Google came out with the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones this week, with one of their main attractions being Android 7.1 Nougat, which no other phone has for now.
And while we expect the software update to roll out later this year (presumably to Nexus and Android One devices first; the beta version will launch later this month), it’s imperative to talk about Nougat on Pixel because both handsets will reportedly have some software features that may not be found anywhere else. Features you’ll want to use with regularity, or at least try out.
Android Police has put together a list of “Pixel-exclusive and non-exclusive changes” that are baked into Android 7.1 Nougat. The list is surprisingly long — well, for a small tick up on the upgrade ladder — so take a deep breath before reading through the entire change log. Oh, and spoiler alert: You won’t like what you read, for reasons we’ll explore later.
- Pixel Launcher—swipe up for all apps, new Search Box, date/weather header on home
- Google Assistant
- Unlimited original quality photo/video backup to Google Photos
- Smart Storage—when storage is full, automatically removes old backed up photos/videos
- Phone/Chat support (new support tab in settings), screen-share functionality
- Quick switch adapter for wired setup from Android or iPhone
- Pixel Camera:
- Electronic Image Stabilization (“video stabilization”) 2.0
- Pro Features
- White Balance Presets
- Exposure Compensation
- AE/AF Locking
- Viewfinder grid modes
- HW-accelerated (on Qualcomm Hexagon coprocessor) HDR+ image processing
- Sensor Hub processor with tightly integrated sensors (accel, gyro, mag) + connectivity (Wi-Fi, Cell, GPS)
- Solid navbar icons with home affordance for Assistant
- SysUI accent color theming
- Wallpaper picker with new wallpapers and sounds
- New setup look and feel
- Dynamic calendar date icon
Android 7.1 features (not Pixel-specific):
- Night Light (this shifts the color temperature of your screen a la iOS’ Night Shift mode or f.lux)
- Touch/display performance improvements
- Moves (Fingerprint swipe-down gesture—opt-in)
- Seamless A/B system updates
- Daydream VR mode
- Developer features:
- App shortcuts/shortcut manager APIs
- Circular app icons support
- Keyboard image insertion
- Fingerprint sensor gesture to open/close notification shade
- Manual storage manager Intent for apps
- Improved VR thread scheduling
- Enhanced wallpaper metadata
- Multi-endpoint call support
- Support for various MNO requirements
- PCDMA voice privacy property
- Source type support for Visual Voicemail
- Carrier config options for managing video telephony
- Manual storage manager – identifies apps and files and apps using storage
So yeah, in case it wasn’t already clear, Google Assistant — the voice-activated digital assistant honed and refined by years of us using Google services, the single product Tuesday’s keynote address hinged on — won’t be coming to non-Pixel handsets and tablets.
Which is a head-scratcher, to say the least, because Google executives devoted much of their speech to outlining a future powered by voice. They conveniently left out the part about that future depending upon the general population choosing the Pixel over the similarly priced Samsung Galaxy S7 or Apple iPhone 7, or even the OnePlus 3.
It should’ve been the other way around — the benefits of Google’s artificial intelligence needs to reach all Android devices going forward, not just two. Regardless of whether or not people are ready and willing to have conversations with their phone.
However, Google isn’t closing down possibilities with Pixel’s best features, including Assistant. Some features could trickle down to other devices running Android Nougat; Google could release a diluted app version of Assistant that could be installed onto Androids and iPhones. That might happen in 2017. Speaking to TechCrunch, a Google spokesperson said: “Our goal is to make the Google Assistant widely available to users, and we’ll continue to launch new surfaces over the course of the next year.”
[irp posts=”8575″ name=”Android made downloading from Google Play much easier”]
Source: Android Police
Image credit: NPR
Corning unveils tougher Gorilla Glass Victus 2
Can survive 1m drops on concrete
Smartphones are getting stronger. Because of ever-growing technology, smartphones today can more easily withstand bumps, dings, and accidents. Besides the intricate labyrinth of chips inside, it’s also important to look at the screen. In the next evolution of screen durability, Corning has unveiled next year’s Gorilla Glass Victus 2, featuring more protection against the most common smartphone accident.
