Every smartphone manufacturer is susceptible to defects, but after dropping a good chunk of change on a shiny new device, we as consumers have little tolerance for such issues. We want our gadgets to be perfect in every regard, so even the tiniest flaw is irksome.
The latest trend in smartphone design is all about the display. Manufacturers want larger screens with smaller bezels. The rumors are heating up about Google's next big release, the Pixel 2, and with that, we may have a clue that shows us Google is hopping on the display train.
When it comes to technology, there are no bigger names than Google and Apple. They're the two most valuable companies in the world, and they've swapped places a few times over the last year, so they're truly neck-and-neck. But let's put business aside for a moment — which of these companies makes the better flagship phone?
There were some new hurdles to clear, and then there were a few more, but legendary root developer Chainfire has created a fully-functional root method for Google's Pixel and Pixel XL flagships. Like past devices, this method relies on the SuperSU ZIP, but now, there's an additional file that needs to be flashed in order to bypass issues with Android Verified Boot (AVB).
The brand new Pixel and Pixel XL, Google's first direct attempts at taking on the iPhone, haven't rolled out exactly how Google would have liked. The devices have already had more than their fair share of issues, starting with the camera, and now extending to the built-in speaker. The camera issues were marked as "solved" by Google, but the lens flare is still very much there, just not as prominent.
Google makes Android, but now, Google makes its own phones, too. Until this point, they've always stayed on the software side of things and let Samsung and friends handle the hardware, but their new Pixel phones are changing all of that.
Google's new Pixel phones are shaking things up in the world of Android, as the Nexus line is no more, and the Mountain View tech giant has now become a smartphone OEM. The long-term impact of these moves remains to be seen, but we already know that Google, the manufacturer, will be adding extra software and UI features to the version of Android that ships with its Pixels.
Google worked with design agency B-Reel to create some unique wallpapers for its Pixel and Pixel XL flagships, and the end result is quite stunning. These "Live Earth" wallpapers, as they're called, combine Google Earth's high-def satellite imagery with a 3D parallax effect that changes perspective as you move between screens.
Walking while taking a video is always a pain. But it doesn't have to be, especially with Google's new Pixel smartphone and its new and improved Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) feature. A new video, released on Reddit, pitted the Pixel's EIS against the Nexus 6P with some incredible results.
The Pixel 2 has finally arrived. Google unveiled their newest flagship phones on October 4th, and there's quite a few changes in store. For one thing, most of Google's official renders have already showed us something new: The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will have a Google Search bar at the bottom of their home screens.
Google's own devices have always been the first to get new Android features — but unlike the Nexus series, last year's Pixel phones have a handful of exclusive tweaks that were never intended to trickle down to other devices once the newer Android version rolled out to them. These Pixel exclusives included the Pixel launcher and a unique set of on-screen navigation buttons.
The Pixel and Pixel XL come with an awesome data-saving feature called Wi-Fi Assistant that automatically connects to open internet hotspots, then creates a secure VPN on your device to keep your data safe.
Thanks to LlabTooFeR's Pixel system image leak, we're starting to see a lot of the features from Google's upcoming smartphones ported to other Android devices. Case in point: Charles Chow at Chromloop was able to pull the brand new camera app out of the Pixel's firmware and turn it into an installable APK.
Google doesn't really use an OEM skin on its new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, but they've certainly added lots of little finishing touches to their flagships' version of Android. Things like Now Playing, an always-on Ambient Display, and other little bonuses are sprinkled throughout the OS, and if you look really closely, you'll notice another: A semi-transparent Quick Settings panel.
Everyone's been raving about the Pixel's top-notch camera, and the acclaim is well-deserved. The main difference between Google's new camera software on their Pixel phones and the older software on their Nexus devices is that the Pixel has almost no perceptible lag between tapping the shutter button and the image being captured—even with HDR+ mode enabled.
Now that Android Nougat lets you add your own custom Quick Settings tiles, your pull-down menu is probably getting a lot more crowded than it used to be, with all sorts of new and useful toggles. But the trouble is, you can only add up to nine entries before your Quick Settings tiles spill over into a second pane that you have to access by swiping, and that's not exactly "quick."
Are we about to witness the future of Android OS? Of Google? Of the entire smartphone ecosystem?! Google has just turned 18 today (right?), Android just had its 8th birthday, and the rumor mill is firing on all cylinders in the lead-up to the October 4 launch event where they'll announce their latest hardware and software products.
Have you ever been listening to the radio and a song comes on that you can't identify? But you're driving, so you can't open your phone and use your favorite app to find the song's name. Well, with a feature called "Now Playing" in the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Google has solved this problem.
Google's new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have a new camera mode called "Motion Photos." As the name implies, it's quite similar to Apple's Live Photos feature or HTC's Zoe before it. For every picture you take, a few seconds of video footage from before and after the shot was taken will be embedded in the file, which gives you two ways to relive that moment.
The Pixel and Pixel XL both use AMOLED screens, which are noted for their deeper blacks and sharper contrast ratios when compared to traditional LCD panels. However, AMOLED displays still have one fairly major downside, and that's the fact that they're vulnerable to screen burn-in.
There's one thing that I've always liked about iPhones, and that's their centered digital clock in the status bar at the top of the screen. On Android, it's always on the right side by default, and there's no easy setting that lets you just change it to the center position. But if you have a Google Pixel XL, there's a simple modification you can perform to get exactly that—a centered status bar clock.
