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Phones always War!
By Namerah S
Google silently killed custom ‘My Case' program with Pixel 3a launch
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
Back in 2016, Google launched a customizable phone case service for its Nexus smartphones called Live Cases. Initially, it offered customizable phone cases that came in several kinds, such as places on Google Maps, photos, and artworks. Later on, the service expanded to cover the Google Pixel family and a unique new feature was introduced: the custom-built phone case came with an NFC companion live wallpaper. Users could use NFC to pair with the device and sign in to the Live Case app with a Google Account to access live wallpapers.
With the announcement of the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL at its I/O 2019 developer conference roughly two weeks ago, Google quietly shut down this custom case program.
Aside from images and artworks, the Live Cases web application allowed users to print Google Maps locations on a case, which could be customized using several different tools, special effects and colors. Eventually, the NFC feature was removed by the time the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL came around.
Live Cases was not available for Google Pixel 3. Instead, the Mountain View-based tech giant started the My Case program which still offered customizable phone cases but without companion wallpapers. It had similar features such as the option to edit and print places from Google Maps, artworks and photos. Two types of cases were available under this program; the “Slim Protection” variant for $40 and the “Dual-layer Protection” version for $50.
Reportedly, My Case was still live a few days prior to the I/O 2019 event but the service was removed completely from the Google Store after the launch of the Pixel 3a. According to a note posted on the support page for Pixel phones, My Cases and Live Cases are no longer sold by Google and users are redirected to the Google Store to purchase cases for their Pixel phones. The Nexus support page also says the same thing.
Source: Google via 9to5google
Owners of faulty Nexus 6P devices can get up to $400 for their troubles
by João Carrasqueira
It's been some time, but you might remember that Google and Huawei's Nexus 6P smartphone, which was released as Google's vision for Android Marshmallow devices in 2015, found itself in a troublesome situation sometime after it launched. Following the release of Android Nougat for the device, many users started seeing it shut down for no apparent reason, and it got so bad that a lawsuit was eventually filed.
Google started making amends with customers by offering a Pixel XL as a warranty replacement for those devices, but that didn't stop the class action lawsuit from going through, and now Google and Huawei have agreed to pay owners of faulty devices up to $400, though there are some conditions. For starters, if you got a Pixel XL as a replacement device, or if you didn't have any problems with your Nexus 6P, you're only eligible for a maximum of $10 from the settlement.
If you did have some of the issues mentioned in the lawsuit, but you can't offer valid proof, you can get up to $75 for the bootloop problems, or up to $45 if you experienced battery drain. If you have proof for either of these, that value goes up to $325 for the bootloop or $150 for the battery drain. If you have proof of multiple instances of these issues, then you're eligible for the full $400.
The last generation of Nexus devices was quite problematic, as LG last year settled to pay up to $700 to owners of many of its devices, including the Nexus 5X. If you do want to claim your settlement payment for the Nexus 6P, you'll need to file a claim, regardless of which of the groups you fall into, so you'll want to check out the Long Form Notice regarding the lawsuit to know more about how the process will go down once the settlement has been approved.
Source: The Verge
By Steven P.
Android Security Bulletin for April details fixes for Pixel and Nexus devices
by Steven Parker
April is here and with that comes a new monthly security bulletin from Google which brings fixes and some functional changes to Android that will eventually make its way onto devices running the OS. With this month's bulletin a number of improvements for the Pixel 2 devices were introduced, but also for the older first gen Pixel and "some" Nexus phones.
Assisted dialing support for Pixel 2 Improve VoLTE - VoWi-Fi handover during emergency calls for all Pixels Reduce delays upon opening certain apps for Pixel 2 Enable IMS911 on certain networks for all Pixels Improve magnetic sensor performance for Pixel 2 Improve modem stability for all Pixels Improve stability for Pixel 2 devices in part of Canada for Pixel 2 Optimize search logic to improve battery performance for Pixel 2 Prioritize certain data bands for all Pixels Improve switching between Wi-Fi and LTE for Pixel 2 XL Improve audio speaker performance during calls for some Nexus and all Pixels The update will most likely go live for Google's own devices first, but the firm does notify other Android partners at least a month in advance about these known issues so that they can choose to fix them in their own OS builds if inclined.
The update is also available to download as firmware images, and you can grab those and view the full list of changes that affect all Android devices at the source link below.
Source: Google via GSMArena
Huawei, HTC, and LG won't unveil their flagships at MWC this year
by Vishal Laul
The Mobile World Congress (MWC) is held in February every year in the artful city of Barcelona, inviting the mobile tech industry to discuss new technologies, and giving smartphone makers a platform to announce their new flagships, continuing the gleeful tradition of competition. However, it seems that this year is going to be slightly different.
According to Android Headlines, citing an unnamed HTC insider, the company will not be unveiling its next flagship – the U12, or whatever else it may be named – at the mega event. Instead, it will host a separate event in the following weeks after MWC.
This won’t come as news for anyone who follows the company – HTC has been moving itself away from the chaos of MWC over the past few years – its U11 flagship was announced in May of last year, after all. However, HTC’s reported absence is sure to lull the hype of MWC, especially considering LG isn’t quite ready to showcase its upcoming devices either, and neither is Huawei, therefore leaving Samsung to garner most of the attention. The company has already sent out invites for its MWC event, where it is expected to unveil the Galaxy S9.
Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 845 SoC is expected to show up in a number of flagships this year, meaning that most flagships would feature similar specifications, just as they did last year; but the extra time that manufacturers are seemingly dedicating to the development of their devices suggests that there may be more of an effort to differentiate the flagship devices of this year with unique features than there was in the past.
HTC, with the U11 last year, introduced ‘squeezing’ the device as a new method of interaction, which was later adopted by the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL as a method to trigger the Google Assistant. It’s unclear what this year’s flagship will have in store for consumers, but an 18:9 ratio display is likely to make the cut. Samsung, on the other hand, appears to be in the mood to make some refinements to its last year's flagship, rather than making drastic changes.
It’s certainly going to be an exciting year for the flagship smartphones. One can only hope that the iPhone X’s push to make $1,000 an acceptable flagship price (with help from Samsung and Google) will have minimal effect on the pricing of these upcoming flagships.