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Spotify says adding offline playback to its Wear OS app is ‘virtually impossible’ - 9to5Google
In a bit of confusion on its forums, Spotify said that offline playback had been added to the Wear OS app, but they later changed their minds.
Google’s Wear OS platform has had a Spotify app for a while, but it’s only ever had the ability to play music on your phone or on connected devices throughout the home. When questioned about why the app can’t store music offline on Wear OS smartwatches, Spotify said it was “impossible.” In a community request forum, Spotify marked offline playback for Wear OS as “implemented” (via Android Central), but it turns out that was a mistake. Hours later, the feature was moved back to “under consideration,” but a statement from a community manager stands: We have a lot of very good idea submissions in this Idea Exchange. We love getting all your ideas; and we’re even happier when we can set any idea to Implemented. However, when we have ideas like this one, that are very broad in nature, it becomes virtually impossible to set it to Implemented because Wear OS (in this case) is a big category and encapsulates many devices. All (wearable) devices are different and support different features; either because of their platform, their software, or their hardware (limitations.) There’s a lot to unpack there. Saying that this is “impossible” when the feature has been implemented across every Android phone, every Samsung smartwatch, and every Windows PC is quite laughable and obviously not the real reason. In fact, it’s probably easier to implement this feature on Wear OS compared to other platforms given the small number of specification differences there are between various models. Why is Spotify holding back? It’s entirely possible it’s just a case of the company not seeing enough value added to justify the development time, but in any case, it’s understandable that Wear OS users are frustrated by this, especially given the miscommunication that happened on the forums this morning. For now, we’ll just have to continue to wait on this one. It’s a shame this isn’t happening too, because the Google Play Music app for Wear OS was one of the only ways to get offline music easily, and it’s been murdered without a replacement. FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links.More. Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:
Google Nest Hub Max is getting a dark theme, sticky notes alongside UI refresh [Video] - 9to5Google
Another video of a Nest Hub Max running unreleased software shows that Google is working on a new dark theme and finally sticky notes for its smart displays
Last month a video of unreleased software for Google’s Nest Hub Max hit the web to show off a completely revamped interface. Now, more videos give us a better look at the new Nest Hub Max UI with its included dark theme and sticky notes. Shared by the same user, Jan Boromeusz, a longer YouTube video gives us an in-depth look at the new Nest Hub Max UI. There’s not much we didn’t at least get a glimpse of in the previous video, but this time around it comes with Google explaining the UI with on-screen prompts and verbal responses. Notable things we see in this video that we didn’t see before include long-press options for the various tiles and, more importantly, dark mode. A tile links to a settings page which offers the ability to switch between light, dark, and automatic themes. That automatic theme works as you’d expect, switching to dark when the time of day or the ambient light demands it. This should be useful on Nest Hubs, but the dark theme will likely come in handy on other smart displays even more so since they lack Ambient EQ. Beyond a dark theme, this new interface appears to bring another long-awaited feature with it. In another video, Jay shows off sticky notes working on his Nest Hub Max. Google first announced the sticky notes feature for Nest Hub devices in January of this year, but it still hasn’t rolled out to users. From the looks of it, though, it may finally arrive with this mysterious v32 update. In action, sticky notes look super useful. A voice command can leave a sticky note for one user, while another command can leave sticky notes that the entire family can see. As a reminder, we previously asked Google if this update was rolling out in any capacity and the company had no comment. From what we can tell, it’s not rolling out via the Preview Program, and this user has no insight on how he got the update. FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links.More. Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:
Google launches Nest Audio speaker, successor to Google Home, available Oct. 5 for $99 - 9to5Google
Google unveiled Nest Audio, a major revamp of the original Google Home speaker, at Launch Night In and it's available October 5 for $99.
