ChromeOS and web apps have come a long way in the past two years, but it’s not enough to get me off my MacBook
I really like ChromeOS. As someone embedded in Google's ecosystem and covering the latest stories surrounding the company every day, any and all of the latest and greatest Chromebooks have long intrigued me. Lately, Google has been doing a lot to make me like its desktop operating system even more. The company is rolling out the option to mirror your phone’s screen to your laptop, a big Material You revamp is on the way, and web apps are getting more numerous and ever better — and that's on top of improved Android support on the platform.
It looks like Google is working on giving Tasks a spot next to your calendar
Currently, there isn't a convenient way to access Google Tasks from a desktop computer. While Google services like Calendar and Keep have their own fully featured web apps, Google Tasks is squirreled away behind a side panel menu inside those other services. You've long been able to work around this on ChromeOS by using the Tasks Android app, but now, it seems Google's working on integrating your Tasks right into ChromeOS's system tray.
You’ll have to wait a bit longer for Android 14 beta
In January, Nothing’s first smartphone, the Nothing Phone 1 officially made its way to the United States. The highly anticipated phone offers a clean Android skin with no bloatware and a unique, premium design that sets it apart from its competition. We’ve also already started to hear things about the company’s second phone, Nothing Phone 2, which is expected to carry over the transparent rear glass design while adding a larger battery and better camera, ultimately making the device a more premium offering than its first release.
The OEMs could choose the colors instead of an algorithm
For many years, Android Auto has provided most drivers with a competent-if-flawed option to map out their trips and listen to their favorite music, but some newer cars are replacing this feature with Android Automotive, a dedicated operating system for automobiles. While this OS has been around since 2017, it's been slow to adapt to Google's aesthetic. That could change soon, as Material You themes could start making their way to Android Automotive — with a catch.
Only for beta testers who aren’t running Android 14
Google's update schedule has gotten pretty hectic in recent weeks. The May security update was just seeded, and meanwhile, the company is running two simultaneous beta programs to test both Android 14 and the June 2023 Pixel Feature Drop. The latter is in development as Android 13 QPR3, and Google has just released a Beta 3.1 update for this version.
And a beta for Watch 4 and Watch 5 is coming soon
Samsung, like many tech companies, has a habit of releasing incremental updates to its software with each new hardware iteration. Today, Samsung's announced that it's sticking to that tradition with this year's upcoming Samsung Galaxy Watch devices, which will launch with the new One UI 5 Watch. A beta for the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 5 series is coming soon, too.
These fancy new screensavers are live in the dev build
Dynamic wallpapers are a fun way to personalize your desktop and make the switch to dark mode more gradual. Apple brought its own version of such wallpapers that change with the time of the day to macOS some time ago. Now, Google is toying with the idea of animated screensavers for ChromeOS, and they look far more detailed than what Apple offers.
Passkeys are faster, stronger, and more protected than passwords. Here's why they're the future of personal login security
Are you tired of passwords? We're tired of passwords, even when they're made easier with a password manager app. Companies like Google are tired of passwords, which create too many potential vulnerabilities for user security. Everyone knows it's a problem. And now a solution is on the rise. Welcome to the world of passkeys.
Use these tips to become a Chromebook power user
Computers should be simple and easy to use for everyone. Windows and macOS devices are okay in this regard but have some complexities that sometimes make them difficult to use. Chromebooks have a streamlined user experience that is almost as easy as using the Google Chrome browser. This is because the operating system used on Chromebooks, called ChromeOS, is based on Google Chrome.
The new OS version comes with some much-needed refinements following Android 12's big redesign
Android 13 was first released in August 2022 and is now available on all the best phones, including the flagship Google Pixel 7 and Google Pixel 7 Pro. While the big version upgrade may be out in the open now, Google isn't done with Android 13 just yet. The company keeps releasing new quarterly feature drops to its Pixel smartphones, with some of their features also trickling down to other Android phones as part of monthly security patches. Even if Android 14 and its beta program may be the hot new thing in town, stay here with us for an overview of what Android 13 is, what the latest Feature Drops have added to the release, and how you can get it on your phone.
