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Chatting with Google’s Hiroshi Lockheimer about Pixel, Android OEMs, and more

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There were big changes announced at Google this week as the company's "Google Hardware" team came out of hiding and announced a slew of products. The star of the show was definitely the Google Pixel, Google's new pair of smartphones that the company is saying it designed while using HTC as a manufacturer. The advent of Pixel phones means Google is an Android OEM again, harkening back to the days when it owned Motorola. This time, though, the company is serious about hardware and software integration.

Android, however, is the world's most popular operating system because of OEM partners like Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, and LG. And if Google wants Android to continue to deliver Google services to billions of people, it will still need all those partners. Google once again has a delicate balancing act to pull off. The company must do its best to deliver a Google-y Android phone while not stealing the thunder from other OEMs or putting them at a serious competitive disadvantage.

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Android Leftovers

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Android Leftovers

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  • While Google's Ara Modular Phone Is Dead, Greybus Still Appears To Have A Future

    With the Linux 4.9 staging pull request comes the addition of the Greybus subsystem.

  • Google melts 78 Android security holes, two of which were critical
  • Remix OS Brings Android For PC
  • Lenovo exec: Nope, not building Windows Phones [Ed: learning from mistakes?]

    Lenovo will not build smartmobes running on Microsoft’s Windows operating system because it doubts the software giant’s long term commitment to the market.

    This is the view from Lenovo’s chief operations officer Gianfranco Lanci, who told attendees at the Canalys Channel Forum 2016 that Windows 10 was generating interest in the corporate market for PCs but that his company won’t entertain basing its phones on the OS.

    “We don’t have Windows phones or any plans to introduce a Windows Phone,” he said.

    “I don’t see the need to introduce a Windows Phone and I am not convinced Microsoft is supporting the phone for the future,” Lanci added.

    According to Gartner, Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile was the third most popular OS on the planet behind Android and iOS during Q2, running on 1.97 million phones compared to 297 million on Google’s OS and 44.39 million on Apple’s software.

Android Leftovers

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  • Six reasons to have the Probox2 Air Android TV box in your home

    When it comes to home entertainment, especially the new wave of 4K-enabled products, it gets pretty expensive to kit out your home with equipment. And if you’re in a home with multiple screens, it’s even more so.

    The Probox2 is the latest Android-based TV box to hit the market and has a great number of features to at least tempt you to consider stumping up the cash to get quality visuals in all your rooms.

  • Introducing the Android Central Smartphone Buyer's Guide

    It's increasingly likely that you're reading this on your smartphone. In fact, it's likely you're doing more on your phone than ever before, which is why it's so important to buy the right one — for you and the people in your life.

    Here at Android Central, we don't just play with phones — we live and breathe them. We're constantly comparing them to the competition, seeking out the ideal device for each particular use case. We believe in the Android mantra of, "Be together, not the same," which is why we are launching the Smartphone Buyer's Guide to help you pick the right phone for your unique situation.

  • Android 7.1 Nougat Update vs. Pixel Android 7.1: Leaked Changelog Reveals Difference Between Pixel OS Features And Upcoming Update
  • Pixel’s best features aren’t coming to the new version of Android

    At Google’s hardware event this week, the new version of the Android operating system, Android 7.1 (Nougat 7.1), was barely mentioned. As it turns out, there was a reason for that: some of the new Pixel smartphones‘ best features won’t be arriving in the new OS. This includes features like Google Assistant, the built-in customer support service, unlimited and free backup of full-res photos and videos, Smart Storage, and more.

    Details on which features were “Pixel-only” were previously reported by Android Police, citing a changelog provided by a Google source. Google confirmed to us those changes are accurate.

    Some of the omissions make sense. For example, only Pixel phones will ship with the new, “quick switch” adapter that makes it easier to move your data from iPhone to Android. That requires hardware in the form of the adapter cable.

  • Google destroys the Android fan myth that the iPhone is too expensive

    For years the Android fanboy argument has been that the iPhone is too expensive and that Android offers them a way to get a high-end smartphone for a fraction of the price.

