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Showing posts from June, 2021

Google shows the Pixel Buds A some love on its homepage

  It's not every day Google advertises on its homepage but that changed today with their newest product on full display. Clicking the link takes you right to the Google Store Pixel Buds A page where you can learn more about the product or purchase them if you are so inclined. Putting the Buds A in such a prominent position tells me Google is confident in the device and wants (needs) visibility by as many potential buyers as possible. I like the move and hope Google does more of this in the future. Link(s) Pixel Buds A

The Pixel Buds Google would like for you to forget and most likely have

  I received my Pixel Buds A this week and have been enjoying much more than I thought I would. More on my experience in a future blog post. Having the new Buds A made me want to revisit the OG Pixel Buds from 2017. For what it's worth the OG buds was an underrated and a solid product for me.  There were some design cues borrowed from the OG buds that are alive and well with the 2020 and 2021 Pixel Buds and Buds A. The outer circular design of the earbuds is genius along with the swipe gestures for volume and taps for play and pause. The OG buds also featured the fast pair capability that it later improved and enhanced. Then there was the headlining translation feature that I never used but it was there. It wasn’t all good though. The case was somewhat of a nightmare. Wrapping the cord around the inner part of the case was not ideal and proved not to be reliable. There was also the issue of having to push down the buds into the case to make sure the leads on the case and the buds t

Google App Spotlight | At a Glance Widget

  I live in the desert and it gets really hot out here in the summer. Recently, I was presented with the above pictured excessive heat warning on the Always On Display and home screen of my Pixel 5. I quickly appreciated this feature and was able to plan my day from there as checking my smartphone is one of the first things I do in the morning. Yes, I am one of those people. Generally, you are presented with the day and date with the current weather status for the area you happen to be in. This information updates throughout the day keeping you up to date with what you may have going on. You can also tap on the date to open the calendar app or tap on the weather to open up the weather app that's not really an app. The At a Glance Widget is dynamic and displays timely relevant information. Other information can be displayed in this space ranging from calendar events to reminders and even the aforementioned severe weather alerts. The concept of having relevant information displayed a

Super early impressions on the Pixel Buds A

  I’ve been using the Pixel Buds A for about 24hrs and I have some thoughts. I will upfront say that I do like them but miss some features that are available in the more premium Pixel Buds from 2020. It's very early with me using the Buds A so I will be holding off on any future plans after I use them for a while. Things I noticed Sound - sound is good but is not as good as the OG Pixel Buds. Bass is just okay and does not hit as hard or deep as the current offering. The buds A are tuned differently and lean more on the highs and mids. The Buds A seem to work better for podcasts than music. Hopefully with me breaking them in will help with improving the sound. Mic - mic quality is solid and I can not tell a discernible difference between the Buds A and the Pixel Buds. My voice comes through nice and loud and just sounds natural. Google is underrated when it comes to mic quality when compared to other brands. Connectivity - Google made some changes and now Bluetooth streams into bot

First look | Pixel Buds A

  My Pixel Buds were just delivered and I was eager to give them a quick spin. Above are my current Pixel Buds pictured alongside the new A-Series buds. Right off the back, I noticed that the box is a bit smaller. Once I got the box and got them paired to my Pixel 5 I noticed that the weight of the A-Series feels quite a bit lighter. Too bad there's no case available for them yet. At least on the Google Store. From there, I tried them on and the fit is really similar to the OG Pixel Buds. Actually, I think they feel lighter and prefer the fit, so far. Music sounds very similar to the Pixel Buds. Rich sound comes to mind with details in the mids and highs. Bass is on par with the Pixel Buds too. If there is one area where the Pixel Buds beat out the A-Series buds is with the richness of the details. Mids seem just a bit louder and clearer but not by much. I may just need to break them, I only spent about an hour with them. I’ll report back soon but will say that I believe Google has

