|10/04/2023 05:46 PM|
|Amazon’s live audio-streaming platform Amp closes up shop|
Amazon is shutting down its short-lived audio app known as Amp, which previously offered a music library for users to create and broadcast custom DJ sets, according to reports by Bloomberg. Amazon’s Amp was available on Android and iOS and has only been live since March of 2022. While a pandemic bubble might have given it some attention, it never really took off. The tool was designed to allow creators to make custom content as modern DJ hosts. On this mobile-forward app, users could overlap conversations and chit-chat with live music, similar to what you would hear on a traditional radio station.
It may have something to do with the fact that it just never picked up in the mainstream as Amazon would have liked it to. When our very own James Trew put it to the test, he said he had trouble getting listeners. The mobile-first platform had some unusual limitations for how content could be created and listened to — all in all, probably playing to its downfall. For example, you could only play two songs from the same album within a three-hour period, which is a considerable amount of time to block off a DJ from being able to create a truly custom set.
The axing of Amp follows a series of cuts from the big box retailer, namely its Halo division which it dissolved back in April and Amazon Scout, a robot delivery service it killed before it could even start, around this time last year. This could signal some internal restructuring is still well underway at Amazon.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/amazons-live-audio-streaming-platform-amp-closes-up-shop-214652658.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 04:23 PM|
|Patreon overhauls its platform with free content and more creator control|
Patreon announced a rebranding of its platform through a series of updates on Wednesday. New features give creators more personalization and control while offering supporters more ways to follow their favorites. In addition, the platform is integrating more free content, allowing every creator to host communities non-paying members can access. Patreon also tweaked its branding with a new logo, color themes, photography and fonts.
Perhaps the most notable update for creators is the ability to bolster their communities for free members. Creators can now let people join for free, offering content and updates for non-paying members while (optionally) hiding things like early access to podcasts or videos behind a paywall. They can also use a new commerce tool to sell individual pieces of content like recordings, videos and downloadable files. It makes the platform more of an all-in-one social hub for fans who aren’t ready to pay but may decide to later.
Patreon frames its changes as moving creators away from being prisoners to algorithms and back to connecting directly with their most eager and loyal fans. The company says those with early access to the program attracted over 160,000 new fans to their communities.
Creators now have greater customization over their pages, including their layout, colors and how posts display. “Whether you’re highlighting your most popular posts, organizing your podcast episodes into seasons, or putting together a video series, you have the creative freedom to arrange and present your work in a way that helps your members dive into exactly what they’re looking for and discover new posts to love,” the company wrote in a blog post. Patreon says early testing shows increased discovery and engagement (especially on older posts) when featured in one of the new collections.
Patreon is also adding chats and member profiles. “Chats are led and managed by creators, which means they can shape the culture and set the right tone for their communities,” the company wrote in a post announcing the features. Members can report problematic messages, and creators will have a hub to review them.
Finally, the Patreon app is getting a redesign. The company says the updated app is crafted for the most hardcore fans, prioritizing their experience. Fans’ homepages will now display content as creators arranged it instead of chronologically. “Instead of dropping into a content overload, members log in and instantly see everything they want at a glance,” the company wrote about the new app. “Their homepage is organized by creator, not by post, which means fans can see a creator’s latest work next to their community conversations and anything else going on in their world. It’s creativity in context, the way creators intended.”This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/patreon-overhauls-its-platform-with-free-content-and-more-creator-control-202357279.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 01:41 PM|
|Rockstar updates Red Dead Redemption port to run at 60fps on the PS5|
Without fanfare, Rockstar updated the PlayStation 4 version of the original Red Dead Redemption on Tuesday to play at 60fps on the PS5. The 2010 open-world Western launched on PS4 and Switch in August but only runs at 30fps on those platforms — a point many fans took issue with. PS5 owners will now see smoother framerates when playing the title in backward compatibility mode.
Rockstar updated the game with patch 1.03, pushed to PlayStation owners on Tuesday. The patch notes state the higher framerates are only available to PS5 owners, not the standard PS4 or even the more powerful PS4 Pro. In other areas, the patch also added an option to enable subtitles when first starting the game and incorporated requisite “bug fixes and improvements.”
There was no shortage of online grumbling about Rockstar parent company Take-Two Interactive charging $50 for a 13-year-old game without significant upgrades like 4K visuals or a faster framerate. Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick defended the pricing in August, saying, “That's just what we believe is the commercially accurate price for it.” He noted the inclusion of the Undead Nightmare DLC to help justify the cost, describing the expansion as “a great standalone game in its own right when it was originally released, so we feel like it's a great bundle for the first time, and certainly a great value for consumers.” The zombie-themed DLC adds roughly six hours of gameplay.
Although the digital version of Red Dead Redemption has been out for PS4 and Switch since August, the physical version doesn’t arrive until October 13. So, at least owners of the boxed version playing on PS5 will enjoy 60fps from the start.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/rockstar-updates-red-dead-redemption-port-to-run-at-60fps-on-the-ps5-174110584.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 01:26 PM|
|Apple releases iOS 17 fix for iPhone 15 overheating issue|
If you're rocking an iPhone 15, it's probably a good idea to update to the latest version of iOS swiftly. Apple has released a fix for the overheating issues that have plagued its latest batch of iPhones. The company says that iOS 17.0.3 "provides important bug fixes, security updates and addresses an issue that may cause iPhone to run warmer than expected." An iPadOS 17 update is also available.
Apple partially blamed the overheating issue on an iOS 17 bug. It noted that there were also "some recent updates to third-party apps that are causing them to overload the system." The company has been working with the developers of those apps (which included Uber, Instagram and Asphalt 9) to resolve the problem.
Your iPhone may be configured to update to the latest version of iOS automatically during downtime when it's charging. You can also update your device manually, by going to Settings > General > About > Software Update on your iPhone. If iOS 17.0.3 is available to you (Apple rolls out updates gradually), you'll be able to install it right away and hopefully keep your iPhone from getting too toasty.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/apple-releases-ios-17-fix-for-iphone-15-overheating-issue-172616576.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 01:24 PM|
|You can have Uber take your packages to the post office now|
Uber is adding another service to its ride-hailing app: package returns. The company announced a — dubbed ‘Return a Package’ — where customers can have a courier pick up their packages and have them dropped off at a local post office, UPS or FedEx. It will only be available for parcels that are sealed and prepaid, however.
This new service is similar to Uber's , which allows users to to and from friends and family — the difference here is that the receiver will be another service worker instead. However, Return a Package is by no means breaking new ground. DoorDash has been since January of this year. The new offering comes ahead of the , when lots of online shoppers buy and return items.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/you-can-have-uber-take-your-packages-to-the-post-office-now-172403100.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 11:52 AM|
|Everything Google announced at its Pixel event: Pixel 8, Pixel Watch, Android 14 and more|
It was Google's turn on Wednesday to announce a litany of devices and updates. The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro were the headline acts, though there was lots of interest further down the bill including the reveal of the Pixel Watch 2 and the public version of Android 14 making its way out into the world.
You can catch up on everything by watching the Made by Google event yourself or checking out our liveblog for real-time insight and analysis. Alternatively, we've rounded up all the major announcements for you right here.
Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro
Because it's 2023, the two devices offer a string of generative AI features powered by the latest chipset. Google says the Pixel 8's biggest machine learning model is 10 times more complex compared with the Pixel 6 from two years ago.
Google says it has been able to expand its AI tech to more areas of the device beyond the likes of image processing. The Tensor G3 can help the Call Screen function detect and filter out more spam calls. Improved Clear Calling, oddly enough, should enable clearer phone calls. An audio version of Magic Eraser will let you remove unwanted sounds from videos too.
Google Assistant can summarize text from websites and break down the highlights into bullet points. Similarly, you'll be able to get summaries of whatever you capture in the Recorder app. Those who use Assistant to compose written messages with their voice should find that feature much faster on Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.
The Pixel 8 has a 6.2-inch Actua display that can deliver sharp colors and vivid details, Google says. The screen supports a higher refresh rate of up to 120Hz as well, which should make scrolling through web pages and playing games a smoother experience. You'll get up to 1,400 nits of brightness for HDR content and up to 2,000 nits of peak brightness.
The rear camera array is getting an upgrade on the Pixel 8. There's a 50-megapixel wide main camera, with Super Res Zoom up to 8x and a 2x optical quality zoom. The second camera is a 12-megapixel ultrawide with autofocus and a 125.8-degree field of view. The front-facing camera is a 10.5-megapixel lens with a 95-degree field of view and fixed focus.
The Pixel 8 Pro has similar main and front-facing cameras (albeit with autofocus on the front-facing lens). Opt for that device, though, and you'll get a 48-megapixel Quad PD ultrawide with autofocus lens and 48-megapixel Quad PD telephoto lens on the rear array. With the help of Google's image-processing and image-editing knowhow, the device should help you to capture quality photos and videos.
The 8 Pro's display is larger at 6.7 inches. Google says it will deliver up to 1,600 nits of brightness for HDR content and up to 2,400 nits of peak brightness. The Super Actua screen has a higher resolution than the Pixel 8 (1344 x 2992, compared with 1080 x 2400), and 489 PPI vs. 428 on the smaller device. The Pixel 8 Pro weighs 7.5oz (213g), while the Pixel 8 comes in at 6.6oz (187g).
