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1 month ago

Moto G4 and G4 Plus are now receiving the Nougat update in India

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Nougat OTA now rolling out, brings one-handed mode to the G4 Plus.

The Moto G4 and G4 Plus are now picking up the Android 7.0 Nougat update in India. The update comes in at 773MB, and introduces a new Moto Actions feature that lets you shrink the screen size down using a swipe gesture. The feature is designed to make it easier to use the phone one-handed, and you can enable it by swiping up, left, or right from the bottom of the screen. You also get inline replies, new Doze mode, split screen support, and more.

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1 month ago

Common Google Pixel problems and how to fix them

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Pixel problems? Here are the most common problems and how to fix them.

It's been an interesting few weeks for Google's nascent hardware division. The company's latest products are all smartphone adjacent — a smart speaker, a smart router, a smart VR headset — but none have overshadowed the smart... phone. The Pixels are two phones that, among these parts and around the internet, have garnered widely divisive receptions, some hailing them as the best phones you can buy today, while others dismissing them outright as iPhone clones and, worse, overpriced wastes of money. Of course, like every story based on extremes, the reality is somewhere in the middle.

But even we, who have been leaning towards the side praising the Pixel, cannot ignore the seemingly-constant barrage of news relating to bugs in the proverbial machine. From LTE problems to boot loops to audio distortion to battery shutdowns, the Pixel has generated a steady stream of complaints since almost day one, and it seems that with each update, each bug fix, a new problem emerges.

Note: This article was originally published in December 2016 and will be updated frequently. Check back soon!

What is the actual problem?

Like every story based on extremes, the reality is somewhere in the middle.

We don't know. The interoperability of hardware and software is very complicated, and even though it now has much greater control over both, Google is still unable to check for every conflict before it ships.

The important thing to know is that not everyone is experiencing problems. The issues with the Pixel appear to be isolated and not endemic of the entire product lineup. This is not some Galaxy Note 7 scale issue that will require a recall.

The second thing to know is that Google appears to be actively researching each problem, and has already fixed one of the more severe issues with a recent update.

Let's go through each one to see where we stand.

Band 4 LTE issues

Early on, it became apparent that the Pixel was having trouble connecting to LTE networks that relied on Band 4 (AWS) in certain countries, specifically Canada, Chile, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Ecuador and others in the region. The phone, though compatible with Band 4 LTE, was staying on HSPA+.

That changed when Google issued the Android 7.1.1 update in early December, with many people finding their LTE connections upon booting up. The issue is that some people are still having issues with LTE, so the update doesn't appear to have fixed the update completely.

Some people are finding that flashing radios from different regions elicits success, but like many of the Pixel's issues there doesn't seem to be a particular rhyme nor reason to say the issue has been solved and the case closed.

  • Best fix: Upgrade your software
  • Status: Partially solved, ongoing

Audio distortion issues

Audio distortion issues continue to be one of the most prevalent problems with the Pixel, largely because it is easy to reproduce. You either have the problem or you don't.

The issue stems from using particular apps, or playing back movies and music at high volumes; anything above a certain point — usually 80% to maximum — causes the audio to clip.

Like the above LTE issue, it appears to be a combination of hardware and software, since not all Pixel owners (myself included) have had the problem. There was a recent update that many claimed fixed the issue for them, but others say the issues is still ongoing and painful.

  • Best fix: Replace your Pixel
  • Status: Ongoing

Boot loops

Android phones falling into boot loops are not uncommon, and some manufacturers (ahem, LG) seem to have higher rates than others.

But shortly after the Pixel was released, and timed more frequently with monthly security updates, people began reporting instances where the phone would fall into an endless boot loop — failing to start up and rebooting when the process failed — forcing a factory reset through the Recovery menu.

On Google's product forums, half a dozen threads with myriad entries each tell the story of frustration, especially since many of the Pixel and Pixel XL users were forced to perform hard resets, losing data in the process. Google's official word is to seek individual service through the Pixel's 24/7 customer support feature, but there are no permanent solutions just yet. At the same time, boot loops are not uncommon in the Nexus family, and more recently the Nexus 6P began suffering the same sordid fate after it, too, was updated to Nougat.

  • Best fix: Factory reset and, failing that, replace your Pixel
  • Status: Ongoing

Pixel shutting off at close to 40% battery

This is a relatively recent occurrence, but mirrors what people have been seeing on the Nexus 6P for the past few weeks. Likely exacerbated by the cold weather in the northern hemisphere, the issue, according to Reddit user bal00, has less to do with software than with the state of batteries themselves.

If you've got a battery with a high internal resistance and a power-hungry load like the camera demanding a lot of current, other devices like the processor will see their supply voltage drop, and if it drops low enough, the phone will shut off. That's what's going on when a phone turns off with 40% battery left. There's plenty of water in the tank, but all the build-up inside the valve restricts the flow so much that the pressure takes a nosedive.

