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.

Continue reading “Google Releases The January Android Security Update Patches”

The Tech & Apps That I Use Every Day

Acer Chromebook 14

One of the most common questions that I get asked, both here on the site, as well as by friends and family has to do with the hardware and software I use every day.  It is a fair question and one that people ask out of both curiosity as well as doing a “stare and compare” with their own tech.

I’ve always said that you need to use the right technology that works for you.  That may be an Android Phone or an iPhone.  That may be a Windows PC or a MacBook Pro.  Whatever the technology, it has to get the job done for you and for me, this list of hardware and software, works for me.  I encourage readers to look into what I use to see if it fits their needs but at the end of the day, it is a personal use case as to whether it will or will not.

I’ve broken this article into two parts.  The first is the primary hardware that I use each day with the second focused on the apps that I use on them.  The apps could be on my phone, my tablet or my Chromebook and I’ll note that as I go along.  As for hardware, I’ll cover what I use every day as well as other devices I use from time-to-time.  You’ll note that very little of what I have is new and that’s on purpose.  I tend not to buy the latest and greatest because I, like most of you reading this, are looking for value in my purchases or I use things for a long time before replacing them.

Continue reading “The Tech & Apps That I Use Every Day”

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.

Continue reading “Google Pixel Devices Get On-Device Battery Life Estimates for Improved Accuracy”

Camera Comparison Video on the Pixel 2 XL and the Pixel XL

Google Pixel XL

From a stats perspective, the camera in the Pixel 2 XL is better than that of the original Pixel XL.  But if you can pick up a deal on the Pixel XL, are you sacrificing too much in photo quality?  That’s the question that fellow Google Top Contributor Scott Peachey tries to answer in his latest comparison.

Scott gives a detailed overview of the cameras in both the 2 XL and the original XL from a video, images and selfie images of both devices (he even squeezes in some Pixel 2 discussion in there too).  He explains his method for testing and you can see the results of the comparison in the six minute video.

Continue reading “Camera Comparison Video on the Pixel 2 XL and the Pixel XL”

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.

Continue reading “Google Pixel SMS Issue To Be Resolved in November”

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.

Continue reading “Google Photos Update Ends Confusion on Pixel 2 Original Quality Uploads”

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.

Continue reading “Check for Update Really Works in Oreo on Nexus & Pixel Devices”