In this week’s top stories: the Google Home app prominently suggests services to link, we review the 2020 Pixel Buds, Android TV rumored to be renamed to “Google TV,” and more.
This week, the Google Home app began presenting people with the suggestion to connect their Google Account with their streaming services accounts. For example, if you have the Netflix app installed, but haven’t connected it to your Google Account, you may see a chip asking you to “Link Netflix.”
Tapping provides an explanation about how linking your Google Account to Netflix enables playback on compatible devices, as well as the privacy ramifications of letting the service be controlled by Assistant voice commands. “Yes, link account” will open a Netflix login page to continue.
The big news in the Made by Google world these last few weeks has been the release of the second-generation Pixel Buds. Our Ben Schoon spent some time with the true wireless earbuds and gave an incredibly in-depth review, covering nearly everything you could ever need to know including whether or not the Pixel Buds are meant for you.
Being earbuds, sound quality is an important aspect of the Pixel Buds. The good news? They sound alright! These aren’t in the same league as high-end earbuds or even the identically-priced Jabra Elite 75t, but the sound is good. They sound basically identical to Apple’s AirPods, just with less reliance on bass. The bass isn’t as strong as AirPods, but feels better. It doesn’t try to overpower the song with something that, frankly, just isn’t there in the first place.
Earlier this year, we reported that Google was working on a second-generation Chromecast Ultra that, despite the name, would actually be powered by Android TV. This week, we shared a rumor that, potentially in anticipation of that Chromecast Ultra, Android TV could be getting rebranded to “Google TV,” a name Google used once before in 2010.
Google has made clear to us multiple times that the Android brand itself isn’t going anywhere. We talked to them about it last year — so rest assured that your phone will continue to run “Android” for the foreseeable future. In our opinion, Google’s love for Android and everything the brand means for the last decade of smartphone history hasn’t been clearer.
A report came out this week with statistics about how many smartwatches were sold in the first quarter of 2020 versus the same period in 2019, showing that overall sales have gone up by 20%. That said, Wear OS has still yet to get a strong foothold in the smartwatch market, appearing in the statistics as part of the “Others” category, which saw limited growth and diminishing market share.
Who benefitted most from this growth? The Apple Watch, of course. As our colleagues at 9to5Mac highlighted, the Apple Watch grew its share in the market from 54.4% to 55.5% (6.2 million units versus 7.6 million). Garmin also gained traction by jumping to 8% share with 1.1 million units sold in Q1. Samsung, though, saw negative results. The company went down from 14.9% to 13.9% share, despite selling 200,000 more units in Q1 2020 versus Q1 2019.
Lastly, OnePlus is rolling out a second Beta update to owners of the OnePlus 5 and 5T which is based on Android 10 and brings the April 2020 security patch. The stable version of the Android 10 update is currently expected to roll out to devices sometime later this month.
We have bad news for those already enjoying the first Android 10-based beta for the OnePlus 5 and 5T, though. This update won’t be rolling out as an OTA update; instead, you’ll have to sideload the .zip files to get the latest security patch and the associated software improvements.
The rest of this week’s top stories follow:
- OnePlus 8’s Verizon variant won’t work w/ most cases due to slight design change
- Here’s everything new in Android 11 Developer Preview 4 [Gallery]
- Google releases unscheduled Android 11 DP4 as first beta pushed back to next month
Android TV |
- Opinion: Android TV’s interface is one of its best features — don’t ruin it, Google
- [Update: Gone] Android TV devices can now be added to Google Home speaker groups
- Report: Android TV getting a content-focused UI redesign that downplays apps
- Xiaomi launches Mi 10, new earbuds, Mi Box 4K w/ Android TV in India
Apps & Updates |
- Google Duo adding group calls on the web, link invites, and family mode
- YouTube TV will add Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and 12 other Viacom channels
- Slack completely revamps Android app w/ swipe-based UI, bottom bar
- [Update: Fixed] YouTube Music widely rolls out redesigned Now Playing UI, Explore tab
Chrome / OS |
- Chrome for Android may bring dark mode to Google Search results
- HP announces Elite c1030 Chromebook and more for enterprise
- Chrome OS is getting a revamped photo viewer and editor app [Gallery]
Made by Google |
- May security patch rolling out to Google Pixel, factory images & OTAs live
- [U: Refunds going out] Google gives refunds to Nest Aware subscribers after outage
- Rick Osterloh shares screenshot likely from Pixel 4a, complete with hole-punch
- Google Store mishap sent one Pixel 4 buyer $5,000 worth of phones
- Leaked Pixel 4 XL prototype reveals never-before-seen gray model
- Google Pixel 4, 3a no longer sold from T-Mobile website amid confusing Sprint inventory changes
- Samsung and Google are working to bring RCS to Galaxy phones
- [Update: S9, Note 9 tipped for June] Samsung One UI 2.1 update set to come to Galaxy S10, Note 10, S9, Note 9
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