It is a day that everyone knew was coming. Today the Google Store stopped selling the original Google Pixel and Pixel XL. Not only was it removed from the main store, but it was also removed from the phone options list for Project Fi, Google’s MVNO.
The 2016 Pixel phones were breakthrough devices in many ways, bringing a completely reimagined launcher, a stunningly good camera (rated the best at the time of its release) and, of course, all the pure Android goodness that Google intended.
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Google has confirmed that a bug impacting the original Google Pixel XL in Android Oreo 8.1 will be fixed in the coming weeks. The bug can cause the phone to overcurrent, meaning it takes on too much power during recharging, and in theory could pose a fire hazard.
Google’s John McNulty, Head of Safety and Compliance Engineering for Google Consumer Hardware, took to the product forums for Pixel users and assured the bug would be fixed but thanks to multiple layers of protection, a fire risk remained very low.
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The Google Camera app for the Google Pixel lineup of phones has a new update rolling out that brings some UI changes as well as some new features. The update is version 5.2 for those keeping score at home and has been released to the Play Store. You should see the update over the course of the next few days.
From a UI perspective, the top menu bar has been cleaned up with the grid control settings moved to the menu in the app as a setting. Given that the grid view is normally something you set and forget, this makes sense and makes the upper bar in the app a bit less cluttered.
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As expected with it being the first Monday of the first full week of the month, Google has released the March 2018 Android Security Update patches for the Pixel lineup of phones as well as the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. The full factory images for those who want to side load them are available as well as the OTA updates. The automatic sending of the OTA updates should begin later this week for those that don’t want to bother with a side load.
As usual, there are two patches this month although there is also a second bulletin announcement regarding fixes specific to the Pixel 2 lineup. In the March 1, 2018 dated patch, there are a total of 16 fixes, 8 of which are considered critical. These fixes in the first patch deal with Android issues broadly and mostly have to do with media framework and system level issues that could allow for remote code execution.
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Google today announced that their own first and second generation of Pixel phones now are certified as Android Enterprise Recommended devices. I means that the four Pixel phones – the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL – join the ranks with the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, LG V30, Nokia 8 and others. You can see the complete list of devices here.
The Android Enterprise Recommended program certifies devices that meet criteria for manageability, support, productivity, security, and reliability. The idea behind the program is to eliminate the guesswork on which devices are up to the task of being ready to handle the wear-and-tear of being an enterprise phone but also manageable from an enterprise IT perspective.
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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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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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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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