The most significant features added in Android 13
Since the first Developer Build of Android 13, Android Police's staff has thoroughly tested and reviewed Android 13. The Google Pixel 7 series, as well as Pixel 4 and later models, were the first to get the Android 13 treatment on August 15, 2022. Many of the best Android phones, however, have already received the update.
Learning a trick from Apple’s playbook
Like many of the best Android phones, Google Pixel devices offer a bunch of accessibility features to make life easier. Apps like Digital Wellbeing on Pixels go a step further by proactively displaying warnings for potentially harmful conditions like sleep apnea. Now, there’s sufficient evidence to believe Google is developing a new warning for loud sounds that can damage hearing, this time delivered through the At a Glance widget.
You can no longer downgrade system apps beyond the pre-installed version
You may not rely on it often, but downgrading to an older version of an Android app pre-installed on your phone is a vital capability. It can help you get an app up and running again when it breaks due to corrupted data, and provide a clean slate for you to upgrade back to the latest available version on the Play Store. With Android’s latest security patch for May 2023, a small change now makes that process more secure. It is no longer possible to downgrade to an app version older than the one your device originally shipped with.
ChromeOS is common on Chromebooks, but is it right for you? Let's take a look at everything that makes ChromeOS unique
While Microsoft produces computers designed for Windows and Apple MacBooks are built for macOS, Google computers like Chromebooks have their unique operating system called ChromeOS. If you're thinking about making the switch to Google's bespoke OS, we're here to make a formal introduction.
Squashing bugs and plugging CVEs
Google is running two concurrent beta programs right now — one for Android 14 and one for the June Pixel Feature Drop — but that hasn't stopped the company from pushing ahead on its stable channel updates. As fun as new features can be, security patches are more important from a practical standpoint, and the May 2023 update has now arrived to shore up weaknesses in Android 13 for Pixel phones.
The company has been working on separating the currently unified volume controls for a while now
As we track Android 13 QPR3 Beta 3 for signs of what's to come for June's Pixel Feature Drop, we're all already looking forward to what Google has in store for Android 14 this fall. One of the features that's been requested for a while is separate ringtone and notification volume controls: while plenty of Android phones (including Samsung phones) offer them by default, Pixel users have gone without. It looks like Google is going to fix this with Android 14.
A new theme style will more closely match your wallpaper's colors
Introduced in Android 12, Material You dynamic color theming has become a core part of Android's UI identity. But while automatically generated custom themes do make for a lot of potential variety, the themes Android kicks out are often more drab than the wallpapers they're based on. But 9to5Google reports that could change in Android 14, with a new Fidelity theme style that's currently in development.
We don’t yet know when it’ll arrive
Nothing may only have one smartphone on sale right now, but the company is aiming to be a go-to choice for Android fans that don't want to have a Pixel phone. Android 14 Beta 1 landed on Pixel phones earlier this month, and Nothing has now confirmed the first beta version of the software will come to its smartphone soon.
Apple’s ecosystem might be the best solution, but Android users aren’t left in the cold
The Apple ecosystem is the perfect solution for anyone who wants a seamlessly integrated environment where their phone, laptop, and wearable play together without a hitch. This might tempt many people to switch from Android to iOS. But if you prefer to use one of many great Android phones, there are things you can do to make it play better with your MacBook. You might never reach the same level of integration as an iPhone owner, but you can make your life easier, and things might be better than you imagined.
So, so many bugs
The first Android 14 open beta arrived right on schedule this month, making it easier than ever for anyone with a supported Pixel phone to test out the next version of Google's mobile OS. Unfortunately, as we — and thousands of other testers — found, Android 14 Beta 1 was pretty damn buggy. From unresponsive fingerprint sensors to system crashes, an incremental release was bound to drop ahead of next month's I/O conference, and lo and behold, Beta 1.1 is now available for download.