Google delivers a feature drop but for devices running Android

  Today, Google announced six new features will be coming this summer to devices running Android. Now, if you know Google these features will roll out over time and will be hitting Android devices over the coming days, weeks, and months. Hopefully, the pace of the roll-out is not too long as there are some pretty cool things they mentioned in their blog post. More details on the announcement below. 1. Android Earthquake Alerts System is rolling out globally Last year, we embarked on a mission to build the world’s largest earthquake detection network, based on technology built into Android devices. With this free system, people in affected areas can get alerts seconds before an earthquake hits, giving you advance notice in case you need to seek safety. We recently launched the Android Earthquake Alerts System in New Zealand and Greece. Today, we’re introducing the Android Earthquake Alerts System in Turkey, the Philippines, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbek

Chrome OS Feature Spotlight | Tote

  Google has a way of coming out with features you didn't know you needed. Well, Google has done it again with Tote. Tote is a new feature Google released earlier this year in March when Chrome OS turned 10 years old. Google describes Tote as a new holding space that makes it easy for you to find the right file fast. You’ll have quick access to recent downloads, recent screen captures, and any files that you’ve decided to pin. Tote will pop up on your Shelf as soon as you take a screen capture, download a file or pin a file. It's been only a few months but Tote has proven to be very useful and helpful for me. It allows me to keep things organized and quickly access files I may need for a project I am working on. You can also pin items to the Tote for those times you may need to grab often. Speaking of grabbing. You can click and drag items from the Tote to a document you’re working on or to an area to upload a file. I mean this thing is genius.  Tote can hold all types of files

The awesome Samsung Tab S7 for Android enthusiasts

  So, I ve been using the Samsung Tab S7 for nearly 6 months now and I really like it. The display and build quality exceeded my expectations. The software experience is good but will go in detail later in the blog post. Can't say enough good things about this tablet but more on that as we go on.  I usually steer clear of premium tablets but wanted something that worked well in the Android sphere. There is no Google offering so I tried a few before settling on the Tab S7. First there was the Onn/Walmart tablet. Super cheap and man did it look and perform that way. Then there were a couple of Lenovo tablets but I ran into an issue with both where certain streaming apps did not work properly. A black screen would play instead of video. From there, I broaden my Android tablet search with my willingness to spend more money. Next tablet I tried was the Samsung S6 Lite and found this tablet to meet most of my needs. The performance was a little underwhelming but was good with it overall.

Chrome OS is updating its release cycle to be even more frequent just like Chrome

  Not quite the announcement I was hoping for but Google announced today that Chrome OS will adopt a 4-week update cycle like Chrome. This is a bold move, in my opinion, however, it's a move I really like. This allows for Google to iterate even faster and push the bounds of what's possible on its desktop/mobile OS.  More on the release from Google below… To deliver new features more rapidly to consumers while also continuing to prioritize the key pillars of Chrome OS – security, stability, speed and simplicity – Chrome OS will move to a 4-week stable channel starting with M96 in Q4. For enterprise and education users, Chrome OS will also introduce a new channel with a 6-month update cadence by M96. More details to be announced soon. With the change taking effect with Chrome OS 96 the Chrome OS team decided to skip M95. My guess, skipping M95 will give Google time to get things nice and tight before forging down this new path of OS update rhythm.. Again... Although this was not

Android 12 beta 2 is here with some new goodies and in near final form

The second beta of Android 12 is here with more features turned on that are expected to be in the final release such as the color theming. More on Beta 2 can be found below. I think I’m going to wait for Beta 3 before I put it on my Pixel 5 but I am very tempted. Privacy Dashboard - We’ve added a Privacy Dashboard to give users better visibility over the data that apps are accessing. The dashboard offers a simple and clear timeline view of all recent app accesses to microphone, camera, and location.  Mic and camera indicators - We’ve added indicators to the status bar to let users know when apps are using the device camera or microphone. Users can go to Quick Settings to see which apps are accessing their camera or microphone data and manage permissions if needed. Microphone & camera toggles - We’ve added Quick Settings toggles on supported devices that make it easy for users to instantly disable app access to the microphone and camera. When the toggles are turned off, an app acce

Google drops new Pixel features in the June Security Patch

  Once a quarter or every 3 months Google drops some pretty dope features for us, Pixel users. June is Pixel feature drop time and Google did not skimp on features this time around even though they’re hard at work on the next version of Android. Check out what's new below. I can tell you right now I will be using the new astro-video feature and what they added to Gboard looks like it will be a useful time-saver. Pixel owners love using astrophotography in Night Sight to take incredible photos of the night sky, and now it's getting even better. You can now create videos of the stars moving across the sky all during the same exposure. Once you take a photo in Night Sight, both the photo and video will be saved in your camera roll. Try waiting longer to capture even more of the stars in your video. This feature is available on Pixel 4 and newer phones. For photos and videos that need a little extra privacy — like pictures of an upcoming gift for a loved one, or screenshots of your

Stadia is coming soon to a Chromecast w/Google TV near you

  Yesterday, Google announced that Stadia will be made available on a few devices beginning on June 23rd. Yes, June 23rd as in just over 2 weeks or 15 days at the time of this blog post. I've been really looking forward to this update since the new Chromecast launched last fall. I currently have two Chromecast where I play Stadia the most and I must admit that I can’t wait to get rid of the Chromecast Ultra that really only serves one purpose right now and that's to play Stadia on my living room TV.  More on the news from Google below… In a few short weeks, we’ll see millions more TVs come to life with games available to play instantly with Stadia. For this initial launch, Stadia will be officially supported on the following devices: Chromecast with Google TV Hisense® Android Smart TVs (U7G, U8G, U9G) Nvidia® Shield TV Nvidia® Shield TV Pro Onn™ FHD Streaming Stick and UHD Streaming Device Philips® 8215, 8505, and OLED 935/805 Series Android TVs Xiaomi® MIBOX3 and MIBOX4 As for

What the new Pixel Buds A could tell us about the next gen Pixel Buds

  On paper, the Pixel Buds A appear to be a solid budget option when compared to the regular and more premium Pixel Buds. More on that in my review and comparison. Most of the same features are there and Google seemed to remove features that don't adversely affect the overall experience. So with that out of the way let's see where both the Pixel Buds A and Pixel Buds are the same. Pixel Buds A and Pixel Buds both have the same… Custom 12nm speakers for rich sound Call quality (except for wind reduction) Touch controls (except swipe gestures for volume up and down) Hold for Google Assistant Up to 5 hours of listening time and 24hrs with the case Hands-free Hey Google Adaptive Sound USB-C charging (no wireless charging with the Pixel Buds A) There is a lot to like about the feature set Google is bringing to the table. In my opinion, Google included features you expect in a modern set of true wireless earbuds and maybe a couple you didn't. So, what does the Pixel Buds A foreca

Google App Spotlight | Google Assistant Hold for Me is a legit feature

  I usually adopt features rather quickly when Google announces something new, however, that wasn't the case when Hold for Me was first introduced last fall. The feature sounded cool but I was a bit skeptical if it worked as well as it was being pitched. Also, it's not a feature that you may use every day, for me at least. But that changed today when I called my bank and was immediately presented with the Hold for Me option when the automated voice kicked in during the call. When on a call and when a voice automated service is detected the above screen appears with the option for Hold for Me. When Hold for Me is selected the screen displays what's happening on the call. You don't hear anything but you will see a Live Transcribe of what's occurring during the call. Music playing indicator and/or a transcription of what's happening as you are on hold. Once a person picks up and the Google Assistant detects it you will see a green button to answer or pick up the li

Google announces the new Pixel Buds A with a surprising feature set

  Today, Google announced the Pixel Buds A. The feature set and the price point are not what I expected at all. The price is much lower than I originally thought and they kept most if not all of the features that really matter. The one feature Google removed that I am not a fan of is the swiping feature for volume up and down. The taps to play/pause and skipping tracks are still there. But at $99 these earphones sound like a really good deal. I ordered the Dark Olive color and will be doing a comparison against my 2020 Pixel Buds. Tech specs can be found below. Sweat & Water Resistant Sweat and water resistant Connectivity Each earbud Bluetooth® 5.0 Audio Each earbud Custom-designed 12mm dynamic speaker driver Passive noise reduction Spatial vent for in-ear pressure reduction and spatial awareness Voice Each earbud Dual beamforming microphones Battery Earbuds: up to 5 hours of listening time or up to 2.5 hours of talk time Earbuds with charging case: Up to 24 hours of listening tim