During Launch Night In, Google unveiled Nest Audio, a major revamp of the original Google Home speaker, and it’s available on October 5 for $99. At last year’s Made by Google event, the company revamped the popular Home Mini speaker and brought it under the Nest branding. This year, the Nest speaker lineup is expanding with a new $99 speaker to slot perfectly into the gap left by the original Google Home speaker which launched in 2016 and was recently discontinued. Just as we saw in Google’s teaser way back in July, the Nest Audio takes on a pillow shape which should help it blend in well in most any home. And, to better suit it to your personal design tastes, the speaker is available in a variety of colors including Chalk, Charcoal, Sand, Sky, and a “Sage” green that matches the Pixel 5. Like the Home Mini, Nest Mini, and Nest Wifi speakers before it, the new Nest Audio supports touch controls for adjusting volume and more. The top-left and top-right corners handle volume up and down, respectively, while the space in between acts as a large play/pause button. Around back, you’ll find a physical mute switch for the microphone, along with the barrel jack for the power. As for the actual audio of Nest Audio, the smart speaker’s built-in 19mm tweeter and 75mm mid-woofer should offer an impressive experience closer to the larger Home Max speaker than the previous mid-range Google Home offering. And as always, you can double-down with a second Nest Audio and pair them to get proper stereo sound into your room. Altogether, the Nest Audio makes for a fantastic package that should be the best Google Nest speaker for most people. More importantly, you can buy the new smart speaker October 5 for $99 $30 less than the original Google Home on the Google Store. This article initially reported that the Nest Audio would be available today, and has been updated to reflect the official October 5 release date. Updating… FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links.More. Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:
Google releases AdMob for Android in early access on the Play Store - 9to5Google
AdMob is Google's solution for mobile advertising with in-app ads. Google this week quietly released an AdMob Android app...
AdMob is Google’s solution for mobile advertising through in-app ads. Google this week quietly released an AdMob for Android app in early access to keep track of stats while on the go. The client is billed as letting you “keep AdMob at your fingertips.” It’s an alternative to using the website through a mobile browser, or just sticking to desktop access. Google purchased the service in 2009. Leveraging the standard Google Material Theme, there are four top tabs to see specific time periods: Today, yesterday, 7 days, and 28 days. You’re given a high-level summary of estimated earnings and impressions from the “AdMob Network,” as well as a list of apps. Users can see metrics like country and mediation breakdowns, while graphs offer trends. The full listing highlights: Use AdMob mobile to quickly access important user and performance metrics all from your Android phone. With AdMob mobile, you can:
- See how your apps are performing
- Get user insights and trends in revenue
- Check your earnings and payments
- And more…
Google Pixel ‘5G’ teaser leaks, shows Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G - 9to5Google
A leaked teaser image hints at plans from Google for 5G-capable Pixel smartphones coming this year, including a potentially larger 4a 5G model.
2020 has been a weird year for the Google Pixel lineup, and as we’ve learned more, things have only felt more complicated. Today, a leaked teaser image is giving us a bit more context on Google’s plans, as this “Pixel 5G” teaser hints at two phones packing the connectivity. Ishan Argawal shared the image below which teases that there are two Google Pixel smartphones coming with 5G connectivity. There’s not a lot to see here, but we can make some conclusions based on previous leaks and common sense. For one thing, we know we’re not looking at a Pixel 4a in this image because that device has a green power button and nether of these devices do. So, what are we looking at? I’d bet the Google Pixel 5 and the Pixel 4a 5G. Looking at the clear texture difference let’s assume the Pixel 5 will use the same matte as the Pixel 4 did we can probably assume that the 4a 5G is the bigger device here (on the right) with the Pixel 5 being the smaller one (on the left). This makes some sense, too, as 5G devices on the affordable end of the spectrum are typically on the larger side because it’s a bit easier to build out that support in a larger casing. Considering detailed spec leaks have confirmed that the Pixel 4a will be a pretty small device, a larger Pixel 4a 5G might be a good option for a lot of people who would have preferred an XL model too. There’s another interesting tidbit to note here, the size of the cameras. It’s a little hard to tell, but both camera modules look roughly the same size. This would line up with some findings from an app teardown earlier this year which hinted a Pixel 4a would come with two cameras, something we know the 4a obviously doesn’t have. FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links.More. Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:
[Update: Fix under review] Some Android phones can be bricked using this picture as a wallpaper - 9to5Google
For reasons unclear, this simple image has the ability to crash and soft-brick some Android phones when it is set as a wallpaper.