  • Andromeda Looks Like Android's Ticket To The Big Screen

    Blending traditional and touch computer user input methods to create a satisfying experience and commercial success has proven elusive for the three big consumer operating system vendors. Apple, in fact, has mostly avoided the challenge by keeping the Mac and ther iPad distinct, with Tim Cook likening attempts to meld laptop and tablet interfaces to combining a refrigerator with a toaster.


    If putting Android apps on Chrome OS has failed to excite, how about imbuing Android with elements of Chrome OS? That seems to be the idea behind Andromeda, a rumored forthcoming Google OS that would presumably aim to incorporate the best of both worlds. One model for how it may look and work comes from Remix OS, a tweaking of Android that debuted on a Surface-like device and has since become far more broadly available. It borrows desktop user interface elements from Windows even more aggressively than Chrome does.

    Five years ago, I wrote that Chrome OS was heading toward a niche—ultimately the education market—versus Android. Now, with Andromeda, the security and simplicity that makes Chrome OS great and the windowing user interface that makes it usable on laptops could become key ingredients in finally allowing Android to have an impact on larger-screen computing devices.

  • Best Android Camera

    Samsung introduced this camera setup in the Galaxy S7, and it's just as fantastic today in the newer Galaxy Note 7. The 12MP resolution gives you plenty of pixels to work with, and the optical image stabilization (OIS) keeps everything clear whether you're taking low-light shots or shooting video on the move.

    Just as important as the photo output is how quickly the camera operates. Two presses of the home button launch the camera in less than a second, and photos are taken instantaneously even when shooting in HDR or a tough lighting situation. The camera interface is simple but also powerful if you choose to move to the full Manual mode, which can enable great shots if you want to tweak and use a tripod.

  • Google's new phones won't solve Android's fundamental problems

    It's been a tougher question to answer recently, as Android phones have approached and in some cases beaten the iPhone in terms of design and capability.

    But there's one major thing that keeps me recommending the iPhone over any Android phone: the iOS ecosystem.

    It's the only platform with the best developer support and consistent updates with new features throughout the life of your device. Android can't do that. In fact, many Android phones stop getting new updates and features after a year or so.

  • Best Rugged Android Phone

    It is truly a bummer that the Galaxy S7 Active is an AT&T exclusive because this is a smartphone worthy of all SIMs. Inside, it's packed with the same stellar components as the rest of the Galaxy S7 family, including a Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM. It also offers a massive 4000mAh battery, in addition to a rugged, dust-proof, and water-resistant enclosure. Its 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display is bright enough to see in the great outdoors and sits behind a shatter-resistant protective coating that can withstand the toughest of falls.

    Bottom line: The Galaxy S7 Active is what other consumer-oriented rugged smartphones should aim to be like.

  • ‘Android is not invincible’: What Google is risking by releasing its Pixel smartphone

    Android may be the dominant smartphone operating system (OS) but "it's not invincible," according to analysis firm IHS Markit, which argues that Google's latest Pixel smartphone could risk antagonizing manufacturers reliant on the software.

    On Tuesday, Google – a subsidiary of Alphabet - held a hardware event in which it launched two smartphones – the Pixel and Pixel XL – a smart home hub called Google Home, a virtual reality (VR) headset, Wi-Fi routers and a new version of its Chromecast streaming device.

    The Pixel smartphone runs Google's Android software and comes with Google Assistant – the technology giant's digital personal assistant similar to Apple's Siri, which is also present on its Home hub.

  • Google Play is reportedly streaming Android game demos
  • Google Patches Android for 78 Vulnerabilities in October Update
  • Shazam Lite for Android requires less storage and data
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Android 7.0 Nougat Update Imminent? S7 Running Nougat Spotted On GFXBench

Android Leftovers

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How Long Do Android Owners Own An Android Phone?

