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By Jay Bonggolto
Google may be building a crowdsourced network of Android devices to help find lost phones
by Jay Bonggolto
Google already offers a way to locate your device remotely via the Find My Device app and secure your data if your phone is lost. However, the app can find only the devices that are signed in to your Google account.
Now, the search giant may be developing a new feature to help other Android users find their lost devices through crowdsourcing, like Apple's Find My network. A string of code in the latest version of Google Play Services in the beta channel reportedly revealed a "Find My Device Network” that can supposedly let your phone locate your device and other Android handsets as well.
For comparison, Apple’s Find My network relies on a vast network of devices that can help track lost or stolen Apple devices even if these are offline. The Cupertino-based company even expanded its device tracking capability with the debut of the AirTag in April.
With Google's Find My Device network, the company could bank on the large presence of its mobile operating system. This means that any Android smartphone sold outside of China with the Play Services app preloaded will presumably be eligible to join the Find My Device network. It's not known for now, though, whether the feature will release as part of Android 12 as details are limited at the moment.
Source: XDA Developers
By Jay Bonggolto
You will soon be able to star a message in the Android Messages app
by Jay Bonggolto
In April of this year, Google expanded the Android earthquake alerts system to Greece and New Zealand, where users can receive notifications about earthquakes in those countries. Google today announced a new expansion for that feature along with new updates for Android that focus on new experiences and improved security.
The alert system is now rolling out in regions where the risk of earthquake is high including Turkey, the Philippines, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. People in these countries will get notifications a few seconds before an earthquake happens. Google is expanding it to more countries over the coming year.
Google is also launching a new capability in the Messages app that will let you star an important message. It's available from today and will go live to more users over the next few weeks. To get started, you can simply tap and hold a message to star it. You can then visit the starred category to view messages you've marked as important.
The Emoji Kitchen is also adding contextual suggestions after you've composed a message. It's available from today in Gboard beta. It's set to exit beta in the summer and will go live for messages written in English, Spanish, and Portuguese on devices running Android 6.0 or later.
Android now also lets you open and access apps using your voice. In addition, Voice Access has added gaze detection in beta so you can use your voice to navigate your phone or an app only when you're looking at the screen. Google has also improved its password input so you can input letters, numbers, and symbols using your voice when a password field is detected.
Finally, Android Auto has received new customization options such the ability to change your launcher screen directly from your mobile device and turn on dark mode. It also gained a “back to top” option and new tabs in the media apps so you can browse content more easily. Messaging apps are also now available directly via the launcher screen while EV charging, parking, and navigation apps are now accessible in Android Auto. These features are live globally on phones running Android 6.0 or later.
By Jay Bonggolto
Motorola announces the Moto G Stylus 5G for $399.99
by Jay Bonggolto
Earlier this year, Motorola introduced a new lineup of Moto G smartphones including the Moto G Stylus, Moto G Play, and Moto G Power. The handsets have 5,000mAh batteries, except for the Moto G Stylus, which only has a smaller 4,000mAh battery due to the room needed for the stylus.
Today, Motorola announced the Moto G Stylus 5G with generally similar hardware to the non-5G version, except that the latest edition packs a bigger 5,000mAh battery that promises up to two days of battery life and the new Snapdragon 480 5G processor.
Like the earlier version, the G Stylus 5G sports a 6.8-inch Max Vision FullHD+ display. Under the hood, it has either 4GB or 6GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of internal storage. For additional storage requirements, the phone includes a microSD card slot that can expand its storage to 1TB.
The device also has a quad camera setup on the back with a 48MP main sensor, 8MP ultrawide shooter, 5MP macro sensor, and a 2MP depth sensor. On its front, there’s a 16MP selfie camera. The phone also comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack and runs Android 11. Inside the box, there's a charging brick included.
With 5G onboard, the latest iteration of the Moto G Stylus is a bit more expensive than the 4G version. It will retail for $399.99 from June 14 through various online stores including Motorola.com, Best Buy, Walmart, B&H Photo, and Amazon.com in the U.S. Later this year, it will be up for grabs via AT&T, Cricket, T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, Boost Mobile, Xfinity Mobile, and Spectrum Mobile.
Samsung's SmartThings gets a new interface in latest update
by Paul Hill
Samsung has announced that its SmartThings software for mobile and desktop has been updated complete with a new interface that’s easier to use and delivers faster load times. Despite the new interface, Samsung says that the update will ensure a seamless transition from the old interface.
Commenting on the new SmartThings app, Jaeyeon Jung, Corporate Vice President at Samsung Electronics, said:
The new app is split into five categories, Favourites, Devices, Life, Automations, and Menu. The Favourites hub is the new home screen of the app and gives quicker access to frequently used devices, scenes, and services. Devices lets you control each of your connected devices, Life allows you to keep up with all the latest connected living developments, Automations lets you have devices work in tandem, and the Menu is where all the additional SmartThings features live including SmartThings Labs, Notifications, History, and Settings.
The new interface is available on Android devices starting today and the update for iOS is due in the near future. The Windows version is available for the Galaxy Book and other Windows PCs.
Apple is bringing FaceTime to Windows 10 and Android users via the web
by Anmol Mehrotra
At its annual developer event, Apple announced major changes to its mobile platform including the introduction of iOS 15. Along with iOS 15, Apple has also announced that it will be opening FaceTime to Windows and Android users.
With the new update, FaceTime will act more in line with other video conferencing apps like Zoom and Skype, allowing users to share links to calls to others. These links will work on both Windows 10 and Android. Unfortunately, Apple has not commented on the availability of the FaceTime app so you will have to use a web browser if you intend to join a FaceTime call using an Android or Windows 10 device.
Apart from that, Apple has also announced other features for FaceTime. These include a new grid view, a voice isolation tool, spatial audio support and an option to blur background using “portrait mode.” Lastly, Apple is also introducing SharePlay which will allow users to join in and listen or watch a TV show, song or a movie. The feature will support Disney+, HBO Max and Twitch along with Apple TV and Apple Music.
All the features including the support for Android and Windows 10 will roll out to Apple users along with the iOS 15 update.