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Pixel or Nexus? Everything we know about Google’s rumored phones so far [Updated]

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A week before a major product’s unveiling, we normally have a good idea of what to expect from the day of launch. Things are a little different now, with Google keeping its highly anticipated smartphones closely guarded until their official reveal on October 4. Still, this isn’t stopping everyone from following all the rumors and leaks. Here’s what we know so far.

There might be two phones named Pixel and Pixel XL

While Google hasn’t plain said they’re letting go of the long-running Nexus series, tons of rumors are pointing to the company scrapping the name in favor of the Pixel branding. As of now, there are only two Pixel devices under Google, and those are the Android-powered Pixel C tablet and Chrome OS-equipped Chromebook Pixel laptop.

How this unifies Google’s hardware lineups is still a mystery, but this could mean that the Nexus 6P and 5X smartphones are the last of their kind. In their place, we expect a 5-inch Pixel and 5.5-inch Pixel XL to take over as the search giant’s flagship offerings.

They’re going to be rectangular and made by HTC

google-pixel-leak

Although the line “Made by Google” has been attached to the Pixel handsets, HTC has been tagged to be the manufacturer of both phones. This isn’t the company’s first involvement, however; HTC made the very first Nexus smartphone called the Nexus One, and Google’s latest Nexus tablet, the Nexus 9, was also developed by the Taiwan-based brand.

Google has barely shown us anything so far, but if the leaked photos courtesy of Android Police have anything to say, there’s nothing out of the ordinary in terms of design. We’re looking at an all-metal body with a fingerprint scanner and single camera lens at the back.

Somehow, one of the phones also made its way into a commercial by Nest Netherlands. It matches quite well to the photos above, so there seems to be some legitimacy in the sources. Whether it was accidental or on purpose is the question, but that applies to practically every leak we’ve ever encountered.

Update: We now have what looks like finalized renders of the Pixel and Pixel XL, thanks to leakster Evan Blass. They once again match earlier leaked images, and prove that a new version of Android is coming along. The two phones look exactly the same, though.

Update #2: OnLeaks uncovered a clear 3D render video of the Pixel XL. Additionally, the source claims that the dimensions are 154.7 x 75.7 x 7.3mm (bottom) and 8.5mm (top). This means the camera hump adds a little more bulk to the frame.

Specs are what you’d expect

We’re nearing the end of the calendar year, and that means flagship phones will more or less have the same chipsets by now. We’ll most likely see Qualcomm’s top processor, the Snapdragon 821, inside both handsets, along with 4GB of memory, Full to Quad HD resolutions for the displays, and USB Type-C ports with fast charging capabilities. The IP rating, which is the gadget’s resistance to dust and water, is still unclear.

The bigger news is the possibility of Android 7.1 being on board. It hasn’t been too long since the original Android 7.0 Nougat version came out, but bug fixes and minor tweaks are always welcome. So far, the only upgrade version 7.1 is noted to have is the option to restart your phone directly from the “Power off” menu. It may sound really basic, but no stock Android phone has had it since the OS was conceived.

google-pixel-launcher

In addition, it looks like there’ll be a new launcher to accompany Google’s new phones. Aptly named Pixel Launcher, it’s just like the interface you’re accustomed to in other stock Android handsets, but there’s some much-needed design changes: The app drawer button is gone, the Google search bar has been replaced by a search tab and calendar widget, and the navigation buttons might be redone. You can actually install it now and see some of the features for yourself.

They’ll be priced like rival flagships

The Nexus brand has always been positioned as Google’s way of showing manufacturers how to do Android devices right. With Google having a close eye on the development process of its partners, the hardware maximizes the full potential of the software, and vice versa. To the joy of customers, some Nexus devices were even priced below its competitors despite having flagship-level parts.

Sadly, this might change with the arrival of the Pixel brand. Reports say that the smaller handset’s price will start at $649, and the bigger one at around $750. This would put the duo in direct competition against Samsung and Apple’s best. This rumor seems highly likely, since the two Pixel devices we mentioned earlier, the Pixel C and Chromebook Pixel, have eye-popping prices themselves. We don’t like where this is going.

[irp posts=”7034″ name=”Google’s Pixel strategy is doing exceedingly well, at a cost”]

Image credit: Android Police

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Android 9 Pie update now available for Xiaomi Mi A1

The perks of Android One

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After the Mi A2, it’s now Mi A1’s turn to get a taste of Google’s latest software. Being under the Android One program, the Mi A1 will finally get a clean version of Android 9 Pie.

