’ve moved away from Google’s Android as my daily driver and switched over to iOS.  There are a lot of reasons why I’ve made this change, some of which won’t make sense for some readers while others will take offense.  That’s fine.  Equally, there will be some of you who will not read past this first paragraph and won’t visit the site again.  That’s fine too.

I’ve always contended that you need to use the technology – mobile, laptop, operating system, etc – that works best for you.  Every one of these platforms have compromises that you have to make.  The question you have to ask yourself is if you can live with a particular compromise over another?  It is a personal question and this post is not aimed at convincing anyone to move away from Android to iOS or vise-versa.  It is to simply lay out my logic of why I moved along.

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iOS 11 Now on 76% of All Devices Coming to The App Store

iOS Logo

On the Apple Developer site, the Cupertino company has released the latest update of iOS distribution figures and it is pretty astounding.  For the report which is dated April 22, 2018, 76% of all iPhones and iPads coming to the App Store were running a variant of iOS 11, the latest version of the mobile platform.  A further 19% were running iOS 10, meaning that stunning 95% of all devices are running the last two major updates to the platform.

The numbers stand in stark comparison to Android Oreo, the latest version of Android from Google.  There, you will find just 4.6% of Android devices coming to the Google Play Store.  In fact, if you add up Oreo and Nougat, the version prior, you only get to 35.4%.  While it is easy to point the finger at Google, the reality is that the blame for the lack of updates to the majority of devices in the Android ecosystem lies with manufactures, a problem Apple clearly doesn’t have with iPhones and iPads.

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Fourth Chrome 67 Build Lands in the Chrome OS Dev Channel

Google Pixelbook Chrome OS Interface

Google has released the fourth and potentially the final Chrome 67 build into the Chrome OS Dev Channel.  Build 67.0.3396.17 (Platform version: 10575.13.0) is rolling out for most devices in what would be considered the Alpha channel of the Chrome OS platform.

As a reminder to readers, the Chrome OS Dev Channel is the alpha testing channel for the platform and not intended for daily use.  It is aimed at testers and developers and will contain bugs and have crash issues as it is tested.

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Google Tasks is Google’s New Standalone Task Management App

Google Tasks for iOS

Google has finally released a standalone task management app.  A round of applause please….  Google Tasks is a new app for both Android and iOS that allows you to create and management your tasks that formerly, you could only get to from Google Calendar.  The app, though, doesn’t remove your tasks from Calendar but instead, provides you a way to management without having to dive into Calendar itself.

The new app has been rumored for a while and was leaked a few weeks ago but there wasn’t much information on it until it was released today.  The new app is a beautiful example of Material Design and makes task management easy.

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Microsoft Authenticator Will Soon Allow for Account Backup & Recovery

Microsoft Authenticator Backup & Recovery

A new and pretty exciting feature is making its way to Microsoft Authenticator for iOS.  The feature will allow the app to keep a user’s credentials so they don’t get locked out of their accounts when they move to a new device.  The feature is a long requested feature by users and should make the migration from one phone to another more simple.

Today, if you migrate to a new phone, you have to pre-configure the Microsoft Authenticator app on your new phone prior to wiping your old one.  If you wipe the old one prior to doing this pre configuration, you run the risk of losing access to your two factor accounts – which is a gigantic pain, let’s be honest.  This new feature should make it a lot easier.

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Microsoft OneDrive for iOS Sees an Improved Sharing Experience

OneDrive for iOS Sharing

Microsoft has begun rolling out an update to the Android and iOS Microsoft OneDrive app that brings a much improved sharing experience.  The update now makes it clear which file or folder you are sharing and the extent of that sharing.  It is a much cleaner and easier to understand experience.

The update to the mobile apps falls in line with the updates that Microsoft has been doing to OneDrive online as well as the Windows and Mac clients.  File sharing from the cloud storage service is a fundamental element of the service which is used widely, especially with OneDrive for Business users.

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The All-New Look to Gmail Begins Rolling Out

New Gmail UI

After being leaked a few weeks back, the new looking Gmail UI is now rolling out to everyone.  It will take a few weeks to get to everyone out there but when you do get it, there will be the option under Settings to try the new Gmail out and use it on the web and on the mobile apps.

The update brings a refresh to a product that has needed it for a long while.  Gmail’s UI fundamentally hasn’t changed in years and this update brings a more Material Design look to it as well as several advanced features like Smart Replies and the ability to snooze emails to handle them later.

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