Unlike traditional backlit LCD technology, OLED screens don't use any power to display black pixels. Many manufacturers have taken advantage of this by implementing an always-on display, which only lights up a few pixels here and there to show relevant info when your phone is locked. But this leads to extra battery drain, albeit small, and it increases the risk of screen burn-in.
The Pixel 2 has a really cool feature that identifies any songs playing nearby and automatically displays the track's name on your lock screen. It's honestly one of the most inventive smartphone features we've seen in a while, especially considering how Google did it — but strangely, it's not enabled by default.
Google's got quite a few tricks up its sleeve with their Pixel and Pixel XL flagships, including functionality we've never seen before on Android. One awesome feature is called "App Shortcuts," and the basic premise is strikingly similar to Apple's 3D Touch—just long-press an app icon, then you'll get a pop-up that lets you perform quick actions.
Starting in October, many Nexus 6P users have been experiencing a bug that causes their phone to completely shut down, even though there was 20% or more battery life remaining. At first, it was thought to be a direct result of the recent Android Nougat update, but a combination of factors indicate that this isn't necessarily the case—or, at least, it's not the only problem.
With the release of the Pixel and Pixel XL, Google is officially a smartphone manufacturer. But their mobile endeavors aren't just limited to software and hardware, as Project Fi has already made them into a legitimate cell service provider.
Update 10/12: Since the event has now ended, we figured we'd update this page with a link to a replay version of the Google event. So if you missed any of the goodies or just want to give yourself a refresher, jump down to the "Where to Watch" section below.
Most newer phones come with a grayscale mode that you can activate when you want to save some battery life. The way it works is simple: If your graphics chip only has to render elements in black and white instead of full 32-bit color, it won't consume as much power.
The May 2017 security update has begun rolling out to Nexus and Pixel devices, which is usually great news. It means that your device is now being updated to protect you from the latest exploits and vulnerabilities found in Android. At other times, though, security updates patch root methods like Dirty COW, which is extremely frustrating for users and developers alike. Especially since most OEMs don't condone rooting or even unlocking the bootloader on their devices.
One of our favorite features on the Pixel Launcher is its App Shortcuts, which work a lot like Apple's 3D Touch for iOS or Huawei's Force Touch. Instead of using pressure sensitivity to call up static and dynamic shortcut menus for apps, Launcher Shortcuts relied on a simple long-press. Now, in the Android 7.1 update for Pixels, there's an update to App Shortcuts that let's you pin shortcut options directly to your home screen for even quicker access.
One of the only downsides to the Pixel XL is that Google's flagship phone does not have stereo speakers. But if Android's awesome development community has taught us anything over the years, it's that limitations like these can be bypassed with some creative software tinkering.
Blue light (like that from our smartphone) tricks the human brain into thinking it's still daytime, even if it's coming from something as small as a screen. So while you're playing around with your new Pixel or Pixel XL after dark, subconscious signals to be awake are preventing you from getting to sleep as early as you should.
Whatever you think of Google's new Pixel phones, the one thing we know for sure is that these are the most polarizing devices in recent memory. On the one hand, we've seen reviews in which longtime Android users say they'll be walking away from the OS all together thanks to Pixel. On the other hand, you've got the iPhone-obsessed David Pierce over at WIRED saying he'll be switching immediately.
Android device manufacturers may see the new Pixel "Phone By Google" devices as just another competitor, one that likely won't upset their entry-level margins. But that would be a mistake. Pixel is Google's call to action. With Google now offering as near to perfect an Android experience as we've had so far, OEMs that want to keep selling smartphones in a world flooded with them will need to start working for the privilege.
If you've noticed a tiny discolored spot on your computer screen that just doesn't seem to go away, chances are you have a stuck pixel. With modern LCD and OLED screens, there are millions of incredibly small dots (pixels) that make up all of the contents of your display—and within these pixels, there is a set of red, green and blue subpixels. These mix together at various levels to create all of the different colors you see.
According to multiple users on Reddit, the Pixel and Pixel XL's camera can have some serious auto-focus issues if you're using a certain type of case with Google's new flagships. When the problem occurs, your camera app will refuse to settle on a focus point, making almost everything in the frame blurry. Redditor HeshoMike uploaded a video of the phenomenon, and you can see it in action here:
Google's new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones have a feature that puts their fingerprint scanners to use after you unlock your phone—just swipe down on the scanner from any screen, then you'll see your notifications. It keeps you from having to do hand gymnastics to reach the status bar at the top of your screen, and it gives you easy access to quick information, so it's a win-win.
Regardless of what they call them—be it Pixel or Nexus—Google's line of smartphones have a cool feature called "Ambient Display" that wakes your screen in a low-power black and white state when you receive a notification. This feature was added back when Google owned Motorola, as Moto's phones had a similar lock screen effect called "Active Display."
A few months ago, LlabTooFeR leaked a full system dump from Google's then-unreleased Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. That may not seem like a big deal at first glance, but the system dump contained all of the preinstalled apps and services from Google's new flagships—including the much-anticipated Google Assistant.
Android O doesn't have an official code name yet, but it's certainly got plenty of cool new features. The OS won't officially debut until Q3 2017, but we've gotten our hands on some of the updated stock apps thanks to the Android beta program.