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This week’s top stories: Verizon’s Google Pixel relationship, Pixel 5 in AOSP, Pixel Buds retail

In this week’s top stories: a retracted report suggested Verizon would stop carrying the Google Pixel line, the “Pixel 5” appeared in the Android Open Source Project, Pixel Buds briefly offered for pre-order at a retailer, and more.

The Google Pixel world was briefly turned on its head this week, when Android Police reported that Verizon had put an “indefinite hold” on plans to sell Google’s 2020 phones. Verizon and Google both denied this report, and Android Police ultimately retracted it.

Verizon has denied the report to one Eric Zeman from Android Authority. The company “looks forward to the new portfolio of devices,” which… doesn’t exactly mean they’re committed to carrying them.

In a statement to The Verge, Google also said the report was “not true.”

However, it certainly sparked an interesting conversation about the Pixel line’s close relationship with Verizon over the years. Some believe that losing Verizon would be the beginning of the end for the Google Pixel series, while others see Verizon’s exclusivity deal as having only hurt the Pixels over the years.

Looking far, far ahead to Google’s Fall 2020 hardware releases, we’ve gotten near confirmation that the mainline Pixel phone for this year will, unsurprisingly, be called the “Pixel 5.” Evidence for this comes from the Android Open Source Project, where a Googler referred to the upcoming device by name.

The code itself is of little interest to us, as it deals with disabling an optimization to C code called UndefinedBehaviorSanitizer (UBSan). Instead, take note of the version numbers listed, “Pixel 4 at 4.14” and “Pixel 5 with 4.19.” These are the version numbers for the underlying Linux kernel that Android uses on these devices, usually as provided by Qualcomm.

In a final bit of Made by Google news, the 2020 Google Pixel Buds have taken another step closer to release, briefly appearing for pre-order at a few retailers, before being removed. Up to this point, the Pixel Buds had only been available for waitlist in the Google Store.

That said, you can successfully order them today and checkout, though no ship time is provided. So far, B&H is the only retailer to list the new Google Pixel Buds. Last October, Google only gave a Spring estimate and noted availability “at the Google Store and other large retailers.” This latest step toward launch comes as the Pixel Buds last month arrived at Bluetooth SIG for certification.

In app news this week, Microsoft launched a unified Microsoft Office app combining some of their most useful tools like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint under one roof. The app is a great alternative for those who trust Microsoft Office and OneCloud instead of Google’s G Suite for their document and cloud needs.

You’ll also find a few odds-and-ends features in Microsoft Office such as the ability to share files to nearby devices, similar to the Files by Google app, as well as a QR code scanner. However, Android Police also points out that the all-in-one Microsoft Office app does not include some much-needed features from its constituent apps, like support for landscape devices like Chromebooks and tablets.

Lastly, a handful of older Samsung phones received the February 2020 Android security patch this week, specifically the Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8/S8+, and Galaxy S9/S9+. With the release of the Galaxy S20 series on the horizon, it’s incredible to see Samsung still rapidly updating its past three generations of smartphones.

We’re not sure what has happened to Samsung in recent months to really push them to speed up the rate at which they are cranking out device software updates — but long may it continue. The good news for those of you that still rock the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 is that the February 2020 patch is now available to download.

The rest of this week’s top stories follow:

Android 11 |

Android |

Apps & Updates |

Made by Google |

Review |

Videos |

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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