What happened in Android news on October 6, 2016? A lot, actually.
I'm not American, but even I can tell that buying a Google Pixel from Verizon is probably not a wise move if you value expeditious software updates — and why wouldn't you, if you're reading Android Central?
News broke earlier today that Big Red would be overseeing updates to the Pixel and Pixel XL, mainly for quality control purposes but also because they are inserting some custom software, including three apps (coughbloatwarecough).
Let's be honest with ourselves for a moment, though: There are likely many more people walking into a Verizon store looking for a Galaxy S7 ambivalent about update speed than there are people up in arms about Google's business decision to let Verizon do what it wants with a phone it paid a lot of money to customize and sell exclusively. If such decisions backfired for these carriers, they would stop making these deals. But judging from the number of exclusives we've seen this year, from the Moto Z Force Droid on Verizon to the Galaxy S7 Active on AT&T, there is still a healthy contingent of people willing to switch providers — or re-up for another 24 month period — to continue on this path. For better or worse.
But that doesn't mean we're going to stop shouting about it. Because sometimes it's fun to shout, you know?
And with that, today's news.
LG V20 coming to the U.S. on October 28
Both T-Mobile and AT&T announced availability of the LG V20 today, which goes up for preorder at the latter carrier tomorrow and will be widely sold on October 28.
The phone's release is surely anticipated, but if its amortized cost of $830 from AT&T is indicative of the MSRP from all carriers, I fear the phone may not sell in great quantities — a disappointing proposition given the Note 7's recent troubles (good for LG) and the impending release of the Pixel XL (bad for LG). More
Nexus 9 LTE picks up Nougat
After rolling out Nougat for the Nexus 6 earlier this week, Google is now doing the same for the Nexus 9 LTE. The Android 7.0 factory image and the flashable OTA file are now available for the tablet. The update increments the build number to NRD90R, and includes the September 6 security patch.
Google is opening a pop-up Pixel store in Manhattan
Google is opening a #madebygoogle pop-up store in New York's SoHo district on October 20, likely to align with the Pixel's launch on the same day. It's unclear whether the store will actually sell unlocked devices, or just operate as a Verizon sales funnel, but it's an interesting move from the company. The store, at 96 Spring St, is only a couple blocks from Apple and Microsoft stores in the same area. Bring on the competition!
CPSC investigating Galaxy Note 7 that reportedly caught fire on Southwest flight
The Consumer Protection Safety Commission is opening an investigation into the replacement Galaxy Note 7 that reportedly caught fire on a still-grounded Southwest flight earlier this week. The government body was instrumental in helping Samsung expedite the original Note 7 recall in September, and is likely following the expansion of the replacements very closely. More
Verizon will control Google's Pixel updates
Verizon will reportedly control the cadence of Pixel updates, says Google. The company confirmed to 9to5Google that it will leave the onerous task of updating its flagship phone to a carrier that has traditionally been terrible at it. Remember the Galaxy Nexus? Need I say more?
Monthly security updates will come from Google (for all models), and system updates will be managed by Verizon for Verizon models, and Google for unlocked models bought from Google Store.
Verizon's Pixel will be bloated, but less so than normal
Verizon's version of the Google Pixel will be encumbered in a few ways compared to the unlocked model, which of course will also work with Big Red: it will have slower updates (see above), and it will come with three apps pre-installed from the carrier, Go90, Verizon Messages, and My Verizon. Thankfully, they'll be removable, but your feelings of disgust may take longer to dissipate.
Rogers rolls out per-user data controls for share accounts
Full disclosure: I'm Canadian (it's me, Daniel. Hi.) That means some of these briefs will be aimed at the millions of Canucks, double-doubles in hand, who read AC every month. #sorrynotsorry
Earlier today, Rogers unveiled a new version of its MyRogers app that allows account holders — those that pay the bill every month — to over and make changes to data usage for all the members of a share plan. Parents can now get alerted when their kid has reached a certain threshold and turn off data access completely, or just issue a stern warning. It's a major move that reportedly took over a year to build, since data usage is reported to the app in real-time, something no other carrier has done before. Parents or account holders can then add top-up data at $7 per 300MB, or $15 per gigabyte, if necessary. Unfortunately, data prices haven't dropped as a result.
Amazon is launching a Spotify competitor imminently
Amazon is set to unveil two music-on-demand products near future, one to take on Spotify directly, and the other to augment the usefulness of the Echo platform.
Reportedly called Amazon Music Unlimited, the Echo version will reportedly launch in the next couple of weeks for $5 per month and be limited to the Echo, Dot and Tap, while a more full-featured version will launch in January for $10. The latter is meant to compete with Spotify, Apple Music and others, and won't be tied to a Prime subscription the way the company's current music products are.
Facebook wants to give you free internet in exchange for your soul
Facebook is talking to the regulators about bringing its Free Basics internet offering, currently only available in India, to the U.S. The upshot is that Facebook, in exchange for some of your personal information, can offer a walled-garden approach to the internet — replete with many Facebook services — at no cost. It's unlikely to work, because the FCC is looking into zero-rating, but it's definitely interesting.