The Android Pie update for the Mi A1 may have come a bit late, but it’s still sooner compared to most Android phones out there. The new firmware weighs more than 1GB to download, so be sure to have a solid connection when updating.

It brings all the benefits of Android Pie plus support for FM radio which wasn’t available before. The change log also mentions new navigation options, but the Mi A1 already has capacitive keys.

The update is already confirmed to be available in South Asia and it’ll soon roll out to all markets. The Mi A1 was launched with Android Nougat and it received the Oreo update. Android Pie is the second major update for the phone.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Mi A1, you may watch our review below. It’s still available at a discounted price in select stores, making it a great budget-friendly phone.

SEE ALSO: 24 Hours in Busan with the Xiaomi Mi A1

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Apple will not change its design next year, report says

Will keep the notch until 2019

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For the longest time, the smartphone market has been defined by technology’s ten-year old rule. Typified by Apple and Samsung, companies initially launch revolutionary phone designs, followed by incremental upgrades for the next year. For example, the Galaxy S8 and S9 have similar designs; the iPhone X, XR, XS, and XS Max have near-identical looks. Both Samsung and Apple have two-year cycles. It’s a time-honored tradition.

Now, the rule is finally winding down. According to Nomura Securities Analyst Anne Lee, Apple will not follow that trend next year. Instead, the 2019 iPhones will “likely have the same form factors… as the 2H18 iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max, with some added AR-related features.”

Last year, Apple introduced the polarizing iPhone X form factor. Among others, the design standard popularized the camera notch. Since then, Android-reliant companies have also adopted the design, resulting in a lot of wacky iterations. If Lee’s report is true, the notch still has one year left in its tank. “We think 2019 could be the last year the iPhone uses the iPhone X design architecture,” she said.

Potentially, the move coincides with the company’s strides to adopt 5G technology, which will make its Apple debut in 2020. With that, Apple will likely debut a new design after a working 5G prototype.

Of course, Apple’s defensive approach also hints at the company’s struggles this past year. Notably, the company has been consistently disappointed by its sales columns this year. Apple has even decided to withhold its sales figures for upcoming quarters. On global distribution charts, Huawei has already overtaken Apple for the number two spot.

With the new report, Apple is noticeably doubling down on riskier strategies for the upcoming year. The company already expects to sell fewer units in 2019. On paper, Apple looks like it’s on a downward spiral.

SEE ALSO: Apple iPad Pro (2018) Review: Not just a laptop replacement

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Enterprise

Huawei pledges $2 billion to secure cybersecurity of hardware

It starts in Britain for now

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Throughout the past few weeks, Sinophobia has reached an all-time high. Various countries have started banning Chinese telecommunications companies from taking over their technology market. Huawei and ZTE have faced tremendous adversity while expanding their 5G operations. Of note, the US, the UK, and Australia have stopped Huawei’s 5G plans before they could start.

It was only a matter of time before Huawei responds. Now, the company has finally promised to solve these crucial cybersecurity issues. In Britain, Huawei has met with government officials regarding their ban. Like the rest of the Western world, Britain criticized Huawei’s technology as potential backdoors for Chinese espionage.

Both parties have agreed to a compromise. To alleviate Britain’s fears, Huawei will pledge US$ 2 billion for cybersecurity. The company will then attempt to solve whatever Britain found in cybersecurity investigations.

While the United Kingdom is more forgiving, other countries are still very wary. After the initial lineup of banning countries, Japan has joined the conversation. The country is working to ban both Huawei and ZTE from 5G development as well. With that, Japan will be the first Asian country to ban both companies. Western fears are now invading the East.

At the other end of the world, Huawei is also facing another crisis. The company’s chief finance officer, Meng Wanzhou, was recently arrested for allegedly violating embargo regulations. According to Huawei, their retaliation plans in Britain were made before the arrest. Thus, the arrest is another separate battle that awaits the company after issues of cybersecurity.

Huawei is in a world of pain. Despite offering amazing products, the company can’t find any traction in hardware development. Geopolitical fears have and will continue to bog down the company throughout the rise of 5G networking.

SEE ALSO: Huawei Mate 20 Pro: When beauty meets technology

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