If you’re out and about, there’s a good chance that you’re holding your phone in your hand. All it takes is either a miscalculation or slippery hands to send your phone tumbling onto the unforgiving concrete. According to Corning, “over 30 percent of the drops [smartphones] were having were on concrete, more than any other surface.”
Building on its predecessor’s formula, the Gorilla Glass Victus 2 can now survive drops from one meter on concrete. Plus, much like the original Victus, this version can withstand drops from two meters on smoother asphalt. The new material also compensates for larger and heavier form factors.
Now, the big question: Does it matter? Though it might seem insignificant, more durability on rougher surfaces means more protection in real-life scenarios. In the real world, not everything is as smooth as concrete. More often than not, smartphones will fall onto uneven surfaces. Even a single tiny bump can spell disaster for the hardiest of screens.
Corning has not confirmed which smartphones will get the new glass yet. However, the company hints that it’s coming to a flagship in the coming months. Given the timing (and the specs of the previous generation), it’s not difficult to assume that next year’s Galaxy S23 series will get the Victus 2 first.
Xiaomi, Huawei, MediaTek, iQOO postpone December launches
Because of a political figure’s passing
Though almost all major smartphone launches have already happened this year, some brands reserve December to close the year with a bang. Unfortunately, if you were waiting for one of the final launches this year, you might be in for a longer wait. Xiaomi, Huawei, MediaTek, and iQOO have all postponed their major launches in December.
It’s not a strange coincidence between four brands, of course. Jiang Zemin, the former General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, recently passed away at 96 years old. Though the four announcement did not mention the death as a reason for the postponement, the coincidence of all four at the same time does heavily point to it.
Regardless of the reason, the four scheduled launches will now happen at a later time. None of the four brands have decided on new dates yet.
Xiaomi was supposed to launch the Xiaomi 13 series and MIUI 14. Huawei was scheduled to unveil smartwatches with housing for TWS earbuds. MediaTek — both through new smartphones and its own launch — was going to reveal the new Dimensity 8200. Finally, iQOO was scheduled for the launch of the iQOO 11 series and the iQOO Neo7 SE.
If you were on the lookout for any of these launches, you’ll have to wait a little bit longer.
Replay! Apple Music launches new year-end experience
2022 Top Charts revealed
So, what have you been listening to an Apple Music in 2022? The redesigned Apple Music Replay experience will let you know what you’ve bopping to this year.
Apple Music Replay recaps what users listened to the past year. But new in 2022 is a year-end experience complete with expanded listening insights and new functionality. This includes a personalized highlight reel.
Users can discover their top songs, top albums, top artists, top genres, and more. Superfans can even discover whether they are in the top 100 listeners of their favourite artist or genre.
Apple Music listeners can continue checking Replay until December 31 and once the new year begins, keep listening on Apple Music to explore and share new 2023 insights each week.
All insights on Replay are optimized for sharing on socials or on any messaging platform.
How Apple Music Replay Works
Visit replay.music.apple.com and log in with the same Apple ID used for Apple Music. Play highlights or scroll through the page for more detailed insights. A truncated version of the site is available all year or as soon as a user is eligible.1
How to See Listening Stats
- Listen to enough music to qualify. Gauge qualification with a personalised progress bar on the Replay website. Both playlist and insights eligibility happens with the same listening threshold.
- Once a user is eligible for Replay, they can visit replay.music.apple.com.
- Explore listening stats, listen on the site, and share.
Replay is localised in 39 languages for all 169 countries and regions where Apple Music is available.
Top Charts 2022
Apple Music also revealed its year-end charts, spotlighting 2022’s top songs, top Shazams, top fitness songs, and most-read lyrics. Apple also shared a list of the most Shazamed K-Pop songs in 2022.
Top Songs of 2022: Singapore
Top Shazamed Songs of 2022: Singapore
Singapore: Top K-Pop Songs Shazamed
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