Straight outta the 90's
I love Google Docs. It allows me to draft up documents or quickly make changes to existing ones on the go, on a whim, no matter if I'm on my smartphone or a computer — all you need is a browser and a keyboard. But for some reason, Docs has always felt a bit lacking when it comes to non-core features, especially when compared to Microsoft Word. But starting today, Google Docs is catching up to its competitors in one meaningful way: watermarks.
Undercutting the Z Fold3 by a good chunk
The Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro are currently our favorite Android phones. Despite a variety of issues, Google's new phones get more right than wrong, and its Tensor chip appears ready to scale to another form factor altogether: a foldable. The device has popped up in the rumor mill already several times and under many different codenames. Now, we have reported pricing for the Google foldable, expected to launch as the Pixel Notepad.
Late to its promise in the middle of Android 12 upgrade season
Oh, the Surface Duo. Microsoft's first attempt at making an Android phone had a few issues, but it was nonetheless an exciting dual-screen concept with big multitasking promises. Bugs and high price tag aside, one specific woe had buyers on edge for a good chunk of last year: The lack of an Android 11 update. Despite the fact that Android 12 was released in 2021, and the Surface Duo 2 launched with Android 11, users of the original model don't have the new (now old) software yet. After missing its first promise last year and falling back on the ol' reliable "coming weeks," Android 12 is finally starting to land on the original Microsoft Surface Duo.
Flagship features, (hopefully) mid-range price
Last year's Motorola Edge left us feeling a bit underwhelmed. It wasn’t a bad phone, but it was a bit overpriced for what it had to offer. A couple months back we were getting ready for Motorola to introduce its next flagship-class model, which ended up debuting as the Edge X30 in China (pictured above). Now we're getting ready for some very similar hardware to make its international spread, as some renders and leaked specs preview the arrival of the Moto Edge 30 Pro.
Beating the competition, one way or another
Google's new Chromecast with Google TV, code-named Boreal in development, isn't going to be the high-end device many of us wanted. New reports suggest Google's next TV dongle is aimed directly at the low-end — and that's precisely the wrong market the company should be targeting.
Not the Shield competitor you might have hoped for
Over the weekend, details regarding a new Google TV-powered Chromecast surfaced under the hardware code-name Boreal. At the time, hardware specifics for the upcoming device weren't known, but many speculated it could be a higher-end device, given the current Chromecast with Google TV's position in the market. According to Protocol, that's not going to happen, and the new device will cut plenty of corners to hit an even lower price than the current version.
AT&T and Verizon are out, Boost is back in
Google Play Store shoppers who bill their purchases through Boost Mobile or Verizon will soon no longer be able to. Verizon subscribers have been emailed about the change which will come into effect starting next month.
A gaming phone that doesn't look like one
Lenovo doesn't get a lot of attention for its phones, but that's because Lenovo-branded handsets rarely launch outside of China. The company's Motorola subsidiary is more prominent in the west, but you might be wishing Lenovo supported more regions when the Halo launches. This newly leaked phone, courtesy of our old friend @evleaks, is just 8mm thick with a 5,000mAh battery and the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (SM8475), which might be branded as "Gen 1 Plus."
Looking all but certain now
It's no secret to anyone by now that Samsung's upcoming flagship line, the Galaxy S22 series, is just a few weeks away from its debut. All three of the S22 phones have leaked in thorough detail for a few months, and Samsung has already confirmed that an event will happen sometime in February. While the company stopped short of giving an exact date, speculation and rumors trying to nail it down have been running wild. Now a newly leaked image attempts to clear things up, and according to it, the S22 announcement is very, very close.
Enough speed to satisfy anyone
AT&T has spent the last several years making a play at becoming a content company first and foremost. Its ISP and cellular network businesses have largely fallen to the wayside as HBO Max became its focal point. After losing ground to its competitors, it seems the company is finally starting to turn its attention back to its primary purpose: delivering data as fast as humanly possible. Today's fiber announcement is the latest piece of an ever-growing puzzle.
