Google’s latest version of Android 9.0 or ‘Pie’ is currently available on the latest Google Pixel smartphones or the Essential Phone via an over-the-air update. As usual, those on other Android devices will have to wait for their smartphone manufacturer to deliver the update. From minor changes such as moving the time to the top left of the status bar to larger improvements in battery life, Android Pie brings a variety of improvements.
Key new features
The home button now takes a pill-shape and moves in the same space as the traditional on-screen buttons. Tap it to go home, flick it up to see recently used apps, swipe upwards twice or pull it up further to get to the app drawer, or hold down to activate Google Assistant. You can also drag it to the right to switch to the last app (similar to the double tap of the overview button) or drag and hold to cycle through recently used apps. The back button still appears when needed, but the overview button has gone. The gestures are not activated by default for now, which means to try them out head to Settings > System > Gestures and toggle the “Swipe up on Home button” option.
Adaptive Battery and Brightness
Adaptive Battery learns your usage patterns and directs the power to only the apps you need at the time you need them for more predictable day-to-day battery life. Using the new battery feature, user’s on the beta programme found an increase in battery life in the region of 20%.
Smart replies will now be incorporated in more apps than Gmail and Smart Reply, allowing you to easily send one-button replies.
App actions works to predict not only the app that you want at any particular moment, but an action from within that app too. For example, if you regularly check the weather in the morning, weather will appear when you wake as a suggestion for one-tap access.
Apps you have given permission to access your location, microphone, camera and network status will no longer be able to access them when idle in the background. This means it will be harder for rogue apps to spy without your knowledge and consequently better protect your privacy.
Google unveils Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
On October 4th, Google unveiled it’s latest flagship range the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, however the Pixel 2 will not be available in the UK until the October 19th and the Pixel 2 XL until November 15th.
The smaller Pixel 2 features a 5″ screen, while the XL display comes in at 6″. Both are full HD OLED and have an ‘always on’ display. This means that you’ll be able to see small amounts of information, such as the time or some notifications displayed on the screen, even while it’s technically off.
Image courtesy of Android Central
- 5″ screen, 6″ screen (XL)
- 12MP camera
- Android 8.0 Oreo
- Snapdragon 835 chipset
- 4GB RAM
- 2,700 mAh battery, 3,520mAh battery (XL)
Both the new Google Pixels feature a 12MP camera which has scored a phenomenal 98/100 on industry benchmark website DxOMark, placing it as the best smartphone camera in their rankings. The rear camera also features artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve photo quality, reduce blur and excel in low light conditions. It has optical image stabilisation (OIS) and electrical image stabilisation for video recording, which Google has branded ‘fused video stabilisation’.
Unedited photo taken with the Pixel 2, released by Google
The new Google devices continue to impress with fast charging offering an astonishing 7 hours of battery life from just 15 minutes of top up time. Google has also announced accessories for the new Pixel devices including ‘Pixel buds’ which will cost £159 (!) and be available in November. Although the hefty price tag, the new wireless earphones do feature touch controls and Google Assistant integration, alongside clear highs and deep bass. Google claims the new buds will offer 5 hours of playback time and each pair will come with a charging case.
Availability and price
Prices for the Pixel 2 start at £629 (64GB) and start at £799 (64GB) for the Pixel 2 XL. For information on how to pre-order the new Pixel devices, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your account manager via email email@example.com or phone 01252 854352. Your account manager can also give you information on pay-monthly or SIM only plans once the new devices are available. We are always more than happy to help!
Android O new operating system
Android O has been unveiled as Android ‘Oreo’. The newest update will be available to more devices than ever before, thanks to an initiative called ‘Project Treble’. Confirmed manufacturers include Samsung, Huawei, Motorola, HMD Global Home of Nokia Phones LG and Sony.
Android O features
Picture in Picture (PiP) mode
Apple iPad example
As already seen on the iOS 9, one app or background is displayed in full at the same time as one or more other apps are displayed in set windows. This will make multitasking less of a compromise than split-window mode and offer you a more relaxed experience.
Restricted background activities
After releasing ‘Doze mode’ in Android Nougat 7.0, Google has optimised power consumption further by restricting background activities. The feature de-prioritizes app functions running in the background to ensure your battery lasts. Combined with updates to Doze, it’s likely Android O could keep your phone running for a few extra hours each day.
Faster boot times
Google has unveiled that Android O will offer a boot time twice as fast as previous versions. And it’s not just the operating system that becomes faster to load up, but the apps on your phone can start running faster, too.
Contextual press-to-hold options
In an e-mail trying to copy an address so that you can paste it into Google Maps? By using machine learning, Android O can recognize which app is best for the string of characters you’re working with. Another example included being able to highlight a phone number and pop right into the dialer.
Notification dots & new emojis
Android O will offer at-a-glance notification bubble to app icons on the homescreen. However, unfortunately unlike iOS, you won’t be able to see how many notifications you have for each app. But the new fairy, mermaid and wizard emojis may make up for that.
The new U11 by HTC features a liquid glass surface, formed by layering highly-refractive minerals across the phone’s back cover. The new design means the U11 reflects vivid new colours that transform light with movement. HTC has updated the design further with a new seamless curved look. Finally, the U11 sports a 5.5″ 3D glass screen designed to preserve the authenticity of the image, making for a pretty impressive viewing experience.