Google is placing a bigger onus on security this year. For one thing, the company is promising seven years of OS, security and feature drop updates. Both phones have camera and mic toggles, a Google One VPN included at no extra cost and a Titan M2 security coprocessor. Google notes that there's anti-malware and anti-phishing protection, and support for passkeys.
As for battery life, Google is promising "beyond 24-hour battery life" on both phones. With Extreme Battery Saver enabled, they may run for up to 72 hours before you need to recharge. There's fast charging support, of course, with Google claiming they'll reach around 50 percent of capacity within around 30 minutes.
One other intriguing thing about the Pixel 8 Pro is that it includes a temperature sensor. That's an interesting feature that could come in handy for a host of use cases, such as checking whether someone has a fever or if another device may be overheating.
Both devices have 128GB of storage in the base versions. The Pixel 8 has 8GB of LPDDR5X RAM and the Pixel 8 Pro comes with 12GB of RAM.
Pre-orders are available starting today and the phones will be available on October 12. The Pixel 8 starts at $699. That's $100 more than the Pixel 7. It's worth noting that Verizon's version of the Pixel 8 starts at $800, because it includes mmWave 5G support. The Pixel 8 Pro, meanwhile, will start at $999.
If you pre-order the Pixel 8, Google will toss in a pair of Pixel Buds Pro at no extra cost. Pre-order the Pixel 8 Pro and you'll get the Pixel Watch 2 for free. Speaking of which...
Pixel Watch 2
The sequel to Google's first own-brand smartwatch is here. The Pixel Watch 2 has been redesigned to offer an IP68 water protection rating. Google says there's a lighter 100% recycled aluminum housing and the device is available in four color combinations: polished silver/bay, polished silver/porcelain, matte black/obsidian and champagne gold/hazel.
As for the functions, there are four pillars of personalization that Google has focused on with the Pixel Watch 2. Those are health, fitness, safety and productivity.
You'll get the most advanced heart rate tracking the company has offered to date, Google says. A new multi-path heart rate sensor works with Google AI to power features such as sleep tracking, high and low heart rate notifications, and Daily Readiness Score. Stress management is a selling point too, as there's a body-response sensor and skin temperature sensor.
Google says that when your Pixel Watch 2 detects a body response from things like stress, illness or the effects of caffeine or alcohol, the device (and the Fitbit app on your phone) will prompt you to log your mood and suggest things like taking a guided breathing exercise or a walk.
Automatic workout start and stop reminders can detect seven typical workouts, including running and outdoor cycling. Heart Zone Training will use voice and haptic prompts to guide you through personalized heart rate zones. The Pace Training feature uses the same cues to help you maintain pace or get back to your target pace when you fall behind.
You'll get a six-month Fitbit Premium membership at no extra cost with the Pixel Watch 2. This includes access to workouts, your Daily Readiness Score and mindfulness sessions. Features like your Sleep Profile will also remain paywalled behind a Fitbit Premium subscription. In addition, Google is tossing in a one-month trial of YouTube Music Premium.
Speaking of Fitbit, Google showed off a new AI chatbot. It's coming to the Fitbit app next year as part of the Fibit Labs initiative. You'll be able to ask the chatbot things like how well you performed on a run and maybe gain a better understanding of why you might have found a workout particularly difficult.
Android's Safety Check feature will be available on Pixel Watch 2. As with the Check In feature in iOS 17, this can share information such as your location with pre-determined contacts if you don't confirm that you're OK if you haven't reached a specified location before a timer expires. Safety Check also lets users share medical info such as blood type, allergies and existing conditions with emergency services.
Google suggests Safety Check can help people have more peace of mind while doing things like running errands or coming home late at night. Google notes that Fitbit Premium members can access safety features even if they don't have an LTE plan or their phone nearby.
Gmail and Calendar apps should help you to get things done from your wrist, while the At A Glance watch face delivers contextual information such as weather and traffic updates. The company also says there are new Google Assistant health and fitness queries that should make it easier for you to access real-time and historical stats.
If you have a Pixel phone, you can use the wearable as a remote shutter for your handset's camera. There's support for Find My Device and the Google Home app too.
When it comes to battery life — a major complaint about the original Pixel Watch — Google says the latest device should run for 24 hours even though it has an always-on display. After 75 minutes of charging, you should have enough juice for a full day of use.
The Pixel Watch 2 starts at $349. Pre-orders open today, and the wearable will be available on October 12.
Pixel Buds Pro
The Pixel Buds Pro are available in two new colors — bay and porcelain — to match Google's latest devices. Google is also continuing to roll out new functions for the earbuds as part of its feature drops.
For one thing, there's a new low-latency mode that should reduce audio lag when you're playing games on a compatible Pixel phone or tablet. Bluetooth Super Wideband support doubles the bandwidth for voices with the aim of making you sound clearer and fuller, Google says. The company has also enabled support for Clear Calling on Pixel, so when you're using the Pixel Buds Pro for calls, you should be able to hear the other person more clearly.
A Conversation Detection can, strangely enough, detect when you're speaking. When it does, playback will be paused and Pixel Buds Pro will switch to transparency mode. When you're done talking to someone, your music will start back up and active noise cancellation will kick back in.
In the Pixel Buds app, you'll be able to see how loudly you've been listening to music over a period of time. It will tell you when to lower the volume to help you take care of your hearing wellness.
Starting today, you'll be able to install the public version of Android 14 on Pixel devices. The OS will be available on phones from other OEMs at a later date.
Android 14 places a big focus on customization. For instance, you'll be able to use generative AI to whip up custom backgrounds for your phone (this feature will be exclusive to Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro at first). There's also the option to enable a monochromatic theme — you know, in case you wish you had an E Ink phone instead.
Google is adding more accessibility settings, such as the ability to increase the size of a certain chunk of text and not everything on the page. You'll also have more control over your data and privacy. For one thing, you'll now find Health Connect options right in the OS settings.
Meanwhile, Google is rolling out the fall feature drop for Pixel phones and tablets. Those with a Pixel Fold will be able to take advantage of a nifty interpreter mode that translates a conversation across the dual displays. The camera interface is being updated on Pixel phones too.
As for Pixel Tablet, there's a more streamlined navigation bar in the kids' experience. When your tablet is docked and in Hub Mode, you can ask Assistant to play news and podcasts through it.
Assistant with Bard
Although most of the announcements leaked in advance, Google had one surprise up its sleeve. It's working on bringing Assistant and Bard AI together.
The aim is to bring information from different apps and services together to make Google Assistant far more useful. During a demo, Google showed the Assistant pulling details from a party invite in Gmail. Ask where the party is, and Assistant with Bard can tell you the location and tap into Google Maps to offer you directions.
You might also also ask Assistant with Bard to whip up a meal plan with a grocery list. You'll be able to export that to Google Docs or Gmail. Assistant with Bard can whip up text to go along with a photo you snapped for a social media post too.
Google says Assistant with Bard is coming soon to Android and iOS, first to select testers. The company plans to expand access to the opt-in experience over the next few months.
Follow all of the news live from Google’s 2023 Pixel event right here.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/everything-google-announced-at-its-pixel-event-pixel-8-pixel-watch-android-14-and-more-154030434.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 11:47 AM|
|Google Assistant with Bard will use generative AI for personalized answers|
During its Made by Google event on Wednesday, the company announced that it’s integrating its Bard AI chatbot into Google Assistant. The company describes the feature as combining Bard’s “generative reasoning” with Assistant’s “personalized help” to provide more contextually aware responses for mobile users. It will be available within the next few months. The feature was first rumored this summer.
“While Assistant is great at handling quick tasks, like setting timers, giving weather updates, and making quick calls, there is so much more that we've always envisioned a deeply capable personal Assistant should be able to do,” said Google VP of Assistant / Bard Sissie Hsiao during the keynote. “But the technology to deliver it didn't exist until now.”
Similar to Amazon’s recently announced Alexa with generative AI, Assistant with Bard aims to provide a “more personalized helper” than the relatively simplistic smartphone assistants (also including Alexa and Siri) we’ve grown accustomed to over the past decade. Google says Assistant with Bard can help with tasks like planning trips, searching emails, creating grocery lists and sending messages. You can interact with it through text, voice or images — more conversationally and with more contextual info than with the standard Google Assistant.
“Say you all decide to go on a hike with your dog, but you reach a fork in the trail,” said Hsiao during the product demo. “Snap a photo of the trail marker and ask, ‘What path do you recommend for a group and my small dog?’ And just like that, you know the North Trail is the best.” The demo then showed the user using Assistant with Bard to write a cute social caption for their dog. “This conversational overlay is a completely new way to interact with your phone and lets Assistant with Bard meet you wherever you are,” summarized Hsiao.
Google says the feature is in its early developmental stages and will soon launch for early testers. Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro users will find out about expanded availability in the coming months, and the company adds that it will eventually be available on Android and iOS.
Follow all of the news live from Google’s 2023 Pixel event right here.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-assistant-with-bard-will-use-generative-ai-for-personalized-answers-154756643.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 11:35 AM|
|Google Pixel 8 gets more nifty AI-powered editing tools for photo and video|
Google’s hardware event has been chock full of information on new devices, but camera software has also gotten some TLC. The company announced a ton of Pixel 8 features exclusive for shutterbugs and video editors.
The new Best Take feature solves the issue of, uh, one person looking really gross in group photos. When enabled, the software takes a series of photos in quick succession and you can actually mix and match faces to create the perfect group shot, sort of a face-based riff on the pre-existing Magic Editor tech. Grab a face from one photo and slap it on the next. If you have a friend who truly relishes ruining group shots, they likely won’t be able to.
Speaking of Magic Editor, it's getting a boost thanks to the power of generative AI. The new version now allows you to circle objects to reposition them in the shot and pinch to resize them. There are also a number of background presets that are accessible via a single tap. This technology’s advancing quickly and it won’t be long before you have absolute and total control over every aspect of your photos after the fact.
The Guided Frame feature has been enhanced and now operates via both the front-facing and rear-facing cameras. This tool is great for capturing centered shots of important subjects, like faces, pets, dinners and documents. It works rather simply, with the phone emitting a series of vibrations to let you know when an object is perfectly in frame, even if you aren’t looking at the display.
Magic Eraser is dipping its toes into the world of video. The new Audio Magic Eraser helps you delete unwanted sounds from videos. It looks to work as quickly and simply as its image-based cousin, splitting a video’s audio track into layers and allowing you to delete individual sounds. For instance, if there’s an ambulance blaring in the background at your kid’s birthday party, just get rid of that ambulance. We were impressed by this feature, though we noted that it didn’t entirely eliminate unwanted audio artifacts, instead significantly reducing them in volume.
Finally, there’s a new feature called Video Boost that upscales footage using HDR technology. Basically, it sends the entire footage to Google’s servers where it's split into individual frames. Each frame gets the HDR treatment before being recombined into a video and sent back to your phone. This won’t be available until a software update launches in December.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-pixel-8-gets-more-nifty-ai-powered-editing-tools-for-photo-and-video-153528797.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 11:28 AM|
|The Pixel Watch 2 vs. the competition: A more robust wearable|
Google officially announced the Pixel 2 on Wednesday during its ‘Made by Google Event.’ Perhaps, the most exciting change is that the wearable will run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 chip and use a Cortex M33 co-processor. That new coprocessor specifically should be able to handle less demanding tasks, like driving the always on display (AOD) more efficiently. The Pixel 2 can hold more charge at 306 mAh, up from the first Pixel watch’s 294 mAh charge capacity. This slight bump in battery capacity, combined with more efficient processors should extend the time between charges. While the official Pixel Watch 2 specs list the battery life at 24 hours, the same as the original Pixel Watch, that is with the AOD enabled.
Another welcome change? Improved durability. Aside from the Gorilla Glass crystal encasing on the face, the watch has an IP68 rating now, meaning it can survive dust and being dunked in up to 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes. The new Pixel’s casing is also completely made of recycled aluminum, making the wearable slightly lighter. But, in tandem with the thinner domed glass cover on the face, the new wearable boasts a sleeker design.
In the landscape of smartwatches that have a wealth of tracking capabilities, the Pixel 2 is running up against Apple's latest Watch Series 9 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6. While specs aren’t the only way to discern which watch is right for you, it helps to know how they compare on things like battery life and screen size. So, don’t base your purchasing decision purely on the table below, but here's how the Google Pixel 2’s hardware stacks up.
|10/04/2023 11:15 AM|
|Fitbit is getting an AI chatbot that can tell you why your run sucked|
At the ‘Made by Google Event’ in New York, Google teased a new "generative AI" feature that will be built into the Fitbit app sometime next year as part of the Fibit Labs program. The app, which will pair with new wearables like the Google Pixel 2 Watch and the Fitbit Charge 6, will use artificial intelligence to analyze trends in a wearer's fitness capabilities and be able to provide insights about overall performance.
The app will feature a chatbot that can carry a conversation to help you understand how you did during a tracked run, for example, while providing debriefed stats on the activity, like overall pace and elevation gain. The AI tool will take it a step further and be able to explain why you performed the way you did by drawing on affiliated health data, like sleep hygiene, recovery history and other workouts. If you felt that a workout was extra difficult, the app will be able to look for related info to explain why you might be struggling.
However, the insights are not limited to chatting with the AI. Google showed off its ability to provide visual feedback, like charts illustrating how performance changed over time.
Google's James Park, the former head of Fitbit, said the new generative AI feature will be trialed by "trusted testers" before it officially launches.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/fitbit-is-getting-an-ai-chatbot-that-can-tell-you-why-your-run-sucked-151545663.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 11:10 AM|
|Google Pixel 8 Pro vs. the competition: From Tensor to temperature sensor|
After weeks of teases and leaks, Google formally took the wraps off its next flagship smartphone, the Pixel 8 Pro. Revealed during the company's Made by Google event on Wednesday, the handset adds a host of new camera and AI features, a brighter OLED display, an improved Tensor G3 chip, seven years of software updates and, oddly, a built-in temperature sensor. It costs $100 more than its predecessor, however. For more on how all of this feels in practice, you can check out some early hands-on impressions from Engadget's Deputy Reviews Editor, Cherlynn Low.
Here, though, we've broken down how the Pixel 8 Pro compares on paper to two other large, pricey and well-known flagships, Apple's iPhone 15 Pro Max and Samsung's Galaxy S23 Ultra. As always, raw specs won't tell the whole story, but if you're curious about how Google's latest and greatest stacks up, here's a quick overview. If you're more interested in the smaller Pixel 8, meanwhile, we have a similar breakdown for that device too.
Follow all of the news live from Google’s 2023 Pixel event right here.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-pixel-8-pro-vs-the-competition-from-tensor-to-temperature-sensor-151016002.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 11:09 AM|
|Google Pixel 8 vs. the competition: The seven-year smartphone|
Google officially spilled the details on its new Pixel 8 phone during its Made by Google event on Wednesday. While the handset looks broadly similar to last year's Pixel 7, it packs a new Tensor G3 chip, a faster 120Hz display, a smaller frame that should be easier to hold with one hand and, perhaps most notably, seven years of promised OS and security updates. It starts at $699, though, which is $100 more than before, and it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the larger Pixel 8 Pro.
Engadget's Deputy Reviews Editor, Cherlynn Low, got some hands-on time with the new Pixel phones ahead of Google's launch event, so check out her report for more details on what to expect. To help put the device into context, however, we've broken down how the Pixel 8 compares to two high-profile peers, Apple's iPhone 15 and Samsung's Galaxy S23, on the spec sheet. Specs aren't the be-all and end-all — between its new camera features and AI tricks, many of the Pixel 8's biggest updates are software based — but if you want a better sense of what kind of hardware your $699 will get you, here's a quick overview. If you're more interested in the Pixel 8 Pro, we have a similar breakdown for that phone too.
Follow all of the news live from Google’s 2023 Pixel event right here.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-pixel-8-vs-the-competition-the-seven-year-smartphone-150936894.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 11:00 AM|
|How to pre-order the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro|
During Wednesday's event in New York, Google officially announced their latest smartphones, the Pixel 8 and the Pixel 8 Pro, along with the new Pixel Watch 2 and the upgraded Pixel Buds Pro. The announcements didn't come as a surprise as the company itself "leaked" and then shared a clip of the new Pixels well ahead of the event.
But now we can say for sure that the new phones will use Google's latest Tensor G3 chip and that the company will support seven years of security and OS updates for them. The Pixel Watch 2 packs a longer-lasting battery, which will hopefully resolve one of our biggest complaints about the first generation smartwatch. And while the Pixel Buds Pro aren't completely new, software upgrades (and two new colors) should improve upon the existing buds. Here's how to pre-order the Pixel 8, the Pixel 8 Pro, the Pixel Watch 2 and the updated Pixel Buds Pro.
Google Pixel 8
The Pixel 8 has a 6.2-inch OLED Actua display, which is a new display for the Pixel, which is brighter and should offer more clarity. The screen iteself is actually a tenth of an inch smaller than on the Pixel 7, though the refresh rate can now reach 120Hz and the peak brightness is higher than the older model, getting up to 2,000 nits. Despite the smaller overall size, the battery is actually bigger this time, with a 4,485 mAh typical capacity. It can recharge from zero to 50 percent in about 30 minutes with Google's own 30W USB-C 3.0 charger. Though, unfortunately, that doesn't come with the phone.
The chip inside is the new generation of Google's own Tensor G3, which the company says will allow for better photo processing and help to filter out spam calls. The RAM tops out at 8GB and you can opt for 128GB or 256GB of storage capacity. The case is made from a metal frame and polished back glass. The display glass, meanwhile, is Corning Gorilla Glass Victus and the device is rated IP68, which means it's dust-tight and can handle a dunk in up to a meter of water.
As for cameras, they are largely the same as last year's, with a 10.5MP front camera that's just a few hundred pixels smaller than last year's 10.8MP selfie cam, and a 50MP and 12MP cameras that match the resolution of the Pixel 7. Though it's not all about megapixels. Google notes that these rear cameras are improvements over their predecessors thanks to software improvements like Macro focus for closeups and Best Take that blends multiple group photos together to get one where everyone has their eyes open.
In a solid move towards sustainability, Google will support OS upgrades, security updates and new features drops for seven years after the phone's launch. The Pixel 8 starts at $699 and comes in Hazel, Rose, and Obsidian. Pre-orders are open now and the phones will ship next week. If you pre-order from Google, the company will throw in a free pair of Pixel Buds Pro or give you $200 off the Pixel Watch 2.
Google Pixel 8 Pro
Google says the Pixel 8 Pro has the best Pixel camera yet. (Though, to be fair, no company ever says its latest pro-range cameras are a step down from last year.) The triple lens array includes a 50MP wide, a 48MP ultrawide and a 48MP telephoto camera with a 5x optical zoom. The 10.5MP selfie camera is similar to the one on the Pixel 8, but this one has an autofocus feature. The 6.7-inch screen sports Google's new Super Actua LTPO OLED display with a intelligently-adjusting 1Hz to120Hz refresh rate, up to 2400 nits of peak brightness and ultra HDR images. It's covered in Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 and is housed in a polished aluminum frame with a matte glass back.
It's got the same Tensor G3 chip as the Pixel 8, which will enable all of the AI perks Google has cooked up, like a more helpful Google Assistant who can paraphrase what's on your screen and understand pauses instead of just barreling ahead with a half-baked request when you take a breath. The Pro model comes with 12GB of RAM and the option of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB of storage.
There's even an infrared sensor on the Pixel 8 Pro to take the temperature of a cup of coffee or the frying pan you're about to use. And google has submitted an application to the FDA to allow it to act as a thermometer for people too. Like the Pixel 8, the Pixel 8 Pro will get a promised seven years of OS and security updates and new features support. It starts at $999 and ships next week. Google will throw in the new Pixel Watch 2 or the revamped Pixel Buds Pro when you pre-order the Pixel Pro 8 from its storefront.
Pixel Watch 2
We were a little disappointed with the first Pixel Watch's battery life and thought the emphasis on Fitbit branding took away from a pure Google experience. With the Pixel Watch 2, it looks like the company has improved upon the battery life, with a claimed 24 hours even with the always-on display enabled. But it appears to be doubling down on the Fitbit union.
There's a new multi-path heart rate sensor that uses both photodiodes and LEDs to get better estimates of your pulse. Fitbit stress management features use various sensors to potentially identify tense moments in your day and suggests actions such as mood logging or guided breathing and walking sessions. New safety features include Safety Check which can alert friends, family or even emergency services if needed and Emergency Sharing lets your circle of people see your real-time whereabouts. Fall detection and Emergency SOS were already released earlier this year for the Pixel Watch but will come standard on the Pixel Watch 2.
The housing is made from 100 percent recycled aluminum and the AMOLED screen is covered in 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 5. Many fitness features like workouts and Daily Readiness Score live behind Fitbit's paywall, but the watch comes with six months of the subscription for free. The updated Fitbit app will integrate more AI features when it updates later this year.
The Pixel Watch 2 is priced at $349 for the Wi-Fi version and $399 for the cellular enabled model and comes in Black Aluminum, Polished Silver or Champagne Gold cases with a different colored bands. It will ship next week.
Google announced the new Fitbit Charge 6 at the same time. It's also available to pre order now and retails for $160.
Pixel Buds Pro
This isn't a brand new product for Google, but the company made enough updates to the Pixel Buds Pro to make them worth a few minutes of air time during the event. We already called the Pixel Buds Pro Google's best earbuds yet and hopefully these improvements will make them even better. Conversation Detection can discern when you're talking to someone and pause the music. And Clear Calling with a Pixel phone reduces extraneous noises from the other end of the conversation so you can hear them better. They also come in two new colors, Porcelain and Bay, which happen to match the new Pixel 8 Pro phones.
Follow all of the news live from Google’s 2023 Pixel event right here.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/how-to-pre-order-the-google-pixel-8-and-pixel-8-pro-150051904.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 11:00 AM|
|Prada will help design the spacesuits for NASA's 2025 Artemis III mission|
NASA is planning its first crewed mission to the moon since Apollo 17's 1972 trip, and it's doing so in style. Axiom Space — the company NASA chose last year to create the Extravehicular Activity Services (xEVAS) spacesuits for 2025's Artemis III mission — has announced it's partnering with luxury Italian brand Prada to design them.
The two companies will work side by side throughout production. "Prada's technical expertise with raw materials, manufacturing techniques, and innovative design concepts will bring advanced technologies instrumental in ensuring not only the comfort of astronauts on the lunar surface, but also the much-needed human factors considerations absent from legacy spacesuits," Axiom Space CEO Michael Suffredini said in a statement.
Prada Group marketing director Lorenzo Bertelli added, "It is a true celebration of the power of human creativity and innovation to advance civilization." He also credited the company's "cutting-edge" work to decades of experience with its Luna Rossa Prada sailing team.
The Artemis III mission is unique not only because of the five decades since Apollo 17 but because it's the first time a woman or person of color will go to the moon, astronauts Christina Koch and Victor Glover. Interestingly, Koch's role in the mission is acknowledged early on in Axiom Space's release, seemingly creating a subtext that the presence of a woman (read: an accomplished, experienced astronaut) is necessary to justify teaming up with a luxury designer.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/prada-will-help-design-the-spacesuits-for-nasas-2025-artemis-iii-mission-150009987.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 10:36 AM|
|Google Pixel 8 lineup has a bevy of generative AI features|
Over the course of its Made by Google event on Wednesday, it became clear that Google intends to infuse its its new Pixel 8 phones with generative AI. With the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, Google is adding support for on-demand summaries, translations and read-aloud features for articles and web pages, plus more tricks. All of this is handled through the Assistant, either via spoken word or on-screen prompts.
On the new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, the Assistant will be able to quickly summarize website text, offering a breakdown of the page and bullet points of relevant content. It's a lot like interacting with Bard or Bing AI, in this regard. Prompts will pop up at the bottom of the summary with potential follow-ups — an article about iPhones, for example, will end with action buttons reading, “About iPhones,” and, “Who invented the iPhone?”
The new Assistant can translate text into various languages and will even read the converted content out loud (in supported languages). In the case of translated or original text, read-aloud mode populates a draggable progress bar, playback-speed controls and 10-second skip buttons in either direction.
Call screening is also improved on Pixel 8, and the Assistant should sound more natural when speaking with callers — meaning a few more pauses and weird sounds, basically. Call screening will also offer an expanded list of potential responses for users to choose from as the conversation carries on in the background.
Another Assistant update will allow users to compose messages twice as fast using their voice, and enable typing, editing and sending messages in multiple languages. Overall, Assistant should be able to better understand users when they speak in natural patterns, even across languages. Additionally, Google's At A Glance feature will provide more useful information, like travel updates and tickets for events.
Google is making the Recorder app more useful with generative AI, too. On Pixel 8s, Recorder will be able to provide high-level summaries of captured content. This is in addition to the Recorder app's existing transcription abilities.
The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro will go on sale October 12, starting at $700.
Follow all of the news live from Google’s 2023 Pixel event right here.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-pixel-8-lineup-has-a-bevy-of-generative-ai-features-143036712.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 10:30 AM|
|Reddit is revamping search and improving support for screen readers|
Reddit is revamping search and making a key feature of its app more accessible. The company announced a series of updates it says makes search faster and easier across its app and mobile site.
The changes include a new “media” tab in search and within individual subreddits so users can more easily browse images, video clips, and GIFs. Additionally, search results in Reddit’s app and website are getting a simpler, cleaner look.
Reddit is also making search easier for people using the mobile version of its site who aren’t logged in. Now, logged out searches will have more filters, as well as separate tabs for comments and posts. And mobile web searches are 85 percent faster overall, according to the company.
There are also search improvements specifically for Redditors who rely on screen readers. “The posts and comments tabs on the search result page are now screen reader compatible on native mobile apps,” Reddit explains in a blog post. “We’re adding labels, roles/traits, values, and states to all elements on these pages to help redditors discover content and take action. If a redditor uses a screen reader, they can hear the actions available and the results returned on these tabs.”
That change could help the company address some of the long-running accessibility complaints about its app. Members of r/blind were some of the most to the company’s API crackdown, which resulted in the shuttering of many third-party apps. The company later said that it would some accessibility-focused apps from its API fees, but the moderators of r/blind the concession isn’t enough, and that the company has “made it impossible for blind Redditors to moderate their own sub.” While Reddit’s latest updates don’t address blind users’ complaints about its moderation tools, the changes could still be a significant improvement for people who browse the app with screen readers.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/reddit-is-revamping-search-and-improving-support-for-screen-readers-143054804.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 10:30 AM|
|Google's Tensor G3 chip is focused on speeding up AI for the Pixel 8 phones|
Another Pixel phone, another Tensor system-on-a-chip from Google. That's basically where we're at this year: The company officially announced the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro at its Made by Google event on Wednesday, and unsurprisingly they're sporting a new Tensor G3 SoC. The Tensor hardware made a big splash when it arrived with the Pixel 6, and now the company appears to be focusing on AI performance even more.
Google claims the Tensor G3 allows the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro to run over twice as many machine learnings on device, compared to the Pixel 8. Similarly, the largest machine learning model on the Pixel 8 is said to be 10 times more complex than what was on the Pixel 6. Those leaps are a testament both to Google's engineering capabilities and how much tech companies are racing to become AI leaders.
