Recently Browsing 0 members
No registered users viewing this page.
How to start testing the Android 12 beta right now
by João Carrasqueira
Today, Google formally announced Android 12, which is packing some major UI changes in the form of Material You, in addition to some privacy enhancements, and other new features. Of course, along with that, the company also announced the Android 12 beta program, as it usually does at its I/O developer event.
This time around, Google is saying the beta program is available on devices from 11 different brands, which you can find here. We're going to be focusing on Google's Pixel devices, which are the easiest to setup for the beta program because beta builds are simply served as OTA updates instead of requiring you to flash a new build.
The Android 12 beta is supported on every Pixel phone from the Pixel 3 onward. Here's the full list of supported devices:
Pixel 3 Pixel 3 XL Pixel 3a Pixel 3a XL Pixel 4 Pixel 4 XL Pixel 4a Pixel 4a (5G) Pixel 5 If you have one of these phones, you can simply follow these steps:
Go to the Android Beta Program website. Scroll down to see your list of compatible devices and click Opt in. This will enable you to get OTA updates from the beta program. Check for updates on your Pixel phone. Should you choose to opt out of the beta program, you can head back into the page linked on point 1, and choose Opt out. You'll receive an update that reverts you back to a stable release, but keep in mind that this will delete all your data on the device, so you may want to think twice before joining the program.
If you don't have a Pixel phone, there are a handful of other brands that are part of the Android 12 beta program. Here's the full list of brands listed and the compatible phones from each one, along with links to the instructions for each one:
ASUS - Zenfone 8 OnePlus - OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro OPPO - Find X3 Pro Realme - (website unavailable) Sharp - Coming soon Tecno - Camon 17 TCL - TCL 20 Pro 5G Vivo - iQoo 7Legend Xiaomi - Mi 11, Mi 11 Ultra, Mi 11i, and Mi 11X Pro ZTE - ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G Unlike Google's Pixel phones, most of these require a manual download and installation, and only after that will you be able to receive OTA updates from the program. Regardless, if you've got a curious mind, you can follow the instructions on each website to get started.
By Usman Khan Lodhi
Spotify will start providing automated transcripts for podcasts
by Usman Khan Lodhi
Spotify has been continually working to make its offering accessible for all its users' needs, and today's update seems to fixate on just that. The latest push, which brings updates to Spotify on iOS and Android, features buttons with enhanced readability capabilities, options to resize text, and a beta version for transcribing podcasts. These changes are expected to roll out in the coming weeks.
Buttons are being revamped, so users may notice a change in their color, text formatting, and size. This is being done to make it easier for those with visual disabilities to engage with these buttons. The change in text formatting from all caps will bring support for more language in the future. Right now, Spotify supports more than 60 languages.
The Spotify app reflects system-wide text size changes to a certain extent, and today's update will permit users to push beyond these limits, as they will be able to increase the text size even more. This is aimed to meet users' specific visual needs and preferences. To change the text size, iOS users need to follow these steps:
The firm will also begin generating automated transcripts for some of its original exclusive podcasts. Eventually, Spotify plans to bring automated transcripts for all podcasts, which might help creators looking to make their shows available to everyone but lacking the resources to do so.
In other Spotify news, Spotify Hi-Fi may be close to launching, as a Reddit user caught the first glimpse of the feature in the app.
Android 12 will come with theming options, better performance, and new privacy features
by João Carrasqueira
Google is holding its I/O developer event today, and of course, that means we're getting new details on the upcoming release of Android 12, which has been available in testing with developer previews since earlier this year. The company announced some major UI changes that had already been spotted to some extent in a video from last week.
Android 12 will come with a new UI language Google is calling Material You, and the focus is on customizability at every level. Users can change the theme colors for multiple elements of the UI and system apps, but third-party apps will also be able to take advantage of these new theming capabilities.
One way users can easily change the theme colors across the interface is simply changing the background image on their phone. Android 12 will be able to choose theme colors from the image so you have a consistent-feeling experience.
There's more to it, though, because you can change more than colors. Google says you'll be able to change things like line thickness, size of UI elements, and more to make the UI more accessible and tailored to your preferences. There are also new widget designs that can be further customized with these options.
Google has also redesigned UI elements like the notification shade, so quick actions now have text next to them to make them easier to identify.
There are other, subtler UI changes, too, like new fluid animations. For example, when you press the power button, the display will light up starting from where the button is, and the lock screen is also being updated to make the clock bigger when there are no notifications. Google is also touting improved performance with this new release.
Android 12 also comes with some privacy enhancements, like a new privacy dashboard that lets you see how often apps have accessed things like your location, camera, and microphone in the last 24 hours. You can also see a history of access to these devices. Additionally, Google is adding two quick actions that allow you to disable camera and microphone access for every app at once. When an app asks for your location, you can also now to choose to give your approximate location or the precise data for each app.
Google is also working to improve how devices work together, so it announced that it's partnering with car manufacturers to turn Android phones into digital car keys for more brands. It's also adding support for Fast Pair for more Bluetooth devices, and soon, Android phones will also be capable of controlling Android TV devices with a remote control feature.
