Android chief teases historic day, while Roku debuts a new line of set-top boxes, and the Honor 8 gets its first big update.
It rained a lot here this morning, and it occurred to me, during my second cup of coffee, that the Android news cycle is pretty predictable. So I took a look at rumor mills in the weeks prior to previous Nexus events, and it confirmed my suspicions: there's always a few nuggets of truth amidst the pure BS. This year, history is repeating itself, but there appears to be something on top of the rumors and leaks, which is a sense of wonder and, dare I say it, hope, that we haven't seen for quite some time.
In particular, people appear to be more excited about the prospect of Google taking a more active role in the phones that, for better or worse, bear its name. The Pixel phones are going to be just that — iterative improvements to the Nexus 5X and 6P, but they're also representative of a change within Google itself. Perhaps it's the leadership of former Motorola CEO Rick Osterloh that's led to this decision, but I see it as being years in the making.
As Hiroshi Lockheimer tweeted last week, whatever is announced next week, it's going to be amazing for Android — and Google — fans everywhere.
And now, to tonight's news.
Honor 8 gets its September security update, notification nonsense unchanged
The Honor 8 is one of our favorite devices right now, but its software isn't great. That said, the phone is receiving a nice little update, bringing it up to the September 2016 security patch level and fixing some irritating bugs. The notification shade still looks as bad as ever, but that's unlikely to change until the phone gets updated to Nougat. More
BlackBerry's upcoming phone strolls through the regulators
It's pretty clear that BlackBerry and TCL are getting cozier, as the two companies are about to release the second phone formed under their collaboration. Dubbed the DTEK60, the phone is based on a yet-unreleased Alcatel Idol product, featuring a large 5.5-inch QHD display, a Snapdragon 820 chip, a healthy 4GB of RAM, and an ample 21MP rear camera. Privilege, indeed. More at CrackBerry
What is Andromeda, and why should you care?
If you've been following any Android-related news over the past few days, the word 'Andromeda' has certainly cropped up. What may be the product of an eventual merger between Android and Chrome OS, or something else completely, we've compiled everything you need to know in one place. More
Spotify moves its family (plan) to Canada
One thing that never quite made sense about Spotify's competitive family plan is that, despite being available in dozens of countries, the $14.99/month offer never made it to Canada. Without explaining the delay, the company has announced that effective immediately the family plan is now available in the Great White North (yay!). Like in the U.S., up to six individual accounts can be combined into one family plan.
Roku debuts a bunch of new streaming things
Roku's product lineup is confusing af. But it's also one of the more successful streaming set-top box companies around, so the strategy must be working. To wit, the company has announced three new lines (and five new products), including the Express, Express+, Premiere, Premiere+, and Ultra, selling between $30 and $130. It looks like the Express is aimed at the Chromecast, while the Ultra goes for the Apple TV. And the Premiere? Well, at $80, it's right in the middle — and a perfect Christmas gift.
Lockheimer alludes to news that's big enough for the Android history books
Over the weekend, everyone's favorite Android executive, Vice President Hiroshi Lockheimer, tweeted this salacious little number:
We announced the 1st version of Android 8 years ago today. I have a feeling 8 years from now we'll be talking about Oct 4, 2016.— Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) September 24, 2016
That's a bold claim, and the reasons why were covered in this morning's exploration on Google's Andromeda project. Is Lockheimer alluding to the fact that this is going to be the biggest change for Android in almost a decade? Maybe. But until we find out on October 4, take a stroll through our Android History series beforehand for a refresher on the OS's biggest hits.
Honor 6X will be a phone that is on sale
Look, we weren't huge fans of the Honor 5X. It had its moments, sure, but suffered from poor performance and inelegant software that, together, just failed to live up to its potential. But in the past year, Honor as a brand has come a long way, buoyed by the successful release of the Honor 8 and parent company Huawei's succession of excellent releases. So that's why we're relatively excited about the Honor 6X, which has leaked by TENAA, China's ever-loquacious regulator. The specs don't excite too much (except for the dual camera), but it should be another top-shelf entry-level phone.
That's it for tonight! We'll be making some changes to the news brief going forward, consolidating our two posts into a single late afternoon/early evening post. Thanks for bearing with us while we find the right format for this new endeavor, and please continue to give your feedback, it's always welcome!