Chethan is a weekend news writer for Android Police. He has written about tech for around a decade and has a soft spot for the latest Android hardware. In his free time, he is usually watching county cricket streams or catching up on TV shows. He also enjoys console gaming.
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Telegram is undoubtedly one of the most widely used instant encrypted messaging applications, which isn't an easy feat considering the competition. Although the developers have offered the app for free since its inception, the company took the step of launching a paid subscription service in June this year. Just as Telegram was obsessed with new features going out on a timely basis before, Telegram Premium keeps the pace up, but saves the best tidbits for its subscribers. In continuing this tradition, Telegram has now announced yet another update that includes some handy new features for its free and Premium subscribers.
Samsung Good Lock is an essential app for almost all Galaxy smartphone owners, enabling features that are otherwise not available by default. We've seen the addition of innumerable Good Lock modules over the past few years with the company usually dosing them out following the annual One UI software refresh. Samsung is now making another module available for Good Lock users in the form of DropShip, a file transfer app that can send files to practically any device, including Android phones/tablets or iPhones/iPads, and even your laptop.
T-Mobile is known for its edgy marketing campaigns that drive home the message of affordability while also occasionally taking digs at rival carriers, which in turn, could lead to a legal dispute — as was the case a couple of months ago. The self-styled "Un-carrier" is no stranger to taking unconventional approaches to attracting customers or, at least, people's attention. This week, T-Mo is taking things a step further by launching a smart suitcase, known as the Un-carrier On.
Sling TV was one of the first refuges for cable cutters, trailblazing in an over-the-top model that's seen major growth in the industry. But with economic pressures bearing down, streaming services have had to react. Giants like Netflix have deployed a variety of tricks in their toolbelt, launching an ad-supported tier while also cracking down on account sharing. It seems like Sling TV isn't immune to this phenomenon, either, with the service announcing a price hike for its monthly subscriptions.
As Android™'s official app store, you would think the Play Store would be the premier resource for the best Android apps. While there are numerous third-party app hubs that serve as an alternative to the Play Store, most Android app developers prioritize Google’s offering given the sheer size of the audience. But with volume in mind, it's no secret that the company has had to rely on artificial intelligence to make some judgment calls on approving and pruning apps. But as we've seen before, there are downsides to this reliance on AI and machine learning models to keep tabs on guideline violations. The latest victim of said downsides, Pushbullet, is putting out its story.
Zero-day exploits are top of the list when it comes to online security threats and Google Chrome, thanks to its ubiquity, is an extremely common vector for them. Such security holes can expose millions of users who rely on that browser every day. There have been a handful of zero-day exploits identified and patched by the Chrome developer team this year. We can now add another to the list for 2022.
There's been boatloads of chatter about Motorola's new foldable Razr this year. The phone officially arrived in Europe earlier this week after being available in China for months. As of right now, there's still no word on when or if the flagship will make its way to North America. Flagships, though, aren't the only segment that the Lenovo-owned company focuses on as it has also seen decent success selling budget and mid-range phones across the globe. We're now learning about a new entrant to the company's portfolio of affordable smartphones in the form of the Moto G Play 2022, thanks to a new leak.
When we're talking about the best of the best fitness trackers and smartwatches these days, examples like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 come to mind. But if you've been into smart wear for a while, you'll be aware of Pebble, a promising startup crowdfunded its way to producing adorable, cult-favorite watches with e-paper displays, only to acquired by Fitbit, which has since been acquired by Google. Perhaps, owing to its fandom and where it's ended up, the official Pebble watch app is now getting a new lease on life with Google enabling 64-bit support for the app, thus making it compatible with the newly launched Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro flagships.
Verizon offers a handful of great service plans through its branded carriers like Visible, which has consistently had some of the best prepaid plans in the business, and the recently rebadged Total by Verizon. Because Big Red already has those prepaid operations on its rolls, we're a little surprised proper Verizon Prepaid plans are still a thing. Well, they are and they've just been remade.
With Android 13 QPR1 Beta 3 reaching eligible Pixel devices this week — including the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro — we're still in the early stages of uncovering what's new with the release. While Google's most recent flagship smartphones are getting an early taste of features like Clear Calling, it seems like there is at least one new feature designed with tablet users in mind. The feature comes in the lead-up to the launch of the Pixel Tablet.