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CIRP estimates loyal Android owners keep their phones for about the same length of time as they did three years ago. In the past three years, that length of time increased slightly, then decreased about the same amount, such that the average age of an upgraded Android phone increased only by about three weeks in the past three years.

Among buyers of a new Android smartphone that already owned an Android smartphone, in the past three years, the age of their retired Android phones increased for five quarters, then decreased since then (Chart 1).

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More Android Leftovers

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  • 3 Android phones that offer long battery life
  • ‘Andromeda’ will be Google’s NT

    If you were to design a client operating system with the goal of being used by two billion people, what would it look like?

    We might soon find out what Alphabet’s looks like. Today’s announcement’s from Alphabet’s Google is expected to reveal "Andromeda", the merged Android/Chrome OS. Executives have been hyping today’s event as the most "significant" since the first Android device in 2008, and we already know they’re writing a new operating system from a clean slate. We can also have a good guess about what it looks like.

    Google’s goal for the successor is to unify the rival Chrome and Android platforms while providing a clean code base free of the Java legacy. Google’s big advantage here is that it now has a blank slate.

    After Google acquired Android in 2005, Sun Microsystems’ then CEO Jonathan Schwartz offered Google “congratulations on the announcement of their new Java/Linux phone platform”. Android founder Andy Rubin had already figured Java worked, and seen how it decreased time to market, and how much developers liked it. (Anything was preferable to writing for Symbian, the dominant smartphone platform of the time.)

  • Full Google Pixel and Pixel XL specifications leaked by retailer

    Google just found out, the hard way, how difficult it can be to coordinate a major smartphone launch. Details about its first self-branded smartphones, the Pixel and Pixel XL, have been published by several retailers ahead of their official unveiling tomorrow.

    The most revealing leak comes from Carphone Warehouse. The British retailer put up, and quickly removed, product listings for the Pixel and Pixel XL. The listings confirm much of what we were anticipating thanks to older leaks, and add a handful of new details. A mirror of the Pixel XL is available here, thanks to Reddit user krackers.

Best Android Phone Under $900

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Forget the drama for a second: The Galaxy Note 7 is well worth its high price tag precisely because of everything that's bundled with it. Not only does it run on the latest processor, it also offers expandable memory, compatibility with two wireless charging standards, and two different mobile payment technologies. And for those of you who are serious about your smartphone photography, it features one of the best smartphone cameras on the market: a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera equipped with OIS and a f/1.7 aperture, as well as full manual controls and RAW file support. You can then edit those photos with the precise, water resistant, pressure sensitive S-Pen that comes in tow. Now do you see why this phone costs so much?

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also: Best Android Phone With Removable Battery

Android Leftovers

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  • Live from Google’s mega announcement: Pixel phones, Android updates, 4K Chromecast and more!

    Google is hosting a press event today in San Francisco… and if the rumors are true, it should be a doozy. We’ve heard whispers about everything from new phones, to new Chromecasts, to a new VR headset, to a complete rethinking of Android as we know it.

    You might’ve assumed we’d be at the event covering it live with up-to-the-second updates from the scene… and, well, you’d have assumed right.

    The event is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Pacific, so tune in then. In fact, chances are good we’ll start warming up the ol’ liveblog a bit before then — so if you don’t want to miss anything, tune in early.

  • Xiaomi’s 4K Android TV box is now on sale in the U.S. for $69

    We told you last month that Xiaomi’s Android TV box would go on sale in the U.S. in October, and true to our word it has. The Chinese company is best known for its affordable smartphones, but today it launched a set-top box priced at $69 that looks like great value.

    Originally unveiled at Google I/O in May, the new Mi Box offers 4K video at 60 FPS and supports Dolby Digital Plus audio playback and HDR content. Xiaomi partnered with Google to integrate Google Cast and Google voice search while there are Android games and apps for the likes of Netflix, HBO, and Showtime alongside support for Sling TV, which itself brings TV shows without the need for cable.

