Monday, October 2, 2017

Google releases October security update for Pixels and Nexuses

If you own a Nexus or Pixel, you know what the first Monday of the month means: a new security update. It's no different this time around: right on schedule, Google has made the October security patches available to the devices it supports directly.

The factory images and full OTA zip files are up for grabs from the usual official website, catering to tinkerers. For normal people, the over-the-air rollout of the update is already underway.

As usual with Google rollouts, it's probably going to take a couple of weeks for all devices to receive the update notification. If you simply can't stand waiting, just go to Settings > System > System update and hit Check for update. This should immediately trigger the download (which is in the tens of megabytes range, nothing fancy).

The aforementioned path applies to Android 8.0 Oreo, if you're still on a Nexus 6 or Nexus 9, running 7.1.1 Nougat it will be slightly different - but if you're that desperate for security updates, you probably know exactly where to find the manual check option.

If you have a Pixel or Pixel XL, your build number after updating will be OPR1.170623.027 if you're in Canada or on Project Fi, and OPR3.170623.008 for everyone else. The Pixel C gets OPR1.170623.027, Nexus 6P has OPR5.170623.007, while the Nexus 5X is receiving OPR4.170623.009. The Verizon Nexus 6 has NGI77B as the build number, while other units get N6F27M. The Nexus 9 has two - N4F27P for the LTE model, and N9F27M for the Wi-Fi only iteration.

HMD will update the current Nokia phones to Android P

HMD will update the current Nokia roster to Android 8.0 Oreo but the company has committed to do more than that – it will update these phones to Android P as well (the next major Android version).

All the current Nokias launched on Nougat and will live to see two major OS updates. That’s better than many Androids get, especially on the lower rungs of the ladder where the Nokia 3 lives. We guess those are the advantages of running near-stock Android – HMD doesn’t have to do as much to push out the update.

HMD will update the current Nokia phones to Android P
Anyway, HMD’s Chief Technology Officer has commented that the company is open to unlocking the bootloaders of its phones. This will ensure that once the official updates stop – that won’t be for a while, but still – you can load up Lineage OS or something similar and keep your phone up to date and secure.

The bootloader may have to wait, though, at least until the devs have pushed Oreo out the door. The work is underway and the updates should be out by the end of the year.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

YU courageously launches Yureka 2 running Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Today YU took the wraps off its latest creation for the Indian market, the Yureka 2. Despite what its name may allege, this is in fact the sixth Yureka-branded phone, following the original Yureka, the Yureka Plus, the Yureka Note, Yureka S, and Yureka Black.

The Yureka 2 boasts a 5.5-inch 1080p IPS touchscreen, the Snapdragon 625 chipset with 2 GHz octa-core Cortex-A53 CPU, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable storage, and a 3,930 mAh battery.

Its main camera is a 16 MP unit with LED flash, while selfies are taken care of by an 8 MP shooter up front. A fingerprint sensor is on the phone's back, and 4G LTE support is built-in. The Yureka 2's dimensions are 152.6 x 76.5 x 8.15 mm. It will become available on September 20, exclusively from Flipkart, for INR 11,999 ($186 or €156 at the current exchange rates).

There's just one problem here. The YU Yureka 2 will arrive on the market running Android 6.0 Marshmallow. That version of the OS launched in 2015. Two years ago. Devices which are supported directly by Google are already on Android 8.0 Oreo. Will the Yureka 2's affordable price point make people ignore this fact? We'll have to wait and see.

Quad-camera Huawei G10 (Maimang 6) with 18:9 screen now leaks in press renders

Yesterday Huawei revealed that it's going to unveil the Maimang 6 in China on September 22, and the teaser image the company shared basically confirmed that this will indeed be the first Huawei phone with an 18:9 screen. Then mere hours later we saw a prototype Maimang 6 portrayed in a photo shoot out and about, confirming that aspect ratio and some specs.

Now it's time for us to glance at some leaked press renders of the same handset, coming from two different sources. This is definitely leaking more lately than the much more high-end Mate 10, but hopefully that situation will change in the near future.

Anyway, aside from serving as the debut device for an 18:9 screen in Huawei's lineup, the Maimang 6 is also notable because it has a total of four cameras, employing dual setups on both the rear and the front. What's more, you even get an LED flash for selfies.

Rumored specs include a 5.9" 1,080x2,160 touchscreen, the Kirin 659 mid-range SoC, up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, a 3,240 or 3,340 mAh battery, and EMUI 5.1 over Android 7.0 Nougat. Dimensions are to be 156.2 × 75.2 × 7.5mm, and it will weigh 164g. Outside of China we expect it to be called G10 or G10 Plus.

Motorola reveals which of its smartphones are getting Android 8.0 Oreo

At the end of last month, Sony revealed which of its smartphones will be receiving updates to Android 8.0 Oreo, and today it was time for Motorola's US arm to do the same. The Lenovo-owned company hasn't committed to any release time frames for any of these, though, so it's anyone's guess when the phones listed below will actually taste Oreo.

Here's the list of Motorola phones that will be updated to Android 8.0:

• Moto Z2 Force (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon)

• Moto Z2 Play (Verizon, unlocked)

• Moto Z Force DROID (Verizon)

• Moto Z (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, unlocked)

• Moto Z Play (Verizon, unlocked)

• Moto G5S Plus (unlocked)

• Moto G5 Plus (unlocked)

• Moto G5 (unlocked)

Since this was shared by Motorola USA, it's obviously focused solely on handsets that have been sold officially in that country. There's no information yet about what will happen elsewhere.

Also note that most of the carrier phones in the list are said to get Oreo "pending partner support" - so there's a chance that some of them will never see an update despite Motorola's intentions (if one of the carriers says no).

The absence of any version of the G4 family is notable here, since that's less than 18 months old at this point. Perhaps the end of software support this early is to be expected for a mid-range series, but owners of any G4 who care about being up to date may look to other companies for their next Android fix.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Apple iPhone 8, iPhone X event - a few Finally moments

Apple held its big iPhone event yesterday and all went as expected. We got the iPhone X with a bezelless OLED, we got more powerful iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and we got an LTE-powered Apple Watch Series 3.

We also saw a few features Apple finally implemented that we've been wanting for years.

All three of Apple's new iPhones have both wireless charging and fast charging, which is huge.

Nowadays even the midrange Android smartphones have some form of rapid charging while an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus takes ages to top up. That's no longer the case with Apple's iPhone X and iPhone 8 duo as Apple claims 50% charge in 30 minutes. That might require you to get another charger, but it's great that we finally have the option.

Another Finally moment came when Apple detailed the storage of the new iPhones. All three models start at 64GB - not 16GB nor the half-step 32GB we got last year - properly usable 64GB.

The iPhone was probably the last premium phone to ship with less than 64GB of non-expandable storage and at its high prices and high storage upgrade premiums that mattered.

Sure, one could argue that the 64GB model costs a bit more than the 32GB corresponding iPhone of yesteryear but prices have been going up constantly and we didn't get upgraded storage every year.

The iPhone X marks another Finally moment, actually two of them. We finally get an iPhone with minimal bezels and we got an OLED iPhone.

Apple users around our HQ have been waiting for years to get an iPhone with inky blacks and supreme contrast. Well, it finally arrived.

The last bit of finally' is a small one, but important for many people. The Apple Watch got independent cellular connection making it possible to stream music and receive (and interact with) notifications without an iPhone around.

So good job Apple for finally making all of these advancements happen on iPhone! There are no perfect phones, but these latest iPhones finally give us the feeling that the company didn't hold anything back and made them as good as they can be, rather than just good enough to sell.

Our wishlist for next year will be smaller now. But while we're on that subject it would be nice to see a bigger iPhone X (similar to the Galaxy S8+ or Galaxy Note8), better audio (Hi-Fi DAC), under-the-screen fingerprint reader and a 120Hz screen like on the iPad Pro. Can you think of anything else? Drop us a line in the comments.

Sony H4233 with 6-inch display and Android Oreo spotted on GFXBench

A new Sony smartphone has been spotted in a benchmark database. Listed as Sony H4233 on GFXBench, the device is powered by a Snapdragon SoC with octa-core, 2.2GHz processor, and sports a 6-inch display with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution.

RAM is 4GB, while internal memory should be 64GB. The handset features a 21MP rear camera and a 15MP front shooter. It runs the latest Android OS - Oreo, version 8.0. There's currently no information on what the retail name of the device will be or when it might be announced.