The strange part is that unlike the Nexus 6P, which has been in the market for over a year, the Pixel is new, as are the batteries inside them. To sustain such damage so the "pressure takes a nosedive" is not common in a phone under three months on the market.

  • Best fix: Replace your Pixel
  • Status: Ongoing

Other minor issues: Bluetooth, microphones

There is a bug that has been identified after the February security update that is causing Pixels to randomly shut off their Bluetooth. A fix has been identified, and should be coming in a future update.

Other Pixel owners have reported other Bluetooth issues, some of which were resolved with the update to Android 7.1.1, as well as failing microphones and other random issues.

None of these are common enough to be called endemic, but they're certainly something to look out for.

  • Best fix(es): Wait for software update
  • Status: Annoying

So what can you do?

First thing's first: Google's Pixel is, like all other phones, not perfect. That its hardware and software are overseen by Google doesn't preclude it from having problems. Despite the numerous issues noted above, the Pixel is not disproportionately problematic compared to other Android phones.

You have three options if you have a severe issue with your Pixel:

  • Seek out counsel from Google through the Pixel Support feature: Google may be able to walk you through a temporary or permanent fix.
  • Update or your revert your software: The issue(s) you're experiencing are likely software-based and an update could be the answer.
  • Replace your phone: If nothing works, or you're stuck in a permanent boot loop and a restore doesn't seem to be doing the trick, seek a replacement from Google or your carrier. The Pixel is still under warranty, and unless you dunked it in water or threw it onto cement, you shouldn't have an issue getting a new one.

What issues are you facing?

Are you facing issues with your Pixel? If so, any from the list above? If not, has it been flawless or still prone to derping every once in a while?

The good news is that Google will likely fix the majority of the Pixel's major issues with software updates, and faster than usual given its ability to push out updates directly.

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

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1 month ago

Press renders of the Galaxy A3 2017 and A5 2017 leak ahead of unveil

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The Galaxy A 2017 series is all set to debut next week.

Samsung is all set to unveil the 2017 variants of the Galaxy A series, with the Galaxy A3, A5, and A7 expected to make their debut on January 5. The company teased the launch earlier this week in which it essentially confirmed that the new models will be water resistant. Press renders of the Galaxy A3 2017 and A5 2017 have now leaked, showcasing their design and giving us a look at what Samsung has in store for 2017.

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1 month ago

This holiday, Apple beat Samsung but Android trounced iOS

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Looking at the numbers.

It's an annual tradition in the tech news space that, after a shop-heavy holiday like Black Friday or Christmas, mobile analytics companies regale us with layman's explanations for the data they accrued.

One such company is Yahoo-owned Flurry, which posted this week about how, as usual, "Holiday Shoppers Invest in Apple." By its count, taken from deals with app developers across iOS and Android, Apple's iPhone achieved 44% of the total device activations this year, followed by Samsung at 21%, and Huawei and LG following at a scant 3% and 2%, respectively.

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1 month ago

Moto Z owners, how's the Nougat update treating you?

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Moto Z Nougat

Moto's modular phone gets Android 7.0 — so how have you been finding the update?

Lenovo's Moto brand has been hit and miss when it comes to software updates, but at least the flagship Moto Z and Z Force have benefitted from a relatively speedy upgrade to Android 7.0 Nougat. And aside from the usual laundry list of software improvements, Moto Z owners have more than most to get excited about, as the phone inherits Daydream VR support along with the new Android platform version and numerous other improvements.

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1 month ago

Huawei P9, P9 Plus shipments exceed the 10 million mark

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The P9 is Huawei's first flagship series to cross the 10 million mark.

Huawei announced that it has shipped more than 10 million units of the Huawei P9 and P9 Plus since they made their debut in April. The phones are the first flagship-tier devices from Huawei to break the 10 million mark, and the milestone highlights the brand's growth in the smartphone segment over the course of the year.

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1 month ago

Soft Gold OnePlus 3T will be up for sale on Amazon India from Jan 5

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The OnePlus 3T is coming soon in a golden hue.

The OnePlus 3T is currently available in a gunmetal color scheme on Amazon India, but if that isn't to your liking, the company is all set to introduce the Soft Cold color option. The new color variant will be available exclusively on Amazon India starting January 5, and if you're interested, you can now register to pick it up once it goes on sale.

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1 month ago

LG G6 renders reveal dual camera setup, no sign of modular design

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An early look at the LG G6 shows off several changes, and a few similarities.

LG hasn't fared well in its attempt to build a modular phone with the LG G5, and it looks like the company is shelving the platform after just one generation. Renders of the upcoming LG G6 have surfaced on Gear by way of OnLeaks, giving us an early look at the device.