  • The Mi Box is officially launching today for $69

    Google unveiled the Mi Box with Android TV way back in May at Google I/O. Then for months, nothing. We were starting to wonder if the device would ever come out when it began appearing on Walmart shelves last month. Now, the Mi Box is official. It's going on sale today on and at Walmart for $69.

    The Mi Box is one of only a few Android TV boxes that have been released. Google's original Nexus TV was a flop, and the Razer Forge TV never even got support for Netflix (which is absolutely insane). The NVIDIA Shield has been the only Android TV box worth having, but it's $200. The Mi Box includes many of the features of the SHIELD for a lot less cash.

  • Why Android Fans Are Feeling Anxious Ahead of Google's Next Hardware Event

    Recently there has been some anxiety amongst Android enthusiasts who are frustrated by Google’s apparent disregard for consumer satisfaction.

    So what gives? A few days ago Google released a new mobile messaging app called Allo that seeks to insert some Amazon Echo-like smarts into a familiar chat interface. While the app appears to be doing well on the charts, some Android fans have criticized its mobile-only approach (it can’t be used on the desktop) and the fact that it can’t be used to talk to people using Hangouts, another Google messaging app.

  • Google has until October 31 to reply to EU's Android antitrust charges [Ed: Google has until October 31 to reply to Microsoft’s Android antitrust charges; EU as a Microsoft proxy here]

    Alphabet's Google has been given until the end of October, the fourth extension, to rebut EU antitrust charges that it uses its dominant Android mobile operating system to block competitors, the European Commission said on Monday.

    The Commission in April said the U.S. technology giant's demand that mobile phone makers pre-install Google Search and the Google Chrome browser on their smartphones to access other Google apps harms consumers and competition.

    The EU watchdog had initially set a July 27 deadline for Google to respond to the charges. This had been extended three times at the company's request, with the previous deadline Sept. 20.

    The new deadlines are Oct. 31 for the Android case and Oct. 26 and Oct. 13 for cases relating to online search advertising and shopping.

  • Why Google's EU Android Probe Bears Close Watching [Ed: Why Google’s [Microsoft proxy attack via regulators against] Android Probe Bears Close Watching]
  • Nokia's Android-powered return? New mid-range smartphone surfaces [Ed: Microsoft had ruined Nokia before this happened]

    Details have surfaced on a benchmarking site that suggest Nokia may have a new mid-range phone waiting in the wings.

    For Nokia, IoT tech is firmly in its future plans, while smartphones are out. But die-hard Nokia fans may still be able to get their hands on a Nokia smartphone thanks to a little-known Finnish firm called HMD, which has a license and $500m to design, make, and market Nokia-branded smartphones running Android.

    The licensing deal was signed in May, but HMD has yet to announce its first phone, leaving fans with little more than speculation about future launches.

  • iPhone 7 comes last in battery test against Android smartphones

    If you want a smartphone with a long battery life, then testing carried out by UK consumer magazine Which? suggests that you're far better off going with an Android device from HTC, LG, or Samsung. In fact, when the new iPhone 7 was pitted against the HTC 10, LG G5 and the Samsung Galaxy S7, it came last in all the tests.

  • How to factory reset an Android phone
  • How to Recover Deleted Photos on Android
  • Everything you need to know about Android 7.1 Nougat and the Pixel Launcher
  • Google Maps Now Displays Google Calendar Events on Android
  • Alert: some cards losing Android Pay support October 14th
  • [Finally] Nexus 6 gets official Android 7.0 Nougat with October 5th security patch

Dueling Arduinos reunite with new Arduino Foundation

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Arduino LLC and Arduino Srl have settled their legal disputes, and will reunify under an Arduino Holding company and a not-for-profit Arduino Foundation.

At the World Maker Faire New York, the Arduino LLC ( and Arduino Srl ( organizations announced they have signed a settlement agreement concerning the legal dispute that has, for the past two years, split the open source MCU-oriented Arduino hardware community in two. The forked entities will reunite before the end of the year under a new “Arduino Holding” company and not-for-profit “Arduino Foundation.” The identical announcements were posted at and

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