- 5.5″ 3D glass screen
- 12MP camera
- Android 7.1
- 64GB storage – expandable via MicroSD card slot
- 6GB RAM
- 3000mAh battery
Most notably, the U11 features HTC’s new ‘Edge Sense’ technology. Edge Sense means the sides of the phone react to your touch and you can give the U11 a ‘squeeze’ to perform a command. For example one squeeze could open Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest or you could use the gesture to summon Google’s Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa.
Beyond virtual assistants, the U11 also provides an ‘Al companion’ that is smarter than ever before. The HTC Sense Companion learns your daily patterns over time in order to offer you convenient and useful support, for example your companion will learn your tastes and recommend new restaurants for you to try. Further features include weather updates, fitness tracking and goals, interesting places nearly by and reminders to power up your battery.
Finally, HTC USonic has been updated to include active noise cancellation technology. The new technology continuously monitors the sound levels in your environment and adjusts to new noises or disturbances to reduce distractions around you.
Get in touch
For more information on the HTC U11 or for SIM-free and pay monthly tariff prices, please do not hesitate to get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01252 854352. We are always more than happy to help.
Huawei announces the P10 Lite
The Huawei P10 Lite will be launched on March 31st 2017, as a budget version of Huawei’s flagship device, the P10. In fact, the price drop is pretty significant, with the Lite version £300 cheaper than the original P10, at just £299.
The P10 Lite is the budget version of Huawei’s latest flagship, the P10. The P10 Lite features a 5.2″ full HD screen with an accompanying fingerprint sensor. The body is formed of doubled-sided, curved glass for a premium look at a much lower price tag. Colours include midnight black and platinum gold.
Specs & Features:
But how do the specs compare? The Lite version is definitely mid-range, with Huawei’s own Kirin 658 chipset (16nm, octa-core), 4GB of RAM, a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera, and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. The flagship model on the other hand features notably better cameras with a 20MP rear camera and 12MP front camera.
On the upside, according to Huawei, you’ll get 43% charge in just 30 minutes, two hours of video payback from a 10 minute charge, and a full charge in just over 90 minute from the P10 Lite’s 3,000mAh battery.
The device is also the first lite model to feature Knuckle Sense Technology. Using this technology, you’ll be able to create shortcuts using gestures. The P10 Lite also runs the latest version of Android, – 7.0 Nougat, straight out of the box. You can see the full new features of Android Nougat here
Key Spec Overview:
- 5.2″ HD display
- Fingerprint sensor
- 12MP rear camera, 8MP front camera
- Octa-core chipset
- Android 7.0 Nougat
- 3,000mAh battery
- 4GB RAM
To find out more about the Huawei P10 Lite, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your account manager. You can email email@example.com or phone 01252 854352.
Huawei Watch 2 & Watch 2 Classic
Huawei unveiled it’s latest smart watch range at this year’s Mobile Congress in Barcelona, the Watch 2 and Watch 2 Classic, aimed to encourage smarter living and offering performance coaching and tracking applications.
The Watch 2 Sport features a ceramic bezel and thermoplastic case and interchangeable silicone straps – designed to endure any sweat from your workout. The Classic version on the other hand, uses stainless steel and features leather strap options that are compatible with standard 22cm straps and can be swapped to suit your preference. Both watch’s have a 1.2″ display.
“We wanted to make a product that suits those individuals who wish to explore the limits of their own expression, while still being bound by a need to stay connected.” – Richard Yu, Huawei CEO of consumer business.
- 1.2″ AMOLED 309 x 390 circular display
- Android Wear 2.0
- 1.1GHz Qualcomm MSM8909W processor
- Connectivty: 4G – Watch 2 Sport Variant only, GPS, VoLTE Support, WiFi, Bluetooth & NFC
- IP68 water and dust protection
- Live GPS Mapping, Heart Rate Monitoring, Real-Time Guidance, Workout Data Report and Offline Music.
- 420mAh batteries
- 768GB of RAM
The Watch 2 Sport is the 4G version and features an independent and cellular connection allowing you to send messages and make calls without needing to be in Bluetooth range of your phone. Better yet, apps such as Uber and Foursquare can be downloaded and used thanks to the new 4G capabilities, combined with the built-in GPS chip, offering you the connectivity of your phone without having the device near around. Ideal for those using the Watch 2 Sport while running or exercising.
Both Watch 2 variants have built-in GPS, feature NFC allowing you to make mobile payments via Android Pay, IP68 water resistance, 4GB of internal storage for music, two days of battery life, a heart-rate sensor and Android Wear 2. Android Wear 2.0 includes Google Assistant aka Google’s take on Apple’s Siri. With Google’s Assistant you’ll be able to take notes, send a text or email, set a timer or alarm and more.
The Huawei Watch 2 will cost 329 Euro or 379 Euro with 4G, while the Classic will cost 399 Euro. While the UK release date or price has not yet been released, it’s expected the Huawei Watch 2 range will become available in the UK over the next coming months.
Further new releases from the MWC 2017: