Samsung has begun the rollout from its home market
Android 14 for the Google Pixel 7 series and other Google phones is just around the corner. But that doesn’t mean Samsung phones are too behind the curve, as the company is working on bringing the latest Android version topped with its own One UI flavor to the recent Galaxy flagships. While the Samsung Galaxy S23 series has already received a couple of beta builds, the two-year-old Galaxy S21 series is now picking up its first One UI 6 beta.
Two Google reviewers must sign off on these types of contributions
Most of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is licensed under Apache 2.0, which means that anyone can modify its code. It’s this type of model that also allows AOSP to grow through internal and external contributions alike. Google has developed a guide to help people understand how to contribute code to AOSP, and it’s even used some of this content to build new features. However, one drawback to this approach is simultaneously giving bad actors an easy way to thwart the entire system. In response to security concerns, Google is increasing its scrutiny of external contributions.
The dashboard gives Chromebook users in-game tools, such as key remapping
If you have an Android phone and you enjoy gaming on the go, you may already be familiar with the Game Dashboard. After seeing OEMs like Samsung and OnePlus implement game modes, Google decided to release its own version of the popular feature with Android 12, providing easy access to a wide array of tools that might come in handy while gaming. You can take screenshots, record gameplay, and make key mapping adjustments directly in the dashboard. More importantly, Game Dashboard lets you quickly toggle between your game and other apps on your device. Now, it seems that Google wants to bring this experience to ChromeOS users.
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 are first in line
Samsung’s Galaxy S23 series are flagships in the truest sense, and deserve a spot on our list of the best Android phones. However, they stick to the conventional definition of a glass sandwich smartphone, with most of the innovation on display in the Galaxy Z series comprising the Z Fold 5 and Z Flip 5. Since these are the latest flagship models, Samsung puts them higher on its priority list of software updates. A recent report suggests the South Korean company could make the latest One UI 6 beta available to the Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 sometime this week.
Android 13 gets one last hurrah on Pixel phones
When Google launched its Android 14 beta program back in February, we figured the new version would be sent out to ordinary users sometime in August — after all, Android 13 officially debuted on August 15, 2022. And when August came and went, we were all but certain the new OS would be ready in September — that is, until we heard rumors it would be delayed until the first week of October. Now, those rumors are all but confirmed, as Google's September monthly security update is here, and it's still based on Android 13.
Flip, rinse, and repeat
Emoji don't just pop up out of nowhere — they are carefully crafted with a lot of oversight from the Unicode Consortium, a non-profit standardization body for Unicode. As part of this system, there are voting members from Apple, Google, and Microsoft who help determine what gets added to the Unicode Standard. Now, these voters have approved a new set of emoji that most of us should see appear on our devices over the course of the next year.
More control over your smartphone
Android smartphones are renowned for the level of control people have over the OS. Whether that’s from gaining root access and really changing the look and functionality of your phone, or simply getting to place apps in specific places on the home screen grid, the possibilities are basically endless. Samsung added a very small touch to its latest One UI 6 beta update adhering to user control, as people can now choose whether to update specific apps alongside Android updates.
Google is bumping up support by two years for Chromebooks released from 2019 onwards
Pick any great Chromebook out there, and it’s likely to receive full feature and security updates for a longer time than many phones out there, all while maintaining an impressive four-weekly release cycle. Google has now announced that it's upping this maintenance window to 10 years for devices released from 2019 onwards, up from eight years previously.
Android 14 QPR1 Beta 1 is coming next week
Android 14 has been in the beta testing stage since February 2023. Google planned to roll out the stable release of the OS for compatible Pixel phones in early September. But its plans likely hit a snag, with the next major Android version now reportedly debuting on the same day as the Pixel 8. Ahead of the Made by Google event on October 4th and Android 14's public release, the team behind the OS has announced the beta program for Android 14 QPR1 will begin starting September 18th.
A flaw with App pinning could potentially expose credit card details
The digital age has ushered in unprecedented convenience, transforming the way we transact, communicate, and even work. At the heart of this transformation are smartphones, the quintessential devices where we store a trove of sensitive information. Yet, with this convenience comes the ever-pressing issue of security.
With new apps coming to Android Auto and Automotive, sitting in a parked car never felt so cool
It's shaping up to be a busy fall for Android. Just last week, we got our latest Quarterly Feature Drop for all phones, delivering some timely updates to apps like Wallet and a refreshed look for Assistant At a Glance. We're also looking forward to Android 14, though considering its rumored October launch, we could be waiting a while longer. Thankfully, Android in cars is getting a fresh slate of upgrades in the coming weeks that could act as a distraction to this year's delayed OS upgrade.
Check one more widget off your ChromeOS wishlist
Google’s ChromeOS is a lightweight operating system that fuses your Android apps with a computer-like user experience. The result is a balanced middle ground between multitasking on one of the best Android tablets and Windows computers let down by the limited interoperability between Android and Microsoft's OS. Like Windows, ChromeOS has a Shelf for all your essential apps and web pages. It's also home to the glanceable widgets we first caught wind of in August last year. Calendar’s glanceable now has a dedicated section for Google Tasks appended to it in the latest beta.
Either the built-in Pixel tool, or the more limited Assistant version on all Android phones
While plenty of Android users — and Pixel owners in particular — expected Android 14 to arrive this week after a prolonged series of beta releases, that didn't happen. Fans hoping to finally try out Google's latest OS upgrade, or to move off the beta channel for something a little more stable, had to make due with the latest Android Quarterly Feature Drop, combining several app updates into one neat, tidy package. Out of everything included in the group, I think it's pretty clear what garnered the most attention: the redesigned Assistant At a Glance widget.
Samsung is cleaning up after Google, though
The amount of onboard storage available on the best Android phones has increased significantly in the last few years, with several OEMs discontinuing the affordable 64GB models even on entry-level models. That’s partly because the storage requirements for the Android OS and the app ecosystem it supports have increased too. However, Android worryingly miscalculates the amount of storage space taken up by system components, and uses non-conventional units of measurement too.
Right alongside much-needed changes to the launcher UI
ChromeOS is a fantastic middle ground between the multitasking capabilities of Windows and the simplicity of Android, all without taxing your fantastic Chromebook’s limited hardware capabilities. Google keeps it alive with regular updates, which often reveal new features in development, locked behind experimental system–level flags. A few new flags Google is working on add to the security and privacy features on ChromeOS, alongside minor tweaks to the user interface (UI) design of Settings components and the app launcher.
Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet get some extra love in this release
Android 14 has been in testing since February, and Google's initial timetable for its development listed July as the last month of beta testing. So it's safe to say that this year's major Android upgrade is running a little behind at this point, and more evidence has just been added to the pile: Google is releasing yet another beta build for its new operating system.
This could be a feature, not a bug
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are the easiest ways to get your phone’s features up and running on your car’s infotainment system. Although the list of good compatible apps is a short one, core features like your music, navigation, and phone calls work just fine. Google encourages using Assistant with Android Auto, so you keep your eyes on the road, and don’t need to interact with an on-screen keyboard. Unfortunately, a few recent reports from users suggest the audio from Android Auto is acting up following recent updates.
Android 14 could make its grand debut the same day as the Pixel 8
After five betas, a couple of developer previews, and months of anticipation, it felt like today could've been Christmas for the Android enthusiast community. But rather than waking up this morning to find a new stable OS upgrade waiting to be installed on your phone, all Google had to offer was a Quarterly Feature Drop paired with a logo redesign. If it feels like Android 14 should've arrived today, there might be something to that theory, as it sounds like a last-minute delay was responsible for any disappointment you might be feeling.
A new logo ahead of Android 14's stable launch
Ahead of Google's inevitable (but still missing-in-action) launch of Android 14, the company is also working to bring its brand up to par with its mobile OS's look and feel. A couple of months after a redesigned Android logo — complete with a fresh take on the classic bugdroid — leaked onto the internet, we're finally seeing the finished product. Today, Android's identity is getting refreshed, and it looks more like a Google product than ever before.
Alongside Wallet photo imports, AI-powered image descriptions, and so much more
We might be coming off a holiday weekend here in the US, but Google isn't slowing down on rolling out new tools for users. While there's still no sign of Android 14's stable build — even as companies like Samsung and OnePlus come ever closer to launching upgrades for their respective flagships — a new Android Quarterly Feature Drop is here with some long-awaited changes to At a Glance, Google Wallet, and so much more.