From the renders, it looks like the company is continuing where it left off from the LG G5. The G6 will likely feature a dual camera setup at the back, with a fingerprint sensor located beneath the camera. One major change is the modularity aspect — or lack thereof. It's no secret that LG failed to gain any momentum whatsoever for its Friends modular accessories, and the company's implementation wasn't ideal as it involved sliding out the battery and restarting the phone to switch out an accessory.

Other details include a USB-C charging port at the bottom, 3.5mm jack up top, and a metal frame round the sides. The back is said to be made out of "highly reflective metallic material," and will be available in a glossy finish. The renders also highlight a matte back, and LG may include wireless charging this time around. And it looks like the days of removable batteries in LG's flagships are numbered as well.

Given that we're still a few months away from the unveil and that the renders are based off of CAD designs, it is likely that the retail model of the LG G6 may differ from what's highlighted above. What would you like to see in the LG G6?

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2 months ago

So, what Android stuff did you get for Christmas?

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Share the wealth, would ya?

By now, the wrapping is balled up and in the garbage, and family is on their way back home (still stuck in traffic, if Google Maps is correct), and you're sitting with some cool new stuff.

Android or not, we want to know: What did you get?

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2 months ago

First look: Android 7.0 Nougat on OnePlus 3 + 3T

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OnePlus 3 Nougat

Android 7.0 + OxygenOS 4.0 update adds software tweaks from the OnePlus 3T, along with small visual refresh and new Nougat features.

OnePlus recently released its first Android 7.0 beta build for the OnePlus 3, bringing the phone up to the latest (stable) version of the Android, while also including features from OxygenOS 3.5 on the OnePlus 3T. Because the OnePlus 3 and 3T are set to remain on the same software track going forwards, the experience on the OnePlus 3T should be the same when the update arrives for both phones later this month.

So what's new? If you've already been using OxygenOS 3.5 — either in community build form on the 3, or as a stable build on the 3T, many features will already be familiar. (For example, the redesigned home screen launcher and updated widget shelf.)

But there are also plenty of other changes, both big and small.

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2 months ago

Latest Nougat beta update for the S7 edge fixes reboot issue

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Bug fixes, transparent notifications, and no more errant reboots.

The fifth Nougat beta update is now rolling out to the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge to those enrolled in the Galaxy Beta program in the UK and South Korea. While there aren't any new feature additions, the update fixes the intermittent reboot issue, and has several stability improvements.

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2 months ago

Samsung teases water resistance for Galaxy A series

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Samsung is bringing water resistance to the Galaxy A series.

If Samsung's previous launch windows were any indication, we're likely due for new models in the Galaxy A series in the coming weeks. This time around, it looks like the company will unveil the 2017 refresh of the Galaxy A series at CES. Ahead of the launch, Samsung's Malaysian outfit teased an image that suggests the upcoming phones in the Galaxy A series will be water-resistant:

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2 months ago

Gionee M2017 debuts in China with a massive 7000mAh battery

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A luxury phone with a battery that rivals most tablets.

Gionee has carved out a niche for itself in China and India in the mid-range segment, but with its latest handset, the company has set its sights on the luxury market. The M2017 is made out of premium materials and is set to retail for ¥6,999 ($1,005).

The highlight of the M2017 is its battery capacity, with Gionee cobbling two 3500mAh batteries to create a 7000mAh monster. The phone supports Quick Charge 3.0, and Gionee claims that it'll offer 32 hours of talktime for calls and 26 hours of video playback on a full charge.

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2 months ago

Wileyfox commits to bringing Nougat to its entire portfolio of phones

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Wileyfox will deliver platform and security updates to its entire portfolio.

Cyanogen's announcement that it was shutting down its services and OS caught everyone by surprise, particularly those that partnered with the company to offer Cyanogen OS on their phones. British startup Wileyfox has five phones that run the now-defunct OS — Swift 2, Swift 2 Plus, Spark, Spark+, and Spark X — and the company has announced that it will bring the Nougat update to all of its handsets.

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2 months ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fires, recall and cancellation: Everything you need to know

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Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Here's all the information you need about the Galaxy Note 7 fires and recall — the events that led to the phone being discontinued.

After months of twists and turns since September 2016, the Galaxy Note 7 story has (effectively) come to an end. The core of the situation is that Samsung faced a serious issue with Galaxy Note 7 phones that have a high propensity of batteries failing and in many cases catching on fire, leading to personal and property damage. In the original, pre-recall Note 7, hundreds of phones worldwide had critical failures.

Following initial reports of fires the phone was recalled officially in the U.S. once, and Samsung launched exchange programs in other countries. But the new models continued to see further issues, with replacement catching on fire in early October. This led to Samsung telling Note 7 owners to stop using the phones and return them, before permanently discontinuing the Note 7 worldwide. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. CPSC officially issued a second recall. The Note 7 is well and truly finished.

Here's everything you need to know about this unprecedented situation.

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