Google Pixel Shipments Doubled in 2017

Google Pixel 2 XL White

According to research from IDC, Google enjoyed a doubling of shipments of their Google Pixel phone lineup in 2017.  In all, the company shipped some 3.9 million units for the year, mostly comprised of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL which were introduced last October.

The figures once again come from IDC’s Francisco Jeronimo who yesterday reported the paltry numbers for Essential.  While the numbers for Google are obviously better, they are still pretty small in the overall smartphone shipments market.

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Google Play Services Beta Fixes The Check for Update Button on Pixel Phones

Check for Update in Android

A new beta of Google Play Service is currently available and it is bringing a much desired fix to the “Check for Update” button on Google Pixel devices.  The new beta build is version 12.2.09 and multiple sources are reporting that at least on the Pixel 2 lineup, you can actually tap the “Check for Update” option in Settings and it will immediately go download the new February Android Security Update patches.

The Check for Update button has been broken for a while now.  A fix was to come with Android Oreo but an update to Google Play Services, the culprit in all of the issues, broke it again late last year.  Google then indicated that a fix would be coming in 2018.  That fix now appears to be happening.

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The Kinda Blue Pixel 2 is Now Available Unlocked from Google

Google Pixel 2 Kinda Blue on Project Fi

After being an exclusive to Verizon since October of last year, the Kinda Blue color option for the Google Pixel 2 is now available to everyone from Google or on Project Fi.  The pricing of the phone and the functionality of the phone is identical to any Pixel 2, it is just that you have a more unique color option than Black or White.

The Kinda Blue color was an exclusive for the phone from Verizon as being the other launch partner of the phone with Google.  That meant that the phone was locked to the carrier like the other Pixel phones they have sold.  Now with it being available from Google directly, you can get it unlocked.

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Google Releases The January Android Security Update Patches

Google Pixel XL

Google has released the January 2018 Android Security Update patches for the Google Nexus and Pixel lineup of devices.  Normally the patches are released on the first Monday of the first full week in any given month.  Given that yesterday was New Years Day and a holiday, it was delayed until today.

Like previous Android Security Update patches, there are two that have been released.  The first patch is dated January 1 and primarily focuses on core Android fixes and addressing security vulnerabilities.  In this patch there are a total of 20 fixes included, four of which are considered critical fixes.

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The Pixel Check for Update Button is Broken Again

Check for Update on Google Pixel XL

Remember back in September when I posted about the fact that the Check for Update button on Google Pixel and Nexus devices actually worked?  Like, it actually looked at the cloud where phone images live, did a stare-and-compare of what was there versus what was on your phone, and would immediately download it to your phone.  It was cool for the few minutes it worked.

No, it is not your imagination.  It is broken.

Googler Elliott Hughes has taken to his Google+ account to update everyone that the feature is broken due to an API incompatibility.  It will get fixed but it won’t be until 2018.

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Google Pixel Devices Get On-Device Battery Life Estimates for Improved Accuracy

Battery Life Settings on Google Pixel

Google has made a small but significant change to the way that Google Pixel devices measure estimated battery life.  The update replaces a simple model that was on the devices that could produce some wildly inaccurate measurements and results.

The news of the update came via the Pixel Product Help Site and essentially, the new model now looks at how you actually use your phone rather than making estimates based on your previous hour of usage.  Before this change, if you used 10% of your battery in an hour, the model would assume that you would continue to use your batter at a 10% per hour clip.  This resulted in some discrepancies if you went above or below that 10% rate.  The change to the model gives more personalized results.

To fix this, we built an on-device model that evaluates how you use your phone’s battery over time. Your phone looks at your battery usage on similar days and times, and uses that to predict your battery life in a personalized way.

The cool thing is, this is all a cloud-side change that Google pushed out so if you have a Pixel device, you likely already have this change in place.

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November Updates Bring Screen Fixes to the Pixel 2

Google Pixel 2 XL White

The Google Pixel 2 lineup, particularly the XL, have had a raft of user complaints about the displays on the devices.  The two chief complaints have been around the color saturation and “burn-in” on the screen, particularly with the navigation keys on the screen.  For their part, Google has rightfully explained that some of the issues are related to the P-OLED display that is used on the Pixel 2 XL but committed to having updates out for the lineup to address those issues.

Those updates are a part of the November Android Security Update which was released yesterday.  In amongst those updates, there are two specific items for the phone that address these items.  First, there is now a new color saturation setting in the Display settings of the device.  Now you have the option to select “Saturated” to enhance the color vibrance.  This should help enhance the colors on the phone, particularly the XL model where the complaints have been the loudest.

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