Have you ever heard of those message strings or files that you can send to other users to cause their phone to reboot? We’ve heard the storya few timesmainly on iPhones and now there’s a seemingly similar issue affecting some Android devices. A simple picture has the ability to soft-brick some Android phones if it’s set as the wallpaper, and we’re not entirely sure why. Please do not try this yourself. Ice Universe, a leaker who focuses on Samsung products primarily, recently tweeted about an image file that was causing some smartphones especially Samsung models to crash and soft-brick. What exactly is a soft-brick? That’s when the device can’t be used in one way or another, but can be fixed using relatively simple methods such as deleting a file or resetting the device. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, this simple image is causing some Android phone to crash and then enter a state of being soft-bricked when the image is set as a wallpaper. Upon being set, the device crashes and continually turns the screen on and off on the lockscreen. There’s no way to leave this loop as even a reboot causes the phone to keep doing this after turning back on. I tested this out on my own Pixel 2 again, please don’t try it yourself. Sure enough, the phone did exactly as described above when I set it as a wallpaper. Notably, the image didn’t cause any problems when in the Google Photos app, so presumably, this isn’t the kind of issue that could cause problems when the image is simply sent to a user via text or email. We strongly encourage that you don’t try this yourself. We’re not linking or uploading the image itself for that reason. You can see in the video below what happened to my Pixel 2 unit as a result of setting the image as my wallpaper. Apparently, though, this doesn’t affect all Android smartphones. Android Authority says that a Huawei Mate 20 Pro they tested didn’t have any problems. Twitter users replying to Ice found that OnePlus phones may also be immune along with some devices from other brands. The OnePlus Launcher applies wallpapers to the Android phone’s launcher only, not the system, so this makes sense. Why might this be happening? Really, we’re not sure. It could be that there’s some corrupt metadata attached to this image that Android doesn’t play nicely with. I couldn’t find any direct evidence of that, but I did find that the embedded color profile on this image references Skia, the graphics engine that Android uses. Could that be related? I’m not sure. Ice notes in a follow-up tweet that uploading the image to Weibo altered the colors slightly and, after that, it became harmless. Another user found that altering the image seemed to prevent issues as well. This somewhat backs up the idea it could be the metadata as uploading or altering images can sometimes strip it of metadata. Update: After doing some digging, we’ve got a bit more information to share on this issue. Our own Dylan Roussel discovered that his Pixel 4 XL running on Android 11 was not affected by the issue while a Pixel 3 XL on Android 10 was. He was able to then figure out what was causing problems. Specifically, this is an issue with the color space of this specific image. Typically, Android wants to display sRGB, but this image uses the RGB color space instead. On Android 11, the system converts the color space (if it’s not already supported), but on Android 10 it does not. This isn’t an issue with this image in particular, as others could cause the same problem. You can read Dylan’s full thread for a more technical look at what’s going on behind the scenes, too. … if the current display supports it. If it isn't supported, it will replace the Color Space of the image to SRGB, and it will log its current Color Space. This is why it doesn't crash on the Pixel 4 XL. However, on the Pixel 3 XL with Android 10… — Dylan Roussel (@evowizz) May 31, 2020 If you decide to ignore our warning and try this for yourself (seriously, please don’t), you should be able to recover your device by either resetting it completely (using the bootloader) or by entering safe mode and deleting the file from the device from there. We’ve reached out to Google to see if the company can provide any insight on why this might be happening. We’ll update this article if the company responds or if any further insight is revealed on the topic. Update 6/3: Just a few days after this issue was revealed, Google is apparently working on a fix. A mention in AOSP spotted by Mishaal Rahman on Twitter shows that Google already has an “internal solution” for the issue which is being reviewed at the moment. It’s not specified what that fix is or how it might arrive, but given we already know Android 11 patches this issue, it seems like this would be a fix coming to older versions. Hi all, sincerely thanks for your contribution, we have an internal solution under reviewing. FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links.More. Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:
TCL 10L and 10 Pro first impressions: Budget phones to beat? - 9to5Google
TCL is now dipping its toes into the smartphone waters with the 10L and 10 Pro. Two budget-oriented smartphones that look surprisingly compelling.