Search is an important aspect of Google's expertise. Beyond the well-known online search engine, the company is constantly working on improving the search experience for its apps and services. An app like Gmail, for example, has a ton of search functions on board with new features being added every so often. However, there's always scope for improvement. It seems like Google understands this pretty well, as it has unveiled new search-related additions coming to apps like Gmail and Chat.
Google has had its opportunities to tease the Pixel Tablet this year whether it was at I/O 2022 in May or the Pixel hardware event earlier this month. That hardware is just a piece of the company's overall commitment to redesigning Android's interfaces for tablets and foldables. One software component to the strategy has been making the Play Store friendlier to large screens. Well, we now have some good insight into what's changing as Google has detailed some choice features coming to the app store on tablets, foldables, and Chromebooks.
In June of 2020, the United States officially declared Chinese telecom firms Huawei and ZTE as national security threats because of the amount of data they handle and their close proximity to the Chinese government. In the time since, American wireless carriers have been busy using public funds appropriated by Congress to "rip and replace" Huawei and ZTE equipment from their respective grids. Then, just last week, FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel sent out a proposal to ban approvals for telecommunications equipment made by companies deemed to be a national security risk, including Huawei and ZTE. The proposal was also sent to the three FCC commissioners and it now seems like a complete ban on equipment approvals is imminent.
The Nothing Phone 1 is an unconventional phone in more ways than one. Its design is an instant conversation starter — whether it was the semi-transparent back panel or the relatively stock Android user interface, it certainly made some buzz when it first hit our radars. Less spectacular is the software support as the Android 13 update won't arrive for the device until the first half of 2023. Thankfully, there are other ways to get Google's latest software release running on the device and that's through Paranoid Android.
Amazfit has sold wearables, smartwatches, and fitness equipment for a few years now. More recently, the company unveiled the GTR 4 and GTS 4 smartwatches. In our review of the GTR 4, we found the watch's UI unhelpful and the companion app to be just as confounding. Hopefully, things might be different as the company's just announced a new smartwatch this week, the Falcon.
Whereas Google ditched lock screen widgets not too long after supporting them with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean way back in 2012, Apple has suddenly decided to start embracing them. And that, of course, meant that Google had to start caring about them again. With iOS 16's release, Google came out with its widget plans for apps including Drive, Gmail, Maps, Search, News, and Chrome. We're about a month into this brave new world and it seems that all of the widgets are finally finding their places on iPhones.
WhatsApp has been in a race to keep up with Telegram by matching old features and putting out new ones. Among the features currently under development on the widely-used messaging app is the ability to block users from taking screenshots of self-destructing images and videos. But parent company Meta may have some bigger privacy concerns on its plate, based on a lawsuit it has filed against a handful of firms that have developed unofficial WhatsApp clients on Android that were reportedly harvesting sensitive user data.
Inflation. Interest rates. Energy prices. If you've seen the charts for these values, you wouldn't be wrong to suspect a recession on the horizon. That's bad news for individuals and major corporations alike — including Samsung, which has just weathered a bruising third quarter.
While the recent and Pixel Watch unveiling may have taken some of the attention away from the likes of Samsung, that company is still hard at work developing its flagship phones for early next year — the Galaxy S23 series. While the company continues to dominate the Android smartphone segment, its tablets haven't quite seen the same success. Whether it is due to the extensive popularity of the Apple iPad lineup or the availability of cheaper, flagship-grade, Android tablets in the marketplace, Samsung's high-end Galaxy Tab S series have failed to leave a mark. A report now suggests that the conglomerate may be adapting to wider market conditions by reportedly delaying the development cycle for the Galaxy Tab S9 tablet lineup, which was originally expected to start late this year.
Despite Google's repeated pleas and jibes at Apple to adopt RCS messaging for iPhones, we aren't any closer to that happening. Reactions (or Tapbacks, as Apple calls them) are a key sticking point for the two parties as communication between an iPhone user and Android has remained fairly old-fashioned with no meaningful support for on-message reactions while using SMS. That seemed to be changing last week when Google was found to be testing the ability to react to SMS texts sent from an iPhone user. The feature now appears to be rolling out more widely with some users seeing changes to how their reactions appear.