The Tensor G3 chip is faster than the G2, as you'd expect, but honestly that's never been the highlight of Google's SoCs. What's more important are the new features it'll deliver. This year, that includes better Call Screen functionality for weeding out spam calls. Google also claims that Tensor G3 will enable better audio and video quality, especially for the Pixel's Clear Calling feature. You can also use the "Audio Magic Eraser" to remove annoying sounds from your videos, similar to the way the original Magic Eraser feature can clean up the backgrounds of photos.
Google can also bring screen reading to every corner of the Pixel 8 experience thanks to the Tensor G3. A long press on the power button automatically triggers screen reading, which is useful if you want to read a long article on the go. You'll also get playback controls for speed, as well as the ability to change the playback language.
Google hasn't revealed many technical details behind the Tensor G3 yet, but according to a recent benchmark leak, it's built around a 9-core CPU with a Cortex-X3 core running at 2.91GHz. (That Arm core is also found in the recent Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, so Google is in good company.) The G3 also features 12GB of RAM and a Mali-G715 GPU. It should be far more efficient than the Tensor G2 as well, since it's built on Samsung's newer 4nm process.
To its credit, Google initially launched the Pixel phones with a focus on AI, which helped power groundbreaking features like Night Sight. Now with the Tensor G3 on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, Google can push its AI lead even further.
Follow all of the news live from Google’s 2023 Pixel event right here.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-tensor-g3-soc-pixel-8-pro-143052356.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 10:30 AM|
|Google extends software support for Pixel 8 phones to a full seven years|
Google has committed to providing seven full years of software support for it's Pixel 8 phones, the company announced Wednesday during its Made by Google event. That might not be all that exciting to shoppers, at least compared to new hardware or OS features, but it puts Google well ahead of the competition — and may ultimately be a boon for both consumers and the environment.
Previously, Google's policy on updates to support its phones was five years (at least for the Pixel 6 and later), which in itself was nothing to scoff at. Not only will an extra two years potentially save consumers from shelling out for a brand new handset, but it may save some aging Pixels from ending up in a landfill quite as quickly. An estimated five billion phones were tossed in the trash in 2022 alone, potentially leading to toxic chemicals leeching into groundwater, among other associated hazards. It's impossible to say how many consumers will take full advantage of the increased shelf life of their Pixels, either because they're itching for a new-and-better model, or because (like most smartphones these days) repairability still leaves something to be desired.
Regardless, Google is obviously stepping in the right direction, and hopefully putting pressure on some of its competitors too. Apple has not made a hard commitment to lengthening its software support, but its phones typically see five to six years of updates. On the Android side of things, support can be significantly more grim: an exhaustive list of manufacturer update policies by Android Authority revealed that most brands only offer about two years of support, with many refusing to commit to any length of time, period. One of the few exceptions is Samsung, which in February of 2022 announced it would provide four generations of Android updates and five years of security patches to many of its models.
Follow all of the news live from Google’s 2023 Pixel event right here.
Correction, October 4, 2023, 3:09 PM ET: This post has been update to specify that while the prior phones retain the five-year support timeline, the new seven-year commitment is applicable only to the Pixel 8 series.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-extends-software-support-for-pixel-phones-to-a-full-seven-years-143043262.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 10:30 AM|
|Google's $999 Pixel 8 Pro leans into high-end camera features|
On Wednesday at its Made by Google event, Google announced its next flagship phone: the Pixel 8 Pro. Starting at $999, it costs $100 more than its predecessor, so to make up for that increased price Google added a number of enhanced photo and video features, a new temperature sensor and seven years of software support.
Available in three colors (Bay, Porcelain and Obsidian), the Pixel 8 Pro sports a very similar design to last year's model with a large camera bar in back and polished metal sides. That said, Google has made some smaller changes, including adding a matte texture on the phone's Gorilla Glass Victus 2 rear panel. The display is flatter as well, and has less rounded edges. And, just like before, the phone packs an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, allowing it to withstand submersion in up to 5.5 feet of water for 30 minutes.
The Pixel 8 Pro comes with a 6.7-inch Super Actua display that's based on an LTPO OLED panel with a 120Hz variable refresh rate. Additionally, it offers peak brightness of 2,400 nits. Google says its Super Actua branding is meant to call attention to the screen's colors and tuning, which have been engineered to be as accurate and realistic as possible. And, unlike the standard Pixel 8, the Pro also has a new 10.5-megapixel selfie camera with dual phase detection autofocus. Google also says that the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro's face unlock employs a new algorithm alongside upgraded hardware to provide more precise facial recognition.
However, between its upgraded sensors (a 50MP main, 48MP ultra-wide and 48MP telephoto with a 5x optical zoom) and a range of improved photo and video features, it's the Pixel 8 Pro's cameras that are making the biggest leap. For the first time on a Pixel phone, users will be able to use Google's Night Sight Mode when recording videos. Meanwhile, the new Best Take feature makes it possible to choose the best reactions among a series of images so that every person in the shot is smiling. Also, by leveraging AI the Pixel's Magic Editor can better tweak things like lighting, the framing of a photo and more, while the new Audio Magic Eraser tool gives you the ability to remove distracting sounds and noise in your clips.
But perhaps the biggest upgrade for photo enthusiasts is the addition of pro camera controls so you can adjust settings like shutter speed, ISO, white balance and more. There are even options for capturing images using the sensor's full 50 megapixels in either JPEG, RAW or RAW+JPEG modes. If you need even more help making clips look good, the new Video Boost feature can send recordings to the cloud so that Google's servers can apply more powerful computational algorithms to your footage. That said, it's important to note that this process can take multiple hours.
On the inside, the Pixel 8 Pro is powered by Google's Tensor G3 chip along with 12GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage. Google claims the G3's improved performance helps support new abilities like enhanced spam filtering for the Pixel's Call Screener feature, Audio Magic Eraser and better image processing. In everyday situations, Google also is trying to improve the Pixel 8's ease of use with new software like the ability to read websites aloud while translating them, a proofreading tool in Gboard, Assistant voice typing in multiple languages and a magnifier app for increased accessibility.
Finally, the more expensive Pixel 8 Pro is the only one with a temperature sensor located in the camera bar. Initially, you can use it to measure how hot or cold a nearby object is. However, Google says it's in talks with the FDA so that in the future you'll also be able use it as a thermometer for people. And just like the standard Pixel 8, Google is upping the length of the Pixel 8 Pro's software support (which includes both regular security patches and Android updates) to seven years. This is poised to be the longest commitment for any Android smartphone aside from the Fairphone 5.
The Pixel 8 Pro starts at $999 and goes on sale October 12, though you can pre-order it starting today.
Follow all of the news live from Google’s 2023 Pixel event right here.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-leans-into-high-end-camera-features-for-the-999-pixel-8-pro-143040260.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 10:30 AM|
|Google's Pixel 8 is a smaller 6.2-inch flagship with a bigger battery|
After weeks of rumors and leaks, Google's Pixel 8 was officially revealed on Wednesday during the company's Made by Google event. The phone brings upgrades up and down the spec sheet, along with a design that's slightly more compact than before. The 6.2-inch screen is smaller than the display on last year's Pixel 7 (which in turn was smaller than the Pixel 6 before that). However, the newest Pixel has the same 1,080 x 2,400 screen resolution. Google's Actua OLED technology promises vivid color and details, at up to 1400 nits of brightness. That's 40 percent brighter than last year's Google flagship.
Last year's Pixel 7 had a 90Hz screen, while Pixel 8 has a dynamic display with 60 to 120Hz refresh rates. Alongside a smaller display, this year's Pixel 8 comes with a larger battery (minimum 4,485mAh), which together, should lead to improved battery life. It'll also pack fast charging, which can top-up up to a 50-percent charge in around 30 minutes.
The look of the hardware hasn't hugely changed. There's still the blocky camera bar, but the edges and lines have been softened a little, with a polished glass back. Last year's Pixel 7 had a matte finish, while the Pixel 7 Pro had a shiny look. This year, that's been swapped: The front and back of the device will have some defense from scratches and cracks with Corning's Gorilla Glass Victus.
The biggest upgrades are related to the rear camera. The Pixel 8 has the same primary sensor as the Pixel 8 Pro, with an upgraded 50-megapixel octa PD camera and f/1.68 aperture. It'll be capable of 2x optical zoom, as well as up to 8x of digital zoom (what Google calls Super Res Zoom). The Pixel 8's ultrawide camera will have built-in lens correction, as ultrawide cameras can often distort and stretch images at the edges. Google claims that you'll see faster autofocus across the whole camera experience, especially in low light. Those cameras will be bolstered by Google's best smartphone talent, camera software features. This includes the Magic Eraser, Photo Unblur, Night Sight, Top Shot and more.
Google's new Tensor G3 should speed up those tools. Google claims the machine learning model on Pixel 8 is 10 times more complex than Pixel 6's Tensor chip. The new silicon will also help power features like Call Screen and Audio Magic Eraser, which can be used to erase distracting sounds from your videos.
The Pixel 8 is available to pre-order today and comes in three color options: Obsidian (black), Rose (a soft pink) and Hazel (a light green), with prices starting at $699. It will go on sale on October 12.
Check out our early impressions of both the new Pixel phones right here.
Follow all of the news live from Google’s 2023 Pixel event right here.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-pixel-8-release-date-pricing-specs-143012657.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 10:30 AM|
|Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro hands-on: Generative AI and a temperature sensor on your phone|
After teasing us for weeks with trailers showing off the Pixel 8 series, Google is now ready to give us all the details about its latest flagships. Announced during the company's Made by Google event on Wednesday, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro look largely the same as their predecessors, with a couple of key differences. The regular Pixel 8 is slightly smaller, which makes it easier to use with one hand. Meanwhile, the Pro model has a new matte finish, upgraded cameras and an intriguing temperature sensor.
Across the Pixel 8 series, we’re also getting the company’s Tensor G3 processor, Assistant improvements and, notably, seven whole years of Android and security updates. So, you might actually be able to hang on to your Pixel flagship for a lot longer than before. Now we’ll just have to wait and see if the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro do enough for you to want to keep them around for years to come.
It’s worth noting up front that, though it’s smaller than before, the standard Pixel 8 starts at $699, which is $100 more than its predecessor. That seems a little counterintuitive, but the slightly smaller display actually refreshes at up to 120Hz now, which is better than the 90Hz last year. Meanwhile, the Pixel 8 Pro costs $999, another $100 increase over the Pixel 7 Pro. You can find a slew of pre-order offers from Google and most carriers to sweeten the deal.
A potentially useful temperature sensor
Of all the changes coming to Google’s flagships, I’m most intrigued by the new temperature sensor on the Pixel 8 Pro. I know, I know. It might seem like a gimmick and I hardly ever use a thermometer in my daily life anyway. But in the stale, tired land of smartphones, it’s a novelty and that also tells me Google is at least trying something new.
The temperature sensor sits below the flash on the Pixel 8 Pro’s camera bar (and to be clear the regular Pixel 8 does not have this). To take a reading, you’ll have to launch the new Temperature app and select the type of object you’re trying to measure. You can choose from “food and organic,” “cast iron,” “plastic and rubber,” “fabric” and more.
For now, Google is waiting on FDA approval to enable the Pixel 8 Pro to take body temperature readings. But nothing is really stopping you from selecting the generic “default” option and pointing the infrared sensor at your forehead. Just know that it’s not the advertised application and that the reading might not be 100 percent accurate.
With the existing app and algorithms, though, you can check the temperature of bath water before putting your child in it or make sure your cast iron pan is hot enough before sticking your steak in it. There are plenty of ways to use the sensor, but most of us have survived this long without carrying a thermometer everywhere, I’m not sure we will suddenly start relying on it. And it’s entirely possible this feature goes the way of the Soli radar that Google introduced on the Pixel 4 (and retired on the Pixel 5).
Still, at least based on my few attempts at using the Pixel 8 Pro to scan things, the system appears to work. I stuck the sensor within an inch or two of iced water and warm coffee, and within 5 centimeters or 2 inches is recommended for best results (A Google rep cautioned against using the sensor on anything that has steam coming out of it). It took barely a second for the measurements to appear on the app, and the results all seemed accurate. The coffee, which had been sitting out for a while, generally registered at around 97.2 degrees Fahrenheit across my multiple readings, while the iced water came in at 37.4 degrees Fahrenheit. I’ll have to spend more time with a review unit in the real world to know just how much I’ll use this, and whether it’ll affect battery performance.
The Assistant gets better with generative AI
The temperature sensor might be useful in specific scenarios, but the bulk of the updates for the Pixel 8 series is in the Assistant. With generative AI being all the rage this year, it’s no surprise that Google is integrating those capabilities in its phones. On the Pixel 8s, you’ll be able to ask the Assistant to summarize, read aloud and translate articles and web pages. I opened up my iPhone 15 Pro Max hands-on on Engadget.com, long pressed the power button to bring up the Assistant and told it to “Summarize this page.”
The Assistant said “The author reviews the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which has a new zoom lens and a new Action button.” It goes on to explain, in two subsequent bullet points, that my article had said that the Action button is programmable and that the device “has a titanium body and a FineWoven case that is meant to replace leather.”
My inner editor would tweak some of the language there, but the Assistant generally did a good job summarizing my piece. At the bottom, Google asks for feedback on the summary and suggests some follow-up actions with buttons like “About iPhones,” “Who invented the iPhone” and more. If you’ve spent any time playing with chatbots like Bard or Bing AI, this will all feel very familiar.
I didn’t actually have to use my voice to ask for a breakdown of my article, by the way. After bringing up the Assistant, the system offers suggested actions like “Summarize,” “Read aloud” “Translate” and “Search screen.” If you want to keep your attention on crossing the road or don’t have time to scan an entire review, the new read aloud tool can be very helpful. I particularly like that when you ask the Assistant to read something out, a box appears with controls for playback speed, skipping ahead or back 10 seconds, as well as a progress bar that you can drag.
At the bottom right of the playback box is a little translate icon — you can not only ask the Assistant to convert articles in foreign languages into one you understand, but it can also read aloud in a supported language, too. I asked for my review to be translated to and read aloud in Mandarin, and the Pixel 8 Pro did so accurately and almost immediately.
One of my favorite features on Pixel phones is Call Screening, which lets you tap the Assistant to figure out who is ringing you and why. With updates coming to the Pixel 8 line, the artificial voice will sound more natural, adding some pauses and nonverbal utterances to seem more human. We saw examples of this when Google first announced Duplex, and while most of us were nervous about the implications of AI that could sound much more human, there are potential advantages here. Most notably, callers are probably less likely to hang up if they think they’re talking to a real person, and you’ll have an easier time asking them questions without picking up the phone.
The Assistant can also understand if someone is calling about a package, and will suggest more follow-ups like “Leave by front door” and “I’ll be right there.” During a rehearsed demo with Google’s executives, this worked very well. But when I tried later by masquerading as a delivery person looking for a signature, the Assistant failed to bring up a relevant prompt. I wouldn’t be surprised if the company improves this further over time, and frankly its Call Screening is still better than Apple’s Live Voicemail, which was just released in iOS 17. Google’s implementation allows for greater flexibility and interaction, making it more helpful.
Another one of my favorite Pixel-first tools is the Recorder app, and soon it will be able to provide summaries of your transcripts. If you use Recorder for loads of meetings and interviews, this may help you more quickly identify the chat you were looking for. Based on the demo I saw, it doesn’t provide very detailed recaps, instead offering incredibly high-level bullet points. Reporters like myself will probably still need to spend a lot of time picking out noteworthy quotes.
The Assistant is also supposed to get better at understanding your comments even if you trip up or say things like “uhm” or “er” while talking to it. In my brief experience so far, the system did understand me in spite of some pauses and “uhms,” though I’m not sure if I would ever unlearn the habit of talking very precisely to the Assistant.
I’ve long held that Pixel phones have the best smartphone cameras, but with companies like Apple and Samsung making great strides in their flagships recently, Google’s lead is shrinking. The company was late to shift to multi-sensor setups, relying heavily on its software prowess to make up for lacking hardware in the past. In recent generations, we’ve seen a more balanced approach, with Google introducing slightly sharper cameras, while continuing to update its algorithms to boost clarity and color.
With the Pixel 8 series, we’re seeing more of this two-pronged strategy. The Pixel 8 Pro is getting a sharper 48-megapixel ultrawide camera while the telephoto system’s 48MP sensor is using a lens with an improved f/2.8 aperture but (slightly) wider field of view than last year. Its primary camera has the same 50MP setup as before, though Google says its f/1.68 lens has “2X optical quality” compared to last year’s f/1.85 glass. Meanwhile, the standard Pixel 8’s main camera is the same as the 8 Pro’s, which is slightly better than the Pixel 7’s. Its one other rear sensor is also pretty much identical to the last generation’s.
The hardware might be a small upgrade, but the more significant change lies in the software. Google has redesigned its camera app to make manual controls easier to reach. With the new layout, there are two buttons at the bottom that let you switch between photo and video capture. That’s a little more organized, given that Pixels offer different modes like Action for adding motion blur to your shots.
This redesign also enabled Google to throw in a Pro mode, giving you manual control over settings labeled as brightness, shadow, white balance, as well as capturing stills at the full resolution of 50 megapixels. You’ll have to go into settings to switch on Manual mode, and doing so will turn off the auto lens switching feature.
I discovered this because I was using the Pixel 8 Pro to get super up close with a flower at the demo space, so I could check out the improved Macro focus. But because I had activated Manual mode, the lens wasn’t changing on its own when I pushed the device into the petals. With its sharper ultrawide sensor, the Pixel 8 Pro can get even closer to subjects and still keep focus. This year’s Pro model will work up to 2 centimeters away, while the standard Pixel 8 gets macro support for the first time and has the same capability as the Pixel 7 Pro. That means it can get as close as 3cm.
I didn’t break out a ruler to see how far away the cameras were from the flowers I was shooting, but I was impressed by how much detail the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro managed to capture. I’d have to pit Google’s flagships against Apple’s and Samsung’s in the real world to say if it’s better than the competition, but at least from my hands-on, it seemed effective and fast.
I also checked out the Pixel 8 Pro’s 5x telephoto system by zooming into items at a breakfast buffet about 15 feet away, and was able to read words on the cards identifying the types of milk available. Again, I can’t say how well this compares to Samsung’s Space Zoom or the iPhone 15 Pro Max yet.
Some of the biggest improvements to the Pixel 8’s cameras are in video recording and processing. The main new feature is Video Boost, which will upload your clips to the cloud for enhancement using Google’s more-powerful processors. These include applying HDR+, enhanced color grading and, for the first time, Night Sight Video. In a sample Google showed me, a scene of someone seemingly kicking a ball into a net by themselves in the dark looked so much brighter after Video Boost that I was able to see that there was a second person in the shot.
I’m a bit skeptical about this feature, because it requires you to send a file to Google’s servers and it’s not clear how long it will take for the results to come back. The company said it could be a few hours or longer, depending on the length of the video. It’s also coming later this year and won’t be available at launch, so there’s still some time before we can check it out for ourselves.
I’m more intrigued, however, by what Google is calling “Audio Magic Eraser.” Just as the Magic Eraser for images can remove photobombers in the background, this new tool can reduce background noise in your videos. I was shown a sample video of a street performer playing on an instrument and a siren blaring by, overpowering the music. After Audio Magic Eraser was applied, the sound of the passing vehicle was noticeably reduced. Though it was not completely eliminated, it was definitely less distracting.
There are plenty of other new features coming to the Pixel 8 series, including an improved Best Take that lets you pick your favorite shot of each person in a group photo. Magic Editor, which was introduced at Google I/O this year, will also be available when the new flagships launch. Finally, the Pixel 8 Pro’s 10.5MP selfie camera is getting autofocus, while the regular Pixel 8 also has a 10.5MP selfie sensor but with fixed focus.
Face unlock, displays and other updates
In addition to cameras, Assistant and the temperature sensor, there are some updates across the Pixel 8 series worth mentioning. Face Unlock, for example, has now been deemed to meet the company’s internal security standards, and can therefore be used in more areas like authenticating mobile payments or logging into apps. That’s in part enabled by the Tensor G3 chip in both phones, which also powers things like Audio Magic Eraser, filtering out more spam calls and more. We don’t know very much else about Tensor G3 at the moment, though.
Google is also introducing a new name for the displays it uses on the Pixels — Actua on the smaller handset and Super Actua on the Pro. Think of it as Retina and Super Retina on Apple devices, but Google. The names don’t really mean anything other than that the company is using its own software and processing to make things look brighter and sharper.
We’re at a point with smartphone displays where most human beings can’t tell the difference between a Super Retina and a Super Actua display, as long as they’re playing the same content at the same brightness. What’s worth noting is that the Pixel 8 now has a 6.2-inch screen and refreshes at 120Hz, while the Pixel 8 Pro maintains the same 6.7-inch size with an ever so slightly wider aspect ratio of 20:9 (compared to last year’s 19.5:9). The Pros also have a matte finish this time, and come in Bay (a pastel blue), Porcelain (white) and Obsidian (black) while the smaller handset is available in Rose (a light peach) in addition to the black and white options.
For things like battery life, performance, how slippery the phone is and how hot it runs, we’ll need to use the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro in the real world before we have a verdict. Stay tuned for our full review to get all those details.
Follow all of the news live from Google’s 2023 Pixel event right here.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-pixel-8-and-pixel-8-pro-hands-on-generative-ai-and-a-temperature-sensor-on-your-phone-143008566.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 10:30 AM|
|Android 14 is now available to download on Pixel devices|
The day many Android users have been waiting for is finally here. Google is rolling out the public build of . As ever, Pixel users will be able to download the new version of the operating system first on supported models (Pixel 4a and newer). Compatible Samsung Galaxy, iQOO, Nothing, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, Sony, Tecno, vivo and Xiaomi devices will gain access to Android 14 later this year.
Deeper customization is a major focus this time around. You'll be able to choose from a variety of lock screen templates. There's the option to add new clocks and shortcuts (such as the QR reader or the Google Home app) to the lock screen for swift access. Switching between wallpapers should be easier too.
You'll have more ways to customize your wallpaper thanks to the . Select a text prompt and the AI will whip up a related image for you (this feature is coming to Pixel 8/Pixel 8 Pro first). Google is also rolling out support for Ultra HDR images and a monochromatic theme.
There are welcome updates on the accessibility front. New features include non-linear font size scaling to make certain sections of text easier to read. There's a Quick Setting tile for font sizing too. Google says it has improved the magnification options and made them more intuitive thanks to the addition of things like a pinch-to-zoom function you can enable only for specific apps. As for hearing accessibility updates, the company says it added hearing aids improvements and introduced flash notifications that light up your device's screen or camera LED when there's an alert for you to check out.
Google aims to give you more control over your data and security in Android 14 as well. is now baked into the OS settings to help you manage privacy aspects of health, fitness and wellness apps. Google says such data is encrypted on your device. After you install Android 14, you should find it easier to understand how your data is being used by apps that request access to it, thanks to data sharing updates.
Follow all of the news live from Google’s 2023 Pixel event right here.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/android-14-is-now-available-to-download-on-pixel-devices-143004310.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 10:30 AM|
|Google Pixel Watch 2 hands on: New biometric sensors in a slightly lighter package|
When Google debuted the Pixel Watch last year, hopes were high that it would be a real rival for the Apple Watch. But, due to subpar battery life and some friction around integrating Fitbit’s health-tracking features, the company failed to deliver a truly satisfying contender. The hype for the Pixel Watch 2 is significantly less than for its predecessor, and Google needs to convince us it adds enough to justify an upgrade.
From the outside, the Pixel Watch 2 brings a fairly modest set of updates, but it offers some compelling new features that could make it one of the best health and wellness-tracking wearables around. At a starting price of $350, the Pixel Watch 2 sits between the $300 Galaxy Watch 6 and the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic, as well as the Apple Watch Series 9, which both cost $400. It offers a multi-path heart rate monitor and introduces body-response and skin temperature sensors, along with new apps and personal safety features that both help set it apart from and catch up to the competition.
Most of the changes coming to the new Pixel Watch aren’t things I could easily test at a brief hands-on session, like the new body response tracking tools or how much more accurate the multi-path heart rate sensor is. I also couldn’t tell you whether the added Safety Check feature will give me peace of mind when venturing to strange places on my own.
What I was quickly able to confirm was that, on the surface, the new Pixel Watch is just as attractive as before. The domed glass and round face look just as smooth, and Google says it’s made the case a whopping 5 grams lighter, while the glass covering the screen is a bit thinner. The company also says its recycled aluminum housing makes the haptic feedback on the rotating crown feel a bit more noticeable (even though the vibrating motor is the same).
That decrease in weight should make the new Watch more comfortable to wear, especially if you plan to keep it on in bed. I barely noticed it was lighter when I tried one on, but I assume most people would have trouble detecting a mere 5-gram difference.
More importantly, Google said it redesigned the back housing to contain the three new sensors and help maintain contact with your skin. This will also keep the heart rate reader in place during vigorous activities for more consistent measurements. Usually when I hear about this sort of watch case design, I worry about it being uncomfortably snug, but the Pixel Watch 2 I tried on felt pleasant enough. Like I did last year, I love Google’s woven loop band, which is as easy to wear on my wrist as a scrunchie.
Speaking of, the company is also rolling out new accessories, including a lighter perforated sports band and a narrow strap of metallic links. Swapping these out is still fairly easy using Google’s proprietary push-and-click mechanism, which it’s previously described as similar to switching out lenses on a DSLR. There are also new watch faces which are similar to the ones we saw Apple launch on its smartwatches this year, that place information at the farthest edges of the screen, as if they were right on the bezels.
The Pixel Watch 2 is still only available in one size (41mm) and its AMOLED screen has the same 320 ppi pixel density as its predecessor. It even goes up to the same 1,000 nits of brightness, though Google has tweaked the font size and color scheme in things like the workout app to make them easier to read. I haven’t had any trouble seeing my activity stats on the Pixel Watch, and the 41mm size sits nicely on my relatively small wrist. But I imagine there are people who might prefer a larger screen.
Animations also look smoother, according to the company, thanks to the Pixel Watch 2’s quad-core Snapdragon Wear 5100 processor. Not only does it have more cores than the Exynos 9110 in the original watch, the new chip uses a 4nm design compared to the Exynos’ 10nm process. That means it’ll be more power efficient, and together with its slightly larger 306mAh battery (up from 294mAh on the previous model), we should be getting longer runtimes.
But, because the Pixel Watch 2 comes with its always on display (AOD) enabled by default, battery life is listed as the same 24 hours as last year, when the number was given without the AOD on. I expect if you disable the AOD, you might get a few more hours, but that’s not something I can confirm without testing the device out myself. Google also implemented a new contact charging design on the underside that it says can help you get 12 hours of juice after plugging in for 30 minutes, while getting fully charged should take 75 minutes. Unfortunately, there's no wireless charging, which seems like a real oversight.
Along with the updated contact charging is a slew of sensors. The body response sensor, which is a continuous electrodermal activity (cEDA) monitor, looks for microscopic beads of sweat. Using data from that and the skin temperature sensor, as well as your pulse and heart rate variability, the Pixel Watch 2 will guess when you’re feeling stressed and suggest you log your emotions and try a guided meditation or go on a walk.
This is far from the first time Google (or, more accurately, Fitbit) has offered similar stress management features, since it rolled out an EDA sensor on its Sense smartwatch in 2020. But while the company may have had a few years of experience tracking this metric, it still isn’t an exact science. I didn’t wear the demo unit long enough for it to say I felt stressed (even though you better believe I was), so I couldn’t check out its suggested actions. But I’d be curious to see what sorts of patterns I would glean from wearing this in the real world over time.
I’m also keen to put the new heart rate sensor to the test at my daily HIIT workouts, but I’m actually most excited about something that should have been on the Pixel Watch from the start: automatic workout start and stop reminders. One of my complaints about last year’s model was the lack of alerts if you’ve been active for a while. In fact, I’ll just quote my review here:
“Also, while Samsung and Apple will actually alert you when they notice you’ve been walking or exercising for awhile, the Pixel Watch remains quiet. In fact, I thought it was malfunctioning and not detecting my brisk mile, and I started to get quite angry. It wasn’t until much later when the walk showed up in the Fitbit app that I realized it had actually counted my activity.”
With the Pixel Watch 2, you should be nudged after you’ve been doing one of seven common workouts for a while. They include running, outdoor cycling, spinning, walking and rowing. Importantly, you’ll also be prompted to end a session after you’ve stopped doing one of those things for some time.
For outdoor runners in particular, the new pace coaching feature should be helpful. Meanwhile, those looking to hit and maintain specific heart rate zones will appreciate the ability to set target numbers and get haptic and voice alerts to help stay within range. Though I did get on a treadmill after putting on a Pixel Watch 2, I didn’t work out long enough to trigger the automatic start.
Something else I would prefer to evaluate outside of the demo space was the new Safety Check feature. It joins fall detection and emergency SOS as part of Google’s suite of personal safety tools, and is quite similar to what Apple offers in watchOS and iOS. Specifically, the Pixel Watch 2’s Safety Check reminds me a lot of Check In in iOS 17. The latter has you start a session with a friend or loved one in Messages, and end it when you arrive home with your phone. If you don’t make it to your destination in a set amount of time, your contact will be alerted and sent some info about your location.
Google’s approach is very similar — you go to the Personal Safety app on the Pixel Watch 2 and select Safety Check. This lets you start a timer for your preferred amount of time. When that runs out and you don’t tell the watch you’re okay, Google will let your pre-set contacts know something is up and share your last known or live location.
Safety Check feels like something that’s nice to have on occasion, but what might really improve your daily interactions with the Pixel Watch 2 are updated Google apps like Calendar and Gmail. And in yet another change that sounds very similar to something Apple brought this year, the Google Assistant is getting support for health and fitness queries so you can ask for your real-time or historical stats without touching the screen. Unlike Apple, though, the Pixel Watch 2’s assistant requests are not processed on-device, so they’ll require an internet connection.
There are a lot of changes coming to the Pixel Watch, and some feel more meaningful than others. But will they make for a significant update this year? Is Google simply catching up to Apple and Samsung, or is it leading the way by introducing body-response measurements? Those are questions better answered after some time with a review unit. For now, if you're already excited by the new features, you can already pre-order the device or buy it on October 12. The Pixel Watch 2 is available in silver, black and gold cases with a variety of straps and come with six months of Fitbit Premium included.
Follow all of the news live from Google’s 2023 Pixel event right here.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-pixel-watch-2-hands-on-new-biometric-sensors-in-a-slightly-lighter-package-143002557.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 10:16 AM|
|Google’s Pixel Watch 2 refines last year’s template|
Google’s Pixel Watch had years of development time but it still managed to stumble rather than sprint out of the gate. A year later, and the company is hoping it’s a good time to make a better first impression with the Pixel Watch 2. Announced at the company's Made by Google event on Wednesday, the Pixel Watch 2 promises better health and fitness tracking; significantly longer battery life; and better integration with Google's various services. Additionally, the case is made out of 100 percent recycled aluminum, to help bolster its green bona fides.
The Pixel Watch 2 boasts a far deeper bench of fitness and health-tracking utilities, including improved sensors for heart-rate and blood oxygenation monitoring. There’s also a new cEDA (Continuous ElectroDermal Activity) and a skin temperature sensor, both of which were cribbed from Fitbit watches like the Sense 2. These will be used to measure your stress levels and, if it detects a change, will ask you to log your feelings or do some guided breathing exercises. You’ll also get automatic workout tracking and heart zone training to help you meet specific goals.
There are plenty of similarities with the first model, but the company has made the crown larger and more flush with the rest of the case. And a set of redesigned watch bands are pledged to be lighter and more comfortable than last year's, although they use the same swapping mechanism for backward compatibility.
This wouldn’t be a Google launch of anything in 2023 without at least one mention of AI thrown in, either. The company says its machine-learning know-how is capable of offering better insight about the state of your body, and your routine. This generative AI will be made available as a Fitbit Labs program in the near future, to help mine further insight out of your health data.
On the software side, this flavor of Wear OS 4 gets new features like Safety Check (from the Pixel itself), which lets you share your location with family and friends. Should you get into some trouble, you can also set up Emergency Sharing, which will broadcast your location in real-time to trusted contacts. And, as promised a fair while ago now, you’ll finally be able to engage with Gmail and Google Calendar from your wrist. Plus, as pledged back in May, you’ll get tight smart home integrations with Google’s suite of compatible products and the use of tools like WhatsApp.
Last year, Google highlighted the sorry state of silicon development in the wearables world by opting for a years-old system-on-chip. The first Pixel Watch was built on Samsung’s Exynos 9110 from 2018, a fairly sharp indictment of everything else on the market. This year, it’s gone in favor of Qualcomm’s new quad-core Snapdragon Wear 5100 paired with a Cortex M33 co-processor, 32GB eMMC flash and 2GB RAM. The promise of the 5110, of course, is that while it’s not that speedy, it’s tremendously power efficient, which is just what Pixel Watch owners need.
Speaking of, the battery is a little bit bigger at 306 mAh, and takes five fewer minutes to charge to full than last year’s model. (You'll also get 50 percent charge with just 30 minutes on the charger.) Google is making it clear, too, that we should be taking its promise of 24 hours on a single charge with the always-on display running pretty seriously. Given the first model couldn’t manage half of that in our testing, it’s vital that the promise of all day life really does stand up.
For all of the much-ballyhooed new features, much hasn’t changed from one generation to the next. The case (41mm) and height (12.3mm) are visually unchanged, but it is five grams lighter than its predecessor. There’s a redesigned, albeit similar, Gorilla Glass 5 crystal which you’ll stare through to reach the same 320ppi AMOLED display with DCI-P3 color and 1,000 nits peak brightness. The connectivity is unchanged, too, with the same 4G, UMTS, Bluetooth 5.0 and WiFi 4 as on the prior model.
The Pixel Watch 2 is available to pre-order now starting at $349 for the WiFi-only model, though you can also order it with LTE. The watch will ship next week and, as with the last-gen model, buyers will get six months of Fitbit Premium thrown in.
Follow all of the news live from Google’s 2023 Pixel event right here.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/googles-pixel-watch-2-refines-last-years-template-141610073.html?src=rss
|10/04/2023 10:12 AM|
|The Google Pixel Fold’s dual-screen interpreter begins rolling out|
During its Made by Google event on Wednesday, Google announced that it will begin rolling out several new Pixel features, including the Pixel Fold’s dual-screen interpreter mode. The novel translation feature, which Engadget tested earlier this year, uses the phone’s folding display to translate both sides of a live conversation.
Dual-screen interpreter mode uses the Pixel Fold’s inner and outer screens to let two people who speak different languages speak face to face, viewing the other person's translated words on their screen in real time. For example, the Pixel Fold owner holds the device while viewing the other person’s live-translated text on the inner screen. Meanwhile, the other person will see the Pixel owner’s spoken words translated on the outer display.
Although there are translation options for viewing both sides of a conversation on the same display for non-folding phones (the standard Google Translate and Apple Translate both do this), dual-screen interpreter “cuts down on the typical back and forth that happens when everyone has to share a single screen,” Engadget’s Sam Rutherford noted after testing the feature. He described it as part of “a growing number of functions available on foldable you simply can’t get when using a traditional glass brick.”
The Pixel Tablet, which we said in our review earlier this year could have a “potentially bright future” with the right software updates, is also receiving a few updates today. The tablet’s Kids Space, a child-friendly mode to teach and entertain little ones, now has a new navigation bar. The streamlined controls make it “easy to switch between apps and get to the home screen.” Additionally, Pixel Tablet owners can now ask Google Assistant to play podcasts and the news without unlocking the device while in Hub Mode (the smart display state it switches to when docked).
In addition, Google is pushing several other Pixel software updates, including a new camera interface. “It’s even easier to discover Pixel’s amazing camera features with a new camera interface that makes navigating photo and video features a breeze,” the company wrote in a statement provided to Engadget ahead of the launch. In addition, Android 14 brings new clock and wallpaper collections and the ability to customize lock screen quick actions. The company is also adding new monochromatic themes to use with Google apps via Material You’s wallpaper-matching dynamic color system.
The updates will roll out to the Pixel Tablet and older Pixel phone models (Pixel 5 / 5a and 4a) beginning today. Owners of newer devices (Pixel 7 series, Pixel 6 series and Pixel Fold) may have to wait as Google says their updates will arrive “over the next few weeks.”This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-google-pixel-folds-dual-screen-interpreter-begins-rolling-out-170003067.html?src=rss