TCL, still better known for mid-range TVs, is now dipping its toes into the smartphone waters with the 10L and 10 Pro two budget-oriented smartphones that look surprisingly compelling. Originally showcased at CES 2020, these are part of TCL’s grand plans to become a mainstay in the Android space. Although both are budget devices, they are distinctly different, thanks to sizeable price disparity. They join the budget TCL Plex that was released in selected markets earlier this year, too. The TCL 10L comes in at a manageable $249, while the 10 Pro doesn’t break the bank at $449. From the outset, you get quite a good helping of “modern smartphone” for both of those relatively low entry fees. With that in mind, if you are shopping for a new smartphone on a restricted budget, the TCL 10 series might be grabbing your attention from the get-go. We’ve spent a few short days with both handsets to give you our first impressions. Design Potential wolf in sheep’s clothing? The TCL 10L and 10 Pro share plenty of traits, but it’s the more expensive Pro model that catches the eye. It comes with a fit and finish that is often expected of more “premium” devices. The curved FHD+ 6.47-inch AMOLED display is bright, vibrant, and stretches from edge-to-edge. It feels slightly out of place when you consider the price, as my initial impressions are that this is a fantastic display so far. As for the 10L, it is more modest. The 6.53-inch LCD display is obviously not quite as vibrant, but being flat rather than curved, it’s more comfortable to use without the potential for phantom touches and taps. You can tell where the extra $200 has gone into the TCL 10 Pro, as the glass and metal body feels superb. That said, the plastic rear panel is about the only complaint I have about the design of the TCL 10L. While the cheaper model feels more like the rest of the competition, the Pro reminds me very much of recent OnePlus handsets. Let’s talk specifications. The TCL 10 Pro comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 chipset, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of microSD expandable storage. The TCL 10L packs in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset, and similarly, 6GB of RAM and 64GB of microSD expandable storage. The Snapdragon 675 found in the Pro feels a little at odds with what they are trying to achieve here. I’m not entirely convinced it will be the best option in the long term. However, the TCL 10L should be well equipped with the 665, given the pricing. Software and performance Middling but slightly bloated This is one area that has been a bit hit or miss so far especially on the TCL 10 Pro. For the most part, the software experience is as you would expect: Reasonably snappy, but with some pretty sizable slowdowns here and there. Unfortunately, I have already found that the external design of the Pro model specifically gives you a false sense of “power.” It’s fine for most daily tasks, but multi-tasking and high-end gaming is difficult to maintain. I think the TCL 10L being so cheap ensures more tempered expectations, and so I felt prepared to manage and mitigate slowdowns. The TCL software skin atop Android 10 also feels like a hybrid of iOS, MIUI, and the Poco Launcher. It’s by no means the worst software skin I have experienced, but there is a fair amount of bloat pre-installed. I can see this being a point of contention for many people, especially as most aren’t especially useful additions. Camera Plenty of photographic options I have to applaud TCL for managing to pack in four lenses on the TCL 10L and 10 Pro. This should be more than enough for most people out there. So far, my initial impressions lead me to believe that the camera experience will match up to most of the competition with similar price tags. However, we’ll withhold judgment until we can delve in further over the coming days. For those wondering, with the TCL 10L you get a 48-megapixel main sensor, 8-megapixel wide-angle, 2-megapixel macro lens, and 2-megapixel depth sensor. Not bad for a $249 smartphone. The TCL 10 Pro, on the other hand, comes with a slightly beefier setup that consists of a 64-megapixel main sensor, 16-megapixel ultra-wide, 5-megapixel macro lens, and 2-megapixel “super low-light” video sensor. Other tidbits Fingerprint sensor Both devices come with fingerprint sensors, albeit one in-display, and one a rear capacitive option. Both are adequate, well-placed, and overall enhance the experience. I do much prefer the in-display option though, rather than the high-placed capacitive option. Headphone port Yes, wired audio is a “go” on both TCL 10 series smartphones. Google Assistant button On the right side of either device, you’ll find a dedicated Google Assistant button. I’ve already found these a little annoying, simply as they are too easy to activate accidentally. It’s reached the point where I have disabled them. As we have already mentioned, we’ll have full reviews of the TCL 10L and TCL 10 Pro coming soon. So stay tuned for those dropping over the coming days. FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links.More. Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news: