In this week’s top stories: we review the Pixel 3 a second time six months into its life, the Play Store preps triggering system updates, we uncover the Play Store’s upcoming Material Theme redesign, and more.
Some phones have a very different experience later on in life than right after release, and the Pixel 3 is the perfect example of this. Our Damien Wilde took the time this week to give the Pixel 3 another full review now that the device has seen six months worth of updates and fixes.
The biggest problem is that since the Google Pixel 3 was unveiled, we’ve had a steady stream of genuinely top-tier handsets that really do offer exceptional experiences with similar price points and better base specifications.
But how does the Pixel 3 fare given it’s now six months older, six months more battered, used, abused and thoroughly tested? The short answer is exceptionally well.
Our APK Insight team uncovered two major changes coming soon to the Google Play Store app. Firstly, the app will be joining the ranks of apps like Gmail, Google Drive, and Photos by picking up the Google Material Theme. While what we were able to uncover is likely still a work-in-progress, it’s easily one of the best Material Theme redesigns yet.
Simultaneously, we discovered that Google is prepping an even larger improvement to the Play Store. New strings in the app point to Android system updates being handled by the Play Store. This could potentially turn the Play Store into an all-in-one update management hub.
- This is the Play Store’s Google Material Theme redesign [Gallery]
- Future Android ‘system updates’ could be initiated from the Google Play Store [APK Insight]
Google rolled out a seemingly small quality of life update for Google Home devices this week. Previously, when performing a routine, the Google Assistant would narrate each of the routine’s actions. After the update, the Assistant now silently complies with your routine. Our readers seem to be of mixed opinion as to whether this is a completely positive change or not.
For anyone that found their Google Home a little loud — especially first thing in the morning or last thing at night — try a routine to see if your Home is still as mouthy as it was before. It should hopefully be much less inclined to shout about everything it’s currently helping you with.
In third-party app news, the latest WhatsApp beta is rolling out a long-awaited feature, originally called Vacation Mode. Available under the new name “Ignore archived chats,” this allows you to not receive notifications from particular group chats without needing to leave those groups.
Wrapping up the week, our team was able to uncover the official Google codenames for the Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL and a third Google device inside Android Open Source Project code and the latest Google app beta. With these codenames, we were also able to give more credibility to a benchmark from earlier this year that was speculated to be the Pixel 4.
The rest of this week’s top stories follow:
- Android TV ads explained: Why Google wants to ‘sponsor’ your homescreen and who’s affected
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 receiving Android Pie, Galaxy S7 looking unlikely
- LineageOS adds Android Pie support for nine more devices, re-introduces Nvidia Shield Tablet support
Apps & Updates |
- Here are some YouTube TV alternatives that won’t cost you $50/month
- Google Drive for Android widely rolls out Material Theme and native camera for scanning, dark mode for some
- Snapchat completely rebuilt its Android app to be faster and work better with more devices
- Disney+ will apparently support Google Chromecast and Android TV
- Google app 9.66 preps dark theme, ‘Assistant powered intelligent tips,’ Face Match training [APK Insight]
- Google Home Hub is nearly 50% off along with deals on Nest thermostats and Assistant-controlled light switches
- Deals on Chromebooks, Pixel Stand, and more await in the Best Buy 48 hour sale
- Google Pixel 4 makes yet another AOSP appearance, Pixel 3a too this time
- Google Nest Hub Max: Everything we know about the new Google smart display so far
- Spotify’s free Google Home Mini offer extends to Canada
- Google Wifi gets its first official price drop to just $99
- Made by Google’s next Pixel laptop/tablet targeting productivity ‘on-the-go’
- Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL specs, explained: Everything we know so far
- [Update: April 2019] The best smartwatches for Android you can buy today
- Review: Diesel On Full Guard 2.5 brings out the snarky side of Wear OS
- Moshi Symbus Q Review: The Swiss Army knife of Chromebook accessories
- Huawei P30 Pro review: Seriously stretching smartphone camera capabilities [Video]