Still live in the UK, though
One of the many perks of being a university student is the fact that lots of businesses are willing to give you discounts on their products and services. Whether you’re looking for a PC, movie tickets, or Photoshop, being a student will help you get it cheaper. All of that is also true for buying Apple products online, and until recently, its educational discount was open to anyone in the US. But now, Apple is closing that loophole and requiring shoppers to verify their education credentials before letting them browse or purchase products.
Get two for less, save more with four
Looking for a jump start to automating your lights around the house? You can get a Philips Hue Bridge with up to four white smart bulbs at great discount for a limited time.
Up to 30 hours of battery life, Alexa and Google Assistant integration, and more for just $128
Sony's excellent WH-1000XM series of headphones are known for their excellent sound quality and ANC. However, not everyone is willing to spend a bomb on a premium pair of headphones. For them, Sony has its equally impressive XB series of headphones that are lighter on the wallet and offer a bass-heavy sound. If you are in the market for a new pair of headphones, Amazon has the excellent Sony WH-XB910N with "dual noise-canceling" for sale at their lowest-ever prices.
Two of them will be available within the next several weeks
Wherever you or your kids go to school — even if it's not at school — there's always an opportunity to get in gear for a new season of learning. Acer hopes you or, more chiefly, the IT department in your local district do so with its four new Chromebooks fit for weathering the roughest shocks and toughest messes.
Now available for the Galaxy S10 series
Samsung used to be one of the worst companies when it comes to updates. Back in the TouchWiz days, software support for Samsung phones was absolutely abysmal. But the arrival of One UI saw a change of direction for the company, currently promising up to 3 years of major updates and 5 years of security patches — and actually doing a decent-ish job at rolling them out in a timely manner. Now Samsung's saying "happy New Year" a little early as the first January 2022 security patches for its phones (and specifically, for the Galaxy A51) start becoming available.
No more playing 'pass around the router card' at gatherings
We've all been there. You've invited your friends or family members round for a birthday/ dinner party/ to watch the game/ just hang out, and someone asks for the Wi-Fi password. You stare blankly back at them, racking your brains trying to think where you left the card that came with your router detailing the network's name and password. Either that, or you can't be bothered reeling off a series of letters and numbers, arduously going back and forth as a capital letter is mistaken for a lower case and everyone eventually loses their minds. Wouldn't life be so much easier if you could just share the Wi-Fi network with the help of the best Android phone? Well... you can!
Set any paragraph style to create a fresh page
Google regularly updates its productivity apps to improve the user experience, and Docs is no exception. Late last year, the word processor got a nifty em-dash trick, automated citations, an improved way to manage Tables, and a feature that lets you block unwanted comments. Now, Google is working on a new update that will make formatting in Docs mobile even more effortless.
For the price, these earbuds get the job done
As a staple of the audio industry, a certain level of quality is expected from Sony headphones. Fortunately, the Sony WF-C500 true wireless earbuds deliver, making them an attractive option for budget shoppers who can’t quite justify the flagship WF-1000XM4s. The sound quality is surprisingly good for just $99.99, and the durable case makes you feel like they might actually last longer than a few months. Plus, the device offers a common option to connect to an app, which allows you to really dig into how you want your headphones set up.
A useful tool or an unnecessary one?
Somehow, phone manufacturers continue to find ways to increase display size year after year, even when it seemed impossible for the trend to continue. While we might decry the loss of smaller smartphones, market trends don't lie — buyers love what extra screen real estate can provide. Android has plenty of extra features to take advantage of large displays, with picture-in-picture one of its most handy.
Plus a summary of the week's gaming news, and a few honorable mentions to round things out
Over the last five years, I've been rounding up the newest Android game releases each week in listicle form, and it's finally time for a change. There are simply too many games launching each week that aren't up to snuff, drowning out the praise and attention the best Android games should be getting. So instead of cataloging as many new releases as possible, it's time to make the standouts the star of the show. So every Sunday, I'm now going to announce AP's game of the week, and this week that's Paths: Beatrice's Adventure, an enjoyable choose your own adventure game.