If you want to try Android 12, Google also announced the Android 12 beta today, as it typically does. Google says you can try the beta on devices from 11 different brands including Xiaomi, OPPO, and Google Pixel. You should be able to do that from here, but the website for the beta program doesn't yet seem to be updated for the Android 12 beta.
Naturally, the Material You features will come first to Pixel devices, which are usually the ones to get new Android features first. Since every OEM uses their own Android skin, it may take longer for each of them to adopt the new design system.
Panasonic introduces the Toughbook S1, a 7-inch rugged Android tablet
by João Carrasqueira
Today, Panasonic announced the latest member of its TOUGHBOOK family, the TOUGHBOOK S1. This is a new 7-inch Android tablet aimed at mobile workers in tough environments, so that they can have a device that can keep up with their daily life. The company already has a solid lineup of Android devices, including the 10-inch TOUGHBOOK A3, the 7-inch L1, the 5-inch T1, and the 4.7-inch N1.
Compared to the similarly-sized TOUGHBOOK L1, this new tablet comes with some major improvements, with one of them being the battery. The TOUGHBOOK S1 comes with a warm swappable battery, meaning you can remove the main battery and replace it on the fly because there's a smaller battery built into the device that keeps it from powering off for 45 seconds. TOUGHBOOK's larger tablets and PCs often have hot-swappable batteries, but this is new for its 7-inch lineup. A regular battery will get you nine hours, but there's an extended battery option that offers 14.5 hours.
The are other things, too, like the fact that this tablet is FirstNet certified, meaning emergency responders on the field can set it up to connect to Band 14, which is reserved for emergency communications.
“The TOUGHBOOK S1 is purpose-built for mobile workers in the most challenging environments and conditions, especially in transportation and logistics, manufacturing and field services where efficiency and reliability are essential for getting the job done,” said Craig Jackowski, GM of Product Management, Panasonic System Solutions Company of North America.“Building on the TOUGHBOOK legacy of productivity and ruggedness, the TOUGHBOOK S1 comes at a time when our customers demand reliable technology solutions to support digital and mobile operations.”
Of course, you can count on the TOUGHBOOK S1 being able to take a beating. It comes with MIL-STD-810H certification and it's tested for 5ft drops onto concrete. In fact, Panasonic says it tests the durability by dropping the same device 18 times from the same height. It can also survive between -4°F and 122°F, it comes with both IP65 and IP67 water and dust resistance, and it has glove touch mode so it can work with gloves up to 5mm thick, as well as Panasonic's rain mode so the screen can still respond when it's wet. It also has a 500-nit screen, so it should be visible enough outdoors.
Being a business device also means it's configurable with things like an optional USB Type-A port, an optional barcode scanner that can be had in either portrait or landscape. And, of course, it's backed by Panasonic's productivity+ suite, which helps enterprise customers configure, deploy, and manage these devices. This offering also comes with things like getting fast and easy replacements, so when you need a replacement device, Panasonic can send you one that's already configured for your business and ready to use.
As for performance, Panasonic is using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 octa-core chipset, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of internal storage, which you can expand via microSD. These devices are meant to run specific sets of apps, so they don't need the highest-performance components out there, and this chipset ensures that the device can be supported in the long-term so customers don't constantly have to think about upgrading. The tablet comes with Android 10.
The TOUGHBOOK S1 is available from today starting at $2,499. You can contact your local Panasonic representative to order them for your business.
UK set to enable Emergency Alerts after a trial period
by Paul Hill
The UK government has launched a new Emergency Alerts page on its website explaining that it's testing the service on Android and iOS devices before rolling it out across all of blighty. Once it has been rolled out across the country, it'll alert users about nearby disasters so they can respond appropriately.
The types of incidents users will be notified about include severe flooding, fires, explosions, terrorist incidents, and public health emergencies. Alerts will be sent by the emergency services, such as the police, and government departments, agencies, and public bodies that deal with emergencies. The government believes the chance of you getting such an alert will be low.
To see these alerts, you must be using an iPhone or iPad running iOS 14.5 or later or an Android phone or tablet running Android 11 or later. Earlier versions of Android may receive these alerts if the Emergency Alerts feature was included on the device’s software. As an additional condition, only users on 4G and 5G will receive the alerts while those or 2G or 3G networks won’t be notified.
The government said that Emergency Alerts can be switched off but should be left on for your own safety. If your device is turned off or in aeroplane mode, it won’t be possible for messages to get through to you. If you stayed opted in, no data will be collected or shared about you, your device, or the location where you got the alert and the government doesn’t need your phone number to send messages.
All messages will be sent to you based on your current location rather than based on where you live or work. You do not need to sign up for anything nor download any apps and any alerts you receive will be free of charge. According to BBC News, the first trial will be held in East Suffolk on May 25 when residents will get a test alert. A second test will take place in Reading on June 15. If all goes to plan, the system will be rolled out around the country.